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75 institutions from 13 countries collaborate to improve reliability for electronic components

Current electronic components and systems (ECS) are becoming more compact and complex every day, thus making more difficult to face the reliability analysis in them. Now, it is required to follow a holistic approach through the entire value chain of an ECS product, such as the material, chip, packaging and system. During 3 years, iRel40 will connect 75 institutions from 13 European countries, including the Institute of Microelectronics of Barcelona through the Power Devices and Systems Group.

Intelligent Reliability 4.0 (iRel40) is an international project to enhance the ECS reliability, a “must have” to fulfil customer demands and the needs of an increasingly more complex environment, as the world transitions to complex systems with more electronics and autonomy in various application domains. It is happening with the new smart transport and mobility, the digital industries, the industrial production or the energy sector.

Reliability measures the frequency of equipment failures and it has a direct impact in high-tech industries, resulting in direct finance loss, delayed product release, liability and reduced consumer confidence. The initiative iRel40 aims to better understand these failures through the use of Big Data Analysis (BDA), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), cloud computing approaches and Internet of Things (IoT) systems for Prognostics and Health Monitoring (PHM) purposes to predict the remaining life of a system.

“The strategies and new methodologies developed for a more application-orientated online testing will be crucial for extracting information to be processed in the cloud and extract lifetime prediction models, to eventually perform decision-making and maintenance actions to increase the reliability in the final system,” explains Xavier Perpiñà, IMB-CNM PI of the project.

Pilot examples defined for applications and the optimisation of factories

As a general structure, iRel40 is organised in eight specific objectives or work packages (WPs) that cover every process of the value chain, from development to testing, standardisation and application. One part of the project will be devoted to show how the advances performed in the project will improve the final product reliability through specific industrial pilots and application use cases in final application scenarios.

The IMB-CNM will study induction cooktops, checking how to prevent system failures due to abnormal electrical or thermic overloads. The project’s innovative approach consists of developing connectivity in cooktops, assisted by AI and machine learning capable of generating databases on the real usage of the device. Thanks to this, quality errors will be detected faster. This process will give useful information to improve the design and the manufacturing of the product.

To make the creation of more reliable induction cooktops possible, the IMB-CNM deals with aspects related to specifications, modelling and simulation, and application-orientated testing.

The developed methods and processes for improving reliability will be verified in sixteen actual use cases from the fields of energy, transport and industry, as well as a further eighteen industrial pilots.

 “Our goal is to improve production processes in microelectronics with the aid of optical methods and sensors, in order to lower the failure rate in production, improve quality, and finally achieve maximum reliability for new products”, says project coordinator Klaus Pressel from Infineon.

Strengthening Europe as a business location and a reliability community

The goal of iRel40 is to generate a sustainable pan-European reliability community. The initiative encompasses contributions from research institutions, universities and companies from the tech industry. The IMB-CNM is involved alongside more than 70 international institutions.

This collaborative project will secure around 25,000 highly qualified jobs across Europe through strong partnerships and investments in innovation. The iRel40 project receives funding from the European Union, through the ECSEL programme, from the Spanish Agencia Española de Investigación and from more than 20 other institutions. The project will run for three years and is scheduled to end in April 2023.


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