Summer 2005

Ops A La Carte LLC
(408) 472-3889
Fax: 408-255-5789


EVENTS - Workshops and Symposiums
SPECIAL OFFERS - Free Admission to the RoHS/WEEE Panel Discussion
FEATURED SERVICE - Reliability During RoHS Transition


Certified Quality Engineer (CQE) Preparation Course (pdf download) - Oct 11 - Nov 29, 2005
Now taking registration!

For details see the Ops A La Carte Schedule


Essential Reliability Tools (with Hobbs Engineering)
Sept 19-20, 2005 New York City
Oct 20-21, 2005 San Jose
Nov 3-4, 2005 Chicago

Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (with De Anza College CACT)
Nov 29, 2005 Sunnyvale

Design for Reliability (with De Anza College CACT)
February, 2006 Sunnyvale

For details see the Ops A La Carte Schedule


RoHS/WEEE 6 CITY TOUR - RoHS Panel Discussions - Oct - Nov, 2005
Building on the success of recent RoHS/WEEE Panel Discussions held in Silicon Valley, ASPMFG is announcing a six city national tour to promote awareness and provide the American Manufacturer with information and knowledge of the EU Directives to move from awareness through compliance. We are proud to be among this elite group of panelists.
Starting in mid October 2005 events will be held in the following cities on the following dates:

- Oct 18 Palo Alto, CA
- Oct 19 Irvine, CA
- Oct 25 Austin, TX
- Oct 27 Chicago, IL
- Nov 1 Boston, MA
- Nov 3 New York, NY

Attorneys specializing in environmental law from Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati will anchor the panel along with past participants with expertise in design chain, supply chain, reliability and enterprise software as well as speakers from compliant contract manufacturing (EMS).

If interested, email us at for more details or visit the sponsor's website at

AST WORKSHOP - Accelerated Stress Testing Workshop - Oct 3-5, 2005, Austin, TX
Ops A La Carte shall be participating in and presenting at the 2005 IEEE Accelerated Stress Testing and Reliability Workshop. This workshop features presentations from the best practitioners in the area of accelerated reliability testing. We are proud to be among this elite group of presenters. Go to 2005 IEEE AST Schedule for details on the schedule of events.

RAMS 2006 - Reliability, Availability, and Maintainability Symposium (RAMS) 2006 - Jan 23-26, 2006, Los Angeles, CA
Ops A La Carte shall be participating in and presenting at the 2006 RAMS Symposium. This symposium is the single largest reliability symposium in the world and features presentations from the most renown reliability practitioners. We are proud to be among this elite group of presenters. Check website for details on the schedule of events.

For details on these events, go to Ops A La Carte Events


This month, we have a special offer with our RoHS service:
Free admission to the RoHS/WEEE Panel Discussion (city of your choice). This month, our featured article is on Restriction of Hazardous Materials (RoHS) and the impact of the transition on reliability. This is a $95 value. First 5 people that respond to this ad will receive the prize. To claim prize, please email us at with the subject "free workshop"


Ops A La Carte’s leadership roles in the area of Reliability:

Ops A La Carte's Randall Ortland was part of a 12 member panel to work on the next revision of American Society of Quality's (ASQ's) Certified Reliability Engineer (CRE) Exam. The meeting took place in Minneapolis in June.

We have been busy these past few months conducting seminars that provide new reliability techniques in our industry. Here is a list of the seminars we have given in the past few months:

June 15 - Reliability Integration Across the Product Life Cycle at QualMark open house.

July 26 - Risks during a Restriction on Hazardous Materials (RoHS) Transition at Wilson Sonsini.

August 3 - Failure Analysis Alternatives: A Look at Lot Acceptance Testing during the iMAPS Silicon Valley meeting.

Presentations for all of the above events are available for download on the Resources Page of our website.

For more information on news, please visit our News Page or call (408) 472-3889.

Reliability During RoHS Transition

Like the rest of the electronics industry, your products will transition to Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) compliance prior to the deadlines in 2006. This includes the transition to Lead-Free Solder, and at this time, there are significant reliability uncertainties around Lead-Free Solder. Even if your product does not need to be compliant, the materials and processes that make up your product are changing. As one major consumer product team concluded, doing nothing would double the field failure rate of the electronics. Given limited resources, you and your team may not have the time or expertise to determine the areas of greatest risk and how best to manage the transition. Leveraging our experience with RoHS related failure mechanisms, we help companies in the following ways:


- Help determine when to transition (scenario planning/risk analysis)
- Analyze mixed technologies (Lead-free components mixed with Leaded solder)
- Obtain supplier data/review for RoHS compliance


- Mitigate Reliability risks during transition
- Set new metrics and develop implementation plans
- Review Supplier Information. Interpret data and vendor reports
- Work with vendors on issues during transition
- Create qualification plans to assure no compromise in reliability
- Develop manufacturing screens to assure no compromise in outgoing quality
- Work with your Contract Manufacturer(s) to assure a reliable transition

We typically break down an RoHS implementation project into four phases.

