New data formats will reduce errors

The way from the design to the finished PCB is often a long one. By applying modern data formats unnecessary difficulties can be avoided already in early stages. In the previous years a virtual software revolution has taken place regarding this matter.

Over decades the "Gerber-Format" was firmly established – but it is now being gradually replaced by, for instance, ODB++. The Gerber-Format (RS-274-D) was developed in the 60s of the last century especially for vector- photo-plotters and has become technically obsolete by now.  The outdated program structure simply does not allow any bigger development steps.

The new formats: ODB++ and IPC-2581

By using ODB++ PCB design information can be transferred between construction and production, as well as between design tools of different CAD-and CAM suppliers. All production data are thereby recorded in one single set of data, which massively reduces potential interpretation errors or nonconformities.

Another new option is offered by IPC-2581: Surprisingly this format has not become really commonly used yet, even though it also contains all necessary data in one file and the individual production steps are documented accordingly in the file.

The advantages of the new formats are:

  • All Design-Data in one single file
  • The risk related to errors in data transfer is minimized
  • Delays caused by communication between design and production are reduced
  • Information about polarity, netlist and layer lay-out cannot be lost
  • Clearly  defined drilling data replace a text file
  • The new data formats all but represent the new standard of PCB producers

Information about IPC-2581 at:

Varioprint already changed over to the new formats some time ago, but the "old“ formats as "Extended Gerber" can still be converted and processed.

In terms of efficiency and reduced error rate however, Varioprint clearly favors ODB++ or IPC-2581.

Are there any questions?

Our specialists will be pleased to give you further information. We look forward to your getting in touch.