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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.

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.

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.

Episode 1: Women in Electronics Radio Interview

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.

Upcoming Episodes