October 28, 2002
Mentor Improves PCB CAM Generation,
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Ann Steffora - Contributing Editor

by Ann Steffora - Contributing Editor
Posted anew every four weeks or so, the EDA WEEKLY delivers to its readers information concerning the latest happenings in the EDA industry, covering vendors, products, finances and new developments. Frequently, feature articles on selected public or private EDA companies are presented. Brought to you by EDACafe.com. If we miss a story or subject that you feel deserves to be included, or you just want to suggest a future topic, please contact us! Questions? Feedback? Click here. Thank you!

Mentor Graphics Corporation released the computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) Output Manager tool, an automated and customizable tool for generating and distributing CAM data, designed to minimize manufacturing errors in the fabrication of PCBs. This tool enables automated processes, customized according to company requirements and supports multiple target manufacturers, Mentor said.
Automated and customizable creation and distribution of CAM data enables high-quality, repeatable workflows that reduce costs by preventing errors prior to production, Mentor said. And by running predefined and tested CAM data output processes, CAM Output Manager provides multiple users of varying skill levels with the ability to generate CAM output data that meets the requirements of internal processes and individual production sites. Also, customizable accuracy checks can be established based upon the requirements of a specific workflow or project.

Another feature of the tool is the flexible process definition that includes verification and accuracy checks to prevent the generation of incorrect data. For example, CAM Output Manager's controls can be established to ensure that a complete new data set is created when generating data after an engineering change order (ECO), eliminating the possibility of sending an inconsistent combination of new and old data to a production site. Process definition can also include a hierarchy that controls which processes must be successfully completed prior to running subsequent processes.

Other features of the tool include the ability to automate and control distribution of target production site-specific CAM data and the notification of appropriate personnel. This notification includes sending automated e-mail notification of a completed process, highlighting data that does not generate successfully, and distributing compressed CAM output data to the appropriate production sites automatically.

PDF Solutions, Inc. rolled out its pdFasTest electrical test system, meant to enable defect characterization of deep-submicron manufacturing processes. Offered as part of the company's infrastructure to improve yield of ICs, the system is already installed in the fabrication facilities of leading semiconductor companies for copper process technologies at the 130- and 90-nanometer nodes, PDF said.

The pdFasTest system is an automated electrical test system that minimizes the testing time of company's Characterization Vehicle (CV) test chips, which are used to characterize IC layout and manufacturing process interactions. The highly parallel system makes it feasible the testing of CV test chips that require millions of electrical measurements. The system supposedly reduces the CV testing time required for standard parametric testers by 95 percent by employing a highly parallel architecture to measure hundreds of millions of minute test structures on test chips, that approximate IC products.

Ansoft Corporation is trying to expand the use of its electromagnetic and electrostatic simulation software by offering a free subset of the commercially available Maxwell 2D. The free software, called Maxwell SV, contains advanced 2D electric fields, AC/DC magnetic fields, and eddy-current solvers that engineering design professionals, professors, and students use to design components such as sensors, actuators, motors, and transformers.

With the free download, users can calculate electrical quantities, including force, torque, inductance, capacitance, and resistance. The software also features a graphical post processor for field visualization. Key features include: 2D Electric Field Simulation, 2D DC Magnetic Field Simulation, 2D AC Magnetic Field Simulation, Graphical 2D Modeler and Post Processor, Automatic, Adaptive Meshing, Material Database and DXF/DWG File Import. To download Maxwell SV and related documentation, go to

People News

Also, from PDF Solutions: the company expanded its executive management team with the appointment of Doug Raymond to Executive Vice President of Client Services, Cees Hartgring to Vice President of Sales and Mark Redford to Senior Engagement Director. Raymond will be responsible for advancing the Client Services group to accommodate its company's continued growth. Hartgring will lead the worldwide sales force and develop new business opportunities. Redford will head up the company's device activities.

Prior to joining PDF Solutions, Raymond spent 18 years at Agilent Technologies, formerly part of Hewlett Packard. Most recently, Raymond was general manager of Agilent's consulting services business. Raymond also held engineering positions at Varian, Ratheon and Ma-Com. Raymond received a B.S. degree in computer science from Franklin Pierce College.

