Failure Analysis and Reliability Testing for Hybrid SMT Industry


Failure analysis capabilities can be utilized to improve yield, determine root cause of failure, extrapolate life expectancy and improve reliability, and increase performance on integrated circuits (ICs), printed circuit boards (PCBs), and passive surface mount devices as well as materials and assemblies. Electronics failure analysis can provide detailed information regarding the performance of materials and devices in their intended end-use application. When a device or material does not meet its performance expectations, a failure analysis should be performed to identify the root cause of failure.

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SSIA Members: S$1,000 nett per pax
Non-Members: S$1,250 nett per pax


  • Failure Analysis concepts and methodology: What are the different approaches to failure analysis process flow and the key criterions of engineering and science involved? What are the predetermine problem solving and decision-making involving failure analysis tools and techniques?
  • Non-destructive failure analysis: Scanning Acoustic Microscopy, also known as C-SAM, X-ray combined with electrical equipment has the outstanding benefit is its ability to find hidden and intrinsic defects within assemblies and materials that can occur during manufacturing or environmental testing. Defects such as delamination, voids and cracks can be identified and analysed more effectively using Acoustic Microscopy than with any other inspection method and defects like short or open circuits are synonymous with IV curve tracer. X-ray would be used for internal structure density defect and XRF for different plating and metallic compositions.
  • Destructive failure analysis: Decapsulation is the process of removing the mould compound from an integrated circuit or other plastic package to reveal the silicon die inside. The process typically does not affect the electrical performance of the device, but permits visual inspection of the die for failure analysis purposes or to inspect for anomalies such as EOS (electrical overstress), die cracking, pad cratering, reading die serialization, lot numbers, and date codes, or other information available on the die itself. Three different decapsulation equipment to be discussed and showed here together with its pros and cons.
  • Adhesion Tests and Characterization: Many of the package reliability failure mechanisms encountered result from a loss of adhesion. Practical adhesion test techniques will be described to enable early screening of materials.
  • Reliability Tests and Standards: Test procedures for accelerating failures will be covered. Both industry standard tests and new, more highly accelerated test methods will be discussed. The goal, as always, is to accelerate mechanisms that will be found in the field while not creating any new or artificial mechanisms.
  • Thermal Analysis: The primary function of thermal analysis is to predict the temperatures of components and parts within a product. By visualizing heat fluxes, thermal bottlenecks, and missed shortcut opportunities, thermal analysis seeks to eliminate any detected thermal compliance issues. These temperature predictions are important to other analysis disciplines as well, as many real-world engineering materials are known to have temperature-dependent thermo-physical properties. Temperature effects can be critically important, especially in power distribution, signal integrity, and timing signals.
  • Case studies: Five classic case studies involving different failure analysis equipment in the analysis of organic, inorganic, micro structure analysis addressing combinational process problems in the field of SMT and semiconductor packaging assembly.
  • Reliability testing for IC packages and PCBAs: Product reliability has a big impact on future sales revenues and on costs. In the case of the latter, there is not only the cost of repairs, recalls or replacements if things go wrong, but the standard of reliability required is a major determinant in the cost of manufacture.
  • Developing Good Reliability Specifications:  The probability that a piece of equipment operating under specified conditions will perform satisfactorily for a given period of time is often the most raised questions. Reliability can and will affect the whole financial model of the product. It’s not just about zero failures over x years. There is a delicate balance to be struck. If failures occur within the warranty period, there will be a financial cost and also a cost to reputation. If they occur outside of the warranty period, then serviceable items can be charged for. We will discuss what is the best optimum balance of specs with reference to product application and field of use.
  • Types of reliability applications:  Ten different types of reliability equipment will be discussed here together with its basic operations and chart analysis a well as some classic failures seen after undergoing some rigorous reliability testing. To improve the accuracy of reliability testing, use a benchmark if possible and keep detailed records of test parameters and results. Test using applicable conditions to your product and take advice where necessary


  • This course objective is to equip the product designer, manager, test and process engineers, or end-user to identify design, selection, test, and process deficiencies. Recommendations for corrective actions from the failure analysis report can then be evaluated and implemented to enhance product reliability and performance. By having an unbiased failure analysis performed by an independent test laboratory, the liability of a failed device or material can be converted into an asset, resulting in production of higher quality products.


