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8 Semiconductor Companies in Canada

semiconductor companies in canada

Table of Contents

GaN Systems

GaN Systems is the global leader in GaN power semiconductors with the largest portfolio of transistors that uniquely address the needs of today’s most demanding industries including data center servers, renewable energy systems, automotive, industrial motors and consumer electronics.

As a market-leading innovator, GaN Systems makes possible the design of smaller, lower cost, more efficient power systems. The company’s award-winning products provide system design opportunities free from the limitations of yesterday’s silicon. By changing the rules of transistor performance, GaN Systems is enabling power conversion companies to revolutionize their industries and transform the world.

ATI Technologies

ATI Technologies Inc., commonly referred to as ATI, was a prominent Canadian semiconductor company known for its innovations in the GPU and chipset space. It was founded in 1985 as Array Technology Inc., headquartered in Markham, Ontario.

Graphics Processing Units (GPUs)

ATI was renowned for its development of GPUs, which are essential components in graphics cards for computers and other devices. These GPUs were used in a wide range of applications, from gaming to professional graphics and more.

Chipsets

In addition to GPUs, ATI also produced chipsets for various computing platforms. Chipsets are crucial in connecting and coordinating different hardware components within a computer.

Public Listing and AMD Acquisition

ATI Technologies Inc. became a publicly traded company in 1993, and it continued to grow and innovate in the GPU and chipset markets. In 2006, it was acquired by Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), a major semiconductor company known for its CPUs and other technologies. This acquisition allowed AMD to integrate graphics capabilities directly into their processors.

Competition with Nvidia

ATI and Nvidia were the two dominant players in the graphics processor industry during the early 2000s. Their competition drove advancements in GPU technology and contributed to the growth of the gaming and multimedia industries.

Fabless Semiconductor Company

ATI was a fabless semiconductor company, meaning it focused on research, development, and design of semiconductor products while outsourcing the manufacturing and assembly to other companies.

Industry Influence

The competition between ATI and Nvidia, along with their technological innovations, had a significant impact on the graphics industry. It led to advancements in graphics performance, improved visual quality in games and multimedia, and contributed to the development of new graphics standards.

Legacy

Although ATI as a separate entity ceased to exist after its acquisition by AMD, its technologies and innovations continue to influence the GPU industry to this day. AMD’s Radeon brand, which includes ATI’s graphics technologies, remains a key player in the GPU market.

Headquarters Markham, Ontario, Canada

Microsystems International

Foundation and Ownership

MIL, short for Microsystems International Limited, was founded in 1969 and was based in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. It was established as part of Nortel Networks, which was then known as Northern Electric. Nortel Networks was a major telecommunications equipment manufacturer.

Merchant Semiconductor House

MIL was an early attempt by Nortel Networks to create a “merchant semiconductor house.” In this context, a merchant semiconductor house refers to a company that designs and manufactures semiconductor components for sale to a wider range of customers beyond its parent company.

MIL MF7114 Microprocessor

MIL gained historical significance for producing one of the world’s earliest microprocessors, the MIL MF7114. This microprocessor was based on the design of the Intel 4004, which was one of the very first microprocessors. MIL’s adaptation and production of the MF7114 contributed to the early development of microprocessor technology.

Microcomputers

In addition to microprocessors, MIL also manufactured a series of early microcomputers using the MIL MF7114 microprocessor. One of these computers, the MIL CPS-1, is noted for possibly being one of the earliest examples of a microcomputer system that was shipped in a completed form, rather than as a kit that needed to be assembled. This early example of a pre-assembled microcomputer system could have had a significant impact on the broader adoption of microcomputers.

Legacy

MIL’s contributions to early microprocessor and microcomputer technology hold historical importance in the evolution of computing and telecommunications. While MIL itself may not be widely recognized today, its work and products played a role in shaping the technology landscape.