Phase 1: Reliability Assessment
Phase 2: RoHS Qualification Test Plan
Phase 3: Executing the RoHS Test Plan
Phase 4: RoHS Training

Phase 1: Reliability Assessment

We start with a Reliability Assessment. In the assessment process, we will do the following:

1) Assess where you stand today in terms of compliance
2) If you are not in compliance, we will determine what you need to do to get in compliance
3) Determine what product qualification tests you need to run to assure a reliable product

As part of the assessment process, we will review the following 3 areas:

Task 1: Review of Bill of Materials

How are you ensuring RoHS compliant components? Is there a more effective (lower cost, quicker) approach?

Task 2: DfM Review

- Is the current design manufacturable, in regards to Pb-free?
- How are you developing profiles for reflow and wave soldering?
- How are you revising rework procedures? Is it sufficient?
- Have you chosen the appropriate board plating, considering product complexity, volumes, and manufacturing schedules?

Task 3: DfR Review

- Given the product design, what are the major issues in regards to the transition to Pb-free? Where should you focus your resources?

- What product qualification procedures should be performed to ensure at least equivalent robustness to a eutectic design?

- What, if any, additional process controls should be implemented to minimize the occurrence of latent defects?

The entire assessment portion of the project only takes a few days. This information is then compiled into an Assessment Report with Recommendations on an implementation strategy and schedule.

See the illustration below for a comparison of Stress vs.Time when Temperaturing Cycling Eutectic (SnPb) and Pb-Free Solder. For certain temperature cycles, Pb-Free is more reliable and for other types of temperature cycles, SnPb is more reliable. This is why there is a need to carefully review the new processes and materials within your current environment to evaluate any possible risks.

Phase 2:RoHS Qualification Test Plan

The RoHS Qualification Test Plan shall address some or all of the following Reliability Risks:

- Higher reflow temperatures
- Solderability and wetting
- Solder joint durability (Temperature cycling tests)
- Solder brittleness
- Component package compatibility due to thermal mismatch stresses (i.e. ceramic capacitors)
- Shock loading (high forces during industrial usage conditions).
- Moisture ingression ("pop-corning")
- Solder voids due to inter-metallic contamination
- More aggressive fluxes
- Tin whiskers
- PCB FR4 construction

As part of writing the test plan, we will understand your product, shipping and operating environment and narrow down the issues to those that present a significant change in reliability risk. Then we will use our knowledge of industry activities, reported results, and recommendations to create the customer-specific RoHS Test Plan. We will incorporate existing test and evaluation activities wherever possible and use other cost effect and efficient methods.

The deliverable is a Detailed Test Plan with rationale on why each test was chosen.

Phase 3:Executing the RoHS Test Plan

We can then help with the execution of the RoHS Test Plan, including participating in the tests, analyzing the data, and helping to draw conclusions from the data. We have relationships with many different labs that can help carry out any or all of these tests.

Phase 4:RoHS Training

We can then put together and give a training course to educate key personnel within your organization about the issues at hand.

We shall tailor our on-site training for RoHS awareness and engineering challenges to meet your specific needs. Included shall be a brief overview of corporate-wide RoHS programs, policy and timelines; connections to your products and external sources for more information; and, specific design, materials and manufacturing related areas of concern. The intent is to provide enough awareness to alert engineers to investigate decisions on designs, ECO's and component selection to maintain or enhance RoHS compliance in-line with your company's policies.

Using this four-phased process, we can help you proactively manage this change and protect your reputation.

RoHS News

We shall be part of a 6 city panel national panel discussion tour on RoHS/WEEE starting in October (see Events above for details on dates). Please visit the following site for more details: This will be a similar format to the RoHS/WEEE Panel of Experts held on July 26th. Please visit the following site for more details: RoHS Panel Discussion.

Also, see our quote on RoHS in the September supplement to Start Magazine ( And see an article on RoHS/WEEE in the San Jose Mercury News August 20th edition, highlighting the current state of affairs with RoHS. You can view it at or go to the Mercury News archives.

For more information on our RoHS Services, please visit our please go to on our website or email at or call (408) 472-3889.

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