Failure analysis

Analytical methods

  • Optical Inspection by Microscope and Micro-Endoscope

    ▸ Bright field, dark field, interference contrast, polarization, UV light
  • Laser Topography

    ▸ Optical surface scan, roughness measurement, maximum sample size 300 x 300 mm, resolution down to 10 nm

  • Metallographic Preparation

    ▸ maximum microsection surface 160 x 30 mm

  • Light Optical and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM)

    ▸ SEM inspection + analysis by means of energy or wavelength dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX / WDX)

  • X-Ray and Ultrasonic Microscopy

    ▸ maximum sample size 500 x 500 mm, resolution down to 5 µm

  • X-Ray Fluorescence (RFA / XRF)

    ▸ Qualitative and quantitative determination of elementary composition and layer thickness determination

  • Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR)

    ▸ Identification of organic substances (polymers, adhesives, flux...)

  • Measurement of Ionic Contamination (J-STD-001 / IPC-TM-650)

    ▸ Proof of ionogenic contamination of assemblies (e.g. process residue from PCB production, flux residues, handling residues...)
    ▸ Process adaptation to customer specifications

  • Dye and Pry Test

    ▸ Proof of cracks (microcracks) in BGA solder connections

  • Hardness tests

    ▸ According to Shore, Knoop, Rockwell, Vickers, Brinell


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Factors contributing to the occurrence of a defect

  1. Constructional faults
    • faulty dimensioning
    • faulty selection of materials
    • faulty process selection
    • faulty documentation
  2. Production faults
    • shortcomings in the process chain
    • shortcomings of the vendor parts
    • shortcomings in the adaption of parameters
  3. Storage / Transport
  4. Operational faults
    • operating and maintenance faults
    • consequential damage (wear and tear, corrosion,...)
    • overload
  5. Acts of God
Fire damage
Fire damage

Systematic Sequence of a Defect Analysis

Defective Object

• Damage description


• Determination of the defect event sequence and the background

Defect Hypothesis

• Circumscription of possible causes

Selection of Investigation Methods

• Non-destructive tests, destructive tests,..., simulation efforts

Tests / Examinations

• Taking of sample - component - material - evaluation defect neighbourhood

Evaluation of Examination Results

• Target - Performance - Comparison

Defect Cause

• Definition of defect type and cause

Defect Prevention

Defect Report


  • Microscopic inspection
    Microscopic inspection
  • Metallogrphic preparation
    Metallographic preparation
  • Microsection
  • Optical analysis
    Optical inspection
  • Documentation
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