IPC Standards of PCB: Introduction and Significance in Quality PCB Manufacturing

IPC Standards of PCB: Introduction and Significance in Quality PCB Manufacturing

Mar 09,2021

The printed circuit boards (PCBs) are intricate electronic components. The manufacturing process of PCBs is complex and demands precision to ensure the quality and performance of the circuit boards. For such purpose, the Institute for Printed Circuits (IPC) has established some standards that assure quality and interoperability. In order to achieve the industrially accepted design and manufacturing quality and performance of the PCBs, the PCB manufacturers are bound to follow these IPC standards. Since these IPC standards are of great importance in PCB design and manufacturing, it is important to understand them. So what are IPC standards? What is the significance of IPC standards of PCB manufacturing? This post shall answer these questions.

A Brief Discussion on IPC Standards of PCB

IPC standards are a range of industrial protocols for PCB design and manufacturing, established by the Institute for Printed Circuits (IPC). IPC is a member-driven trade organization that establishes the PCB design, manufacturing, assembly, and performance-centric standards. The institute itself was founded by 6 PCB manufacturing companies in the year 1957. Further, in 1958, the book titled “How to Design and Specify Printed Circuits” was published by IPC. This book offers standardizations for PCB manufacturing, which are now known as IPC standards of PCB. In 1964, the first version of IPC-A-600 standards was officially released by the IPC under the tag of standards for acceptability of PCBs. However, the IPC standards are then revised several times for industrial improvement. The revision of IPC standards of PCB is categorized in three eras. First, from the 1950s to the 1970s, the first set of IPC standards was introduced. Further from the 1980s to 2000s, the first revision was performed for acceptability of electronic assemblies and ANSI standard compliance. Finally, the current revision of IPC standards from the 2000s to the till-date is standardized for acceptance protocols for PCB manufacturing and assemblies.

Importance of IPC standards in PCB manufacturing

IPC standards of PCB are of great significance due to several reasons. The first of many reasons is that manufacturing PCBs in compliance with IPC standards ensures safe manufacturing, quality, reliability, and high performance. IPC standards of PCB manufacturing serve the purpose in several ways. The following are some benefits offered by IPC standards in the PCB manufacturing process.

  • Production consistency
  • End product quality and functional uniformity
  • Cost reduction on PCB design and manufacturing
  • Globally accepted industrial standard terminology, therefore makes communication convenient.

The different benefits of IPC standards are stated here.

IPC Conditions for PCB Manufacturing

IPC standards are established over a set of conditions. These conditions define the IPC standardization. As mentioned earlier, IPC has globally accepted industrial standard terminology, these conditions remain the same internationally. The following are the conditions stated by IPC.

  • Target Conditions:

    These are goal setting conditions that each PCB manufacturer must consider for reference. The goal of the IPC standards is to get PCB manufacturing as close as possible to perfect with targeted conditions.

  • Acceptable Conditions:

    These conditions are not up to the ideal target. There may be negligible trade-offs in design and quality under these conditions but the PCBs remain highly reliable.

  • Defect Conditions:

    These conditions are for defectively manufactured PCB. The products under these conditions are reworked or rejected.

  • Process Indicator Conditions:

    These conditions do not impact the performance or quality of the end product. However, factors like material selection, design parameters, manufacturing and assembly steps are undertaken in-process indicator conditions.

Over these conditions, IPC standardization is built.

List of Important IPC standards in PCB manufacturing 

The following are a few IPC standards that are commonly used and are highly significant in PCB manufacturing.

  • IPC-A-600F:

    This standard states acceptable conditions of PCB manufacturing and performance. It basically states target conditions and acceptable parameters for all the PCB components.

  • IPC-TM-650:

    This standard sets PCB testing parameters. It mentions methods and factors of PCB testing via tests like surface electromagnetic migration, resistance and flow measurement, ionic testing, etc.

  • IPC-6012B:

    It defines the parameters for PCB fabrication and performance. Parameters like structural integrity, Solderability, conductivity, component spacing, etc.

  • IPC-2581:

    It states conditions for data interchange between PCB designers and manufacturers. It also sets conditions to generate data sharing formats like Gerber files.

  • IPC-2221:

    It states guidelines for PCB design. Parameters like material, PCB layout, mechanical and physical properties of the PCBs, etc. Now that IPS standards are introduced and their significance is discussed, it is now essential to source PCB design and manufacturing services from IPC certified manufacturer. Creative Hi-Tech is an experienced and reliable PCB manufacturer that offers IPC compliant PCB design and manufacturing services. They serve industries like aerospace and satellite, telecommunication, industrial electronics, and many more. Their experience and the well-equipped facility offers the assurance of quality and customer satisfaction. 

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