What are IPC Standards for PCB

The Institute for Printed Circuits ( IPC ) is formed in 1957 with 6 PCB (printed circuit board) manufacturers. Many electronic companies joined together in association with IPC in 1977 for the purpose of interconnecting and packaging of electronic circuits. In 1998, the IPC association created a tagline of ‘Association Connecting Electronics Industries’ for the recognition. In 1978, printed circuit world convention (PCWC) conference got associated with printed circuit wiring board (PWB) associations around the world with the sponsors including IPC, EPIC, ICT, and printed circuit group IMF. With more than 10000 instructor certifications, 125000 engineers, operators, buyers, and inspectors, IPC conducted a certification and training program based on IPC-A-610B and IPC-A-610 with the acceptance of electronic assemblies and ipc.org. This article describes what is IPC standards, IPC standards used in PCB’S.

What are the IPC Standards?

IPC stands for ‘Institute for Printed Circuits, which belongs to the trading of electronic interconnecting industries. Officially IPC provides PCB related standards and now it is also called Association Connecting Electronics Industries. IPC referred to as an international industry with the association of more than 4000 companies, which are participated in using, specifying and designing of PCB’S and also assemblies including, advanced microelectronics, military applications, aerospace, automotive industries, computers, industrial and medical equipment, telecommunication industry, etc.

IPC standards tree are associated with PCB design, production process, and electronic assembly to achieve high reliability, quality, performance, and meet user specifications. These are tree for PCB is shown below.

IPC Standards for PCB Tree
IPC Standards for PCB Tree

Institute for Printed Circuits Standards for PCB

These are required for PCB related products for safety, reliability, and high performance. It is necessary to maintain quality, attention, and commitment throughout the whole production process. To meet users’ s/customer’s specifications and expectations, many PCB production industries use these standards to maintains consistency, high reliability, quality, and commitment. These also help in improving the process of PCB products in many ways. The IPC standards in the manufacturing process of PCB required to

  • Gain control of end products with high quality and high reliability.
  • Improve communication with many employees and suppliers
  • Reduce cost
  • Improve Reputation and a New Opportunity

To work with these standards for PCB, it is required by the user to know the terminology provided by the IPC, which in turn helps in communication and purchasing of its standards. The terms in IPC standards include,

Acceptance Tests: Required to check whether the product is acceptable or not, that depends on the user or buyer or vendor.

Assembly: Includes joining or assembling of various parts, and combinations together.

Resist: it acts as a coating material to protect the product during the manufacturing process and testing of plating, etchant, and soldering, etc.

IC (Integrated Circuit): various electronic circuits are interconnected together in one place with a single material to perform the desired function based on the application.

Flexible Strength: Refers to a tensile strength of the fiber of a material that can bend in a curve or fold or turn.

Critical Operation: Refers to the complete operation, process, and characteristics of the product.

IPC standards for PCB design, production, and assembly are associated in every phase to achieve quality products, maintain a competitive spirit throughout the production process. These are associated and implemented one after the other in every step of PCB design, production to get desired output products.

These standards are used in three types of PCB related electronic products.

Type 1: General PCB related electronic products. This type belongs to products for everyday applications which are mainly required for the function of the complete assembly.

Type 2: Service electronic products (dedicated). It refers to the high performance, reliability, and extended life of the product. Uninterrupted service is preferred for the end-use environment that could not cause any damage.

Type 3: High-performance electronic products. It refers to continuous performance and on-demand performance. As there is no downtime equipment, it should work when required. The end-use environment can be harsh and this type of related product is used as life-supportive systems.

Some of the examples of PCB standards in PCB design and production process are, IPC-2581, IPC-2221, IPC-4101C, IPC-6012B, IPC-A-600F, J – STD – 001, IPC-A-610, IPC-A-620, IPC-TM-650 etc.

IPC standards for soldering are necessary for soldering during the manufacturing of PCB’s and PCB products. In the worldwide industries, IPC standard called IPC – J -STD – 001G is used for soldering materials and processing. The training and certification programs of IPC – J – STD – 001 is conducted for the soldering of electrical and electronic assemblies during the manufacturing process.

IPC – A – 620 standards is used as a solder splices to repair broken and damaged conductor that belongs to type 2 and 3 PCB related electronic product without end-user. There are 4 acceptable solder splicing methods used for conductors to repair. They are

  • Mesh
  • Wrap
  • Hook
  • Lap

These solder splices are explained by the IPC standards in diagrams and words for easy understanding during the process.
In the mesh method, there are different criteria like acceptable (type 1,2,3), process indicator (type 2,3), and defect (type 1,2,3).

With the use of IPC standards, proper mounting of DIP pins, SIP pins and sockets can also be done easily.

Footprint Standard

In the modern electronic industries, IPC standards are used to design and manufacture PCB’s with quality, consistency, and standard process. Basically IPC – 7350 series of standards are used for the physical designing of PCB with different types of footprints and specifications. These standards help to maintain high quality, reliability, performance, reduce time, cost, and scrap during manufacturing.

It is also necessary to check whether the components are mounted on the surface properly while designing of PCB. Otherwise, extra costs may be required to design and work with a particular component.

IPC standards are not used all the time to design components on the PCB. A software package called CAD tools made easy to design PCB, components, and strategies. Ultra 2D and 3D CAD tools are used to design components of PCB as per the user’s expectations.

Thus, this article discusses an overview of the IPC standard for PCB designing, soldering, IPC standard tree, footprint standard. Here is a question for you, ” What are the advantages and disadvantages of IPC standards?”