Thursday, 20 December 2012

RoHS compliance: Case where the ICs did not have the correct alloy


A UK distributor had old stock of an IC that a customer wanted. However the stock was in leaded format, and the customer needed it RoHS (lead free).

The customer was suspicious of the distributor’s ability to do this but having limited options decided to proceed but he needed guarantees. Retronix fixed this issue as a guarantor by going through the process with the customer.

Alloy conversionThese are the actions that were implemented:
  • Chemical strip back of leaded device legs
  • Auto replating of RoHS compliant solder coating
  • XRF Test to ensure compliance

We then made an agreement deal whereby distributor/Retronix supplied the parts in batches, with the customer only paying when devices were successfully placed, eliminating the risk.

Retronix has invested in the latest automated retinning technology to ensure the highest levels of process repeatability and quality for alloy conversion or alloy refreshing.

For more info -
Know more about Retronix | CLICK HERE |
We welcome you to join our LinkedIn group | CLICK HERE |
Contact us : | CLICK HERE | info@retronix.com | sales@retronix.com

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Wednesday, 19 December 2012

RoHS Conversion in the Defence sector

Many defence systems rely on electronic parts that are no longer produced by the original manufacturer. That reliance is based, in part, on the long life cycles of these systems.


A UK defence company was buying BGAs via a distributor. Their requirement was a SnPb finish (leaded) and the BGAs that were purchased were Pb free.

rohs
Removing the lead free balls and replacing them with SnPb was an accepted process, but one which affected reliability via multiple reflows. 
Between us we managed to secure their allocation before the BGAs had balls placed on them, and they were subsequently finished on the Retronix BGA reballing laser machine.  By adopting the Retronix laser process we improved the reliability compared to the old process.  





For more info :
Know more about Retronix | CLICK HERE |

Know more about our services for the Defence Sector | CLICK HERE |
We welcome you to join our LinkedIn group | CLICK HERE |
Contact us : | CLICK HERE | info@retronix.com | sales@retronix.com

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Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Retronix Ltd. | Counterfeit Alert 2012 |

A customer sent approx. 5000 parts [BUK139-50DL] to check the authenticity of the components.  The customer who had procured these parts believed that the devices were originals and worked perfectly fine. He sent these parts to Retronix for Visual inspection, marking permanency testing, de-cap and a basic electrical test.

First a visual check of the label information was done and it showed on the labels attached on each reel, that the parts were lead free. Moving onto deeper visual checks on the components for the markings and the condition of the terminal told a different story. Retronix used the standard IDEA-STD-1010-B to compare the results.


Anti-Counterfeit IC Tests



Images 1 & 2 show faint indent markings and corner damage, these signs are evidence of remarking the components. Moreover there was no country of origin on the devices.

Image 3 shows further evidence that parts are remarked/sanded down as the device is uneven.





Visual Inspection by Retronix





Parts on the same reel showing different DRAIN tab features, also the top part of the device was in a very poor condition



IC tests by Retronix







Further to this, parts from the same reel showed different DRAIN tabs, the condition of the tab was poor, deep scratches and signs of damages to the edge as shown.





The Retronix testing team then went on to perform an X-ray test of these devices for a more in depth look and as per ERAI-STD-1010-B used for as reference found the following:


X-Ray Test by Retronix


XRF testing services












The test revealed that different results of die and the drain tab, all the parts on the same reel with the same datecodes should match under the X-Ray. As was mentioned earlier the labels showed all the devices to be lead free, and in order to authenticate this the X-ray test was performed which revealed otherwise.


IC tests by Retronix

The de-capsulation test was then done on the devices :


De-cap tests by Retronix
Figure : Images illustrate the topside (1) and the underside (2) of the sample device. Analysis suggests no evidence of attempted re-marking or re-packaging.


