Taking the leap from standard IC to Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) or Software on a chip (SoC) is a strategic step that can boost a product line and open new markets
With a thorough knowledge of use cases, the product teams generally have the best sense of when, how and to what extent an ASIC can contribute to a product’s competitiveness.
Let me share through this blog post what any product team needs to know when entering the ASIC world:
First, an ASIC is an integrated circuit (IC) designed specifically for one purpose or one application.
Whether it is designed in-house or subcontracted, your company grants an exclusive right to integrate the ASIC within its electronic subsystem.
ASIC Design & Supply Is A Team Sport
The development of an ASIC requires a good cooperation between product and ASIC teams as partners committed together to success, through specification, design, packaging, validation, and industrialization of the circuit towards its production.
It Helps To Be Explicit!
The scopes of responsibilities like the development of the firmware if any or the functional verification with reference stimuli, must be explicit all along ASIC development as both teams are deeply involved with complementary knowledge.
Your ASIC Journey Starts With A Spec
The first step is to write the ASIC specification. It implies the closest relationship possible between the product team and the ASIC team to define clearly the application requirements, to define the different functions to integrate onto the ASIC and its connexions with the rest of the system, and to set the performances to be reached.
Both parties must agree upon this ASIC specification, which becomes the reference for the rest of the development.
During the design step, risks and mitigation plans are shared on regular basis. Intermediate and final results are analysed, and compared to the specification items.
You Should Care About Packaging
The packaging will be an integral part of your ASIC design. It must be thought upstream to be at the service of the application.
Size, performance, heat dissipation, input/output pitch and other constraints must therefore be addressed as soon as possible with trusted supply partners.
What Role Do You Take On Validation and Prototyping?
Validation of the first ASIC prototype is always performed in stand-alone by the ASIC team and in the final application environment by the product team.
The validation work, performed by the ASIC team, allows to check the implementation and enables a first design yield assessment. The validation work performed by the product team validates the specification items in real conditions.
Qualification of the first ASIC series is also a complementary work between both teams.
The ASIC team writes an industrialization plan listing all qualifications to be performed at ASIC level taking into account the targeted certifications. The product team handles the qualifications required at board level or system level with the support of the ASIC team.
Our core business is analog and mixed-signal ASIC design & supply. To help your company move forward with ASIC integration and to secure the RoI of your ASIC development project, we can provide you with all the technical, economic and time related elements required to evaluate the viability of your ASIC project: