Allegro MicroSystems’ Efficiency Transformation with NI​

The semiconductor industry is undergoing rapid technological advancements and engineering teams face challenges in keeping up with the pace of innovation. To bridge the gap between these rapid advancements and the need for innovative solutions, companies like Allegro MicroSystems stand at the forefront. Allegro is a global semiconductor leader in sensor and power integrated circuits (ICs) and photonics, dedicated to innovative solutions for a safer and more sustainable future.

Khrystyna Pysareva, Director of Product Validation and Test Engineering, plays a crucial role in ensuring Allegro’s semiconductor products meet stringent specifications and quality standards from early development stages through to final production. “We live in a fast-paced technology growth. And successful companies like Allegro—we pride ourselves in innovation, and we are growing,” Pysareva shares. “Innovation and growth are really the biggest challenges because what you used to do yesterday is no longer good enough.”

The vital role of test in establishing customer trust and ensuring safety is foundational for Allegro MicroSystems. “We cannot give that product to the customer with a specification sheet and say, ‘trust us.’ Put this into the car and put your kids into that car. It doesn‘t work like that,” Pysareva declares. This highlights the crucial role of test in providing peace of mind, particularly in critical applications like automotive, aerospace, or medical, where the stakes are high.

Pysareva’s insights and experience offer a glimpse into how test shapes the journey from design to production, and the critical role of test strategy to drive efficiency and innovation.

Integrating Test Early and Often

To deliver unparalleled quality, test begins with product design at Allegro. “Right there, we need to start thinking about how we’re going to test this, especially when we’re talking about the complex systems that are sitting behind just a few access points,” she explains. By embedding test strategies at the core of product development, Allegro ensures that each component measures up to the company’s dedication to precision, reliability, and excellence.

Having test integrated so early into the product design process positions it as a central hub for collaboration across departments like applications, design engineering, marketing the product features, and many others. This cross-functional collaboration, orchestrated through the test function, ensures a holistic and cohesive approach to product development, where data and insights from different departments are used to create the highest quality products.

Transforming Operations for Efficiency and Innovation

With a robust test strategy, the Allegro team recognizes the need for adaptability in response to today’s dynamic semiconductor industry. “The practices that you used to do were in a startup kind of mindset. Five smart people can make everything work. We all know everything about everything. That no longer works,” Pysareva explains. The team needed to redefine their processes. Looking at procedures for standardization and scale ensures they are not only efficient but also scalable, repeatable, and robust enough for sustained innovation.

As they embarked on this transformation, a critical realization emerged about a gap in their process, leading to the creation of a new engineering function focused on product validation. “We discovered something that we knew all along, but we couldn’t take it anymore. We had a gap in our process. And we have decided that the answer to that gap is to create a new engineering function for Allegro, which we call product validation,” Pysareva shares.

The overarching vision of this transformation is not just about refining processes but also significantly improving engineering efficiency and minimizing the need for product revisions. To do this, the organization looked beyond traditional product development processes. As Pysareva reveals, they are expanding the framework to other critical aspects of Allegro’s operations. “And then we are also looking into expanding our setup, our physical bench setup, and our process outside of the actual product development,” Pysareva notes. This expansion includes integrating technologies developed in the lab into manufacturing, specifically using the NI PXI systems to create specialized test systems within their factories.

From Bottleneck to 16X Speed Improvement

Gaining leadership support for this pilot program was a critical first step, ensuring that top-level management was aligned with the vision and direction of the project. This alignment was crucial for the program’s initiation and success. With leadership buy-in secured, Allegro then embarked on the strategic path of partnering with NI—a decision that was integral to the pilot’s success. “NI has helped us, pushed us, and nudged us in the right direction or sometimes just validated that, yes, our choices do make sense,” Pysareva explains. “And that’s extremely valuable.”

The aim of the program was to achieve quick wins—a strategy to rapidly demonstrate the effectiveness and potential of the new framework. And the results speak for themselves. There has been a significant improvement in product evaluation. Previously a bottleneck, this process has been transformed under the new framework. When Pysareva asked her team how much faster it works under the new process, “… they giggled, and said 16 times.” This remarkable 16X improvement in evaluation speed on their first product under the new framework is a clear indicator of the effectiveness of Allegro’s strategic initiatives. “It was incredible. We’re on the right path,” Pysareva adds.

The strategy extends to applications engineering as well, with hopes to leverage its existing infrastructure to streamline processes across various other groups. Pysareva shares, “We are hoping that by building that library, we will eventually enable them to use the setup and infrastructure that we have built.”

NI has helped us, pushed us, and nudged us in the right direction.
-Khrystyna Pysareva, Director of Product Validation and Test Engineering, Allegro MicroSystems

From Tools to Partnerships: Allegro’s Growth with NI

“NI gave us not just tools, but I’m going to start with tools because tools—for engineers—are the most exciting and shiny thing,” Pysareva laughs. The introduction of new, cutting-edge engineering tools has not only sparked excitement among the technical teams but has significantly enhanced their capability to innovate and improve product quality. And it’s important to note that onboarding did not impede progress with the team. “It is so flexible. We are able to use some of our custom IP setups and interface them very easily with NI and integrate them and make them seamless in the system,” she explains. This ability to easily get up and running with a new toolset is a huge benefit of the standardized, flexible environment Allegro has enabled. The synergy between Allegro’s custom IP and NI’s advanced systems exemplify how the right tools and an adaptable environment are indispensable in achieving engineering success, and in Allegro’s case, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in test.

Gaining a strategic partner ultimately confirmed NI was the right choice for Allegro. The collaboration has brought numerous advantages, particularly in product validation, test engineering, and overall process efficiency. And the partnership with NI has not only enhanced Allegro’s technical capabilities but also fostered a culture of innovation and continuous improvement.

The integration of NI’s tools and systems has empowered Allegro to maintain its edge in the competitive semiconductor industry. Pysareva’s enthusiasm for the partnership is clear: “I’m very happy with the tools that we have chosen. Having NI by our side was really helpful as well.”

The Allegro MicroSystems partnership with NI is a paradigm of how strategic collaboration can propel a company towards unprecedented levels of efficiency and innovation. The integration of NI’s flexible, software-defined solutions into Allegro’s processes has not only streamlined their operations but also set a new benchmark.

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