This is precisely what is happening in the EDA world. SoCs are more and more complex across multiple dimensions. Design team size is increasing. Outsourcing of both manufacturing and design is increasing. The use of third party Intellectual Property (IP) is on the rise. Further, most end user products are in reality electromechanical or as the Japanese say mechatronic. Some like automobiles and planes may be seen as mostly mechanical and some like computers as mostly electronic. For many products there is also a significant software component. This drives the need for more comprehensive data and process management.

Synchronicity's Publisher Suite bundles the IP Gear Catalog and the IP Gear Helpdesk. The IP Gear Catalog provides the entire IP "storefront" including storage, display, distribution and tracking functions that could be used by IC design organizations, IP providers, library providers and so forth. The IP consumer can find, learn about, inspect and acquire IP components through their web browser. They can downloading the IP deliverables as a compressed file through their browser or copy them to their workspace with Synchronicity Developer Suite. The IP Gear Helpdesk provides a knowledge base about the IP for the consumer and common functions for supporting a customer service or helpdesk operation such as ticket assignment and issue escalation. IP Librarians can send out 'IP News' to the IP consumers who have subscribed to or downloaded specific components. The Consumer Suite is a server at a customer delivery site where externally supplied IP is automatically delivered, providing fast local access and efficient local management.

Synchronicity's Developer Suite consist of the DesignSync and ProjectSync tools. DesignSync is a server-based application with a light client that supports parallel development, managed workspaces, multi-site version control, secure data transfer and fine-grained access control. ProjectSync is a web based design collaboration and project management solution that enables a distributed team to share ideas, bug reports, engineering change information and so on. ProjectSynch employs an event trigger mechanism to among other things notify appropriate personnel when a design change might impact them.

CleoSoft based in Fremont, CA was founded in 1997. Cleosoft's SOS (Source Code Management System) is a design data management product for hardware design teams. It provides version control, work-area management, release management, and project control, without forcing designers to change their existing design environment. SOS manages all types of design data including Cadence DFII design libraries. Its client-server architecture allows teams dispersed over multiple sites to collaborate on the same project. Features like “visibility-on-demand” also facilitate team collaboration and increase productivity.

I spoke with Hans-Ulrich Heidbrink, Director of marketing and Product Marketing for Mentor Graphics Integrated System Design Division. He sees the main target area for data management in the printed circuit board arena to be the libraries that are shared by all design teams. These libraries contain both technical information on the functionality and behavior of component and purchasing data like price, lead-time and manufacturer. The libraries may be segmented by application area such as medical or defense. He pointed out there is considerable benefit and need for workflow management even though design teams are relatively small. The team typically consists of a logic designer, a physical designer and perhaps a specialist, e.g. emi. Also the design responsibility may shift as it goes from concept stage to prototype to production. He pointed out the difference between data sharing of a minor version and the formal release procedures for a major version. The design and BOM mature throughout the process. He sees DMS as complementing rather than competing with cPDm products like Enovia and Windchill. It is the difference between a departmental solution and a corporate or enterprise system.

Mentor Graphics' DMS (Data Management System) can trace its root to the acquisition of Germany-based Descon Informationssysteme GmbH in May 2000. It has taken considerable time to fully integrate Menotor's tool set and for DMS to succeed the Library Management System (LMS). Descon's product suite included component-supplier information management, EDA library management and Front-End Product Data Management (FPDM). The current DMS offering is based upon DataFusion, which provides an object-oriented layer on a relational database. It utilizes among other things CORBA technology to provide a platform independent and Internet compatible architecture. Data Fusion functionality includes parametric search capabilities, version and release management, lifecycle management, vault management and access control and user management. Specific configurations are provided for the designer, component engineer, librarian, administrator and procurement.

I spoke with Mark Lefevre, Synopsys' Map-In Program Manager. He described Milkyway as a common persistent binary data base supporting the entire Galaxy platform. From the website: Milkyway is file-based containing multiple data views, each stored in a single file. The views include logical, frame, cell, parasitic, and library, for example. These views are grouped into a directory called a library (designers think of this as the design). Each library may comprise a complete integrated circuit, a module within an integrated circuit, or a standard cell library. When a library (i.e., design) is used within another library, it is specified as a reference library; typical reference libraries include standard-cell libraries, I/O libraries and macro libraries. Simple interoperability between Milkyway based tools and non-Milkyway based tools is provided by robust readers and writers for common ASCII interchange formats such as Verilog, GDSII, and LEF. Milkyway provides both Scheme and C-language APIs. Mark said that Milkway provides some basic versioning capabilities and access control. The multiple data views enable multiple persons to be working on a SoC design simultaneously. If customers want a more complete data management system, they can develop a manual configuration management system, employ a home grown system perhaps based upon shareware packages like RCS and CVS or purchase third party programs from Synchronicity, IC Manage or ClioSoft.

I spoke with Michael Sanie, the Group Director of Industry Initiatives for Cadence. He pointed out that many of the larger design firms had internally developed design data management solutions before Synchronicity, Cliosoft and IC Mange appeared. These solutions are highly customized for each firm's specific methodology. It is very difficult to develop an industry standard DDM when there is no industry standard methodology. Unless and until these firm experience pain, i.e. the cost or the ability of internally developed and maintained systems, beyond some threshold they are unlikely to embrace a commercial solution.

Cadence offers OpenAccess as an application programming interface and reference database created as an interoperability platform for complex digital, analog, and mixed-signal IC design. Cadence has donated the underlying technology to the OpenAccess community to provide true interoperability versus data exchange among IC design tools. Firms like Synchronicity can and have fully integrated their DDM products through the API. The next version of OpenAccess due in August will make this integration even easier.

PLM Background

In the seventies the early CAD industry leaders such as ComputerVision, Calma, Applicon and Cadam had both mechanical and printed circuit board design product lines. Applicon and Calma also offered mask generation products for Integrated Circuits. All but CADAM oem'ed hardware to varying degrees. Three of the early leaders were spin outs from aerospace companies using internally developed software, i.e. CADAM from Lockheed, CATIA from Dassault Aviation and McAuto now UGS, from McDonnell Douglas. Elementary wiring diagrams were an important application for these companies. These firms gravitated toward the mechanical market segment which accounted for over 50% of total revenue versus 30% for EDA and 20% for AEC. The early CADD (Computer Aided Design Drafting) systems could be used for virtually any mechanical product, while the electrical cad market was split between PCB and IC technologies and the AEC market was split between plant design and housing and small buildings. These firms never responded to the Daisy, Mentor and Valid revolution in electrical CAE. The auto companies also developed their own CAD tools but did not turn them into commercial ventures. SDRC, the major mechanical CAE pioneer, began as a consulting firm to the automotive industry.

The two major industry segments for mechanical CAX are automotive and aerospace. The end products of these industries are extremely complex in many dimensions. In particular the number of components which must be individually manufactured or purchased is enormous. These industries put pressure on their CAX providers to develop sophisticated PDM capabilities. These capabilities included digital mockup functions to display 3D representations interactively (pan, zoom, rotate, explode). To achieve reasonable performance on an engineering workstation requires an alternate display model to the detailed CAD model.

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Review Article
  • October 09, 2008
    Reviewed by 'Chandan Agarwala'
    Is there a way to merge/compare PLM practices for EDA and MCAD! Is it likely that other MCAD PLM vendors will following MatrixOne, to offer PLM services in this space. If this skills is totally different from MCAD skills, then they are better off flanking this space. Nobody can offer applications to manage products, across all domains. The major theme that set apart EDA is "IP protection".

      2 of 2 found this review helpful.
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