Is Mil-Std-217 still a “Go-to” tool in 2015?

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Adam Bahret

Mil-Std-217 had a lot to do with Reliability formally being integrated into the electronics development process. It was a powerful tool that allowed for reliability prediction to be done when an electrical design is nothing more than a bill of materials. But is it a useful tool today? It is useful but it is not at the top of my list of “Go-to” methods for measuring or improving reliability in a new electronic design.

arrow_on_boardThe reason for me is simple. Electronic components’ failing randomly isn’t what drives the success of consumer electronics these days. The design reliability and manufacturing methods for these advanced components has been matured to a level where even the cheapest options far exceed the needed reliability for most modern applications. Failure modes are primarily driven in many cases by component integration issues. Many failures are going to be because of physical system defects other than straight temperature and voltage. What are the most common failure modes seen in consumer products today? cracked boards, broken leads, misapplication of a component, unforeseen operating condition or a combination of inputs. A prediction can’t account for any of these. HALT, ALT, Reliability Growth, ISTA, these are my “Go-to” tools to improve and measure reliability of a new product in an aggressive development timeline.

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