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PCB | April 20, 2009

NCAB's Bosse Andersson comments on IPC standards:

Over the past few year, the NCAB Group has moved away from the older perfag specifications to IPCS standards, which are updated regularly. However, questions and ambiguities always pop up. For this reason, NCAB has launched a project to find out which requirements apply when ordering printed circuit board cards under IPC Class 3.
It is our opinion that there is great ambiguity in this area, both internally, at our customers and at our factories. Sometimes even we can see IPC standards as a bit unclear.

One example is the verification part, which is to ensure that on the product level verify that the product is up to standards. Then there are only three classes, and a prevailing lack of clarity makes more and more customers to refer to Class 3, the highest class. When it comes to control, Class 3 is about 10 times stricter if compared with Class 1 or 2 - which means that it is performed rarely or never. This in turn means that we all live in a fictitious world until something happens.

You can't put a sticker on good quality. Therefore, the verification part of the product should be driven by the need of reliability of the final product. This is why you have a variety of controls within the process level, such as control of drilling quality, plating thickness, etc.

NCAB is in discussions with IPC to start a debate on this. NCAB is proposing that the control section of the product level (note the difference between verification of product level and verification of process level) is separated and expanded to more options than three. According to NCAB's proposals, the PCBs will be produced in accordance with IPC6012 and IPC600 klass1, 2 or 3, but should be tested in accordance with NCABs internal standard.

Bosse Andersson, Technical Manager, NCAB Group

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