MAZeT (Jena, Germany) gives the example of a mixed-signal ASIC previously supplied in 0.6-micron CMOS technology but replaced in 0.35-micron CMOS technology, which will be available over the long term. The entire pin assignment was retained despite the improved redesign, allowing the existing printed circuit boards (PCB) to be still used.

Digital ASICs can be redesigned using mask-programmable, standard-cell ASICs or using a programmable logic module. MAZeT is designing the replacement ASIC to be compatible to the original ASIC both in terms of its functionality and connection options. The semiconductor technology is selected based on the premise that it is available long-term.

MAZeT did not address the need for any user to control all relevant intellectual property of an ASIC that the user wishes to redesign.

Assuming that is the case, design risk and development time and redesign costs are minimized where the customer can provide a complete technical description and specification, MAZeT said. This can include as many as possible of: circuit plan, high-level language description, netlist, datasheet, test vectors and testing environment. It is also important to provide a description of the dynamic behaviour of logic elements – delay times of gates, flip-flops, the electrical behaviour of analog transistors, the electrical characterization of the input/output behavior, the supply voltage concept, the ESD and EMC concept, as well as the GDS2 data set.

Next: What Fred says

"An electronics concept geared towards a specific application contains precisely the required function range, which consequently reduces costs and results in a compact solution. The electrical properties are also improved. On the downside, parts are only available for approximately six to eight years, and stock-keeping is limited to no more than two years," said Fred Grunert, managing director of MAZeT, in a statement.

"To help companies struggling with these issues, MAZeT developed the redesign solution. A redesign increases availability and also makes it possible to further optimize the ASIC," he added.

Fred Grunert, MD of MAZeT GmbH.

MAZeT has particular expertise in optical sensor technology that it markets under its own Jencolor brand and which is used in industrial metrology, control and automation as well as medical technology.

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