SMTA International Conference Proceedings


Author: J. Scott Nelson
Company: Harris Corporation
Date Published: 10/24/2010   Conference: SMTA International

Abstract: Portable electronics have been a key driver to the increased complexity of Ball Grid Array (BGA) components – more functionality in smaller packages. Higher I/O counts, smaller pitches, and more complex internal stack-ups are all factors that can lead to very complex BGA failure modes. This is making it increasingly more difficult to troubleshoot BGA functional failures after the manufacturing assembly process. And for high reliability electronics, BGA components are often the weak link in reliability, so proper identification of cause of failure is very important in order to prevent reoccurrence or even worse, latent defects during service life.

A key to successful BGA failure analysis is a thorough understanding of not only the manufacturing assembly and test processes, but also a good understanding of BGA package construction. Unfortunately, at the circuit card assembly level, those that may be involved in a BGA failure analysis typically only have an understanding of their respective job functions. As a result, unless all of the disciplines involved are brought together to perform a detailed failure analysis, the end result is usually just applying several process modifications in hopes of making the problem go away. Sometimes this approach is successful, but usually it is not.

Also key to successful BGA failure analysis is an understanding of the possible failure modes, and where they are likely to occur in the manufacturing process. It can be very difficult, if not impossible, to find a problem if you don’t know where to look. Understanding how things can go wrong creates a good foundation for getting a failure analysis headed in the right direction.

And finally, it is very helpful to have an understanding of the various failure analysis techniques and when and how to apply them and how to interpret the results.

This paper will bring all of these aspects of BGA failure analysis together in an organized, Root Cause Analysis (RCA) approach that will help to ensure that the true cause of a BGA failure can be identified.

Key words: BGA Failure Analysis, High Reliability Electronics, Root Cause Analysis

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