fbpx Skip to content
Spirit: Behind the Screen Podcast

Get the inside scoop on industry news and technology!

In this podcast, Spirit Electronics CEO Marti McCurdy talks with aerospace and defense experts about high-reliability components and industry-rocking topics affecting the supply chain.

New Episodes

Field Applications for High-Reliability Electronics with Purchasing Coordinator Travis Ireland

Spirit’s Purchasing Coordinator Travis Ireland has been a soldier in the Army National Guard for 11 years. In this episode, Travis talks with Marti about seeing components and end applications for microelectronics in the field.

As a veteran-owned company, Spirit is often in touch with the impact our products have on our national defense missions and service members in the field. Travis’s experience makes our supply chain logistics a personal connection to the mission, while purchasing and logistics work in the supply chain lets him offer a unique skill and perspective in the National Guard.

Season 4

Listen here or on our episode page.

Spirit has managed and performed radiation testing, but with our addition of device analytical services such as DPA (destructive physical analysis), we also have the ability to prepare sample components.

In this episode, Marti and producer Alyssa discuss what is involved with sample preparation for radiation testing and how it fits into Spirit’s end-to-end supply chain solutions.

Learn more about radiation testing @ Spirit.

Listen here or on our episode page.

Marti rolls out Season 4 with a new shopping cart feature for e-commerce on Spirit’s website. Senior Director of Technology Megan Downie and Warehouse Associate Josh Rolin join her to discuss how e-commerce will work through the Spirit website.

Spirit’s shopping cart integrates with the Texas Instruments store to offer both Spirit and TI stock to our customers online. The site will feature streamlined stock search, secure checkout, and streamlined delivery.

Click on the cart icon at the top of the page to start your high-rel component shopping spree.

Season 3

Listen here or on our episode page.

Spirit Account Rep Steve Kruse’s perspective is that if you work to make someone’s job easy, they’ll want to work with you. You’ll rise to the top among your customers. And as his fellow Spirit Account Rep Jason Brandsma shares, Spirit has been recognized for this high-touch support by some of our prime customers this past year.

Steve and Jason talk with Marti about Spirit’s component distribution business and what has helped to build the best customer relationships this year. They look at trends in the supply chain, the importance of buyer support, and the big additions to Spirit’s end-to-end supply chain services.

Learn more about Spirit’s foundry services with TIDPA and device analysis, or our component distribution mentioned in this episode.

Listen here or on our episode page.

The Spirit Electronics Quality department manages all major compliance programs in support of business operations. So it’s no surprise that Quality Director Estefania Romero is an expert in export control.

In this episode Estefania and Marti discuss Spirit’s compliance and sales support for export controlled components under both ITAR and EAR. The program supports national security goals while protecting suppliers and coordinating with customer programs and end-use assessments.

With our expansion of services to include TI foundry access, Spirit continues to grow security and business programs to support American-based manufacturing.

We welcome customer and supplier program audits.

See more info about our quality programs and compliance.

Listen here or on our episode page.

In this episode, Spirit’s Director of Purchasing Kelly Krall talks with Marti about supplier management and automation.

With lead times and prices constantly shifting in the post-covid supply chain, Kelly has found that the key to meeting customer requirements is communication and insight around delays and changes. Her purchasing team coordinates information between customers and the supply chain while looking for solutions like BOM management and drop-in replacements.

Kelly shares how Spirit’s new AI automated reporting A.L.I.C.E. provides real-time data to customers with order status, expected delivery dates and more.

Have you met A.L.I.C.E. yet?

Listen here or on our episode page.

As an authorized distributor, Spirit has supported some award-winning SMI programs over the years, but Director of Technical Sales Sean Macdonald covers the major supply chain changes and service shifts we’ve seen in the past 5 years.

Supplier-Managed Inventory (SMI) has typically looked at materials forecasts and ordering in advance to make sure parts are available when you need them on the assembly line. But with allocation, supply chain disruptions, and inflation, Spirit has been able to adjust ordering and inventory services to:

  1. Secure the product pipeline
  2. Guarantee pricing amid inflation and increases
  3. Manage inventory long-term

With circuit card assembly (CCA), destructive physical analysis (DPA), BGA reballing, lead trim and form, and many other value-added services in-house, product can be inventoried well in advance with predictable pricing and ready-for-use delivery.

Learn more about inventory services @ Spirit.

Listen here or on our episode page.

CEO Marti McCurdy and VP Zef Malik share the news that Spirit Electronics has acquired Insight Analytical Labs in Colorado Springs, adding the IAL team and services under the Spirit full-turnkey umbrella.

The move adds Destructive Physical Analysis (DPA) and broader construction and device analysis capabilities, crucial services in the military-aerospace industry. Not only does the team perform DPA to MIL standards, but they bring 30+ years of process and experience to Spirit Electronics.

Marti & Zef discuss the roadmap and positioning of DPA and device analysis, as well as how Spirit’s testing services will address supply chain bottlenecks in the industry.

Learn more about device analysis here.

Listen here or on our episode page.

Marti shares her three MVPs as a small business CEO: her attorney, her CPA and her banker. In this episode, Marti talks small business banking with Gary Naquin, Senior Vice President of Corporate Banking at MidFirst.

Gary shares his outlook about bank stability, inflation and economic influences currently shaping the future of the economy in Arizona and the Phoenix Metro area.

Spirit Electronics is a veteran-owned, woman-owned small business. In the past 5 years, we have grown significantly in revenue, team and facility. MidFirst has been a critical partner for Spirit’s growth.

Read Spirit’s corporate story here.

Listen here or on our episode page.

Jim Kemerling, Founder and Chief Technology Officer at Triad Semiconductor, joins Marti for an episode about Triad’s analog and mixed-signal ASICs and the process of qualifying them for radiation and harsh environments. Triad Semiconductor specializes in analog and mixed-signal ASICs. Marti and Jim discuss Triad’s via-configurable arrays that offer flexibility in programming.

