DfR Solutions

DfR Solutions has world-renowned expertise in applying the science of Reliability Physics to electrical and electronics technologies, and is a leading provider of quality, reliability, and durability (QRD) research and consulting for the electronics industry.

Service Provider

DfR Solutions specializes in providing knowledge- and science-based solutions to maximize and accelerate the product integrity assurance activities of their clients in every marketplace for electronic technologies (consumer, industrial, automotive, medical, military, telecom, oil drilling, and throughout the electronic component and material supply chain). The company’s integrated use of Physics of Failure (PoF) and Best Practices provides crucial insights and solutions early in product design and development and throughout the product life cycle.

In today’s competitive marketplace, you can’t afford to deliver an unreliable product. Working with you throughout the life cycle of the product, DfR Solutions can lend a guiding hand regarding quality, reliability, and durability (QRD) issues. DfR not only helps you solve your problems — we can prevent them from happening in the first place! Services we offer include Technology ion, Design Reviews, Supply Chain Assessment, Testing/Product Qualification, Field/Customer Returns, and more.

DfR Solutions Postings

1 product »

Sherlock - Automated Design Analysis software

Wouldn't it be nice to see into the future? With Sherlock by DfR Solutions, you can. Sherlock is a new Automated Design Analysis Tool that allows you to predict product failure earlier in the design process, allowing you to design ...

Software

Sherlock - Automated Design Analysis software

23 technical articles »

Best Practices in Selecting Coatings and Pottings for Solar Panel Systems; Junction Boxes and Inverters

Aug 13, 2020 | Greg Caswell [DfR], Matt Perry [H.B. Fuller], Haichuan Zhao [H.B. Fuller], Ralph Velazquez [H.B. Fuller]

The solar industry has driven solutions that result in electronics systems that are required to perform in outside environments for over 25 years. This industry expectation has resulted in solutions to protect the electronics from failure that can result from interaction with moisture, and various chemicals leading to corrosion and shorting of the systems. Potting and encapsulation compounds can impart the very high level of protection from environmental, thermal, chemical, mechanical, and electrical conditions that the solar applications demand....

Accurately Capturing System-Level Failure of Solder Joints

Feb 05, 2020 | Maxim Serebreni

Consortium Projects - Thermal Cycling Reliability</p> <ul> <li>Consortium projects allow for joint research to investigate the reliability of multiple solder alloys under a variety of environmental stress conditions. </li> <li>Project jointly sponsored by iNEMI and HDP User Group and including CALCE and Universal consortium currently assessing 15 third-generation solder alloys..</li> </ul>...

Temperature Cycling and Fatigue in Electronics

Jan 01, 2020 | Gilad Sharon, Ph.D., Greg Caswell

The majority of electronic failures occur due to thermally induced stresses and strains caused by excessive differences in coefficients of thermal expansion (CTE) across materials.</p><p>CTE mismatches occur in both 1st and 2nd level interconnects in electronics assemblies. 1st level interconnects connect the die to a substrate. This substrate can be underfilled so there are both global and local CTE mismatches to consider. 2nd level interconnects connect the substrate, or package, to the printed circuit board (PCB). This would be considered a "board level" CTE mismatch. Several stress and strain mitigation techniques exist including the use of conformal coating....

Effect of Encapsulation Materials on Tensile Stress during Thermo-Mechanical Cycling of Pb-Free Solder Joints

Mar 06, 2019 | Maxim Serebreni, Dr. Nathan Blattau, Dr. Gilad Sharon, Dr. Craig Hillman

Electronic assemblies use a large variety of polymer materials with different mechanical and thermal properties to provide protection in harsh usage environments. However, variability in the mechanical properties such as the coefficient of thermal expansion and elastic modulus effects the material selection process by introducing uncertainty to the long term impacts on the reliability of the electronics. Typically, the main reliability issue is solder joint fatigue which accounts for a large amount of failures in electronic components. Therefore, it is necessary to understand the effect of polymer encapsulations (coatings, pottings and underfills) on the solder joints when predicting reliability.

This paper presents the construction and validation of a thermo-mechanical tensile fatigue specimen. The thermal cycling range was matched with potting expansion properties in order to vary the magnitude of tensile stress imposed on solder joints...

Multilayer Ceramic Capacitors: Mitigating Rising Failure Rates

Dec 05, 2018 | Dock Brown

The multilayer ceramic capacitor (MLCC) has become a widely used electronics component both for surface mount and embedded PCB applications. The MLCC technologies have gone through a number of material and process changes such as the shift from precious metal electrode (PME) configurations which were predominantly silver/palladium to base metal electrodes (BME) dominated by nickel. Each of these changes were accompanied by both quality and reliability problems. The MLCC industry is now in the midst of an unprecedented set of challenges similar to the Moore’s Law challenges being faced by the semiconductor industry. While capacitor failures have historically been responsible for a significant percentage of product field failures (most estimates are ~30%) we are seeing disturbing developments in the low voltage (<250V) commodity part infant mortality and wearout failure rates....

