OnScale and SoftMEMS Collaborate with Mentor to Announce a New Workflow for MEMS Digital Prototyping

The integrated workflow allows MEMS engineers to accelerate product development and shift cost away from physical prototyping processes to digital prototyping, companies say.

The integrated workflow allows MEMS engineers to accelerate product development and shift cost away from physical prototyping processes to digital prototyping, companies say.

OnScale and SoftMEMS announced an integrated workflow for MEMS Digital Prototyping combining Cloud Engineering Simulation and Tanner electronic design automation (EDA) tools from Mentor, a Siemens business.

“The deep integration of design tools offered by OnScale, SoftMEMS, and Mentor, our first EDA partner, provides a unique workflow enabling the co-design and simulation of micromachined electromechanical systems (MEMS) and sensor devices,” says Ian Campbell, CEO, OnScale.

The workflow leverages Mentor’s Tanner EDA solutions for schematic and layout capture, SoftMEMS process simulation to create realistic 3D CAD of as-manufactured MEMS, and the OnScale Cloud Engineering Simulation platform for fast simulations of large MEMS models and parametric sweeps for MEMS design optimization—what the companies describe as “digital prototyping.” Data from simulations is fed back into the Tanner L-Edit MEMS tool so that engineers can develop integrated circuits (ICs) quickly with accurate MEMS performance and timing data across manufacturing variances and environmental conditions.

The integrated workflow allows MEMS engineers to accelerate product development and shift cost away from time-consuming physical prototyping processes to digital prototyping. “In many cases, our customers see a 90% reduction in cost, risk, and time-to-market by shifting from physical prototyping to digital prototyping,” adds Campbell.

“Tanner EDA is a MEMS design tool technology leader. Tanner L-Edit MEMS is engineered specifically for MEMS design, and is part of the Tanner Platform for IC, MEMS and Photonics design,” says Greg Lebsack, general manager of the ICDS group at Mentor. “The collaboration with SoftMEMS and OnScale brings MEMS design to the next new level – a streamlined flow from efficient MEMS layout, 3D modeling to large simulation capacity and fast turn-around.”

Co-Design and Simulation of MEMS Technologies

With the OnScale and SoftMEMS integration, engineers can rapidly iterate on new designs using digital prototypes. With a digital prototyping process, engineers first develop parametric geometry in their EDA tool of choice, generate large sets of 3D models for analysis using SoftMEMS, and execute all of the 3D simulations in parallel on the powerful OnScale Cloud Engineering Simulation platform. Reduced-order models of MEMS components are made efficiently.

“With this solution, we are smashing down the barriers to the co-design and simulation of MEMS and sensor devices,” says Dr. Mary Ann Maher, CEO, SoftMEMS. “Historically, MEMS specialists—electrical, mechanical, process, reliability, test, and systems engineers—worked in siloed environments and had trouble sharing and collating data in order to derive meaningful engineering insights. Now, with the SoftMEMS and OnScale integration, engineering teams can operate off the same sheet of music and ensure devices are truly optimized for performance, cost, and reliability.”

“As a MEMS engineer and entrepreneur at my first company, NextInput, I felt the pains of working with legacy desktop simulation tools that were too expensive and too slow to yield meaningful engineering insights,” says Campbell. “As a result, we made a lot of scrap – physical prototypes that didn’t work. With Digital Prototypes made possible by the cooperation of OnScale, SoftMEMS, and Mentor, MEMS engineers can be more confident that their designs will work, will yield, and will be robust in the environments and systems for which they were designed.”

Highlights of Integrated Workflow

  • EDA-Process Modeling-Cloud Engineering Simulation integration enabling MEMS Digital Prototyping;
  • realistic 3D CAD of as-manufactured micromachined electromechanical systems (MEMS) with SoftMEMS;
  • on-demand, scalable, pay-as-you-simulate simulation in the cloud with OnScale;
  • integrated workflow including Mentor, SoftMEMS and OnScale;
  • Digital Prototypes to accelerate product development; and
  • co-design and simulation capabilities for a tighter integration of engineering teams.

Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.

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