Cambridge, UK A service that allows organisations without specialist electronics skills to benefit from system on chip (SoC) technology is being set up by Cambridge Consultants Ltd (CCL).
CCL claims that for manufacturers moving products such as gas meters and electrical switchgear from electromechanical systems to solid-state devices improvements provided by SoC based systems can often mean saving as much as 60% of the manufacturing cost.
The CCL service works through the creation of new product categories through a total product approach to the specification and design of integrated electronics.
CCL's multi-disciplinary team takes an impartial view of the latest technologies to help companies explore the 'art-of-the-possible', and establish how SoC technology's cost and performance advantages can benefit products. This approach is said to deliver gains beyond product functionality and simpler bill of materials, in areas from manufacturing strategy to in-the-field issues such as maintenance and upgrades.
Once the business case is accepted, CCL employs established specification and design processes, along with its intellectual property for emulation and test, to ensure right-first-time design, and maximum yield from the silicon wafer. This approach, says CCL, means SoC technology can sometimes be justified for production volumes as low as 20,000 units/year.
Ian Halliday-Pegg of CCL said many companies lack the skills to specify the effective use of SoC technology. “Our approach is to field engineers with extensive experience in designing product architectures, to work on the overall product specification and increase the scope for cost reduction. This way, we are able to drive cost out of the electronics, analogue devices such as sensors, and production and test procedures, and optimise a design for use in future products or elsewhere within a product family.”
CCL has experience of SoC and ASIC development, for electronic OEMs such as mobile phone manufacturers, and non-electronic OEMs such as healthcare and industrial manufacturers. The company's experience in this field led to the spin-out of Bluetooth chip maker, CSR.
In addition to design services, CCL has its own library of interoperable digital and analogue intellectual property (IP) – which has been field proven on design projects, many involving multi-million production quantities.