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Failure Analysis

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Services: Failure Analysis
Failure Analysis Services
Failure analysis investigation is used to determine the root cause of an electrochemical failure. Electrochemical migration (dendritic growth), corrosion, and electrical leakage problems are typical failure mechanisms found on contaminated surfaces of electronic PCB assemblies. Ion Chromatography (IC) is used to identify the specific contaminants. Generally, potential contamination failure mechanisms are identified as increased occurrences of "No Trouble Found" (NTF), contact insulation barriers, excessive electrical leakage, surface corrosion, or degradation of the solderability of components or land patterns.

In Foresite's failure analysis package, we provide the customer with raw test data, interpretation of the data collected, and a conclusion derived from our experience and knowledge of contamination effects on product reliability.  Our conclusions have consistently solved problems for electronics manufacturers.  See our list of past clients to see some of the specialized industries we deal with.

Foresite Final Report Deliverables
  • Specific Project Goal — defined at time of quote
  • Description of customer specifications — cleanliness levels, SIR
  • Description of Foresite test protocol to accomplish project goal
  • Process Sequence Flowchart — as defined by customer engineer
  • Material matrix indicating fluxes and chemistries used in process
  • Analytical matrix of corroded areas investigated and reference (non-corroded) areas
  • Identification of residues present — ionic data indicating type and amount
  • Electrical performance data — from specified tests
  • Education regarding the general sources of the specific ionic residues found
  • Foresite cleanliness limit recommendation for each ionic species identified limits derived through 10 years of Failure Analysis and Process Qualification experience
  • Foresite interpretation of data and conclusions from our technical team
  • Failure mechanism scenario (what caused the failure to occur)
  • Foresite recommendations for any process corrective action or optimization
  • Formal project report electronically sent to customer project contact (fax or e-mail)
  • Original hard copy report will be mailed upon completion of project
  • Telephone support available for discussion of report
Project Completion Timing Options
  • Standard
    • Final Report completion in ten working days after project start
  • IC Testing
    • Standard — Final Report completion in ten working days after project start
    • Fast Turn — Analytical results (verbal discussion) in 48 hours after project start — analysis of up to 100 samples
    • Analytical results (verbal discussion) in 72 hours after project start — analysis of 100-250 samples
    • Final Report completion in three working days after project start
  • SIR Testing
    • SIR schedule will be determined at time of quote acceptance
Project Start Requirement — Receipt of Approved Purchase Order via fax or mail

Foresite Inc. - Failure Analysis Requirements

To perform a complete failure analysis of defective product, detailed processing history and environmental information must be provided. All materials and chemistries used in the fabrication of the bare printed circuit board and the subsequent manufacturing sequences, become part of a "process fingerprint". Details regarding the environment the product experiences in operation are necessary to identify the failure mechanism.

The following information will be required for failure analysis investigation:

Bare PCB information
  • Vendor(s) — are failures isolated to a particular supplier or lot code?
  • Surface finish of failed assemblies — HASL or other
  • Soldermask type — application method and curing time
  • Cleanliness testing protocol and levels reported by supplier
Assembly Processing information
  • Fluxes used — surface mount, wave operation (spray or foam), hand, rework
  • Thermal excursions product encounters — reflow, wave, hand solder, rework
  • Cleaning protocol — water type, saponifier used, or No-Clean
  • Assembly aids used — temporary masks, adhesives
  • Conformal coating type (if used) — application and curing procedures
  • Can changes in the manufacturing process be correlated to the failures?
Product Failure information
  • What is the failure mechanism?
  • When does product fail? — burn-in or in the field
  • What is the age of failed product? — when built and length of service prior to failure
  • Definition of a "failed" product? — hard failure or intermittent
  • Are there increasing occurrences of "No Trouble Found" by warranty department?
  • Can failure be isolated to a particular component or section of the PCB?
  • What failure observations are users reporting regarding the appearance of product?
  • What failure observations are users reporting regarding the appearance of product?
Product Information needed
  • Assembly drawings (including any packaging or enclosure information)
  • Production Process flowchart
  • Photo documentation if available of failed units
  • How was the production process qualified to establish a cleanliness acceptance?
  • Data regarding other products manufactured using same process sequences
  • Is this the only product failing?
  • What other failures are experienced?
  • Contact name, position, phone numbers (office, cell, pager, fax, e-mail)
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