© linear technology (now part of Analog Devices) Application Notes | December 08, 2017
Design considerations for military systems & how to mitigate component supply issues
Military equipment is expected to have a service life of decades so designing new systems requires the use of state-of-the-art Integrated Circuit technology to really maximize system performance and capabilities, yet this work sits sometimes uncomfortably alongside efforts to support and maintain legacy systems that are up to 30 years old.
This is a product release announcement by Linear Technology (now part of Analog Devices). The issuer is solely responsible for its content.
These designs stretch back to the early days of the semiconductor industry when the aerospace and defense sector drove semiconductor demand and wielded considerable influence. The rapid pace of technological advance and commoditization of ICs together with the associated semiconductor business models have not been easy to manage for the defense industry. So what lessons can be drawn from the design perspective to minimize future component supply issues. Strategic Supplier Selection Much has been written about the divergence of military and consumer product lifecycles where a typical consumer product might only have a life of two years in contrast to defense, industrial, transport and energy markets that can be in excess of 30 years. The considerations given to individual aspects of product design and support also differ dramatically with military users placing utility and reliability over aesthetics and cost. From the design perspective, it is critical to engage with suppliers who have a business strategy and philosophy that will maintain support for their components over the entire lifecycle from design start to spares and support contracts. Whilst start up IC companies may have some attractive products or technology that bring additional performance or integration benefits to the design this must be weighed against the risk of supply continuity problems. New entrants are vulnerable to acquisition or worse to business failure in the early years, leaving uncertainty as to how their products will be supported. Protecting Design Resources Design resource is a valuable commodity and success of a product will be very strongly dependent on the quality of the design work; however the correct choice of components of course is about far more than selecting a good parametric fit. One of the most obvious ways that companies direct or steer their design teams is by use of “Preferred Parts Lists” and/or “Approved Supplier” schemes. These attempt to strike the right balance between the freedom of design and the need to lock down every new item used in a complex pre-approval system. The risk is naturally that an over-constrained design process can lead to uncompetitive products that are late to market. It is critical that individuals responsible for managing component selection processes do not inadvertently act as a filter for ideas or concept discussions between designers and technology or product experts at suppliers. Selecting preferred suppliers is a matter of individual company strategy, the important factors will likely include the four critical elements from the Lifecycle Model cited above. From the design perspective, innovation encapsulates a number of ideas, including the competitiveness of the component or sub-system, the underlying technology roadmap and the willingness of the supplier to support the design–in process. In fact, support is becoming a key factor as defense budgets continue to tighten and design teams are faced with less resources, shorter development timescales and increasing design complexity. To facilitate this Non-Disclosure Agreements are routinely used to permit suppliers to get in to much deeper levels of detail of sensitive applications. The defense industry and now other long lifecycle industries are becoming more aware of just how much design resource is consumed, sustaining old products where obsolete components have forced a design change. In acute cases, we have known customers expending up to 40 or 50% of design resources on such activities, painfully aware that this valuable effort should be going on new product development. Skills Gap Expanding the idea of design-in support, it has become evident in the areas of power and high-performance analog ICs that form the core of Linear Technology’s (now Analog Devices) products that a skills gap is growing. It is easy to look at a system with huge FPGAs and think about the challenges in digital terms while overlooking the difficulty of powering the parts. Sub one-volt cores, consuming 10-20Amps require good transient response of <50mV over all conditions making loop response, layout, voltage reference accuracy and load monitoring critical. Add in higher PCB densities, increased clock speeds, concerns over conducted emissions and operating temperature considerations and these quickly become analog and RF problems. The number of designers specializing in these areas has diminished while the need for high-performance solutions is on the increase, hence the skills gap. A good supplier will address this with applications support, evaluation boards, circuit analysis models and, of course, with great products. One approach that helps address the skills gap, performance requirements and long term availability of products is the increasing use of module technology. Figure 1. LTM8073, 60VIN, 3A Silent Switcher® μModule Regulator in 9mm x 6.25mm BGA Package Analog Devices range of μModule® voltage regulators and signal chains resemble a surface mount IC, each product includes complete system-in-a-package solution that simplifies design and minimizes external components. Sub-families of parts can be created with compatible footprints and pinouts making it easier to scale up or down the power or performance requirements without major changes to the circuit board layout. Internally, multiple IC dies of different technologies are combined with passive components on a substrate which is over moulded. The layout and design are carefully optimized for electrical performance and thermal efficiency and will achieve a smaller solution size than is possible with standard component packaging. Built to the industry’s highest standards, these modules offer outstanding reliability approaching that of standard