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Friday, 01 August 2008

Short Lead-Times for MEMS Clock Oscillators Help OEMs

The financial risk of rushing a new product out the door has now been significantly softened as a result of today's production lead-times of less than 14 days (10 kpcs) for delivering programmable MEMS clock oscillators.

MEMS clock oscillators rely on cost-effective silicon-resonator technology, which allows the quick introduction of new products without added expense. Despite today's challenging economic climate, program managers need no longer make a trade-off between price and delivery, while design engineers enjoy greater leeway.

Materials Engineering News, July 2008

"These shorter lead-times will certainly allow manufacturers the freedom to adapt their products and have a shorter development cycle, thus encouraging innovation," said Frank Kuzler, president and senior analyst at Dedalus Consulting, Inc. Based in Brooklyn, NY, Dedalus Consulting is a privately owned market research publisher and consultancy engaged in the research, development and manufacturing of advanced technology products and services. "From a production stand point, it's really changing the way manufacturing is done. If things can be brought on line in short order, then you're not being held back."

Tough Times Require Quick Starts

AMD lowers Q1 sales forecast; Samsung Electronics trims 2008 sales forecast amid global economic woes; Gartner cuts worldwide PC sales forecast. Recent headlines tell the story — electronics manufacturers expect tough sledding ahead, all the more reason to keep costs in check and financial exposure to a minimum. With too long a lead-time on product development, a manufacturer becomes more vulnerable to changes in market demand. Products must be developed and rolled out quickly.

Toward that end, buyers must acquire components rapidly — clock oscillators being no exception as they are required in almost every electronic application like digital cameras, laptops, portable media players, computer peripherals, along with equipment in industries such as communications, medical devices, office automation and industrial applications.

Traditionally, though, the specifying of crystal clock oscillators involved some element of gamble. Any slight system design change — whether precipitated by an oscillator output frequency change or the preemptory release of a competitor's product — could result in the scrapping of the whole order. Since oscillators become the property of the customer once they are purchased, the customer incurs the liability, not the vendor.

In an attempt to lessen this exposure, buyers have demanded shorter lead-times. Yet, quick delivery has historically come at a price. "Ordinarily, when a buyer needs a product in a hurry, expediency charges come into play," notes Dedalus' Kuzler.

From its headquarters in Costa Mesa, California, Ecliptek has been a supplier of frequency control products to the electronics industry since 1987 and is one of the first to embrace the fast-growing, silicon-based MEMS programmable clock oscillator market. The company's EMO Oscillator family includes 12 different product series encompassing four industry standard package sizes and three supply voltages (1.8 Vdc, 2.5 Vdc and 3.3 Vdc), providing frequency stabilities of +/-50 ppm maximum over an operating temperature range of -40°C to 85°C.

The MEMS programmable clock oscillators contain a MEMS resonator, an oscillator stage, frequency-temperature compensation, a low noise phase-locked loop and a tri-state output buffer stage. A 200-mm CMOS MEMS wafer fabrication process for reduced lot-to-lot variation, industry standard quad flat no-lead packaging, and a chip on lead assembly process improves product reliability while reducing assembly costs.

These MEMS oscillators derive their cost-effectiveness from the economies of scale that silicon product enjoys, as apposed to traditional quartz oscillator devices.

This cost advantage holds up even in light of higher frequencies and supply voltages, as Ecliptek MEMS oscillators maintain a consistency in price from 1 megahertz to 125 megahertz, or in 1.8 V, 2.5 V or 3.3 V configurations.

The ability to rapidly deliver the specified frequency comes by way of the quick programming that MEMS oscillator technology enables. Given the reduced cost, vendors can afford to stock hundreds of thousands of blank units, which can be programmed and shipped on very short notice.

Speed Saves

The shorter lead-times afforded by today's MEMS programmable oscillator technology aids manufacturers in ways beyond the lower cost of the component. For instance, the fast delivery of oscillators can also save a project from going over-budget.

By narrowing the delivery window, a company also limits its liability from a time and financial perspective, reducing the possibility of getting beat to the punch by a competing product. "Short lead-times lead to shorter product introduction cycles, so you are able to get new products out faster. It often carries over to offering a more competitive price as well," continues Kuzler. "You get better customer satisfaction with that quicker turnaround time."

More Information & How to Order

For more information about this report including a brochure and table of contents contact Dedalus Consulting:

About Dedalus Consulting

Dedalus Consulting Inc. is a privately owned and independently operated market research publisher and consultancy. Our research focuses on both emerging and mature markets in high-technology sectors, including machining & materials, electronic components, life sciences, nanotechnology, mobile communications and photonics.

Research is continually updated through a methodology based on primary interviews with key executives. Companies interviewed include manufacturers, end-users, distributors, and research institutions.

Our clients include Fortune 500 companies, start-ups, financial analysts, and research organizations engaged in the development and manufacturing of advanced technology products and services.