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Programmable Devices for Modern Manufacturing

Programmable Devices for Modern Manufacturing

A programmable device is a piece of hardware that can be programmed to perform a specific set of tasks or functions. These tiny devices are often used in industrial and commercial settings, including manufacturing, healthcare, and automotive, to automate processes and improve efficiency.

There are many different types of programmable devices, including microcontrollers, Programmable logic devices (PLDs), and various Flash devices. Each of these devices has its own unique set of capabilities and is used for different applications.

NXP Kinetis® K02 MCU for Low Power Applications (MK02FN64VLH10)

Microcontrollers (MCU) are small, single-chip computers that are often used in embedded systems, such as sensors, appliances, and automotive systems. They are highly programmable and can be programmed to perform a wide range of tasks, from simple control functions to complex algorithms.

A programmable logic device (PLD) is an electronic component used to build reconfigurable digital circuits. Unlike digital logic constructed using discrete logic gates with fixed functions, a PLD has an undefined function at the time of manufacture. Before the PLD can be used in a circuit it must be programmed to implement the desired function.[1] Compared to fixed logic devices, programmable logic devices simplify the design of complex logic and may offer superior performance. Unlike microprocessors, programming a PLD changes the connections made between the gates in the device.

Another example of a programmable device is a single-board computer (SBC). SBCs are small, single-chip computers that can be programmed to perform a variety of tasks, such as running a web server, controlling a robot, or playing media. Some popular examples of SBCs include the Raspberry Pi and the Arduino.

Programmable devices are also used in the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT devices are connected to the internet and can be programmed to perform a variety of tasks, such as collecting and transmitting data, controlling other devices, and interacting with users. Some examples of IoT devices include smart thermostats, smart locks, and smart appliances.

In summary, programmable devices are used in a wide range of applications, including control systems, automation systems, data acquisition systems, and the Internet of Things. They can be programmed to perform a variety of tasks and are used in industries ranging from manufacturing to home automation.

Examples of Programmable Device Applications

An example of a programmable device is a smart thermostat. These devices can be programmed to automatically adjust the temperature in a home or office based on the preferences of the user. They can also be controlled remotely using a smartphone app, allowing users to adjust the temperature from anywhere.

Programmable Devices for Healthcare

In the healthcare industry, programmable devices include devices such as insulin pumps and pacemakers. Insulin pumps are small, portable devices that deliver a continuous supply of insulin to patients with diabetes. The pumps can be programmed to deliver insulin at specific intervals throughout the day and can be adjusted as needed based on the patient’s blood sugar levels.

Pacemakers are small devices that are implanted in the chest to help regulate a person’s heartbeat. They can be programmed to deliver electrical impulses to the heart when needed, helping to prevent arrhythmias and other heart rhythm disorders.

Robotic surgical systems are another example of programmable devices used in healthcare. These systems allow surgeons to perform complex surgeries using precise robotic instruments, which are controlled by a computer program. The use of robotics in surgery can help to reduce the risk of complications and improve patient outcomes.

Other examples of programmable devices used in healthcare include medical monitoring devices, such as heart rate monitors and blood pressure monitors, and devices that assist with rehabilitation, such as exoskeletons and robotic physical therapy devices. Overall, programmable devices play an important role in healthcare by providing patients with the care and treatment they need to improve their health and quality of life.

Programmable Devices for Automotive

Programmable devices are also used in the automotive industry, such as in self-driving cars. These cars are equipped with sensors and algorithms that allow them to navigate and make decisions on the road. Some examples of programmable devices used in automotive include:

  1. Engine control units (ECUs) – ECUs are microprocessors that control various aspects of an engine, including fuel injection, ignition timing, and engine temperature. ECUs are programmed to optimize engine performance and fuel efficiency.
  2. Automatic transmission controllers – Automatic transmission controllers are microprocessors that control the shifting of gears in an automatic transmission. These controllers are programmed to optimize shift points based on various factors such as engine speed and load.
  3. Electronic stability control (ESC) systems – ESC systems are microprocessors that control the braking and throttle of a vehicle to help maintain stability during sharp turns or sudden changes in direction. These systems are programmed to react to certain stimuli, such as steering angle or yaw rate, to help keep the vehicle on track.
  4. Adaptive cruise control (ACC) systems – ACC systems are microprocessors that control the speed of a vehicle based on the speed of other vehicles in front of it. These systems are programmed to maintain a safe following distance and adjust the speed of the vehicle accordingly.
  5. Telematics systems – Telematics systems are microprocessors that transmit and receive data wirelessly, allowing for remote monitoring and control of a vehicle. These systems are programmed to transmit data such as location, speed, and fuel level to a central server, which can then be accessed by the vehicle owner or a fleet manager.

