The SI TechLAB Opens in Mannheim

22. February 2023

Paul Braun is in his element when he’s in the lab. The 32-year-old, who holds a PhD in materials science, joined the SI Electronics team in February 2023 to manage the new electronics testing lab. But where do his passions lie? And just how does Paul approach his new challenge?

The increasing volume of counterfeit and manipulated electronic components entering the market has increased enormously in recent years. Addressing this, and in order to ensure continuous quality, SI now carries highly specialized testing procedures in-house, as well as at third-party testing facilities.

The sourcing specialists have brought in Dr. Paul Braun to lend his expertise and experience to the new laboratory.

Paul’s Passion for Materials Science

Paul Braun was interested in chemistry, physics, and technology from an early age – but especially in linking the three subjects together. That’s why he decided to pursue an apprenticeship as a materials tester – receiving the country’s highest mark upon finishing. He then studied materials science at the Technical University of Darmstadt at bachelor and master levels, before graduating with a doctorate.

“Materials science is no different than solid-state physics, and it gives shape to the world around us, from the chair we sit on to semiconductors that power our electronic devices work and enable global communication. In my work, I study materials at atomic level and relate them to their properties of use – it’s incredibly exciting,” he explains.

After his doctorate, he turned his talents to semiconductors, components which have since become scarce. But before joining SI, he coordinated testing processes for electronic component service provider, HTV, in Bensheim, Germany, and led a 35-person team.

High-Tech Equipment and Expertise for the Highest Quality Standards

Paul brings all this experience to SI: “I am pleased to be part of this young, agile team, which gives me the opportunity to build up a new department, in which I can contribute my own ideas and help shape processes.”

In order to find out whether electronic components are genuine working parts, they have to go through a series of complex processes. During these processes, they are visually inspected, often using powerful microscopes, tested for solderability, and the chemical composition of the organic surfaces is examined for impurities.

However, given the increasing sophistication of component manipulation in recent years, experts are needed who can do more than just operate the equipment. Paul explains, “Specially trained experts are needed who can evaluate test results and communicate properly them to the technical sales department.”

The TechLAB to Become the Market Benchmark

If Paul Braun and SI are successful, the test lab will soon become the industry benchmark. “Our lab team will soon be in the double figures. I’m looking forward to positioning the lab as a technical product knowledge center, in addition to a hub for operational component testing,” he says.

In addition to his administrative duties, Braun will also be involved in technical sales. The exchange between different business units at SI is an essential part of his work: “If we discover that components don’t meet quality and functional standards, we can relay that crucial information back into our automated supplier evaluation system.”

But the vision doesn’t end there. In the future, the TechLAB can also serve as a testing laboratory for external customers, too.

Paul Braun

  • Born on March 27, 1990 in Berlin
  • Completed training as materials tester at Rittal RGS GmbH and finished with best results in the country
  • Bachelor’s and master’s degrees in materials science and doctorate from Technical University Darmstadt
  • Director of Quality Control & Research at SI Electronics