Written by Lenora Clark, Martin Bunce, Paul Salerno and Saskia Hogan
A showcase of testing methods used in the development of robust materials.
Ruggedization means “to strengthen (something, such as a machine) for better resistance to wear, stress, and abuse.”1 Automotive systems are built for aggressive environments and are categorized as ruggedized electronics. One usually thinks of an all-terrain vehicle navigating an uneven landscape in an extreme hot or extreme cold environment. The systems require more robust electronic hardware due to their unusual working conditions and environmental exposure.
Today’s automotive electronics, specifically those for advanced safety features, require ruggedization against traditional as well as additional self-inflicted abuse. The high level of processing required to execute “sense” and “respond” of multiple safety systems working in concert creates increased heat and increased mechanical strain leading to shorter characteristic life. Advanced IC substrate packages create challenges for the system as well. The need to combat these additional challenges requires specific ruggedization. This work will discuss material choices that were designed to combat temperature, vibration, heat, and various aggressive environments to offer extended system life.
An exploration of the factors affecting the development and growth of low-temperature soldering.
Low-temperature soldering (LTS) is a rapidly developing field with several potential benefits to the electronics industry. These benefits include reduced warping of components and substrates, lower energy consumption and reduced material costs. The lack of a standard solder alloy and the unique properties of emerging alloys, however, require development of new fluxes and processes for success.
Herein we explore current challenges and opportunities in low-temperature soldering, including the limited availability of low-temperature alloys, the disadvantages of high-bismuth alloys, the impact of additive elements on alloy properties, the need for new flux systems and the importance of seeking guidance from solder suppliers.
Why Andrew Scheuermann thinks AI will be the assistant every engineer has needed.
We in electronics design and manufacturing know automation is part and parcel of what we do, but while the landscape has changed, be it the transition from mechanical drawings to CAD tools with their autorouters or from manual and semiautomatic printers and placement machines to lights-out factories where cobots have replaced operators, the industry still has a long, long way to go.
To help with perspective on this emerging technology, we interviewed Andrew Scheuermann in February. Scheuermann, along with his business partner, Tim Burke, is cofounder and CEO of Arch Systems, a Silicon Valley-based developer of software tools that collect raw machine data and use predictive and analytics to calculate manufacturing key performance indicators or KPIs.