Original Date: 11/01/2004
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Electronic Parts Uprating
The Center for Advanced Life-Cycle Engineering’s Electronic Parts Uprating methodology is an effective tool for solving the problem of using electronic parts beyond their specified operating ranges. The International Electrotechnical Commission and the Electronics Industry Association accept the Center for Advanced Life-Cycle Engineering’s methods as best practices.
Uprating is a process to assess the ability of a part to function outside the manufacturer’s recommended operating range within an application in which the part is used. Thermal uprating is a process to assess the ability of a part to function and perform outside the manufacturer’s recommended operating temperature range within an application in which the part is used.
Most electronic parts are not rated for use beyond the traditionally understood commercial and industrial environments of -40° to 85°C. Electronic parts with specifications outside this range are in low demand and are difficult to buy. However, there are certain industries (e.g., oil exploration, military) that require parts to operate under wider-temperature ranges. The Center for Advanced Life-Cycle Engineering (CALCE) has developed an uprating methodology for use with electronic parts that must perform beyond the manufacturer-recommended operating range.
CALCE uses three methods for parts uprating: Parameter Conformance – a process of thermal uprating in which the part is tested to assess if its functionality and electrical parameters meet the manufacturer’s recommended operating conditions over the target temperature range of operation.
Parameter recharacterization – a thermal uprating process in which the part functionality is assessed and the electrical parameters are characterized over the target temperature range, leading to a possible respecification of one or more of the manufacturer-specified parameter limits.
Stress balancing – a process of thermal uprating in which at least one of the part’s electrical parameters is kept below its maximum allowable operation at a higher ambient temperature than that specified by the manufacturer. A tradeoff can be made between increased ambient temperature and a change in electrical parameters.
Assembly-level testing, which confirms proper part interaction at the assembly level, completes the process of thermal uprating. Uprating has afforded companies the ability to successfully integrate the best part for their system without further development of parts and with extended temperature ratings. CALCE used thermal uprating for a major electronic parts user to determine an extended range for a component, which resulted in a $2 million per year component cost avoidance. In some cases, uprating also provides the opportunity for use of cutting-edge technology in designs.
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