IPC Gives the Electronics Industry a New Edge

IPC President and CEO John Mitchell discusses the importance of education in the electronics industry and reveals IPC’s new online learning platform—IPC EDGE.


IPC Concerned by EU Consultant Recommendations on RoHS Exemptions

IPC’s RoHS Exemptions workgroup and other industry members are deeply concerned that the recommendations recently provided to the EU Commission by their consultants will have a significant negative impact on the industry.  Many of the recommendations provide for only a two-year renewal and reword the current exemptions in ways that will lead to increase in complexity and burden.

On July 19, 2016, IPC and other members of the cross-industry Strategic Management Team sent a letter to Mr. Daniel Calleja Crespo, Director-General for the Environment at the European Commission highlighting industry concerns.

Under the EU RoHS2, all existing exemptions were set to expire by July 21, 2016. However, all exemptions for which industry submitted a renewal application will not expire until the EU Commission completes the current ongoing review of the applications, likely in late 2016 or early 2017.

IPC and its RoHS Exemptions Workgroup will continue our advocacy, which may include lobbying the Commission.

Get Involved: Help Improve the Electronics Industry

John Mitchell, IPC president and CEO, wants to make sure that your questions about legislation affecting our industry are answered, and your concerns are addressed.


New Electronics Industry Market Data Now Available by Subscription

IPC is introducing three new quarterly subscription reports. These exclusive reports provide electronics manufacturers a competitive edge that comes from having solid, timely and reliable market research data. Reports include:

  • Global Solder Market Report  – The report covers trends in solder and flux consumption, including growth rates, tin/lead vs. lead-free ratios, and industry growth outlook for coming year. It will also be available soon in Mandarin Chinese.
  • PCB Assembly Equipment Market Report  – The report includes trends in the equipment market, growth rates, and industry outlook for the coming year.
  • Global Process Consumables Market Report  – The report shows growth rates in the wet chemistry market and industry growth outlook for the coming year.

These reports are based on IPC’s current industry surveys. This means the information subscribers receive is built on reliable data gathered from representative samples of companies. Combining the latest data with insightful graphs, these special reports help electronics industry executives identify opportunities, understand trends, and plan for changes in the business environment.

“The value of these reports is the unique quality of the data, which is collected directly from the industry by IPC and is not available from any other source,” said Sharon Starr, IPC director of market research.

The three quarterly reports are in addition to PCB and EMS reports based on statistical program data from North American companies that manufacture and assemble PCBs: the monthly North American EMS Market Report, the monthly North American PCB Market Report and the quarterly North American EMS Business Performance Report. Annual subscription prices for a one-year single-user subscription are $600 (IPC members) and $1,200 (nonmembers) for most of these reports.

More information on these and other IPC reports can be found at www.ipc.org/market-research-reports or by contacting the IPC market research team at marketresearch@ipc.org or +1 847-597-2868.

Consultants to EU Publish Recommendations on RoHS Exemptions

The Oeko-Institut e.V., Institute for Applied Ecology and Fraunhofer-Institut IZM for Environmental and Reliability Engineering, consultants to the European Union (EU) Commission (Commission) recently published their recommendations on 29 requested renewals of RoHS exemptions.

The report: “Assistance to the Commission on Technological Socio-Economic and Cost-Benefit Assessment Related to Exemptions from the Substance Restrictions in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (RoHS Directive),” report summarizes the evaluation of the requests for the renewal of existing exemptions. In light of the length of the report, it has been divided into three parts:

  • Lamp exemptions (pdf)
  • Solder and electrical contact exemptions (pdf)
  • Alloy and miscellaneous exemptions (pdf)

IPC’s RoHS Exemptions Workgroup is reviewing the recommendations and will be working with the cross-industry Strategic Management Team (SMT) to coordinate an appropriate response, which may include lobbying the Commission, which under delegated powers, will make the final decision regarding the extension of exemptions.

IPC members are welcome to provide any comments or inputs to the workgroup by contacting Fern Abrams at FernAbrams@ipc.org.

EPA Releases TSCA Reform Implementation Plan

Last week, the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act was signed into law by President Obama. This is the first major overhaul of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) since it was enacted into law in 1976.

