RealTime IT News

Toolwire Manages the Design Chain

Toolwire today announced that it will make its Design Chain Management (DCM) infrastructure available to companies in the electronics supply chain to empower their own branded offerings of online electronics design solutions.

"It's very difficult for a company to assure that the design process will run smoothly. What we've done is aggregate and integrate the technology and suppliers, allowing engineers to tap into these resources," Doug Marinaro, Toolwire VP marketing, told ASP News.

Every time a new chip is released to the market, new software is required to design, test and run the chip -- possibly up to 50 tools running simultaneously, Marinaro said. The process is similar to designing a house, Marinaro said. "When you build a house, you have to be sure it's structurally sound. When you build a component, you have to make sure it's logically sound," Marinaro said.

The design process starts with a description of what the device will do, written in a sort of programming language. That description is run through a software compiler, which translates the description into a layout of the chip or board. Then a series of simulations are run on that model which simulate the logic of the other components it will run with in the real world.

"It requires massive amounts of computational power to test," Marinaro said. "One piece of software may require 2 gigabytes of RAM to run."

Once the logic and performance are tested, the component is ready to be shipped to the manufacturer for production. All in all, it's a very computationally intensive process requiring multiple engineers, multiple vendors, and constantly changing technology. This is where Toolwire's Design Chain Management (DCM) comes in.

The model is a zero-latency model, reducing the time it would take an designer to assemble a team of engineers, who are hard to find, and even harder to find in a geographically centralized area, according to Marinaro.

"By putting the design online, it improves the process, the design is out faster and a distributed team can work together with a centralized workspace," Marinaro said.

Toolwire's DCM can also reduce the barriers to entry into the design market by eliminating the need to constantly purchase new software and hardware and by making these tools and this talent pool available to anyone for a one-time fee or on a subscription basis.

"Empowered by Toolwire", the private label service for manufacturers, training companies and other vendors, will allow vendors to offer Toolwire's design tools without diluting their brand, Marinaro said.

"A chip manufacturer can launch its product with its own reach and brand, and refer people to their own website to experience the design environment where an engineer could evaluate and test new designs for their product," Marinaro said.

In addition to the private label service, Toolwire has announced a $15 million second round of funding led by 3i, joined by Horizon Ventures and first-round investors Artemis Ventures, Angel Investors LP and Barrington Partners. Paul Rivers-Latham of 3i and Jack Carsten of Horizon Ventures will join the Toolwire board.

The company is also restructuring its top management, with the appointment of Mark Gilbreath, formerly vice president of business development at Toolwire, to the position of president and CEO, and the selection of Daniel Hodges, Toolwire's previous president and CEO, to fill the new post of chief strategist.

"We felt it was important to have someone with Mark's operational depth at the helm," Marinaro said. "And Dan's vision and ability to articulate that vision are unparalleled in the industry.

Gilbreath's initial focus as the new president and CEO of Toolwire will be to build a management team and operational infrastructure that will enable the company to leverage its momentum in the marketplace. Development of the