Complex low volume electronics simulation tool to improve yield and reliability

Assembly of Printed Circuit Boards (PCB) in low volumes and a high-mix requires a level of manual intervention during product manufacture, which leads to poor first time yield and increased production costs. Failures at the component-level and failures that stem from non-component causes (i.e. system-level), such as defects in design and manufacturing, can account for this poor yield. These factors have not been incorporated in prediction models due to the fact that systemfailure causes are not driven by well-characterised deterministic processes. A simulation and analysis support tool being developed that is based on a suite of interacting modular components with well defined functionalities and interfaces is presented in this paper. The CLOVES (Complex Low Volume Electronics Simulation) tool enables the characterisation and dynamic simulation of complete design; manufacturing and business processes (throughout the entire product life cycle) in terms of their propensity to create defects that could cause product failure. Details of this system and how it is being developed to fulfill changing business needs is presented in this paper. Using historical data and knowledge of previous printed circuit assemblies (PCA) design specifications and manufacturing experiences, defect and yield results can be effectively stored and re-applied for future problem solving. For example, past PCA design specifications can be used at design stage to amend designs or define process options to optimise the product yield and service reliability.