Key Foundry, the only pure-play foundry in Korea, announced today that it has developed a customer-friendly semiconductor design support tool named PDK Version E (Process Design Kit, enhanced version), and begun its offering to fabless companies.
A PDK is a semiconductor fabrication process-related database offered by a foundry company. This database enables customers to create designs that are well-suited for the foundry service provider’s fabrication processes and equipment characteristics.
Recently, PDK has become a key indicator of foundry service provider’s technical strength. When fabless companies use well-defined PDKs, they can reduce risks that may occur during semiconductor manufacturing and shorten the time for development.
Key Foundry has been offering PDKs that support environments of major chip design tool companies such as Synopsys, Cadence, Siemens, etc. to help customer design. PDK version E was developed by adding a PDK setup environment (PDK Organizer) and gate-level PCells (GCELL) to improve customer design convenience.
The PDK setup environment helps customers build user environments suitable for their product designs and allows the customization of the entire PDK set compared to the existing method that supports customization of only part of the PDK set. In addition, GCELL, the first feature introduced in the foundry industry, supports functional units consisting of combinations of basic unit devices, which improve design convenience and reduce design time, unlike traditional methods that support only independent basic unit devices provided in the fabrication process.
Key Foundry has applied PDK Version E to all of its BCD (Bipolar-CMOS-DMOS) processes and continues expanding the application to Mixed-Signal, Embedded Flash and High Voltage processes. In particular, for BCD processes, where demand has been increasing in recent years, Key Foundry expects PDK Version E with additional updated models which more accurately represent silicon characteristics compared to the previous one will provide an opportunity to expand the customer base.
In a recent customer satisfaction survey conducted by Key Foundry, the majority of customers who have used PDK Version E gave positive feedback that the tool was helpful, and they intend to continue using it for future designs. It is deemed that the tool’s easy customization of design environments and high design and layout convenience are major reasons for the positive survey result.
“Key Foundry has made years of relentless development and verification efforts to reinforce design support for our fabless customers,” said Dr. Tae Jong Lee, CEO of Key Foundry. “We will continue striving to perfect our foundry service by improving our PDKs and grow the competitiveness of our process technology.”