Nearly everything electronic in the universe depends on the printed circuit board PCB. For many years, the IPC-A Acceptability of Printed Boards and IPC Qualification and Performance Specification for Rigid Printed Boards documents have set the standard for PCB workmanship quality, giving comprehensive acceptance criteria with full color illustrations and photographs showing all types of printed board surface and internal conditions. The IPC-A Training and Certification Program helps all segments of the electronics interconnection industry improve their understanding of printed board quality issues, greatly enhances communication between PCB manufacturers, their suppliers and their customers and provides a valuable portable credential to industry professionals as well as recognition for their companies. Printed Board Manufacturers Knowledge of acceptance criteria is essential in tracing nonconforming conditions to their origins in the manufacturing process. This program also makes a powerful statement to users of printed boards that a company is serious about continuous quality improvement. Industry-recognized, technically accurate training for anyone involved in PCB fabrication did not exist until now.
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The Association Connecting Electronics Industries — commonly known as IPC Institute of Printed Circuits — is an international trade association serving the printed circuit board and electronics assembly industries. Manufacturers have to comply with many comprehensive inspection specifications that are in the IPC standard, and designers have to be careful about IPC Class 2 Vs Class 3 different design rules , for instance. They both work hand in hand. IPC is a specification which establishes and defines the qualification and performance requirements for the fabrication of rigid PCB s.
This document describes the target, acceptable, and nonconforming conditions that are either externally or internally observable on printed boards. It represents the visual interpretation of minimum requirements set forth in various printed board specifications such as IPC series.
The visual illustrations in the IPC-A document portray specific criteria of the performance requirements of the applicable IPC series document.
Customers and manufacturers can also agree on acceptance criteria that will replace the requirements of the appropriate IPC standard. IPC is a performance specification. It defines default requirements and what the specifications are required for each Class of PCBs. Class 2 is for dedicated service electronic products, which means that you expect the board to have an extended life so you can place it in a television, a computer, or an air conditioner. They are high-reliability products used to achieve high performances in the military or in medicine, for instance.
Class 2 is the default requirement. Designers use IPC to establish the requirements for the rigid boards they want. The document defines as well the requirements manufacturers have to meet during fabrication for three typical performance classes of boards — Class 1, Class 2, and Class 3. However, when manufacturers, like Sierra Circuits, are inspecting boards as they go to their facilities for assembly, they use IPC-A for the upcoming inspection specifications.
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