SWINDON is one of the foremost FABLESS specialists
SWINDON is one of the foremost specialists in the design, test and supply of mixed signal ASICs and integrated MEMS sensor interfaces. We provide our customers with a complete Full Turnkey (FTK) solution that provides the most efficient path to medium and high volume ASIC design and manufacture. Combining 5 decades of experience, our in-house design and layout experts, test engineering, Quality Assurance, test operators and our supply chain management teams ensure high performance, high quality and low cost ASIC solutions are delivered. This in-house expertise enables our customers to become themselves, world leaders in their chosen field.
SWINDON provides full ASIC development services from initial specifications to the supply of volume tested and calibrated ASICs including analogue and mixed signal design, test, packaging, component production, logistics and supply chain management. SWINDON also provides full evaluation, characterisation, industrial and automotive qualification (AEC Q100) and full failure analysis in accordance with defined industry standards such as TS 16949.
This FTK enables our customers to be able to focus on their core competencies whilst SWINDON designs, manufactures, tests and supplies their custom ASIC solution to anywhere in the world.
SWINDON’s ASIC solutions are specified in close cooperation with its customers, tailoring the specific ASIC requirements to the customer’s detailed system needs and providing the customer full control over the final product specification.
SWINDON’s partnerships with world renowned foundries and packaging providers allows us to provide an optimised solution by selecting the correct technologies and test methodologies in order to optimize cost, performance and size for each individual application.
Prior to entering into a development, SWINDON would have already analysed the prospective project and provided a full Technical Report along with a fixed price quotation both for the development NRE and the unit price.
- Feasibility and architecture definition of the ASIC
- Selection of semiconductor process and package
- Quality, test and manufacturability aspects
- Planning and risk assessment
- Development cost and production price
The FTK solution is split into various elements that are detailed prior to the start of the project with full visibility of all the project milestones. Regular customer review meetings are held throughout the project in order to illustrate that the project is on time and on specification and to obtain customer sign off at each individual milestone.
Translation of the customer system requirement specification into a full ASIC specification is a critical part of the project as both parties need to be sure that the ASIC to be developed is exactly what is required in the full system architecture in performance, size and cost. This is always the first phase of any development to ensure that first silicon meets requirements.
SWINDON’s team of ASIC designers, utilising our own IP library from production proven former designs and supplemented by the digital block IP libraries of its foundry partners, form the base for a predictable development plan.
In all ASICs, where market leadership is the aim, there will be a requirement for custom circuits in order to provide that competitive edge. SWINDON has a depth of engineering talent that ensures that all aspects of the design can be met in-house. This ensures that the customer will still meet the critical time-to-market but also benefit from a unique solution and product.
The ASIC development phase includes:
- Mixed signal ASIC design (analogue and digital)
- Corner simulations and verifications
- Custom layout
- Synthesis of all digital sections
- Top level integration, layout and verification
- Design documentation
- Final wafer probe and ATE production test programmes
- Qualification plan
- Design Tape Out procedure
ASIC Prototype Manufacturing
SWINDON provides a full prototype / engineering sample service by either using MLM (Multi Layer Mask) or MPW (Multi Project Wafer) engineering wafers. SWINDON will provide tested devices at this phase in order to enable the customer to evaluate the device in their system. Up to 2k devices can be delivered if required. Wafers are held in line at the foundry, usually at metal, during this phase in order to provide flexibility and speed if a design modification is provided and eliminates the requirement of starting new silicon.
The ASIC prototype / engineering sample phase includes:
- Masks preparation
- Wafer processing
- Package assembly
- Screening initial devices
- Supply X number of devices to customer
ASIC Prototype Evaluation
SWINDON performs in depth evaluation of the device, always in close cooperation with its customers, at its fully equipped in-house ASIC evaluation laboratory. The device is tested as a single component by SWINDON to ensure that the chip is operating as per the ASIC specification. The customer will also test the chip in system at this time. Once the results are known then both parties discuss the findings and agree on any design modifications that may be required. A full evaluation report will be provided by SWINDON as part of the project deliverables.
The prototype evaluation phase includes:
- Development of a detailed evaluation plan
- Design and manufacturing of dedicated test hardware and software
- Prototype evaluation and characterization
SWINDON takes full responsibility for the productionisation process, whereby the prototype design is made ready for large volume manufacturing. Optimizing the design for test (DfT), manufacturability (DfM) and executing the various qualification tests, such as AEC Q100, will be conducted at this stage. Optimisation of the wafer probe and ATE test programs are also carried out as this is key in order to ensure high yields and low level ppm figures.
The productionisation phase includes:
- Product qualification
- ATE program development & optimization
- Yield optimization
- Transfer to volume production
ASIC Wafer Probe and ATE Test
At SWINDON the production test of the ASIC is a key component of what we do and it is an important element in the process of providing high quality product that is both reliable and free of defects. It is so important and critical to the quality of what we produce that we conduct all wafer probe and ATE in-house at our SWINDON facility.
The production test phase includes;
- Fully automated wafer and package level test
- Fully automated, online test and QA procedures
- Real-time yield statistics
- Wafer and package level tests correlated
- 100% Data log each device
- Tri temperature test (when required)
- Burn in (when required)
Supply Chain Management
SWINDON delivers over 150M devices per year and this is achieved by providing a full supply chain management. We have a dedicated account management team that will be in constant contact with the customer to ensure that there is enough Work in Progress (WiP) in the line to meet customer forecast and requirements. This involves forecasting the business, processing purchase orders, managing WiP and manufacturing subcontractors.
There is also a constant monitoring of product quality, yields, PPM rates and on time delivery figures which are all managed by our in-house Quality Assurance Department. Their primary role is to ensure that our customers are provided with the highest quality product and to ensure that our suppliers only provide us with the highest quality materials and service. All products are shipped via courier direct from SWINDON to any global location as required by the customer.
- Customer forecast and purchase order management
- Management of manufacturing subcontractors (Foundry and Packaging)
- Quality management: production monitoring, customer returns and failure analysis
- Yield management: cost optimization
- Management of foundry or packaging obsolescence (very rarely required)
Obsolescence Assurance – The SWINDON Way
It is in the company’s culture that SWINDON will not make any product obsolete and that we will continue to support our customers throughout the lifetime of their product.
We work on a 4 pronged approach to ensure that your ASIC is available for 100% of your product lifetime. SWINDON first of all chooses the technologies that have the required longevity. If however the unforeseen does occur, SWINDON will work to ensure that there is never a gap in availability in the most cost efficient way. This process is always conducted with the support of our customers and the approach is always a mutually agreed one.