AEC Q200 is the international standard for heat stress and vibration resistance established by the Automotive Electronic Standard (AEC) to ensure the reliability and quality of passive electronic components to be used in the automotive industry.
It was first proposed by Gerald Servais of General Motors and Jerry Jennings of Chrysler because industry leaders observed that electronic technology was not just servicing the automotive industry but other industries where reliability was less critical. This made it difficult for automotive companies to identify which part passed the required standard within the automotive landscape. After further conversations took place, the AEC was established, headed by Servais and Jennings, together with Earl Fischer and Robert Knoell of Ford Motors.
The AEC subsequently classified a set of standards into three categories. Two categories focus on active components and other parts while the AEC Q200 focuses on the pressure resistance and temperature stability of passive components as well as their durability and thermal shock resistance.
What are the Features of AEC Q200?
AEC Q200 is divided into four levels of qualifications numbered 0 - 4.
These parts require the strictest testing because they are the most versatile parts and can be used in any type of application within an automobile. Components under Grade 0 are X8R capacitors and flat chip ceramic resistors. The temperature range of these components should be between -50 and +150°C.
The parts under this category are thermistors, resistors, capacitors and capacitor networks, and other passive components such as transformers. These parts are usually used under the car hood and should have a temperature range between -40 and +125°C.
Most of these electronic parts are used in passenger compartment hotspots. These are usually aluminum electrolytic capacitors that have a restricted temperature range of between -40 and +105°C.
Components that are classified under this category have a restricted temperature range of between -40 and +85°C. They are usually used in passenger compartments.
Electronic components that fall under this category are the ones that require the least testing. They are usually non-automotive parts and should have a temperature that range between 0 and +70°C.
Impact of AEC Q200 to the Automotive Industry
The AEC Q200 serves as a benchmark for the pressure resistance and thermal stability of electronic components. Furthermore, it ensures both car manufacturers consumers that each part, each component of the car they are making and using, is safe.
Take multilayer ceramic capacitors as an example. These electronic components are often used in many different parts of the car. While they are stable and safe, they are very sensitive to bending forces. Constant movement can cause cracking, which can lead to a short circuit. If that happens, the vehicle and the passenger are exposed to a bigger risk.
With the components undergoing the strictest tests, these risks can be lessened and accidents can be prevented. With AEC Q200 in place, car makers are assured of the electrical integrity of the part even when exposed to extreme external forces.
Aside from capacitors, resistors and other discrete components must meet the rigorous demands required of automotive parts. They should also pass the test of thermal stability, resistance to harmful gases, and vibration tolerance. Other applications that need AEC Q200 compliant resistors are hybrid vehicle battery management, electronic controls, and DC converters.
AEC Q200 has also greatly benefited engineers; prior to its establishment, engineers had to check the specifications of each component to ensure they were safe for use. But with the standard in place, they no longer need to perform this check.
Also, electronic components that have passed the AEC Q200 level tests do not need to undergo other tests for use in non-automotive systems. Once components have the AEC stamp, they are considered reliable, durable, and high-quality. In fact, manufacturers often place a warning on the spec sheets telling engineers to be careful of using components without the AEC stamp of approval.
Finally, AEC Q200 ensures that the safety of the automotive industry is stable. This is important as most car manufacturers are incorporating more and more electronic technology in their vehicles.
AEC compliance ensures that the automotive industry is protected by only using parts and components that meet industry standards.
Annual workshops with industry leaders discuss the latest developments and innovations that are taking place in the automotive world. With these regulations and guidelines in place, consumers are also assured that the vehicles they are driving are safe — from the smallest resistor used in the dashboard backlight to the more complex ones in their car's computer module.