Take Action Now to Stop Costly EU Conflict Minerals Directive

In May, the EU Parliament (EP) overwhelmingly passed regulations requiring the mandatory certification and reporting of conflict minerals throughout the supply chain. Under the proposed regulation, EU importers of tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold would need to be certified by the EU to ensure that they do not fuel conflicts and human rights abuses in conflict areas anywhere in the world.

In addition, all EU companies that use tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold in their products, will be required to conduct costly and cumbersome measures to identify any risks that these metals in their supply chains came from conflict areas. Details regarding your efforts would need to be made public.

What You Can Do

As you know, all politics is local. IPC is currently reaching out to members in the EU to encourage them to contact their country’s representative to the European Council regarding the proposed regulations.

You can help IPC by reaching out to your EU-based suppliers, colleagues, and customers to encourage them to add their voices. IPC has developed a template letter and has translated it into Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Polish and Swedish. Please contact Fern Abrams, IPC Director of Regulatory Affairs and Government Relations at FernAbrams@ipc.org for the file.

IPC Recognizes Bipartisan Leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives for Passing the TSCA Modernization Act of 2015 (H.R. 2576)

Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 398 to 1 (with 36 not voting) to approve H.R. 2576, the TSCA Modernization Act of 2015. This bill provides an overhaul to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) law, which has not been updated in decades. The bill is intended to help move the nation toward a strong, cost-effective, science-based federal chemical regulation while modernizing U.S. chemical safety laws. Additionally, the bill contains measures aimed at ensuring more uniform national regulations on chemicals, which is important to IPC members who manufacture for the global electronics marketplace.

IPC commends the bipartisan leadership of House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Ranking Member Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), as well as subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus (R-Ill.) and Ranking Member Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.).

IPC also appreciates Reps. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) and Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) for their efforts to reform the current TSCA reporting requirements that create an incentive to landfill byproducts rich in valuable minerals, rather than recycle them.  Although not addressed in the bill text, the accompanying committee report does reference the concerns IPC and others raised with reporting requirements and notes that EPA has the statutory authority to address those concerns.

IPC’s consistent engagement throughout this process (e.g. IMPACT 2015, committee testimony, coalition efforts, and engagement with senior congressional policymakers) was critical in the inclusion of this language.  IPC will continue working with members of Congress and EPA to achieve a balanced resolution of this issue.

The companion Senate bill on TSCA reform, S. 675, the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act was approved by strong bipartisan vote (15 -5) by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee earlier this spring and  is expected to be brought to the floor by the end of the summer.

IPC Releases T-50 Revision M, Terms and Definitions for Interconnecting and Packaging Electronic Circuits

IPC has released IPC-T-50 Revision M, Terms and Definitions for Interconnecting and Packaging Electronic Circuits. This ever evolving standard provides common language of terms and definitions for the electronics industry.

Each year, terms and definitions become relevant in the electronics industry and in the manufacturing process. To meet these needs, IPC-T-50 Revision M, Terms and Definitions for Interconnecting and Packaging Electronic Circuits,delivers users the most up-to-date descriptions and illustrations of electronic interconnect industry terminology.

IPC-T-50M brings more than 150 new and revised terms, while also eliminating out-of-date terminology in order to provide a streamlined standard that focuses on the trending language of the electronics industry. Specifically, this revision includes terms often cited in other standards, such as; conformal coating, statistical process control, and stencil design.

“Our goal is to update the IPC-T-50 standard as often as possible with significant terms and technology. We want to keep the document relevant in today’s rapidly changing industry,” said John Perry, IPC director of printed board standards and technology. “To accomplish this, we solicited input from subject matter experts within the electronic industry who worked on standards, such as the IPC-6012C, Qualification and Performance Specification for Rigid Printed Boards, the IPC-6013C, Qualification and Performance Specification for Flexible Printed Boards, the IPC-HDBK-830, Guidelines for Design, Selection and Application of Conformal Coatings handbook, and the recent IPC-HDBK-850, Guidelines for design, Selection and Application of Potting Materials and Encapsulation Processes Used for Electronics Printed Circuit Board Assembly handbook.”