Hartgring brings over 20 years of experience in the global semiconductor industry. He served as CEO for TriMedia Technologies, a fabless semiconductor IP company, and prior to that spent a decade of his career with Philips Semiconductors in various managerial and technical roles including as vice president of a business line and product and test engineering manager of a wafer fabrication facility. Prior to Philips, Hartgring launched and led the silicon division of Silicon & Software Systems, a professional services company. Hartgring holds 11 patents in VLSI design and semiconductor devices and a Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering and computer science from the
University of California, Berkeley.

Redford comes to PDF Solutions from Chartered Semiconductor, a semiconductor foundry based in Singapore. Most recently, he was vice president of technology development, integration and program management at Chartered. Prior to that Redford also managed the integration group at National Semiconductor's Scottish fabrication facility. Redford received a Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Edinburgh.

Customer Endorsements

Sonics, Inc. said it would provide Texas Instruments (TI) with early access to a new generation of Sonics SMART interconnect intellectual property products for the implementation of system on chip (SOC) designs.

SMART interconnect intellectual property products are part of the “Sonics Methodology and Architecture for Rapid Time-to market” (SMART) initiative, which is a collection of products, services and partnerships to ensure customer success when utilizing Sonics' SMART interconnect IP.

Details of the new architecture, code-named “Tiger Shark,” which has been optimized for the application demands of TI's wireless platform product families, will be revealed late this year when the first product starts shipping to advance licensees.

Magma Design Automation Inc. reported that its Blast Fusion was successfully used by TI to implement a complex, large, high-performance ASIC. This 5.5 million gate, 10.3 Mbits of SRAM, 312 MHz ASIC was implemented in TI's 130nm technology. All 11 blocks as well as the top-level design (each operating at 312 MHz) were implemented using Magma's Blast Fusion, and first-pass silicon success was achieved the companies said.

Monterey Design Systems announced that Tau Networks successfully employed Monterey physical-design tools to develop its two-chip network fabric solution. Tau said it worked closely with Monterey during development of these two devices to meet its aggressive integration, cost and performance goals. The two devices, in silicon now, together embody 70 million transistors including traditional digital P&R logic, custom and semi-custom logic and custom high-speed analog I/O.

Using a combination of Monterey IC Wizard hierarchical design planner, Sonar physical prototyper, and Dolphin physical implementation system, Tau said its engineers were able to simultaneously tape out these two complex devices on schedule and in record time. Tau combined high-speed custom analog circuitry with the company's Virtual Output Queue management scheme. Tau said it used Monterey tools to combine custom digital and analog circuitry, structured custom routing and standard place and route techniques, enabling the designers to maintain silicon area requirements while simultaneously meeting very high performance objectives.

Denali Software reported that its Databahn memory controllers have been licensed and implemented in two new chips from ViXS, called Xcode and Matrix. Xcode is a content-secured multi-stream real-time transcoding chip; and Matrix is an IEEE802.11a compliant baseband processor optimized for Rate-Range-Resilience and video delivery over IP networks. ViXS developed the chips as part of an IP-based video distribution system with applications that include QoS delivery of broadcast quality video to clients like PCs, TVs & PDAs and said it has already begun production. Matrix is set for sample by Q4 2002.

The two ViXS chips incorporate a 64bit memory interface to DDR-SDRAM. The Databahn memory controller is configured for 166MHz operation (333MHz data transfers), provides ECC (Error Correction Code), and supports various memory device configurations of up to a total of 256MB. The DDR sequencer was tested and fully functional using state-of-the-art DDR parts of both 128Mb and 256Mb.

Agilent Technologies Inc. announced that Thales, an electronics company focused on the aerospace, defense and information technology markets, would incorporate Agilent Technologies Advanced Design System (ADS) software tools into the design process of its next-generation defense and communication products. Thales said it chose Agilent's line of electronic design products because of the tool's ability to shorten design time and improve performance of complex electronic systems.

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-- Ann Steffora, EDACafe.com Contributing Editor.


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