IC Mask Design to Invest €450k in R&D with Enterprise Ireland Support

Limerick, Ireland – 09 December 2009: Irish company IC Mask Design, which provides services to electronic chip design companies, is to invest almost half a million euro in research and development with Enterprise Ireland support over the next three years.

IC Mask Design has been operating as a design services company in the semiconductor space since 2002 and has over 90 customers worldwide.

In a move that will shift the company from a services-based business, this R&D investment will enable IC Mask Design to develop a software-based electronics design tool to accelerate and semi-automate the custom integrated circuit (IC) layout process. (for further detail see notes below)

Making the announcement Fergal Brosnan, CEO of IC Mask Design said:

“IC Mask Design identified the opportunity for such a tool having worked with many leading Fortune 500 and Fabless Semiconductor companies worldwide and seeing a number of its customers struggle with the physical design of the analog portions of their mixed-signal designs. Our tool will be innovative and technologically advanced, enabling the acceleration, standardisation and semi-automation of the analog layout process.

“Through our existing worldwide client base, we have a solid platform to validate the market for such an EDA tool. We have already received an extremely positive response, and with the aid of external funding we are now in a position to take the concept through the product development stage.”

Kevin Sherry, Enterprise Ireland’s Head of Internationally Traded Services added:

“IC Mask Design has a proven track record as a service provider in this highly specialised, technologically advanced field. This R&D investment will enhance the company’s business and offering and allow them to diversify into other areas of opportunity. Enterprise Ireland is delighted to support them and will continue to work closely with the management team as it pursues this new growth opportunity.”

IC Mask Design expects to launch its IC Layout Acceleration engine in Q1 2010, with further major releases planned through 2010 and 2011.

More About The R&D Project

Leading electronic design automation companies have invested heavily in the digital elements of the IC design flow. They provide complex tools that enable the generation of multi-million gate designs in short timescales. However, it is now widely accepted that the analog portion of mixed signal design is a significant bottleneck in the IC design process.

IC Mask Design’s IC Layout Acceleration engine looks to address this issue. Using its patented technology IC Mask has already developed a proof of-concept version of the engine. This has been demonstrated to a number of key customers, who have recognised that the tool would significantly accelerate their IC design process, lower design costs, mitigate the risk of costly manufacturing respins and ultimately reduce time to market.

About IC Mask Design

IC Mask Design is an industry leader in the provision of Physical Design Services and Software Solutions to the semiconductor industry. The company’s services encompass IC Layout and Training Programs, delivering expertise in Analog, RF, mixed-signal and digital design using the latest tools from leading EDA vendors. IC Mask Design also provides training courses covering the complete spectrum of physical design. Its Analog Layout Acceleration Platform aims to dramatically reduce analog layout design cycle time whilst producing optimal quality layout structures which incorporate circuit functionality requirements and process artefacts.