The MACAOS concept was first envisioned by Helge Nilsen, founder of Elprint, at that time Scandinavia's leading manufacturer of prototype and small series PCBs. Helge was looking for a way to reduce costs and improve throughput, while at the same time increasing production quality.
The myriad of variations of data file formats generated by the wide variety of CAD programs in use can easily lead to interpretation errors, missing or ambiguous data, manufacturability issues, etc. This means that manufacturers often spend unnecessary time organizing and interpreting data files before they can be fed into their manufacturing processes.
For prototypes and small series, a substantial portion of the total job price is the startup fee, which comes in addition to the cost of each PCB. If PCB designers had access to a software application that packaged and clearly specified all of the necessary data, then manufacturers could greatly reduce the time required to feed those jobs directly into production. This would, in turn, make it possible to greatly reduce or even eliminate startup fees.
With this background, MACAOS (Multi-Artwork Conversion And Ordering System) was developed. Since its first release in 1999, MACAOS has been downloaded by more than 11000 PCB designers and purchasers in Scandinavia and Europe. The initial MACAOS application was used by PCB designers to preview production files, specify board parameters, obtain price quotations and place orders. At that time, the first generation of the applications that would become our current product portfolio were already in use at the Elprint factory.
The success of MACAOS has encouraged us to expand our vision to encompass every step in the value addition chain, from circuit board design, through manufacture, assembly, documentation, etc. to inclusion of the finished circuit in a product or system. Toward that end, the second generation of factory specific applications were developed in 2005 and Macaos Enterprise was developed to replace and expand on the success of the original MACAOS application.
In 2008, Macaos Software AS was formed when three former Elprint employees acquired the software rights from Elprint. Our years of experience on the factory floor have given us a unique insight into the development of software systems for real world production environments, while independence from the Elprint factory has opened our horizon beyond Scandinavia, leading to the development of several powerful and unique software solutions:
- 2009: Macaos Enterprise 3.0: Panelization module
- 2009: Macaos Convergence 1.0 released
- 2009: ME3.2: Stencil creation module
- 2010: ME3.4: Multi-product panelization and flexible stackup designer
- 2010: Macaos Perception 1.0 released
- 2012: ME3.6: High-quality, automatically generated technical drawings in PDF format
- 2012: Macaos Fusion 1.0 released
- 2013: Macaos Gallery 1.0 released
- 2013: ME3.8/MG1.1: Support for ODB++
- 2014: ME4.0/MG1.2: Assembly data manager and support for Gerber X2
- 2016: ME4.2: Purchase connectors and other accessories
- 2017: ME4.3/MG1.4: Test fixture designer
- 2017: Macaos Gallery Pro 1.5: Advanced price calculation engine
- 2017: ME4.4: Purchase custom mechanical parts
- 2018: ME4.5/MG1.7: Support for Gerber Job File
- 2018: ME5.0/MG2.0: Depanelizer module
- 2019: ME5.1/MG2.1: IPC-2221 type Z impedance test coupon and support for CircuitData product specifications