Stay up to date with the trending terms covering the newest emerging technologies. Learn more information about

Emerging and Critical Environmental Product Requirements Conference Tour a Big Hit

Last week, IPC and ITI hosted three conferences on Emerging and Critical Environmental Product Requirements.  The conferences were held in three locales nationwide in order to facilitate member attendance: Ft. Lee, N.J.; Des Plaines, Ill.; and Milpitas, Calif. Additionally, a kickoff luncheon for member representatives in Washington, D.C. featured conference keynote speakers Steve Andrews of the U.K. Department of Business, Innovation and Skills and Dave Symons of the U.K. National Measurement and Regulatory Office.

At each of the three conferences, Andrews and Symons provided updates on changes to the RoHS, WEEE, and Battery and Eco-design Directives, as well as an overview of UK implementation and enforcement of these Directives.  Awa He, of SGS-CSTC Standards Technical Services Co., Ltd. In Guanzho, China provided an overview of China regulations for electronics, including China RoHS, WEEE and labelling requirements.  At each location, a supply chain panel discussion rounded out the day, giving attendees the opportunity to discuss their knowledge and express any concerns.  Attendee feedback from the first two conferences showed a desire for more information on REACH, so a presentation by Mike Kirshner of Design Chain Associates was added to the California event.

More than two hundred representatives of the electronics industry attended the conferences, which were described by attendees as, “an extremely informative conference,” “productive,” and “vast expertise, informative, professionally run.”

Be sure to take a look at the IPC calendar for upcoming events and opportunities to meet others from the electronics industry. On October 13, IPC will host a conference on government regulation in Essen, Germany. Updates on conflict minerals legislation, the RoHS Directive and other supply chain issues will be provided. For additional information on this conference, contact John Hasselmann, IPC vice president of government relations at JohnHasselmann@ipc.org.

IPC Standards Committee Reports — Data Generation and Transfer, Supplier Declaration, Electronic Documentation, EHS, Management, Intellectual Property

These standards committee reports from IPC APEX EXPO 2015 have been compiled to help keep you up to date on IPC standards committee activities. This is the fourth and final in the series of reports.

Data Generation and Transfer

The 2-16 Product Data Description (Laminar View) Subcommittee continued discussion of potential new requirements and possible changes to IPC-2581B, Generic Requirements for Printed Board Assembly Products Manufacturing Description Data and Transfer Methodology. The group continues to work on development of user guides that show designers how to implement 2581 concepts in their transfer between design and manufacturing.

Supplier Declaration

The 2-18 Supplier Declaration Subcommittee did not meet due to conflicts in the chair’s schedule.

The 2-18b Materials Declaration Task Group discussed further enhancements to IPC-1752A Materials Declaration Management. The task group continues to work in concert with the IEC 62474 Materials Declaration Standards Group to ensure harmonization of the standards. The task group is in the process of organizing the annual solution provider review.

The 2-18j Laboratory Declaration Task Group is now looking at the next revisions of IPC-1753, Laboratory Report Declaration Standard. The standard allows for laboratory data to be seamlessly exchanged among supply chain partners.

Electronic Documentation Technology

The 2-40 Electronic Documentation Technology Committee and 2-41 Product Data Description Subcommittee discussed the IPC-261X series. Discussion included modifications to IPC-2611, Generic Requirements for Electronic Product Documentation, IPC-2612, Sectional Requirements for Electronic Diagramming Documentation and IPC-2612-1, Sectional Requirements for Electronic Diagramming Symbol Generation Methodology, as well as IPC-2614, Sectional Requirements for Board Fabrication Documentation.

Environment, Health, and Safety

The 4-30 Environmental, Health, and Safety Committee heard presentations and discussed several EHS issues impacting the electronics industry. The committee will help write the EHS section of the 2015-2016 IPC Roadmap. A presentation on the EICC Code of Conduct sparked good debate and discussion on what requirements may be seen in the future. IPC staff gave an update on their advocacy efforts on substance restrictions, both nationally and internationally. The presentations are available to IPC Members at www.ipc.org/ehs.

The 4-32 Equipment Safety Subcommittee discussed the continued efforts to develop a joint equipment safety standard with SEMI. Committee members present at the meeting discussed the need to move forward with a draft standard.

The 4-33 Halogen Free Laminate Materials Subcommittee was re-activated to try to provide both technical as well as financial information that helps prove the case of why tetrabrominated bis-phenol A should not be restricted any further as a flame retardant for printed board laminate.

