Understanding the Revisions to the IPC-A-610 Standard

Every year, the IPC, the Association Connecting Electronics Industries, releases revisions to its major standards (documents containing details about acceptable practices, upgrades, etc., in the electronics industry). While many revisions to low-profile standards go unnoticed, when major standards like the IPC-J-STD-001 or the IPC-A-610 are revised, everyone in the electronics industry takes notice.

In 2017, IPC released “G” revisions, the most widely applied standard in the electronics manufacturing industry – the IPC-A-610 Standard. Internationally known as the “Acceptability of Electronic Assemblies” standard, the IPC-A-610 gets reviewed every three years, just like the IPC-J-STD-001 standard. These revisions are vital as all electronics manufacturing industry members need to keep up with the ever-transforming technologies in the electronics industry.

In 2014, the “F” revisions were added to the IPC-A-610 standards. The document was upgraded in accordance with the technical developments in the SMT industry (surface mount technology). Some key details of the IPC-A-610 “F” standards included –

  • New criteria for P-style terminations.
  • New criteria for BGAs.
  • Reducing the sizes of plastic packages.
  • Addition of photos to the document to facilitate easier understanding.
  • Major changes to the chapter on conformal coatings, including new data on coating thickness, voids, transparency, etc.

Overall, the IPC’s criterion for acceptance changes every time there’s an upgrade to one of its standards. The electronics manufacturing industry closely follows these amendments and expects workers to do the same.

For instance, before the release of the IPC-A-610F standards, it was widely believed that solder must never touch plastic components as it leads to component failure. However, this belief was quashed by research, so the IPC-A-610F standard promised to change its approach to solder touching plastic bodies in the future.

What is the “G” Standard?

The IPC-A-610G standard was composed by prominent leaders of the electronics manufacturing industry from seventeen countries. The renewed “G version” of the Acceptability of Electronic Assemblies standard (the IPC-A-610 Standard) has a unique purpose. Here are the key revisions –

  • For all post-assembly products, the IPC-A-610G is still the main visual quality acceptance standard.
  • The revised standard mentions the materials and process constraints crucial for use during manufacturing.
  • Renewed criteria for surface mount technology and through-hole processes in electrics assembly.
  • New guidelines on the delivery of training products and certification materials.

Understanding the New Guidelines

The updated documents for IPC-A-610G are available on the internet. People who need to use these standards can view the changes easily. However, only Certified Standards Experts (CSEs) can truly understand the technical language used in these documents. CSEs are professionals with a high level of expertise on IPC standards.

The same applies to certified IPC trainers. These professionals know all about standards like the IPC/WHMA-A-620, IPC-J-STD-001, IPC-7711/21, and of course, the IPC-A-610G. Countless professionals from the electronics assembly industry, including soldering professionals, PCB manufacturers, etc., take training from these professionals to –

  • Navigate the IPC standards and updates efficiently.
  • Understand renewed sections of the standards.
  • Address specific questions regarding how these standards will affect their professions and day to day responsibilities.
  • IPC-certified trainers give trainees access to important items like circuit board trace repair kit to help them understand the subject matter in a ‘hands-on’ way.
  • They carry photographs, samples, etc., to ensure every IPC standard is clear to the trainees.

The feedback these IPC-certified trainers receive from their training programs has been very positive. They continue to pursue better ways to educate new professionals.

Comments are closed