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Readers weigh in on package woes

Posted: 24 Jan 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:fpga? ic packages?

After last month's column ("The cost of packaging defects," Oct. 11, page 47), I received a number of e-mails and phone calls from users. The problems I had identified are more widespread than I suspected, and engineers were glad to see them brought out in a public forum.

The comments centered on packaging issues similar to the ones I had identified. Most of the engineers who contacted me were looking for alternative solutions or ways to fix their problems.

For component suppliers, packaging issues have received little attention because they are not readily tied to a component company's bottom line. But, as highlighted in last month's column, packaging issues do affect the customer's bottom line-and that is not a factor to be ignored. Success or failure of a product line or even an entire company can be linked to component package defects. This is an issue that I will continue to champion because it has such a big impact on so many current and future designs.

In addition to the packaging issues, one of the people who sent me comments spoke about the lack of good application notes and data sheets. One person had worked for 37 years for a large semiconductor manufacturer. His team, responsible for product data sheets and supporting documentation, was laid off en masse in the spring of 2003 as part of a cost reduction effort, and its activities were dropped.

The foregoing highlights the severity of the support issue. But it's also important to realize that this is a tough nut to crack. This is not the problem of any one vendor. It's not the province of FPGAs alone; there are similar problems with many other IC packages.

Application notes and data sheets need to be accurate and comprehensive; customer support needs to be responsive and proactive; and, finally, customers also need to make sure they are educated regarding the various components and the questions that should be asked when evaluating them.

My goal is to raise the level of awareness and spur the industry as a whole to work on solving the problem. It is going to take a concerted industrywide effort to address all aspects of the problem and all the audiences involved.

Lee Ritchey

Speeding Edge

Lee Ritchey is the founder and president of Speeding, a consulting firm specializing in the high-speed pc board and system design disciplines.

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