The first day of the Design for Reliability Conference in Baltimore, MD heralded the death of Physics of Failure (PoF). Craig Hillman, CEO of DfR Solutions made the announcement early in his welcome and introductions, explaining that as products get more complex, and reliability impacts on business become more serious, it is becoming ever more critical to have upper management participation. When the rest of engineering is busy pursuing “engineer for success”, PoF can ring negatively in the ears of management with its apparent focus on failure.
Not sure if you should attend the 2018 Design for Reliability Conference, March 19-21 in Baltimore? Well, here are 4 great reasons not to miss it this year!
New product development (NPD) is often driven by cost and schedule. In the electronics industry, being first to market with a new technology or product is crucial to its success, and enhanced speed to market is what differentiates world class companies from the rest.
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.
When analyzing the root cause of failure in many of today’s electronic systems, thermal issues stand out as being large contributing factors. Not only are today’s devices becoming more high-powered and complex, they’re doing it with smaller and smaller designs. However, packing large amounts of power into increasingly compact spaces can often put thermal strains on components. To help mitigate this risk and ensure a more reliable product, electronics manufacturers must conduct a thermal-mechanical analysis of their devices. However, given the amount of time and money this testing requires, many companies are looking for ways to speed up the process and make it more effective.
Industry interest in producing thinner and smaller integrated circuit (IC) packages to match the performance of chip scale packages has resulted in the wide application of quad flat no-lead (QFN) components. However, the small-form factor of QFN packages can place solder joints at risk of coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) mismatch, which can potentially lead to PCB warping and failure. To help mitigate this risk and accurately assess the fatigue life of solder interconnects in QFN packages, a predictive model incorporating the material and geometric parameters that influence solder joint fatigue should be used.
When carrying out reliability testing calculations, there are two popular methods that are frequently chosen: Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) and Physics of Failure (PoF). While both approaches provide answers regarding a product’s predicted reliability, there are several key differences between the two that could have a significant impact on product development. A PoF approach offers several unique advantages over MTBF, but first, here’s a quick overview of how both methods evolved.
Dr. Natalie Hernandez has been a Product Engineer at DfR Solutions since November 2016. Before, she completed her PhD in Physics at Lehigh University and served as a graduate research assistant working on spectroscopic studies of rare-earth doped wide bandgap semiconductor materials, and has since made the jump to electronics reliability engineering. After 7 months in her new role, here are some of the key takeaways she’s learned about the industry.
When compared to the electronic systems in industries like commercial and industrial equipment, today’s avionics systems face several unique challenges. In addition to operating in rugged environments for long periods of time, they must also satisfy rigorous safety and reliability standards. Most importantly, unlike other industries, they must meet these standards while using commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) semiconductor devices (logic, memory, etc.) and electronic assemblies that have been designed and qualified for other applications with less rigorous requirements.