ASIC programs @ Spirit

Listen here or on our episode page.

In this episode, Marti chats with EPC’s CEO Alex Lidow and Marketing Director Renee Yawger about the progress of GaN. They discuss GaN’s performance under high radiation as well as the extensive testing, failure modes and device lifespan detailed in EPC’s Phase 15 reliability report.

With the full potential of GaN still to be explored and new EPC products releasing frequently, including new half-bridge drivers, low-side drivers and full power stage, GaN is especially useful in New Space and commercial space applications.

Learn more about EPC @ Spirit.

Listen here or on our episode page.

May is Brain Tumor Awareness Month, and Catherine Ivy joins Marti to share her story and the Ivy Brain Tumor Center’s work toward effective brain tumor treatment.

Catherine Ivy is the founder of the Ben & Catherine Ivy Foundation and the Ivy Brain Tumor Center at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, AZ. The Ivy Brain Tumor Center has pioneered Phase 0 Clinical Trials to redesign the process around researching effective treatment for brain tumors.

Catherine shares the story of her husband’s diagnosis and the devastating discovery that treatment was limited and challenging. The Ivy Brain Tumor Center Phase 0 Clinical Trial program is accelerating the timeline.

This informational and moving episode is about spreading awareness. For more resources and information, visit the Ivy Brain Tumor Center awareness month page. To help further the cause, the Ivy Center is hosting their annual Dine & Donate program throughout May.

Listen here or on our episode page.

In celebration of Earth Day 2023, Spirit is highlighting all of the ways that we have been pursuing sustainable operations. Even as a small business, we believe that every little action adds up.

Green-minded Director of Technical Sales Sean Macdonald joins Marti for this episode on Spirit’s Sustainable small business activities. From growing and harvesting an employee garden to automating our facility and composting paper towels, listen for ideas on how even small changes can support a sustainable supply chain and team well-being.

For more about Spirit’s sustainability practices and operations, follow us on LinkedIn as we celebrate EarthDay.

Listen here or on our episode page.

In this bonus episode, Marti & Alyssa talk about the ongoing Spirit Gives Foundation basket fundraiser. Donations allow us to hold community building events and support local children year-round.

Spirit Gives has the perfect gift for your spring holiday. Whether it’s Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, graduation, teacher appreciation or your own special occasion, Spirit Gives is offering high-end pampering gifts baskets in appreciation for donations. You can preview baskets and donate today at https://spiritgives.org/form.

Season 2

Listen here or on our episode page.

Zef Malik returns for an ASIC dive discussing the process and benefits to electrical test programs for ASICs. With the design access and knowledge in already part of an ASIC program, testing and qualifying an ASIC can quickly deliver ASIC devices ready-to-use with reliability.

Listen to Zef and Marti discuss:

(2:24) Benchmarking an ASIC

(6:01) The System on a Chip Market

(7:10) How ASIC Electrical Test Fits in the Full-Turnkey Screen & Qual

(11:00) Burn-In, Qualification Challenges, and Simplifying Test Programs

(14:00) Cost Improvement with ASIC Testing and Wafer-Level Test

(16:00) Product Roadmap and the Return of US Manufacturing

Listen here or on our episode page.

Spirit VP Zef Malik remembers the early days of the ASIC industry. While the FPGA and international manufacturing moved aerospace and defense away from ASIC programs, Zef sees ASIC programming growing and changing as domestic manufacturing returns.

Listen to Zef and Marti discuss the technological ASIC advantages and how to maximize these benefits through foundry services and packaging selection.

(1:55) ASICs in the Early Years

(4:35) ASIC Design Compatibility & Foundry Selection

(8:25) Silicon Valley Memory Lane & Return to Domestic Design

(12:30) ASICs, Power & Performance Advantages

Listen here or on our episode page.

Application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) can combine multi-functional components into a single chip. With long lead times and rising prices across the industry, you can own your custom IC, shorten lead times and reduce long-term costs.

Spirit’s expertise helps you through the up-front design and engineering to make a full ASIC program possible. In this episode, Marti covers the steps and benefits to running an ASIC program.

Hear about:

(1:30) Types of ASICs

(4:57) Engineering & design support

(8:05) Foundry & fabrication

(11:10) Substrate & packaging

(11:50) Testing the full range of an ASIC

(14:05) Storage & banking

Learn more about our ASIC programs and services.

Listen here or on our episode page.

The CHIPS (“Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors”) Act passed in July authorizes more than $200 billion in federal funds and incentives to encourage semiconductor manufacturing in the United States.

While the main goal is manufacturing, the CHIPS Act also addresses the services, labor and supply chain that support semiconductor production. Spirit CEO Marti McCurdy discusses in this episode what areas of the supply chain could see additional investment and support.

Also critical to supporting semiconductor manufacturing are resources like substrate manufacturing and testing services. Marti discusses how Spirit is positioned to help customers stay ahead of these unexpected constraints.

Learn more about our supply chain services for semiconductor manufacturing.

Listen here or on our episode page.

Our JD Edwards Oracle enterprise resource planning software is a big system for a small business. Used by Fortune 500 companies, it can manage manufacturing, materials, work, and finances. But when Spirit Electronics implemented it several years ago, our processes only used maybe 5-10% of the program’s capabilities.

With investment and Megan’s studied expertise, JDE has given Spirit’s processes electronic automation above and beyond what most small business achieve. JDE touches all our departments and workflows and has been a cornerstone in Spirit’s team and business  growth.

In this episode, find out how Megan’s programming has helped automate the business and secure resources and data in the aerospace & defense supply chain.

Automate your inventory.

Listen here or on our episode page.

The chambers are whirring and ovens firing in Spirit’s on-site test lab. What’s the buzz around adding so many options for testing under the same roof as authorized electronic component distribution and circuit board assembly?