De-cap tests by Retronix

The images illustrate the package markings (1) , the entire die surface (2), and the die viewed at high magnification (3) and (4) , with no known good component or information from the datasheet, the die could not be confirmed as genuine. If the information on the datasheet is to be compared to the die, then Retronix believed that there would be more internal circuitry. Moreover no Die markings were found showing part number or the manufacturer.

Further checks revealed that the parts were already reported to the ERAI, where complaints such as parts smoking exploding on the boards were being reported.

Conclusion :

With all the evidence found Retronix believed the parts to be counterfeit components and not suitable for use on PCBs due to the electrical tests that were carried out and also with the information found on the ERAI website.

For more info -
Know more about Retronix | CLICK HERE |
Know more about our IC Testing services | CLICK HERE |
We welcome you to join our LinkedIn group | CLICK HERE |
Contact us : | CLICK HERE | info@retronix.com | sales@retronix.com

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Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Retronix @ Electronica 2012 | Munich, Germany - Part II

The second half of Electronica became very busy as there were many visitors at the booth wanting to know about Retronix, specially services like BGA reballing, IC Recovery, Anti-Counterfeit IC Testing and Alloy Conversion which were of special interest.

Visitors going towards the East Enterance


The BGA Reballing video and the IC Rescue video were grabbing visitors attention and every visitor was interested in our processes which does not involve any reflows! This process is exclusively offered by Retronix and it gives the ability to recover, reball, rework without any reflows. Most of the visitors at the stand were majorly concentrated from Asia viz. China, India interested in either IC Tests or Recovery. The second half of the day there was maximum footfall keeping the booth extremely busy at all times and each representative from Retronix were occupied in talking to customers | opportunities in explaining all the various aspects about Retronix.

Retronix Stand Layout at Electronica 2012

Word start to spread even representatives from big companies started to pop by our booth to know more about this unique process and how it could mutually benefit and bring costs down creating synergy for both corporate entities. As was planned during the whole event in the evening from 4pm onwards the whisky tasting event was organised. The second half of electronica with reference to the whisky tasting event was very popular as word had spread over the first two days about the event and therefore many more visitors dropped by at the booth for the whisky tasting event, Retronix did not mind it as the company had well anticipated the big footfall and more the visitors the better it was for the company to explain its services and discuss business over some fine Scotch. The event again was declared a resounding success as many discussions turned into real opportunities and subsequently in the future a continuing business relationship.

For Retronix, Electronica 2012 has been productive in terms of brand enhancement and also business development and this concludes the story of Electronica for 2012.

To know more about Retronix please click here

To know more about the unique processes click here

To contact us for any enquiries please click here | or email us at 

Monday, 19 November 2012

Retronix @ Electronica 2012 | Munich, Germany - Part I

Retronix was an exhibitor at the recent Electronica 2012 held at Munich,Germany over 4 days from 13th - 16th November. Electronica is the biggest trade show for the electronics industry and is held every 2 years. This year there were over 2600 exhibitors from over 49 different countries.

Retronix was at Hall A6 | Booth 135 sharing a stand with the German partners Factronix and another company Topline. This blog gives out the experiences and thoughts over the first two days.

Compared to the other big stands around; we were happy that our booth got a fair amount of footfall; right from people becoming curious after seeing the video that was looping, to down right sparkling pens along with notepads that were given away to visitors at the stand. The first day we saw at least 300 visitors of which we could safely say that 40-50 were real opportunities that Retronix could provide services to and vice versa. Also on the first day Mr.Tony Boswell | Founder of Retronix Ltd. spoke on 'How to safely recover ICs from obsolete and scrap PCBs' which generated a lot of interest as it a unique service only provided by Retronix Ltd.

