Reliability of Components and Systems

Business Unit »Test and Reliability Solutions«

The continuously increasing demands on the quality of intelligent microsystems in a wide range of fields such as transport, communication, energy, manufacturing and safety are primarily concerned with the aspects of reliability, robustness and sustainability. Future Smart Mobility, Smart Energy and Smart Manufacturing solutions will increasingly be characterized by higher integration and power density for energy efficiency and signal integration. Optimal functional, mechanical, electrical and thermal design becomes the key to competitive products due to the higher level of system integration.

The Fraunhofer ENAS develops methods for a complex Design for Reliability (DfR). This is used for the support of development processes, the estimation of stresses in parts and components as well as the prognosis of product lifetimes.

The evaluation and optimization of reliability also requires close cooperation between theoretical modelling, numerical calculation and experimental validation. The following modelling and simulation methods are used and further developed at Fraunhofer ENAS:

  • Material Model Generation
    An exact description of the material behavior under the aspect of progressive miniaturization is of vital importance. Therefore, adequate material models for the micro range are continuously developed and improved.
  • Fracture and Damage Mechanics (Physics of Failure)
    In addition to the simulation of deformation and stress conditions, failure modes in electronic and micro-system components are analyzed by means of fracture and damage mechanics and potential failures are predicted. For example, parameter variations can be used to make recommendations for remedies.
  • Reliability Validation
    There is already a wealth of experience in criteria and methods for reliability assessment and optimization which is constantly being enriched on the basis of new projects.
  • Automated Virtual Prototyping
    Virtual prototyping based on the newest simulation technologies is used extensively as an intelligent and efficient tool for product development at ENAS/MMC. The main focus of the research is a progressive automation of the design of virtual experiments.

The further development of the combination of these methods represents a major research focus within the core competence of reliability. With the implementation of advanced criteria of fracture and damage mechanics, the increase of the degree of automation of virtual prototyping as well as the development of methods of Prognostics and Health Management (PHM) for electronic assemblies, new contributions in the field of reliability research are continuously generated.