A New Application for Failure Prognostics – Reduction of Automotive Electronics Reliability Test Duration

Andre Kleyner, Arvind Vasan, and Michael Pecht
Submission Type: 
Full Paper
phmc_17_036.pdf1.47 MBAugust 15, 2017 - 9:59am

This paper presents a new application of failure prognosis. Typically, prognostic outcome is used to make real time health management decisions such as modify mission plan, change system operation parameters to reduce stress and increase remaining useful life, and more. In this work we use prognostic outcome to reduce the duration of lengthy and expensive tests in the automotive electronics validation process.
Accelerated stress testing is part of the automotive electronics reliability assessment process where the idea is to simulate conditions that will accumulate damage same as that expected during actual product’s mission life, which is typically 15 or more years in predominantly harsh environment. A typical reliability assessment test flow consists of a number of tests, some of which are lengthy. For example, a temperature cycling test designed to adequately represent the automotive field life can easily take 2-5 months. In many cases, such stress tests will have to be repeated multiple times, whenever product failures are discovered or a product design change is introduced late in the design process. Reducing test duration of these repeated tests based on information gained from the earlier runs would represent significant cost, time and resource savings.
Some of the longest stress tests, such as Power Temperature Cycling (PTC) or High Temperature Endurance (HTE) are monitored tests, which makes them good candidates for prognostics. However, the challenge in the automotive electronics is the large number of monitored parameters (usually in hundreds) and some of these parameters do not characterize the performance of the electronic unit and thus do not exhibit obvious degradation trends before the ultimate product failure. Additionally, the variety of potential failure modes of automotive electronics products makes the process of degradation analysis more challenging, often requiring a comprehensive analysis of a number of variables to determine the path to failure.
This paper introduces a joint project of Delphi Electronics & Safety with CALCE center of the University of Maryland on applying prognostics to reduce the duration of PTC testing. Two different automotive electronics products were studied, a powertrain controller and a power electronic inverter/converter, which experienced failures during temperature cycling test. The time recording of the monitored parameters for the units, which passed the test and those experiencing failures were processed and analyzed. The results of that analysis and the conclusions are presented in the paper along with suggestions on the further improvement of prognostics methods as applied to the automotive electronics test and validation.

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Submission Keywords: 
applications: automotive
Validation and Verification
remaining useful life (RUL)
Temperature Cycling
Submission Topic Areas: 
Industrial applications
Verification and validation
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