Microelectronica SA, from the formation of the team (1976) to the peak moment (1990)

Microelectronica SA, from the formation of the team (1976) to the peak moment (1990)

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Microelectronics (ME) was, in the '80s, the top of the semiconductor industry in Romania.

The germ of the semiconductor industry was planted by Prof. Mihai Draganescu at IPB, which paved the way for the study and use of solid body physics in the transition from electronic tubes to silicon transistors and then to integrated circuits.

From electronic tubes to "Electronic Devices and Components"

A defining moment was the change of the profile of the section of "Physical Engineers" from the Faculty of Electronics from IPB from electronic tubes to "Electronic Devices and Components" based on semiconductors in 1972.

A number of professors have laid the scientific foundations that have trained many of the future engineers at Microelectronics: Mircea Bodea, Adrian Rusu, Dan Dascalu, George Samachisa, Anca Manolescu, Anton Manolescu and others.

ICCE (Research Institute for Electronic Components)

In parallel, ICCE (Research Institute for Electronic Components) was the already existing core chosen to carry out the ambitious project to start a new enterprise in a new and extremely competitive industry: the manufacture of large-scale integrated circuits based on MOS (metal-oxide-semiconductor) technology.

The main role in the technical and endowment training of Microelectronics was played by the director of ICCE, Constantin Bulucea, an exceptional technical leader and a passionate pioneer of the project.

Realization of the project

A group of researchers was chosen to carry out the project (constructions, equipment, personnel, technologies, licenses): Dorel Prisecaru, George Smarandoiu and Gelu Voicu.

Many other researchers from the MOS integrated circuit laboratory contributed to laying the foundations of the enterprise and training the younger specialists who were to join them: Radu Vancu, Andrei Vladimirescu, Mircea Dusa, Adriana Delibaltov, Dumitru Cioaca, Horia Profeta, Ervin Gurau.

Representative of the way in which Microelectronics was created is the fact that the distribution of engineers' jobs began 4 years before the construction of the factory, the first two places being allocated to IPB graduates since 1976.

Because at that time it was not possible to work in research directly from the faculty, the graduates were assigned to IPRS (already existing company on the Baneasa platform that produced bipolar transistors and integrated circuits) and then "delegated" to ICCE to deal with the preparation of Microelectronics.

Creation of Microelectronica SA

The people who contributed to the creation of Microelectronics were entirely from ICCE:

  • Constantin Bulucea, director;
  • Mircea Dusa, head of the MOS Integrated Circuits laboratory, later head of the mask manufacturing laboratory;
  • Dorel Prisecaru and George Smarandoiu - especially in charge of planning and carrying out Microelectronics;
  • Andrei Vladimirescu, Horia Profeta and Radu Vancu - founders of computer aided design of MOS integrated circuits;
  • Radu Barsan, Adriana Delibaltov, Serban Jelea, Elena Muntiu, Ileana Cernica, Raluca Leancu - members of the "PIF" team (Commissioning of MOS technology), which first developed a microfabrication line MOS integrated circuits at ICCE, then transferred to Microelectronics;
  • Gelu Voicu - responsible for the assembly-testing line licensed from SGS-Ates, Italy.

Many of those mentioned above continued at Microelectronics after the construction of the plant, but not all.

Enterprise structure and production

After its establishment in 1981 and commissioning in 1982, the new company was run by the Director Gheorghe Constantinescu (previously deputy director at ICCE) and chief engineer Dorel Prisecaru.

Along with the rest of the management team and many specialists (listed above), the department heads (Gelu Voicu, Radu Barsan, and Cornel Ciubotaru) contributed especially to the development of the enterprise.

Structura Microelectronica SA

Microelectronica SA had 3 sections: Section of "Manufacture of MOS structures", Section of "Assembly-Testing of MOS circuits" (head of section eng. Gelu Voicu) and Section "LED" (head of initial section eng. Herman Ciubotaru, then eng. Dan Stoenescu).

The first two sections formed the manufacturing flow for MOS integrated circuits. At its inception, ME had about 40-50 employees, most of them engineers, representing the Microelectronics (ME) group at ICCE. In 1990 he had over 500, work in 3 shifts, etc.

