There are several reasons why today’s power supplies can experience reliability issues, including solder joint fatigue as a top contributor. Space constraints and large components in a power supply can prove problematic for solder joints, along with thermal expansion issues that can occur during thermal cycling. To help effectively predict and mitigate potential solder joint fatigue in a device's power supply, an understanding of common problems that can arise, along with a proactive design and analysis strategy, can help conserve engineering resources and speed time to market.
When designing semiconductor components in modern power electronics, designing a reliable power supply is often not a high priority. However, if the power supply fails, it can cause costly rework. Not only can operation of the power electronic come to an abrupt halt, but if the power supply isn’t designed or constructed to meet its predicted lifetime, it could also lead to the premature degradation of the entire power electronic system as well, as explained in this article.
In my last blog post, I noted that I had set up one of the earliest Surface Mount Technology (SMT) manufacturing facilities in the late 1970s. One of the main pieces of equipment we used was a Universal Instruments RhyMas II Model 4631 robotic placement system, shown below:
Recently I presented What 45 Years in the Electronics Industry Has Taught Me at our annual Design for Reliability Conference, and it got me to thinking about the “fails” I experienced during my career that are funny today but not necessarily when they occurred. They also taught me some lessons you may find valuable. Indulge me while I recount one of the more memorable stories.
Emerging technologies are making the electronics industry even more competitive, elevating the importance manufacturers place on product quality, reliability and speed to market.
When considering recent advances in technology like autonomous vehicles or cloud computing, it’s easy to forget that as little as 20 years ago, most people didn’t have a home computer. The internet wasn’t fully functioning until the late 1990s and mobile access wasn’t commonplace until the dawn of the 21st century.
The constant demand for smaller, faster, more reliable electronic components continues to drive innovation in component packaging. Component engineers are relentless in their quest for new and better ways to improve BGAs and packaging silicon. Recent advancements include going coreless and multi-chip modules, but silicon technology advances dictate continued improvement in packaging.
Converting AC voltage to higher or lower amounts in semiconductors and other applications requires that power supplies use transformers. The solution is a simple one, yet there are four common issues power supply transformers face that can inhibit reliability.
Product lifecycle simulation is an effective tool for determining how long electronics in automotive and other applications will perform before failing. However, there are four distinct categories of electronics with disparate levels of lifetime expectations:
Nearly one-fifth of electronics designs that are tested fail. That means nearly one-fifth of electronics designs are reworked or scrapped in favor of a new design. The resulting production delays and cost overruns mount, further threatening profitability in an automotive industry that’s already grappling with the margin-shrinking impact of increasing price-based competition.