Product lifecycle administration (PLM) and the semiconductor industry accept consistently been separate, but accountability is growing to accommodate them. Automotive, IIoT, medical, and added industries see that as the alone way to administer abounding aspects of their business, and as it stands, semiconductors are a ample atramentous box in that methodology.
The technology amplitude is apprenticed by a mix of top bottomward and bottom-up processes. Bottom-up tends to be adopted in areas apprenticed by innovation, area actuality fast and active is advised added important than actuality on time and on budget. Top-down processes are absolute in ample systems and automated development, and they are acceptable the adopted way to ascendancy articles aural a aggregation — abnormally aback ambidextrous with ample acquired portfolios.
Semiconductor accouterments and software development accept continued collapsed into the bottom-up category, alike admitting they accept alien a lot added ceremonial than existed in the past. Software additionally has been alteration with the assimilation of Agile methods. Requirements management, assay management, afterlight ascendancy and bug tracking are all in abode and actuality continued over time. Acknowledgment loops abide for abounding genitalia of the development and accomplishment aeon so that systemic issues can be fed aback through the action and corrected.
The growing use of chips in the automotive, medical and Mil/Aero industries accept added new types of requirements to the development flows, and while about apparent as actuality a accountability by the semiconductor development teams, PLM processes are actuality congenital and advised as a prerequisite to get the business.
When attractive at ample systems that accept abounding circuitous parts, and aback companies charge to accomplish abiding they accommodated the balance expectations accustomed to Wall Street, alive absolutely area aggregate is becomes crucial. The C-suite wants to be able to see advance appear goals in every aspect of the aggregation and some anticipate the semiconductor industry has gotten abroad with their awkward processes for too long. “This is usually a top-down decision,” says Mark Hepburn, artefact administration and engineering accumulation administrator for Allegro Pulse at Cadence. “It rarely starts from engineering. The C-level says we charge bigger control, bigger afterimage on our all-embracing band-aid to be competitive. And again it’s basically accustomed to the electronics association and they accept to be compliant.”
The contempo supply-chain disruptions accept befuddled added ammunition into the blaze as administration looks at redistributing accomplishment operations, such as absent to move semiconductor operations from one branch to another, or to a altered country. According to a Kalypso advertisement for Dassault Systems, “To accomplish accurate addition after-effects transformation, all semiconductor firms charge now move above artefact abstracts administration (PDM) and abode added accent on first-pass architectonics success, able artefact introductions, and accomplishment flexibility.”
What is PLMCadence’s Mark Hepburn provides a primer. “PLM is a actual ambiguous beast. It’s not a tool. It’s added of a action and alignment that a aggregation may put in place. Alike to this day, a ample cardinal of the business systems central some of the ample enterprises are homegrown. PLM is focused on how a artefact is accomplished central a company. The analogue about acclimated is that ‘it acts as the distinct antecedent of truth,’ and it basically represents a complete account of a product. It goes from artefact requirements to the packing peanuts, literally. Some of the best important things about acceptable PLM are the business aspects of the artefact and how pieces in the alternation interact. They accept this account area if article changes in any one of the domains, such as a requirement, or a botheration that is begin in manufacturing, they can see how that change ripples through in a traceable and controlled way through the organization. It provides a account of the appulse associated with a change, the cost, the accident to the product, etc.”
PLM about does not get into the anatomic domain, except through interfacing into systems like appliance lifecycle administration (ALM). This is a alongside clue to PLM, which about is acclimated for the software ancillary of the product. Those systems are usually integrated.
“Systems are hierarchical, so you accept systems of systems,” Hepburn said. “Consider a ample telecoms aggregation that builds 5G networks. That’s a system. It’s got RF, it’s got backhaul for networking, it’s got antenna design. You accept to accompany it all calm or they don’t accept a product. Their artefact isn’t an antenna. The artefact is the accomplished basement they advertise to a carrier. They accept to archetypal everything, and that’s why PLM is analytical to them. Plus, they accept aerial artefact variability. They accept to actualize systems that can assignment on buildings, assignment in forests, assignment in subways. They appetite to allotment IP as abundant as they can to get ability of scale.”
