The adoption of Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) technology by the UK manufacturing base

McArdle, Christopher (1997). The adoption of Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) technology by the UK manufacturing base. PhD thesis The Open University.



Since the late 1970s, families of microelectronic technologies that could bring the advantages of high levels of electronic integration have been available at reasonable prices and manageable risk to all sectors of UK industry. However, the uptake of these technologies has been painfully slow, particularly by the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that make up most of the companies currently operating in the UK. It is the aim of the research described here to assess how slow the uptake has been, the reasons for it, and possible solutions to the problem. The problem is investigated with reference to SMEs.

In order to reach conclusions it has been necessary to:-

• Define Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) technology and review its history

• Review that nature of the UK SME base and identify why they should use ASICs

• Review the UK, European and World ASIC markets

• Analyse the nature of the UK ASIC design and supply industry

• Ascertain the reasons for non-adoption and assess their validity

• Relate the findings of this research to appropriate business, organisational and system models

• Review past and existing technology-transfer programmes operating in the area of ASIC adoption at a UK, European and world level

• Compare the adoption of ASIC technology with the adoption of similar, wide-ranging, new technologies

The study concludes that the technology is unique in the wide range of industries to which it can be applied, and that although some advances in adoption have been made, there remains a significant number of hurdles to adoption which can best be addressed by government intervention and supporting activity from supply-companies, trade associations, user-groups and professional and educational institutions. Only once adoption has reached a 'critical mass' can it be assumed that a self-sustaining market will result.

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