Retronix: PCB Services | Alloy Conversion | IC Recovery | Anti-Counterfeit IC Test

Retronix Ltd. | Founder Mr.Tony Boswell at Electronica 2012


On the second day it became even busier as expected as we started getting visitors as early as 9 in the morning wanting to know about our services and the company as a whole. Retronix having worldwide locations was also a factor as many of our visitors came from all parts of the world right from China, Korea, India, Israel, Russia, USA and many European countries. Retronix was prepared with all kinds of information packs and brochures so that specific services could be targeted to specific type of companies. We observed a trend that many companies from Asia were interested in our Anti-Counterfeit IC testing services and companies based in Israel and surrounding areas were interested in the Hi-Rel industry services that we provide.

On both the days from 4pm-6pm we held a Scotch tasting event which we can term as a resounding success as each visitor not only got a guide to whisky by Retronix but also got to taste each type of pure original scotch from different regions of Scotland. This event was not only about the whisky tasting, many meetings and productive discussions on business were carried out and real positive outcomes in terms of business were signed and sealed.


The first two days of Retronix at Electronica generated a lot of interest in services and the unique processes that Retronix has developed and were termed to be productive and successful.

To know more about Retronix please click here
To know more about the unique processes click here
To contact us for any enquiries please click here | or email us at info@retronix.com


Retronix @ Electronica 2012 | Munich, Germany - Part II will follow soon.








Thursday, 8 November 2012

Retronix Exhibits at the SAE 2012 Counterfeit Parts Avoidance Symposium


Retronix was one of the exhibitors at the inaugural Counterfeit Parts Avoidance Symposium held November 2nd in Phoenix AZ. Speakers included Nicholas Torelli Jr, Director of Mission Assurance, Systems Engineering at the DoD and Phil Zulueta, Chairman of the SAE G-19 committee. Speakers discussed the growing threat of counterfeit and fraudulent ICs and components in the US supply chain and steps being taken to counter the threat.

Retronix presented its capabilities and extensive experience in Counterfeit Parts analysis, IC test and detection and its other component manufacturing services and Safe IC Recovery process for hard to source ICs.

SAE 2012 Counterfeit Parts Avoidance Symposium
    SAE 2012 Counterfeit Parts Avoidance Symposium


 Retronix at SAE 2012
   Retronix at SAE 2012


Learn more about IC Testing here
Learn more about IC Recovery here
Watch the relevant videos

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Retronix Anti-Counterfeit IC Testing: Eliminating the risk for ICs to fail in the field


Retronix was contacted by a broker based in Germany who had bought some scarce ICs from China that were needed for a client. The client did not want to buy from China but did not have any other options.

When the ICs arrived in Germany, they knew there was an issue:
  •          They were not packed properly or vacuum sealed and
  •          There were obvious signs of damage and flux residue 

Unsure of what to do, they contacted Retronix and sent us the ICs for review.

There were 942 pieces in total. We confirmed there was no attempt to counterfeit the ICs by blacktopping, but there was some damage evident. We immediately removed 121 pieces from the stock for severe body damage and popcorning.

The remaining ICs were checked for the correct alloy, and had the solder on their terminations refreshed, then cleaned.

The ICs were then electrically tested, and 739 passed, and were deemed ok for assembly.

They were returned to the client and subsequently placed on PCBs. Three PCBs failed due to the IC Retronix refurbished, but when replaced the PCBs still failed, so it’s debatable whether the fault was that IC.

The remaining PCBs had no issue with the part.

However if the customer had just placed the ICs without sending them to Retronix, then  203 PCBs would have immediately failed, or worse, failed soon in the field.

If you want to learn more, please contact us here

Watch the video for IC Testing here





Tuesday, 30 October 2012

The Retronix advantage: Recovering and reusing ICs from scrap or obsolete PCBs

A CEM had a large customer base of complex telecoms PCBs, and found these difficult to debug if they failed after assembly. This was mainly due to their being such a large amount of revisions, the techs found it difficult to be familiar with all of them.

IC Repair

Subsequently there was a lot of PCB “shotgunning” going on. This was the practice of making an educated guess at what IC was causing the issue, and changing it. This meant a huge expense in ICs, most of which were thought to be fine; it would be a solder problem causing the fault (open or short under the BGA).

