There’s no such thing as a routine job when it comes to failure analysis. Even the most common electronic device can turn out to be an exceptionally challenging puzzle when it comes to finding out what went wrong with it, primarily if the malfunction occurred after some significant physical damage.
Electronic components often fail because of tiny defects in their manufacturing process, which are invisible to an untrained eye. Even in the case of defects that can be seen, it isn’t easy to detect them using external examination only (which means almost nothing in this context). The term “failure analysis” is used for several different methods to determine the cause of malfunctioning devices.
What Is Failure Analysis?
Failure analysis tools come in two forms: sophisticated software and hardware equipment. The former uses complex algorithms to simulate the effects of certain physical phenomena on electronic components. It means that it can take hours or even days for a single device to be analyzed, especially if it’s a particularly “difficult” one…
The second sort of tool is known as an oscilloscope. It’s a device that can display both the frequency and voltage values of electrical signals on two graphs (the first graph is the X-axis, while the Y-axis represents amplitude). The oscilloscope enables you to notice even minimal changes in voltages of different points inside an electric circuit.
How to carry out a failure analysis
- Identifying the device and determining what went wrong with it: This is a very crucial step in failure analysis. If the device isn’t identified correctly, you won’t find out what happened to it (or why).
- Assembling the necessary tools for the job: Some of these tools are very sophisticated and expensive, while others can be easily assembled in your own home.
- Analyzing the device: The only way to find out what went wrong with a device is actually by analyzing it thoroughly. It means that you have to start testing every component of the device until you finally identify where something went wrong (which parts failed and why).
- Documenting the results: Once you’ve found out what went wrong with a device, it’s imperative to write everything down correctly (which components didn’t work as they should, etc.). If you fail to do that, you won’t reproduce the same conditions after some time has passed. It might be pretty helpful to find where exactly something went wrong with the device.
What does a failure analysis consultant do?
- Identifies and documents the failure of electronics equipment;
- Studies and analyzes the cause (or causes) that led to the damage;
- Presents their study results to clients or employers;
- Provides recommendations on how to prevent such problems in the future.
Like with any other job, a failure analysis consultant must have an in-depth knowledge of their area to determine the cause of malfunctioning device or equipment accurately. The consultant doesn’t necessarily have to be a highly skilled engineer, but they should certainly know how electronic components function and what could potentially go wrong with them.