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Automating to reduce the to cool to connect to protect analogue design bottleneck • added value due to modern designDesign cases • functional case construction By Paul Double • shock resistant plastic covers • integrated gaskets and feet • labelling by means of silk screen ANALOGuE LAyOuT HAS traditionally sampling of customers of IC Mask De- and digital anodizing printing, been considered to be more challenging sign, a company that provides analog engravings and YAG laser than digital layout. For example, it takes physical design services. • special production, colours and considerably more time to achieve a treatments acc. to customer’s high level of expertise in analog layout Efforts to automate analogue design request as compared to the time required to have generally not enjoyed much suc- master digital layout. So it comes as no cess in the market because the tools surprise that digital design automation have not been able to equal the quality technology has advanced at a much levels of full-custom design. In addi- faster pace than its analog counterpart. tion to this, they are complex to set up As digital occupies the vast majority of and use, and also can be expensive. most projects, design cycle times have However, one alternative way is to add trended downwards even as transistor one simple level of automation that is counts have continued to increase geo- complementary to the way analogue metrically. designers actually want to work, while Fig. 1: Transistor count vs. time to GDSII by Technology Node. significantly improving efficiency and However, despite many efforts to thus reducing the design cycle time. automate the design and layout of ana- For more details logue and mixed-signal circuitry, these Varying levels of automation tasks remain primarily a full-custom While the past 30 years has seen signifi- please check our website: process. The result is that it occupies cant advancement in digital design au- www.fischerelektronik.de an increasing portion of the total silicon tomation, perhaps the only major step design cycle time. In a typical project, forward for analogue and mixed-signal Fischer Elektronik GmbH & Co. KG analog may occupy only a small portion designers has been the introduction of Nottebohmstraße 28 of the silicon area but can consume a foundry-verified P-Cells (Parameterized D-58511 Lüdenscheid very large portion of the layout effort. Cells). But little else has changed and Phone +49 (0) 23 51 43 5-0 As feature sizes are reduced, the time it is not uncommon to find analogue E-mail info@fischerelektronik.de+49 (0) 23 51 4 57 54Fax required for full custom analog layout is designers relying on their own expertise www.fischerelektronik.de/facebook rising, with the result that many compa- and experience to perform polygon- nies are seeing an increase in time–to– based layout by hand. However, We exhibit: GDSII at nanometer technology nodes. increasing design complexity demands 13. - 16. 11. 2012 Figure 1 shows data collected from a new solutions and approaches. The absence of automation can electronica in Munich Paul Double is managing director of EDA produce significant inconsistency with hall A2, stand 155 Solutions - www.eda-solutions.com each designer working in their own way www.electronics-eetimes.com Electronic Engineering Times Europe October 2012 43


EETE OCTOBER 2012
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