Failure analysis, a process that relies on collecting failed components for subsequent examination of the cause or causes of failure, is considered as one critical discipline in many branches of manufacturing process because it can effectively help in the following:
Existing product refinement — a lot of products that can be found in the market these days can still be improved and failure analysis plays an important role for it. This is achieved with the help of various procedures, which include collecting failed components, to determine the cause of failure and do the necessary action to fix such failure.
New products development — in a number of cases, a discovery of the cause of failure does not only give an opportunity to refine existing product but it opens a portal to develop a new/other products as well, which can be advantageous to both manufacturers and costumer.
Cost reductions — failure analysis, which helps in determining the cause of failure, reduces costs as manufacturing companies can use better materials and avoid unnecessary spending and wasting, which therefore can help reduce materials and operational costs and improves profits.
Failure analysis is carried out with the help of two popular methods and these are the following:
Electrical failure analysis — The mechanisms utilized as part of electrical failure analysis could include Analytical Probe Station, Curve-Trace (which is either manual or automated), Emission Microscopy (near infrared), Florescent Micro-Thermal Imaging (with Lock-in), Laser Stimulation Microscopy. Example of failures where electrical failure analysis can be done to are dielectric breakdown, component failure, contamination of circuit boards, arc tracking/conductive path tracking, poor quality solder joints, floating neutrals and high voltage transients, and oxidation and corrosion of electrical connections.
Physical failure analysis — this becomes increasingly important for process optimization for situations like when there is a continued shrinking of materials used in a certain manufacturing process. In cases like the one specified, a particular manufacturing facility can do the analysis (or hire a third party to do it) such as 3-D X-ray Tomography, C-scanning acoustic Microscopy, De-Capsulation, Deprocessing, FIB-SEM Cross Sectioning, Mechanical Cross-Sectioning, Real-time X-ray – among other physical failure analysis procedures.
A lot of companies in the manufacturing sector have recognized the essence of failure analysis and in fact, have incorporated this procedure in their own processes for product refinement and development.
Paul Drake writes various industry-related topics and his work experience in a high tech company helps in doing the job. To learn more about failure analysis, visit Nanolab Technologies official website.