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What IPC Standards Apply to PCB Assembly?

 Oct 14, 2021

As the demand for performance-driven, ultra-complex integrated devices is increasing, the demand for quality and complex PCBs has grown. Today, almost all types of electronic devices feature PCBs, which work like their core as the functioning and accuracy of these products depends on the operation of these boards. . Manufacturers understand the immense significance of using the right materials for these circuit boards and the other aspects of their manufacturing, design, and testing. Thus, they design PCBs in adherence to IPC standards. IPC standards help OEMs maintain the circuit board quality from designing to manufacturing to testing and inspections stages. Now you may ask what IPC standards are required for PCB manufacturing? What does IPC mean? This post answers these questions. Stay tuned to know more.

Understanding IPC PCBs and IPC Classes in Detail

Before figuring out different IPC standards in PCB assembly, it is of utmost important to understand what are IPC PCBs and IPC classes. The acronym IPC stands for the Institute of Printed Circuits. It is a trade organization responsible for regulating the quality standards for PCB assemblies. Established in 1957, IPC standards are being widely accepted across the globe. These standards can be applied at every stage of PCB manufacturing from designing to inspections and much more. IPC has developed and set standards for PCBs in electronics manufacturing and is used in electronics and electrical soldering, cable and wire harness assemblies, testing, and inspection of enclosures before the PCB is released as the final product.

IPC separates electronics products into three different classes as described below.

  • Class 1: This class features everyday use electronics products with simple functionality and limited lifespan. A remote control is one of the best examples of these products.
  • Class 2: This class covers dedicated electronic products with high reliability and extended life. Class 2 PCBs are preferred for regular service environments, wherein uninterrupted services are not ideally required. Laptops, microwaves, and so on come under this class.
  • Class 3: Unlike other classes, class 3 consists of high-quality, performance-driven products. The PCBs covered under this class are mainly designed for challenging environments, where there is no space for downtime. Class 3 equipment is widely utilized in industries, especially for mission-critical applications in the medical and aerospace sectors.

A Quick Overview of PCB Assembly IPC Standards

During the PCB assembly process, manufacturers should be aware of the following IPC standards. So, let’s take a look at them.

  • IPC-A-600: Also called IPC-600, this standard sets acceptance criteria for PCBs. This means it outlines acceptable, non-acceptable, and targeted conditions that may be found in internal or external observations.
  • IPC-2581: This is a generic standard for PCBs and PCB assemblies. The standard specifies intelligent database schema used to describe PCB and PCB assembly products for manufacturing, tooling, and inspection requirements.
  • IPC-A-630: This IPC standard is designed to direct electronics manufacturers and end-users to understand best practices to meet application requirements, assuring the superior functionality of the end product for its intended operational life.
  • IPC-A-620: This standard sets the level of acceptance criteria of cable and wire harness assemblies for each product.
  • IPC-6012: This standard covers the qualifications and performance requirements for rigid circuit board manufacturing. Rigid printed circuit boards can be designed in various ways, including single-layer PCBs, metal core PCBs, HDIs, active or passive embedded PCBs, and more.

From this information, you may understand the significance of implementing IPC standards in a PCB assembly. Are you looking for quality PCBs for your electronics application? If yes, you must consult a reliable, trustworthy PCB manufacturer and assembly services, provider. This post introduces Accelerated Assemblies, a leading manufacturer of high-quality printed circuit boards. The company is ITAR certified follows the required IPC standards while manufacturing PCBs for various industries.