Marti McCurdy covers the order flow at the Spirit Electronics facility, including:

(2:47) The “umbrella” of services Spirit offers

(6:00) Value-added test services compared to longer testing programs

(7:20) System-level testing 

(8:10) Electrical and environmental testing

(8:50) Radiation testing

Marti explains the critical piece of managing complex test programs is understanding the customer requirements. 

Bring your supply chain under one roof.

Listen here or on our episode page.

Spirit Gives is our nonprofit foundation working to give local kids quality childhood experiences and support.

CEO Marti McCurdy covers our current mission and successes and the next big events lined up for this fall 2022.

Find out more about how to support through volunteering, gift basket purchases, and ticket teasers for our Halloween Boogie Bash at SpiritGives.org.

Follow Spirit Gives on social media for event photos and foundation updates.

Listen here or on our episode page.

In early 2021, CEO Marti McCurdy and producer Alyssa recorded a summary episode outlining the achievements and growth opportunities for Spirit as a business. We made some major progress, but we never could have predicted the long-reaching supply chain effects of the pandemic.

This “State of the Union” episode looks at the major service achievements of the Spirit team in 2021 along with our growth plan for the rest of 2022 and beyond. We cover team growth, value-added testing services, circuit card assembly and what product lines and services we hear customers need in the current supply chain.

Keep up with Spirit company news and goals by following us on LinkedIn.

Listen here or on our episode page.

It’s no secret that the Spirit business and sales team has grown by leaps and bounds in the last few years. Working in a small company offers many options for growth and cross-training experience.

But when it comes to scaling the team, host Marti McCurdy has found it necessary to target the team’s growing pains. Enter our newly promoted Corporate Sales Team Lead Dan Jasinek.

Dan began with Spirit’s pricing team, quoting microelectronics and services for our customer accounts, but challenged himself to become a dedicated sales account representative. After growing multiple customer accounts and getting to know many customer and supplier representatives, Dan has industry experience he’s ready to share with the Spirit sales team in a training role.

Spirit’s team encourages challenge and growth options, and plenty of our successful representatives bring sales skills from other industries. Dan knows the aerospace quality clauses and requirements, consistent order management and relationship skills our customer accounts require.

This interview is insight into how to grow as a sales professional, how Dan did just that and why training and encouraging the team goes hand-in-hand with an interest in continually learning new skills.

Spirit is always looking for strong sales professionals to manage our technical orders and support our customer accounts. Check out our openings.

Listen here or on our episode page.

This week Spirit’s Lab Technician Corbin Pearson joins Marti to talk about our Epliog fiber laser machine.

The lab and warehouse have marked everything from name badges to phone cases, but the real magic of fiber laser marking is in the ability to serialize and physically trace microelectronics and semiconductors through our value-added test programs.

Rather than relying on documentation and data, a physical serial part number, marking or logo lets us tie the physical component back to test data.

Corbin explains that the laser marker can be programmed for depth of the marking as well as placement and automated serialization for multiple parts in a lot or tray.

Corbin touches on some of the other lab testing he conducts such as solderability, HAST, and programming Spirit’s robotic arm for our automated BGA reballing process. Laser marking is a quick and easy internal process we can add to any value-add program to make products more traceable for our end customer.

Learn more about our laser marking and value-add programs.

Listen here or on our episode page.

Spirit offers authorized distribution, testing to MIL-STD-883, and circuit card assembly. Is that the full turnkey or can you deliver product even closer to ready-to-use?

Jeremy Rolin, Spirit’s Warehouse Manager, returns to Behind the Screen to talk about running custom box build programs, where circuit cards and components are assembled into a final deliverable product. Our flexible services and assembly options even include interfacing with customer systems, serializing and barcoding, and programming box assemblies.

Jeremy also manages receiving, work orders, and shipping, directing components through our on-site lab and board assembly line.

Jeremy’s Warehouse team is the hands-on operational side of Spirit, where we do far more than distribution: we offer a full system-deliverable solution to our customers.

Listen here or on our episode page.

Electrostatic-discharge (ESD) is a universal experience as you walk across the floor and touch a door handle, but even an undetectable static discharge can damage an electronic component.

High-reliability electronics are particularly susceptible to ESD damage, which can often go undetected until it shows up as performance reductions or part failures.

Aerospace and Defense has largely moved to ANSI/ESD S20.20 as the ESD control gold standard method for protecting components during handling. Spirit has done daily, weekly and monthly monitoring and logging for years, but recently Jeremy Rolin put the Spirit program through an audit with Quantum Systems to certify one of our workstations to handle ESD Class 0 devices.

ESD Class 0 components are considered the most sensitive of electronic devices. To achieve this level of control, our warehouse has implemented robust temperature and humidity controls, workstation grounding, smock and shoe personnel grounding, air ionization and regular verifications.

Listen here or on our episode page.

Marti is back with Tracey Latham to discuss how high-tech automated assembly can change the game with BGA reballing. Spirit’s new process starts with robotic ball removal, and then our in-house partner Latham Industries uses their advanced assembly line equipment to place the new balls on the BGA.

The power of automation to control the ball placement and inspect the BGA really shines throughout this process. Marti & Tracey discuss each step of the Latham line, including:

  • 3S printer for solder paste application
  • 10-nozzle pick-and-place of new balls
  • 10-zone KIC-controlled oven reflow
  • Deionized wash
  • Final ball scan

Automated BGA reball includes detailed inspection at each step of the process to avoid rework and damage. The result is a leaded BGA solution, fully tested and ready for production. Your BGA never leaves our facility, protecting it from shipping delays, handling damage and ESD and environmental damage.

See our BGA reball process in action.

Listen here or on our episode page.

Spirit’s in-house circuit card assembly partner, Latham Industries, serves customers in aerospace & defense, but also in other industries.

