The importance of getting it right the first time

Barbara Kolbl | June 2023

E = engineering leadership – Micron SAFER memory

When choosing automotive suppliers, it is crucial to ensure they understand the specific requirements and challenges of producing memory and storage components, which often have stringent reliability, performance and safety standards. A trusted advisor provides valuable guidance and supports customers. This close collaboration helps these customers make better decisions, achieve their goals and navigate challenges effectively.

For more than 30 years, Micron has maintained an unwavering commitment to the automotive industry through engineering leadership. This commitment has extended well beyond delivering the industry’s most complete portfolio of automotive-qualified memory and storage. Micron has made significant investments in customer support to ensure that automotive memory and storage customers can quickly bring their products to market. This support includes leveraging technical expertise, optimizing processes, ensuring quality control, driving innovation, collaborating at customer labs, and mitigating risks before they happen.

The importance of quickly bringing a product to market is shown in ongoing research and insights but most specifically by McKinsey & Co, which found that a product that is six months late to market earns 33% less profit over five years than it would have if it were released on time but ran 50% over budget. These results illustrate the influence Micron engineers can have on the outcome of a customer’s product when they work together to ensure the customer’s products are right the first time and their time to market is reduced.

Customer labs

Our experience working with many long-standing global customers encouraged us to create a network of 13 engineering labs to encourage collaboration. These labs — strategically located near key automotive development centers around the world such as Munich, Singapore, the U.S., Beijing, Shenzhen, Taipei, Seoul and Tokyo — are dedicated to assisting customers in the predesign, architecture and bring-up of their systems. The labs are equipped with state-of-the-art test technology and equipment. Because the Micron global customer labs have a common footprint, all of these labs provide our customers with these benefits:

  • In-house expertise — deep engineering experience and broad system knowledge combine to assist in successful system design and production.
  • Early detection — upfront product valuation testing for revealing early design issues.
  • End-to-end support — collaboration throughout the whole design cycle.
  • Top-notch performance —assistance with complex system-level designs, memory integration and maximized product performance.

The importance of this level of lab support cannot be overstated. Technology and memory solutions are being extended to meet higher-end advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) applications. At the same time, drive data bus widths are approaching 512 bits and I/O signaling is reaching 8.5Gbps. Because of these advances, our engineering support and collaboration with customers will be necessary to uncover potential failures before they happen. At Micron, this process starts from the very beginning of product development. As such, we are proud of our long-term relationships with our customers and our unique distinction of being the first to market with ASIL-D certified memory. These accomplishments are possible through our engineering leadership.

Engineering support

Engineering support can come in a lot of categories. At Micron, we like to cover all the areas to make sure that our automotive customers continue moving forward in their business. With the majority of our systems-on-a-chip (SoC) suppliers, we begin working early in the process to make sure our products and features support our customers at a higher level. We assist them in the design and bring-up of reference designs, ensuring that the operation of Micron memory and storage is prequalified and validated.

Our automotive system architects work closely to help design optimal solutions in addition to collaborating with customers to understand and incorporate market requirements and insights into future products. For example, Micron developed the industry’s first ASIL-D, ISO 26262-certified LPDDR5 — which we call Micron SAFER automotive memory. These certifications followed Micron’s 2021 milestone of sampling the industry’s first LPDDR5 hardware evaluated to meet ASIL-D suitability requirements and of establishing an office of functional safety.

Our quality organization continues our engineering leadership efforts by developing proactive ways to strive towards goals of zero defect through top-notch product quality processes, tests and methodologies to ensure quality levels throughout the process — beginning to end. We believe this approach is key to reducing automotive manufacturing risks and the prohibitive cost of component failures that happen in the manufacturing line or in the field.

As a trusted supplier, Micron has enabled valuable guidance to support clients, helping them engineer better, make informed decisions, navigate challenges effectively and achieve their goals. Additionally, our collaborative customer support ensures that we work together through our dedicated labs to achieve the desired results. While we are proud of the strong engineering capabilities we have at Micron, sharing this technology and innovation with our customers ensures they receive the expertise and support needed for leading results.

The Micron SAFER automotive memory blog series

This series provides insight and guidance when considering breakthrough automotive memory solutions and support. SAFER incorporates five key concepts: (S) Safest solution currently available in the industry, (A) Automotive mindset, (F) Fault coverage, (E) Engineering leadership and (R) Risk management. Each letter associated with the acronym SAFER has a corresponding blog with associated content. Check Micron’s functional safety page for info on additional blogs.

Sr. DRAM Product Line Operations Manager

Barbara Kolbl

Barbara Kolbl, senior product line operations manager, is fascinated with the changes memory is driving in the automotive industry. Her previous role in marketing communication for the automotive market segment along with her current role in LPDRAM operations allows her a front row seat to the changes happening in this dynamic market.