The 4-34b Marking, Symbols and Labels for Identification of Assemblies, Components & Devices Task Group reviewed updates needed on J-STD-609A, IPC/JEDEC Marking and Labeling of Components, PCBs and PCBAs to Identify Lead (Pb), Lead-Free (Pb-Free) and Other Attributes, including adding references to the recast RoHS Directive and clarification that markings under this standard do not denote EU RoHS compliance or any other regional substance restriction legislation addressing lead content. The standard was intended to label PCB surface finishes, component terminal finishes, and attachment solders, as opposed to the lead used internal to the component.


The 8-41 Technology Roadmap Subcommittee celebrated the publication of the 2015 IPC International Technology Roadmap for Electronic Interconnections. The roadmap represents two years of work by an international team and provides the vision and needs assessments of OEM, ODM, and EMS companies between now and 2015. In addition to discussing the newly published roadmap, the subcommittee also gathered comments on areas of improvement or need for the 2017 edition.

Intellectual Property

The E-21EMS Intellectual Property Subcommittee met to discuss the working draft version of IPC-1072, Intellectual Property Protection in Printed Board Manufacturing. Following the meeting, the document was to be distributed as a draft for industry review to generate feedback from industry and prepare a ballot document. The goal is to ballot the document by June and publish in fall or winter 2015. Changes made to this standard may be reflected in an amendment to IPC-1071A.

Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail

By Jennifer Read, Consultant

That’s a quote from Ben Franklin cited by IPC CEO John Mitchell in a video blog about the recently published IPC Study of the North American Labor Pool for Electronics Manufacturing. Recruiting and training the next generation of workers for the PCB industry is one of the most important ways for companies to prepare for the future. Our study shows that more than 70 percent of those surveyed believe there is a skilled labor shortage, with 2/3 of respondents reporting difficulties in filling production worker positions in the past six months.

I had the privilege of working on this important study with IPC’s market research director Sharon Starr. We interviewed and surveyed IPC members to uncover the challenges and opportunities they faced in recruiting and training the next generation of electronics manufacturing workers. There is consensus that the industry will face serious skilled labor shortages in the coming years as employers are increasingly unable to lure the sharpest young people away from careers that are perceived to be more lucrative and exciting: e.g. software, finance and medical technology. And there is increased frustration among employers at the caliber of the applicants that respond to job postings.

Here are some of the drivers of the recruitment challenges discussed in the report:

  • Public perceptions of the industry
  • Dynamics of supply and demand growth
  • Job candidate expectations
  • Manufacturers’ constraints

For example, one glaring challenge is the fact that PCB fabricators and EMS companies are at a distinct disadvantage when competing for talent with their OEM customers due to resource constraints. What can be done about this inconvenient fact of life? The good news is that there are misperceptions about the industry that can be addressed. It isn’t all about salaries paid. Some of the job candidates feel a lack of trust in manufacturing jobs in North America. When the manufacturing renaissance has lasted for some time and people see that these jobs are here to stay, that should change.

The ‘Maker Revolution’ is starting to catch on among the millennial generation. There are initiatives happening at the federal, state and local level to get young people excited about STEM subjects in general, and electronics hardware manufacturing specifically. From Maker Faires to field trips to trade shows, to grant awards to community colleges for training programs, there is a growing awareness that manufacturing is vital to the U.S. economy. And many in the education and government community are willing to put their money where their mouth is to help employers recruit and train the smartest workers for today’s high tech electronics factories.

Our report addresses the causes of today’s recruitment challenges, identifies the labor pool gaps and training needs, and discusses solutions. It is based on primary data from a representative sample of 107 companies that participated in IPC’s survey and secondary research and analysis. The companies that participated accounted for an estimated $31.7 billion in sales and included U.S. and Canadian electronics original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), electronics manufacturing services (EMS) companies, printed circuit board (PCB) fabricators, and suppliers of materials and equipment to those industry segments.

The report is available for sale at www.ipc.org/laborpoolstudy2015. The cost is $450 for IPC members and $900 for nonmembers.

IPC Standards Committee Reports — High Speed/High Frequency, Rigid Printed Boards, Embedded Devices, Printed Electronics

These standards committee reports from IPC APEX EXPO 2015 have been compiled to help keep you up to date on IPC standards committee activities. This is the third in a series of reports.