Tracey is back on the podcast with Marti to talk about how the chip shortage is impacting board assembly specifically. After a year of supply constraints, delays, labor shortages and price increases, Marti and Tracey cover how the current supply is affecting business and what they are doing to help customers continue production.

This is a special bonus conversation before our next episode. Stay tuned for another chat with Spirit and Latham Industries on our new automated BGA reball process.

Learn more about our circuit card assembly with our in-house contract manufacturing partner.

Listen here or on our episode page.

Spirit’s VP of Business Development Zef Malik is focused on the future movement of the aerospace and defense markets.

While this year has brought allocation, price increases, and supply chain disruptions, Zef shares a forward-thinking view of where and how advanced manufacturing and cutting-edge tech will be growing across the United States.

Zef’s belief is that to really secure the supply chain, A&D companies need to grow closer partnerships with their suppliers. This is why Spirit has invested in bringing test services and circuit card assembly under our distribution umbrella to deliver ready-to-use parts to our customers.

Listen to Marti & Zef discuss:

(1:40) Test Lab Availability Trends

(5:00) Securing supply chain through partnerships

(9:45) The role of ASICs (application-specific integrated circuits) in current trends

(12:30) Automated reball and performance impact

Get started with an ASIC, reball or circuit card assembly program.

Listen here or on our episode page.

Tracey Latham and Latham Industries moved into Spirit’s empty suite with a sweet automated pick-and-place line last summer. Spirit, and our customers, have started to see first-hand what this line can do.

Latham’s assembly line includes solder paste application, pick-and-place, bake, wash and inspections every step of the way.

Hear Marti and Tracey talk about the highly technical placement of a column grid array (CGA) on a custom ASIC board, cameras that can inspect and detect chip flaws in seconds, and how valuable our communication with our customers is to the whole assembly process.

With Spirit and Latham partnered under one roof, authorized component sourcing, value-added testing and board assembly are now only a walk down the hall.

Learn more about Spirit’s partnership with Latham Industries and our contract manufacturing capabilities.

Listen here or on our episode page.

Renesas’ (formerly Intersil) experience making components for the aerospace industry spans seven decades. Marti sits down with Josh Broline from Renesas’s high-reliability unit to talk about what makes their rad-hard products such a cornerstone of space electronics.

Marti and Josh discuss:

(1:00)  Renesas and the Intersil brand background

(2:40)  Power management devices

(5:05)  Power management for memory and variation

(6:19)  Process technologies when designing devices for space

(8:57)  Radiation testing, low- and high-dose rate TID

(10:20)  Manufacturing, fab to qualification and out-the-door

(12:43)  Testing, failure analysis and evaluation lab capabilities

(14:20)  Specializing in aerospace and growing applications

Renesas’ Intersil die & wafer products are now available at Spirit Electronics. Learn more  about their rad-hard, rad-tolerant, and die & wafer options on our Renesas supplier page or get a quote for your next space mission.

Go to the episode page to listen.

Episode 28 with Spirit’s Director of Program Management Ivan Santana covering the current supply chain challenges. Learn how supplier-managed inventory can help reduce risk from allocations and price increases.

Season 1

Marti speaks with Gary Reichmuth, Texas Instruments General Manager for Aerospace & Defense, about TI’s approach to rad-tolerant products that meet the needs of New Space.

TI has a long history in the space industry, with parts currently hurtling into the unknown beyond our solar system on the Voyager missions. But “New Space,” the recent shift from government space programs to commercial and private space launches and innovation, is exploring applications much closer to home.

When it comes to satellite constellations and low Earth orbit (LEO) missions, programs need to build and launch on tighter timelines to stay competitive. New Space programs need to build at lower cost in higher volume while still meeting the minimum radiation tolerance and harsh environment requirements for mission success.

TI’s Space EP rad-tolerant products fit this perfect niche of cost-effective parts without compromising on performance. TI’s expertise in design and experience in space allows them to make ready-to-use plastic-packaged ICs with enhanced performance and reliability screening.

Listen to Marti and Gary talk about:

(1:50) TI’s history in space

(2:30) Changes in space missions and the Space EP product line

(4:20) Rad-tolerant vs rad-hard and TI’s radiation testing

(6:50) New Space applications for Space EP products

(10:14) Engineering and reliability testing with the Space EP line

(13:10) TI’s screening, especially radiation, and avoiding program risks

(18:47) Wafer lot variations and risks

(21:24) Space EP product family growth–new products are coming!

The TI Space EP line fills the gap between expensive rad-hard deep-space components and off-the-shelf unknowns. The last thing you want is to lose money and time in a failed product or missed launch schedule. The Space EP products significantly reduce this risk.

Spirit Electronics is an authorized distributor working closely with Texas Instruments for the Space EP line and their full range of products. Get a quote at Spirit for TI products for your mission.

This week, Spirit is bidding a fond farewell to our teammate Laura Bowling, who has worked with the company an impressive 29 years, starting in March 1992.

Many teammates have come and gone in that time, and the company has moved facilities, added services, and changed ownership. But Laura has always been there for us.

The most meaningful parts of her career that have kept her going when chip supplies were tight and lead times got long? The Mission. Laura explains that we support the military mission of our customers, and the people she has met during her time have been the best part of the job.

Laura reminisces with Marti about starting out sending POs by fax and tracking parts by hand back in the early 90s. She helped to implement our ERP system, which brought many automation opportunities. The company went through ISO and AS9100 certification to implement quality management. And yet with each challenge or risk, the work has been successful and a worthwhile effort.

We’re not sure if we’re ready to send her off, but we know she’s ready to take this next big step in her career and enjoy the sunrise sipping her tea from her porch.

Laura, we can’t thank you enough for serving with us and for showing us what it takes to build a meaningful career one day and one customer at a time. Best wishes!

Whether you’re concerned about facilities, high-reliability military equipment, or your local community networks, electromagnetic pulse (EMP) could disrupt your day-to-day capabilities. From leaving you without power to leaving you without data or sensitive equipment, having a plan to address EMP now protects you from equipment loss in the future.

