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Not that anybody wanted extra proof that the analog section within the electronics trade is booming, however Texas Devices (TI) is serving it up anyway: On Sept. 29, TI introduced it started preliminary chip manufacturing at RFAB2, a brand new 300-mm analog wafer fab in Richardson, TX, that’s related to RFAB1, its 13-year-old 300-mm analog wafer fab. A couple of years from now, the pair will be capable of produce greater than 100 million analog chips on daily basis, TI asserts.
“It’s our funding technique to drive some of these merchandise into our newest and best manufacturing processes,” Roland Sperlich, VP and basic supervisor for Interface Merchandise in TI’s analog sign chain enterprise, informed EE Occasions. “That’s how we get to the smaller geometry, smaller bundle sizes, and decrease prices. Certainly one of our core values is to drive down the price of semiconductors and their implementation.”
TI’s RFAB2 is an enlargement of RFAB1, the world’s first 300-mm analog wafer fab. Mixed, they’ve 630,000 sq. ft of cleanroom area and 15 miles of automated overhead monitor to seamlessly transfer wafers between them. (The interior manufacturing capability enlargement isn’t any shock; throughout TI’s Jan. 25 earnings name, TI executives acknowledged that clients had been intently centered on new fab capability, together with the then-under-construction RFAB2.)
Sperlich confirmed EE Occasions a number of digital units his workforce and members of the corporate’s analog sign chain group have delivered to market, together with the digital isolator ISOW774x, the Ethernet PHY DP83TG720-Q1, the Corridor-effect place sensor TMAG5170, the brushless DC motor driver DRV8311, and the digital-to-analog converter DAC63204.
“At the least two or three of those units will likely be leveraging that extra capability” from the brand new 300-mm wafer fab, he stated. “Preliminary manufacturing started late final month. Over the following 12 months years, it’s going to ramp as much as full capability.”
Isolation no less than near middle stage
No matter what TI makes on the big 300-mm analog wafer fab, the corporate usually has a really sturdy concentrate on isolation in the present day. Sperlich pointed to the truth that TI has been “delivering isolation innovation” since 2006—when it got here out with its first SiO2 capacitive isolator.
The isolation units that TI makes shield on a regular basis merchandise like robotic vacuum cleaners—they acquire not solely dust but additionally electrostatic discharge as they roam round properties—from themselves, in addition to protects customers from the large battery packs powering electrical autos (EVs), for starters.
“At any time when there are excessive voltages and there are people, we have to discover methods to guarantee that nothing dangerous occurs,” Sperlich stated. “And so, we might have isolation merchandise that always sit between the data barrier and the human barrier, and guarantee that the people by no means see kilovolts of energy.”
The proliferation of EVs—and the anticipated unfold of concomitant EV charging stations—bodes nicely for TI’s specialization: “Normally, wherever you’ve electrical autos and charging stations and issues of this nature, you’ll discover merchandise from the isolation product line,” he added.
Even inside combustion engine vehicles are trigger for celebration inside TI’s partitions today.
“Automobiles usually have growing quantities of digital content material: screens and buttons and movable chairs and audio system that cancel ambient noise to make your driving expertise extra attention-grabbing,” Sperlich stated. “So, within the transceiver and isolation area, there’s quite a lot of work taking place.”
He declined to call clients however indicated the work is unending.
“We work with nearly each carmaker on the planet in attempting to unravel their isolation challenges—whether or not it’s velocity or channel rely, or they need to do increased voltages as a result of their battery packs are increased voltage. And different clients might have decrease battery pack choices,” he stated. “Within the auto trade, you’ll see totally different automotive distributors supporting totally different battery voltages, no totally different than when you picked up an influence device in the present day, you’ll see perhaps a 14-volt energy device and a 60-volt energy device. These have totally different isolation necessities.”
Medical, area purposes calling
TI’s isolation units are not at all restricted to automotive purposes.
“We’re nearly to launch our remoted USB 2.0, the world’s first USB-compliant isolation answer,” Sperlich stated. “You’ll see alternatives for that system to serve audio purposes the place audio indicators are going over USB, over presumably medical purposes the place there’s a USB plug in a hospital setting and individuals are plugging in a reminiscence follow obtain knowledge.”
“We already began releasing the decrease velocity, 12-megabit merchandise in our ISOUSB line this 12 months, and the 480-megabit half is releasing any day now. That’ll be a fairly thrilling providing, partly as a result of any time there’s a USB socket and there’s potential for having a voltage disparity between the left aspect and the suitable aspect, you want type of like a stage shifter. ISOUSB211 can shield the delicate circuitry and maintain issues working.”
TI additionally sees ISOUSB211—a galvanically-isolated USB 2.0 compliant repeater supporting low velocity (1.5. Mbps), full velocity (12 Mbps), and excessive velocity—going into area or low-orbit satellite tv for pc environments.
“Isolation, in lots of circumstances, is enabling alternatives there to avoid wasting on measurement and price and weight. So, think about if the area shuttle is just a little bit lighter, then it will possibly price just a little bit much less,” stated Sperlich, whose enterprise unit constructed the corporate’s first space-grade isolator product. “There are all types of purposes that may come into play that we’re working to deal with with a few of these efforts.”
TI’s RFAB (1 and a couple of) is Certified Producers Record (QML)-certified, so it is able to create space-grade merchandise there, he famous.