So they introduced an exercise of sending the removed ICs to Retronix for IC Recovery, and putting them then back into the repair loop. For IC Recovery were also sent 3rd time failed PCBs.

This resulted in a 61% drop in IC cost in the repair area, with no noticeable difference in test yields.
Electrical TestingAll the ICs were tested electrically by Retronix before being returned.

If you want to learn more, please contact us here
Watch the video about IC Recovery here





Thursday, 4 October 2012

Retronix working with Service Repair Companies


A cell phone company manufactured its product in Asia, but had an EU Service based operation for EMEA. The service operation had small easy fix/replacement centres scattered around EMEA, but central repair facilities for PCB debug and repair issues.

It bought parts in bulk from HQ, but experienced many issues with parts shortages, over stocking and obsolete stock at the end of life for a product.


Retronix introduced a programme whereby they recovered the scrap PCBs from the company’s CEM manufacturing operations in Asia, (which were previously landfilled) and recovered the ICs locally. The recovered ICs were then shipped to the EU and held by Retronix free of charge. The service company had online access to all parts held, effectively parts held which had cost nothing, and were known genuine.

The service company would then call off parts as needed by its repair operations. At this point the parts would be refurbished using Retronix’s “IC Rescue” safe process and shipped in a few days to where they were needed. At this point Retronix would invoice for the refurbishment, which was a fraction of the cost of buying new.

The service company experienced no issues with these parts, which were brand new with zero hours use, and had been recovered using the safe “IC Rescue” process.

This successful programme slashed the parts costs of the service company, in terms of both buying and sourcing, as well as reducing obsolete costs massively.

If you want to learn more, please contact us here

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

A possible solution to “Hard to find electronic components”, when you cannot find the new parts, on time


A USA based OEM was looking for Xilinx parts but they could not be found within the timescale. It was offered parts by a broker in China which were advertised as “refurbished”. After further investigation, the OEM found out the parts were on scrap PCBs which the broker had bought from a local CEM. However the part were still on the PCBs, and the PCBs were in ESD bags, in boxes.

The broker was planning on outsourcing the recovery and refurbishment of the BGAs to a local company in Shenzhen, however Retronix was asked by the OEM to do the BGA recovery.


We recovered the Xilinx parts and others from the PCBs locally in Shenzhen. This was done using our new “IC Rescue” process that recovers ICs without a reflow cycle in order to comply with the IC manufacturers’ specifications.  The parts were packed and shipped to our European facility. Shipping of the ICs only was low cost. The remainders of the PCBs were sent for recycling in Shenzhen.


Retronix then removed the excess solder from the BGAs, using a controlled process without reflow or abrasion, then cleaned the parts and immediately reballed them. The parts were mechanically & electrically inspected and packed to be shipped to the USA based OEM.

The parts were placed without any issue and zero failures were reported.


The remainder of the parts were held by Retronix pending sale by the broker, and were sold with a “Retronix Certified” certificate of conformance, protecting the broker and the end user.

If you want to learn more, please contact us here

Thursday, 6 September 2012

IC Recovery: Retronix “IC Rescue” process in action


With the demise of Nortel, it has left existing users with a problem if they want to expand their existing Nortel telecoms telephone system – where do they get the hardware?

Flextronics were tasked with supplying a daughter board for an exchange, and could source all the parts apart from one – the Nortel processor itself.


The part was a NT6X54AA ASIC, long since out of production. The only alternative at the time was to set up a production run to make a batch of chips – however this was a massive cost.

Then it was discovered that although the revision of daughter board needed did not exist, earlier revisions of the board existed in quite large numbers – and the only constant between all the revisions was the ASIC chip!

So Retronix was asked to carry out a recovery operation on the chips so they could be re-used.

