SMTA International Conference Proceedings

Design For Reliability With Computer Modeling

Authors: Randy Schueller, Ph.D. and Cheryl Tulkoff
Company: DfR Solutions
Date Published: 10/13/2013   Conference: SMTA International

Abstract: It is widely known and understood that the overall cost and quality of a product is most influenced by decisions made early in the design stage. Finding and correcting design flaws later in the product development cycle is extremely costly. The worst case situation is discovering design problems after failures occur in the field.

Designing for reliability has proven difficult due, in large part, to the many competing interests involved in a design. For example, the electrical designer is challenged with increasing the product performance while continually reducing the form factor. A manufacturing engineer is designing to simplify the manufacturing process. Reliability engineers may raise concerns about design risks; but without the ability to quantify the potential impact, they are often unable to meaningfully influence the design decisions. A new computer aided design tool has been developed that will forever change this equation. Before a single product is built, the engineer is now able to import the design files and quantitatively predict the life of the product according to the assumptions made for the user environment. The failure rate is predicted for thermal cycle fatigue of solder joints and plated through-hole vias as well as for shorting from conductive anodic filament (CAF) formation. The software also produces a finite element analysis (FEA) of the circuit boards showing regions susceptible to excessive board strain during mechanical vibration or shock events.

Finally, once the design has been optimized to satisfy the many competing requirements, the software can be used to predict the rate of failure over the lifetime of the product. This information can be used to more accurately plan for the warranty costs. This paper will illustrate the capabilities and value that this new software tool provides to the various functional units within an electronics manufacturing company.

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