How to engage

When engaging a MEMS foundry or contract manufacturer, multiple aspects of the relationships need to be addressed during the business and technical evaluation process.

Upon signature of a mutual Non Disclosure Agreement, MEMSCAP® team and customers typically go through a list of technical and business questions which enable each party to determine if there is a potential technical and business match. The main topics to be addressed during that evaluation phase cover: Intellectual Property Management, Processing capabilities, Design specifics, Business terms and product positioning, Risk evaluation, and of course Quality Management System.

Below are frequently asked questions exchanged between MEMSCAP® customers and MEMSCAP® team during this evaluation stage:

PRELIMINARY QUESTIONS more

  • Is MEMSCAP® currently accepting new customers / are you interested in 0ur business?
  • Does MEMSCAP® engage customers at the R&D Stage through Volume Production?
  • Does MEMSCAP® have the capabilities to manufacture our chip/device? (Customer is to provide with a high level description of the device)
  • What is the smallest lot size/number of wafers MEMSCAP® will run?
  • Does MEMSCAP® have capacity at the moment?
  • Can MEMSCAP® provide a non-binding and a “rough guess” estimate of costs?
  • Can MEMSCAP® provide a non-binding and a “rough guess” estimate of the schedule?
  • Does MEMSCAP® have any experience with a similar device/chip/application? Can you provide examples and/or references?
  • Does MEMSCAP® have any background material that you can share that does not require a Non-Disclosure Agreement?
  • Does MEMSCAP® have a publically disclosed Customer List/Reference List that we can review?
  • Should we get a Non-Disclosure Agreement in place before we discuss many details?

Typically, as a foundry, we are interested in understanding our potential customers positioning and may ask for the following information:

  • A description of our customer’s application and target market (including market size),
  • A high level description of the device which may include the identification of the Device type, package type, and the level of necessary integration,
  • The different cost targets (per die or per wafer),
  • The position of the device in the Product Life Cycle: is it at the Advanced Development stage, Development stage, Pre-production or Production stage? Has this design already been fabricated elsewhere? and
  • The volume projections during the development and production stages, including the production ramp length and slope estimations.
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INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY QUESTIONS more

  • Whose NDA template shall we use?
  • Who owns/has rights to the design(s)? Is the design clean from and Intellectual Property perspective?
  • Who owns/has rights to the process(es)?
  • How is “jointly developed IP” handled?
  • Does MEMSCAP® have flexibility on how you structure your programs with customers concerning IP and IP development?
  • Does MEMSCAP® have any internal programs/products with similar IP to ours?
    • If so how do you prevent cross-contamination?
    • If so how do you protect our IP?
  • How does MEMSCAP® protect customer IP?
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PROCESS QUESTIONS more

At this stage, customer usually discloses the design of each mask level and a cross sectional image of the device. It is also accompanied by a high level process flow or process outline as a starting base for the technical and commercial evaluation.  When the process flow is not available, MEMSCAP® engineering team may build one. Typical customers inputs include:

  • The number of photomasks
  • The desired delivery schedule and conditions
  • The number of wafers needed and their exact type of wafers (thickness, resistivity, BOX and Device thickness, etc…)
  • The type of any Customer Supplied Material (if any)
  • The number of designs per wafer, and
  • The approximate number of die per wafer.

The following questions are typical concerns for customers:

  • Will MEMSCAP® provide us with a description of the process flow?
  • Can we make changes to the process once the program is started?
  • Will there be any process steps that are outsourced? And how Does MEMSCAP® guarantee the quality of the outsourced steps?
  • Does MEMSCAP® agree with our number of photomasks?
  • Can MEMSCAP® meet our desired delivery schedule and conditions?
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DESIGN QUESTIONS more

  • How many design variations per wafer does MEMSCAP® allow?
  • Can we make changes to the design once the program is started?
  • How many die per wafer does MEMSCAP® expect?
  • Will MEMSCAP® incorporate known “process bias” to our designs?
  • Does MEMSCAP® include Process Control Monitoring structures on the designs?

The specifications are at this time discussed and evaluated. Some of them are typically used as acceptance criteria in the future.

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RISK EVALUATION more

Timing is also of essence in the risk assessment. It is important that customers share their target timing to get to production, including internal and external qualification times.

  • What is MEMSCAP® overall impression of feasibility?
  • Are there specifications that we are asking for that will increase the risk and/or increase time and/or increase cost?
  • Are there specifications we could relax (or change or eliminate) to make to reduce the risk and/or reduce time and/or reduce cost?
  • What are MEMSCAP® initial yield/performance expectation (non-binding and a “rough guess”) based on this limited amount of data?
  • How will MEMSCAP® work to mitigate risks? Are these methods included in to quotations?
  • Can we do more to mitigate risk?
    • What would the additional time be?
    • What would the additional cost be?
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BUSINESS QUESTIONS more

  • How are MEMSCAP® quotations structured?
    • Milestone billings
    • Time and Materials
    • Delivery to Specifications
    • Payment terms
  • Is it possible to engage in a Development Agreement beyond a Purchase Order?
  • Is it possible to engage in a Supply Agreement beyond a Purchase Order?
    • If we require multiple sources for volume production will MEMSCAP® help develop the second source?
  • Will MEMSCAP® delivery wafers or die?
  • What is MEMSCAP® process for developing, documenting, revising and apply Acceptance Criterion?
  • What is MEMSCAP® expectation of timing to complete the development work of our device/chip into production? 
  • How does MEMSCAP® propose that we communicate throughout the program?
    • Phone calls
    • Emails
    • Face to Face
  • Who will control the communications?
  • Will we have direct access to:
    • Engineering?
    • Operations? Sales and Marketing?
    • Executives?
  • May we enter MEMSCAP® fab and/or test areas?
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QUALITY PROGRAM QUESTIONS more

  • Which Quality certifications does MEMSCAP® hold?
  • May we review MEMSCAP® last audit?
  • May we perform an audit of MEMSCAP® Quality Management System?
  • Does MEMSCAP® audit its suppliers?
  • Does MEMSCAP® inspect incoming materials?
  • Will MEMSCAP® provide us with a Certificate of Conformance with shipments?
  • Does MEMSCAP® have a Statistical Process Control system?
    • What does MEMSCAP® track?
    • How does MEMSCAP® use the data?
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Office to Contact

North America:
Phone : +1 (919) 248-4102
Email: info@memscap.com
Contact Us

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