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.

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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.

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.  

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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.

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