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Artwork offers a wide range of interfaces and utilities that work in conjunction with Cadence's IC and board/package design tools. We have been a Cadence Connections partner for more than 15 years.

Importing Data Intelligently into Allegro/APD/SIP

Allegro PCB Design Utilities

Some years ago Artwork developed a program to convert package lead frames designed in AutoCAD into intelligent an intelligent database for Cadence APD/SIP. The primary purpose was to enable designers to use APD/SIP as the interface to a number of simulation and signal integrity tools.

While this turned out to be a program of limited appeal to end users, the technology we developed to import data intelligently into APD/SIP (and possiblly Allegro) could be of much interest to those who are trying to integrate Cadence layout with other layout packages.

Artwork developed a fairly straightforward database known as ULF (universal layout format) and a APD/SIP plug-in that reads ULF producing an intelligent APD/SIP database.

Allegro to SolidWorks 3D Model

Artwork has a unique ability to extract board geometry from Allegro using our own plug-in and import that geometry into SolidWorks using another customized plug-in. The result is a 3D model of the substrate that is suitable for finite element analysis. This is much different than what can be achieved via alternate methods such as IDF or IDX.

Unlike the STEP output offered by Allegro (which is only a 2D implementation ...) Artwork can generate correct 3D models of the etch class, vias and substrates. Such 3D models are essential for any type of FEA simulation whether it be electromagnetic, thermal or mechanical.

The two videos below take you through a detailed example where the user cuts out a small part of a PCB under a component of interest and creates a 3D model in SolidWorks that can then be run through thermal and stress FEA simulators.

In the second video we show the details of the 3D model and how it was produced in order to satisfy the requirements of FEA.

Allegro to STEP

Artwork's AWROut in combination with our 3Di2STEP produces a STEP output that is suitable for FEA applications. Why do we offer this product? Well, Allegro's current STEP output is fine for components but is not suitable when you have to simulate etch layers.


GBRVU is a simple Gerber viewer used to verify and plot the Gerber data. GBRUnion can convert the overlapping Gerber draws and flashes into clean contours and export that data as Gerber, GDSII or DXF. This has been found quite useful for documentation and even for moving data into IC layout tools for DRC/LVS.

ASM 1950

ASM 1950 is a bidirectional translator between Cadence Allegro and AutoCAD. It uses the Allegro plot file format (IPF) to translate to DXF and back. This is a low cost and simple way to exchange data between Allegro and mechanical drawing packages.

APD/SIP Utilities

SIP -> 3DI -> STEP

Cadence's SIP MCM design tool exports Artwork's 3Di format directly. We now offer a special version of 3Di2STEP specifically intended to work with 3Di originating with SIP. The resulting STEP file can then be imported into a wide range of 3D CAD tools including: SolidWorks, AutoCAD Inventor, Creo, PTC, Catia, Solid Designer and others.

The short video below shows how fast and simple this process is.

Converting a Stacked Package from SIP to AutoCAD Inventor.

Fixing SIP 3Di output for STEP Conversion


Layout2APD is a program that enables the intellilgent import of package drawings created in AutoCAD. Together with its companion program, LayoutGen, intelligence is added into the AutoCAD layout data and then brought into APD fully intelligently: symbols, pins, padstacks, shapes, classes, and nets. Once in APD one can utilize a wide range of tools such as DRC, Signal Integrity and manufacturing outputs.

AIF In/Out

AIF is a package/die format that can be read and written by tools such as APD/SIP and other package layout tools. The reader/writer is included in Cadence APD/SIP under an OEM agreement that Artwork has with Cadence. Artwork handles support for all AIF related issues and maintains the database.


Bondgen reads the AIF file exported by APD/SIP and creates an AutoCAD bond document in minutes. It automates the labeling, checks the wires, labels unused die pads and fingers and generates a customized title border.


GBRUnion can convert the overlapping Gerber draws and flashes into clean contours and export that data as Gerber, GDSII or DXF. This has been found quite useful for documentation and even for moving data into IC layout tools for DRC/LVS.

Virtuoso Related Utilities


GDSPLOT plots to large format inkjets and rasterizes the layout data on the computer. There is a SKILL based interface (IGDSPLOT) that enables the designer to plot from within Virtuoso and which reads the Virtuoso layer color settings and window parameters.

ASM 3500

ASM 3500 converts between GDSII and AutoCAD's DXF file format. It enables Virtuoso users to import mechanical data from AutoCAD - for example package layouts and wire bonds.