High Speed/High Frequency

The D-22 High Speed/High Frequency Performance Subcommittee reviewed and approved requirements for copper wrap, employment of filleting/tear drops for lands, and microvia target land structures in the working draft of IPC-6018C, Qualification and Performance Specification for High Frequency (Microwave) Printed Boards. The group also reviewed the requirements for lap shear in section and agreed that this should be an optional test selected by both the user and supply and therefore approved its transfer to section 3.10, Special Requirements. A final draft for Industry Review is planned for summer 2015.

The D-23 High Speed/High Frequency Base Materials Subcommittee found an additional handful of corrections needed to improve the IPC-4103A with Amendment 1. These will go out for comment to the final draft of Amendment 2, such that the rev A of the standard will issue as IPC-4103A with Amendments 1 and 2 prior to the fall 2015 IPC meetings in Rosemont, Ill.

Rigid Printed Boards

The D-31b IPC-2221/2222 Task Group reviewed proposed edits to a new working draft of IPC-2226A, Sectional Design Standard for HDI Printed Boards, which is the first revision effort for this standard since its original 2003 publication. One of the key aspects of revision revolves around Table 5-1, Typical Feature Sizes for HDI Construction. In addition to the work completed at this meeting, a subgroup of D-31b will make additional edits to the table and provide it back to the main task group in May 2015.

The D-33a Rigid Printed Board Performance Task Group met to begin the resolution of negative ballots and comments to the IPC-6012D, Qualification and Performance Specification for Rigid Printed Boards. The group focused on negative votes related to copper wrap plating for Class 3 product, microvia target land contact dimension requirements, evaluations of microsections in the “as-received” condition, thermal zones, and marking inks. The task group will continue to resolve comments associated with these negative ballots by way of web conferences in spring 2015. 

Embedded Devices

The D-52 Embedded Component Materials Subcommittee held its first meeting as a reactivated standards development committee to begin work on revising IPC-4821, Specification for Embedded Passive Device Capacitor Materials for Rigid and Multilayer Printed Boards. The two co-Chairs, John Bauer and Joel Peiffer, went through the group’s charter and the work ahead of them to properly revise the standard. The leaders are generating the needed TAEC PIN to begin the effort.

The D-35 Printed Board Storage and Handling Subcommittee met to review industry feedback to the working draft of IPC-1601A, Printed Board Handling and Storage Guidelines. The group added guidance and illustrations relative to marking and labeling for moisture sensitivity for bare printed boards, including cautionary text that avoids users from making the incorrect assumption that bare boards would have to meet the requirements of the IPC/JEDEC J-STD-033 specification, which is intended to address moisture sensitivity for components only.

The D-54 Embedded Devices Test Methods Subcommittee was also reactivated just prior to the 2015 IPC APEX EXPO event and is currently chaired by Jan Obrzut and soon to be vice chaired by Jason Ferguson of NSWC-Crane, as soon as funding is allowed for his efforts. Again, this subcommittee will assist in the work on revising the IPC-4821 to its Revision A.

The D-55 Embedded Devices Process Implementation Subcommittee met to celebrate publication of IPC-7092, Design and Assembly Process Implementation for Embedded Components, which describes the design and assembly challenges for implementing passive and active components in either formed or placed methodology inside a printed board. The subcommittee invites feedback for content that can be used for a possible revision or amendment.

Printed Electronics

The D-60 Printed Electronics Committee agreed to take an active role in mapping and coordinating printed electronics standards development.

The D-61 Printed Electronics Design Subcommittee determined that the A revision of IPC-2291 project may switch to a design standard for printed electronics to go in line with the IPC-222X design series. The subcommittee is now being led by Alan Burk, Almax, who will review the design documents and develop a skeleton document for the design standard this summer. Based on this, IPC-2291A may be retitled (and redesignated) as a design standard.

The D-62 Printed Electronics Base Materials Substrates Subcommittee is expanding the specification sheet for IPC/JPCA-4921A to allow for additional materials that are being used for printed electronics. The subcommittee is collaborating with the D-65 subcommittee on test methods to be added to the specification sheets.

The D-64 Printed Electronics Final Assembly Subcommittee reviewed the final draft for industry review of IPC-6901, Performance Requirements for Printed Electronics Assemblies. The meeting attendees recommended changing the name and scope of the document to better explain the document as is. The title of the document is now Application Categories for Printed Electronics. This change was approved by the subcommittee, and the document is now moving to ballot for planned publication by fall 2015.

The subcommittee is also beginning work on a performance standard for printed electronics to fit in the IPC-6010 series.

