Gerber X3 is the 2020 version of the de facto standard data file format for printed circuit board (PCB) design data transfer.
With this version of the Gerber format the designer is now able to transfer the PCB layout data plus the BOM and CPL data in one simple and easily readable file format.
This X3 standard will include component data in the Gerber data.
Component location is geometrical data which includes centroid, outline, fiducial locations and the footprints and as such it fits naturally in a Gerber image file.
Combining bare board and component data in Gerber files allows a holistic review of the final board.
The workflow simplifies the transfer of component information from the CAD to the Assembly CAM system.
The advantage is that the data is in a single unified format that the CAM system can simply import, analyse, visualise and automatically generate the outputs for the various assembly equipment.
Thus, saving time and reducing costs.
As with the very first Gerber format, X3 is a simple human readable ASCII format. This allows engineers to easily detect and correct any anomaly quickly.
As always, this version is backwards compatible and users of older systems will be able to read Gerber X3 data but use only those features which are supported by their current system.
The Gerber X3 file contains a new set of data defined as the Component Layers (Top & Bottom).
Within this data set there are a set of new attributes dedicated to components where all the necessary information about each component on each layer can be defined.