ICs. Commercial Considerations Another factor in the selection of components at the design stage, is that of cost. First, it is important to distinguish between component price and solution cost. Using the example of the μModule voltage regulator above, the solution cost equates to the unit price, whereas looking only at the DC-DC controller and MOSFET unit costs would not take in to account the passive components, magnetics, design time and technical challenges associated with developing a high-efficiency switching regulator. Again the skills gap may play in to this calculation. Furthermore the lifetime cost for a given solution will be heavily dependent on the long-term availability of the component. If a redesign is required the costs could easily dominate the lifetime cost as the example below shows. Component 1 has to be redesigned twice whereas component 2 remains available for the lifetime of the program. Clearly, even a reduced unit price with each redesign is insufficient to offset the redesign costs, which may be far more substantial than those indicated here in reality, particularly for more complex components with software implications. Designing around Component Obsolescence When selecting components for a new design good component engineering specialists can give a vital perspective on the track record of suppliers from their experience, but this is not simply a question of looking in the numerous on-line, commercially available parts databases. Frequently these have been shown to give mathematical predictions of impending obsolescence that fail to take into account individual manufacturer policies. For example, at Analog Devices, we have a non-obsolescence policy and we still offer for sale products released three decades ago such as the LT1001. A close supplier relationship will bring with it access to inside information on component popularity, manufacturability and new process technologies that assist in making a more informed choice for new designs. It is therefore important to dedicate time to cultivate such relationships. The Risks of Reworked & Counterfeit Components The Semiconductor Industry Association estimates that counterfeit parts cost U.S. semiconductor companies more than $7.5 billion per year in lost revenue. There are many examples of counterfeit parts being found in the aerospace and defense supply chain and the consequent danger of equipment failure with potential for injury or loss of life. A quick search of YouTube finds numerous examples of component salvage operations and sales outlets for what amounts to scrap or misrepresented components. While efforts are being made to tighten up on illegal activities, the simple solution is not to buy from unauthorized sources or brokers. It is also important to ensure that such procurement policies are extended to Contract Manufacturers and that they are not permitted to mix inventories of common parts purchased for other customers where controls and procurement policies may differ. Careful selection of suppliers and a close working partnership will also assist in solving the most intractable obsolescence issues. Analog Devices will, under strict conditions, offer components in die form to enable customers to engage third party packaging where the original package piece parts are obsolete. From a design perspective, this can be a helpful option where no other changes or PCB redesign is required. Conclusions Design Managers are major stakeholders in the supplier selection and development process and should encourage designers to develop close working relationships in pursuit of their design goals. Strong innovation, stability of supply, high quality and a track record of long-term commitment to the Aerospace and Defense market are all elements that form the basis of dependable supplier relationships. Component selection is not just a matter of finding a part that fits the performance need. First-class design support from the supplier will reduce time to market, assist in bridging any skills gaps and facilitate informed choices in term of component selection. This will deliver the most competitive solution and reduce the longer-term risk of obsolescence problems. Beware of misinformation, the Internet is full of instant answers and data but the knowledge and experience of component specialists and good contacts at suppliers will serve higher quality information.
Author: By Steve Munns, Aerospace & Defence Marketing; (© Linear Technology (Now Part of Analog Devices, Inc.)
Author: By Steve Munns, Aerospace & Defence Marketing; (© Linear Technology (Now Part of Analog Devices, Inc.)
Aurora Labs attracts $23 million in series B funding round Aurora Labs has secured USD 23 million in Series B funding from several automotive manufacturers, electronics and technology corporations and venture capitalists.
SCHOTT acquires INCOM’s MEGAdraw business SCHOTT North America, Inc. says it has successfully closed the acquisition of INCOM, Inc.’s MEGAdraw business.
Zinc8 team up with Vijai Electricals to explore JV opportunities Canadian battery technology company Zinc8 Energy Solutions, has signed an agreement in principle with Vijai Electricals Ltd from Hyderabad, India. The parties have agreed to explore joint-venture projects concerning the deployment of Zinc8's patented Zinc-Air Energy Storage System.
Intel names new SvP and Chief Strategy Officer Intel Corporation has appointed Safroadu (Saf) Yeboah-Amankwah as senior vice president and chief strategy officer. He will take on his new position on the first of November, 2020.
Edwards to set up centre in Dublin The development represents an investment of USD 5.7 million and will create 120 new jobs.
LEMO expands and inaugurates new production site About 400 metres from the company's main production site in St-Croix, Switzerland, LEMO has has just opened its new REDEL 2 production site
Vicor ink global distribution agreement with Arrow Vicor Corporation has expanded its Europe, Middle East and Africa relationship with Arrow Electronics, Inc. to a global distribution agreement.
Hemlock Semiconductor acquires DuPont TCS business The Michigan-based provider of ultra-pure polycrystalline silicon announces its acquisition of a DuPont business that makes trichlorosilane (TCS), the primary raw material used in producing the ultra-pure polysilicon HSC supplies to the semiconductor and solar industries.
