From Semiconductor Fabrication to Electronic Systems
Over 3 Decades of experience in Electronics Manufacturing and Testing
The founder and Principal Consultant, Kirk Gray, has over thirty two years of experience in the electronics manufacturing industry. Mr. Gray began his career in electronics at the semiconductor fabrication process level, followed the path of the manufacturing process to larger systems, and improving the efficiency of latent defect testing for reliability during of subsystem and system level personal computer (PC) development.
Beginning his career as a field engineer for Accelerators Inc. and Veeco Instruments from 1977 to 1982, he installed and serviced, Ion Implantation and many other other high vacuum thin-film deposition and etching systems used in semiconductor fabrication. Later, as a Sales Engineer for Veeco Instruments and CVC from 1982 through 1986, he worked with semiconductor process engineers to solve thin-film application and etching process issues and equipment applications.
As the Environmental Stress Screening (ESS) Process Engineering Manager in manufacturing test at Storage Technology from 1989 to 1992, he worked closely with Gregg K. Hobbs, PhD., P.E., the inventor of the terms and techniques of Highly Accelerated Life Testing (HALT) and Highly Accelerated Stress Screening (HASS) . Mr. Gray's ESS process engineering team applied the HALT and HASS process and procedures into existing manufacturing production of data storage systems.
In the spring of 1992 in Vancouver, Washington, Mr. Gray was an invited speaker to the first Institute of Environmental (IES) Workshop on Environmental Stress Screening of Electronic Hardware. He presented a seminar and paper on "Stress Screen Design" at StorageTek using HALT and HASS.
In 1992 to 1993 he again had the opportunity work with Dr. Gregg Hobbs, at the company Gregg founded, Qualmark. Qualmark is a manufacturer of HALT and HASS chambers. While there he helped customers with HALT and HASS application methods, and performed many HALT and HASS tests for customers.
In 1994 he formed AcceleRel Engineering, Inc. a consulting company. He led a wide variety of electronic companies including the bio-medical, telecommunications, power supply, and other electronic systems producers, to methods of HALT and HASS and rapidly improving reliability of electronic and electro-mechanical hardware. He has been invited worldwide to teach and consult HALT ahd HASS and the Physics-of-Failure (PoF) approach to reliability. These methods focus on the operational limits and failure modes and the root physical causes for these boundaries in order to develop faster reliability assurance test. Mr. Gray has help plan, directed testing, developed test fixtures, optimized accelerated stress screen thermal cycling, analyzed test data, and guided investigation to adoption of the new paradigm of limit testing for rapid reliability development. He also conducted failure analysis of assemblies and components to root-cause. Mr. Gray has documented results of reduced warranty return rates from 5% to 0.5% after new test processes were applied. With this 90% reduction in warranty returns, reliability testing was reduced from 72 hours to one (1) hour. Developed recommendations for maintenance and improvement of accelerated reliability screening methods for continued production test time improvement.
From 2003 until 2010 Mr. Gray was a Sr. Test Engineer in Reliability Development and Accelerated Stress Testing (AST) specialist at Dell, Inc. where he developed new accelerated stress test processes for desktop, portable computers, and servers. He introduced and developed the Highly Accelerated Stress Audits (HASA) for power supplies. These new processes for Dell, rapidly found manufacturing excursions before shipment. The power supply HASA process was recognized as the highest ROI (return on investment) of all Dell Ongoing Reliability Testing (ORT) processes.He gave internal classes at Dell on Accelerated Stress Testing, reviewed HALT and HASS equipment qualification.
He currently is also a Senior Collaborator with The University of Maryland CALCE (Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering).
Mr. Gray is the Past Chairman of the Denver Chapter of the IEEE Reliability Society (1997-1999).
He is a charter member, past Chairman, and current General Chair of the IEEE/CPMT Technical Committee on Accelerated Stress Testing and Reliability (ASTR) .
He is a Senior Member of the IEEE and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in1982.