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72 SMT007 MAGAZINE I JUNE 2020 I submit this month's column from my secure bunker while safely—and smartly, if I may say so myself—practicing social distancing. The word quarantine is more "popular" than ever in that I hear it upward of 4,562 times per day. Before COVID-19, the first thing that popped into my mind when I heard the word "quar- antine" was the cages in the receiving area for non-conforming products or similar spaces for built hardware that doesn't pass some sort of inline test. Having said that, I certainly don't think of non-conforming products now, but I do think I can make some apt comparisons. Stay with me, though; some of this may be a stretch, but it's not like I'm keeping you from a hot date. I am certainly not suggesting that a PCB with misaligned fiducials is the same thing as a global pandemic; again, I said some of this was a stretch. But the similarity of not being part of normal production and sheltering in place isn't that big of a stretch. Putting your- self in quarantine is to make sure you aren't in the general population and possibly spread- ing the virus. Keeping bad raw materials in the quarantine cage prohibits it from being built only to find out there is a flaw that prevents it from functioning as expected—giving a PCBA a 104°F fever, if you will. (Okay, that was yet another stretch. I'll try to do better.) Just as the states have their list of mile- stones that must be accomplished before lift- ing the quarantine, there is (or should be) a list for material disposition. Number one on many states' lists is the need for testing, which can certainly apply to questionable material as well. Testing might be the only way to deter- mine if a product is acceptable for use as-is or if it needs to be returned to the manufacturer for repair and/or replacement. (I do not have a comparison for that one, so feel free to insert your own.) When dealing with a non-con- formance issue, you need to lay out a good testing strategy for disposition. Many com- panies—too many, if you ask me—rely on the mate- rial supplier to include a certificate of confor- mance with every ship- ment and never ques- tion it. This goes back to one of my biggest industry peeves: just checking a box. In the lab, we have tested many fail- Correlating COVID-19 With Reliability? Quest for Reliability Feature Column by Eric Camden, FORESITE INC.

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