Printed circuit boards (PCBs) have surged the growth of the electronics industry in many ways, and have revolutionized many industrial segments which use electronic devices. The impact of these boards is so huge that it is impossible to imagine an electronic device without them. Today, PCBs find use in small and large electronic applications ranging from beepers to radars to computer systems, wearables, and many more. They play a vital role in the functioning and success of several electronics devices and support the components attached to them. Therefore, regardless of design complexity, PCBs need to meet quality standards. OEMs today produce PCBs adhering to guidelines set by different quality standards, and IPC is one of them. Are you intrigued to know more about IPC standards, what they are, and their importance in PCB design and manufacturing?
What is IPC?
The acronym IPC stands for the Institute for Printed Circuits. IPC is a trade organization that devises certain quality standards for PCBs and PCB assemblies. Initially, IPC only provided circuit board-related standards. But, today, it is globally recognized as an association connecting electronics industries. Apart from PCB manufacturing, the association sets standards for training in market research, public policy advocacy, protection of electronic equipment, and many more. IPC has more than four thousand companies associated with it. These members belong to the different segments of the electronics industry like circuit board design, manufacturing, supply, assembly companies, and more.
What is IPC PCB?
As discussed in the previous section, IPC creates certain standards for the electrical as well as electronics industry for producing quality and performance-driven PCBs. You will find these standards at every stage of PCB manufacturing from designing to installation in devices. For instance, before PCB manufacturing, IPC set standards for creating file formats, equipment documentation, circuit board design software, and much more. These standards help decide the materials required for PCB assemblies, surface mount devices, surface finishes, and more, based on the application requirements. IPC also plays a key role in the testing and acceptability of circuit boards.
Why is IPC Standard Important for PCB Manufacturing?
There are several benefits of utilizing IPC standards for PCB manufacturing that have contributed to their popularity. The IPC standard assures that manufacturers build superior, reliable, performance-driven PCBs. These standards help OEMs in many ways.
- Maintains Product Quality and Reliability: Adhering to IPC standards, OEMs can build products with improved quality and reliability. Manufacturing products that perform better and last longer benefits several companies and improves customer satisfaction. Also, maintaining consistency in terms of quality and other parameters could be a challenging task for OEMs. By maintaining IPC certifications, circuit board manufacturers can maintain consistency and build credibility, which results in fulfilling customers’ needs.
- Improves Communications: The IPC standards make use of the same language internally as well as externally for defining terminologies associated with electronic equipment. This can prevent miscommunication, which can lead to inconsistencies and production delays.
- Reduces Costs: Adhering to IPC standards in every single step of the PCB manufacturing process will help in building the product of good quality and reliability. Therefore, there is no need to perform a quality check once it is manufactured. This ultimately helps reduce overall costs.
- Improves Reputation and New Opportunities: IPC standards give instant credibility to a company. How? When someone is new to your business, they can be assured of your commitment to quality only by seeing IPC standards that you follow. Adhering to these standards helps attract more customers, and opens the door for unique opportunities.
The consideration of quality standards mainly depends on the type of industry you serve. After reading the above information, you get an idea of what the IPC standard is and its importance. Different industries demand different IPC standards for PCB manufacturing. For instance, the IPC standards for the aerospace industry are different from the defense industry. Therefore, it is wise to consult a reliable industry player in case you have any questions about either IPC or PCB manufacturing as a whole. Rigiflex Technology is one of the leading providers of industrial as well as commercial PCBs in the US.