Retronix used their unique IC Rescue process to remove and refurbish the ASIC chips without using any dangerous heat or abrasive processes. All chips were then fully tested, both mechanically and electrically, and supplied to the CEM to be installed on the latest revision of PCB.

This proved a highly successful operation, with no reported field failures after 2 years of installation.

For further info on how Retronix can help you recover chips for reuse, to either save money, the environment or because you cant source them, email us at info@retronix.com

Safe Recovery White Paper: Learn more about Retronix Zero Reflow Cycles Process for IC Rescue by clicking here.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Counterfeit Alert: August 2012

W83977ATG (WINBOND)


A customer sent Retronix's testing department a large number of these Winbond W83977ATG components and requested a visual inspection to determine their condition prior to use. The devices were bought as new and unused, but the evidence found by our testing team revealed that the parts were not compliant with standards set by IDEA-STD-1010B, Exhibit 46B Figure 12-79, Coplanarity Failures.

The parts arrived in non-moisture bags, meaning that if they were going to be used, they would need to be baked beforehand to remove any moisture. Some of the components which were visually inspected by the testing team at Retronix also showed signs of contamination. Upon opening the first bag of components, Retronix's testing team noticed obvious damage to the top left component.

Top tray of first bag of components - visible damage to pins on top left device
Top tray of first bag opened - visible damage to top left device.
Closer inspection of the devices uncovered contamination on the back of the component and damage to the pins. 

Left - contamination on back of device. Right - pin damage to device.
Left - contamination on back of device. Right - pin damage to device.
Although some of the components displayed differing pin 1 indents, this may have been because the batches had mixed datecodes. This theory would need to be verified by Winbond.

THE VERDICT

Due to the initial results of the visual inspection, as well as the more detailed results - which revealed pin damage and contamination - Retronix's testing team has ruled the components to be in "non-conforming condition."

CS5530AUCE (National Semiconductor)


Retronix's testing department were sent CS5530AUCE Geode components with the request that they be visually inspected before use, much like the above Winbond case. These components were also sold as new and unused. 

But as soon as the testing department opened the box containing the components, they knew that these components were not what they said on the label. As you can see, although these components are on the same tray and have the same markings, they have different pin 1 indents and different top side edges.

The visible differences in the shapes and pin indents of the devices.
Upon closer inspection, Retronix's testing team discovered that the components had several scratch marks on their surfaces and signs of liquid contamination on the solder spheres.

Evidence of contamination and reballing on Geode components.
Left - scratches and evidence of re-balling. Right - liquid contamination on spheres.
 The CS5530AUCE Geode components also displayed evidence of being re-balled.

THE VERDICT


The visual inspection revealed a number of anomalies and the more detailed results of the tests uncovered yet more unusual features in these components, such as scratches and sphere contamination. Accordingly, Retronix's testing team has ruled the components to be in "non-conforming condition."

MPC866PVR133A (FREESCALE)


A customer sent Retronix's testing team a batch of Freescale MPC866PVR133A components and requested a visual inspection to determine their condition prior to use. The devices were bought as new and unused.

When inspecting the packaging that the components had been delivered to Retronix's customer in, the testing team discovered that the label contained no manufacturer information or logo. 

Packaging label with missing information and logo
Packaging label is missing manufacturer's logo and information.

The components were then removed from the packaging and examined visually. This inspection uncovered a problem in the device's solder spheres - the spheres were scratched from underneath.

Devices show scratches beneath solder spheres
Visual inspection at Retronix uncovered scratches beneath solder spheres.
The only way that scratches beneath solder spheres can occur is if the solder spheres have been removed, meaning that it is very likely that this component had been re-balled - despite the fact that it was sold to our customer as "new and unused."

Further testing by Retronix also revealed that the device's solder spheres had evidence of contamination. Unfortunately, this was not the last of the component's flaws - the tests also showed that different sizes of solder sphere had been used to reball the device.

