October 8, 2013. Evans Analytical Group (EAG), a fully integrated, independent laboratory network providing analytical and testing services to a range of industries and end users, today announced it has launched a comprehensive electronics system failure-analysis service. Extending its microelectronic test and engineering services portfolio, EAG focuses on the entire system, from electronics to materials, all the way down to failure mechanisms occurring at the IC transistor level.
“As electronics systems become smaller, more complex, and more deeply embedded in our daily lives, the cost of failure has risen exponentially,” said Aram Sarkissian, general manager of the Microelectronics Test and Engineering Division of EAG. “We offer the unique combination of extensive expertise, specialized tools, and a comprehensive methodology for identifying and resolving complex failure mechanisms in a digitally-dependent society where downtime and product recalls are increasingly costly.”
EAG’s failure-analysis offering includes both electrical testing and materials characterization. The company uses the high-resolution imaging and electrical localization tools and employs a holistic approach that is customized for each customer situation. These capabilities are increasingly important given the growing complexity of electronics systems, rapid pace of miniaturization, special characteristics of advanced technology processes, intermittent nature of system malfunctions, and challenges associated with the exotic materials used to design and manufacture today’s components.
“The increasing complexity and pervasiveness of electronics is the number one challenge for design and test engineers, increasing the need for electronic systems failure analysis,” said Jessy Cavazos, Frost & Sullivan’s industry director for the Test & Measurement Group. “In the automotive industry, alone, failures can occur anywhere in an increasingly complex mix of in-vehicle networking, telematics, infotainment, and other systems, and this is generating growing demand for highly specialized tools, services and expertise such as those that EAG is offering.”
Cost of Failure
The demand for electronic system failure analysis is growing as processors and system-on-chip (SoC) devices have reached billions of transistors; process technology has advanced to 28-nm nodes and below; more complex materials are now used being used in electronic systems at the board, IC package and die level; and the cost of system failure has risen. For instance, the average cost of an unplanned data center outage at a telecom service provider or e-commerce company is estimated to have reached $11,000 per minute (Ponemon Institute, “Calculating the Cost of Data Center Outages,” 2011). Approximately 55% of all small- to medium-sized business data disasters are caused by hardware failure (Quorum Q1 2013 Disaster Recover Report), which are also responsible for an estimated 72% of all network downtime (“Understanding Network Failures in Data Centers: Measurement, Analysis and Implications,” Microsoft and University of Toronto). Failures also contribute to costly product recalls, with an estimated 15% of all consumer electronic products failing over the first three years. Nearly 59 million products were recalled during 2012 by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
EAG’s new electronic system failure analysis service addresses these and other challenges through
- a multidisciplinary approach including both electrical and physical analysis to enhance identification of root cause, failure mechanism and how to prevent future failures,
- proven expertise in microelectronics with a strong history of working in the component and system level,
- an advanced toolset and a $150 million investment in specialized capital equipment,
- flexibility to customize the failure analysis service to specific needs,
- quick answers to improve product design and long-term reliability, and
- detection of issues during prototype and pre-production to correct product issues early in the development cycle at a reduced cost.