S3 Semiconductors (S3semi), the custom semiconductor business of the S3 Group, is refocusing its strategy to provide a design-to-delivery custom chip service for industrial and communications OEMs. Rather than just deliver design services and intellectual property (IP), the company said it will now focus on converting electronic systems and boards into mixed-signal ICs and delivering them as packaged and tested chips that combine intelligence, sensor fusion and communications.
For new product development teams this could translate into a hefty cost savings by cutting their bill of materials (BOM), while delivering product differentiation through a custom chip. Part of the overall savings can come from eliminating the need to purchase an over specified standard chip because they can’t find a part to meet their exact needs.
The S3 conversion process could deliver up to an 80 percent system cost savings over the lifetime of the product, according to S3. Other benefits cited include reduced system size, improved electrical performance, lower power consumption, and greater security, including protection from reverse engineering.
Designers and buyers can use S3’s new online calculator to determine an estimate of the potential cost savings in less than a minute. The calculator also provides the approximate break-even time and total savings over the product’s lifetime.
“For several years now, we’ve been discussing with a growing number of our OEM customers the challenges they face with driving down system costs and differentiating their products,” said John O’Brien, CEO of parent company, S3 Group, in a statement.
“Our semiconductor group has an excellent reputation as experts in high performance design for communications, industrial control and consumer applications, but most people don’t appreciate we also have many years of experience managing the production and logistics of chips for a number of our customers. As Industry 4.0 and Industrial IoT gathers pace, and the number of sensor nodes in systems grows, that’s the service OEMs are looking for, so it’s now our primary focus,” he continued.
The semiconductor design house has completed more than 1000 successful mixed-signal chip designs for use in industrial and communications markets, and created an IP portfolio that includes analog front ends, clocks, data converters, power management, RF transceivers and temperature sensors. “This extensive portfolio enables custom chip development to be achieved economically in short timescales,” said the company.
Another benefit cited by S3 is that it designs each chip for only one customer. The design house works with customers at the system level, and focuses on how to optimize cost, performance and features by maximizing on-chip integration.
S3 Semiconductors is accepting orders for new designs that are expected to start volume production in 2018 and 2019.