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60 PCB007 MAGAZINE I MAY 2019 High reliability and compliance are hot topics at conferences all over the world. If you are a supplier to industries like defense, automotive, medical, and aerospace/space, high-reliability and regulatory compliance are strict demands for electronic device manufacturers. For example, the automotive industry has zero-kilometer failure require- ments. In the defense industry, there are full life-cycle ser- vice requirements, function on demand, and traceability throughout the entire pro- duction process plus strict compliance and origin re- quirements. In this column, I will discuss how high-reliabil- ity demands enforce the need for traceability, and at what level the trace- ability should be. Cost is a vital part of how much we invest in reliability. In the medical world, we talk about ALARP risk, meaning "as low as reasonably practicable." But how can we discuss a reasonable risk if life is at stake? And if we accept the risk, how can we limit the damage and cost? Printed Board Traceability: Down to the Sheet of Base Material Used Working with printed boards for decades, I have seen the result of how good traceability can limit the cost when a disaster occurs, and I have seen the contrary. In other words, we can turn the disaster into a problem that's still costly and involves lots of resources but avoids the pandemic feeling. A good example would be if a big shipment arrived at the customer's door and they discovered when they opened and tested the boards that the PCBs had thinner copper plating than required. One's first thought might be to return the high- cost PCB, resulting in huge claims and costs. Howev- er, with good traceability markings, we could limit those boards down to a few production panels in the PCB factory. A case like this was settled by replacing a few boards instead of having a full shipment sent back to the factory in China. Thus, the traceability saved the in- volved parties both time and money. An important role of traceabil- ity in printed board production is to confirm transparency and traceabil- ity of materials, production sites, and produc- tion processes. When traceability is used for cost limitation, we must add traceability to the printed board's position in a production panel, and a unique production printed board and panel identification. Ultimately, we should be able to trace down to the actual sheet of What Is Reliability Without Traceability? The PCB Norsemen by Jan Pedersen, ELMATICA

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