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The Vidar 4220

Vidar Systems was originally a Swedish firm that manufactured large format scanners out of Herndon, VA. The popular 4220 model was introduced in 1986. The 42 designated the width of the scan bed, and the 20 stood for an optical resolution of 200DPI. Later models were the 4240, the 6220, the 3240 (manufactured for Gerber), and the 4250. The 4220's design featured four CCD cameras and an IBM PC/XT-based controller. The computer interface plugged into the PC/XT chassis, and was most commonly a Versatec Greensheet or DEC. The 4250 used a 386-based chassis and a SCSI interface. In the original configuration, the cameras had to be aligned by gently tapping them with a hammer. Mark's motto at the time was "have ball peen hammer,

Vidar
The Vidar 4220 circa 1986.

will travel". Later, the firmware was updated to allow for software stitching of the cameras. In the early 1990s, Vidar acquired Truvell, a company that produced high-end film scanners for the medical industry. These film scanners are still being produced to this day. In June of 2002, Vidar was acquired by Contex A/S.

The Versatec Acris

Versatec was a pioneer in large format electrostatic plotters. They also sold Vidar 4220s and 4240s under the Versatec label. In the late 1980s, they manufactured an Aperture Card scanner that produced a high quality 400dpi image. This single card machine had their Greensheet interface, and could connect

directly to a Versatec electrostatic plotter to make large format copies. Versatec was later purchased by Xerox and became Xerox Engineering Systems (XES). Not long after this article was published, we were contacted by Richard Tuhro, who worked on the ACRIS project. Many thanks for the insight, Richard!

The TEC Scanner
These were manufactured by Tokyo Electric Company for Phoenix, AZ-based GTX Corporation. Introduced in 1986, it was the first large format scanner to use a solid 24" line of CCD arrays instead of cameras. It connected directly to GTX's
Recognition Module, a parallel processing R2V powerhouse (for its time) that in turn, connected to an IBM PC. The TEC scanner was fast, even by today's standards. It zipped through a D-size drawing in less than 18 seconds at a resolution of 400DPI.

The Toyo Denki Scanner
A hybrid design between Broomall Industries' modified flatbed plotters and TEC's CCD/light bar design, the flatbed stood upright and held the drawing in place by an electrostatic charge. The 36" line of CCD arrays passed across the drawing at an optical resolution of 400DPI. The prototype was delivered to GTX in 1987
for evaluation. This thing was huge, very cool, and had very good image enhancement. Unfortunately, the $300,000 price tag was a little steep, and it was packed up and sent back to Japan. Reportedly, at least three of them were sold over there. Like the TEC, it also used the GTX interface.

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