We consider modern design for manufacturing (DFM) as a manifestation of IC industry re-integration and intensive cost management dynamics. In that regard DFM is somewhat different from so-called design for yield (DFY) which essentially focuses on productivity (yield) management (that is not to say that DFM and DFY do not have significant overlaps and interactions).
We clearly see the shaping of a new "full-chip DFM" infrastructure on the background of the "back to basics" design-manufacturing re-integration dynamics. In the presented work we are focusing on required DFM-efficiencies in a "foundry-fabless" link. Concepts of "virtual prototyping of manufacturing", "design process optimization", and "foundry-portable DFM" models are explored. Both senior management of the industry and leading design groups finally realize the need for a radical change of design styles. Some of the DFM super-goals are to isolate designers from process details and to make designs foundry portable. It requires qualification of designs at different foundries. In their turn, foundries specified and are implementing a set of DFM rules: "action-required", "recommended", and "guidelines" while asking designers to provide netlist and testing information. Also, we observe strong signs of innovation coming back to the mask industry. Powerful solutions are emerging and shaping up toward mask-centered IP as a business.
While it seems that pure-play foundries have found their place for now in the "IDM+" model (supporting manufacturing capacity of IDMs) it is not obvious how sustainable the model is. Wafer as a production unit is not sufficient anymore; foundries are being asked by large customers to price products in terms of good die. It brings back the notion of the old ASIC business model where the foundry is responsible for dealing with both random and systematic yield issues for a given design. One scenario of future development would be that some of the leading foundries might eventually transform themselves into IDMs. Another visible trend: some of the manufacturing capacities started to diversify business by providing services for new emerging markets (for example, new energy and medicine applications). Finally it is very unclear what’s going to happen to fabless players.
We continue building on the "Think SPICE again!" methodology introduced last year and expanding on previous platforms' discussion. Model expression of DFM, most probably, will be supplied by the equipment suppliers and yield management community. Actual content for a design intent model will be provided by manufacturing. Much like SPICE it describes the behavior and not what the actual measurement in manufacturing is. When the model is available and populated, a design automation solution can be created that will allow a designer to extract, analyze, simulate, and optimize the circuit prior to handoff to manufacturing.