On the front lines, IPC advocated for TSCA reform and applauded Congress for passing this important legislation that will update our country’s chemical rules. The new law imposes a number of changes to existing responsibilities on the EPA, as well as new ones. Many of these new changes will apply to manufacturers and potentially any company that uses chemicals in its products.  

In order to give companies a general timeline of what can be expected regarding the implementation of the new rules and enforcement activity, EPA has posted an Implementation Plan to outline the new chemical rules. The Implementation Plan can be viewed here: https://www.epa.gov/assessing-and-managing-chemicals-under-tsca/frank-r-lautenberg-chemical-safety-21st-century-act-2.

One mandatory action of significant importance to IPC members is the new rulemaking on the reporting of byproducts sent for recycling. IPC specifically led the effort to reduce the burden on the byproducts sent for recycling. The details about this implementation can be found at the end of the Implementation Plan.

As the implementation of the new rules progress, EPA plans to provide opportunities for stakeholders’ involvement. IPC will be actively engaged in the rule making process and continue to update our membership as this process moves forward.

China and the United States Move Forward on Conflict Minerals Cooperation

On June 7, under the umbrella of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, the U.S. and China recognized that responsible mineral supply chain practices promote stability and prosperity in the African Great Lakes region. The two sides welcomed each other’s efforts in this area.

Both sides expect to encourage exchanges and the sharing of best practices between commercial enterprises in the two countries. The U.S. Department of State and relevant U.S. agencies, and China’s Ministry of Commerce and the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine intend to collaborate on implementation of due diligence guidance, relevant standards, and initiatives, consistent with UNSCR 1952 (2010).

The full Outcome Document can be found at http://go.usa.gov/chqrj (see #36 for conflict minerals language).

Toxics Law May Give Some Regulatory Relief

IPC was proud to see Bloomberg Government’s coverage of the newly reformed TSCA bill, which was signed into law on June 22. Fern Abrams, director of regulatory affairs and government relations for IPC, is mentioned in the article and offers insights on what this bill will mean for the manufacturing industry.

You can read the entire article below.


Toxics Law May Give Some Regulatory Relief

June 24, 2016 06:13PM ET | Bloomberg BNA

  •  Amended Toxic Substances Control Act mandates rulemaking process for byproducts.
  •  Car, engine and printed circuit board manufacturers may get some regulatory relief.
  •  Reduces disincentives for recycling.

June 24 (BNA) — Car, engine and printed circuit board manufacturers are among the companies that may get some regulatory relief from the newly amended chemicals law, according to industry officials.

The newly signed overhaul of the Toxic Substances Control Act, which President Obama signed into law June 22, would require the Environmental Protection Agency to determine whether TSCA’s reporting requirements should be reduced or altered for companies that recycle, reuse or reprocess inorganic byproducts.

The changes the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 2576) made to TSCA guarantee a regulatory process—not a regulatory outcome, Fern Abrams, director of regulatory affairs and government relations for IPC—Association Connecting Electronics Industries, told Bloomberg BNA in a June 16 interview. IPC represents companies throughout the electronics industry supply chain, including those that design and make printed circuit boards for machinery and computers.

The outcome of the mandated regulatory process, Abrams said, could be to make it easier for companies that make finished goods to recycle wastes with copper and other metals.

Focus on Recycling

Honda North America Inc., is hopeful that the EPA will alter the inorganic byproducts reporting requirements to allow its facilities to more easily meet the corporate objective of sending zero waste to landfills, a Honda official told Bloomberg BNA.

The complex process of determining which byproducts sent for recycling would be subject to toxics law reporting and which would not is a hurdle to achieving that goal, the Honda official said.

Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio), who worked with sponsors of the Lautenberg Act to insert the byproducts provision, told Bloomberg BNA: “We must make certain that TSCA reporting requirements are encouraging industries to recycle byproducts when possible, not incentivizing them to be discarded in landfills.”

In an e-mail, Johnson said he learned from electronics industry representatives during the toxics law reform negotiations that the agency’s reporting requirements, which did not exist for the first 30 years of the law’s implementation, created a disincentive to recycling.

