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Failure Analysis and Reliability

Failure Analysis and Reliability

With the ever evolving electronics and semiconductor sector and its advancements, PCBs have evolved too. They are used in the most complex gadgets and electromechanical devices of miniature size. Also, they are widely used in mission critical applications such as medical monitoring and radar detection systems. This has led to the growing complexity in PCB designs, number of layers, and mounted components. A printed circuit board is an integral part of the functioning of these devices, and hence the board needs to be flawless in terms of design and function. Failure analysis of PCBs is hence a crucial aspect. As a reliable electronics manufacturing services provider, Suntronic Inc. has a system in place to perform PCB failure analysis, and we use various tools and techniques to do the same. There are various reasons for PCB failure and we perform a root cause analysis to find out the exact reason.

An Overview of Failure Analysis and Reliability Services Offered by Suntronic, Inc.

As a reliable electronics manufacturing partner, we lay emphasis on preventing PCB failures, and hence have stringent testing and inspection processes in place. Despite stringent testing if the circuit board fails to function we use various tools and techniques to find the fault and fix it. We perform root cause analysis to find out where the flaw is. It could be in choice of materials, component mounting, or manufacturing. We also document the same for future references and to avoid similar failures. Here are some of techniques we use:

  • Visual Inspection: This is the most basic form of manual inspection which we do at every stage to prevent manufacturing errors. We use this technique for failure analysis as well. We use a magnifying glass to check the details of PCB appearance.
  • Automated Optical Inspection: This is a widely used PCB optical inspection technique used to identify errors during the design and manufacturing stages. The same can be applied when performing failure analysis. It is a non-destructive and automated testing technique.
  • Micro-sectioning Analysis: Also known as cross-sectioning technique, this comprises opening an internal section of the board. Since this is a destructive technique, encapsulating the board is crucial for protection. This PCB failure analysis technique is used to detect processing as well as thermal failures, component issues, opens and shorts in a circuit, soldering issues, and so on. If structural changes in materials need to be identified, we use micro-sectioning which helps us compare material structures, brittleness, and so on.
  • Solderability Testing: Solderability is all about how comfortably a metal surface can we wetted with a molten solder under hypothetical conditions. Soldering issues related to solder mask may occur in the manufacturing stage. Hence, wetting of a solder is done to determine its strength. This technique can determine the reasons for soldering failure and the impact of solder components. This technique is used to identify issues with PCB Conformal coating, solder components, and quality.
  • PCB Contamination Testing: PCBs are manufactured in a clean environment and always protected from any kind of contamination due to the outside environment. Contamination may lead to scratches, wire bonding issues, corrosion, and so on. Chemical processes on the board are also major sources of contamination. In spite of taking due care a board may be contaminated and subsequently degraded. To check contamination, we immerse a part of PCB or sample into a solution to dissolve ionic contaminants. A change in resistance is observed to identify the level of contamination.
  • X-ray Inspection: This is a non-invasive and non-destructive testing technique. We use 3D X-ray systems to determine the defects related to hidden joints or parts beneath the chip to check for internal particles, sealing voids, soldering issues, and so on.

Benefits of Failure Analysis and Reliability and Partnering with Us

Here are some of the benefits of partnering with us for your PCB failure analysis and reliability requirements:

  • The major benefit of failure analysis is to determine PCB issues early on and fix them complying to the required standards. This serves as a reference point to avoid future failures.
  • One can detect thermal issues and vibrations on time and prevent damages and huge costs in the long run.
  • This saves on costs and productive time, and impacts the overall quality, reliability and cost of the product.
  • We have advanced and automated machinery at our well-equipped facility, such as conveyors, screen printers, ovens, and so on, which checks the PCB quality and functioning at each stage.
  • We are capable of overcoming all the challenges related to this sector such as material reuse and recycling, reducing waste, meeting the required temperature requirements without using lead, and so on
  • We follow LEAN practices for testing as well as process control, supplier evaluation, and so on.

With several years of experience to our credit, we have developed expertise in PCB testing as  well as failure analysis. So, we are equipped to prevent failures and overcome them if required. We cater to complex PCB requirements quite easily because of all these aspects, and our advanced facilities in Dallas and Houston are a big value addition. If you require full service electronics manufacturing services with various other services or have any questions pertaining to PCB failure analysis, you can contact us via phone or email, or visit our facilities.