Cadence plans design kit expansion with Sigrity buy

By Chris Edwards |  2 Comments  |  Posted: July 4, 2012
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Cadence Design Systems has purchased Sigrity, the specialist in signal and power integrity, in a deal worth approximately $80m, to extend its IC packaging, PCB and IP portfolio.

AJ Incorvaia, vice president of R&D for PCB and IC packaging, told Tech Design Forum the company has made a number of small acquisitions in the PCB and package design area recently but “this is the first major acquisition in this space in a number of years”.

Explaining the rationale behind the purchase, Incorvaia said: “If you take a look at a modern, high-end design such as a smartphone or tablet, they are made up of large SoCs or large high-end FPGAs. While the protocols they use to communicate with each other are well-known – everybody knows what the DDR3 protocol looks like – implementing them is becoming much more difficult. The SoCs are running faster and a big – so they have to deal with simultaneous switching noise issues and reducing margins.

“Previously, it was possible to get away with rules of thumb but people can’t do that anymore. They have to simulate to ensure the design will meet the specification.”

Incorvaia said Sigrity’s acquisition would support both the PCB and IC packaging side of Cadence’s business, and would also help its SoC IP operation. “What they bring to the table is an industry-leading technology that we can take advantage of. We do intend to continue to provide users with Sigrity technology in the ‘foreign’ flows, whether it be a Mentor flow or Zuken flow, for example. Sigrity is solving problems for those customers.”

“Over time we do intend to improve the level of integration, particularly for Allegro users,” said Incorvaia. “But for those users in foreign flows we will continue to provide standalone tools. We envision doing what we did with tools in the FPGA space: take the engines and embed them inside of our products to do things that we could not do with file sharing. We clearly see the benefits of having this technology inhouse.”

“It extends down into the IC. Cadence is working to extend the IP portfolio and we want to be able to provide customers with design kits. When they implement IP in an SoC, they can use the design kits to validate and make sure they have implemented the protocols so that they work at the package and the PCB levels.

Incorvaia said the acquisition goes beyond the Sigrity software itself. “Sigrity has a well-established reputation in the marketplace and they have a very talened field organization. You have to be able to go out and support customers, particularly in the signal-integrity space: you need to have highly skilled people. And those people are hard to get. It’s a combination of the technology they have, the R&D and the field people they have.”

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