9

Electronic Systems Reliability

9.1 Introduction

Reliability engineering and management grew up largely in response to the problems of the low reliability of early electronic equipment, and many of the techniques have been developed from electronics applications. The design and construction of an electronic system, more than any other branch of engineering, involves the utilization of very large numbers of components which are similar, but over which the designer and production engineer have relatively little control. For example, for a given logic function a particular integrated circuit device might be selected. Apart from choosing a functionally identical device from a second source, the designer usually has no option but to use the catalogued item. The reliability of the device used can be controlled to a large extent in the procurement and manufacturing phases but, as will be explained, mainly by quality control methods. The circuit designer generally has little control over the design reliability of the device. This trend has become steadily more pronounced from the time that complex electronic systems started to be produced. As the transistor gave way to the integrated circuit (IC) and progressively with the advent of large scale integration (LSI) and very large scale integration (VLSI), the electronic system designer's control over some of the major factors influencing reliability has decreased. However, this is changing in some respects as system designs are increasingly ...

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