Jur-ASIC Parts program recreates obsolete and non-linear audio devices

September 21, 2011 // By Julien Happich
JVD Inc, provider of analog and mixed-signal ASIC design, manufacturing and test services, announced its JurASIC Parts Program, a design service that focuses on bringing obsolete and non-linear audio (NLA) analog ICs back into production to meet the needs of older commercial and military applications.

In 1993 Dr. Allen Grant (played by Sam Neill) developed a means of bringing dinosaurs to life using DNA taken from dino' blood, which has been preserved inside prehistoric insects encased in amber. While the concept of reviving extinct species has intrigued scientists for decades, it has remained an elusive goal. However, a modern day equivalent, reviving extinct integrated circuits has seen great success. Semiconductor companies, especially those that have been in business for a few dozen years or more, have had to periodically "prune" their product offerings in order to better manage their business. The overhead of maintaining a low or near zero volume product is quite high, and although most companies have the foresight to offer their then existing customers lifetime buys, there have been many examples where additional need has arisen for critical MRO quantities. This has been particularly evident in military and aerospace applications.

Different than its typical Analog ASIC business, JVD has been called upon to assist customers who need small to medium quantities of obsolete ("extinct") semiconductors. In some instances, process information and masks sets can be obtained from the original manufacture and the needed chips can be resurrected with minimal effort. Other times, the old tooling materials no longer exist in corporate archives and the needed parts must be re-engineered from scratch, similar to a new ASIC design.

Copying and cloning an out of production IC can be very difficult, particularly with chips containing analog. The "genetically engineered" reproduction is likely to find itself inserted into a pre-existing PCB with surrounding circuitry designed to complement the unique characteristics of the original chip design, layout and process. Subtle differences from the original design can cause unwanted parasitic oscillations, noise or worse in an existing board.

JVD engineers are careful to analyze the behaviour of the original designs and incorporate even the small abnormalities they may contain into the new version. Some of the devices