Add in high-altitude electromagnetic pulse (HEMP), which can generate 3 separate strong EMP events, and our vulnerability becomes much more complicated.

We’re returning for Part 2 this week around HEMP protections with Dan Rebeck and Adam Perone of Transtector and PolyPhaser. As Adam explains, electricity is everywhere on the battlefield. While the military market is investing in protecting communications and equipment, other markets such as facilities maintenance and utilities could benefit from getting ahead of the risk now.

Dan dives in again to explain the four pillars of protection you can implement to guard a system against HEMP and EMP: surge protection, grounding, shielding, and filtering. And listen in for an extra bonus pillar: backup power.

In Part 2, you can hear about:

(2:02) Who is the HEMP & EMP protection market?

(6:15) 4 Pillars: surge protection

(9:02) 4 Pillars: shielding

(9:55) 4 Pillars: grounding

(12:40) 4 Pillars: filtering

(14:05) The 5th Pillar: backup power

(16:53) MIL-STD-188-125 and product testng

(19:18) Dept of Homeland Security (DHS) guidelines and commercial infrastructure

(24:00) Infrastructure applications

(27:10) Emerging trends toward implementation

You can find the Guidelines from the Dept. of Homeland Security for protecting against EMP events here.

If you missed Part 1, be sure to listen to episode 24, where Dan and Marti talk about what EMP and HEMP are and what risks they pose.

For individual components or full system customizable solutions, you can work with Spirit as an authorized reseller for Transtector and PolyPhaser to protect your product or your facility from HEMP & EMP. If you want to learn more about what you can do to take action today, contact us at spiritelectronics.com.

Here’s Part 1 of our HEMP interview. But no, we’re not talking THAT kind of high! High-Altitude Electromagnetic Pulse is a special type of electromagnetic pulse (or EMP) that could easily smoke our infrastructure. This kind of HEMP could wreak havoc on our power grids, communication, and critical electronic operations, leaving us in the dark and vulnerable.

In this episode, Dan Rebeck from Infinite Electronics brands Transtector and PolyPhaser teaches us about the basic risks posed by EMP and HEMP. EMP is something many of us are more familiar with. Whether it’s a lightning strike, a solar flare, or a localized device detonation, the electromagnetic field generated by these common events can easily damage electronics. HEMP on the other hand, is generated by a nuclear detonation at extremely high altitudes, and can generate multiple EMPs that would affect electronic systems on a wide scale.

Dan talks with Marti about why it’s important to understand the risk of EMP/HEMP, and the basic protections available on the market for critical electronic systems.

Listen to Dan and Marti talk about:

(3:00) Threat of EMP/HEMP to daily life and national security

(6:56) What HEMP is and how it compares to EMP

(9:25) The types and severity of damage EMP/HEMP can cause

(13:05) What government or community infrastructure could be affected

(16:25) Customizing a solution to protect from EMP/HEMP

(17:45) Surge protection, grounding, filtering, and shielding

(21:05) What you can do to protect your household from an EMP/HEMP event

Stay tuned for Part 2 with Dan and Marti next week covering the unique product solutions and how Spirit and Transtector/PolyPhaser can help with implementation.

While it sounds like a doom and gloom risk, you can protect your electronic operations and even your household from EMP/HEMP with the four types of protective measures Dan describes. If you’re interested in surge protection, grounding, filtering, and shielding solutions for your business or your product, you can get a quote for products and tailored solutions at Spiritelectronics.com.

What does your component testing and qualification need to include? We’ve talked with experts about electrical testingPEMs qualificationXRFacoustic microscopy. But what your test program tests and how is going to depend on your product and its application.

Spirit team member Sean Macdonald has talked with customers big and small across multiple applications, for single parts all the way up to a full bill of materials, about how to put together the right tests in the right parameters. He helps customers consider requirements from MIL standards, source control drawings, and applications to make sure we test parts under the right conditions for reliability.

And as Sean explains, the benefit of running a complete test program with Spirit is keeping the cost and handling all in house instead of extending your supply chain. Listen in to hear how you can accomplish procurement, inspections, qualification, assembly, and system-level testing in one order, one shipment.

Sean talks with Marti about:

(0:55) What electrical parameters to test

(3:18) How application affects test requirements

(5:19) How to customize a program with cost and schedule in mind

(7:10) Customize your data sheet, streamline your supply chain

(11:50) Copper inlay boards from Taiyo Kogyo and circuit board assembly

Get in touch with Sean and our agile team to talk about how to customize a test program for your needs at spiritelectronics.com. Or as Sean says, give us a call, and someone at Spirit is always ready to answer: 480-998-1533.

XRF, or X-ray Fluorescence analysis is a nondestructive compositional analysis, especially useful in the Aerospace & Defense industry for verifying lead composition and finishes. Hitachi produces several analyzers from handheld all the way up to bench analyzers that can identify elemental composition, measure coating thickness, and perform complex mapping.

In today’s episode, product manager Matt Kreiner talks with Marti about Spirit’s new Hitachi EA6000VX and what it can do. From coating analysis to component mapping, the EA6000VX can tell you what you need to know to inspect and qualify your component lot for production.

Listen in for:

(1:26) What is XRF?

(8:30) How deep does x-ray analysis go?

(12:00) How are Hitachi’s XRF analyzers superior?

(17:28) Just for fun: what strange things have you analyzed?

(22:58) Hitachi and the test equipment supply chain

For a limited time, Spirit is offering a sample XRF analysis report with your regular component purchase order. Ask us to try out XRF analysis and see what it can tell you about your product.

Matt Kreiner is Hitachi High-Tech Analytical Science’s product manager for their coatings analysis product line. In his current role, he focuses globally on Hitachi’s coatings customers across numerous industries to find new solutions to the challenges they face in their everyday work environment. He has 18 years of experience working with XRF technology, starting his career as an applications engineer, and has held many different roles within the organization. Matt resides in Chicago and holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University.

