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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.

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.

Upcoming Episodes

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.

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.