The D-65 Printed Electronics Test Methods Development Subcommittee continues to gather information on known test methods for printed electronics and investigating other non-printed electronics test methods that can be applied to printed electronics.

The D-66 Printed Electronics Processes Subcommittee is reviewing a proposed process guidelines standard from JPCA as another IPC/JPCA joint document on printed electronics. The subcommittee is also investigating the possibility of developing a process implementation standard that could be part of the IPC-709X series.

EU Parliament Votes for Mandatory Conflict Minerals Requirements

The European Parliament unexpectedly voted today to require mandatory conflict minerals certification by companies in the European Union (EU).

The European Parliament voted 402 in favor versus 118 against with 171 abstentions on a proposal to require companies, including electronics firms, that buy gold, tantalum, tin and tungsten to certify imports do not provide financial support to conflict. The regulation applies to all conflict-affected high risk areas in the world, of which the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Great Lakes area are the most obvious example.

The leftist and green euro-Members of Parliament at the last minute succeeded in passing amendments for an obligatory system by 378 to 300 with 11 abstentions, in a vote to challenge a more pro-business proposal from the European Commission that would have made conflict-free certification voluntary.

The legislation is expected to be blocked by EU governments who fear it would impose an unrealistic burden on business. Under the EU co-decision process, the legislation must also be approved by the EU Council, which is made up of representatives of the EU governments.

IPC has been actively involved in lobbying for voluntary conflict minerals requirements by highlighting our experience with Dodd-Frank implementation and the difficulty of implementing conflict minerals tracking through long and complex supply chains. On May 4-6, IPC Director of Regulatory Affairs and Government Relations Fern Abrams represented IPC at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Responsible Supply Chains Forum on conflict minerals where the EU proposed legislation was discussed. On May 8, IPC joined other leading European trade associations in issuing a joint statement encouraging the Members of the European Parliament to adopt the report, as voted on by the International Trade Committee of the European Parliament (INTA). The INTA report would have made mandatory the proposed voluntary system of certification for EU smelters and refiners and would exempt recycled metals.

IPC is assessing the vote and reaching out to other stakeholders on next steps to ensure that the EU Council continues to address industry concerns on conflict minerals.


Electronics Industry Leaders Present a Unified Voice on Capitol Hill

By John Hasselmann, IPC vice president of government relations

IPC understands that presenting a unified voice for the electronics industry is essential for advancing policies that affect the industry’s long-term future and strengthens the U.S. and global economy. That is why 22 IPC member-company executives descended on the nation’s capital for IMPACT 2015: IPC on Capitol Hill. During the two-day event, executives held several discussions with members of Congress and Administration officials on issues that are critical to the future of the electronics industry and the economy. These meetings provided industry insiders an opportunity to educate lawmakers on key issues from the association’s Global Policy Framework, including support for:

• Robust funding for the public-private partnerships authorized by the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation (RAMI) Act, passed by Congress and signed into law in December 2014;
• Increased long-term funding for basic research and development programs, including the “American Innovation Act” (S. 747, H.R. 1398);
• Comprehensive tax reform, including a permanent R&D tax credit (H.R. 880);
• Education & training programs in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math); and
• Bipartisan efforts to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) (S. 697).

IPC members met with key policymakers in both the Executive and Legislative branches, including:

Bruce Andrews, Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Dr. Willie May, Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) about the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) and its status;
Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy, discussing bipartisan efforts to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA);
Reps. Tom Reed (R-NY) and Joe Kennedy (D-MA), key supporters for the manufacturing industry and leaders in championing the RAMI Act and the NNMI;
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), the Republican Co-Chair of the U.S. Senate Manufacturing Caucus, who recently cosponsored the Manufacturing Universities Act of 2015, which authorizes NIST to establish a program to designate up to 25 institutions of higher education as U.S. manufacturing universities; and
Rep. Edward Royce (R-CA), who received the “2015 Government Impact Award” for his exemplary leadership and commitment to building a stronger U.S. electronics industry.

The full agenda and list of meetings can be found here: http://events.ipc.org/events/impact-2015-ipc-on-capitol-hill/agenda-f2fcee7a753347a3b9878fd603dea1e1.aspx.

In addition to these meetings, IPC also arranged over 40 individual meetings between member company executives and their hometown congressional representatives. These meetings provided the opportunity for executives to establish personal relationships with their Member of Congress and share personal experiences from the industry.

