Kamis, 14 Juli 2011

The Role of the ASIC in Electronics today

PRLog (Press Release) – Jul 13, 2011 – Today the fast changing technology landscape and its ever quickening pace is matched by the public voraciousness for the latest and best in applications and functionality. In industry there is no less a demand yet it is always constrained by the ever present requirements of cost control and reliable long term performance. Competitive advantage is the constant goal of everyone.

The role played by the ASIC is at the heart of technology today.  The development of the semi-conductor from the transistor through to the integrated circuit and to the use of 'standard' solutions like programmable gate arrays has lead to an explosion of functionality in the everyday usage of technology in computers and phones, appliances and machines all over the world.

But the desire for ever better functionality combined with lowering both costs and power usage has now led to the third age of truly Application Specific Integrated Circuits.   Each one developed for a specific application in a specific product giving the sought after competitive advantage , with a sophistication that means today the mixed signal chip can deliver unprecedented performance with cost and size savings thanks to advances in low voltage high speed processes and sub-micron lithography. This has been achieved by the mixed signal ASIC combining analog and digital functionality which go beyond the pure digital processes.

The ASIC in use today These new ASICs enable so many devices and play a huge part in our lives from mobile phones, laptops to domestic appliances; in medicine with blood sugar testers and hearing aids; in industry from test equipment to sensors in production processes. Nowhere is their usage more important than in the vehicles we drive, for today every automobile uses many ASICs - for safety in tyre pressure measuring systems,  airbag deployment and suspension control; for comfort in climate control and entertainment systems and for convenience like navigation systems.

Leading designers and developers The growth of mixed signal ASICs has led to the emergence of a top tier of designer developers like SWINDON Silicon systems. SWINDON meets the demands of today; innovation yet cost competitive, unique yet deliverable and reliable, an extra level of experience and expertise particularly in CMOS, BiCMOS and SiGe design, a full understanding of the advances in packaging and device testing and above all to be able to work with the customer to understand the product and application requirements in their given market application.

This Fabless approach for SWINDON means a concentration of top flight designers backed by the long established foundry and materials supply underpinned by practical project management skills and with a thorough, robust and accurate high and low volume in house wafer probe and packaged device testing capability. Above all the requirement is to work very closely with the customer and that is why we have developed the SWINDON partnership approach. It is inevitable that the more bespoke – application specific – and the more complex the chip is, then the closer the relationship between customer and designer / supplier needs to be. Yet it is the commercial aspects of design time and time to market as well as development funding and the ownership of Intellectual Property that are vital to a successful outcome for both parties. It's something that at SWINDON we recognise; our market leading capabilities in the design and development of ASICs must be matched by a sound professional business approach to deliver the commercial advantage to our clients.

When to consider the SWINDON approach This combination of the latest techniques and design expertise with a solid commercial approach means that a number of new possibilities are now available. Let's examine some of them…

Bespoke or off the shelf? It is the eternal technology dilemma; standardise for cheapness and speed to market or seek out the specific and special to meet your own particular needs. Yet with the SWINDON skill set we aim to solve the dilemma by offering the later with no compromise on cost or delivery.

The developments in ASIC design methodology mean you should not simply consider re-usable IP and gate arrays as signifiers of a lower cost and speed to market but as indicators that the solution will not give you a competitive advantage. Often the advantages of using mixed signal cell libraries is outweighed by not only the improved bespoke design but often significant silicon savings with improved layout reducing costly wastage.

Analogue requirement The ever advancing on chip analogue capabilities means that you should now consider a custom integrated ASIC solution for replacing many individual integrated circuits. Although the development of an ASIC will involve upfront design and tooling costs the on-going savings in replacing many ICs means substantial savings with the improved performance of the new design.

Low volumes At SWINDON we have found with the experience of over 300 successful projects and long established relationships with our foundry partners that even at low volumes and we can deliver surprisingly cost effective solutions by utilising economies of scales through our supply management initiatives. Our business model involves strong relationships with our supply chain and this means that SWINDON can provide low volume, cost effect oled technology on mobile phone ive solutions and go some way to leveling out the cyclical nature of the semi-conductor market and it effect on the supply capabilities of the multi-nationals. This argument stands good for high volumes too, but there is an even more important consideration and it is at the very heart of what we offer.

Technological Advantage The one single factor that above all means that you should consider a custom ASIC solution is the technological advantage that it offers which in turns leads to a unique competitive advantage and the consequential commercial gain. It is really that fundamental if you base your product on the same set of widely available mixed signal libraries then your product will inevitably have exactly the same functions and performance. At SWINDON we recognise that true innovation can lead to real market growth and the resultant profitability of our customer partners… working with our customers has led us to advances in sensor interface design, long life operation in hostile environments such as inside a 531276856  tyre, low power applications with a guarantee of performance and quality.

New solutions in new markets – in touch with technology We are obsessed with the new and the advanced. If you have a new application in mind or are quite simply starting a project and need to explore the capabilitie my photo and wallpaper s of a custom ASIC, we can help. For instance as the take up of touch screen technology broadens our experience in such cognitive prosthesis applications and the ASIC driven technology behind them could give you a competitive head start.

It is up to you… Of course the application should always drive the technological solutions and so many of the devices that enhance society today will continue to progress with the availability of more complex, faster smaller ASIC devices. Analog capability is at the heart of this progression and with so few genuine sources of advanced capability from design through to production supply available. So if you want to take your place at the technological table that is Mixed Signal ASICs, talking to us at SWINDON is the best place to begin.

Richard Mount, Sales Director SWINDON Silicon Systems Radnor Street SWINDON Wilts SN1 3PR T;   + 44 (0) 1793 649400 F;   + 44 (0) 1793 616215 E-mail; richard.mount@sssl.co.uk www.sssl.co.uk

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