Our clients often ask questions regarding (IPC) standards, ISO and how to maintain and control the quality in the whole production chain from start till finish.
Quality standards are highly important when manufacturing PCA’s.
Selecting a supplier that’s right for your business can be very complicated. Skilled buyers know the importance of weighing all factors involved, including suppliers quality and reliability. Buying is (much) more than only picking suppliers through quotes and price lists.
When you make any kind of purchase, you expect a certain level of quality. A great place to start is by clearly defining the terms, definitions and standards which all potential suppliers will be evaluated. Measurement to established standards means you won’t have to come up with your own terms and definitions. Industry standards, like IPC standards, ensure the quality of manufacturing processes.
A good Quality Management System that all suppliers should comply with is the ISO 9001. It is an easy way to recognize that quality processes are in place within a business.
Quality management system standards should not be confused with production and/or service and/or Industry standards. While such standards (like IPC) give explicit requirements that specific products and services should conform to, quality management system standards (and particularly ISO 9001) specify requirements for good management practices in order to achieve quality, but without referencing any particular type of product or service.
The use of product and service standards, quality management system standards and quality improvement approaches are all means of improving your customers’ satisfaction and the competitiveness of your organization.
The ISO 9001 is created to help companies review their Quality Management System and operating to ISO 9001 keeps standards in place within processes and heightens their efficiency. ISO 9001 also encourages companies to keep improving their systems. It means that you can have faith that companies are continually striving to bring customers the best results possible in a well-documented and audited fashion and the industry standards will ensure the quality of that process.
Now that you know why most companies comply with ISO standards, we can continue this blog and talk about the importance of IPC (industry) standards.
In the entire production chain of a completed rigid printed board assembly number of parameters and varieties exist.
Theoretically, there are more than 4 200 000 000 000 000 000 0, (4,2E19) potential combinations possible. According to the IPC Checklist (which can be downloaded for free on http://etech-store.eu) there are 32 parameters and 212 variables depend on each other (worst case).
IPC standards are used in the entire production chain of Printed board’s in minimizing the risk of combinations that don’t give good solder joints according to IPC-A-610 Class 1, 2 or 3.
IPC has more than 300 standards which will help you to get the best quality out of your product.
The final performance class for printed board assemblies (assembled, soldered, cleaned and tested) cannot be any greater than the performance class called out for the bare printed board.
That is, in order to obtain a Class 3 with the assembly printed board assembly, an IPC Class 3 recognition of the bare printed board (anything with a Class 2 or 1 with the bare printed board prevents obtaining a Class 3 with the printed board assembly) must be first obtained.
To get the best quality, you should use IPC standards in the entire production chain.
Some problems can only be seen after the product is finished. In most cases this is a lack of not meeting IPC standards in one part of the production chain.
Some end users think that if you only meet the IPC-A-610 standard in the end, that this is a good indication that the end product also has a good quality.
As our MIT Ramon Koch often quoted in his training “Only visual inspection at the end does not mean that the product is also well produced. It is not like in a tile factory where the end product is assessed and if there is no scratch on it, it can go to company A and if there is a small scratch, the tile can go to customer B and with several quality issues (scratches) the tile can always go to an outlet store.” Imagine, if we apply this to an assembly, this final product has no imperfections so this is class 3 product, and here we see minor imperfections so this is class 2 and everything else is class 1.
But this is exactly what some end users do when they only call out the IPC-A-610 on a contract or purchase order.
Also, some assembly companies tell their customers, trust us because we are ISO certified and we work in accordance to IPC-A-610.
ALWAYS refer to IPC J-STD-001 in your contract or purchase order when ordering electronics assemblies regardless if your product is a class 1, 2 or 3 product.
If you need more help or assistance with this, or you like to get a better understanding about the legal parts of IPC standards, please contact one of our staff members.