One thing is certain about IC Package technology -- things change quickly. Leadframe package technology is one of the oldest, most reliable and cost effective ways to connect a die to a printed circuit board. However, until recently, it had been considered low-tech; that is only for low pin count devices, and certainly not for high frequency designs. Yes, things have changed. Leadframes now support higher pin count devices, stacked die, and creative engineers are managing high speed interconnect using 3D model extraction techniques that just a few years ago would have been thought of as a technology mismatch.
Packaging cost / performance trade-offs are the primary drivers for the changes in packaging design. Mario Rocha of CAD Design Software has had a front row seat to these changes as he has been planning the evolution of their Leadframe design tool for over ten years. Recently Mario contacted Cadence and suggested that a strategic alliance be formed where data from CDS tools could be easily integrated into Cadence IC Packaging tools. This would help customers optimize connectivity between the die and the package and even allow ECO requests to go back to the die to optimize the locations of the IOs on the chip. Recently CDS and Cadence announced the results of the collaboration in a press release.
We’ve invited Mario to say a few words about the journey he’s been on in the Leadframe design business and why the new Cadence alliance is valuable to the Leadframe design community.
'Leadframes have come a long way since their first use for packaging around the late sixties. Initially used in simple DIP packages, and later for surface mount chips, leadframes have come a long way both in utility and usage. Leadframes are typically created and edited in AutoCAD and account for a majority of packages designed. CDS has been working on creating software for leadframes since 2001 and has added features and functionality regularly since then:
2001 Software for intelligizing AutoCAD drawings
2002 Software to create leadframe package pins
2004 Program to parametrically create an array of "fingers"
2004 Export to Cadence programming efforts commenced
2008 Software Intelligization capabilities greatly enhanced
2009 CDS completed work on a full scale leadframe design and editing package system for QFP type leadframes
2010 CDS added design and editing capabilities for QFN type leadframes
2011 Joint flow with Cadence SiP / APD released
With this joint design flow from design through analysis for leadframe packages, CDS and Cadence Design Systems bring leadframe packaging into the mainstream of package design. Now such packages can be optimized, co-designed, and electrically / thermally verified prior to production. Much of leadframe usage has been driven primarily by cost while restricted to low I/O counts, given the lack of reliable design and analysis tools. Considering the variety of leadframes being used today, this joint flow enables much higher I/O packages to be reliably designed and verified inside of this cost effective packaging method. We are excited about this flow as it integrates designs started out with mechanical design tools into a best in class EDA toolset from Cadence."
TeamAllegro would like to thank Mario for his comments and we welcome your feedback on the new CDS / Cadence SiP integration for wirebond, co-design, and package model extraction of Leadframe designs.