I-Connect Survey: A Look at the Mil/Aero Industry


Reading time ( words)

I-Connect007 recently conducted a survey on the military/defense and aerospace markets. Respondents were asked about the greatest challenges when it comes to PCB design, fabrication, and assembly; their customers’ demands; whether lead-free components are still an issue; and compliance challenges.

Overall, the biggest issues include reliability, outdated drawing/specifications, component obsolescence, complicated paperwork and documentation, counterfeit components, quality, and compliance to standards.

On lead-free components

MilAeroSurvey1-650.jpg

Source: I-Connect007

One of the issues encountered in the high-reliability electronics sector when the industry moved to adhere to the Restriction of Hazardous Substance (RoHS) directive is the use of lead-free components in manufacturing. Using lead-free solder, for one, has put a squeeze on military and aerospace systems designers because of the problem of tin whiskers.

However, that was ages ago, and the industry has moved to adapt lead-free alternatives and solutions. In fact, according to our survey, most companies no longer have any issues on lead-free components. They said that right now, the supply chain consists of lead-free components, so companies have figured out what to do to work with them. However, the only problem is cost, as they are more expensive.

Some issues, on the other hand, include controlling phosphate levels in lead plating; reflow temperature compatibility, and still for others, connection reliability.

On ITAR compliance

MilAeroSurvey2-650.jpg

Source: I-Connect007

The International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) is a set of United States Government regulations on the export and import of defense-related articles, related technical data and defense services. EMS providers creating electronics subassemblies for military/defense applications are required to register with the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) in order to be ITAR compliant.

In our survey, the majority of respondents say ongoing compliance is the biggest issue when it comes to ITAR, especially when their companies are global enterprises with many businesses outside of the United States.

According to the respondents, the classifications are not based on an understanding of the technology; rather they are political, and as such subject to intense lobbying efforts—and that they are changing frequently, which leaves companies scrambling to re-classify parts of their designs on the fly.

Share

Print


Suggested Items

Excerpt—The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to... SMT Inspection: Today, Tomorrow, and Beyond, Chapter 2

04/15/2021 | Brent Fischthal, Koh Young America
A limitation of many 3D optical inspection systems is the cycle time typically associated with processing millions of pixels to reconstruct a full 3D image using data captured from multiple channels. There should not be a compromise between 3D inspection and throughput. A successful inspection deployment should provide oversight for the process, not compromise, interrupt or slow that process.

Excerpt: The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to... SMT Inspection: Today, Tomorrow, and Beyond, Chapter 1

04/08/2021 | Brent Fischthal, Koh Young America
Today, optical inspection systems are the preferred solution for in-line quality control in the SMT industry. Systems such as solder paste inspection (SPI) or automated optical inspection (AOI) systems for pre- and post-reflow are almost standard in every production facility.

Real Time With… Premium Sponsors Share ‘Top 5 Things You Need to Know’

03/05/2021 | I-Connect007
As part of I-Connect007’s coverage of the IPC APEX EXPO 2021, four premium sponsors share their knowledge and expertise in the following categories.



Copyright © 2021 I-Connect007. All rights reserved.