Thanks for your interest. This is for a smallish manufacturer that assembles boards in house. There are many dozens of different products, which are built in batches of 10’s or 100’s, sometimes 1000’s, and the products in production vary from day to day or week to week. Each has docs for the manufacturing team, which ideally includes separate docs for the PnP/SMD stage, and for the through-hole stage. Each stage has particular techs or assemblers who need to focus on just their stage, with as little distracting information as possible.
These folks are certainly smart enough that they could deal with a single Fab doc. However it is far easier and faster to understand, and less error prone, to have separate SMD and TH docs that provide just the info needed for those particular stages.
Even if we want to hand-assemble a prototype board, we’ll want a drawing that shows us the SMD parts to be hand placed under a microscope without the distraction of the TH parts, and then later after reflow, we will need to know the TH parts to add. We might mark up a couple of copies of the complete Fab drawing with highlighter pen to get that effect, but it would be better to just get it printed how we want it.
It has occurred to me that I might get the desired effect by using a script to actually delete all the TH or all the SMD parts (from a copy of the PCB file!), and print the two fab docs from that. A bit of a detour, but possibly better than nothing!