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56 SMT007 MAGAZINE I JULY 2019 This month's topic is failures and reli- ability, and I can't think of two words as diametrically opposed as these two. The word "failure" is as nasty as it gets in our world. It goes against everything we thought we knew. All contract manufactur - ing facilities strive to build a reliable prod- uct, or at least they all should. The prob- lem is too many companies hope they are building reliable products without doing the work required to ensure they are. This is not uncommon, nor is it specific to the electronics industry, but as consumers, we sure know when a company didn't take the time to do reliability testing. Some companies simply don't care about reliability because even though their product isn't necessary for us to live, we simply can't live with - out it (I'm looking at you, Comcast). In our industry, reliability is a must for almost all com- panies, so testing is nor- mally written into drawings and contracts, but is that enough? Or is it just checking a few historical boxes with- out any thought? We often see legacy products that have been updated as older parts have become obsolete, or as a result of design changes, but the testing requirements haven't been updated since we found out who shot J.R. The F Word Looking at today's electronics with pack- age miniaturization and more complex cir- cuitry, you may need to go beyond what you've always done. While we are on that topic, "That is how we've always done it," should be removed from your company's vocabulary. Historical testing does not necessarily mean it's still rele - vant or applicable to what you are building today. You need to assess the end-use environment and power demands to determine what testing should be carried out to ensure reliability. Obviously, safety-critical and life-dependent hardware must go through more rigorous testing than a PC, so there is no one-size-fits-all suite of testing. Many times, the only verifica- tion testing I see being done on bare boards is dimensional measurements. This is a good Quest for Reliability Feature Column by Eric Camden, FORESITE INC.

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