#2. Keep track of requirements and standards

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No matter which product you need to design, you need to know about the applicable requirements and standards. These standards help ensure that the operational reliability and quality of your PCB design is top-notch – especially concerning the manufacturing process.

If you follow the correct standards and classes from the start, the end product will be of far better quality. Furthermore, you can limit the requirements for quality checks of the final product, ultimately reducing the test costs.

Standards also help ensure that everyone uses the same terminology, reducing the risk of delays and changes to the product. If you have not chosen the correct standard, it can affect both your production and your costs.

The standard is a crucial factor in the design because it covers the entire process – from when you first design your circuit to the assembly of the components, and eventually to testing it. Therefore, it is crucial to get the suitable standard in place from the get-go, enabling you to base everything on the correct elements and requirements.


The standard you need to use as a starting point, is the international IPC, which is divided into three classes:

  • Class 1: General electrical products
  • Class 2: Electronic service products
  • Class 3: Electronic products with high reliability


Each class contains specific requirements and specifications for the individual product, making it crucial to maintain these throughout your design process.


IPC Class 1 – Low demands

Electronic products that we use on a daily basis. The standards for these are less stringent. For instance, a transistor radio, where the requirements for complexity are not that high.

IPC Class 2 – Medium demands

Products and services that run continuously and depend on failproof operation, like e.g., industrial products such as servers or power supplies.

IPC Class 3 – High demands

This class is for products for critical use, and that must he highly reliable. This could be pacemakers, military products, or satellites, where demands are very high.


Under the different classes, there are, once again, a myriad of factors belonging to various parts of the process. Consequently, you must decide on the standard and class early in the process.


Wise tip!

You should always consider what type of product it is, and which standard is most suitable for your product. Should it be made to comply with class 1, 2, or 3?


Only after you have selected the standard, you can decide on the various components. If your product falls into Class 3, you must choose high quality components. The quality of the components must match the quality of the printed circuit board.

If, for example, we chose the IPC-6010 standard as our starting point, then rules will be found regarding the type of board, regardless of whether it is a rigid PCB or a flex PCB. In the specific standard and class, you will find examples of vias and solderpads, how big they need to be when you design them, and much more.


Wise tip!

If you want to learn even more about the different IPC standards and classes, it may be beneficial to take a course offered by IPC International Inc., which will give you all the right skills.


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