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Chip Design Authors: Jnan Dash, Jason Bloomberg, Trevor Bradley, David Strom

Related Topics: Chip Design, Intellectual Property in Silicon Valley

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X-FAB Launches Third-Party IP and Design Partner Network to Link Customers With Optimal Resources; Expands In-House Technical Service Support

X-FAB Silicon Foundries (www.xfab.com), the leading analog/mixed-signal foundry and expert in “More than Moore” technologies, today announced new strategic and technical customer support services that speed time-to-market, optimize supply chain organization, provide faster access to technical advice, and offer cost-savings for business unit design managers, project managers and foundry interface managers. Available now, the new services include:

  • IP Partner Network & IP Search – Online service developed in cooperation with external partners and third parties; makes it easy for X-FAB customers to access intellectual property (IP) for X-FAB’s processes
  • X-CHAIN – A design and supply chain partner network that helps customers connect with appropriate parties to meet business needs covering the entire IC value chain
  • Mixed-Signal Place & Route Service – X-FAB in-house technical support that offers chip layout service for Customer-Owned Tooling (COT) technologies, reducing costs
  • Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) Consulting & Review Service – X-FAB in-house technical support that taps X-FAB’s extensive and highly specialized ESD expertise for analog/mixed-signal design; X-FAB believes it is the industry’s first such service

According to Thomas Hartung, vice president of marketing and sales at X-FAB, “These new support services reflect X-FAB’s focus on our customers, and provide new capabilities to accelerate the development cycles for their highly specialized analog/mixed-signal products. The services are an important step forward in our strategy to help them achieve ‘first time right’ silicon for such complex designs. By ensuring our customers receive the kind of support and information they need, and their designs are optimal, we can further their success.”

Strategic, economical resource alignment

X-FAB’s new IP Partner Network and IP Search service lets X-FAB customers identify and search for silicon-proven IP by technology or geometry, with immediate results. Most of the offered IP is completely verified and proven with X-FAB’s production processes. Reusing blocks rather than building them from scratch saves time and expense. This new service formalizes a practice already in place to ensure optimal quality results for customers. It is accessible on X-FAB’s corporate website in the “Third-party Services” section.

X-FAB’s X-CHAIN design and supply chain partner network platform provides a structured way for customers to search online, region by region, for contact information and other data about qualified design and supply chain partners worldwide. These companies either have worked with X-FAB already, or currently are actively engaged with X-FAB in chip development or other areas such as test, assembly, supply chain management or turnkey IC solutions. Search results highlight each company’s offerings and expertise – analog, RF, high-voltage or MEMS, for example – and provide contact information. The service is free of charge, easy to use, and readily available to all X-FAB website visitors.

"Most customers are looking for turnkey solutions,” said Dr. Harald Schenk, deputy director of the Fraunhofer IPMS institute that is renowned for its ASIC and MEMS design expertise. “The X-CHAIN partner network offers companies a comprehensive service portfolio from first feasibility study to mass production, covering every stage of the value chain."

In-house technical services support chip design

For all COT technologies, X-FAB’s new Mixed-Signal Place & Route Service eliminates the need to outsource the Place & Route function, purchase expensive tools in-house, or hire a layout specialist. X-FAB does the block assembly of the chips instead. Customers send X-FAB the data about their digital and analog blocks or cells in the form of netlists, including floorplanning and timing constraints. X-FAB arranges them in the right format and returns parasitics for post-layout simulation; layout vs. schematics (LVS); and design rule check- (DRC) as proven GDSII files ready for mask production. This approach ensures the layout meets X-FAB’s design rule requirements, makes sure the design is manufacturable and robust, and speeds time to market. Pricing is determined on a project by project basis.

X-FAB’s new ESD Consulting & Review Service provides personal consultation during ASIC design to make sure ESD protection concepts are implemented correctly and the ASIC achieves the required ESD robustness. In-house X-FAB experts identify any weaknesses; review requirements, circuits and layout; check that all ESD aspects are taken into account, and give advice about how to make the design robust and ESD-safe. The service supplements extensive documentation, design guidelines, and an ESD Checker tool and technical hotline service; its cost varies depending on the design.


The IP and design partner platform, and X-CHAIN are accessible immediately via X-FAB’s website. The ESD design review and Mixed-Signal Place & Route service are accessible immediately via X-FAB’s technical hotline.

About X-FAB

X-FAB is the leading analog/mixed-signal foundry group manufacturing silicon wafers for analog-digital integrated circuits (mixed-signal ICs). X-FAB maintains wafer production facilities in Erfurt and Dresden (Germany), Lubbock, Texas (US) and Kuching, Sarawak (Malaysia), and employs approximately 2,500 people worldwide. Wafers are manufactured based on advanced modular CMOS and BiCMOS processes with technologies ranging from 1.0 to 0.18 micrometers, for applications primarily in the automotive, communications, consumer and industrial sectors. For more information, please visit www.xfab.com.

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