Overall, programmable devices play a crucial role in the automotive industry, helping to improve vehicle performance and safety. These devices are constantly evolving, with new technologies and capabilities being developed all the time.

BPM Makes Programming Devices Easy

BPM has delivered more fine-pitch automated programming systems than all of our competitors combined. BPM programmers and software are the fastest universal programmers in the world, supporting MCUs, FPGA, eMMC, NAND, NOR, Serial Flash memory devices, and more. What really sets them apart is how easy BPM systems are to set up and run, without requiring a skilled operator. To request a demo, please click here.

Device Programmers from BPM | https://bpmmicro.com/how-to-program-in-house/ Video: Bring Programming In-House


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) |

Stuttgart Road Show | October 25-26 2022

Stuttgart Road Show | October 25-26 2022

Learn about Automotive-level Device Programming | Schedule a Session

Join BPM and our Germany partner, Adaptsys for a live, in-person demo of BPM’s latest innovation, the BPM310 Automated programmer

BPM310, the first 10th Generation Automated programmer from BPM Microsystems

BPM310, the first 10th Generation Automated programmer from BPM Microsystems

Come see for yourself in a personal, hands-on demonstration of the world’s most advanced automated device programmer, the BPM310. Join us at the V8 Hotel, located just outside of Stuttgart in Baden-Württemberg.

Session 1: 10-12 Uhr
Session 2: 1-3 Uhr
Session 3: 5-6:30 Uhr

BPM Microsystems und Adaptsys machen einen Boxenstopp mit dem neuesten Programmiersystem BP310 im V8 Hotel Motorworld Region Stuttgart. Sie sind herzlich eingeladen zum Entdecken der Performance eines der leistungsstärksten Programmiersystems auf dem Markt. Buchen Sie noch heute Ihren exklusiven Termin zum Informieren, Austauschen und Ideen sammeln rund um das Programmieren von Bausteinen.

  • • Zertifizierungsschulung verfügbar
  • • Ergänzende Speisen/Getränke
  • • Minimieren Sie Engpässe in der Lieferkette bei programmierbaren Geräten durch interne Programmierung
  • • Erfahren Sie mehr über End-of-Life-Ankündigungen für Programmierer, sowohl für BPM- als auch Konkurrenzsysteme

Fragen und Antworten, Erfrischungen sowie eine Live-Demonstration des neuesten automatisierten Programmiergeräts von BPM Microsystems: des BPM310

Schedule a Session

V8 HOTEL conference rooms

Learn more about the BPM310
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:

Device Programmers from BPM

Device Programmers from BPM

A Brief History

EP-1 EPROM Programmer from BPMBPM provides device programmers and accessories to upload custom programming to semiconductor devices. Founded in 1985, BPM Microsystems serves more than 2,000 companies in over 49 countries, including programming centers, original equipment manufacturers (OEM), contract and semiconductor manufacturers. BPM device 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 its ISO:9001 plant in Houston, Texas.

BPM device programmers serve the world with billions and billions of accurately programmed devices in thousands of products (everything from thermometers to infotainment systems) by bringing compelling programming systems to market.

Learn More About What We Do

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 around the world 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.

What’s New

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.

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).

Ranges of Device Programmers

Programmable devices are becoming more ubiquitous. More products than ever before require some kind of customization to add functionality. BPM makes device programmers that focus on quality and reliability. Some products, such as satellites, require just a handful of each device programmed per month (or year); the cost for just one of those chips (such as an anti-fuse FPGA) can cost upwards of $100,000! When the cost of failure is that high, aerospace companies turn to BPM. Other companies need millions of programmed devices. BPM makes Automated systems that are fast, easy to set up/change over, and reliable, with available automotive-level support verification (such as coplanarity test to confirm pin and ball grid array integrity).

