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.
According to recent reports, the global medical device market is expected to reach $398 billion in 2017, and continue with strong revenue growth through 2023. However, with increased demand comes increased responsibility, and it will be up to medical device OEMs to maintain product quality standards and provide reliable products that can be counted on in life-saving situations. High profile recalls in recent years have given medical device OEMs a reason to be more diligent, but there are many improvements companies can still make to their testing standards.
The spread of advanced electronic systems has led to incorporating more technology into traditionally non- or limited-intelligence constructions. For example, most gas pumps now contain single board computers used solely to process credit transactions. Additionally, the Internet of Things (IoT) and autonomous transport continues to introduce complex electronic systems into more aspects of the industrial ecosystem.