Solder sphere contamination and different sized solder spheres
Left - solder sphere contamination. Right - different sphere sizes used.
Solder sphere contamination is a tell-tale sign of a suspect device - as is different sized solder spheres.

THE VERDICT


Solder sphere contamination is a tell-tale sign of a suspect device - as is different sized solder spheres. This, coupled with the poor packaging which the components arrived in, has led Retronix's testing department to the conclusion that these components are "suspect counterfeit."

Worried about the authenticity of your components? Retronix can help

Monday, 23 July 2012

New Faces at Retronix

Retronix Expands Marketing Department


These are exciting times for Retronix and the electronic component recovery company is committed to an expansion in its activities. This year has seen major investments in capital expenditure and the development of unique processes for IC recovery (IC Rescue) and automated re-tinning

We have developed a new website and expanded our marketing team by recruiting three exceptional graduates. Our new team members, who are based in our Coatbridge facility, have hit the ground running and are certainly being kept busy! Allow us to introduce you to them...

Maulin Buch, Marketing Executive at Retronix
Maulin Buch, Marketing Executive

Maulin Buch


Maulin graduated from the University of Glasgow with a MSc degree in Strategic Marketing in 2011. 

He worked as a Marketing Manager at Tech Solutions and as a Channel Sales Executive at Sanofi Aventis before joining us at Retronix. His specialities are branding management and strategic planning. 

Maulin said: "Working at Retronix is interesting in so many ways. The electronics sector is new to me and learning new things every day about the business makes each day of work exciting - our dynamic team and friendly work environment make it even better. Becoming a part of this marketing team cannot have come at a better time for me."


Eirini Chavgie, Marketing Executive at Retronix
Eirini Chavgie, Marketing Executive

Eirini Chavgie


Eirini received a MSc degree in Strategic Marketing from the University of Glasgow in 2011. 

After graduating, Eirini lent her skills to an online magazine as a Marketing Assistant before securing her position at Retronix. She specialises in market research and brand analysis. 

Eirini said: "Being a part of Retronix's marketing team presents new challenges every day and I am constantly learning about the electronics sector and developing my understanding of it. Creating marketing strategies around this knowledge is what makes working at Retronix very rewarding for me."


Rachel Boyle, Marketing Executive at Retronix
Rachel Boyle, Marketing Executive

Rachel Boyle


Rachel secured a BA (Hons) degree in Marketing from Glasgow Caledonian University in June 2012. 

Before becoming part of Retronix's marketing team, Rachel worked as an Assistant Brand Manager at The White Matter and a Graduate Market Researcher at JBD Tritec. Her specialities include market analysis and customer communication. 

Rachel said: "Since I started at Retronix, I have developed my understanding of the electronics market and Retronix's positioning within this market. I'm eager to build on my previous experience in market planning to help steer the business through the exciting times ahead!"


The graduates join existing marketing team member Caitlin King, who also has experience in public relations. Her specialities are copywriting and social media management.

Please visit our website to find out more about Retronix's other team members or contact us to find out more about our services.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Counterfeit Alert: June 2012

LSI53C1000R (LSI)


During the initial visual inspection, our testing department became suspicious straight away - the manufacturer's name was spelt incorrectly on the components and the date codes were varied when they should not have been. The markings, which should state "LSI LOGIC," actually say "LSI LOGIG." Our Test Manager, Joe Maguire, contacted LSI about the components and they responded with:

Markings display "LSI LOGIG" rather than "LSI LOGIC."
"Sample parts of the LSI53C1000R that we have on hand in the quality archives show the part marking to only include the word 'LSI' - not 'LSI LOGIC'... There is nothing on file for a correction of the markings from LSI LOGIG to LSI LOGIC."


Further examination from Retronix's testing department revealed that the components had chipped edges, fibre contamination and scratches under the solder spheres - all tell-tale signs of counterfeiting.