Spirit’s team includes several veterans who have served in our nation’s military, some even still in reserve or Guard service. It’s a major challenge to juggle a civilian career with the demands of military service. This week, Team Spirit is saying farewell to our teammate Zac who is headed out for a year of active deployment.

Zac joined Spirit only a few months ago for his first ever corporate job. In this episode, he shares with Marti what has made the biggest impact on him in his time with the company.

Before joining Spirit, Zac served over 20 years, beginning with enlistment in the Navy, navigating a reduction in force, serving in civilian contractor roles, and finally earning his commission. We are so honored that Zac chose to bring his call to service to our team, supporting the Aerospace & Defense supply chain.

We wish you the best of luck, Zac, and hope for your safety on deployment. We hope to welcome you back when you return, knowing as our team does what that transition can be like for those who serve.

For more information on how to help Spirit in our mission to support veterans and families in service and beyond, visit our nonprofit at SpiritGives.org.

In the replay of this popular episode, Marti and EPC Space’s CEO Bel Lazar talk about GaN reliability and performance in extreme space environments.

With growing interest in public and private space ventures and our increased dependence on satellite networks and space tech, devices like EPC Space’s GaN products must withstand radiation and extreme temperatures.

Jump to these times to hear about

(2:08) The story behind the move from Silicon to GaN

(3:24) The GaN market size

(5:40) Space applications and product portfolio

(8:07) Radiation tolerance in space

(10:37) Reliability and testing to failure

(11:54) EPC Space design support

Spirit Electronics is an authorized distributor for EPC Space products. Visit spiritelectronics.com for a quote on EPC’s GaN devices. 

What does it take to send your child back to school prepared for success? Any parent can tell you, it takes more preparation and investment than you think!

Our Back-to-School Backpack & Suppliers Drive is collecting school supplies, backpacks, and donations to support 29 local children to start off the school year. You can make a donation at SpiritGives.org, drop off supplies locally at our office, or even ship to us through Amazon. The drive runs now through August 6.

We want to have some fun giving fun and useful supplies to our children so they can be excited for their return to school while taking some of the financial burden and shopping stress off their parents. We’ve partnered with our Gold Star Families and local organization UMOM.

Spirit Gives is a nonprofit arm of Spirit Electronics. You can reach us at 480-998-1533 or visit SpiritGives.org for more information. To drop off or ship a donation, you can find us at 11202 N 24th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85029.

Commercial manufacturers are already pushing toward the DDR5, but with the military transition to DDR4, memory’s performance in the field is essential. 

In this episode, Spirit VP Zef Malik talks with Marti about why memory speed needs to be faster and why it buys critical minutes in the military mission. In applications when multiple memory devices are used in tandem and you have one weak link fail, performance suffers to the speed of the slowest device.

Manufacturers are already experts in their product, but the supply chain will need to provide product above and beyond the “can it run?” or “can it work?” rubber-stamp tests. Expert value-add service like Spirit’s will pick up where the OEM leaves off and deliver a fully qualified part to our customers.

And once you know your product can perform, Zef and Marti remind us System Level Testing (SLT) can go the extra distance to keep up with the millions of possible combinations a chip may see on a board.

You can find out more about our new value-add services like System Level Test and board assembly at spiritelectronics.com/services.

With TSMC moving to Phoenix, the tech industry is booming right in Spirit’s back yard. This has meant rising demand for both experienced employees and houses for them to live in.

Buying and selling homes has been a challenge nationally, but Marti talks with local real estate investor Preston Tribble of the Ellens Team about the unique perks and challenges we’re seeing in the Phoenix area.

From changes in the workforce to the benefits of desert living, Preston talks numbers and trends around what to expect if you’re part of the population boom relocating to AZ. The good news for locals and newcomers: Arizona still offers competitive affordability compared to other growing states.

Spirit Electronics is growing along with our local industry. If you’re interested in working with our  team, you can find out more at spiritelectronics.com/careers

Wherever you are this weekend, we hope you will join us in honoring our service members who have sacrificed their lives for our nation.

Our nonprofit foundation Spirit Gives also recognizes the family members that share in this sacrifice by supporting gold star families who have lost a loved member in service.

As a veteran-owned business, Spirit is deeply connected to our military background, and we are welcoming many new team members who have also served in the military. Today’s episode is highlighting our Spirit veterans and their stories about their transition from military career to civilian life.

You can hear our team talk about how this is a challenging transition for many of our service members. Listen in whether you’re a veteran about to transition or a civilian interested in how to help a team member out in their new career. 

ELES is an Italian manufacturer of test equipment and systems that exercise and qualify semiconductors around the world. Marco Paolucci is the sales and business development director delivering the ELES zero defect goal to Spirit and the US.

ELES uses a process called “RETE,” Reliability Embedded Test Engineering, which translates from Italian as “net.” Marco explains how the ELES approach is a safety net to prevent dangerous product failures.

Listen to Marco and Marti discuss:

  • (2:08) The RETE approach
  • (5:42) ELES test platform flexible solutions
  • (7:53) Characterizing failure
  • (12:04) Failure analysis
  • (14:24) System level test 

Your test and qualification process is only as good as your test equipment. Not only is Spirit building out a test lab with the best equipment on the market, but we are also offering capital equipment sales to support your test programs. Visit spiritelectronics.com/capital-equipment-sales/ to learn more.

Marti sits down this week with Peter Hancock, president of Focused Test, a design and manufacturing company for automatic test equipment for power discrete devices and power management ICs.

With market changes to meet the growing use of GaN and SiC technology, on top of the impact of the pandemic, Peter discusses what challenges are facing the test equipment supply chain–along with opportunities.

