Power supply is the core of electronic equipment. But as crucial as it is, designing a power supply can be difficult due to an indirect feedback loop within design teams, especially when it comes to thermal solutions. It is often more difficult to know what the temperature should be as opposed to what the temperature will be.
As the smartphone market has stagnated, semiconductor manufacturers have started to pivot their focus to automotive electronics to find the next large volume growth opportunity. This adjustment is for good reason: while smartphone volumes have not changed in over three years, automotive electronics will be the fastest growing market for integrated circuits until at least 2021.
To be successful in the competitive landscape that is automotive electronics, semiconductor manufacturers must account for differences in how automotive OEMs and their suppliers qualify integrated circuits compared to consumer products. While the differences are numerous, a key factor is the critical importance of board level reliability testing.
For semiconductor manufacturers entering the automotive environment, the lack of universal qualifications standards often leads to inconsistent reliability expectations. To be successful in the competitive landscape, semiconductor manufacturers must account for differences in how automotive OEMs and their suppliers qualify integrated circuits compared to consumer products. A key factor in the qualification process is the critical importance of board level reliability testing. Given the varied requirements and absence of mutually agreed standards, semiconductor manufacturers often struggle to develop a relevant and successful board level reliability test plan.
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.
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.
Failure analysis is the process of identifying, and typically attempting to mitigate, the root cause of a failure. In the electronics industry, failure analysis typically involves isolating the failure to a location on a printed circuit board assembly (PCBA) before collecting more detailed data to investigate which component or board location is functioning improperly.