Sponsored content by Nordson ASYMTEKConformal Coating Results — When You Need Better Than Just "Good Enough" Conformal coating contributes to product quality and reliability, but it is typically viewed as a process that tolerates sufficient results, or "good enough." That view is changing as more advanced and diverse electronic products enter the consumer marketplace, from the Internet of Things to self-driving vehicles.
Huawei opens 5G test centre in Serbia The company has officially opened its latest European centre for innovation and digital development and 5G test lab in Belgrade, Serbia.
First Sensor plans to sell its subsidiaries in USA and France to TE Connectivity Berlin-based First Sensor says it is planning to sell its US-based subsidiary in California, as well as its unit in Paris, France to TE Connectivity.
Silvaco acquires the assets of Coupling Wave Solutions S.A. EDA software and design IP supplier, Silvaco, has completed its acquisition of the assets of Coupling Wave Solutions S.A. (CWS), including IP, patents, and analysis technologies.
Nvidia / Arm deal dubbed as ‘disaster’ by Arm-cofounder The news that US-based Nvidia will acquire Arm from SoftBank Group in a USD 40 billion deal has already sparked some backlash within the industry. One of the vocal parties is Arm-cofounder, Hermann Hauser, who called the deal a disaster and said that it should be blocked.
Sponsored content by Mek (Marantz Electronics)3D AOI connectivity is exceptionally important, but what about inspection quality? 3D automated optical inspection (AOI) systems have become a critical component of production lines in electronics manufacturing Smart Factories as the hubs for quality control, giving valuable feedback to the production machines. But Smart Factories with AOI can only work if the AOI results are reliable…
Everlight criminally convicted for misappropriating Seoul Semi trade secrets LED technology supplier, Seoul Semiconductor, says that the Korean Suwon District Court convicted Everlight Electronics of criminal misappropriation of Seoul’s trade secrets.
It's official - NVIDIA to acquire Arm for $40 billion NVIDIA and SoftBank have entered into a definitive agreement under which NVIDIA will acquire Arm Limited from SoftBank in a transaction valued at USD 40 billion.
Tower Semi: 'all sites up and running following cyber attack' Tower Semiconductor says that all of its manufacturing sites are operational, and targeting full capability within the next few days, following the recovery from the cyber event a few days ago.
Jenoptik invests in new system from ClassOne Jenoptik has invested in a new Solstice LT electroplating system from semiconductor equipment manufacturer ClassOne Technology. The new system will be used for manufacturing semiconductor material for high-power diode lasers at Jenoptik's semiconductor production facility in Berlin-Adlershof, Germany.
Sponsored content by congatec AGThe Edge of the Future: Modular Edge Computing Industrial edge servers should be advanced enough to be able to successfully handle a broad array of tasks. In the 21rst century, virtual machines are being relied on more and more for consolidating different kinds of Industry 4.0 workloads. Moreover, because Computer-on-Modules offer the flexibility needed to scale the computing power of each application, users always end with the best of both worlds: a fair price and optimal performance.
MaxLinear acquires NanoSemi, Inc. MaxLinear, a provider of radio frequency (RF), analog, digital and mixed-signal integrated circuits, has completed the acquisition of NanoSemi, a provider of IP that utilises patented machine learning techniques to improve signal integrity and power efficiency in SoCs, ASICs, and FPGAs used in next-gen communication and AI systems.
Delphi secures major power electronics business win The provider of automotive propulsion systems announces that it has secured a major Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) electrification business, driving profitable long-term growth.
Yamaichi Electronics' new European factory Japan-based group Yamaichi Electronics has been producing in Frankfurt (Oder), the only manufacturing location of the group in Europe, for almost 15 years. Now production is running out of space.
SnapEDA launches new KiCad plugin to help engineers design electronics faster Today, SnapEDA - a company that helps engineers design electronics faster by removing barriers - is launching a new KiCad plugin, allowing designers to search and download its computer-aided design (CAD) models directly within the KiCad PCB design environment.
One final update from the Infineon site in Villach The shell of Infinion’s massive expansion in Villach, Austria now stands complete. Both the research and factory building are standing tall and the company is in full swing working on the facade as well as the interior.
Tower Semiconductor hit by cyber attack The semiconductor company says that it has taken measures to prevent the expansion of the event, but at this point there is no assessment as to the actual effect on the company.
SMIC responds to reports about a potential blacklist situation Chinese semiconductor foundry, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), found itself in eye of the storm following reports of a potential U.S. ban, much like the one experienced by Huawei.
ON Semi CEO plans to retire ON Semiconductor's president and CEO, Keith D. Jackson, intends to retire from ON Semiconductor in May 2021.Load more news