11/8/2002 - Ramtron International said the announcement that Texas Instruments (TI) has produced a 64-million-bit (Mb) ferroelectric RAM (FRAM) chip further validates Ramtronís patented FRAM technology as a foundation for next-generation nonvolatile memory. With integral on-site development support from Ramtronís process and design teams, TI has produced the highest-density FRAM to-date on a standard CMOS logic process with only two additional mask steps. The development promises to move cost-effective high-density FRAM memory products into the mainstream. FRAM memories are new high-performance memories that hold data without power and merge the benefits of many memory technologies into a single device.
"Working with Ramtron is key to our successful development of high density embedded FRAM arrays," said Hans Stork, senior vice president and director of TIís silicon technology development. "We have looked at a number of options for an ideal embedded memory and FRAM clearly wins from a cost, performance and manufacturability perspective. In addition, we expect FRAM to be used in a variety of innovative applications in the future."
Ramtronís development teams have been working with TI since August 2001, when the companies entered into a multi-million dollar FRAM licensing and development agreement. In addition to licensing and development fee revenue associated with the partnership, Ramtron has the right to use the jointly developed ferroelectric technology to design, produce and sell its own high-density, stand-alone, FRAM memory products. Ramtronís high-density, stand-alone memory products could be available as soon as 2004.
"As Ramtron builds todayís market for FRAM memory products, it has been gratifying to work with TI to lay the groundwork for future generations of FRAM memory products," said Greg Jones, Ramtronís technology group president. "We are very pleased with TIís achievement and consider this development a major milestone in the evolution of our FRAM technology."
Ramtron expects new markets and applications to emerge for FRAM memory products as the technology migrates to higher densities. The company currently sells a family of FRAM memory products with densities ranging from 4-thousand-bits (Kb) to 256Kb.
FRAM Technology and Products Gaining Market Acceptance
Since the beginning of 2002, Ramtron has shipped more than 14 million FRAM memory products to customers for use in automotive navigation and entertainment systems, digital electricity meters, multi-function printers, and RAID disk controllers, among others. This represents more than a 350% increase in unit volume, compared with the same period in 2001. The commercialization of FRAM memory received a significant boost in August 2000 when Ramtron signed a $65-million volume purchase agreement with Ampy Automation to supply 27 million FRAMs for the largest digital electricity meter program in the world. Cubic Corporation, an early Ramtron development partner, recently announced the availability of its new generation GO CARD, a FRAM-enabled transportation smart card that holds 32-Kilobytes (KB) of FRAM memory. The FRAM-based chip used in Cubic GO CARDs are manufactured and supplied by Fujitsu, a Ramtron licensee and foundry partner, under a royalty-bearing agreement with Ramtron. In mid-October, another royalty-bearing licensee, Samsung Electronics, announced its intent to commercialize a 4Mb FRAM memory. In late-October, Fujitsu and ST Microelectronics announced their intent to collaborate on the development of contactless smart cards based on FRAM memory technology. Products produced by Fujitsu for ST Microelectronics to market are also subject to royalties payable to Ramtron.
Ramtron is the world leader in ferroelectric random access memory (FRAM) products — new high-performance nonvolatile memories that merge the benefits of many mainstream memory technologies into a single device. The company also develops and markets ultra-high-performance memory products through its subsidiary, Enhanced Memory Systems, Inc. For more information about Ramtron and its products, contact: Communications Department, Ramtron International Corporation, 1850 Ramtron Drive, Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA, 80921. Telephone is 800-545-FRAM (3726); FAX is 719-481-9294; E-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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