MOSAID

Foundation and Early Focus

MOSAID was founded in 1975 in Ottawa, Canada. Initially, the company primarily focused on designing dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) technology. DRAM is a type of semiconductor memory used in computers and other electronic devices for data storage.

Diversification

Over time, MOSAID expanded its business activities into various areas of the semiconductor industry. This diversification included activities such as electronic design automation (EDA) software development, semiconductor reverse engineering, test equipment manufacturing, and intellectual property (IP) licensing.

Initial Public Offering

In 1994, MOSAID went public with an initial public offering (IPO) and was listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “MSD.” This move allowed the company to raise capital from public investors.

Shift to Patent Licensing

By 2011, MOSAID’s primary focus had shifted to patent licensing. The company began licensing its intellectual property, particularly in the field of semiconductor technology.

Acquisition by Sterling Partners

In 2011, MOSAID was acquired by Sterling Partners, a U.S.-based private equity firm. This acquisition marked a significant change in the company’s ownership and direction.

Name Change to Conversant Intellectual Property Management

Following the acquisition, the company was renamed “Conversant Intellectual Property Management” in 2013. Under this new name, it continued its activities related to patent licensing and IP management.

Return to the MOSAID Name

In 2021, the company announced that it was changing its name back to “MOSAID.” This move represented a return to its original name, reflecting its historical roots in the semiconductor industry.

Pultronics

Pultronics Inc. is a Canadian fabless semiconductor and software design company that was founded in 1994. The company is involved in various aspects of electronics design and offers a range of products and services

Founded in 1994

Pultronics Inc. was established in 1994, making it a well-established player in the field of semiconductor and software design.

Fabless Semiconductor Company

Being a fabless semiconductor company means that Pultronics focuses on the design and development of semiconductor devices but outsources the actual manufacturing of these devices to third-party foundries. This allows the company to concentrate on innovation and design.

Product Range

Pultronics develops a variety of electronic circuits, including stand-alone electronic circuits, RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) tags, and RFID readers. RFID technology is widely used for tracking and identifying objects, assets, and products in various industries.

Sensors and Monitoring Solutions

The company is also involved in the development of sensors and monitoring solutions. These solutions can have applications in fields such as industrial automation, healthcare, and environmental monitoring.

Design Services

Pultronics offers design services in multiple domains, ranging from microelectronics to custom intellectual property (IP) solutions. This indicates that the company provides expertise and services to help clients design and develop electronic solutions tailored to their specific needs.

Custom IP Solutions

Intellectual Property (IP) solutions in this context likely refer to customized semiconductor designs and technologies that Pultronics can develop for clients. Custom IP solutions can be essential for companies looking to differentiate their products in the market.

Solidum Systems

Foundation and Founders

Solidum Systems was founded in 1997 by Feliks Welfeld and Misha Nossik in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The company was established as a fabless semiconductor company, indicating that it focused on semiconductor design and development while outsourcing the manufacturing of its devices.

Semiconductor Devices

Solidum Systems specialized in the development of rule-based network classification semiconductor devices. These devices were likely used in networking equipment and systems to classify and process network traffic based on specific rules and criteria. This technology is important for optimizing network performance and security.

Support for 10 Gbit/s Interfaces

Some of Solidum Systems’ devices were capable of supporting 10 Gbit/s (Gigabit per second) interfaces. This indicates that the company was involved in the development of high-speed networking solutions, which are crucial for handling data-intensive applications and services.

Acquisition by Integrated Device Technology (IDT)

In October 2002, Solidum Systems was acquired by Integrated Device Technology (IDT), a semiconductor company with a focus on mixed-signal and analog devices. This acquisition marked a significant development in Solidum’s history and integration into a larger semiconductor organization.

Closure of Ottawa Offices

Unfortunately, IDT decided to close the Ottawa offices supporting Solidum Systems’ products in March 2009. This suggests a change in IDT’s strategic direction or business priorities at the time.

