EMC Gems rewrites the rules of simulation
The Friuli-based startup, born a year ago out of the University of Udine and an expert in electromagnetic simulation, offers client companies vertical and tailored solutions distinguished by ease of use and extremely competitive simulation times
By Massimiliano Luce
The demand for simulation tools by companies has been steadily growing for several years. A trend that, in March 2021, led to the emergence of EMC Gems, an innovative startup from the University of Udine, in the role of technology provider. Leading it is CEO Ruben Specogna, who has always been involved in electromagnetic simulation research activities. "Faced with new simulation challenges, over time companies became more and more demanding and began to evaluate next-generation solutions," Specogna says. In this respect, EMC Gems was also born to fill some gaps that had surfaced in the market at the know-how level. "Covering more mathematical domains, knowledge related to simulation techniques, over time, was not cultivated with the same intensity as topics that, today, pay off more like graphene, artificial intelligence, fuel cells, hydrogen and medicine."
As a result, in fact even before EMC Gems was established, prominent companies such as Google began to get in touch with the University of Udine, requesting some consultancy. In this regard, another weighty name that has been interested before others in exploring the new paths of simulation is Renesas, which signed a specific collaboration agreement with the University of Udine. "Thanks to the positive results achieved with Google and Renesas, but also together with other smaller realities, we decided to open ourselves up more and more to the market, while at the same time attempting to enlarge ourselves through the foundation of the university startup EMC Gems, specifically dedicated to the topic of simulation for electromagnetic devices," Specogna continues. Accomplice in some respects to the covid-19-related pandemic, a further boost came from the ability to develop a number of very innovative simulation techniques, moreover now covered by patents. "The decisive feature, which distinguishes them, lies in the ability to achieve a speed-up factor of hundreds, if not thousands of times, compared to the solutions currently in use," Specogna points out. "Achieving these results, corroborated moreover by the publication of a scientific article, approved by international reviewers, in the reference journal of the simulation industry, convinced us to strengthen our commitment even more. Our strong point, therefore, is the very driven research in basic mathematics, which allows us to conquer an extreme speed, considerably higher than normal simulators."
From research to the field
The number of companies that are showing interest in EMC Gems' innovative technology proposition is growing steadily. "Renesas, today our most important partner, has been joined later by such always prominent companies as Melexis and Infineon," Specogna reports. Thanks to word of mouth from satisfied customers, as always the best publicity for a company, more recently EMC Gems has also been approached by Texas Instruments. "The commonality between these companies is that they all already possessed simulation tools," Specogna notes. "However, once they attested in testing to the quality of our technology in terms of speed-up and performance, they decided to purchase it." In addition to selling the license, EMC Gems also ensures a consulting activity, to design the solution on the specific needs of each customer. The Friuli-based startup, however, is far from satisfied with the important results already achieved to date. "We are constantly engaged in our basic research activities and in the future we expect to improve further," promises Specogna. Precisely for this reason, EMC Gems is looking for new resources to join its ranks to further strengthen the current staff of five researchers. "The goal is to get to take advantage of the contribution of two/three more people, in order to contact more customers and grow even more."EMC Gems, in fact, is not just a technology supplier, but, if anything, stands with respect to the customer as a true partner capable of proposing customized software. "Our resources work closely with the companies that come to us, thus building a much appreciated synergy. We actually procure a complete package, packaged for the specific application. In this way, the use proves to be very intuitive and the economic return immediate." For example, EMC Gems has created a tool for inductive position sensors. "The customer simply enters the desired size of the sensor, and our tool will automatically make the design, saving it in Gerber format and sending it to the manufacturer ready-made." EMC Gems will also ensure the same opportunities for custom and automatic design for other types of products, for example, induction heating and wireless power transfer. "Right now we are focusing specifically on low frequency, as electrotechnicians, however, in the future we will definitely make high frequency products as well."
Vertical solutions for large and small companies
Building on the favorable and positive feedback gathered in a relatively short period of time, EMC Gems' plans for the future are therefore reasonably ambitious. "Based on the needs of each individual customer, we implement a vertical tool for their specific product. In any case, given the centrality of the computing tool, 90 percent of the work is already done. What changes from time to time, depending on the application, is the interface part," Specogna specifies. EMC Gems' close relationship with the University of Udine, which finds precisely in Specogna the connecting element, as the startup CEO also operates within the Friulian university, naturally holds special importance. "In the university we study precisely the basic mathematical aspects, with the aim of publishing the results in the best scientific journals in the field. Then, through the startup, we deal with technology transfer, implementing these techniques in an optimized way in order to make them usable by companies," Specogna adds. "Overall, our ultimate goal is not to conduct pure mathematical research, but to apply it to simulation as efficiently as possible." Not for nothing, EMC Gems is based in the Lab Village of the University of Udine, a university laboratory that also hosts and welcomes outside private companies as a meeting point and synergy. In addition, for customers grappling with the implementation of a device, having fast simulations such as those provided by EMC Gems' technology allows them to conduct a considerable number of them in extremely competitive timeframes. "This actually allows the entire design space to be fully explored, even in the case of so many variables to be evaluated, in order to improve the final product and gain competitiveness against what the competition is offering," Specogna points out. EMC Gems' goal now is to have the top 15 international companies in the microelectronics industry as customers. "In this way, the favor garnered among multinationals will become the best business card to win the attention and trust of even smaller companies," Specogna argues. In this regard, among the key factors in reaching the largest number of users, Specogna points to ease of use. "Our software is different from other tools on the market, which tend to be very general and flexible to solve any kind of problem, but, for that very reason, not exactly easy to configure."From this point of view, EMC Gems' strategic choice is to focus on vertical solutions in order to optimize the software to the particular application from time to time. "This is an advantage both for us, by virtue of the simplicity of the graphical interface, and for the customer, who can use the variables proper to his interest," concludes Specogna, reiterating the winning customization of EMC Gems' offerings.