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Remastering Silicon

Remastering Silicon

By Stelios Diamantidis, Senior Director, Synopsys Autonomous Design Solutions

There hasn’t been another time in recent memory where semiconductors have become critical to fueling the electronics industry’s economic framework. The global chip shortage has become abundantly clear, which continues to distress industry sectors from automotive to consumer electronics.

In addition to holding back global economic growth and making life difficult for consumers and businesses worldwide, the shortfall in manufacturing capacity is uneven, affecting legacy process nodes far more than mid-performance nodes.

While semiconductor experts have been hard at work on scoping solutions, the situation has looked insoluble- simply put, semiconductors are extremely hard to design and manufacture; supply chain effects are very difficult to absorb due to this lack of flexibility.

Enter silicon remastering, a new AI-driven design framework with the potential to transform the global chip supply chain. To understand how we must acknowledge the root of the problem: an imbalance in manufacturing capacity. Process nodes built on legacy silicon technologies are in extremely short supply. With them running out, using past technologies to replenish them is no longer a viable option.

Read the full Embedded Computing Design article here

Automotive Device Shortage Update | Bring Device Programming In-House (Video) |

Device Support Lead Time Update

Device Support Lead Time Update

BPM is pleased to update the estimated support lead times for a variety of devices

BPM has nearly doubled the engineering staff in Device Support in the past year. We have more resources than we’ve ever had and adding even more team members. This is helping to reduce lead times for new device support requests (DSRs). We’ve also segmented support by device type and complexity. The following chart breaks it down:

Algo Device Support Request by Device Type Algo Lead Time
Simple Update: 5 Days
Package Addition: 2 Weeks
NOR Flash, Serial NOR Flash, EEPROM, Serial EEPROM, Parallel EEPROM, Raw NAND, eMMC, HS200 or HS400 eMMC, Simple PLD: 4 Weeks
Simple Microcontroller, Standard Microcontroller: 4 to 8 Weeks (depends on complexity)
Complex PLD, Actel Flash, Actel Antifuse: 8 Weeks
Raw NAND with BBM, Complex Microcontroller, FPGA, BBM Scheme, Complex Xilinx Antifuse: Requires Research to Quote

BPM currently supports over 70,000 devices from over 200 manufacturers. For the supported device search, click here.

Current BPM customers get free Algorithm Support Credits (up to six $500 credits) for new support with a current Software Agreement. Manual production programmers get four algorithm credits; Automated Programmers get six algorithm credits, good for one year. You can learn more here. To request new device support with faster device support lead times, click here.

Support Agreement

BPM’s production level support agreement is designed for those customers who run critical operations and demand the highest level of support possible, and includes the following:

  • 24/7 Hotline: +1 832-617-5701
    You can report issues with device production outside of normal business hours. The customer will be put into contact with a live Field Service Engineer (for APS-related issues) or Customer Service Engineer (for device-related issues). Engineers will work with customers to collect all data on the issue, provide debug steps to resolve the issue over the phone, and will immediately create a BPM case if the issue requires additional time to resolve. This service is available to any BPM customer located in North America (Canada, the US, and Mexico). Fees apply if not covered by the current service/software contract.
  • Spare Parts
    Warranty replacement parts can ship from our headquarters in Houston, Texas, or directly from one of our global stock locations. Warranty replacement does not cover consumable parts or damage caused by the customer. In the case of local spare parts, customers have had replacement parts at their facility installed in less than 30 minutes.
  • Priority Case Handling
    You will receive priority in our new customer relationship management system. All of your incoming cases will receive a special tag that designates you as a full support user and we will prioritize your requests as necessary.
  • On-Site Support
    On-site support does not require a PO for labor hours when you are under a hardware contract.
Learn More

If you would like to learn more about BPM or have a service or technical-related question, please call  +1 (713) 263-3776, toll-free in the US at (855) SELL BPM, or 24/7 Service hotline at +1 (832) 617-5702. You can also email technical support at tech@bpmmicro.com.

How to Program In-House | Device Programmers from BPM

Largest US Car Company Expects Chip Shortages Through ’23

Largest US Car Company Expects Chip Shortages Through ’23

On September 15, 2022,  during a TV morning show appearance, General Motors CEO Mary Barra predicted the current device shortage will continue through 2023 and possibly beyond. “It’s getting a little better, but I frankly think it’s something that’s going to last into next year, maybe a little beyond,” says Ms. Barra.

GM recently paused Silverado production for a week at the Silao plant where 8,000 people are employed.

In June, GM declared that its Buick-brand vehicles will go fully electric by 2030. Fully Electric Vehicles (EV) have an even higher percentage of microchips than their gasoline-powered cousins, which much be addressed, as well as infrastructure such as recharging stations.

Microchip shortages are more complex than simpler parts. Each programmable device requires a value-added program uploaded to add functionality. Therefore, it’s not as simple as ordering more devices, but also allocating programming services (which can be outsourced or done in-house in a variety of ways– See the top 5 ways here).

To read the full article, click here.

