Electronic Manufacturing Service Integrity Standards Pt. 2
In our first article, we took a look at the IPC J-STD-001 qualification – and what it means for your business if you are outsourcing your electronic manufacturing services to an outside provider.
In this article, we’ll examine the IPC A-610 standard – taking a closer look at what the Class 3 designation means for this qualification. We’ll also discuss the difference between the IPC-A-610 qualification and the IPC STD-001 standard.
The IPC A-610 is often identified by its subtitle – the Acceptability of Electronic Assemblies – as it covers workmanship for electronic assemblies. The IPC A-610 workmanship standards govern the build criteria for solder joints, heel fillets, component placement tolerance and other things related to building an electronic circuit card assembly, including PCB assemblies.
While the IPC J-STD-001 applies to soldering specifications and addresses both the process of manufacturing the product and the environment in which the product is built, the IPC A-610 applies more directly to PCB assemblies and the inspection of the final product.
As the IPC A-610 qualification has a strong emphasis on quality of the final product, it drives the overall Quality Control processes utilized by the company providing electronic manufacturing services. Specifically, it addresses all issues related to the final assembly that is not covered in the soldering standard, including connectors and the overall assembly process. It also defines the differences between the acceptability of tin/lead solder joints and lead-free solder joints.
Class 3 versus Class 2 Qualification
As with the IPC J-STD-001 qualification, the Class 3 designation as it applies to IPC A-610 denotes that it is a more stringent requirement as it relates to the manufacturing and inspection of the final product.
For typical commercial applications, as well as for most prototype and small volume applications, a Class 2 designation will suffice. A Class 3 distinction is needed for mission critical applications that have tighter reliability requirements. PCB Assembly services and electronic manufacturing for aerospace and/or military applications – especially those products that are used in harsh environments – require a Class 3 level.
Technicians who are trained to the Class 3 level have to adhere to a higher standard of manufacturing expertise to achieve a Class 3 certification. They typically will receive Class 3-level training modules related to wires and terminals, Through Hole Technology, Surface Mount Technology and proper inspection technique.
IPC A-610 and IPC J-STD-001 Standards – Look for Both!
If your business is outsourcing your electronic manufacturing, it is imperative you find a provider that adheres to both the IPC A-610 Class 3 and IPC J-STD-001 Class 3 standards. These qualifications will ensure that the electronic manufacturing services and the PCB Assembly services your company receives are of the highest qualify, resulting in the reliable electronic products you demand.