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Data Guidelines

Drill Information
Accepted Formats:
  • Excellon File (Format 1 or 2)
  • Gerber
  • Sieb and Meyer

The files supplied should contain X Y co-ordinates of all the relevant tools separately defined. If tools of equal size exist in the program (i.e. 2.00mm (.079") plated, 2.00mm (.079") non-plated) they should be separated in the file with unique tool numbers. Hole sizes stated should be finished hole requirements.

The drill information should also be accompanied by a drill drawing (or identifier). This should contain a graphic representation of the drill positions (i.e. each tool size depicted as a letter or symbol) along with information on hole tolerance (positional and dimensional) and classification (i.e. plated or non-plated). This information ensures efficient, accurate generation of drill programs and provides a valuable tool for inspecting the finished boards to ensure customer requirements are met.
Digital Artwork Files
Accepted Formats:
  • Gerber RS274X
  • ODB ++ Only through the Valor (Enterprise) verification Tool
  • Orbotech Backup Format
  • MDA
  • Gerber RS274D (+ Aperture List)
  • DPF format.
 
All artwork layers should be supplied as separate CAD files, for example:
 
  • Copper Layers
  • Solder Mask
  • Legend
  • Peelable Resist
  • Carbon Ink
 
Arrays - Our preference is to receive the data 1-up, but should include details of the array dimensions, internal step and repeats, array border tooling including fiducials and should appear on every layer of the CAD data.

Merge Layers - The use of merge data (i.e. combining of design files to produce one working layer) should be avoided. This is because problems arise with 'sliver' conditions, substitution of drawn pads, and the general testability of the design (in particular with regards to 'negative' layers
Fabrication Drawings
Accepted Formats:
  • HPGL
  • Gerber
  • Post Script
  • Any Windows Supported Drawing (JPEG, PDF, .DXF, DWG, TIFF etc Customer Original Drawings

When possible, the drawings should be included in the data package. The advantages of drawings supplied as electronic files are:
 
  • Legibility
  • Accuracy
  • Easily scaled
  • Eliminates delays
  • Storage of data is more efficient if whole kit is in the same format

The fabrication drawing should contain all the necessary information to be able to manufacture the PCB (see the fabrication notes below for an example). This information only needs to be included as part of the fabrication drawing if a separate PCB specification is not being produced. The fabrication information will generally contain information such as:
  • Layer names and build-up order
  • Board thickness
  • Finish required
  • Any special instructions
  • Issue level information of artwork supplied
  • Copper thickness
  • Tolerances on holes and board profile clearly defined
 
If the PCBs are to be supplied in a frame or as part of an array then the array layout must be specified on the drawing. The array size and array datum to board datum must be specified. The step and repeat of any boards within the array must be dimensioned. If there are any 'break-out' features then these must be defined geometrically and their positions clearly indicated.

The fabrication drawing must contain all the necessary dimensions to be able to produce the board profile. This will probably be done by most designers if the finished item is a single board. However, if the finished item is an array or a single board with a very complex profile then it may be desirable or simply good drawing practice to produce a separate profile drawing to avoid high density information on one drawing. It is also helpful if this profile drawing is sent as an actual artwork layer as well.
Profile Drawings
The single board drawing, whether part of the fabrication drawing or separate, should contain all the necessary dimensions to produce the required board geometry. This should include the board length and width, edge cuts dimensioned (position and size), critical tooling holes, internal radii (rout cannot produce right angled corners), and hole to edge or datum point. One hole in the drill layer must be dimensioned to the PCB edges to locate circuitry accurately on the products.

The outline file must be a representation of the true board edge (uncompensated). Providing this information graphically has two major benefits:

Assists Design-For-Manufacture checks which use the profile as reference points.

Reduces the lead time on program generation by using graphic comparisons.
Digital aperture information
Accepted Formats
  • Read Me
  • ASCII Text File

When standard Gerber files are supplied for design layers, it is essential that a relevant 'aperture list' accompanies the data. The aperture list should be in electronic format to ensure automatic input can be utilised (aperture lists supplied as hard copy printouts must be typed manually into the system, which can introduce human error).

The requirements of a good aperture list are that the format remains consistent and that it contains information on D-codes, shapes and sizes defined in separate fields. If complex shapes are used in the design, then a fully dimensioned drawing is required to ensure accurate reconstruction of the feature on the resulting artwork.