Tkool Electronics

Datatec, Networking/IT Consultancy, Fairfield, NJ

TSM-107-02-T-SV-A-002-P-TR_Datasheet PDF

Datatec, Networking/IT Consultancy, Fairfield, NJ

EBN's Electronics Buyers' Index strengthened to 38.3 in August from 36.7 in July, but the trend within the industry remains slightly negative, with OEMs and component suppliers still reporting sluggish order rates and minimal visibility into end-market demand.

Economists said the EBI confirms that the electronics industry is operating at a depressed level. Although some segments are showing signs of improvement, a return to strong growth is not expected until the end of the fourth quarter at the earliest.

TSM-107-02-T-SV-A-002-P-TR_Datasheet PDF

The EBI Leading Index (EBILEAD) reflects some of the uncertainty expressed by purchasing executives polled in the latest survey. In August, the EBILEAD, the movement of which precedes the EBI by six weeks, rose to 51.6 from 49 in the prior month. The EBILEAD has stayed within this range of high 40s to low 50s since last December, and industry sources said a solid market improvement is unlikely soon.

The EBILEAD index suggests that market conditions are unlikely to change significantly in the next few months and will be marked by continued slow improvement in most sectors but with weaker-than-normal prices and lead times,” said Jim Haughey, EBN's staff economist.

Still, the latest EBI data indicate the industry rode the first half's strength through the middle of August. Only two segments of the index, inventories and prices, fell during the month, with inventories posting a negligible decrease to 29 from 29.3 in the preceding month. The pricing index dropped to 34.9 in August after remaining steady at around 37 for several months.

TSM-107-02-T-SV-A-002-P-TR_Datasheet PDF

The stall in reducing inventories in electronic component end markets is likely largely due to the spring slowdown in the pace of the economic recovery after the quick start during the winter,” Haughey said.

Noticeably, in the past five months none of the EBI's eight segments have risen above 50, the midpoint between industry expansion and contraction. In fact, most EBI sectors except for production, which rose briefly to 50.7 in April, have been stuck either below 40 or only slightly higher in the past 18 months.

TSM-107-02-T-SV-A-002-P-TR_Datasheet PDF

In August, the purchased electronics materials index rose to 40.6 from 37.4, while vendor deliveries climbed to 37.2 from 35.7 in July. Production rose for the second consecutive month, to 42.2 from 40 in the prior month, while unemployment, the weakest segment of the index, rose to 34.9 from 32.9.

What's keeping the electronics market from climbing at a more steady pace? The general economic conditions remain a concern, as seen in a report last week from the Conference Board showing a sharp dip in the August Consumer Confidence Index to 93.5 from 97.4 in the prior month.

A TI Developers Forum demonstration by RadioScope, which develops the software associated with baseband processors — a software-defined radio, for instance — was perhaps instrumental in setting expectations for the tighter MathWorks-TI partnership.

RadioScope demonstrated an adaptive filter program that ran on the TI C6711 floating-point processor. The program was initiated in the MatLab environment by simply drawing a graph of the filter cutoffs. The Simulink code generator automatically read the graph and generated the code that executes that filter function on the C6000.

SAN MATEO, Calif. — If time is money and product development budgets are being slashed, it follows that the time it takes to design and tape out a custom chip should fall too. That's no easy task as leading-edge process and designs grow more complex, so ASIC providers often turn to new tools for aid.

Tool vendors have been talking about the need for virtual prototyping for some time, and it appears their ASIC customers are starting to listen. Virtual prototyping refers to a general class of EDA software that gives designers more visibility into physical layout during RTL creation so that they can spot timing problems before physical design.

One company that has found religion in virtual prototyping is Agere Systems Inc., which recently announced a deal to provide the First Encounter virtual prototyping tool from Cadence Design Systems Inc. Since the move to 0.18-micron design rules, it's no longer advisable for ASIC designers to rely solely on traditional wire load models to meet timing constraints. Using the traditional logical design and ASIC handoff model, it could take five to 10 design iterations before the timing issues can be resolved, said Wes Reid, strategic marketing manager for Agere Systems.

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