ASIC designer SWINDON Silicon Systems is celebrating thirty five years of trading. From small beginnings in 1978 in Swindon, the company has grown to become the UK’s largest fabless supplier of high performance mixed signal Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) with a turnover of £21m and delivering 50 million ASICs annually. ASICs allow almost any analogue or digital circuit to be implemented on a single chip, replacing traditional discrete components. Only a few years ago a bespoke integrated circuit was no more than a dream for most industrial designers, but SWINDON has put them within the reach of any technology sector.
By 1987 SWINDON had set up a test department and moved to its current premises with a separate production facility added in 1999. The company’s success in the automotive market led to it becoming part of Tomkins Plc in 2007, assisting it’s sister company, Schrader Electronics, to become the global leader in tyre pressure monitoring systems. Schrader International was acquired by Madison Dearborn Partners in 2012, bringing SWINDON the benefits of being part of a large multinational whilst maintaining its autonomy to pursue other markets. SWINDON is expecting its growth to continue, and a move to a new custom built facility is planned to accommodate this growth.
XMOS has added Modbus and CANopen xSOFTip blocks to the embedded industrial communications capabilities supported by its xCORE family of multicore microcontrollers.
CANopen and Modbus are well established as the leading industrial communications protocols. The addition of these new soft peripherals allows designers to integrate these commonly-required protocols in xCORE-based embedded designs alongside a wide range of other industrial communications standards with timing-predictable, jitter-free control code.
This unique flexibility of configuration allows embedded designers to build systems with the exact combination of interfaces and control capabilities needed for their applications.
UK startup Xsilon is looking to open up its machine-to-machine (M2M) technology to the industry for connecting the Internet of Things in the home.
The Bath-based company has set up a Special Interest Group (SIG) to license its Hanadu communication protocol on an accessible FRAND basis, says CEO Russell Haggar. The SIG will work to complete the Hanadu specification, support it on its path to standardization, develop propositions for particular applications and markets, and support a widespread adoption of Hanadu technology. Haggar says he expects 5 to 10 members within the first year
The SIG will take over the development of the Hanadu specification from Xsilon, allowing offerings from multiple vendors to create a broad platform within the home in the same way as the Bluetooth, Zigbee and OpenET SIGs.
“Having worked hard to create the Hanadu concept and to develop its technology base, we are now moving on to the next level as we open out the platform to our partners,” said Haggar. “We’ve had nothing but positive responses to Hanadu from all our partners and customers throughout its gestation, and now they are working with us to build real momentum in the market for Hanadu products.”
ST to close its former Inmos design centre Bristol site
Company expands globally as it enters high growth phase
Bristol-based chip developer XMOS has appointed a new advisory board to provide it with valuable business and technical guidance from some of the semiconductor industry’s most experienced and successful members. A sales and business development office has been opened in Austin, Texas and XMOS is also establishing a new software product support and development center in Chennai, India.
The European ENIAC Programme launched its 4th call for proposals (ENIAC Call – 2011) on On February 23rd, and the Technology Strategy Board are investing over £1m into this year’s call. The programme is aimed at companies engaged in research or design for microelectronics, nanoelectronics, micromachined systems (MEMS), System in Package (SiP), and System on Chip (SoC) design.
To help South West companies prepare of their proposals, the Electronics Knowledge Centre, in partnership with the NMI and the Microelectronics iNet, is holding an information day in Bristol on March 17th at the University of the West of England (UWE). This event will provide companies an opportunity to learn about the ENIAC programme, how to apply, and how to find the right collaborative partners.
The event will also include the opportunity for companies to “pitch” their capability, particulary if they are looking to participate in the programme. This will be followed by a brokerage session, giving companies the opportunity to discuss project ideas during private “one to one” meetings.
University of the West of England, Bristol
Speakers from: ENIAC JU, Technology Strategy Board, University of Sheffied, Philips BV
in association with NMI and the South West Microelectronics iNET
Registration fee: £15 + VAT (Members)
£30 + VAT (Non Members)
A chip and software from picoChip in Bath are being used for a new next generation small cell basestation developed by Airspan of the US.
The picoArray technology has been used to implement LTE and other wireless processing in Airspan’s new multi-standard ‘small cell’ basestation, the AirSynergy. This provides high-performance data capacity to densely populated urban hotspots for the next generation LTE phones and is easy to deploy in metropolitan areas on buildings, strand-mounted from utility poles or on lamp posts.
AirSynergy is designed for deployment at “non-telco” locations such as city centers and business districts. With a small size and embedded wireless backhaul/relay through Airspan’s iBridge system, AirSynergy is aimed at rapid and cost-effective deployment in sites where traditional base stations cannot deliver the capacity required.
“LTE carriers need to fill service gaps in their networks with small cell base stations, such as AirSynergy, to deliver the promised download speeds and capacity to their customers. Picochip is helping us to make this possible,” said Paul Senior, CTO, Airspan. “We needed a cost-effective solution with low power consumption and high RF performance; Picochip, as a leading technology supplier for small cells, was the obvious choice.”
Picochip recently also made the first announcement of end-to-end interoperability between an LTE femtocell and commercially available user equipment (UEs), in partnership with Wavesat and Continuous Computing.
“This year will see the femtocell market expand from its foundations in residential applications, to include metropolitan and rural deployment, in 3G and LTE,” said Nigel Toon, CEO of Picochip. “Airspan’s selection of Picochip for LTE is a strong validation of our leadership and a continuation of our long standing relationship. For LTE to deliver its potential, the network must be optimized around high performance small cells, with a dense deployment of cost-effective solutions like AirSynergy.”
- Airspan Air4G base station integrates WiMax and LTE connectivity into one device (slashgear.com)
- A Cell-Phone Tower for Your Pocket (technologyreview.com)
- SouthWest electronics firms shine in Barcelona (swinnovation.co.uk)