Custom Silicon Solutions, Inc. Newsletter
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February/March 2011
In This Issue


CSS Joins Qmed as a Qualified Supplier  


Having successfully completed several mixed-signal ASIC designs targeted for medical device applications, we quickly recognized that this market segment held plenty of opportunity for us but we were not adequately addressing the demand.


As a result, we began to put together a marketing plan designed to help build some name recognition within the medical device community as well as communicate our value proposition as an analog and mixed-signal ASIC designer.


As part of that plan, we signed on with Qmed as a qualified supplier and are now in the process of putting together a strategic marketing campaign to target their user base of over 350,000 medical device professionals worldwide. 


If you are in the medical device industry, particularly in the design function, you may want to take a look at the resources they offer and register to receive any of the e-newsletters they regularly send out.  Among others, the Qmed Daily does an impressive job of consistently reporting the latest goings on in the medical device industry.

Custom Silicon Solutions Memberships & Certifications:

CSS Memberships:

Global Semiconductor Alliance
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CSS Certifications:

ISO 9001:2008 Certified

ISO 9001

ITAR Compliant: Registration Code M24941


Central Contractor Registered (CCR): CAGE Code 5F3G6

Qmed Qualified Supplier 



Customer Testimonials

Comment from our  

Customer Surveys:


  • "Highest quality parts"
  • "Very easy to deal with"
  • "Great engineering help"

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or call us at


Custom Silicon Solutions, Inc.

17951 Sky Park Circle

Suite F

Irvine, CA 92614














Welcome to the February/March edition of the CSS Newsletter.  We hope you find these articles informative and helpful in your work.

Custom Silicon Solutions (CSS) provides a true Turn-Key Solution to meet your Mixed Signal ASIC needs - from Development through Production.  Our mission is to develop an ASIC that meets your requirement at the lowest possible price and with a minimum of assistance from your technical staff.  Please visit us at for more information or send an inquiry to  [email protected]

Keith Shelton

Challenges To The Schedule  


As we have touched on in the past, two key considerations that usually factor into your decision on whether or not to move forward with developing a mixed-signal ASIC are how much it will cost and how long it will take to complete the project.  In our world of "time equals money," logic dictates that the quicker you can get the design done, the less expensive it will be.  In an effort to help save you time and thus money, here are a couple of things to keep in mind as you get ready to engage with an ASIC development partner.


1. Know Your Target Before You Pull the Trigger


Nothing kills a development schedule quicker than a moving target.  Bear in mind that we typically will be involved in helping our customers define their final specification.  However, that process is undertaken BEFORE any design work begins.  In general, we don't provide a firm quote until the final specifications are set.  This helps to prevent "migrating requirements" and the resulting late deliveries and cost overruns.


2. Overkill Kills


As fundamental as this sounds, try to minimize any design requirement overkill.  We commonly find that ASIC specifications are written based on the discrete IC's used to develop a working prototype.  This may seem logical but it's not uncommon to have specs written that are well beyond the requirements of the application.  Do you really need a 16bit ADC or will a 12bit version work fine? Is it absolutely necessary to squeeze those last few milliamps out of your operating current spec?  Before finalizing your specification, be sure you understand where you set the bar and why.  Otherwise you may be unnecessarily adding weeks to your schedule and tens of thousands of dollars to your budget.


3. Choose a Design Partner with Relevant Expertise


If you are looking to develop an analog or mixed-signal ASIC, it is important that you engage with a design partner that has relevant experience with the "art" of analog design.  A couple of our engagements have come out of the ashes of attempted mixed-signal designs gone poorly at other design companies.  We were ultimately able to deliver to the customer what they wanted but the "do over" resulted in significant schedule delays and at a total cost that exceeded what was initially anticipated.  Before engaging, ask your design partner about experience they have had with similar designs/technologies/applications.  If you still have questions, don't be afraid to ask for references so you can get another customer's perspective.


4. Don't Unnecessarily Pressure the Process


Although this is the inverse of the "time equals money" principle, if your internal target for samples is August 1st, you probably shouldn't ask for samples to be delivered June 15th.  Compressed schedules result in additional costs to your design services partner (both hard costs and opportunity costs) which ultimately will be passed on to you.

Quick Links

What is ITAR?

Anybody who has done business with the Department of Defense or with DoD subcontractors is likely familiar with the US State Department's Directorate of Defense Trade Controls.  According to their  website, the DDTC is the federal government entity that "is charged with the export and temporary import of defense articles and defense services covered by the United States Munitions List (USML)."   As you may guess, the  list of items and services covered in the USML is pretty extensive and includes everything from small-caliber firearms to biological agents to nuclear weapons design.


In order to ensure that the DoD is able to continue to develop and maintain the most sophisticated military arsenal in the world while at the same time prevent the unauthorized export of those items and services covered in the USML, the DDTC enacted the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).  As part of ITAR, any US manufacturer or exporter of defense articles or services is required to register with the DDTC.  As part of the registration statement, among other things, a company must declare that it is not owned or controlled by any foreign persons and that all officers are eligible to contract with the US Government.


Being a self-registration process, ITAR registration is not the be-all, end-all to doing business with the Department of Defense.  However, ITAR registration is a critical requirement for all manufacturers or exporters of USML items and services regardless of whether or not they are selling directly or indirectly to the DoD.  Having completed our ITAR registration in June, 2009, Custom Silicon Solutions is now engaged in several ASIC development/production programs with three major military/aerospace companies.