API Delevan - Why commercial-off-the-shelf is risky business

Would you feel comfortable knowing that the same electronic components used in your toaster, dishwasher or microwave were also used to regulate the rate of your heartbeat? Considering the reliability of most household appliances, hopefully your answer is no. API Delevan has over 65 years of experience in life and mission-critical applications, where zero defects are not just desired but are an expectation. API Delevan holds the highest accreditation level in the inductor industry.

A combination of proprietary materials, specialised winding, bonding and moulding techniques, and strict process controls produces the world's most reliable passive electronic components in the market today. API Delevan's expert sales and engineering personnel offer customers support with many standard or application-specific solutions throughout a project's life cycle. While price often makes the use of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) electronic parts seem like an attractive option in medical applications - ranging from MRI and CT scanners to implantable and wearable devices - they lack the proven reliability, durability and confidence in non-obsolescence required for these applications. API Delevan is a leader in high-reliability RF and power inductors; transformers; CM chokes; solenoids; magnetic sensors and antennas; and EMI suppression.

Product obsolescence

Some of the major issues facing medical device designers that use COTS products are obsolescence, undocumented changes in a component manufacturer's processes and long-term product availability. These factors create challenges for EMEA and US FDA-regulated industries, where the Total Product Life Cycle database integrates premarket and postmarket data about medical devices. API Delevan has a long pedigree in medical and other mission-critical market segments, meaning it understands the need to maintain a product life cycle of more than 25 years, along with unchanged manufacturing processes and materials.


Not only does API Delevan promise designed-in reliability, it also pushes the limits of miniaturisation, with components as small as 40×20mils in size - commonly used for implantable devices and the newest wearable technologies. High-Q inductors for ultra-low implantable battery power requirements are designed to run at 90°C ambient temperature - well above human body temperature. Its components run cooler and live longer than COTS devices, due to their inherent material systems. For non-MRI applications, API Delevan iron composite and ferrite materials demonstrate low eddy current and hysteresis core losses, while temperature-stable ceramic and other non-magnetic technologies are used for high-frequency (>10GHz) low-parasitic designs for critical wireless circuitry. High coplanarity and dimensional controls lend to easy pick-and-place; and high-rel EIA-481 embossed plastic carrier taping is standard at API Delevan.

Quality assurance and reliability

API Delevan is the only company in the world qualified to the Mil-PRF-39010 inductor specification, with an established reliability 'S' failure rate. Its products are well tested, with over 350 million test-unit hours logged to date. This provides customers with guaranteed reliability, at a maximum of 0.001% failure rate per 1,000 hours of life testing. API Delevan's manufacturing encompasses stringent checks and balances to eliminate in-process defects before shipment.

API Delevan is a certified AS 9100 and ISO 9001 manufacturer. Complete lot traceability is practised from raw material to finished product. Established procedures are used for calibration and correlation, acceptance test procedures, AQL sampling, and gauge R&R. Other assurances include visual, electrical testing, burn-in, thermal shock and DWV part-ruggedisation, plus full test data reports and indefinite data-retention periods. Its advanced test lab includes liquidised thermal shock, network and power analysers, life test oven arrays, and magnetic flux/perm characterisation meters.

As more passive component manufacturers attempt to enter the high-reliability market, it becomes even more critical for an OEM to base its vendor choice on the most important criteria, not COTS pricing alone. Tested and proven performance specifications make API Delevan the right choice for life and health-critical applications.

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