Accel-RF has developed an entirely turnkey reliability testing system. Decades of field testing on all types of systems have refined and proven the modular testing system design concept’s superiority. Accel-RF’s adaptable fixturing will handle the job no matter the package, the device frequency range, or the required testing parameters. The company partners with customers through extensive training and consultation. Clients can typically expect to perform full-scale reliability testing on their device within a few weeks of system delivery.
Accel-RF: Putting the Customer’s Needs First in Reliability Test Systems
With Accel-RF equipment, customers can eliminate the time-consuming, highly technical, and often frustrating task of designing a proper fixture for testing each device.
Accel-RF’s modular test fixtures have been expertly designed and refined over decades to accommodate many different device and package configurations. Accel-RF’s engineers work as a technical partner with customers from start to finish, including fixturing, circuit design, on-site training, and everything in between.
Besides featuring completely adaptable fixturing, Accel-RF equipment comes with a software tool that removes the guesswork from acquiring reliability data. LifeTest software embodies everything Accel-RF engineers have learned about obtaining and analyzing accurate data over the last 25 years of helping customers perform long term reliability testing.
Integrated Data Acquisition and Analysis
Accel-RF designed LifeTest as an integrated part of a turnkey testing system, not as an afterthought. The software seamlessly configures the hardware for sophisticated biasing techniques, RF signal injection, and temperature control. Once the equipment starts testing at the desired parameters, the software receives and records the resulting data.
LifeTest contains powerful data analysis tools to help customers get the specific information needed to prove device reliability. The software helps answer critical questions like:
- What is the mean time to failure (MTTF)?
- What is the distribution of a particular failure over time?
- Over temperature?
Customers receive the data in a format that can easily flow into a spreadsheet or graphics program to calculate and determine the specific reliability parameters needed. LifeTest software makes it easy to configure the testing equipment, acquire data, and then analyze and manipulate it to obtain what’s needed.
Advantages Over In-House Systems
Many Accel-RF customers have previously attempted to develop in-house testing solutions with limited or no success. The primary disadvantage of these in-house systems is the lack of integration between hardware and software. Each hardware component is a separate entity that collects data but requires massive manipulation of that data to obtain accurate insights. With each element typically coming from different manufacturers, there is a high likelihood that some parts of the system won’t interface well or only with extensive effort to make it work.
With Accel-RF equipment, all parameters – DC biasing, RF stimulus, and temperature control – are controlled and measured by a fully integrated system. The hardware components and software work together seamlessly, so reliability data is unquestionably accurate.
Training With Software and Data Analysis
Software as customizable as LifeTest can present a challenge to those initially learning it. Accel-RF commits to providing ample onsite training. Customers get an opportunity for hands-on experience while Accel-RF engineers are on the premises to answer questions and demonstrate various setups.
Once the initial tests are underway, customers begin learning how to read the data they are obtaining. After customers get some experience using the testing setup, Accel-RF engineers will make a follow-up visit to gauge how well they are doing with the system. An extensive online Knowledge Base also provides answers to questions as they arise.
Accel-RF’s long-term experience in the reliability testing field informs trainers about what customers need. Different personnel require varied types of training, depending on their role in the testing process.
The customer’s reliability engineer or semiconductor physicist typically initiates testing and develops a test plan for the device. This individual usually knows if they need a 3-Temperature Life Test, 1,000-hour RF-HTOL, or other tests. To choose achievable test conditions, this person requires extensive training on the capabilities of the system.
A system operator works from the test plan to configure the ordered tests in the LifeTest software and load the devices into the fixtures. To help implement the test plan appropriately, the operator receives more focused training on using the LifeTest software.
There will usually be a higher-level user who is either the reliability engineer or an experienced technician who will be the main point of contact and the most knowledgeable when configuring tests and generating the results. That operator can delegate tasks, such as calibration or test operation, to lower level engineers once some of the initial setups are complete.
The LifeTest software incorporates many flexible built-in analysis tools that customers can use in a variety of ways. For a manufacturing environment, the analysis can even be automated so that at the end of a test, red or green Pass/Fail color codes will tell the operator the result of the test. Operators can take advantage of several built-in analysis tools, including a graphical plot utility and data export function to quickly communicate results to the team.
Higher-level reliability engineers and device physicists can utilize the robust statistical analysis tools to fit device failure times over different distributions and extract key parameters, such as activation energy and mean time to failure (MTTF). All these features are standard and covered during the software training class.
Maintenance and Equipment Calibration
Most available testing equipment has separately manufactured power supply systems and RF equipment. Temperature is often manually controlled on these systems. Testing labs with this equipment have to endure complicated and often unreliable procedures to calibrate test equipment.
Accel-RF’s LifeTest software contains routines to calibrate the hardware. Current temperature, RF, and voltage calibration is compared to standards and recertified periodically. Running the calibration routines through software requires less effort and provides very consistent calibration each time while minimizing equipment downtime.
Follow-up Visits to Ensure Productivity
Accel-RF usually returns to the customer’s site once or twice during the first year to ensure customers use all the needed features of their testing system. Accel-RF asks for customers to grant access to their Library of test configurations to help make any required testing improvements.
The Library is a crucial feature of the Accel-RF software system. It is a storage location of all customer-defined procedures and characterization tests and helps Accel-RF’s engineers determine if customers effectively use the system.
Making use of the Library becomes a very integral part of training and how Accel-RF helps its customers achieve their testing goals with the least amount of trouble and setbacks.
From the initial setup through to follow-up visits and progress checks, Accel-RF partners with its customers to ensure their testing programs are successful in every way.