What’s Amended?

The newly amended law only has a small provision that addresses byproducts.

Under that provision, the administrator must conduct a negotiated rulemaking and propose a rule not later than 3 years after enactment. Negotiated rulemaking is a process in which federal agency representatives and affected parties work together to reach consensus on what can ultimately become a proposed rule, the Congressional Research Service said in a 2006 report.

The Lautenberg Act amended TSCA to say the proposed rule would limit reporting requirements of the Chemical Data Reporting rule, which the EPA issues under Section 8 of the toxics law. EPA’s rule will address manufacturers of inorganic byproducts “when such byproducts, whether by the byproduct manufacturer or by any other person, are subsequently recycled, reused or reprocessed,” according to the amended section of the toxics law.

The rule would not alter a recycler’s obligations to report to the EPA saleable material it generates from byproducts; that obligation remains, Abrams said.

Inorganic Byproduct Issues

Abrams said inorganic byproducts’ reporting requirements became an issue in 2002 when the EPA lifted the previous exemption it had provided for inorganic chemicals.

Metals, a form of inorganic chemicals that can be recycled, are the critical issue, she said. Copper is a common metal found in byproducts generated when printed circuit boards are made.

The problem, Abrams said, is that the EPA’s byproducts reporting requirements mean circuit board manufacturers have to know how the recycler is transforming the manufacturers’ rinse waters, spent etchants or other manufacturing leftovers into something the recycler will sell.

If the recycler uses heat or a physical process to separate metals from the byproducts to generate a saleable product, the manufacturer does not have to report byproduct production under the Chemical Data Reporting rule, she said.

If, however, the recycler uses a chemical reaction to recover metals from the electronic manufacturer’s byproducts, then the manufacturer is responsible for filing reporting information for the chemicals in its rinse waters and other byproducts, she said.

“A recycler’s processes are often proprietary and are in constant flux based on market conditions,” IPC said in background materials it provided Bloomberg BNA. Making manufacturers’ byproducts reporting obligations contingent on recyclers’ processes compromises data quality, IPC’s materials said.

Data quality is compromised, Abrams said, because manufacturers have to guess about the recycler’s operations.

The rulemaking process required under the amended TSCA should allow many aspects of the byproducts issue to be raised for public discussion and resolved, Abrams said.

One important issue is whether public health or environmental protection benefits by the byproducts’ data the agency gets from the reporting rule, she said.

The agency receives much of that information already through EPA reporting requirements mandated under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, Abrams said.

Separate Challenge Remains

The changes made to TSCA will not address a separate challenge IPC members face, Abrams said.

The newly amended law addresses the byproducts provisions of Chemical Data Reporting rule obligations.

Companies with manufacturing processes that generate byproducts also may be subject to Section 5 of the toxics law, which addresses new chemicals.

If a recycler uses a chemical reaction, the byproduct that is fed into the recycler’s reaction is—according to EPA’s definition—a new chemical that must be listed on the TSCA inventory of chemicals in commerce, Abrams said.

The amended law does not require the EPA to address that obligation.

“If the byproducts are not listed on the inventory, recycling cannot lawfully occur,” IPC’s background materials said.

If, however, a manufacturers’ byproducts are not recycled but sent to a landfill, the byproducts are not subject to either the toxics law’s new chemicals or Chemical Data Reporting rule requirements, Abrams said.

The EPA’s interpretation of the new toxics law for byproducts discourages recycling, she said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Pat Rizzuto in Washington at prizzuto@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at lpearl@bna.com

Reproduced with permission from Daily Report for Executives, 123 DER (Jun. 27, 2016). Copyright 2016 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033) <http://www.bna.com&gt;


China RoHS Final FAQ Document Released

On May 16, 2016, the Department of Energy Saving and Comprehensive Utilization in China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) released the “Frequent Q&As on Management Methods for Restricted Use of Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Products.” The “Management Methods for Restricted Use of Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Products” were enacted on January 6, 2016 and will be formally enforced on July 1, 2016.

The purpose of the FAQs is to enable the parties involved to understand various clauses of the Methods and ensure that the Methods are enforced effectively.

