Eldorado is the first Latin American company to develop a 65nm chip (nanometer measurement equal to one millionth of a millimeter), a component highly sophisticated, containing about 90 million transistors and 10 million gates on a surface of some less than 20 mm². It is the most advanced chip ever produced in the region and a landmark in brazilian microelectronics. Participated in the project the also brazilian Idea! Electronic Systems and the north american Perceptia.
The chip is a demodulator for digital TV, which can equip notebooks, tablets, smartphones, flat screen TVs, portable TVs, GPS navigators, converters and any other electronic device that go with it to receive the signal of the brazilian digital TV, which uses a variation of the Japanese standard (ISDB-T). The chip will be made in Singapore by the Global Foundries, because there are no facilities for semiconductor manufacturing with this sophistication in Brazil.
According to Arthur Catto, superintendent of Eldorado, R$ 4 million were invested in this project, basically consumed in the assembly of all necessary infrastructure, with stations of specific work, machines with high processing power, software licenses for design, simulators, mathematical modeling, team formation, training, consulting, prototyping and testing. “Our main focus is not to replace the importation of chips. The idea that justifies the investment is to have a product commercially competitive and show the world that we are able to produce results with this complexity, showing competence”, says the executive. “There are international companies that previously only looked at Brazil as a market to sell products and now consider the country as a place to develop projects. Thus, we join the efforts that several other people are doing to demonstrate that we are a viable country”.
For Catto, more than financial return, this project aims to demonstrate to the national and international community that Brazil can enter in this select group of countries with expertise in integrated circuits design targeted to the consumer market. “For us, the project success is an important component in our competence as an organization. Today, Eldorado operates from integrated circuit design to software development – nowadays, we can develop a solution from end to end. Practically there are no problems in the areas we operate without an internal group of professionals prepared to present solutions, we have a very complete range of competence”, he says.
Development – For José Eduardo Bertuzzo, manager of the Eldorado Hardware area and coordinator of the team that developed the product, the most valuable part of the chip is the knowledge inserted on it. In his opinion, it is important that this value remains in the country to feed back the ecosystem, so that there are new investments that will generate more knowledge and innovation, in a virtuous circle. “More important than having a semiconductor factory – which requires huge investments and a large-scale production, because of the very low value of the silicon millimeter – is the ability to develop projects and influence the generation of new products. It brings much more profitable results, including to the country’s development”, emphasizes the executive. “Eldorado has the advantage that we are not specialized only in chip design, but we are also product developers that will use these chips, including hardware and software. Dominating the complete cycle is our main differential”, says Bertuzzo.