September 3, 2014
Many of our prospects, customers and representatives ask why PFC needs a drawing and gerber files to supply a quotation. Here’s why:
A Fabrication Drawing fulfills several important functions to support the circuit board manufacturing process. It is generated from mechanical design as part of the form-factor of the device or part of the mechanical assembly.
The Fabrication Drawing:
- Adds all the extra details about the circuit like materials and final finishes
- Lists the criteria by which the finished product will be evaluated for acceptability
- Serves as a tool to be used during final inspection
- Provides “key requirements” information such as UL, RoHS, and ISO etc.
- Can provide assembly requirements and packaging information
- Is a record or document to store the history of a product by title, part number and revision; physical dimensions, and lists the name of the designer and possibly several other supporting entities as well as the company name and address, etc. The “notes” area is like an Instruction Manual for manufacturing and finishing a circuit.
The gerber files, on the other hand, are standard electronics industry files used to communicate design information to manufacturing a flex circuit, rigid flex, or printed circuit board. The gerber files are generated from PCB layout and circuit design files. The gerber file describes the 2D images required to fabricate the board: copper layers, trace design, solder mask, legend, drill holes, etc. RS-274X (extended gerber format) is the widely used format.
When a customer/prospect provides fabrication drawings, PFC gets an instruction manual for materials, finishes and inspection requirements. When gerber files are provided, PFC understands how to manufacture the flex circuit itself. By submitting both the gerbers and fabrication drawings, PFC captures all the key requirements to quote and deliver circuits to your satisfaction.