“The fab is expensive, simulation is not”
BOSTON, Mass – Coventor recently hosted the second of two symposiums (the first in Dallas, this one in Boston) on the topic of MEMS+IC design. Interested engineers came to hear about the challenges and possible solutions to integrating MEMS in the mainstream IC design flow.
We demonstrated the benefits of the latest release of our MEMS+ platform, which enables MEMS modeling and simulation to be integrated with popular EDA tools from Cadence and MathWorks. The new release, 2.0, is getting a lot of attention, particularly for its ability to connect in system-level design technique with MathLab and Simulink.
But it wasn’t just us doing the talking. A representative from Analog Devices gave a presentation on that company’s use of Coventor’s software to help reduce development time and effort in recent projects. It’s always helpful for engineers to hear such things from their peers and we are grateful for Steve Bart’s (PhD.) participation in this event.
Dr. Alissa Fitzgerald, a well known MEMS expert, also gave a talk at the Boston event. Dr Fitzgerald runs a consulting firm called AMFitzgerald and Associates which has a long track record of helping companies address their MEMs development challenges and make them more productive in how they go about the design process. She has deep knowledge in critical areas MEMS design, including design optimization using simulation, and we are happy she could share some of that experience and insight with us.
Her presentation, which you can download here , was a nice overview of the MEMS industry, and talked about the challenge and importance of integrating with EDA flows. Of particular interest was the section of the presentation on the value of MEMS modeling and simulation. She estimated that a single MEMS design-fab-test cycle can cost up to $114,000 and take 9 weeks in a typical development process. Traditionally, MEMS developers go through several of these costly iterations to get their devices to work correctly.
Her point was that with a relatively small investment in simulation and modeling technology, and a trained engineer to focus on this step, companies can saves hundreds of thousands of dollars and months of development time. This is especially important as MEMS become more widely used in consumer electronics, for example, which have unforgiving schedules and time to market pressures.
Dr. Fitzgerald spent a good bit of time talking about the importance of simulation and the various ways it can be used to reduce design time and improve overall predictability of the manufacturing process. She also echoed our call for more cooperation between MEMS developers, EDA suppliers, and manufacturing companies so we can build a more efficient ecosystem to enable MEMS+IC design.
She left the attendees with a very poignant and useful thought: The fab is expensive, simulation is not. Well said and very true as we move the industry away from the traditional methods of developing MEMs and toward much more efficient and time-saving methodologies enabled by solutions like our MEMS+ platform.