UltraSoc deal triggers Siemens test changes

UltraSoc deal triggers Siemens test changes

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

The UltraSoc deal is due to complete later this week but has already seen consequences as Siemens sharpens its focus.

The deal is geared around a long term strategy for test and monitoring in chips, from debug in the development stages to monitoring for security and predictive maintenance in the field including building digital twins.

“We talk to everyone all the time,” said Rupert Baines, chief executive of UltraSoc. “Siemens was the only company that had a similar vision to ours with Tessent’s design-for-test offering; and the broader vision of Siemens Digital Industries with the combination of cybersecurity and the concept of the Digital Twin. “

Siemens has also spun out other parts of the Tessent business. Late last week the company announced it is selling its Quantix business, which provides of test data management and analysis solutions for the semiconductor industry. This business was acquired from Galaxy Semiconductor in 2016 and has been sold to a newly formed Galaxy, with the deal completing in the next few weeks.

Like the UltraSoC deal, Siemens will not release the terms of the Galaxy deal. “All I can say is our investors have publicly said they are happy with the deal,” said Baines at UltraSoC.  

Galaxy is acquiring several software solutions from Mentor including a suite of software used by over 100 microelectronic device designers and manufacturers to improve quality, reliability, and yield of devices.  This includes the Examinator & Examinator Pro tool that allows semiconductor device designers and manufacturers to read test data generated during device testing processes., as well as the Yield Man for high volume manufacturing to automatically capture and store test data created during device testing processes. 

“We chose to continue with the Galaxy name because of the many years of history and the strong reputation that it enjoys in the semiconductor industry,” said Philippe Lejeune, Board Chairman and CTO of the newly formed company.  “I’m looking forward to leading this great team to design and build amazing new products that address difficult technical challenges such as yield optimization, device characterization, and reliability improvement.” 

It seems these no longer fit with the Tessent strategy for product life cycle management and supporting Siemens with building and managing digital twins. The company has a signficant partnership with ARM to build digital twins of cars, and the UltraSoc IP would provide monitoring data from the system on chip devices in development and the the field and also protects the chip. Siemens has has a significant number of patent applicaitons for digital twin technology. 

For Mentor and Siemens, this makes the UltraSoc deal a key strategic move, says Brady Benware, general manager of the Tessent product line at Mentor Graphics, part of Siemens Digital Industries Software.

“This is not a deal about cost synergies, this is about the strategy of design for lifecycle management,” he said. UltraSoc has design centres in Cambridge and Bristol in the UK and Warsaw in Poland. Benware says be does not expect to see any reduction in these.

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