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ARCHIVE >  July 2013 Issue >  Partnering > 

Programming Solutions for 40 Years

For more than 40 years, Data I/O Corp. has been a major source for the manufacture, distribution, and service of trusted and innovative manual and automated programming systems and software applications for programmable semiconductor devices. Since 1972, Data I/O Corp. has championed the use and growth of programmable devices in a wide variety of industries and products. The firm provides programming solutions for devices in any package, whether in a socket or on a PCB. The company's expertise in programmable ICs, global supply-chain processes, and intellectual property (IP) management and protection helps bring innovative new products to life. Global electronics manufacturers rely on the company's systems and software applications to program their IP into devices during this critical step in the manufacturing process.

Data I/O celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2012. Since its founding, the company's focus and mission have changed. The firm is a pioneer in device programming, and its products have evolved with technology. In 1972, the company introduced the first commercial PROM programmer, the Model 1, and indeed, during the first two decades, has introduced more than 40 new programmers. Initially, the solutions were used mainly by design engineers. But in the mid-1990s, methods for design engineering changed and NAND flash memory emerged as the latest device technology targeted at consumer electronics and wireless applications.

NAND presented challenges to manufacturers needing to program large volumes of devices efficiently and effectively. Data I/O was the first to develop a programming engine, automated as well as manual programming systems, and a library of bad block schemes to address NAND challenges. eMMC device technology emerged in the late 2000s, driven by the need to support exponential growth of file sizes and smaller PCBs for tablet computers and smartphones. These devices created new problems for electronics manufacturers due to special features of the device and long download and programming times. Data I/O was the first to support these high-density devices. This move from developing solutions for design engineers to producing automated solutions for electronics manufacturers has been a significant growth area for the company and for the industry in general.

Now the company is seeing fundamental changes in NAND flash technology. While NAND flash memory continues to advance towards higher densities and lower power requirements, multiple bits per cell have increased the density of these devices. As silicon devices shrink, device variability and error rates can increase, requiring sophisticated control algorithms to offset this trend.

Data I/O has been an industry leader for 40 years developing high-quality, reliable programming solutions for cutting-edge device technology. The firm is trusted by the manufacturers of the world's leading automotive, wireless, and consumer products, its industrial controls, and its military/aerospace electronics products to deliver programming solutions that meet their manufacturing requirements

For the company to remain an industry leader, it must focus on its core business: developing innovative solutions for new device technologies and delivering the highest-quality programming solutions to its customers. As smart electronics continue to play a huge part in daily life, from medical devices, safety features and sensors in cars, satellite communications and defense, to ubiquitous wireless devices, electronics manufacturers will be required to meet higher-quality standards.

Data I/O's, customers, distributors, and sales representatives do business on four continents, and highly respect and the company, its products , service, and support, viewing it as the "gold standard" in device programming. The introduction of the second-generation 3D Coplanarity Vision System with the PS588 automated programming system is the latest example of the company's focus on delivering solutions to support customer quality requirements.

The number of programmable microcontroller and flash memory devices used in critical automotive applications (anti-lock braking systems, engine control units, telematics, powertrain, navigation systems, and more) is increasing every year and the file sizes associated with these devices are growing exponentially. Mistakes during this crucial process can be costly. The 3D Coplanarity Vision System provides the accuracy and reliability needed for such applications. With accurate measurements down to 7µm (0.0003-in.), the 3D Coplanarity Vision System gives customers assurance that these critical semiconductor devices are ready for assembly — programmed correctly and free from defects.

The 3D Coplanarity Vision System is just one of the options available to support customers with demanding quality requirements such as automotive electronics manufacturers. In addition to the 3D Coplanarity Vision System, Data I/O has the industry's most reliable handling systems, trusted FlashCORE III programming engine, and a suite of software applications allowing customers to customize their automated programming systems to meet their quality and process needs.

Software is a key part of the success of the company and is the cornerstone of its systems, enabling solutions to be fast, flexible, and extensible. Software's critical role starts with algorithms, or individual software packages, written specifically for each device. These algorithms are a set of instructions that define the digital timing via current and voltage levels to program data into a specific device. Software engineers write hundreds of these individual software packages each year to enable the full capability of each device.

FlashCOREIII, a FPGA-based programming engine, makes it possible to quickly respond to changes in device silicon and optimize the programming engine through software updates without making any changes to the hardware. Because of this optimization, Data I/O's software team is able to create new and boosted algorithms, increasing the programming performance and allowing devices to be programmed at theoretical maximum speed. Customers are able to easily take advantage of these optimized algorithms, thereby increasing programming speeds and maximizing throughput. These enhancements are made available immediately to any customer via annual support contracts.

Beyond algorithms, software applications are the foundation of the company's product solutions, extending the value and capabilities of its systems. A recent example is the Automotive Performance Pak software suite. Some software application examples include Version Control providing configuration management ensuring traceability; Factory Integration Software integrating Data I/O's automated programming handlers with customers' MES systems; and Serial Number Server managing dynamic data. This allows programming to seamlessly integrate with customers manufacturing processes.


Contact: Data I/O Corp., 6464 185th Avenue NE, Suite 101, Redmond, WA 98052

425-867-6987 E-mail: ambrosa@dataio.com Web:
http://www.dataio.com

Anthony Ambrose joined Data I/O as President and CEO in October 2012, bringing 30 years of engineering, development, sales, and marketing experience in the semiconductor and embedded telecommunications markets. Prior to this, he had been the Owner and Principal of Cedar Mill Partners, a strategy consulting firm focusing on growth strategies for small- and medium-size technology companies. Before that, VP and GM at RadiSys Corp. for three product divisions, and GM at Intel Corp.

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