The research area “reliability” is particularly significant at Fraunhofer IZM, as different materials with diverse thermal, mechanical and thermomechanical properties are used in the packaging process. Ensuring that the resulting systems function reliably in increasingly harsh environmental conditions (high temperatures, vibration, high current densities and voltages) for a predetermined operating time is always at the forefront of research and development, regardless of the application area the system is intended for. The development process is approached systematically. From the very beginning, physics-of-failure models are used as a tool for selecting materials with suitable properties in terms of thermomechanical tension and thermal performance. We have comprehensively equipped mechanical and thermal laboratories available for identifying the necessary material properties. A thorough understanding of the joining and encapsulation technologies and processes is also required to ensure highest reliability. In other words, the system must be grasped from all angles.
Fraunhofer IZM also lends a hand if your product experiences early failure. Using modern damage analysis techniques in combination with the staff’s technological know-how, the faults are identified and solutions suggested. A new research area focuses on “Condition Monitoring”, in which the condition of a system is monitored during operation based on selected condition indicators. The aim is identifying the failure before it takes place. For example, in a car, a component that is about fail can be replaced before the vehicle breaks down.