Even advanced components can pose challenges in high-reliability applications, requiring careful consideration and modification. Design engineers must ensure that each part of their design performs reliably throughout its lifespan. This post offers critical insights and considerations to navigate these challenges effectively.

PCB Assembly Components

Specialized PCB Assembly for Reliability

Despite their advanced design, state-of-the-art crystal oscillators require meticulous assembly techniques to prevent failures within one to three years after deployment. This underscores the importance of high-quality components and matching assembly processes to their technological sophistication.

New Technologies and Component Packaging

The rapid evolution of electronics has introduced new technologies and packaging methods, each with unique reliability considerations. Components like X5R dielectric capacitors, silicon carbide diodes, and advanced packaging types (e.g., quad flat-pack no-lead, 0201, chip-scale packages) improve performance and miniaturization but also pose potential reliability challenges that must be addressed early in the design process.

Vulnerabilities of X5R Dielectric Capacitors

X5R dielectric capacitors, especially those with maximum working voltages of 6.3 V or lower, are more susceptible to instability than their 10 V counterparts or those using X7R dielectric. This instability can lead to unexpected failures, compromising the reliability of the entire system. Miniaturization exacerbates these issues, as smaller components have more fragile dielectric insulation, reducing long-term reliability.

Consequences of Miniaturization

Despite extensive efforts to understand semiconductor wearout, the reliability of current-generation ceramic capacitors remains a concern. These capacitors can fail long before their intended design life, highlighting the need to re-evaluate component selection and design strategies to maintain reliability while pursuing smaller form factors.

Best Practices for PCB Design Engineers

To mitigate these challenges, design engineers should:

  • Evaluate Components Thoroughly: Assess the long-term reliability of all components, especially new technologies or packaging methods.
  • Consider Maximum Working Voltages: Prefer components with higher maximum working voltages for better stability.
  • Implement Rigorous Testing: Conduct comprehensive testing under various conditions to identify potential failure modes early.
  • Stay Informed on Industry Developments: Keep up-to-date with the latest research and guidelines on component reliability and assembly techniques.
  • Collaborate with Manufacturers: Work closely with component manufacturers to understand specific requirements and best practices for assembly and deployment.
    By following these practices, design engineers can better navigate the complexities of modern electronic components and ensure their designs meet the highest standards of reliability and performance.


Creating reliable high-reliability applications is challenging with new technologies and the drive for miniaturization. Understanding these challenges and adopting best practices can help achieve robust designs. Stay tuned to our blog for insights and industry updates. Together, we can build the future of reliable electronics.