Misha Nossik’s Role

Misha Nossik, one of the co-founders of Solidum Systems, was also notable for serving as the second chairman of the Network Processing Forum (NPF). The NPF is an industry group focused on networking technologies. Nossik’s involvement in this forum highlights his contributions to the networking and semiconductor fields.

Look-Aside Interface

The Network Processing Forum (NPF) released the Look-Aside Interface specification, which is significant for Network Search Elements like the devices developed by Solidum. This specification likely played a crucial role in defining how network search and classification elements should interact within networking systems.

Teledyne DALSA

Teledyne DALSA, formerly known as DALSA Corporation, is a prominent Canadian company specializing in the design and manufacturing of specialized electronic imaging components and semiconductor fabrication.

Specialization in Electronic Imaging

Teledyne DALSA specializes in electronic imaging components and solutions. This includes a wide range of products such as image sensors, cameras, frame grabbers, and imaging software. These technologies are used in various applications, including machine vision, industrial inspection, medical imaging, and more.

Semiconductor Fabrication

In addition to electronic imaging components, Teledyne DALSA is involved in specialized semiconductor fabrication. This includes Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) and high voltage Application-Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs). MEMS technology involves the miniaturization of mechanical and electrical systems on semiconductor substrates, while high voltage ASICs are custom-designed integrated circuits for specific applications.

Part of Teledyne Imaging Group

Teledyne DALSA is part of the Teledyne Imaging group, which is a collection of companies within the Teledyne corporate umbrella that specialize in imaging technologies. Teledyne Imaging includes various leading-edge companies focused on different aspects of imaging, from sensors and cameras to software and solutions.

Teledyne Corporation

Teledyne DALSA is part of the larger Teledyne Corporation, a multinational conglomerate with a diverse range of businesses. Teledyne’s portfolio spans aerospace and defense, instrumentation, digital imaging, and more. The Teledyne brand is associated with advanced technology and innovation.

Applications

Teledyne DALSA’s electronic imaging components and semiconductor fabrication solutions are used in a wide range of applications across industries. For example, their imaging technologies are used in quality control and inspection systems in manufacturing, medical devices, automotive safety systems, and scientific research.

Innovation

Teledyne DALSA is known for its commitment to innovation and advancing the field of imaging technology. They have a history of developing cutting-edge solutions to address the evolving needs of various industries.

Zarlink

Zarlink Semiconductor, a Canadian company headquartered in Ottawa, had a significant presence in the semiconductor industry, particularly in the fields of communication and medical semiconductor integrated circuits.

Core Specializations

Zarlink Semiconductor specialized in the design and manufacture of semiconductor integrated circuits, modules, and other devices, primarily focused on communication and medical applications. This included technologies related to network timing, voice enhancement, and ultra-low-power wireless communication.

Acquisition by Microsemi

In October 2011, Zarlink Semiconductor was acquired by Microsemi Corporation in a hostile takeover. Microsemi is a semiconductor manufacturer with a focus on analog and mixed-signal integrated circuits. This acquisition brought Zarlink’s capabilities and products under the Microsemi umbrella.

Integration into Microsemi

Following the acquisition, Zarlink was integrated into Microsemi’s operations. This merger allowed Microsemi to expand its portfolio of semiconductor solutions and strengthen its position in the communication and medical sectors.

Global Reach

Before its acquisition, Zarlink Semiconductor was a global company with a wide customer base. It served approximately 3,000 customers in more than 100 countries, highlighting its global presence and reach.

Manufacturing and Development

Zarlink’s manufacturing was primarily done offshore through subcontracting partners. The company had development centers in both Canada and the United States, where it focused on innovation and product development.

Specialized Fabrication Facilities

Zarlink had specialized fabrication facilities in Wales, which likely played a crucial role in manufacturing its semiconductor products.

Subsequent Acquisition by Microchip

It’s worth noting that Microsemi, the company that acquired Zarlink in 2011, was itself later acquired by Microchip Technology Inc. in March 2018. This acquisition further consolidated assets and expertise in the semiconductor industry.

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