IMPACT 2015 was a huge success for IPC and its members, bringing in the largest number of executives yet for the event. IMPACT 2015, along with IPC’s advocacy work around the world, demonstrates a commitment to strengthen the electronics industry’s voice in the halls of government. Representing our industry as a unified force is one of the most effective ways we can shape its future.

Thanks again to all who participated! We hope to see you again next April as we further establish these relationships at IMPACT 2016.


Rep. Royce receives 2015 Government Impact Award from IPC President & CEO John Mitchell


A group meeting with Senator Cory Gardner

A group meeting with Senator Cory Gardner

IPC Standards Committee Reports — Base Materials, Fabrication, Assembly and Joining, Flexible Circuits

These standards committee reports from IPC APEX EXPO 2015 have been compiled to help keep you up to date on IPC standards committee activities. This is the second in a series of reports.

Base Materials

The 3-11 Laminate/Prepreg Materials Subcommittee successfully examined both Amendments 1 and 2 to the IPC-4101D, Specification for Base Materials for Rigid and Multilayer Printed Boards. Amendment 1 concentrates on handling sections of IPC-4101D that do not cover the use of inorganic fillers in legacy designs, as well as other changes in the D revision. Amendment 1 is moving through its final draft for comments and will shortly move to the ballot stage.

Amendment 2 addresses the needs for reduced contamination levels as desired by the European Space agency, and is in queue to be worked upon behind the efforts with Amendment 1.

The 3-11f UL/CSA Task Group discussed rigid and multilayer materials and printed boards. Specifically, the group addressed the addition of what will be designated as FR-15.0 and FR-15.1 ANSI grade laminates that will not have to be LTTA tested and will meet a 150 OC RTI. These laminates initially started out as more typical FR-4 grades that meet a 130 OC RTI, but were found to meet the 150 OC limit.

The 3-11g Corrosion of Metal Finishes Task Group discussed metal finish corrosion on component leads and printed board surface finishes. The Flowers of Sulfur (FoS) corrosion test method for surface mounted chip resistors will be used for testing some sample coupons once these are assembled with components. History of work on mixed flowing gas testing was reviewed with work occurring to define why the amount of chlorine has such a large variable impact on overall corrosion rate.

The 3-12a Metallic Foil Task Group addressed the non-contact surface roughness test (proposed TM 2.2.22). The task group saw the Gauge R&R evaluation results from the six test sites. While not perfect results, adequate Gauge R&R was realized (<20) to push the test method ahead.

The 3-12d Woven Glass Reinforcement Task Group completed a first round of testing for fabric weave closer to quantify what is currently termed spread glass. The first results need improvement and will be pursued with another round robin of testing on a single woven style. Additionally, another 3 weaves are proposed for addition to the IPC-4412B using the balloting procedure for amendments.

Fabrication Processes

The 4-14 Plating Processes Subcommittee reviewed revision A efforts underway on IPC-4552, Specification for Electroless Nickel/Immersion Gold (ENIG) Plating for Printed Circuit Boards, primarily for those meeting attendees who have not participated in regular teleconferences. The group also reviewed work that has occurred on an amendment 1 to IPC-4556, Specification for Electroless Nickel/Electroless Palladium/Immersion Gold (ENEPIG) Plating for Printed Circuit Boards.

Assembly and Joining

The 5-11c Electronic Assembly Adhesives Task Group is resolving comments from the final draft for industry review distribution of IPC-HDBK-4691, Handbook on Adhesive Bonding of Electronic Assembly Operations. The group plans to distribute the handbook for final ballot in summer and publish by fall 2015.

The 1-13 Land Pattern Subcommittee and 5-21a IPC-7070 Task Group met jointly to consider component mounting issues being addressed in two IPC standards: IPC-7070, Component Mounting: Issues and Recommendations and IPC-7351, Generic Requirements for Surface Mount Design and Land Pattern Standard. IPC-7070 will address component placement issues, while IPC-7351 will address board design, land pattern and through-hole pad issues. Since the board actions in IPC-7351 combine the existing standard with a proposed through-hole standard (IPC-7251), the committee decided to circulate a survey to ensure that all previously involved committee members are informed of these potential actions.

The 5-21g Flip Chip Mounting Task Group continued its work on revision A to IPC-7094, Design and Assembly Process Implementation for Flip Chip and Die Size Components. The group is focusing its attention on expanding the document to include more recent technology for flip-chip application, current trends in terminal designs for higher density flip-chips and modifying substrate and interposer terms to reflect current trends.