Retronix's testing department discovered fibre contamination in the components.
To confirm their suspicions about the authenticity of the parts, our testing department carried out XRF tests. The XRF analysis results showed that all of the components tested had a Pb (lead) content of over 24%, meaning that they were leaded and not RoHS compliant.

THE VERDICT

The results of the visual inspections and XRF analysis, along with LSI's statement, led Retronix's testing department to the conclusion that the parts should be regarded as "suspect counterfeit."

GM71V65163CT-3 (HYNIX)


Visual inspections revealed that two of the Hynix components tested had different textures - one had a smooth surface and reflected light while the other was bumpy and dull in its appearance.

Following this discovery, the testing team at Retronix subjected the components to permanency marking tests. Using a mixture consisting of one part IPA and three parts mineral spirits, a wipe test was performed. This resulted in a slight fading of the markings.
Markings changed from "Hyundai" to "Hynix."
Wipe testing using acetone uncovered another issue with the components - the date codes had been altered. The acetone wipe test also proved that the components had been re-marked. Changing date codes and branding is another trick used by counterfeiters to mask the origins of inauthentic parts.

Hynix were formerly Hyundai, however these may have been rebranded by counterfeiters  in an attempt to pass them off as authentic.

THE VERDICT

Due to the differences in surface appearance between components and the altering of the date codes and branding, Retronix's testing team has classed these as "suspect counterfeit."

MT29F08G08AAWP (MICRON)


Upon initial inspection, there are no obvious attempts at re-marking or re-packaging. However, Retronix's testing team notes that the markings on the die are Intel, not Micron. 

After further investigation through de-cap testing, it is discovered that while the device is marked as a Micron 8GB device, the die is marked as an Intel 16GB device. Furthermore, the date code on the device is 2009, week 16, while the date code on the die is 2008.

The true origins of the device are revealed through de-cap testing.
Retronix's testing department then used a programming software which is compatible with the MT29F08G08AAWP device to determine its unique ID code. This is a simple test which any genuine component would easily pass. The results proved that the device code was not authentic.
After contacting Micron about the component, our team received the following statement, confirming their suspicions about the device:

"The Micron part number is for an obsolete product and the die inside the package is for a different part."

THE VERDICT

Although this component did not display any external signs of tampering, the de-cap testing and incorrect ID code - along with Micron's statement - have allowed Retronix to confirm that this component is most definitely a counterfeit device.

Worried about the authenticity of your components? Retronix can help

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Investing in the Future: Automated Re-tinning

Importance of Re-tinning


In the PCB industry, the importance of re-tinning components prior to assembly is widely recognised. The way in which the re-tinning process is carried out is often crucial to the reliability of the components. Operator errors can cause damage to fine pitch leads and produce inconsistent results, so it is essential that the re-tinning process is automated.

Automated Processes for Optimal Results


Retronix's specialised services are designed to provide our customers with the most reliable and consistent results possible. With this in mind, we are pleased to announce that we have given our final sign off on our brand-new automated re-tinning machine!

Retronix's Operations Manager, Calum Drummond, receives final sign-off certificate from ACE Production Technology's President, Alan Cable.

The machine is an LTS-QFP system which is being custom built to our specifications which will provide automated re-tinning processing in accordance with ANSI/GEIA-STD-0006-2008 standards. It is equipped with:

  • Articulated vacuum pick-up head
  • Matrix tray (JEDEC)
  • Camera centring station
  • Lead alloy compatible solder pots (x2)
  • Fluxing station
  • Preheating station
  • Washing station
  • Drying station 

This "hands off" approach will allow for automated solder dip coating of fine pitch QFPs and similar devices and will produce consistently reliable results. 

Retronix's Guarantee


All components which pass through Retronix are subjected to thorough automated optical inspection testing and you only pay for the components which PASS our strict inspection criteria. 

