MEA Q1 2022

MEA / Q1 2022 6 Dec21076 Excellence in Electronics Recently, an unbiased and independent research team fromAI Global Media has awarded ePiccolo Engineering, an electronic design services provider based in Israel, for demonstrating exceptional expertise in the field of electronic engineering and embedded software. We have invited Guy Shemesh, the general manager of ePiccolo Engineering for an interview. I: Guy, congratulations for the win! Guy: Thank you very much, we are so proud to have received this recognition. And while I think there are certainly great companies in our field, I humbly accept this award title and will continue to strive to provide our best service and live up to our name. AI: Could you please explain to a person not in field, what is it exactly that your company does? Guy: Well, we provide engineering services. The customer comes with his need to solve a certain problem or an idea to develop a new product. It can be in many fields, i.e. audio device, security camera, radar etc. The end application is non-specific, however the guiding line in all our services is that there is usually an embedded product involved, i.e. there is an electronic board with some processor IC that needs to be developed. Some customers require hardware design of the printed circuit board (PCB) while others may need embedded software be written to the processor. Lastly, some customers require full turnkey, hardware and software, and sometimes even mechanical enclosure needs to be developed. AI: How does your customers find you? Guy: Most of our customers are recurring customers that we work with for years. Some others are employees which after some time have moved to other company and recommended our services to the new company. And lastly, new customers find us usually via our website and I also get inquiries through a technical article I have written regarding PCB vias. AI: Nowadays, the semiconductor industry fail to meet the demand for electronic components. Does it affect your business as well? Guy: Certainly, we see it almost every day. The customers we serve are experiencing shortages with chips which affect their ability to manufacture their products. For example an electronic board can easily have over 50 types of different components and it’s enough for only one component to be in shortage and this board could not be produced. Simple replacements, for example resistor, capacitors, transistors, diodes, are common and usually it is not a problem to find replacements, but what do you do when you need to replace, say, the main processor on the board? AI: I assume some parts are not replaceable? Guy: Exactly. For this reason, many of our customers need to redesign their products. Literally, they take working products that have years of development effort invested in them and redesign them just because some chip on the board is non sourcable. Even as we speak we are working with one of our customers to replace a DSP with an ARM based microcontroller, we have to redesign both the software and the PCB. AI: At least it gives you more work? Guy: It certainly keeps us busy but we really hope not to receive this kind of projects. Our customers many times become our friends and we much prefer to receive work in better circumstances. AI: What are your preferred projects? Guy: It’s a tough question. Personally I like project that have an FPGA in addition to a processor on the board. Being a DSP guy, I always liked FPGAs as well and found them very interesting to develop since I could design the logic as efficient small computing machines many times involving a multiplier, block memories, and some sort of state machine to drive data in and out. These sort of things really allows for high processing power that with DSP alone would be difficult to realize. AI: Can you share with us things that you find difficult your business Guy: Yes. One of the things we find difficult is that we are continuously required to work on processors that are new to us. We have our arsenal of processor families we are comfortable with based on hands-on experience. However, the customer may need something else and this really forces us to invest time and learn a new processor. For example, we had a project based on the Xilinx Zync ultrascale+ (IC containing 6 ARM processors and an FPGA). In a later project, the customer required working on Intel/Altera cyclone 5 (IC containing dual ARM core and an FPGA). Although these are somewhat comparable ICs from different vendors, we were still required to invest the time to learn them both. AI: What would be your advice for a new company seeking a design to outsource? Guy: First and foremost, don’t enforce a specific solution. It is much better to specify what your product is supposed to do than define the implementation details. Do let us know if there is something special that needs to be optimized, i.e. product size, power consumption, cost etc. Please be sure that we will guide you through the different options available in realizing your design. Second, consult with us even in the requirement stage and we’ll try to guide you on what is feasible and what is risky, which solution can be more cost effective, and how to optimize our cost as well by requiring clear, practical requirements, which hopefully can reuse some of our technology in fulfilling your goals. Company: ePiccolo Engineering Contact: Guy Shemesh Website: A