Fabless Semiconductor Model

Manufacturing semiconductor components involves significant capital investment and multiple steps that are geographically dispersed, intensely interconnected and extended across multiple months. This process requires highly advanced research and design, followed by die fabrication, assembly, testing, quality control, packaging and distribution.

For a “fabless” semiconductor company like Cirrus Logic, all product research and design is performed in-house, along with testing and quality control. The semiconductor fabrication process, which includes assembly, testing, packaging and distribution, is outsourced to companies across the globe. The Cirrus Logic supply chain management organization is responsible for overseeing all aspects of this process. Our company’s engineering operations team manages process and package development, test program development and production testing of products in accordance with our ISO-certified quality management system. This manufacturing strategy allows us to concentrate on our design strengths and to minimize fixed costs and capital expenditures while giving us access to advanced manufacturing facilities. It also enables the company to leverage strategic relationships to source multiple leading-edge technologies.

Our “Fabless” Production Model — Five Distinct Production Stages

Research

This initial step involves in-depth research from our in-house engineering design teams to explore new semiconductor architectures and materials to spur innovation in integrated circuits (ICs). R&D efforts are concentrated on the design and development of new products for each of the company’s principal markets, utilizing a combination of market research and customer feedback to inform our innovation process. We also work to develop certain advanced process technologies, as well as other emerging product opportunities.

Design and Validation

Cirrus Logic design engineers then begin the highly intricate process of IC design. This involves close collaboration with our silicon layout designers through a series of stages to convert the product specifications into the physical layout and electrical components necessary to meet those specifications. Our team verifies each stage of the design to ensure that when the IC actually is built it will meet both our exacting specifications and our high quality standards.

Fabrication

Once product design is initiated, Cirrus Logic selects a foundry that can meet the specific product performance, production volume demand and quality goals. Cirrus Logic maintains relationships with several foundries in order to provide a spectrum of potential solutions for our products. All foundries with which we work must maintain ISO 14001 certificates and adhere to the Cirrus Logic Supplier Code of Conduct. The foundries produce products to our specifications using pure silicon wafers and raw materials using highly sophisticated equipment. Our design, test and quality engineers, along with supply chain management, work closely with these foundries to ensure the products are delivered on-time, on-spec and to our quality specifications.

Assembly and Test

Cirrus Logic devices exit the foundry in wafer form and ship directly to our highly specialized packaging vendors for final assembly. All maintain ISO 14001 certificates and adhere to the Cirrus Logic Supplier Code of Conduct. During the packaging process, wafers are transformed into “chips” that are capable of interfacing with the customer’s end application. In addition to assembly, our packaging providers test each device to ensure functionality is within specification. Cirrus Logic packaging, test and quality engineers and supply chain management organization are engaged throughout the assembly and test process to ensure products are delivered on time and adhere to our quality standards.

Packaging and Distribution

The shipment of the final packaged product to end customers is a collaborative effort between the Cirrus Logic supply chain management and global logistic providers. Cirrus Logic utilizes high quality, JEDEC-compliant packaging for all our finished goods to ensure their safe arrival at our customers’ production lines. Together with our global third-party logistics providers, Cirrus Logic can provide timely delivery of product to our customers.

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