The 5-21k IPC-SM-817 SMT Adhesive Task Group re-formed and opened IPC-SM-817, General Requirements for Dielectric Surface Mounting Adhesives, for revision A. This task group will be modify the standard accordingly in the coming months.

The 5-22a J-STD-001 Task Group reviewed more than 80 open action items and comments on IPC J-STD-001F, Requirements for Soldered Electrical and Electronic Assemblies. This task group met a second day to resolve comments on criteria common to both IPC J-STD-001 and IPC-A-610, Acceptability for Electronic Assemblies. IPC staff is now preparing J-STD-001 revision F for ballot.

The 5-22arr J-STD-001/Conformal Coating Material & Application Industry Assessment Task Group discussed the current status of round robin testing and made a number of revisions to measurement protocols.

There were three J-STD-001 related committee meetings. The 5-22as Space Electronic Assemblies Task Group continued work on the addendum used for electronic assemblies that need to operate in micro-gravity, micro-atmosphere environments with extreme temperature excursions and very high mechanical shock and vibration during launch.

The 5-22f IPC-HDKB-001 Task Group had an initial meeting to develop a roadmap to update the handbook to incorporate Revision F changes. In addition, the 5-22bt J-STD-001 Technical Training Committee met to share ideas for improvements to the training program for Revision F. This committee also reviewed the new IPC Certification Quality Initiative, which provides uniquely scrambled exams and electronic training reporting.

The 5-22h Thermal Profiling Guide Task Group held its first meeting and focused on revision A of IPC-7530, Guidelines for Temperature Profiling for Mass Soldering (Reflow & Wave) Processes. The group discussed missing definitions and modification of what thermal profiles should be covered, including special applications of laser, inductive soldering, hot bar, and hot belt. The group also discussed development guidelines, calibration, process control, and process guidelines.

The 5-23a Printed Circuit Board Solderability Specifications Task Group completed work on IPC J-STD-003C, Solderability Tests for Printed Boards. This group is discussing a replacement for the solder float test which has been proven to be unreliable. An amendment with typographical corrections and some clarifications will be published in later this month.

The 5-24b Solder Paste Task Group began review of all test methods originating with the group.

The 5-24c Solder Alloy Task Group discussed how to properly incorporate two new alloy families into the Appendix tables A-1, A-4 and A-5 in the J-STD-006C by an Amendment Ballot process. The decision is to not use trade names or company names in the standard, but to use site IP information, patent number, when such was awarded, and the alloy composition.

Flexible Circuits

The D-11 Flexible Circuits Design Subcommittee met to advance the Working Draft to IPC-2223D, Sectional Design Standard for Flexible Printed Boards. The group reviewed a proposal for a new section that addresses a new cover material used as a bonding agent in rigid-flex designs, which would allow for the elimination of the window “cut-out” of covers in the rigid area. The group also reviewed a proposal to address electroless “flexible nickel” plating for ENIG applications in flexible printed boards, however the current proposal has not yet been accepted due to concerns expressed by the group over the level of reliability testing that has been performed to date on the material.

The D-12 Flexible Circuits Performance Subcommittee met to advance the Working Draft to IPC-6013D, Qualification and Performance Specification for Flexible Printed Boards. Edits were made to text and the supporting illustration Figure 3-15 for the definition of thermal zones in microsection evaluations. The group also reviewed a cross-sectional illustrated drafted by Michael Collier of Teradyne that addresses voiding or delamination in the transition zone between flexible material and rigid material. There is a lack of a corresponding microsection inspection/test for this type of anomaly, and so the group will reconvene via teleconference in early summer 2015 to draft a Destructive Physical Evaluation (DPA) section for IPC-6013D when there is a suspicion of this type of anomaly.

The D-13 Flexible Circuits Base Materials Subcommittee discussed new a modified requirement for propagation tear strength for a polyimide film that would be a slightly lower value for 50 to 100 micron thick material. This will be covered by an Amendment 2 to IPC-4202A.

The D-15 Flexible Circuits Test Methods Subcommittee worked on the TM (Insulation and Moisture Resistance, Flexible Base Dielectric) to what was believed to be a draft of the C revision of the TM. However, after the meeting at the 2015 IPC APEX EXPO, the group has discovered a major flaw in the method as developed and continues its work on revising this test method.


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