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Conductor Analysis Technologies (CAT) has been analyzing test panels and coupon designs for over 20 years. CAT’s analysis provides valuable, quantitative data on PCB quality and reliability, which can help designers and manufacturers trace the source of defects and non-uniformities. In this e-mail interview, Vice President of Technical Marketing David Wolf discusses some of the trends he’s seeing in via structures, and the common reliability and quality issues related to vias.
Andy Shaughnessy: David, tell us a little about Conductor Analysis Technologies and your work with the IPC PCQR2 Database.
David Wolf: Conductor Analysis Technologies Inc. is a privately held company founded in May 1994. The company is an offshoot of a National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS) program called the Imaging Team. The first test coupon design was used for evaluating conductor and space formation process capability, hence the naming of the company.
CAT is a provider of market-critical data utilized by designers, purchasers, assemblers, and manufacturers of printed circuit boards, and by material and equipment suppliers to the printed circuit industry. Our products and services provide quantitative data on printed circuit manufacturing capability, quality, and reliability.
Results from the analysis of CAT test panel and coupon designs provide quantitative yield, uniformity and reliability data that are used to measure, track, and improve processes. Our data illustrate strengths and weaknesses of processes, and points to areas requiring improvement or development. Furthermore, the data offers insight into the sources of defects and process non-uniformities, allowing for their reduction or elimination.
CAT’s services include test panel and coupon design, precision electrical testing, reliability testing, and comprehensive data analysis. Whether measuring, comparing, or developing processes, we provide a standardized, independent, and documented evaluation of printed circuit board process capability, quality, and reliability.
The IPC PCQR2 (Process Capability, Quality and Relative Reliability) Database, an extensive supply chain management resource, was developed by IPC and CAT in the fall of 2000 for designers, purchasers, assemblers and manufacturers of printed boards. It is based on statistical data collected from industry-developed test patterns that quantifies the capability, quality and reliability of printed board manufacturers.
PCB supplier facility benchmark data was first posted in the PCQR2 Database in November 2001. Since then, 220 printed board supplier facilities have submitted one or more sets of test panels for evaluation yielding a total of more than 750 sets of test panels evaluated. Within the last 36 months, 78 different printed board supplier facilities have submitted one or more test panel designs for testing. There has been an average of 120 submissions recorded in the database over the rolling 36-month comparison period. By geographic region, the submissions over the last 36 months break down as follows: 70% from Greater China; 24% from North America; 6% from Asia/Pacific; and, 0% from Europe, Middle East & Africa.
To read this entire article, which appeared in the November 2016 issue of The PCB Design Magazine, click here.