Best Practices for Improving the PCB Supply Chain: Performing the Process Audit

Aug 03, 2018 | Greg Caswell, Dr. Craig Hillman

In the electronics industry, the quality and reliability of any product is highly dependent upon the capabilities of the manufacturing suppliers. Manufacturing defects are one of the top reasons why companies fail to meet warranty expectations. These problems can result in severe financial pain and eventual loss of market share. What a surprising number of engineers and managers fail to realize is that focusing on processes addresses only part of the issue. Supplier selection also plays a critical role in the success or failure of the final product....

How Mitigation Techniques Affect Reliability Results for BGAs

Nov 17, 2016 | Greg Caswell, Melissa Keener

Since 2006 RoHS requirements have required lead free solders to take the place of tin-lead solders in electronics. The problem is that in some environments the lead free solders are less reliable than the older tin-lead solders. One of the ways to solve this problem is to corner stake, edge bond or underfill the components. When considering what mitigation technique and material to use, the operating conditions must be characterized. The temperature range is important when selecting a material to use since the glass transition temperature (Tg) and coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) are important properties. If improperly chosen, the mitigation material can cause more failures than an unmitigated component....

Predicting Fatigue of Solder Joints Subjected to High Number of Power Cycles

Jul 09, 2015 | Craig Hillman, Nathan Blattau, Matt Lacy

Solder joint reliability of SMT components connected to printed circuit boards is well documented. However, much of the testing and data is related to high-strain energy thermal cycling experiments relevant to product qualification testing (i.e., -55C to 125C). Relatively little information is available on low-strain, high-cycle fatigue behavior of solder joints, even though this is increasingly common in a number of applications due to energy savings sleep mode, high variation in bandwidth usage and computational requirements, and normal operational profiles in a number of power supply applications.

In this paper, 2512 chip resistors were subjected to a high (>50,000) number of short duration (<10 min) power cycles. Environmental conditions and relevant material properties were documented and the information was inputted into a number of published solder joint fatigue models. The requirements of each model, its approach (crack growth or damage accumulation) and its relevance to high cycle fatigue are discussed....

The Effect of Coating and Potting on the Reliability of QFN Devices.

Aug 28, 2014 | Greg Caswell, Cheryl Tulkoff.

The fastest growing package types in the electronics industry today are Bottom Termination Components (BTCs). While the advantages of BTCs are well documented, they pose significant reliability challenges to users. One of the most common drivers for reliability failures is the inappropriate adoption of new technologies. This is especially true for new component packaging like BTCs. Obtaining relevant information can be difficult since information is often segmented and the focus is on design opportunities not on reliability risks (...)

Commonly used conformal coating and potting processes have resulted in shortened fatigue life under thermal cycling conditions. Why do conformal coating and potting reduce fatigue life? This paper details work undertaken to understand the mechanisms underlying this reduction. Verification and determination of mechanical properties of some common materials are performed and highlighted. Recommendations for material selection and housing design are also given....

Gold Embrittlement In Lead-Free Solder.

Aug 07, 2014 | Craig Hillman, Nathan Blattau, Joelle Arnold, Thomas Johnston, Stephanie Gulbrandsen; DfR Solutions, Julie Silk, Alex Chiu; Agilent Technologies.

Gold embrittlement in SnPb solder is a well-known failure mechanism in electronic assembly. To avoid this issue, prior studies have indicated a maximum gold content of three weight percent. This study attempts to provide similar guidance for Pb-free (SAC305) solder. Standard surface mount devices were assembled with SnPb and SAC305 solder onto printed boards with various thicknesses of gold plating. The gold plating included electroless nickel immersion gold (ENIG) and electrolytic gold of 15, 25, 35, and 50 microinches over nickel. These gold thicknesses resulted in weight percentages between 0.4 to 7.0 weight percent....

13 more technical articles from DfR Solutions »

1 news release »

DfR Solutions and ISD Italia Partner on Sherlock ADA™ Software

Dec 21, 2011 | ISD Italia has joined forces with DfR Solutions’ North American (NA) sales teams in offering DfR Solutions’ revolutionary automated design analysis tool, ‘Sherlock’. DfR Solutions’ partnership with ISD will strengthen and expand Sherlock’s penetration among European users of EDA/CAD/CAM solutions.

SMT Reflow Soldering Equipment Company of the Year 2020!

Fluid Dispense Pump Integration