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Obsolete Part Replacement

Semiconductor technology moves so fast that many devices reach their end of life (EOL) within a few years, either because demand is falling, or they have been replaced by improved devices with additional features and specifications.

However, in many other markets—including the military, aerospace, automotive, and industrial sectors—the pace of change is not as rapid and there is, by necessity, much more emphasis on long-term product availability and support.

The new devices often are not pin-to-pin, spec-to-spec replacements for the EOL legacy devices, which makes it difficult for OEMs to continue to build and support legacy military and space products that rely on the EOL device.

While the obsolescence of a “standard” component (such as a microcontroller) may cause challenges at some point in the future, the EOL of a complex ASIC, that has been developed at great cost for a specific application, can be expensive and difficult to overcome.

The result from the above is that customers who are facing ASIC EOL situation, may either chose to stock up enough ASICs for years to come (this approach by itself is a risky way since it is a gamble how much ASICs you will need to stock up and how you preserve them over time), or to redesign the EOL ASIC to meet the exact (or more) features of the original ASIC had, including its pinout. In that way, the customers will own the product and will not be dependent on a certain supplier stock or manufacturing.

The path to a redesign of the EOL ASIC is paved with many obstacles which needs to be solved. Issues like:

  • Process technology to use (this may also affect the power supply of the ASIC and the related board supplies. Inomize can assist in picking the right process due to our massive experience in many ASICs done by Inomize).

  • IPs to use (where Analog IPs are dependent of the availability per the technology which is picked up and digital IPs though more flexible with technology selection but may introduce performance issues in case the customer is planning to add extra functionality. Having Inomize as your ASIC house with its close relationships to IP vendors will enable customers using the most suitable IP for customer’s needs)

  • Documentation of the EOL ASIC features and functionalities (understand the design particulars without having to learn them)

  • Design techniques changes (synchronous reset vs. asynchronous reset, clock domain migration, Latches and combinational feedback loops handling, etc…. this is a crucial point, as redesigning a complex ASIC is a task you should hand to an experienced ASIC house such as Inomize)

  • Compatibility of communication protocols and data transfer issues.

  • Verification process (assuring that the requested features will remain)

  • Additional features to add while keeping the same footprint and performance (that way, both increasing the service life of the new ASIC and maintaining the dimensions of a current product)

  • Manufacturing and testing (choosing a VCA with a strong relationship to a FAB will eventually reduce total cost of development and unit cost. Inomize is this case is a VCA with TSMC)

  • Time to market (all the above pose a risk in case an incompetent provider is selected to redesign the new ASIC. Inomize is known for its projects’ schedule meeting)

ASIC design houses with seasoned and experienced engineering staffs such as Inomize can significantly reduce the amount of customer engineering effort that needs to be spent migrating an ASIC, mitigate risks to first-time-right silicon, and minimize schedule/costs.

Choosing Inomize as your partner for this task will make sure that our team will analyze the needs from both the customer and the EOL part, define a replacement design to fill in the gap, estimate the effort needed and will ensure a supply of a new device to meet the customer needs.

The vast experience of Inomize team is a perfect fit for such use cases. In Inomize, we have completed many ASIC projects meeting customers’ requirements in performance, schedule and budget. We will have the perfect solution for your use case.

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