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19 Feb 2021

The IMB-CNM collaborates in a project with 75 institutions from over 13 countries to improve reliability for electronic components

Intelligent Reliability 4.0 (iRel40) is an international project to enhance the ECS reliability, a “must have” to fulfil customer demands and the needs of an increasingly more complex environment.

Electronic components and systems


Current electronic components and systems (ECS) are becoming more compact and complex every day, thus making more difficult to face the reliability analysis in them. Now, it is required to follow a holistic approach through the entire value chain of an ECS product, such as the material, chip, packaging and system.

Typical function structure for data-driven PHM approach based on IoT systems, BDA and ML strategies.Intelligent Reliability 4.0 (iRel40) is an international project to enhance the ECS reliability, a “must have” to fulfil customer demands and the needs of an increasingly more complex environment, as the world transitions to complex systems with more electronics and autonomy in various application domains. It is happening with the new smart transport and mobility, the digital industries, the industrial production or the energy sector. In this framework and during 3 years, iRel40 connects 75 institutions from 13 European countries, including the Institute of Microelectronics of Barcelona through the Power Devices and Systems Group.

Reliability measures the frequency of equipment failures and it has a direct impact in high-tech industries, resulting in direct finance loss, delayed product release, liability and reduced consumer confidence. The initiative iRel40 aims to better understand these failures through the use of Big Data Analysis (BDA), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), cloud computing approaches and Internet of Things (IoT) systems for Prognostics and Health Monitoring (PHM) purposes to predict the remaining life of a system.

“The strategies and new methodologies developed for a more application-orientated online testing will be crucial for extracting information to be processed in the cloud and extract lifetime prediction models, to eventually perform decision-making and maintenance actions to increase the reliability in the final system,” explains Xavier Perpiñà, IMB-CNM PI of the project.

Work package structure and their interaction along the ECS value chain, highlighting the role of TVs, IPs and UCs in each workpackage to make possible the transition “from the lab to the fab”. The “logos” of some partners are also shownAs a general structure, iRel40 is organised in eight specific objectives or work packages (WPs) that cover every process of the value chain, from development to testing, standardisation and application. Aside from those of management and dissemination, each WP deals with the following items: specifications and requirements, modelling /simulation following data-driven or Physics of Failure approaches, and testing. A specific WP will be devoted to show how the advances performed in the project will improve the final product reliability through specific industrial pilots and application use cases in final application scenarios.

“The IMB-CNM covers all aspects related with local measurements at die level and is involved in the WPs focused on specifications, modelling/simulation, and application-orientated testing aiming at manufacturing more reliable induction cooktops,” adds Perpiñà.

New applications and the optimisation of factories

The developed methods and processes for improving reliability will be verified in sixteen actual use cases from the fields of energy, transport and industry, as well as a further eighteen industrial pilots.

“Our goal is to improve production processes in microelectronics with the aid of optical methods and sensors, in order to lower the failure rate in production, improve quality, and finally achieve maximum reliability for new products”, says project coordinator Klaus Pressel from Infineon (as stated in their press release).

Strengthening Europe as a business location and a reliability community

The goal of iRel40 is to generate a sustainable pan-European reliability community. The initiative encompasses contributions from research institutions, universities and companies from the tech industry. The IMB-CNM is involved alongside more than 70 international institutions.

This collaborative project will secure around 25,000 highly qualified jobs across Europe through strong partnerships and investments in innovation. The European Union is funding iRel40 within the scope of the ECSEL (Electronic Components and Systems for European Leadership) program. Funding from Spain will be provided by the Agencia Española de Investigación (AEI). The project will run for three years and is scheduled to end in April 2023.