Exploring Semiconductor Reliability

A common feeling among many designers and users of military electronic systems is nostalgia.  Nostalgia for the good old days when the electronics industry was almost the exclusive supply chain of the military. While almost all aspects of integrated circuits (ICs) have improved over the past few decades (better, faster, cheaper), many in the military still long for the day when almost every semiconductor device on the market met or exceed their requirements without even asking.

Topic: Semiconductor technology, integrated circuits

Read More

Top Six Ways To Lower Warranty Costs


Warranty costs can be the bane of hardware companies. Think about it. One of the great benefits of a software company (whether it’s the old fashioned standalone software on a disk or the more common webservices) is no warranty. Facebook does not have any set asides for warranty claims, which can run into the billions of dollars for some companies. Billions of dollars doing nothing but acting as insurance.

Topic: Warranty costs

Read More

How to Ensure Electronic Product Reliability When You Don’t Have Time to Test

With today’s rapid product development cycles and time-to-market pressures, there’s not always time to perform reliability testing. This situation leaves many manufacturers with the question of how to ensure their products will be dependable when reliability testing and the possible resulting re-engineering are too time consuming or expensive.

Topic: Design for Reliability, Test Plan Development

Read More

Solder Joint Reliability — Exposing the Weakest Link

Electronic systems may often fail, not because of poorly designed chips, substrates or other components, but because of the failure of the solder joints that link them all together. The mismatch between PCB solder materials can result in thermal expansion problems including excessive strain, cracking and open circuits. The impact of thermal fatigue, soldering defects, vibration and residual strains must be considered when analyzing solder reliability. These and other issues are often exposed in accelerated stress tests.

Topic: Design for Reliability

Read More

Does Anyone Care About Tin Whiskers Anymore?

Anyone remember tin whiskers? The destroyers of all that is good and just with electronic hardware?

Topic: Design for Reliability

Read More

Watch On Demand: Coatings and Pottings — A Critical Update Webinar

The electronics industry continues to experience setbacks caused by conformal coatings and potting materials. Failures modes are wide-ranging, but mitigation is possible by selecting the right materials, using new tools and techniques in modeling and accurately predicting potential failures.

Topic: Design for Reliability

Read More

How to Ensure Reliability of Aerospace Commercial Off-the-Shelf Parts (COTS)

NASA and the aerospace industry tenaciously pursue safety measures. The effect of various environmental factors on electronics components poses a reliability challenge for many engineers here on earth, let alone at 40,000 feet or in deep space. Components in development undergo rigorous qualification processes and extended test cycles, often repeated at extreme parametric limits and under harsh environmental conditions, and the price can be excessive.

Topic: Design for Reliability

Read More

Facing the Challenges of Self-driving Vehicle Technology

Automakers like Ford, GM, Volvo and Tesla made major strides in 2016 for autonomous vehicle technology, and are closer to making driverless cars a reality for the average consumer. Meanwhile, Uber made news when they introduced self-driving fleets to the public. While driverless cars may not be pulling into most driveways in the immediate future, it’s clear the race is on.

Topic: Physics of Failure, Autonomous Vehicles

Read More

How to Implement Physics of Failure Techniques

As the demand for smaller, faster, and more functional electronics continues to rise, so does the challenge of reliability. Whether designing electronic mechanisms for aerospace, automotive, battery, data storage, defense, semiconductor, or other industries, effective Physics of Failure (PoF) techniques can help predict and prevent problems that lead to critical operation failures.

Topic: Design for Reliability

Read More

What is Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF)?

Defined as the probability that a device will perform its required function under specific conditions for a defined period of time, MTBF is used broadly across industries. Reliability in avionic and automotive applications hinges on predicting failure — specifically the expected time between two failures for a repairable system. This meantime between failure (MTBF) serves as a basis for a number of formulaic calculations:

Topic: Test Plan Development

Read More