Quality is essential, and it needs to be continued able-bodied above a distinct bell-ringer because these systems are not all akin or developed by a distinct vendor. So assorted vendors charge to alike what they’re developing, and that abstracts is again stored in PLM.
“A lot of these systems companies are absolutely blame to accompany the cyberbanking almanac anon in, because so abundant of their agreeable is codicillary on that cyberbanking use definition,” Hepburn said. “Today, on the electronics and alike added so on the IC side, it’s a handoff. At some point, somebody in PLM creates a certificate and gives it to engineering. Engineering goes and builds article based off that specification, and again they accept a chiral handoff aback to PLM to almanac what absolutely got built. That’s the archetypal breeze in electronics, and that’s actual abundant the breeze in IC today that I’ve seen.”
Integrating PLM and semiconductorsCan PLM auspiciously blanket semiconductors? “In industries like automotive, area ISO 26262 is active believability and anatomic assurance requirements, aggregate has to be traced,” says Simon Rance, arch of business at Cliosoft. “There has to be abounding accountability such that if annihilation goes wrong, either in assembly or alike in use in the field, there has to be abounding traceability aback from every point throughout the absolute system. That could be aback to a distinct dent or a allotment of IP in the chip. This is area accouterments architectonics abstracts administration and PLM systems appear together. They don’t appetite to accept all of these abstracted systems because it is difficult to manage. They appetite to try to appear to one distinct abstracts administration band-aid area somebody can go in and put in a chase query. You can alpha investigating a abortion and see what it is associated with in this absolute action — not aloof in the dent architectonics itself, but all the way through to manufacturing.”
This was a key appliance aback Siemens’ PLM Division bought Mentor Graphics in 2017. Siemens is one of the bigger players in the systems bazaar and has been advance heavily in PLM processes and tools. If you appetite to finer get PLM into the semiconductor industry, you accept to accept it. There is no bigger way to do that than to be on both the central and alfresco of the problem. Then, you may be able to see how to accomplish it assignment and to actualize any all-important alteration aids.
That affiliation may be slow, and the semiconductor industry continues to actualize centralized accoutrement that advance specific ability of the domain. “By creating and advancement traceability amid disparate systems for requirements, specifications, EDA and accouterments designs, software code, and documentation, engineers apperceive anon aback a change occurs and the aftereffect of that change on added architectonics artifacts and genitalia of the system,” says K. Charles Janac, admiral and CEO of Arteris IP about their new trace application. “Unlike appliance lifecycle administration (ALM) and artefact lifecycle administration (PLM) solutions that crave engineers to use a distinct ambiance that is not best-in-class in any one aspect, domain-specific solutions actualize a system-of-systems that acquiesce complete afterimage of requirements traceability through the absolute SoC architectonics breeze and artefact activity cycle.”
But there are areas in which cyberbanking architectonics has lagged. One of the issues for assay teams is that they accept placed a ample focus on verification, which is attempting to ascertain that what has been congenital is as specified. You alone charge to see any of the accustomed V diagrams, as depicted in amount 1, to see the comment on the top right, which says validation. That is area you ascertain that what you advised was the appropriate thing. This is a little backward to acquisition out that the blueprint was wrong, and aback acclimated as allotment of a beyond system, it can actively appulse business. The alone way to fix this is by application a top-down, basic development ambiance afore any abundant architectonics assignment starts.
While the industry has developed basic prototyping tools, best of those are alone acclimated for the aboriginal development and bring-up of software, and some companies will advance fractional models to advice them assay achievement bottlenecks.
It is accessible to accomplish validation first. “Several years ago, the architectonics accumulation of a ample processor IP aggregation capital to add virtualization,” says Simon Davidmann, CEO for Imperas Software. “They adapted the absolute processor archetypal and got the software up and running. Initially, they begin things didn’t assignment actual well, so they afflicted the architectonics in the behavioral model. Eventually they got a actual able simulation, and again acclimated that to architectonics the RTL. This move to higher-level simulation helps you about-face larboard and parallelize things. That can advice optimize the software and the achievement of it, as you’re designing the RTL to accommodated that spec.”
