Automotive industry

Automotive Industry Lowers Acceptable Levels of Chip Defects

Determining the cost of quality is complex

Reading, UK – June 8, 2022 — The automotive industry is setting increasingly stringent goals for “zero defects” in chips due to the need for ultra-high levels of reliability and safety in cars. “Zero Defects” is the industry abbreviation for acceptable level of defects and Sondrel, which provides turnkey ASIC design and manufacturing for automakers, reports that their specifications are going from Defects Per Million (DPM ) to defects per billion (DPB).

Ed Loveseed, Engineering Manager at Sondrel, explains, “Zero defects is something you strive for by continually reducing defects during manufacturing and eliminating as many defective parts as possible through testing before they fail. reach the customer. The level of defects shipped to a customer is inversely proportional to the time and money spent on eliminating defective parts. Thus, the challenge is to find the economic balance between the time and money invested in detecting defective parts and the resulting level of defects, called the cost of quality.

“The costs to consider are not only the obvious training, testing, scrapping and rework costs, but also the possible costs of dealing with defective parts in the field which must be taken into account when determination of the level of the test budget. Determining why a part failed in the field involves a lot of detective work to determine if it was a random event or indicative of a batch problem that would lead to costly recalls, which is why auto parts have an extraordinarily high level of audit trails for components so that as few cars as possible are recalled.

Loveverseed gives some examples of real-life scenarios, which can lead to customer returns, based on years of Sondrel creating these chips for automotive customers. The first is failure when the customer tests incoming chips with the simple cause of electrical overload or electrostatic discharge due to faulty automatic test equipment. Obviously this would only show up on the client’s site and is easy to trace and fix. The second is difficult to trace and occurs when parts pass production testing but then fail when in the customer’s application. The cause could either be that the tests did not reject parts that were only marginally successful, or that an aspect of the tests was omitted from the testing regime agreed with the customer. The third is hidden faults where the device performs as expected in the production line or customer’s field application and then suddenly fails. This is the worst case scenario, especially if the issue can be traced to a manufacturing issue, as it could result in a large number of customer returns without the ability to quickly predict which batches of parts might fail as it takes time for detailed data analysis. .

Sondrel specializes in the design and manufacture of complex digital ASICs as a complete turnkey service and thus takes responsibility for the entire process, including achieving zero-defect customer requirements. “As automotive customers lead the drive towards PBO, we are now offering customers in other industries lower defect levels using the skills we have developed to achieve this,” Lovesed added. “This gives us a competitive edge to win the large, complex IC projects we specialize in, because fewer manufacturing defects reduce waste and lower the overall cost per chip for customers.”

For more information see the Automotive Electronics Council document on AEC-Q104 at

Determining the cost of quality is complex

About Sondrel

Founded in 2002, Sondrel is the trusted partner of choice to manage every step of creating a CI. Its award-winning ASIC definition and design consulting capability is fully complemented by its turnkey services to turn designs into volume-tested and packaged silicon chips. This single point of contact for the entire supply chain process ensures low risk and faster time to market. Based in the UK, Sondrel supports clients worldwide through its offices in China, India, Morocco and North America. For more information visit