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H & L Associates is an electronics engineering consulting firm which has been in operation since 1980. We have developed retrofit products for the complete line D.W.Mann/GCA photolithography cameras (pattern generators or PGs) and photorepeaters (or steppers). These were originally used in the manufacture of photomasks for the semiconductor fabrication industry. A brief history of GCA Corp. can be found in the library

The original GCA equipment used Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) PDP-8 (for the 1600A, 2600 and 3000 pattern generators) and PDP-11 (for everything else) mini-computers to control the equipment. We provide the necessary hardware and software to replace these outdated computers with a standard desktop PC running some recent version of MS-DOS (or an equivalent). The PC keyboard and video display will replace the VT100 family serial terminal originally attached to this equipment. The PC hard drive and DOS files will replace the original storage media (paper tape, 9-track magtape, 8-inch floppy disks etc.) We also provide additional hardware products to replace some of the peripheral devices used in the steppers.

The PDP-8/PDP-11 minicomputer chassis can be removed entirely from the stepper or PG and discarded. Our interface boards plug into the desktop PC and connect directly to the PG interface chassis (9280 type) or the stepper interface chassis (9280 or 9289 type). The final installation will consist of the desktop computer, our interface board and software, and the original equipment's rack of electronics.

What's New
  • [Feb 2016] We have Windows software that will let you create TAP files for the Mann/GCA 3600 pattern generator off-line. You can find evaluation software and an explanation of its operation here
  • [May 2013] We have built a device that will let the owners of a GCA stepper running a later version of the MOP (e.g. 7.3) control the illumination required for manual alignment without having to have the IAS (Integrated Alignment System) installed. If you have an Autostep, for example, and would like to run without the noise or maintenance issues of the IAS, then this unit will let you do that and still give you normal control of the illumination. You can find more information here
  • [May 2011] We have ported the XLS stepper software (the XLS was the last of the line of GCA steppers that wound up being owned by UltraTech) to a standard desktop PC running either Windows or Linux (Ubuntu in this case). You can find further information here
  • [May 2009] We have added the ability to graphically browse the .TAP files required in our UPG3600 pattern generator upgrade kits. This allows the user to graphically view the exposure data files and to pan and zoom the images. You can find more information here.
  • [March 2009] Our web based job creation software for GCA Steppers, MOP versions 605.x and later, is available. More information can be found here.
  • [December 2008] We are beta-testing our web based job creation software for GCA steppers running MOP 605.x. All MOP versions will ultimately be supported. You can find more information here.
  • [March 2007] Netop for DOS is now available for free and can be used to remotely control our DOS based upgrade kits as well as any DOS software that is configured with IPX or NetBIOS network support. The host side (the controlled machine) software can be installed on top of IPX network software which comes as part of a standard Windows 98SE installation. The client side (the controlling machine) software can run under a VmWare Player virtual DOS machine. The necessary information can be found here.
  • Website reconstruction (2005-Jun-05)
  • Custom MOP 605.x/7.x software (see Stepper software)
  • New EPP parallel port interface for steppers with 9289 interface
Work in progress
  • design of an EPP/ECP (parallel printer port) replacement for the ISA-to-UNIBUS interfaces currently used in upgrade kits that connect to a 9280 interface chassis. This simplifies the installation process and allows smaller (e.g. laptop) computers to be used
  • web based stepper job creation and storage



H&L Associates, 21 Parkmount Crescent, Ottawa, Ontario K2H 5T3, Canada
Tel: (613) 828-1462 Last updated : 2015-Nov-24