The Best Method to Calculate Risk of Failure and System-level Effects

One of the key problems in today’s electronics industry is the constant changes in needs and deliverables. Today’s electronic devices are smaller and faster and are constantly exposed to changing environmental conditions. With more people putting electronics closer to a human body in the form of wearables such as iPhones, Fitbits, or heart monitors, electronics designers and manufacturers need to ensure the safety and reliability of these devices to avoid costly mistakes.

Here, at DfR Solutions we work with hundreds of electronics manufacturers across industries and have noticed an increasing number of companies reporting early life failures in the field or unexpected failures in tests due to solder fatigue. They're noticing that the classic solder fatigue calculation models do not seem to capture all the possible risks of failure.

Topic: system level effects, Reliability Physics

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The Roles of Reliability and Safety in AV Development


Since the first pedestrian fatality due to an autonomous vehicle in March 2018, there’s been no shortage of discussion and debate over the future of autonomous vehicles and AV testing. 

However, as Dr. Craig Hillman discusses in this month’s issue of SAE’s Autonomous Vehicle Engineering, there’s a critical piece missing from that conversation: the interconnected roles of reliability and safety. In many companies, there tends to be a disconnect between the two departments. And because authority and responsibility (i.e., who does what and who reports to whom) can have such a dramatic impact on hardware and software design cycles, keeping these two departments in silos can have negative effects.


Topic: AV Development

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Are Lithium-Ion Battery Explosions Increasing?

It seems like a month does not go by, without hearing news reports about battery explosions in e-cigs, headphones, smartphones or other electronic gadgets. Granted that stories about explosions are considered newsworthy, but has the statistical rate of battery failures actually gone up in the last few years? Has the impact of battery failures increased and if so, why? And, I am of course talking about Lithium ion batteries, the go-to battery chemistry in rechargeable electronic devices owing to their high energy density. I am certain you do not want to be carrying around a brick for a smartphone.

Topic: Battery Reliability, Battery Safety, Battery Failure, Lithium Ion Battery

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Are Lithium-Ion Cells You Buy Online Always Legit?

In recent years the practice of buying spare e-cigarette batteries online has started to increase, with some users scouting for higher amp-hour/power batteries in order to get a better vaping experience. This is particularly true for mechanical mod e-cigs, which are highly customizable and do not use protection circuitry. The battery protection circuit is what keeps a lithium-ion battery within its operating window, and prevents it from overheating, overcharge and other potentially dangerous situations.

Topic: Battery Reliability, Battery Safety, Battery Failure, Lithium Ion Battery

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Why Do Lithium-Ion Batteries Swell?

My cousin recently came to me with a battery problem. He got a drone for Christmas, and he had not opened it for a while. "Last Christmas, right?", I asked. Apparently, it was the Christmas before (i.e a year and a half of being in a box). "Uh-oh," I say. I almost knew what was coming.  The drone obviously did not work, and I got to see a picture of a very bloated Lithium Ion pouch cell.  Your Lithium-Ion battery does need some attention from you every few months in the form of a periodic recharge, or you will end up with a cell that looks like the image below. (My colleagues have brought me plenty of gadgets with the plastic case popped open from a bloated battery)

Topic: Battery Reliability, Battery Safety, Battery Failure, Lithium Ion Battery

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3 Real Life Examples Of “After A Failure” Investigations


“After a failure” investigations are typically performed to identify root cause of failure, calculate risk exposure and develop mitigation and remediation solutions. Just like with “before a failure” investigation, there are two specific test methods that could be applied to either of the two categories – non-destructive physical analysis (NPA) and destructive physical analysis (DPA).

Topic: Failure Analysis, reliability testing, Reliability Physics

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Top 5 Reasons for Solder Joint Failure

Solder joint reliability is often a pain point in the design of an electronic system. A wide variety of factors affect solder joint reliability, and any one of them can drastically affect joint lifetime in a negative way. Properly identifying and mitigating potential causes of solder joint failure during the design and manufacturing process can prevent costly and difficult to solve problems later in a product lifecycle. Some of the most commonly observed solder joint failure contributors to consider are described here.

Topic: solder joint reliability, solder fatigue

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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

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DfR Solutions is the Healthcare Provider for the Electronics Industry - Say What?

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.  

Topic: Electronics Reliability, electronics failure, reliability testing

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3 Real Life Examples of “Before a Failure” Investigations

Performing a “before a failure” investigation on electronics is typically done for various reasons.  One reason is to identify weak components or sub-systems before committing to a full-blown production run and its associated expenses.  Comparison testing of similar component parts to reduce costs and increase reliability of existing designs, or against a competitor’s offerings is another reason.  A “before a failure” investigation can validate a design to satisfy customer or market specifications, or regulatory obligations, which is common among the aerospace and medical devices fields.    

Topic: Electronics Reliability, electronics failure, reliability testing

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