One application in aerospace electronics that is critically important today is the use of Printed Circuit Board assemblies or PCB Assemblies. PCB Assemblies that are used in aerospace applications must be able to perform with high reliability in extremely harsh environmental conditions. As a result, PCBs that are used in aerospace electronics must conform to IPC-A-610E Class 3 standards, which is one of the highest standards for high-performance electronics.
To meet and exceed these standards, PCBs that are employed in aerospace electronics must be designed, fabricated and assembled to support the highest durability and reliability – with the goal being to produce PCB Assemblies that can perform, without any downtime, when exposed to extreme heat, chemical contamination, pressure, and other factors that might be encountered in an airplane or helicopter. Add in that these PCB Assemblies must perform in aircraft that are used in military operations – and you understand why the standards are set so high for performance, reliability, and durability.
To achieve this, several important steps are taken during the aerospace PCB assembly process, including:
- The use of thermal compounds to insulate heat sinks, to act as a heat insulator, and to reduce vibration – all making the PCB more reliable
- Placing extra spacing between components and the PCB to dissipate heat and provide stress relief
- Using pre-tinning stranded wires, thereby eliminating air gaps and allowing current flow to be more reliable and stable
- Paying special attention to solder quality and increasing solder paste
- Using sufficient conformal coating applied with acrylic-based sprays helps PCB Assemblies perform more reliably by making them more resistant to moisture, humidity and extreme temperature conditions
PCB Assemblies that are used in aerospace electronics also must be 100% inspected to meet the IPC-A-610E Class 3 Standards. Said another way, every PCB that is to be used in aerospace electronics has to be inspected to ensure quality, reliability, and durability.