Listen to Marti and Peter talk about:

  • (1:50) Focused Test and automatic test equipment gap for MOSFET market
  • (2:50) GaN market opportunity
  • (6:10) Test equipment and services supply chain boom
  • (10:23) RadHard testing and equipment portability
Looking for a solution to your test and screening challenges in the A&D supply chain? Spirit has just added an in-house test lab with new screening capabilities. Contact our team at spiritelectronics.com to find out more.

How do you find a minute but costly void in wafer bonding when it may be less than 0.1 micron in size? Sonix has spent the past 3 decades developing ultrasonic testing equipment for nondestructive testing to achieve this level of inspection. Sonix acoustic imaging can analyze products to avoid failures with increasing efficiency and at smaller microscopic resolutions.

Marti talks with sales and applications engineering lead Shwetha Jakkidi about how Sonix is advancing in acoustic imaging technology and applications.

Jump to these times to hear Shwetha and Marti talk about:

  • (3:45) What is acoustic imaging?
  • (4:26) Acoustic image quality and advancements
  • (7:35) Applications of acoustic imaging
  • (9:52) Cost of error and screening for Aerospace and Defense
  • (14:52) Where is Sonix headed in 2021?

Shwetha Jakkidi holds a PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering with over 15 years of experience. She is currently the sales and applications engineering leader for the Americas and Europe for Sonix.

Sonix, a business unit of Tektronix, is a leading producer of acoustic scanning microscopes. Spirit has partnered with Sonix as a representative for capital equipment sales to our customers in aerospace and defense. To find out how you can buy cutting-edge Sonix equipment, visit spiritelectronics.com/capital-equipment-sales/sonix-test-equipment/.

Spirit’s Quality Manager Estefania Altamirano recently completed Lead Auditor Certification for AS9100. As quality manager, she oversees many of Spirit’s compliance programs, as well as functions like our business procedures, corrective action and continual improvement, and internal audit program.

Quality Analyst by day, Podcast editor by night Alyssa Marquez interviews Estefania about the training she completed and what her new skills mean for our customers and suppliers.

Spirit Electronics is certified to AS9100 and ISO9001 quality management standards, meeting aerospace and defense customer requirements. To learn more about our certifications and programs, visit spiritelectronics.com/about-us/quality.

EPC Space is a joint venture company between EPC Corp and VPT Inc. focused on providing Gallium Nitride (GaN) power devices for space applications.

In this episode, EPC Space CEO Bel Lazar talks with Marti about the company’s product lines and applications, as well as the ability of GaN devices to withstand radiation and harsh environmental conditions in space.

Can your device make a satellite go “chh chh”?

Jump to these times to hear about:

  • (1:28) The story behind the move from silicon to GaN
  • (2:57) The GaN market size
  • (5:13) Space applications and product portfolio
  • (7:42) Radiation tolerance in space
  • (10:10) Reliability and testing to failure
  • (11:30) EPC Space design support

Bel Lazar currently serves as the CEO of EPC Space. He has over 30 years of experience in semiconductor, aerospace, and defense fields.

Spirit Electronics is an authorized distributor for EPC Space products. Get a quote on EPC’s GaN devices.

How do you take the lead in a competitive market? Tracey Latham talks with Marti about what gives her company, Latham Industries, their competitive edge in contract manufacturing. Catch a preview of Spirit’s new partnership with Latham Industries.

You can jump to these timestamps to hear about:

  • (1:10) Quality production and equipment
  • (4:13) Latham Industries team and experience
  • (6:00) Manufacturing tech in Arizona and the US
  • (7:40) Future for Latham Industries and Spirit Electronics

Latham Industries is an electronics contract manufacturer run by CEO and founder Tracey Latham, who has over 25 years of experience in manufacturing. Latham Industries offers printed circuit board assembly for the aerospace industry, as well as medical, industrial, communications, and security customers.

Spirit is partnering with our Phoenix, AZ neighbor Latham Industries to design a robotic solder exchange process. Stay tuned for more info from Spirit on our new value add services coming in 2021 at spiritelectronics.com.

What’s new for memory applications and trends in 2021? Micron memory products from DRAM to SSDs have a legacy of market leadership, but you need Micron’s forward-thinking product quality and development to stay ahead of the explosive growth of data and the Internet of Things (IoT). 

Marti talks with David Henderson and Scott Schaefer at Micron about the new market demands they see in industrial applications, including in aerospace and defense, and how Micron’s products are innovating for new applications. 

Tune in to a topic:

  • (1:58) Changes in memory
  • (5:10) Automotive and industrial
  • (7:10) Military and aerospace applications
  • (10:10) Types of memory
  • (11:10) Data in aerospace and defense
  • (15:10) Pandemic acceleration
  • (17:25) Solid state drives (SSDs) 

Want to know more about how Spirit screens Micron products to meet requirements for military and aerospace customers? Episode 2 talks about screening Micron’s DDR4. 

David Henderson is the Director of Industrial and Consumer Segment Marketing and Scott Schaefer is a Senior Member of Technical Staff for DRAM Architecture at Micron, a leading producer in memory products and data storage.  

Spirit is an authorized distributor for Micron with special focus on product screening and qualification for aerospace and defense. You can contact our team at Spirit Electronics for a quote on Micron memory products.

Alex Lidow discusses EPC’s test-to-failure method in improving gallium nitride (GaN) devices.

According to Alex, testing to failure has allowed EPC to tease out the exact stressors that cause failure and improve EPC’s GaN devices 10-100 times the reliability of commercial devices, and even 100 times reliability in space applications.

Alex and Marti discuss:

  • (1:30) Why test to fail
  • (4:14) Learning from failure data and stressors
  • (11:38) Safe Operating Area
  • (14:30) Mechanical stressors
  • (17:45) EPC Space

EPC has recently published their Phase 12 Reliability Report.

