Imagine what the world would be like with no rules – no law and order. It would be a world of chaos as everyone would want to do “things their way” even if those actions hurt other people. When it comes to the consumer electronics market, the focus becomes important because if these electronics don’t meet the desired standards, they would get rejected.
The Association Connecting Electronics Industries, formerly called the Institute for Printed Circuits (IPC) is a regulatory body that oversees the setting of rules and the implementation of the same, as it pertains to electronics. The body developed what is now called the IPC A-610 standard, which also goes by the tagline, “Acceptability of Electronic Assemblies.”
Mirroring the Acceptability
The acceptability in this instance means that if a consumer electronics doesn’t meet the specifications of the IPC A-610 standards, it is most likely going to be rejected. As a consumer electronics manufacturing company, you want to save time and costs of reworking on a Printed Circuit Board (PCB) by ensuring a strict compliance to these standards.
What Does the IPC A-610 Mean?
The IPC A-610, also called the IPC A-610H standard, is the most widely used electronics assembly acceptance standard. This way, electronics that are subject to assembly, including Printed Circuit Board Assemblies (PCBAs), are susceptible to coverage by these standards.
The Institute for Printed Circuits (IPC) came up with these standards as a result of the growing need to set a clear principle for the development and assembly of Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs).
In the last 2 years following the debut, these standards have helped PCB manufacturing companies and consumers alike to stick to quality service delivery at all times. This also translates to lower defects on circuit boards and higher performances, as spelt out by these standards.
What Difference Does It Make?
The IPC has been developing and implementing different standards aimed at improving the functionality of electronically-assembled products, including consumer electronics.
In light of this, you may be wondering if there was any need for the IPC A-610. If there were, what are some of the reasons that facilitated the development, adoption and implementation of the standards in this document?
Here are some of the differences that the IPC A-610 (Acceptability of Electronic Assemblies) introduced to the electronics industry:
Synergy with Other Industry Standards
As much as the IPC A-610 document spells out the conditions for different electronic assembly processes, it didn’t leave out the fact that the standards need “support.”
That is the reason for making it to be in a synergy or co-work with some of the existing standards, developed by the IPC. An example is the synergy between the Acceptability of Electronic Assemblies and that of the following industry standards:
- IPC J STD-001
- IPC HDBK-001
This synergy paves the way for the IPC A-610 standard to work with other existing IPC standards all aimed at improving the overall performance of electronics.
As much as the IPC A-610 spells out the criteria for assembling electronics, it also stated out some of the changes that were made.
One outstanding change is the introduction of newer methods or typologies for assembling the Surface Mount components on assembled electronics.
Is It Limited to Electronic Assemblies?
The assembling processes for electronics, especially in terms of meeting the quality assurances and standards is the primary designation of the IPC A-610. However, it does this perfectly with the support of other standards.
It is expedient to mention here that the content of the IPC A-610 document made provisions for the additional documents containing different manufacturing and assembling standards for further guidance.
It is to that end that we have documents and standards like the following aiding the IPC A-610:
- IPC A-600K-2020: Acceptability of Printed Boards
- IPC 7351B-2010: Generic Requirements for Surface Mount Design and Land Pattern Standard
- IPC D-325A-1995: Documentation Requirements for Printed Boards and;
- IPC CM-770E-2004: Component Mounting Guidelines for Printed Boards
Why the IPC A-610 Standard is Beneficial in the Electronics Assembly Market
Without the presence and the implementation of certain guidelines, it would be practically impossible to hold any electronics manufacturing to account for the performance of the end-users.
When this becomes commonplace, it wouldn’t take long before we have more deficient electronics hitting our shelves.
But with the implementation of standards, such as the IPC A-610 proposes, monitoring and effectively regulating the industry becomes easier.
Here are some of the benefits of the Acceptability of Electronics Assemblies:
Accurate Electronics Assembly
Now that the standards are in place, electronics manufacturing companies will take heed to improve the reliability of the products, by way of focusing on the cardinal points that increase the reliability of the products.
Time and Cost-Savings
When our electronics assembling companies begin to take reliability and quality delivery seriously (thanks to the IPC A-610), it helps save time and money too.
For one, these assembling companies would do all it takes to get the finished/assembled electronics in the desired states, thereby, reducing the time to spent on reworking on these.
Likewise, electronically-assembled product consumers tend to get value for money not only because of the faster assembling process, but also because they don’t have to spend money on reworking deficient electronics.
This is a subtle benefit but it is still advantageous anyway. With the implementation of the contents of the IPC A-610 document, electronics consumers can now access the performance of the products.
They also get to make a critique between the acceptable and the unacceptable electronic assemblies.
Getting Started with IPC A-610: Who Is It for?
It makes more sense when a product, service or solution is targeted at some people. In terms of the target audience for the IPC A-610, the scope is not limited to the electronic assembling companies.
The IPC A-610 documents spells out some of the categories that should consider enrolling for the IPC A-610 course or endorsement program. The following is a list of some of the shortlisted persons:
- Manufacturing engineers, especially those entrusted with assembly responsibilities.
- Good-in inspectors
- Assembly operators
- Production managers
- Quality inspectors/supervisors
Basically, to enroll for the IPC A-610 Certified IPC Trainer course, you need to have a role to play in the assembly of electronics. This makes it an ideal course for the person or people who are versed with the responsibility of checking the quality and the reliability of electronic assemblies.
What is Covered in the IPC A-610 Course?
To get the most value from what the IPC A-610 training course has to offer, it is a must that you understand what you are paying for.
The following are some of the focal points of the training:
- Discrete wiring
- Component damage
- PCB hardware
- Through-hole solder joints
- Jumper wires
- Surface Mount assembling processes
- Terminal connections, such as service loops, swaged hardware and insulation.
- Printed boards and assemblies
- Surface Mount Device (SMD) solder joints and;
- Through-Hole Technology (THT) processes, such as supported & unsupported holes, component mounting and component securing.
Preparing to Take the IPC A-610 Course
To be on the safe side, it is important to understand as many things as you can about how the IPC A-610 course works.
Now that we are clear on some of the course outlines, let us quickly talk about how best to take the course. You can take the course at a designated learning center, on-site when the IPC team visits or by enrolling for the online version.
Necessary preparations must be made before taking the course. These preparations go anywhere from buying the IPC A-610 standard book, having access to the latest IPC Policies and Procedures, as well as some background knowledge ranging from understanding the concept of PCB and how to identify circuit board components.
The Categories of the IPC A-610 Standards
The provisions spelt out in the IPC A-610 highlighted some of the tolerances or acceptances to be used when manufacturing or assembling Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs). These tolerances cum acceptances have been broadly classified into three (3) classes, viz:
- Class 1 (General Electronics Products): these refer to the generalized electronics, such as visual & audio appliances, toys, hair dryers, torches and cameras. The take is that since most of the general electronic products are meant to be “used almost immediately,” the longevity and reliability is not entirely the focus.
- Class 2 (Dedicated Service Electronics Products): these refer to the products that require an uninterrupted usage. Electronic products in this class include but are not limited to microwaves, mobile phones, laptops and general production equipment.
- Class 3 (High Reliability Electronics Products): these are the electronic products that require an increased uptime, excellent security, and extended lifetime. Products in this class include but are not limited to electronic products used in the medical, aerospace, and military sectors/industries.
The development and implementation of the IPC A-610 (Acceptability of Electronic Assemblies) not only increased the reliability of specific electronic products, but also made the product manufacturers to stick to the best practices – and offering reliable electronics assembly services.