Both about-face larboard and circumstantial development depend on able agenda models. “We are demography abounding of the aforementioned techniques that accept been acclimated on the IC ancillary and applying them upstream into a arrangement context,” said Fram Akiki aback in 2019, aback he was carnality admiral for electronics and semiconductor industry for Siemens PLM Software. “It is not aloof about bond agenda twins and agenda accoutrement into a agenda fabric, but actuality able to arrange assertive techniques, because from a assay standpoint and agenda archetypal development the semiconductor industry is apparently one of the best complete and has the best ability of any industry. Actuality able to booty that ability and arrange it upstream into a arrangement is proving to be powerful. There are some about-face techniques that are additionally happening, area some of the agency that Siemens has looked at assertive issues from a arrangement angle in a behavioral archetypal are accepting a lot of applications in the SoC development, decidedly as it relates to things such as anatomic safety.”
Simulation models and agenda twins apparently charge to appear into alignment. “There is acceptable to be aggregation about the agenda twin,” says Cliosoft’s Rance. “What may drive this to appear alike faster are chiplets. Architectonics abstracts management, traceability, reuse, as able-bodied as abortion assay accept to appear beyond the absolute arrangement flow. Chiplets accomplish it a lot added difficult to clue data. Without the appropriate accoutrement in place, you’re tracking things like authorization agreements and abstracts about arrangement integrations, about at a cardboard akin or blueprint level. It is absolutely ancient aback you anticipate of how our apple is now. We’re actual digital. But this is how a lot of this actuality is still actuality tracked and managed. It avalanche through the gaps because, depending on who you are — If you are the systems integrator or the architectonics architect — you absolutely don’t accept some of those pieces of cardboard sitting on your desk.”
Silo bustingThe botheration with the semiconductor breeze is that it has been heavily siloed in the past. Attempts are actuality fabricated to breach some of those down. “Take a attending at PCB design,” says Hepburn. “You may anticipate that is one akin solution. It isn’t. There are architectonics engineers that do analytic design, and a altered aggregation of architectonics engineers that do concrete design. Those are two altered systems. And they canyon advice aback and forth. One of the things that’s occurring now is that companies accept accomplished a lot of problems are happened because of that. They can’t see the cycles, the handoffs, or the problems that occur. The bodies blame for PLM are basically adage that while your absolute systems assignment able-bodied abundant at the calibration that you’re at appropriate now, they don’t calibration to the system’s level. And we charge things angry into one environment.”
2.5D and 3D systems are putting accretion accountability on those silos, which now advance beyond PCB design, IC architectonics and manufacturing, and packaging. The appropriate systems are not yet in place, and they are one of the limiters to added boundless adoption.
There are added areas area semiconductors are absolutely altered from added technology domains. For example, semiconductor accomplishment is about a chase to advance the latest technology which agency there are added risks that are actuality accepted.
Designs are about done on pre-release versions of models, area there is a accepted amount of ambiguity and abrupt problems can about-face up at any time.
“This is area you accept the transistor architects and the action integrators agriculture into the bodies who are accomplishing the aboriginal libraries, who are creating the aboriginal arena oscillator and accepting an aboriginal examination of what a block is activity to attending like,” says Aveek Sarkar, carnality admiral of engineering for Synopsys’ Custom Architectonics Group. “If I were to lay out this accurate sample circuit, from a PPA point of view, are there assertive things that we should be doing? The angle of architectonics technology co-optimization is acceptable alike added important. How are we able to access the altered pieces that accept resided in altered teams aural organization? We are attempting to accompany all of them together, to accept an aboriginal examination of these effects, and accommodate that acknowledgment to the action engineers and the architects on the left-hand ancillary of the equation. And we are aggravating to advice them advice with the right-hand ancillary in a added able manner.”
ConclusionThe semiconductor industry has created abounding processes to advice appraise the date of developed, the akin or risk, the quality, etc. But is has had to consistently amend and adapt those because they originally were developed for alone silos. The industry is more award that they are attached what can be done. Change is happening.
“The electronics apple has been from the central attractive out, and PLM has abundantly been article they are not anxious with,” says Hepburn. “That’s apparently activity to change.”
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