The first phone with a digital keyboard in Romania

ME was established in December 1982, after 6 years of technological and constructive "training" at ICCE. In the following years, the "Structures Manufacturing" section developed many other more advanced processes, 1k SRAM, 4k DRAM, CMOS 4000 Series, etc., which produced more advanced chips (chip, chip, English) than those with Al gate. (used especially for "custom designs": the dashboard clock for the Oltcit car, the first phone with a digital keyboard in Romania, etc.).

Some of the manufactured chips were assembled and sold in the country, others in the GDR (Erfurt Microelectronics Plant). The assembly / testing part was put into operation with the help of a complete license from SGS-ATES (Italy).

Bibliography:

Dan Dascalu, Radu Barsan, Information Science and Technology in Romania, Romanian Academy, Romanian Academy Publishing House - Bucharest, 2018

https://www.researchgate.net/

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18 comments

  1. An enterprise and research institute equipped with import under embargo. It was not Romanian, through the tricks of the CSP I managed to import it.
    I paid dearly for it. But we had to modernize every year, as was done in the West, which we were not able to do.
    We did not manufacture technological equipment or design any special types. But I copied almost everything that was produced internationally, probably paying for the licenses.

  2. In the field of electronics, technologies are evolving rapidly and on a very tough competitive market, such an enterprise designed not to depend on the competitive system (by banning imports) has no chance to face the competition of other companies in China and the Far East.

  3. All the industrial objectives in Romania were thought and designed to function only under a political control of the totalitarian communist state where everything was planned and controlled by party activists and security guards.
    After 1990, these enterprises could not adapt to the new conditions of the market economy and the competition of foreign companies and after accumulating large debts in banks, they went bankrupt.
    Unfortunately, this was the destiny of many industrial objectives in the other communist countries as well.

    1. Mr. Dragomir, maybe you can talk a little about the real reasons why Romanian companies have accumulated large debts. The Romanian enterprises were heavily ticked by the Securitate and the people of the second echelon by the communists, so that, sooner or later, they went bankrupt. True, the sales markets in the CAER area no longer functioned, the quality of the products was what it was, new sales markets were hard to find as long as there is a deadlock in capitalist production but the hard ticking of state-owned enterprises put an end to them.

      1. Correct. This is the truth. In addition, it should be noted that the export was controlled by services through external representatives. Here was the betrayal, but it started from the internal factors (politics, interest groups) that generated it!

  4. I had the privilege to practice in ICCE and Microelectronics, as well as to have as teachers in college perfect teachers like Mircea Bodea, Adrian Rusu and Anca Manolescu!
    Three reference names, to which I feel the need to add that of Ioan Constantin (signals, circuits, systems), to the courses of which I learned more mathematics than to the mathematics courses!

  5. I was working at ICCE (CCSIT-CE) when I got a job there, it had just burned down a year ago in the opto section (LEDs, optocouplers, etc.) from Microelectronica and they were made at ICCE.
    I don't know how it was for others but for me it was a civil prison, I left there without regrets at ICE in Aviatiei, Floreasca.
    At that time he was general manager at ICCE Batrana, a great friend of Elena Ceausescu. I only have unpleasant memories from that place, most of the bosses were some damn communists crazy with researchers' titles, some lick communist asses, I prefer not to comment more on this unfortunate episode from a professional point of view in my life because it hurts my health.
    Very good that that damn and infected sewer is gone…

    1. This is the last period in which Romania went into the dark thanks to Lenuta - a (stupid) world-famous "academic" cacademician, who removed valuable people, calling them the type you mentioned.

  6. And PS Speaking of the great research, there were decapsulated components from the West and researched how they are made and copied, it is true that their copies did not always come out.
    You all know the difference between BFX89 and BFY90, in fact BFY90 were all just that when tested those that fell below 1400MHz cutting frequency were marked with BFX89.
    This is so that his colleagues who were tinkering with Bulagari antenna amplifiers at the time would know why their amplifiers didn't work out the same way 🙂

  7. I worked at ME from 88 to 97 when unemployment was rising rapidly. Until the 90's it was a top enterprise, but after the 90's there were other interests that actually happened all over the country. The enterprise was (is) in the Băneasa forest and the land became the attraction of the mafia.

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