Best ways to Program Devices | Read Article | Bringing Device Programming In-House

Automotive Programmable Device Shortage Update

Automotive Programmable Device Shortage Update

Most automotive companies continue to experience shortages of critical parts and components, driven by supply chain issues since 2020. In an excellent article from Electronics Weekly, titled Auto chip shortage could be easing,” David Manners points to several signs the shortages of semiconductors may be behind us in the next year.

Causes of the chip shortages

From the article, here are some of the reasons for the global automotive shortages

Automotive manufacturers cut back on semiconductor orders severely at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020. The auto companies were fearful of being stuck with excess inventories of cars if demand fell significantly due to the pandemic. When the automakers tried to increase orders, they had lost their place in line and were behind other industries such as PCs and smartphones.

Many automakers used a just-in-time ordering system to avoid excess inventories. This left them with almost no buffer inventories. Also, most semiconductors used in automotive are bought by the companies supplying the systems (engine controls, dashboard electronics, etc.) rather than the automakers, leading to a more complex supply chain.

Semiconductors used in automobile production have long design-in cycles and must be qualified; thus, it is difficult for an automaker to change suppliers in the short term.

The article looks at all the big automakers and their prospects for returning to full production; it also highlights what the semi-houses are doing to ramp up to meet demand. Learn more about how BPM manufactures all its systems in their ISO 9001:2015 certified plant located in Houston, Texas; find out how BPM makes device programming easy, fast, and affordable at bpmmicro.com/device-programmers.

Read Electronic Weekly Article

Other links:

Easy Engineering Interview with BPM

Easy Engineering Interview with BPM

BPM provides equipment and accessories to upload custom programming to semiconductor devices. Founded in 1985, BPM Microsystems serves more than 2,000 companies in over 49 countries. BPM programmers offer high-performance device handling, advanced serialization, and quality control, meeting the highest programming and cybersecurity standards for automotive, aerospace, medical, industrial, and mobile device applications. BPM’s intelligently designed systems deliver the lowest programming cost per device.

Back in 1985 in a dorm room at Rice University, Bill White founded BP Microsystems (later BPM Microsystems). He couldn’t find a decent chip programmer for a class project he was working on, so he made his own. He started to sell the EP-1, an E/EPROM programmer, locally and then by mail order; the rest is history. BPM still builds all of its systems in Houston, Texas.

Interview with Scott Bronstad, Digital Marketing Manager at BPM Microsystems.

Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company?

Scott Bronstad: BPM designs and manufactures universal programming systems and supports them with algorithms and socket adapters (software and hardware) to program specific devices. BPM’s catalog of supported devices is in excess of 70,000, including both legacy and cutting-edge technologies. Newer and faster versions are continually added on an almost daily basis. BPM serves electronics manufacturers worldwide including OEM, ODM, EMS, and programming centers. Industries that utilize BPM programming solutions include Automotive, Healthcare, Aerospace/Defense, Industrial, IoT/Industry 4.0, and Cybersecurity.

E.E: What’s the news about new products?

S.B: BPM has “generations” of products with specific site technology. The “site” is the magic of BPM programmers, and sockets/algos make them the most “universal” of device programmers. Universal, as opposed to single-use, allows the systems to be configured to support thousands of devices on hundreds of different socket adapters. BPM pioneered socket adapter technology with active circuitry that delivers clean signal integrity and high yield.

BPM310 Automated programming system

The latest generation of BPM sites is 10th Gen. 10th Generation site technology offers the broadest support in the industry at unsurpassed programming speeds.

The newest Automated Programmer, the BPM310, comes with up to six 10th Gen sites providing full universal support for UFS, eMMC HS400, MCU, NAND, and Serial Flash, at incredible speeds with up to 48 devices programmed concurrently. It is the most capable programmer in a small footprint. For UFS 2.1, each site can program eight devices at a time, at up to 440 MB/second read and 201 MB/second write (industry best).

See the full article Here

New Field Service Engineer Hired in Mexico

New Field Service Engineer Hired in Mexico

New Field Service Engineer Hired in Mexico

Mexico Field Service Engineer for BPMBPM is pleased to announce the hire of a dedicated Field Service Engineer to cover Mexico from Reynosa on the Texas border. Alejandro Puebla is an accomplished STM Process Engineer with over 10 years of experience. He has worked on and maintained BPM automated programmers for an Original Equipment Manufacturer in Reynosa prior to joining BPM full-time. He will give BPM the ability to service customers locally, in addition to troubleshooting technical issues, and is fluent in both Spanish and English.

With Alejandro on board, BPM now has three levels of support for its Mexico clients, including Interlatin (local sales/support) and BPM Field Service Engineers in Houston, Texas. “Mexico continues to grow in international manufacturing,” says Penny Santhanam, Director of Customer Care at BPM. “Alejandro has the experience with working on the line locally– he understands the needs and challenges unique to device programming, and will be a huge asset for the growing number of companies with BPM systems.”

If you would like to learn more about BPM, or have a service or technical-related question, please call  +1 (713) 263-3776, toll-free in the US at (855) SELL BPM, or 24/7 Service hotline* at +1 (832) 617-5702. You can also email technical support at tech@bpmmicro.com.

*After-hours calls are complimentary for clients with current hardware contracts.