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How do you define DFM?

What does design for manfuacturing (DFM) mean to you? “More work to do!” “Someone else’s problem!” “Just more design constraints!” “The fab guys are expecting me to understand the process as well as design!”

I propose that we define DFM (design for mfg) as an attempt to trasfer a way of doing business that has been tried and tested in the manufacturing space for years, into the design space. The fabs have a long history of dealing with what I would call manufacturing for design (MFD). The basic mfg philosophy is that the only way we can ever hope to produce millions of chips from hundreds of designs with high yield is to measure, target and tighten variation in the manufacturing process.

For a fab guy everything begins with metrology (measure something). Someone once said that “You get what you measure.” They were right. With data you can understand the intrinsic distribution and ongoing trend that your process produces. Armed with data the fab tweeks the tools, flows, behaviors, etc. that tightens and centers the distribution and controls the trend over time.

I believe DFM can serve the same purpose in the design process. You will never improve the manufacturing robustness (quality) of you designs if you don’t measure something about the design that correlates to manufacturing robustness. With a good measurement in place it becomes a matter of tuning the design tools, flows, methods and behaviors to improve that metric.

I also don’t believe in the need to quantify the ultimate ROI before beginning this process. Measuring the quality of your design costs very little and understanding your own design quality variation will reveal low hanging ROI for improvement. The results of small initial steps will justify the next steps and so on and so on.

What do you think? Do you do DFM in your design flow? What kinds of things do you do? How did it get justified? Do you think it actually works?

Design Quality, Design for Manufacturing, Physical Verification

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About David Abercrombie

David AbercrombieI am the Advanced Physical Verification Methodology Program Manager at Mentor Graphics in Wilsonville, Oregon. For the last five years at Mentor I have been driving the roadmap for developing EDA tools to solve the growing issues in design to process interactions (DFM) that are creating ever increasing yield problems in advanced semiconductor manufacturing. For the previous 15 years I drove yield enhancement programs in Semiconductor manufacturing at LSI Logic, Motorola, Harris and General Electric. I also led software development teams in delivering yield enhancement and data mining solutions to semiconductor manufacturing. I hope you will read my publications and patents on semiconductor processing, yield enhancement and EDA verification solutions. I received my BSEE from Clemson University in 1987 and my MSEE from North Carolina State University in 1988. I love to play the guitar, explore the great outdoors, and watch a great science fiction show. Visit David Abercrombie’s Blog

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So, you assumed every one have done phd on DFM or have approx 7-8 years of exp in the same...... Please, if you really want to share something then better start from the basics, only in case if you care to share.....

rohan helio
1:17 AM May 28, 2009

You make a good point Rohan. Although DFM is such a common phrase in the industry today, it is not very well understood and not too many people have any real experience doing it. The bottom line is that there are many things that could be and often are labeled DFM. Any design activity that goes beyond just meeting performance specs and basic layout rule requirements in an attempt to improve the robustness of the design to the inevitable manufacturing variation is DFM. The idea of this post was simply to say that it I think it is more important to start than to end. Too many people do nothing because like you they don't feel like they have it all figured out. It has long been said that a million mile journey begins with a single step. The opposite is also true, if you don't take the first step you will never begin the journey. The manufacturing (MFD) concept is that it is best to take a pedometer with you on the first step, so you can see how far you have come. You have given me a good idea for some new blog topics.

David Abercrombie
3:25 PM Jun 2, 2009

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