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which Files Are Necessary for PCB Manufacturing

which Files Are Necessary for PCB Manufacturing


Once your PCB design is ready, there are a few files that you will need to generate in order for production to begin. For a turnkey order, we will require a bill of materials (BOM), centroid data, and of course your board designs in Gerber format. In addition to the files just mentioned, it will also be helpful for us to include any additional files such as fabrication or assembly drawings, or any special instructions specific to the project. If your design is not fully completed, we do provide preliminary quotes based on early gerber files. We have provided further details on generating these files below.

Gerber Files and Drill files

Along with your Gerber files, be sure to also include the drill files and a board outline file. A drill file contains the location and size of all drill holes. There may be multiple files if blind/ buried vias are required. Please be sure to include all drill files to ensure none of your requirements are missed.

Mechanical files should also be included with your file set. For example, the board outline file is used for verifying the dimension of the board. You may also want to include any cut-outs or internal routing on this layer.

1. Why can't the designer directly submit the original design document package to the PCB factory? In this way, there will be too many hidden errors and security risks for the following reasons:

  1.1 The data storage structure of all EDA software is design-oriented, while the data required by the PCB factory is production-oriented, and their data storage structures are different. Therefore, the original design data of any EDA software cannot directly enter the information library of the PCB factory, and must first be converted into the Gerber format of the PCB manufacturing industry standard.

  1.2. To protect the intellectual property rights of the designer, the original design documents and schematics should not be leaked.

  1.3. There are many types of EDA software, even an EDA software has many versions. PCB factories cannot build so many EDA software environments. If the PCB factories generate Gerber files themselves, the possibility of errors increases.

  1.4. No one knows his design work better than a PCB designer. If the exported Gerber file has deviations or errors, the designer is the appropriate finder, not an engineer in the PCB factory.

2. Provide Gerbera files in Gerber RS274X format and Drill files in Excellon format

  There are 3 formats Gerber files .

A. RS-274X : the extended Gerber format, it is currently widely used.
B. RS-274D: the standard Gerber format, it has been deprecated .
C. Gerber X2: it is current latest file format is an extension of the RS-274X standard and is backward compatible, adding previously missing production data, including: PCB stackup structure information, pad and via attributes, key impedance control traces, etc information. However, most devices in PCB factories do not yet support the new version of Gerbera X2 format.

Although there are new data standards such as ODB++, IPC-2581, Gerber X2, etc. to solve the defects of Gerber RS-274X, the new standard looks very good, but it will take some time to be truly popularized. At present, most PCB factories still only support Gerber RS274X format .
For more introduction to the Gerber file format, you can search it on the Internet.

Gerber files are a set of files containing information about each layer of the PCB to be used for production. in order to facilitate the production of PCBs, EDA software usually needs to follow the following layered design rules when designing PCBs. Each layer will generate a corresponding Gerber file. This is convenient for PCB factories to distribute data and parallel production. Gerber files usually follow the following rules:

1. Each circuit layer corresponds to an independent file. The two-layer PCB is the TOP layer file and the BOTTOM layer file. The multi-layer PCB also contains all the files corresponding to the internal layers.
2. Each SolderMask layer corresponds to an independent file
3. Each silk screen layer corresponds to an independent file
4. Each Solder Paste layer corresponds to an independent file
5. The PCB layer outline layer corresponds to a file
6. The general through hole corresponds to a drilling file
7. Special holes (such as: metalized vias, internal metal vias, slot holes, buried holes, blind holes), each type hole corresponds to a drilling file

3. guide

If you would like more information about these files, you can view our guide for generating Gerber files (include drill files ) from commonly used EDA software.

4. compare and proofread exported Gerber files and drilling files

The exported Gerber files and drilling files must be compared and proofread with the original design files before sending them to the PCB factory. Make sure that the generated files are exactly what the designer wants.

Special Requirements
Each designer may have different requirements for the following items, such as the number of PCBs, stacking structure and sequence (for boards with more than 2 layers), impedance control(if necessary).if your board contains any special requirements such as gold fingers, blind/buried via, etc., please view the requirements form and fill it, then  upload the Zip file of Gerber files and Drill files, you will get a quotation .

IPC-D-356A file
IPC-D-356A file is helpful to us when verifying circuit network and testing PCB board. it would be better if you could provide IPC-D-356A file , but it's not necessary.

Preliminary Files
If you are still working to finalize your design, we can typically generate a preliminary quote based on early Gerber files, or a detailed description. When you have finalized your design, we will review any updated files and modify your quote accordingly.

If you need any additional information regarding data requirements, please email PCB@PCBBay.com and one of production technical engineers will get in touch with you.