The case of the multi-million-euro damage claim by a German car producer.
These days damage claims are becoming increasingly common in business. Damage claims are basically a logical and justifiable phenomenon, as manufacturers guarantee the products that they supply. Slack quality checks may be costly and even fatal, and observing IPC standards prevents manufacturers from learning the hard way. PIEK has been a sparring partner for years and is at the heart of claims disputes as an expert assessor of the validity of buyers’ claims.
The claims state of affairs is best explained with an example from the automotive industry. A producer of electronic controls for the automotive industry asked PIEK for advice in the matter of a damage claim of a German car producer.
What had happened? The manufacturer had supplied 15,000 electronic controls to a German car manufacturer. The production of these electronic controls had taken place in accordance with IPC standard IPC-A-610E class 2, with only exceptions in class 3. Furthermore, the manufacturer had also done a final quality check himself in accordance with the IPC standard mentioned above.
Upon receipt of the electronic controls the German car producer took a number of samples for pre-production spot checks. While testing the samples electrical, mechanical and temperature aspects were assessed. Even a number of critical soldered connections were checked by X-ray.
However, at the same time the rest of the batch was distributed to the production companies, and the electronic controls were fitted into the cars.
The results of the tests only became available after all the electronic controls had been fitted into the cars. The X-ray inspections of a few conventional plugs revealed that there were air pockets in a few soldered connections in the plated-through holes.
The German car producer doubted the reliability of these soldered connections and assumed that they would affect the reliability of the product, as the electronic controls were expected to default during the 15-year life span of the car.
This led to the German car producer submitting a multi-million-euro damage claim with the electronics supplier. This supplier immediately contacted PIEK, because he knew that PIEK could give an authoritative second opinion being an independent expert.
PIEK explained to the electronics supplier to what extent the checks executed by the German car producer matched the requirements he had made of the products, namely IPC-A-610E class 2, with only exceptions in class 3.
After this explanation by PIEK the electronics supplier was well-prepared for the talk with the car producer, and thanks to PIEK’s second opinion the end result was that the car producer dropped his claim.