Longevity is Crucial for the Industrial Market
March 15, 2021
There have been many changes in the Industrial market over the years. We have progressed from Industry 1.0 and the creation of large-scale factories and mass mechanization, to where we are today.
We are at the threshold of the next revolution driven by the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Industry 4.0.
One message has prevailed: Longevity.
Industrial systems are developed with life expectancies that span decades and that lifetime expectation extends to the suppliers of electronic components for these products.
It is not unusual for Industrial customers to request information about how long certain off-the-shelf components will remain in volume production and depending on the age profile of the system being developed/in production, they could be looking for guarantees of 10-20 years.
More and more customers are wanting to have increased control over supply. They look at their expansive bill of materials (BoM) listings and feel uncomfortable with the number of components. They are also concerned about the security of their IP – one only needs to “lift the lid” to be able to see a full listing of the components used to build their system. As a result, many Industrial customers are looking to custom solutions to solve both problems. With a custom ASIC, you can consolidate a large portion of your bill of materials into a single chip. This offers the advantage of reducing your bill of material but also means that your intellectual property is safe, designed into silicon, and therefore virtually impossible to copy or counterfeit.
A technology leader in the area of factory and process automation has been such an ASIC customer for Dialog for over 20 years, and they recently undertook an assessment of manufacturing lifetime on their electronic components. They were looking for an extension on the original guarantee given at the time of production release of an ASIC used in a safety application. Dialog reviewed the information and concluded that the current foundry being used for the manufacture of this ASIC was no longer the best solution for the continued long-term supply for our customer. Dialog confirmed this information to the customer and then investigated the various options available.
The design team reviewed the requirements of the ASIC and considered the foundry options available for the manufacture of the chip. An alternative solution was found, one which could guarantee manufacture for the extended time scale required. Dialog were able to reference all the original design information and subsequently transfer the product to the new foundry, making sure that the design equalled the performance of the existing solution and enabled our customer to continue to meet their end customer requirements with no delays in the supply chain.
Thus, as well as meeting all the other advantages that originally drove the customer to choose a custom ASIC for their design, our Industrial customer was safe in the knowledge that Dialog were supporting them and keeping the supply chain running smoothly both today and for some time in the future.