Get your IPC Standards Right
Imagine this horrendous scenario: someone you care deeply about has a pacemaker – but the pacemaker is unstable.
At times, your loved one will even say it feels like it’s not even on – judging by the uncomfortable feeling of their irregular, rapid heart beats.
What does this have to do with PCB design?
Everything. Because if this pacemaker is not designed according to the correct IPC standards, you end up having an unreliable electronic product.
It’s not difficult to grasp the severity of finding the correct IPC standard for your project – and adhering to it.
But fear not. In this blog post, we will guide you through the existing IPC standards and why you need to be aware of them when designing your printed circuit board. Ensuring that you are designing your PCB according to the correct standards helps you ensure that your electronic construction runs reliably and disaster-free.
What are the IPC standards?
The IPC standards are the genesis of your PCB.
It guides you through the entire process, from designing your PCB, to the actual assembly and the subsequent testing.
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.
In the example with our malfunctioning pacemaker, it could very well be that the PCB designer didn’t quite follow the Class 3 requirements.
Or even worse – wasn’t aware of them.
This is the class of products of critical use where failure is not an option – for example for the aerospace or medical industry.
What do the IPC standards entail?
For this reason it is crucial to familiarize oneself with the IPC standards and thoroughly go through them, before getting too much ahead of yourself in the design and production of the PCB
Each class contains specific requirements and specifications for the individual product. These are standards that have been decided internationally for the individual industries, to ensure quality and safety.
Under the different classes, there are a myriad of factors belonging to various parts of the process. There are many details to be aware of and one must follow all of them. For example, the IPC standards also dictate what an acceptable wire splicing looks like – and when it will be classified as defect.
It’s pretty much a no-brainer that you’re required to consider beforehand which standard best applies to your product and its use – should it be made to comply with class 1, 2, or 3?
What you’ll also find in the IPC standards are the requirements for the various components and materials. The higher the demands for the PCB, the higher the quality of the materials chosen. Another no-brainer, right? 🙂
If, for example, we chose the IPC-6010 standard as our starting point, then rules will be found regarding the type of board, regardless 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.
A penny saved is a penny earned!
The IPC standards are also particularly important in regards to quality checks of the final product. If you manage to select and follow the correct IPC standards from the get-go, you can limit the requirements for quality checks of your final product.
In the end, it reduces the costs of your production, since it reduces delays and unexpected changes along the way.
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.
Did your heart skip a beat?
And not in a particularly good way?
If you’re nervous about the level of detail of the IPC standards, and if it’s hard to gauge what exactly your product needs, fret not.
We’re certified IPC specialists and can easily guide you through the details of the IPC standards.
With more than 25 years of experience, we know what we’re doing. We might not prevent your heart from skipping a beat – but with our guidance, it at least won’t be out of concern for malfunctioning electronic equipment 😉
Book a free PCB consultation with me. It’s guaranteed nonbinding and I’ll give you the tips you need to create safe and reliable PCB.