EPC (Efficient Power Conversion Co.) is the leading provider of GaN-based power management technology, and Alex Lidow is the company’s CEO and cofounder. Spirit is an authorized distributor of EPC products in the aerospace and defense market. Contact us for a quote on EPC’s GaN devices.

This episode is truly “behind the screen” with Spirit. Marti shares some of our wins and lessons learned in 2020 as well as a preview for our facility expansion, test services coming soon, hiring openings, and what our customers can expect in 2021.

Want to jump to a topic?

  • (2:15) Building Expansion
  • (3:15) Lessons Learned
  • (7:30) Team Growth and Hiring
  • (11:00) New Testing Services Coming in 2021
  • (15:20) Test Equipment Distribution
  • (17:15) Micron and the DDR4
  • (19:50) EPC Space
  • (21:20) Cybersecurity
  • (23:50) ERP System
  • (25:15) What  can our customers expect?

In the win column, Spirit added new product lines in 2020 with Micron and EPC Space. You can hear Marti’s chat with Zef Malik about the Micron DDR4 in Episode 2.

If you’re excited about our growth and want to join our team or know someone ready to “hold their own umbrella” and dive in, you can apply for our open positions at www.spiritelectronics.com/careers.

This episode is a message of thanks from Marti for the support from our community and our team for Spirit Gives Foundation in 2020.

Spirit Gives Foundation is a 501C3 charitable foundation created by Spirit Electronics in 2020. As a veteran-owned, woman-owned small business, Spirit wants to give back to our veterans and military families. During the holidays, Spirit Gives sponsored 5 military families who have lost a loved one in military service through Arizona Survivor Outreach Services.

You can find out more about Spirit Gives Foundation at spiritgives.org. We hope you had a happy holiday season and send you our best wishes for 2021!

As a value-add distributor, Spirit supports a dynamic supply chain between the manufacturer and our customer. Zef describes how the manufacturer’s goal is to build and design quality into their product, while the customer may have more demanding specs and tests to meet for military verification. Our role as a distributor in product screening is to bridge that gap between manufacturer and customer. But it’s not just making sure that the tests are run to the standard. Zef and Marti discuss how adding value includes the relationship and process knowledge we share with the manufacturer and understanding the performance needs of the customer. Zef explains the value in delivering a customer all the product verification controls they’re looking for with a big-picture understanding of inventory management, time and cost savings, and predictability. Marti wraps up the chat by explaining that this global view and Spirit’s ownership of product warranty is what we call “Owning the Qual.

Interested in working with a distributor who can be the technical expert for your product qual? Get in touch with our team.

In Part 1, Marti and Zef talked about the DDR4 and the market’s advancement toward the DDR5. But as memory and chips are making quantum leaps in innovation, the equipment used to screen and test these products also has to keep up. Zef dives into the challenge of staying current with rapidly evolving technology.

While buying the latest and greatest cutting-edge test equipment is important, Marti points out how important it is for a test engineer to have skill and experience. High-performance equipment needs a high-performance operator. Zef wraps up by explaining how a successful test program also uses a team approach by working with the design engineer to understand and accurately test a product.

If you want to keep up, you need the right tools for the job. Spirit is adding new testing equipment to offer more value-added services and deliver qualified parts ready for you to  use. You can find out more about our test offerings here: Testing & Screening.

Bio: Zef Malik is an industry veteran with more than 40 years of semiconductor experience. He was a founder of ICE/IQL Labs and Silicon Turnkey Solutions (STS). He remains a respected leader in the high reliability market. Zef is Spirit’s VP of Strategic Business Development and also serves as the General Manager, Military Business Units, at iTest Inc.

Listen here or on the episode page.

When you have the 40 years of industry experience Zef Malik brings to the table, the DDR4 conversation is a technical treasure trove where experience meets innovation. Commercial manufacturers are already pushing toward the DDR5, but with the military transition to DDR4, memory’s performance in the field is essential.

In this episode, Zef talks with Marti about why memory speed needs to become faster and why it buys critical minutes in the military mission. Memory is the backbone of a board, and technology is always pushing toward faster communication.

In applications where multiple memory devices are used in tandem and you have one weak link fail, performance suffers to the speed of the slowest device. The mission could be compromised. The aerospace and defense market needs to test the DDR4 at high speeds, temperatures, and conditions to guarantee optimal performance in military applications. And it needs an expert understanding of the product to make that happen.

Manufacturers are already experts in their product, but contractors will need to provide product above and beyond the “can it run?” or “can it work?” rubber-stamp tests. Expert value-add service like Spirit’s will pick up where the OEM leaves off and deliver a fully qualified part to primes building product with the DDR4.

Zef and Marti also discuss how testing in A&D needs to shift from individual parts to System Level Testing (SLT) to keep up with the millions of possible combinations a chip may see on a board.

As Marti concludes, qualification testing is the insurance policy for the mission.

Spirit is an authorized supplier for the leading manufacturer of the DDR4. You can contact our team to find out more.

Bio: Zef Malik is an industry veteran with more than 40 years of semiconductor experience. He was a founder of ICE/IQL Labs and Silicon Turnkey Solutions (STS). He remains a respected leader in the high-reliability market. Zef is Spirit’s VP of Strategic Business Development and also serves as the General Manager, Military Business Units, at iTest Inc.

What should you do as a leader when your business is in a time of transition? Marti McCurdy sits down with Jackie Mattox of Women in Electronics Radio for an interview about how to double down and chase your goals. Whether during a company acquisition or the uncertain pandemic economy, Marti talks about why it’s important to invest in your team. Get to know Marti and what motivates her leading into the launch of her own podcast, Spirit: Behind the Screen.

Women in Electronics (WE) is a professional organization working to empower, develop, advocate, and celebrate women in the electronics industry. WE hosts an annual leadership conference and supports a mentorship program and member trainings with chapters across the globe. WE Radio “Leader in Highlight” series is hosted by founder Jackie Mattox to bring you insight from leaders across the industry.