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Automotive Reliability in All Kinds of Weather

John Day

John Day

Posted May 13, 2014
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Reliability is an increasingly critical factor in the automotive industry especially considering the proliferation of electronic features and systems in today’s and tomorrow’s cars. Alas, there are no reliable cars without reliable electronic components, which is to say devices and subsystems able to function as intended despite very hot or very cold environments.

For quite some time now, Mentor Graphics has been a market leader in hardware, software and systems for thermal simulation and analysis. This week the company launched a major new system, the MicReD Industrial Power Tester, for testing high power components.

The MicReD is based on Mentor’s T3Ster® (pronounced “trister”) thermal tester that is widely used for accurate thermal characterization of semiconductor device packages and LEDs.

Mentor says the new MicReD is the only commercially available thermal testing product that combines power cycling and thermal transient measurements with structure function analysis while also providing data for real-time failure-cause diagnostics.

The faster that power components can be tested, the better. Combining power cycling and thermal transient measurements on one system means that a technician or engineer doesn’t have to remove components from the test environment to shift from one mode to the other.

The MicReD can power modules through thousands or even millions of cycles while providing real-time failure-in-progress data for diagnostics. Operators can see a failure as it progresses and determine the exact time/cycle and cause. That reduces test and lab diagnosis time and eliminates the need for post-mortem or destructive failure analysis.

The system analyzes common thermally-induced mechanical failures such as die-attach wire bond separations, die and package stack-up delamination and cracks, and solder fatigue. It can perform power cycling tests of MOSFETs, IGBTs and power diodes.

Roland Feldhinkel, general manager of Mentor Graphics Mechanical Analysis Division, notes that the tester serves the growing demand for power electronics components that have to perform with high reliability under extreme conditions. “We’re leveraging our expertise in thermal characterization and testing to deliver a product for applications where we see great potential.”

Mentor Graphics, MicReD, IGBTs, T3ster, Thermal Testing, MOSFETs, power components

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John DayJohn Day recently launched John Day’s Automotive Electronics News (johndayautomotivelectronics.com) to provide news and feature coverage of the automotive electronics industry. Earlier he wrote for Auto Electronics magazine, Auto E-lectronics, EE Times, and other business and engineering publications. Visit John Day

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