Bob Frostholm, JVD Inc.
EDN (August 18, 2015)
I’m willing to bet that there are tens of thousands of analog applications out there that would benefit financially from ASIC integration. So what’s the holdup? Based on my 40+ years in the Analog IC business, I can boil it down to one word. Misinformation. This is a combination of a lack of information, incorrect information, and of course, FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt). Misinformation comes from numerous unreliable sources. It’s time to dispel the myths that often surround incorrect decision making and expose the bare bones truth about Analog ASIC integration; Most of the time, it’s the sensible thing to do, but confusion about all the preparatory steps you must take leading up to getting a proposal for NRE and Tooling is often an early show stopper.
Proper planning in anticipation of having an Analog ASIC developed and produced for your company is not to be taken lightly. There are five key elements you need to explore internally before engaging an Analog ASIC semiconductor company to design and produce a custom chip for you. Once you are comfortable with this internal analysis, then you can explore possible suppliers. If you’ve done the internal analysis correctly you will have realized that there is much more to Non-Recurring Engineering (NRE) than the upfront costs your supplier will charge you for designing and tooling a custom chip for you. That’s the easy part because it’s spelled out clearly in black and white in the contract you’ll be signing in the beginning of the project. There is a hidden part of NRE that few companies successfully quantify. And for good reason; It’s not easy. Let’s take a moment and examine some of the more important aspects before going into what’s behind the ‘green curtain’; the effort put forth by your Analog ASIC supplier.
There are several pieces to the ASIC puzzle and they must all fit together before a proper decision to move forward can be made.
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