PreventLab has been for 15 years an integral part of PreventPCB, the Italian leader in the distribution of PCB, a laboratory dedicated to the customer service on critical issues related to PCB and PCBA.

In February 2021 NCAB Group, the European leader in PCB distribution, acquired the PreventPCB branch and PreventLab became a company with its own VAT number unrelated to NCAB Group.

Now PreventLAB is the new supplier of advanced technological digital services to support the Electronic process meant as Project / Process / Product. Our aim is to provide theoretical / practical education, supporting the customer to support him, not to replace him in the continuous search for the reliability of electronic products.

The services we offer are specifically designed to follow the customer from the project step to the finished product. By working in a preventive way, we avoid that some critical issues are highlighted when the product is finished, causing considerable delays and waste of money.

Services in accordance with the European Green Deal

The European Green Deal is a set of policy initiatives by the European Commission with the overarching aim of making Europe climate neutral in 2050. An impact assessed plan will also be presented to increase the EU's greenhouse gas emission reductions target for 2030 to at least 50% and towards 55% compared with 1990 levels. One of the areas involved is about Sustainable products.

A Sustainable products policy is also projected to be introduced which will focus on reducing the wastage of materials. This aims to ensure products will be reused and recycling processes will be reinforced. The materials particularly focused on include - textiles, construction, vehicles, batteries, electronics and plastics. The European Union is also of the opinion that it "should stop exporting its waste outside of the EU" and it will therefore "revisit the rules on waste shipments and illegal exports". The EU also mentioned that "the Commission will also propose to revise the rules on end-of-life vehicles with a view to promoting more circular business models.

Working in a preventive way to reduce electronic waste

Beautiful sentence. In which way? By building products destined to last over time.

Through our services we are able to support the designer in the realization of his projects by evaluating in advance the producibility and consequently the sustainability of the project itself. Our services represent a virtuous approach to electronics that allows you to reduce the number of project reviews, automatically verify and test small batches, qualify the product and estimate its reliability over time.

It will no longer be necessary to make many samples. But you will only produce the ones you need because all the tests have already been foreseen in the simulation phase of the project.

New Product Validation:? From the project to the product completed

The service includes preventive analysis of Design For Manufacturing, automatic testing, accelerated aging and product qualification.

During the design phase, an analysis is carried out from a Design for Excellence perspective. This is a verification of the level of producibility and electrical testability of the boards, using advanced CAM stations and proprietary applications. Identifying critical issues in advance allows you to reduce the number of revisions and ensure significant savings in time and money.

Testing of the first prototypes is carried out on a line of Automated Test Equipment systems. The morphology of the cards is verified by AOI and AXI 2D and 3D machines. The main morphological checks concern the positioning and flatness of the components, the quality of the solder joints, the short circuits, the hidden terminations of BGA and BTC, the percentage of void in the solder and the presence of foreign materials. This is followed by the electrical test with SPEA 4060 and 4080 mobile probe systems, for ICT power on / off testing and functional checks, without the need to use a dedicated fixture. The different types of machines present in the line guarantee to maximize the test coverage, starting from the first samples made.

The final validation phase is Aging. It is a qualification of the product aged in an accelerated manner, for the estimation of MTBF - Mean Time Between Failure. Based on the customer's needs and in accordance with the reference standards, our laboratory performs thermal shock and climatic chamber aging, sizing the humidity and temperature parameters, possibly associating vibration and salt spray. Before, during and after aging, the boards are inspected with high-resolution X-Ray Quadra 7, optical viewers, and metallographic microscopes through micro-section of the welding joint. This last method of investigation allows to detect any microscopic defects in the PCB and assembly, for example delamination and cracks in the solder. The metallographic section also allows the measurement of the thickness of the intermetallic layer that forms between the solder and its interfaces, that is PAD and components. Due to the temperature, the thickness tends to increase over time, causing the welding joint to weaken. Testing is also repeated during and after the aging of the boards. In this way, any new morphological defects and deviations of electrical values are identified.

Temperature Shock: Test Chambers

The application of rapid temperature cycling is the most effective manner of creating premature failures of products in the production phase. We can simulate all-natural temperatures which, when considering the fields of aviation and aerospace, range between -80 ?C and +220 ?C.

When performing qualification tests on materials and components, the application of tests applying high and low temperatures do not always bring about satisfactory results. For rating the reliability of materials and components, additional stressing applying rapid temperature changes often offers better results.

Environmental Stress Screening (ESS) is a process to provoke latent flaws in a product before it leaves the factory. Hence, ESS is always applied if the reliability of a product must be enhanced. In addition to temperature stressing, extremely rapid temperature cycling rates in the range of -80?C to +220?C result in the extremely high mechanical stressing of test specimens. If electronic components are exposed to this severe temperature cycling, weak points are revealed rapidly.

Traceability

In accordance with the European Green Deal policy, we are developing a project that aims to provide the finished product with a sort of identity card.

Our traceability starts from a QR-Code applied in screen printing on the PCBs. The PCB is the first component of the product and the first production step. We are able to upload to the QR-Code all data, analyzes, project releases, qualifications, aging, relating to the PCB, to the PCBA and all subsequent steps up to the completion of the product.

All this information is available by the customer and can be used in total autonomy and safety through an app, simply by scanning the QR-Code.

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