IPC Standards Committee Reports — Packaged Electronic Components, Rigid Printed Boards, Embedded Devices, Printed Electronics, IP

IPC Standards Committee Reports

These standards committee reports from IPC APEX EXPO 2016 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.

Packaged Electronic Components

The B-11 3-D Electronic Packages Subcommittee is making significant progress on the work draft of IPC-7091, Design and Assembly Process Implementation of 3-D Components, which will describe design and assembly challenges and ways to address them for 3D component technologies. During this meeting, the subcommittee reviewed new content submissions on component handling, via hole preparation and interconnectivity, underfill, defect and failure analysis.

Rigid Printed Boards

The D-31b IPC-2221/2222 Task Group met to advance the 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. The group focused on feature size recommendations for microvia structures, including target/capture land diameters, copper foil thickness for plating and print and etch, and conductor/space.

The D-33a Rigid Printed Board Performance Task Group and the 7-31a IPC-A-600 Task Group met jointly to establish goals for a future Revision E to IPC-6012, Qualification and Performance Specification for Rigid Printed Boards, including copper wrap plating, evaluations for surface finishes in production lot testing, peel strength for clad laminates, backdrilling and via fill “plate-to-plate”, often referred to as “double capping”.

The D-35 Printed Board Storage and Handling Subcommittee resolved industry comments to the Final Draft of IPC-1601A, Printed Board Handling and Storage Guidelines. The group addressed comments related to measurement of moisture content, the use of oxidation arrest paper, the impact of baking on ENEPIG and ENIG surface finishes, and recommendations for resealing opened moisture barrier bags for storage of bare printed boards. The document will be balloted in April 2016 for a targeted Q2 2016 release.

Embedded Devices

The D-55 Embedded Devices Process Implementation Subcommittee discussed interest in revising or amending IPC-7092, Design and Assembly Process Implementation for Embedded Components, which was released a year ago. One topic presented to the subcommittee was to consider ESD packaging concerns regarding PCBs with embedded components. The subcommittee also discussed a draft document on embedded components being developed by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

Printed Electronics

The D-61 Printed Electronics Design Subcommittee met jointly with the D-64 Printed Electronics Final Assembly Subcommittee to continue the first working draft of IPC-2292, Design Standard for Printed Electronics on Flexible Substrates. The subcommittee concentrated on drawings developed to demonstrate a dozen construction classifications, design/performance tradeoffs and conductive and non-conductive materials considerations. Once these subcommittees have a well-rounded draft document, they will break ground on IPC-6902, Qualification and Performance Specifications for Printed Electronics

The D-62 Printed Electronics Base Materials Substrates Subcommittee and D-63 Printed Electronics Functional Materials Subcommittee allowed time during their meetings for a presentation by NextFlex, America’s Flexible Hybrid Electronics Manufacturing Institute. The subcommittees hope to involved NextFlex members in the revision of their two standards, IPC-4921, Requirements for Printed Electronics Base Materials (Substrates) and IPC-4591, Requirements for Printed Electronics Functional Conductive Materials.

The D-64a Printed Electronics Terms and Definitions Task Group broke ground on revising the recently released IPC-6903, Terms and Definitions for the Design and Manufacture of Printed Electronics. The focus of this draft will be to revise terms in the existing standard, based on industry feedback, and to bring in new terms which need standardized definitions.

The D-65 Printed Electronics Test Methods Development Subcommittee discussed the working draft of IPC-9204, Guideline on Flexibility and Stretchability Test Methods for Printed Electronics. The document received no comments from the subcommittee during its review, so the subcommittee will send it to some key IPC members from the TAEC and other testing groups to generate feedback and ideas for improvement/clarification of the guideline. Once published, this guideline will serve as an aggregation of known, non-standardized test procedures for the stretchable and wearable printed electronics market. The guideline will be for information and educational purposes, while industry develops standardized test methods, a process which could take years.

Intellectual Property

The E-22 PB Fab Intellectual Property Subcommittee met to discuss changes it made to IPC-1071A, Intellectual Property Protection in Printed Board Manufacturing. The subcommittee made the changes to align the standard with IPC-1072, Intellectual Property Protection in Electronics Assembly Manufacturing.



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