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Elimination of Spark Issue in High Power Transient Voltage Suppressor (TVS) Electrical Testing
June 14, 2020
Through the years, Fastech has improved its solutions and services to make good on its commitment to provide world-class electronic manufacturing services. To date, Fastech has developed expertise in power components which has also led to developing special expertise for high-voltage products. One special product, which Fastech has had to develop special processes for, is the high-power transient voltage suppressor (TVS).
TVS is a type of diode or electronic component used to protect electronic devices, electrical circuits, and loads from overvoltages. It is in place so that voltage spikes like electrical fast transients (EFT), inductive load switching, and lightning are suppressed. For example, the TVS is installed in airplanes to protect on board electronics and the plane itself from the electrical surge of a lightning strike.
As a unique device, the TVS has its own set of challenges to manufacture. One such challenge Fastech encountered was the spark issue when doing the electrical testing of the device. When the test process for TVS was put in place, a number of factors caused sparking to happen during the test namely (1) poor contact mechanism, (2) concentrated application of power in a small area, (3) gap within the contact region, and/or (4) accumulated debris between the contact points. This spark issue resulted in damage or burns on the device, yield loss, extra costs to run the full retest, and delay shipments.
To address this, the team managed to come up with a solution to reduce or completely eliminate the spark issue. They focused on the test fixture design without compromising test integrity and quality.
Now, with good contact mechanism, better device planarity and fitting in the device nest, balanced power distribution, and better contact between device and pogo pin, using the new test fixture is expected to drive productivity. A time and motion study conducted on the TVS testing found that using the old test fixture was quicker by 800 milliseconds. However there is one key difference that the study does not count for – the operator involved in the study had been using the new test fixture for less than a month, versus the old test fixture for over five years.
Further testing and continuous monitoring are required to conclude that the spark issue has been completely resolved. However, given the current results, it proves to be very much attainable. There is great upside potential for increased productivity coming from this development – another opportunity to create more substantial value for customers. Indeed, at Fastech, being dedicated to continuous improvement is a means to constantly improve customer experience.