  • This course is designed for Packaging Engineer, Process Engineer, FEA Engineer, Materials Engineer, Sub-Con Management Engineer and other to have deep understanding about FA and REL in SMT Manufacturing.


Module 1 : Failure Analysis (FA) Concepts

  • FA objectives and goals
  • FA Process Overview and Fault Tree Chart
  • Basic cause of semiconductor packages and
  • PCBAs and its remedies

    Module 2 : Non-Destructive FA

    • Visual inspection and electrical measurements (Curve Trace, TDR and Parametric)
    • Equipment Principles and reports using SEM/ EDX, FTIR, ESCA/XPS
    • Inorganic/Elemental Analysis- SEM/EDX
    • Organic analysis- Fourier Transform Infra-Red (FTIR)
    • X-ray, X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) principles and methodology
    • Scanning Acoustic Microscope (CSAM) principles and methodology

      Module 3: Destructive FA

      • Sample preparation- molding
      • Cross-sectioning, Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and Focus Ion beam (FIB)
      • Acid Jet-etched and Laser Decapsulation
      • Surface profiling using Atomic Force Microscope (AFM)

        Module 4: Thermal Analysis

        • Equipment Principles and reports involving the below equipment
        • Dynamic Mechanical Analyser (DMA), Thermal Gravimetric Analyzer (TGA), Differential Scanning Calorimeter (DSC), Dynamic Thermal Mechanical Analyzer (DTMA), Thermal Mechani-cal Analyzer (TMA)

        • Application of thermal analysis for semiconductor and PCBA direct and indirect materials

        Module 5: Case Studies

        • Case studies involving Thermal Analysis, SEM/ EDX, FTIR, Electrical Measurements and De capsulation


        Module 6: Reliability testing for IC packages and PCBAs

        • Introduction to reliability testing
        • Definition, Objectives, Goals in Reliability testing
        • Case studies why reliability engineering is important

        Module 7: Developing Good Reliability Specifications

        • Characterizing Your Product’s Reliability
        • Choosing an Appropriate Distribution to Analyze Process Variations
        • Comparing Two Data Sets

        Module 8: Types of Reliability Applications

        • Preconditioning

        • Temperature Cycle

        • Thermal Shock

        • Pressure Pot (Autoclave)

        • High Temperature Storage

        • Low Temperature Storage

        • Air Convection Simulation

        • Temperature Humidity Bias Life Test

        • Mechanical Shock Vibration Testing


        Q&A session, end of class


        Mr. Geoffrey Tan

        Degree in Mechanical Engineering &
        Master degree in Business Administration

        Geoffrey Tan graduated with a Degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master degree in Business Administration. He has 15 years of working experience in high volume manufacturing in the field of process and equipment engineering from various multinational company. His last position held is SMT Operations manager cum FA manager in a public listed multi-national SMT company.

        His experience includes leading a team of process and R&D engineers in yield optimization, SMT advance process technologies, SMT problem solving, Design for Manufacturability (DFM) and SMT equipment selection. Off-hand he also provides consultancy in stencil design.

        His hands-on knowledge and experience in failure analysis would be an added value in solving SMT processes and materials related problems. Amongst the advance FA tools used would be TOF-SIMS, ESCA/XPS, SEM-EDX, CSAM, X-section, etc from local and overseas institutions and universities.

        He trained many in SMT related seminars and equipment selection for the right process. His services also encompass SMT process problem analysis and remedial steps, failure analysis on SMT and semiconductor packages and materials counterfeit detection services for semiconductor and PCBA packages and assembly. He often employs process characterization and simulation techniques in his problem-solving processes. His motto: “There is always a better way with a different approach”.

        We look forward to your participation.