To find out more about our component re-tinning services, please visit our website

Monday, 28 May 2012

Retronix Leads with Revolutionary Process

Unique and Innovative Process


Retronix's proven IC recovery process is the ONLY way to safely recover ICs from faulty and obsolete PCBs. Every day, companies waste huge amounts of money by scrapping faulty PCBs rather than recycling them. Why? Because there has never been a risk-free and reliable way to recover high-value ICs - until now.

IC manufacturers' specifications state that components can be subjected to no more than three reflow cycles. Our process allows us to safely remove and refurbish components with zero reflow cycles.

Comparison of current IC recovery processes and Retronix's IC recovery process.

Benefits of Recycling ICs


When PCBs fail in assembly, it is mainly due to process issues such as defective solder joints and raw PCB faults rather than silicon faults. Recycling ICs from failed PCBs with Retronix allows you to:

  • SLASH PRODUCTION COSTS - By recovering and re-using high-value ICs, you can save up to 80% of the cost of scrap and obsolete PCBs
  • FIND RARE COMPONENTS - Recovering ICs gives you with a new source of rare components. Retronix can recover scarce components from faulty or obsolete PCBs, providing you with a supply of safe and authentic ICs
  • BEAT COUNTERFEITING CONCERNS - The counterfeit industry is growing at an alarming rate. Removing and refurbishing components with Retronix prevents parts from entering the grey market and allows them to be thoroughly tested and certified (providing they pass our strict standards) before re-use or resale
  • REDUCE LANDFILL MATERIAL - Recycling components (which often contain harmful chemicals) rather than sending them to landfill doesn't just save you money - it also saves the environment
Read more about how Retronix's revolutionary process can help you recover ICs safely and save you money.

Combating Counterfeit

Evolution of the Counterfeit Trade


It's the three words every purchasing department dreads - "the grey market."

Counterfeit electronic components have been making their way to the UK market for some time now and it is estimated that 95% of these unsafe and unreliable parts are arriving from Asia - a recent study revealed that the counterfeit industry accounts for 8% of China's gross domestic profit. The Chinese counterfeit market is becoming more and more sophisticated and those involved are spending vast amounts of time and money on developing new ways to "fake" components.

Components being removed from PCBs in China. © Kevin Lee/Getty Images 
Most CEMs, franchised brokers and non-franchised brokers have had some experience of counterfeit components in the past. Using these parts can lead to massive financial liability as well as loss of reputation - it is believed that counterfeiting costs the semiconductor industry around $7.5 billion every year in lost revenue.

Combating Counterfeit Worldwide


There are ways to stop the spread of counterfeit components. 

Retronix has been at the forefront of the "combating counterfeit" initiative for a number of years and has recently invested significantly in state of the art testing equipment to help in the fight to stop counterfeit components reaching production lines all over the globe.

Ensuring Authenticity of Components


For Retronix's strategy to be effective, it is vital for the purchasing professionals, distributors and brokers to become part of the fight and use Retronix's services as the first line of defence. Send your grey market components to Retronix for testing before you purchase them and, provided that they pass our scrupulous testing process, you will be able to hand them over to your customer with our certificate of authenticity.

Retronix has also developed a revolutionary process that allows us to recover components safely from obsolete PCBs without the component die reaching reflow temperatures. Apart from the obvious cost savings, this also ensures that the history of the component is traceable - meaning that you have no doubts about their authenticity.

All components that are recovered using the Retronix method are tested, baked, packaged in tape and reel or waffle trays then vacuum sealed. Working to IDEA-STD-1010-B standard, Retronix offers various tests including:

  • Visual Inspection
  • Acid Wipe Test (examining component for changes to screen printing)
  • Curve Trace Test (powered and un-powered)
  • Key Functional Test
  • De-capsulation
  • Ionic Contamination Test
  • Solderability Test
  • X-Ray
  • XRF    

We know that careful and thorough testing combined with our unique component recovery process will help in the fight against counterfeiting and ensure that you provide your customers with authentic and reliable components. To find out more about what Retronix can offer, please visit our website or email one of our team members.