The Gerber file format is the term often used in pcb fabrication. It was originally developed by the Gerber Systems Corp. It is a division of Gerber Scientific that was founded by Joseph Gerber. The Gerber file format used in China pcb is now under the ownership of Ucamco (Barco ETS); a company that previously owned Gerber Systems Corps.

In the year 1980, the very first edition of the Gerber Format, known as a subset of EIA RS-274-D which is a plot data format reference book, was published by the great Gerber Systems Corporation. This corporation is said to be the pioneer of vector photoplotters for China pcb. Gerber Scientific Corporation make use of a subset of EIA RS-274-D in order to drive their line of vector photoplotters. This particular format then became well-known by the name “Standard Gerber”.

In the mid- 1980s, Standard Gerber was adopted by a wide variety of other photoplotter vendors that were indulged in the world of pcb fabrication. Also, the CAM systems for China pcb manufacturing adopted the same. Due to such fame, it came out to be the de facto standard image format.

In the year 1991 the availability of better capable raster photoplotters made the Gerber format to get extended for polygon areas as well as “mass parameters” in China pcb. It then became a superset of the hit RS-274-D standard Gerber. As a result, these allow the user to dynamically define apertures of various sized and shapes along with defining polygon area fills without any need of “painting”.

As a result of this, a family of input formats was born in pcb fabrication with each one dedicated to the capabilities of a wide variety of Gerber plotter models. The impetus for the purpose of developing the Extended Mass Parameters was provided by AT&T back then.

Later in September 1998, the well-known RS-274X Format User’s Guide was also published by Barco-Gerber Systems Corporation. This exclusive specification for pcb fabrication unified the family of formats into one and only single image format. Due to this, revoking of a large number of model-specific constructs took place in China pcb. The format went famous by the name “Extended Gerber” or even “GerberX”.

During the China pcb modernization period in 2012, the format was comprehensively reviewed by pcb fabrication experts. A representative library of about 10,000 files from all across the globe was investigated in order to establish current practice. Constructs that were never or used on very rare basis were revoked. On the other hand, constructs with conflicting interpretations were also clarified.

The specification document was re-organized along with improvement in its quality. As a result of this, revisions for I1 to I4 of the specification were published from December 2012 onwards. The result was very simple in nature, but powerful and top-quality format that focused on the current needs of the China pcb industry took its first breath. This latest version of the pcb fabrication Gerber format was developed by Karel Tavernier and Rik Breemeersch (Ucamco).

ChinaPCBOne Technology LTD. is the author of this article on pcb fabrication. Find more information, about PCB.

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