Conversion Process for Legacy Stable Based Printed Circuit Board Artwork

Period of Performance: 03/02/1999 - 03/02/2001


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

ACI Technologies, Inc.
630 W. Germantown Pike
Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462
Principal Investigator

Research Topics


Master Artwork for Air Force systems is traditionally delivered on polyester-based Mylar film. This film tends to degrade over time, even when stored in climate-controlled facilities. In addition, drawings must be digitized before circuit boards can be manufactured, which is an expensive and time-consuming step. A reliable and repeatable artwork conversion process is needed. The phase I of the project developed a successful process for scanning and conversion of artwork. The digital files obtained are in Gerber format, which is generally the format needed for printed circuit board manufacture. The system utilized commercial off the shelf (COTS) components wherever possible. By utilizing COTS components, systems cost, maintenance and upgrade was minimal. Deliverables from the phase II of the project will include a new improved system which will be capable of scanning drawings in various forms (Mylar, paper, diazo, pcb, raster etc.) and convert them into Gerber formats. The new system will be capable of providing output in different formats (DXF, IGES, HPGL etc.). Additionally capabilities such as offline programming for placement machines, stencil creation and drill file information will significantly improve the effectiveness of the system. Reverse engineering capability is also included in phase II of the proposal.