Yield Microelectronics Corporation: Enhancing Consumer Electronics Space with Novel IP
Ming Tsang Yang, Sales Director, Chuck Wu, Product Design Manager & Wen Chien Huang, CEO
The consumer electronics industry has permeated every aspect of human life with smart TVs, smart homes, smartphones, connected cars, IoT, and AI integrated software and applications. Widely driven by the consumers’ own ever-evolving desire for improved function, their respective electronics space continues to look for technologies that not only capture their imagination but are affordable and relevant to solving day-to-day problems. Taiwan-based Yield Microelectronics Corporation designs specialized embedded logic multiple-time non-volatile memory (NVM) IP, which helps its clients enhance the capabilities of their electronic products according to users’ needs. With its technical expertise and cost-effective solutions, the firm was able to mark its presence in the landscape with a significant market share in the field of logic based multi time programmable (MTP) NVMs.
“Leveraging the ‘1 transistor 1 capacitor’ structure of our bit-cell, we build the smallest IP among all MTP vendors, while our competitors are at least 1.5 times bigger,” says Wen Chien Huang, CEO of Yield Microelectronics Corporation (YMC). These smaller IPs consumes lesser space in a device, enabling YMC clients to reduce the overall production cost.
By identifying the needs in the consumer electronics market, YMC allows its clients to use its multi-purpose IP mainly for use-cases that include trimming data with fuse-like IP, setting data with EEPROM and firmware storage with MTP.
Unlike its competitors, the firm’s fuse-like IP has higher endurance—100 times that of the competition—enabling its clients to change the parameter if required. Built with endurance of 10K times and byte-write capability, YMC’s EEPROM provides enhanced data storage for products such as coffee machines. The firm also widens its market share with its MTP which has the growing significance over embedded NVM in BCD process. It is because it takes less steps and cost to build logic-based MTP in BCD process. This combined with YMC’s combo IP; the memory cell array of MTP and EEPROM, can be combined together to share the same peripheral circuit. The firm’s longstanding experience in supporting consumer electronics design houses is an added arrow in their quiver of talents in the MTP arena.
This small-sized, cost-effective tech-stack offers high-end performance while allowing mass production. The agility of YMC’s novel IP is visible from its access time, which is the same level as embedded flash. On top of that, the solutions have the potential to withstand high temperature—up to 150 degree Celsius. “We have plans to establish our presence in the automotive space with its grade 0 technology which is ready to hit the market,” adds Huang. With its logic-based process, which requires much lesser than embedded flash, YMC helps its customers to shorten their lead time. Compared to embedded flash, the company’s IP enables its customers to saves 30 percent of cost while aligning well with their requirements. The number of additional masks that the firm’s IP requires is zero to two layers on top of the baseline of its 18 foundry partners. “We are the best choice to replace one time programmable (OTP) solutions. Compared to OTPs, our MTP enables 1,000 times of endurance, which increase the flexibility of design. In the middle-density market, MTP is also the best option for embedded flash replacement,” adds Huang.
In addition to extraordinary performance of the firm’s IP, YMC has foundry partners and a wide-spread customer base— 150 customers—across the globe with more than 800 projects merged with its IP. The firm has licensed its bit-cell to several big-name enterprises including TSMC, VIS, and Toshiba. Besides, there are 2 more foundries—HHGrace and Beijing Yandong Microelectronics in discussion. Into the next year, YMC continues to conduct discussions with other well-known foundries about porting its IP and the firm has on the anvil the desire to port its technology from mature process nodes, such as 0.18um, 0.15um, 0.13um to advanced ones like 90, 55, 45, 28nm process. Zealous to capture the electronics market, the company is rolling out plans to develop the next generation technology which is 30 percent smaller than its ancestor and verified by several foundries. Simultaneously, YMC is developing newer product lines such as OTP and fuse, both based on MTP technology. “We plan to build full range of embedded NVM product lines to help customers enhance competitiveness,” concludes Huang.
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