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48 SMT007 MAGAZINE I NOVEMBER 2018 I like to have a little fun with this column while also trying to convey some lessons learned, but this month's topic is more seri- ous than most. If your television stops work- ing, it's no big deal, right? You probably have at least seven other ways to watch "The Bache- lor" (Did I say, "The Bachelor?" I meant to say, "Nova…"). However, when you look at critical segments of the electronics industry—such as medical, aerospace, defense, automotive safe- ty systems, and other on-demand hardware— the eye used for most electronics must be even more critical. Overall cleanliness is essential for all classes of electronics, but none more so than Class III high-performance electronic products where continued or on-demand performance is vital. Cleanliness is a cumulative measurement of each material and process choice that contrib- utes to the sum. Beyond the fluxing process, the raw components can also contribute to ionic contamination and need to be analyzed separately from the final assemblies. This is especially important in cases of products built with no-clean flux, as there is not a final wash process that can help overcome contaminated bare panels and components. Generally, medical devices are classified as either IPC class II or class III based on what the expectation is for service and the effect if it fails. For example, a glucose meter is an impor- tant piece of medical equipment, but if that doesn't work for some reason, it is relatively easy to obtain another one from a local drug store. In contrast, with devices like implant- able cardioverter-defibrillators, failure could be a matter of life or death. Active implantable medical devices would be in the Class III realm and have characteristics that are among the most difficult to maintain— extremely low levels of ionic cleanliness in conjunction with miniaturization. This means Does Medical Device Reliability Worry You Sick? Quest for Reliability Feature Column by Eric Camden, FORESITE

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