Each component in an ESD protected area (EPA) plays a vital part in the fight against electrostatic discharge (ESD). If just one component is not performing correctly, you could harm your ESD sensitive devices potentially costing your company a lot of money.
The Automotive EMC Laboratory Recognition Program (AEMCLRP) was established in 1998 by the three major automobile manufacturers in the United States, Chrysler LLC (Chrysler), Ford Motor Company (Ford) and General Motors (GM). These companies formed a committee responsible for the definition, documentation and maintenance of a set of EMC tests that an accredited and recognized test laboratory may perform in order to determine the EMC characteristics of automotive components that are integrated in vehicles by the three manufacturers. Since 1998, the AEMCLRP requirements document has been reviewed several times, and revision 4 (with an addendum issued in May 2007), the most current revision, has been used for the past four years. Future revisions are to be expected, due to improvements identified during the assessment process, feedback of laboratories or changes in underlying EMC specifications.
The railway environment is generally regarded as a “severe” electromagnetic environment. For an electrified railway, Megawatts of power are required to be converted into the propulsion of trains in order to transport passengers or freight from one destination to another. The railway presents a complex electromagnetic environment made up of many systems including signalling, traction, telecommunications and radiocommunications.
It is time to put these equations to work by computing the radiation from a simple structure, a short wire element.
Integrated circuits are tested for their robustness to electrostatic discharge (ESD) using the Human Body Model (HBM) and Charged Device Model (CDM) test methods. Circuits which pass 1000 V HBM or 250 to 500 V CDM can be handled with high yield in manufacturing facilities using basic ESD control procedures. [1, 2] HBM is the oldest, best known and most widely used ESD test method, but most ESD factory control experts contend that the vast majority of ESD failures in modern manufacturing lines are better represented by the CDM test method. The CDM test method is intended to reproduce what happens when an integrated circuit becomes charged during handling, and then discharges to a grounded surface.
Anyone who has worked in Quality or Reliability in a large corporation knows that developing and presenting credible failure cost information can be difficult. This is particularly true for ESD, where the events are invisible and not nearly as well understood as other more obvious classes of failure, such as mechanical or contamination. The “real” cost of ESD can be a hot topic of discussion each year when program budgets are being developed for manufacturing and R&D programs. The challenge is that every year there are new high-level people in the financial and planning organizations who are not technical experts and who are asking hard questions about the justification for the ESD investment. In years when revenue is down, the questions become more difficult and better evidence is often demanded. The author was directly involved in this process for 15 years, starting in 1986. At the time the following quote was a part of many ESD funding discussions; “… in the electronics industry, losses associated with ESD are estimated at between a half billion and five billion dollars annually.” The exact original reference for this assertion has been lost, at least to this author. Nonetheless it was used many times over the next few years in presentations to the corporate check writers. Furthermore, during research for background information for this article, the exact same quote appeared (unattributed) in an article from 1992  and in a book published in 2006 . Needless to say, a well-stated assertion of value can go a long way – at least in trade literature. However, this author can also report that the usefulness of this, inside the corporation, eroded much faster. By 1990, a well-known director in Bell Labs said; “… that was then… I think this problem has been solved!” Many of us would scoff at such a declaration, knowing full well that ESD problems were continuing to occur. However, the directors’ challenge was an appropriate one. His experience came from the semiconductor process world where he had seen significant ESD sources eliminated and device thresholds (albeit HBM only) steadily increase. Corporations would like their investments to be justified by more timely and relevant data and observations. They ask, “What is the “real” cost?”
Being first to market is what enables a company to capture the rewards of an efficient product development program. Among the benefits of such a program is a greater return on investment (ROI), triumph over the competition and increased shareholder’s satisfaction. However, there are pressures such as a slow growth domestic economy, a growing global marketplace and a highly competitive market environment.