BPM continues to support many of its legacy programmers (some for more than 20 years) and adds additional supported devices on a weekly basis. When new devices are needed, BPM quotes hardware and software support. Customers with current Hardware Support contracts can make complementary 24/7 service calls (free for one year with a new purchase). If machines experience issues, field service technicians with decades of experience and/or factory-trained service technicians are available for local support worldwide, usually within 48 hours.

What’s the Market

UFS Programmable DevicesBPM serves both legacy and emerging markets. For instance, UFS and eMMC devices with massive memories (measured in Gigabytes) are becoming more common in infotainment, navigation, autonomous vehicles, military applications, etc. The universal nature of BPM programmers means one system can program multiple different devices (although not simultaneously). Some competitive systems require two different site technologies in order to cover their full device list.

The legacy market is alive and well, especially in aerospace/defense. Many contractors and military branches, such as the US Navy, rely on BPM legacy (7th Generation) programmers. They’ve spent millions on qualifying solutions, and continue to purchase this proven 17-year-old technology from BPM.

Market trends

Devices are trending to smaller, denser (more data) packages. This makes off-line programming (as opposed to in-circuit or at-test programming) the scalable choice. To program more chips, you add site and socket capacity, additional shifts, or additional systems (or a combination). Smaller packages (less than 3mm x 3mm) are particularly challenging. BPM systems have capabilities that are only available on larger competitive systems. All BPM automated programming systems come with WhisperTeach™ Auto-Z Teach (for fast, easy set-ups/changeovers) and CyberOptic cameras for component auto measure (fast set-ups) and on-the-fly alignment for maximum first pass yield and throughput.

Supply chain shortages, which first started in mid-2020 as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, continue to plague consumer, automotive, and electronics manufacturers. Semi-houses are building new factories and expanding existing facilities to meet demand but will take years before they can catch up. Programmable devices require value-added programming to make them fully functional; it’s not just a matter of receiving an order of chips– those devices need programming and installation on circuit boards. Delays in even one area can ripple through, causing additional delays downstream.

Many companies are looking at in-house device programming as a means of gaining more control over their supply chain. For companies that have added programming in-house, they are also finding greater control of their intellectual property. Small changes in firmware versioning are now possible for rapid prototyping and implementation. Above all, device programming that was previously a cost center quickly becomes a profit center, as a return on initial investment can be realized in a few months, not years.

Innovative Products

BPM310 Automated programming systemIn late 2021, BPM announced the release of its 10th Generation programming technology platform and the BPM310 Automated Programming System. The 10th Generation offers the industry’s fastest programming times for UFS, eMMC, Flash, and MCUs with twice as many sockets per site as its predecessor. The BPM310 offers a capacity of up to 48 sockets, automotive-level quality, and reliability in a small footprint. 10th Gen delivers the fastest UFS programming performance in the industry achieving up to 440MB/second Read and 201MB/second Write. First-part time is accelerated because UFS programming can commence without pausing for data to download.

“Our engineering team has done an amazing job creating the most powerful universal programmer in the industry. Unlike competitive products, our system offers true universal support including CSP, Flash, MCUs, eMMC, and UFS with up to 8 sockets per site to deliver unbeatable system value,” says William White, founder, and CEO of BPM Microsystems. “The BPM310 is now our flagship product with the greatest capacity, flexibility, features, reliability, and smallest footprint in our product line.”

The BPM310 leverages much of the socket adapter and algorithm development currently available on its 9th Generation systems. And like all 9th Gen automated device programmers, the BPM310 continues to offer ease of operation and fast setup with award-winning BPWin process control software and patented WhisperTeach™. WhisperTeach™ automatically teaches the critical Z-height of each pick/place location with 15-micron accuracy. Accurate automated teaching is vital for small packages due to fundamental human limitations. Plus WhisperTeach™ saves an average of 83% of the time required for the job setup compared to traditional methods while increasing quality and yield.

The Near Future

Supply chain issues, especially for programmable devices, will continue to plague manufacturers for perhaps the next two years. In an effort to reduce costs and shorten lead times, BPM sees continued growth in offline programming. Security and IP protection will continue to drive companies to take more control of their most valuable assets: their intellectual property. By physically securing IP, competitors are less likely to reverse engineer (or flat-out steal) their designs. Other advantages of programming in-house are improved quality, reliability, and more flexibility by keeping programmed devices to just-in-time inventory levels (not possible with outsourcing).

Device Search | Bring Programming In-House  | How to Program In-House