Native CAD-formats (Preferred)
We prefer the native CAD-formats as we can read these directly into our CAM-system without the need to output the data from the CAD-system into an intermediate format such as Gerber, meaning no interpolation issues with data output.
Unfortunately, most CAD-vendors do not share their internal formats with the manufacturing community.
This means that most designers are forced to use the CAD output processor and generate an intermediate format to transfer their design from CAD to CAM.
Both Eagle and KiCAD work with different files for PCB layout and Schematics.
The BOM information held in the PCB layout file is limited and insufficient to create a reliable source for component sourcing and DFM checks.
Therefore, a separate file is required for the BOM information.
Eurocircuits prefers the Gerber format as an intermediate transfer format as it is an open format and is human readable and downwards compatible.
Of the possible Gerber versions Gerber X3 is the top performing format to transfer PCB and Assembly data which offers benefits for checking the manufacturability of the PCB and the population with components.
For customers that do not wish to transfer their assembly information Gerber X2 plus format is the best choice as it contains only the PCB data and the job file.
Customers that are willing to transfer their entire design to the manufacturer can also use ODB++. It is not a human readable format like Gerber, but contains all info needed to produce the PCB and assemble the board.
One has to be careful not to use the format as a container in which one keeps all previous versions of the design and stores the single PCB as well as a possible customer panel etc..
This way of working will make the data very ambiguous and unusable for the manufacturer as one can no longer decide which data to use. Automatic systems will fail to read in the data this way.