Sandia LabNews

The Sandia Packaging Advisory Board turns 50

Title is low on pizazz but high in impact

Image of pab

Many are the titles more likely to attract attention than an article simply headed, “The Packaging Advisory Board.”

But quiet titles can indicate a deeper focus. The PAB provides insights into packages containing the hardware of nuclear components and devices. The board evaluates packages on their ability to contain high voltages, maintain appropriate interconnects and demonstrate microcircuit reliability.

The goal is to improve a package’s functionality, reliability and security.

To meet those ends, the PAB provides independent peer review and information on technical services available. It aids designers by providing access to experts who recommend options and identify issues early, including environmental and human factors, that impact a design. The board provides pertinent references, best practices, lessons learned in specific areas of packaging and supports many materials options and interfaces.

The board became an entity in 1972 with five members. In 1986, after various closures, restarts and locational additions — including Sandia/California, Kansas City Nuclear Security Complex and various experts — it had established its tone. “ATTENTION, WEAPON DESIGNERS,” ran a Lab News ad of that year. “Trouble-shooting group will, on request, review component packaging designs, identify potential problem areas, seek to resolve. Also on call for packaging problems just before or during production. Contact PAB …”

Image of Packaging Advisory Board 50th anniversary celebration
50-YEAR SUCCESS — Sandia Packaging Advisory Board members gathered in August to celebrate 50 years of service to the Labs. (Photo by Craig Fritz)

The group received good marks in a mid-90s evaluation from one of the W88 programs: “The Packaging Advisory Board provided outstanding support to all organizations in review of designs and suggestions for improvement in performance and manufacturability.” The PAB also received an Employee Recognition Award in 2015 for “generously serving Sandia’s product realization communities.”

The PAB completed 35 packaging reviews for the B61 and 17 for the W88 between 2014 and 2016, and 32 virtual reviews between 2019 and 2021, working remotely during COVID-19 restrictions. Board membership has increased to 12, in partnership between Sandia and the Kansas City Nuclear Security Complex.

“We’re in demand, that’s a fact, with all the work to which Sandia committed for the nation’s weapons modernization programs,” said PAB current coordinator Jim McElhanon.

Get-togethers were held Aug. 30 on both Sandia campuses to celebrate 50 years of PAB service to the Labs.

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