Recently I, Greg Caswell, had full knee replacement surgery on my left knee to fix a problem with osteoarthritis. I found the overall experience interesting in that the approach the doctor’s used to assess the issue, develop a plan for improving the joints capabilities and finally performing surgery as the last possibility, was similar to the Physics of Failure approach DfR Solutions uses.
The doctor starts out by using braces to provide support for the knee. This is typically followed by cortisone shots to reduce the pain and inflammation. Once these shots no longer provide relief then shots like Synvisc (an injection that supplements the fluids in your knee to help lubricate and cushion the joint.) are used. In my case the first set of Synvisc shots reduced the pain in my knees for 10 months. The second round of shots only helped for 3 months. This surely was a sign of diminishing returns. This process eventually led to the full knee replacement surgery.
Similarly, for Ed Dodd, a recent visit to the dentist for a filling led to discussions surrounding material selection that sounded extremely familiar. Fillings and crowns need to work with the teeth surrounding them. How they behave when we eat ice cream or drink coffee determines whether we savor the moment or are surprised by pain, so the thermal properties of the dental materials are extremely important. I was surprised to hear the dentist’s interest in coefficients of thermal expansion and glass transition temperatures for some emerging products.
DfR Solutions follows the same type of philosophy with regard to our projects. We assess the approach to take that will resolve our customers “pain” in the least obtrusive way first and if required we may follow a path to destructive analyses to identify the root cause of failure.
Many of our projects begin with non-destructive analyses or tests like X-ray, or electrical characterization to see if the failure mode can be identified. If this is not successful then DfR Solutions would use techniques like cross sections, ion-chromatography, Scanning Electron Microscope etc. to drill deeper in ascertaining the failure mode. These techniques are destructive to the samples being analyzed and are typically performed when no other options are available.
Our recommendations include everything from adding additional support, like a brace, to replacement materials, like the injections, to full redesign. And just like the physician, DfR Solutions always considers the impact to the customer’s program against the risk of future problems and complications.
So, in a sense DfR Solutions does function like a healthcare provider for the electronics industry.
DfR Solutions offers many services: reliability and accelerated life testing, design review and failure analysis, that can enhance a company’s bottom line and increase customer satisfaction by producing more reliable, long lasting products. Contact us for a quote today.