Alter Technology: first accredited laboratory to test assembled print circuit boards used in space
Alter Technology Tüv Nord has recently obtained ENAC's accreditation for testing assembled printed circuit boards (PCBs). These tests are key to ensuring the reliability of both the elements that are part of the PCBs and the board itself in terms of specification compliance, thereby enabling subsequent installation with maximum guarantees for their use in satellites. The accredited testing specifications are much higher than usual, due to the working environment and the safety which must be qualified to cover, with sufficient margin, the entire operational life of the craft on which they will be installed.
The accredited tests are those required for PCB validation, which is defined in a series of ECSS (European Cooperation for Space Standardization) standards. These standards are based on mechanical and environmental testing (thermal cycles, vibration and shock tests) and external visual and microsection inspections using optical microscopy.
For Manuel Domínguez, Chief Digital Officer of Alter Technology, “obtaining accreditation according to UNE-EN ISO/IEC 17025 has been a unique differentiating element against our competitors, setting up a unified project around accreditation improves our methods and procedures, as well as guarantees the results”.
Guarantees from accredited laboratories in the aerospace industry
Accredited laboratories have demonstrated that they have the necessary human and material resources, experience and the ability to provide an appropriate service for their customers' needs through a rigorous, transparent assessment fully accepted internationally: the accreditation process, that provides the aerospace industry with the reliability and confidence needed to carry out its activities.
“In the space industry, component reliability is a paradigm around which many of the processes involved in building a satellite are developed. That the activities to assess this reliability are carried out by an accredited laboratory according to UNE-EN ISO/IEC 17025, with the required high degree of technical competence, gives far superior confidence to customers than that achieved with other types of quality certifications”, assures Emilia Santiago, Quality Manager at Alter Technology.
Therefore, after demonstrating their technical competence, accredited laboratories ensure safety by providing a reliable service, representing a guarantee for the market, the Administration and society at large.
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