Sherlock Automated Design Analysis

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Sherlock Automated Design Analysis™ is a software tool developed by DfR Solutions[1][2] for analyzing, grading, and certifying the expected reliability of products at the circuit card assembly level. The software is designed for use by design and reliability engineers and managers in the electronics industry. Because of the modularity and broad use of electronics, Sherlock has applicability across industries such as automotive, alternative energy, components, consumer electronics, contract manufacturing, data and telecommunications, industrial/power, medical, military/avionics/space, and portables.

Based on the science of Physics of Failure, Sherlock predicts failure mechanism-specific failure rates over time using a combination of finite element method and material properties to capture stress values and first order analytical equations to evaluate damage evolution.

Life curves

Sherlock performs several different types of reliability analysis and provides the useful (constant failure rate) and wear out (increasing failure rate) portions of the life curve for each mechanism-component combination. These individual life curves are then summed to provide a physics-based reliability curve for the overall product. Sherlock also provides design rule checks (DRC) for board-level design (schematic and layout) and an overall reliability score. The reliability scoring, which is provided for the overall products – as well as individual scores and commentary for each area of analysis is used when physics-based quantitative predictions are not possible. The analysis is delivered both in PDF and HTML format. Depending on the types of analysis run and the data entered to create the analysis, reports can run between 20 and over 100 pages in length.

The graphical interface allows users to examine results, make iterations, and pre-perform analyses as necessary. The software does not allow the user to make permanent changes to the electronic design. This activity takes place within the original EDA or CAD software. This limitation allows a broader range of users to engage with the software and evaluate design robustness and reliability.

Sherlock Automated Design Analysis™ produces the following outputs:

  • A reliability score – benchmarks the risk of the design compared to industry best practices
  • Predicted performance over time – allows product teams to project the product performance over its lifecycle
  • A physical map of reliability issues –identifies the likely points of failure
  • A histogram – groups parts by degree of risk
  • Design recommendations –provide solutions to identified problems for rapid resolution

Sherlock incorporates stresses from a variety of environments into its physics-based prediction algorithms, including:

  • Elevated Temperature
  • Thermal Cycling
  • Random Vibration
  • Sinusoidal (Harmonic) Vibration
  • Mechanical Shock
  • Electrical stresses (voltage, current, power)

Sherlock Automated Design Analysis™ Version 1.0 launched in April 2011.[3] Sherlock is Java based, web deployable, and uses a modular, open architecture which allows for expansion.

DfR Solutions History[edit]

DfR Solutions, LLC provides quality, reliability, and durability research, consulting services, and software for the electronics industry in the United States and internationally. The company offers reliability and manufacturing analysis services throughout the product life cycle of electronics. The company was formerly known as Hillman Industries, LLC. DfR Solutions, LLC was founded in 2004 and is based in College Park, Maryland, USA.[4]


  1. ^ Military Aerospace Electronics,"DfR Solutions launches Sherlock automated design analysis software",, published 2011-04-04, retrieved 2011-10-24
  2. ^ SMT iconnect007, "DfR Solutions Launches Sherlock",, published 2011-10-06,retrieved 2011-10-24
  3. ^ Military Aerospace Electronics,"DfR Solutions launches Sherlock automated design analysis software",, published 2011-04-04, retrieved 2011-10-24
  4. ^ Bloomberg Businessweek, "DfR Solutions, LLC",, retrieved 2011-10-25.

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