Reliability Takes on a New Urgency


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In the last year or so, I believe our industry definition of reliability has changed. Consumers wanted a reliable car that wouldn’t break down on the road; a computer that wouldn’t crash; a phone network that wouldn’t drop our calls; the plane we were hurtling across the sky in to stay in the air and land safely, with the wheels down. In retrospect, those seem rather simple wants, and the industry certainly wants to deliver.

But with the advent of the autonomous vehicle and all that has been written and discussed about it—from the “computer on wheels” concept to hacking concerns and who’s responsible in a crash—I believe this has made us stop and think deeply about what reliability really means. As one of our authors points out this month, a PCB can be of highest quality, meeting the most stringent specs, but in the end the machine it goes into may not be reliable and in fact the board itself may fail down the road. How can we ensure that the PCBs we make are reliable and how can we feel confident that reliability will carry through to the final product—for the lifetime of that product? This month, our experts provide the latest information to help with that.

We begin this month with a discussion on reliability with Colonial Circuits, a PCB manufacturer that builds mostly military boards. Increasing demands regarding feature sizes, material types and preciseness only highlight the need for more communication between designer and fabricator, as well raw materials suppliers, to ensure reliability.

To read the full version of this article which originally appeared in the August 2018 issue pf PCB007 Magazine, click here.

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