How to Achieve Electronics Reliability
Achieving high reliability for electronic products, especially for PCB products, is every designer’s objective. Following 3 fundamentals outlined below can help you hit your electronics reliability targets in a cost- and time-efficient way.
Just Solve the Problem Immediately
While you want to answer as many questions as you can about the predicted reliability of your electronic assemblies, spending too much time analyzing problems that may arise could come back to bite you. Your goal should be to initiate actions (analysis, testing, design rules, manufacturing, material selection, etc.) based on your findings and prioritize those that make the most sense from a technical and financial perspective instead of spending excessive time studying or analyzing. Time to market is critical, so the faster the customer gets what they need, the better for everyone.
Control over Your Supply Chain
Control over your supply chain is crucial to the reliability of your products, because it can speed time to market and reduce warranty claims. If you procure your own equipment, develop your own process, and specify your material source you will have less need for post-production evaluation, because you will already know where the materials are coming from, how they’re being assembled, and can assure quality right from the start.
Simulation has made reliability testing much easier and more efficient for companies, so it’s better to use simulation as early as possible. Keep it simple and focused on the most critical reliability and design challenges initially, and expand the scope of simulation when you have significant, new design information to work with. Be mindful of the limitations of your design and focus on problems where simulation is the right tool for the job. This targeted approach minimizes time to market and reduces the risk of overcommitting engineering resources.
Today, there are many opportunities to design and build high reliability PCB products. However, as outlined above, it requires critical focus on 3 main fundamentals: solving the problem, control the source, and efficient simulation.