IPC Publishes New Standard on Low Pressure Molding for Circuitry Encapsulation

IPC-7621 offers cost-effect alternative to potting

IPC announces a new standard, IPC-7621, Guideline for Design, Material Selection and General Application of Encapsulation of Electronic Circuit Assembly by Low Pressure Molding with Thermoplastics, a guidance document that offers instruction on using Low Pressure Molding (LPM) in place of potting for circuitry encapsulation.

Unlike potting, where the potting vessel becomes the outer “shell” of the encapsulated part, LPM utilizes mold tooling which is removable and re-useable. LPM also creates a physical layer, providing mechanical and environmental protection for handling and mounting the component device.

Typically, potting vessels are filled with potting compound which hardens in the vessel, causing the vessel to become part of the potted assembly. LPM requires no such vessel and can be molded into a desired form. LPM is commonly done with polyamide (PA) polymer, a thermoplastic, that is brought to liquid state, encapsulating electronic assemblies into a desired form or shape. After the material has cooled, a thick plastic layer remains, working as a protective, sealed barrier. This layer protects the board and components from the environment.

“LPM should be considered when you need to protect the fragile parts of the circuit assembly from shock, vibration, or corrosive or damp environments,” said Russell Steiner, chair of the 5-33g Low Pressure Molding Task Group that published the standard. “In high vibration environments, the mechanical adhesion and resonance dampening properties of LPM materials mitigate the force seen on component bodies and lead attachment. Because mold tooling is reusable, there is a significant cost savings when using LPM.”

IPC-7621 is intended to provide insight to the possible uses for LPM, covering terminology associated with the LPM process in relation to electronic board assembly.

For more information or to purchase IPC-7621, Guideline for Design, Material Selection and General Application of Encapsulation of Electronic Circuit Assembly by Low Pressure Molding with Thermoplastics, visit IPC’s Online Store.

What’s New in IPC Government Relations

IPC President and CEO John Mitchell and IPC Vice President of Global Government Relations Chris Mitchell talk to PCB Chat host and Circuits Assembly and Printed Circuit Design & Fab Editor-in-Chief Mike Buetow about key government programs and initiatives and why it’s important for members to participate in lobbying efforts.

Listen to podcast:




Successful Outreach Program in the EU Paves the Way for IMPACT Europe 2018

By Ken Schramko, Director, Government Relations

IPC’s advocacy efforts in Europe have grown significantly over the past few years. At this stage, we are not only raising awareness for the needs of the electronics industry but also advancing the interests of our members through face-to-face meetings with Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), high-level officials in the European Commission, and representatives of key EU Member States. During my recent visit to Brussels at the end of January, I met with a number of these stakeholders and decision-makers to address top IPC priorities, such as the EU industrial policy, R&D tax incentives and conflict minerals rules.

In meetings with MEPs, European Commission officials and Member State representatives, IPC called for an ambitious, long-term EU industrial policy. IPC welcomes the Communication on a renewed EU industrial policy strategy published last September by the European Commission, which touches upon the need for substantial investments in advanced manufacturing, a skilled and talented workforce, and research and innovation. The Communication constitutes a good first step; however, IPC is advocating for a longer-term vision to provide our industry with better understanding and predictability. At the core of such a vision should be education and training, which are crucial to close the skills gap in the advanced manufacturing sector. Many of our members have experienced difficulties recruiting a skilled workforce in the EU, and the challenge for our industry is to remain attractive. Vocational training and lifelong learning are keys to re-skilling workers to qualify for available jobs.

IPC is also promoting an ambitious EU industrial policy that protects intellectual property and prevents counterfeit products in the supply chain. In this context, we are encouraged by the European Commission’s recent commitment to stronger enforcement of intellectual property rights. The IP package, published at the end of November, includes a number of positive initiatives, such as the call for effective and predictable civil redress against IP infringements, which would benefit SMEs by facilitating their access to justice.

Also important to a strong industrial policy are favorable R&D tax incentives to promote investment in innovation, which is crucial for the electronics industry to remain competitive in a fast-paced environment. IPC has taken the opportunity in our meetings with EU decision-makers to promote our position paper on the current EU corporate tax base proposals (CCTB and CCCTB). As the electronics industry is one of the most dynamic in the EU, ranking among the highest in terms of industrial R&D investment as well as filing the highest number of patents, it is highly dependent on innovation.

Rounding off the week of meetings in Brussels, IPC had a very informative meeting with the European Commission on conflict minerals. The new rules under the EU Conflict Minerals Regulation will apply as of 1 January 2021, making due diligence for EU importers of 3TG minerals and metals mandatory when annual import volumes exceed a certain threshold. In contrast to U.S. rules under the “Dodd-Frank” law, this regulation’s scope is global. IPC is currently reviewing its cross-industry Conflict Minerals Data Exchange Standard (IPC-1755) for appropriate revisions to support voluntary reporting under the EU Conflict Minerals Regulation. IPC remains in close collaboration with the European Commission on this effort.

Altogether, IPC remains committed to advancing our members’ interests in the EU. We are continuously looking for your input in our advocacy work, and we are currently developing a position paper on EU industrial policy to be launched in time for the EU Industry Day on 22-23 February.

Our efforts in Europe throughout the year are also paving the way for our third annual IMPACT Europe event, taking place in Brussels this fall. This will be a unique opportunity to engage with European policy makers and discuss EU policies affecting your business. Stay tuned for more details.

As IPC continues to promote the needs of our members in the EU, we have a couple of questions for you:
 Which topics would you like to see addressed at IMPACT Europe 2018?
 What are your business’ main challenges and needs for an ambitious EU industrial policy (e.g. in relation to market trends, positioning in the market, competitors and employment)?
 Where do you see relevant value chains that matter to your business as well as cross-border cooperation crucial?
 If you represent an SME, where do you see the need for support from the EU to grow your business?
 If you represent a global company, how do you see the EU’s industrial policy on a global scale (i.e. as compared to the U.S., China and other regions)?

I welcome and encourage your feedback on these questions to help IPC prepare the upcoming position paper on EU industrial policy and for IMPACT 2018. Please send your feedback to me at KenSchramko@ipc.org.

What Will You Discover at IPC APEX EXPO 2018?

John Mitchell, IPC president and CEO, extends a special invitation to IPC APEX EXPO 2018.

In Search of High Reliability in Printed Board Fabrication for Medical Device Applications

By John Perry, Director of Printed Board Standards & Technology

It has been well known that for many years IPC has provided a trio of performance classifications in its suite of standards and specifications for the design, fabrication, assembly and acceptance of printed boards and printed board assemblies. Intended to reflect differences in producibility, complexity, functional performance requirements and verification through inspection and testing, IPC has given end users (OEMs) the authority to specify which IPC performance class the printed boards and assemblies must adhere to for their product.

This model isn’t without its limitations, however. A printed board fabricated in accordance with Class 3 (high performance/harsh environment electronic products) requirements from IPC-6012D, Qualification and Performance Specification for Rigid Printed Boards (or the corresponding IPC-6013D for flexible and rigid-flexible printed boards) can be subjected to very different operating environments. A Class 3 printed board intended for usage in a space exploration vehicle on a one-way trip to Jupiter is going to experience a very different set of thermal cycles compared to a printed board utilized in an automotive under-the-hood application. The same can be said for exposure to vibration for a printed board utilized in an oil-drilling operation compared with that of a marine application.

Understanding this, IPC has already published a set of addendums to some of its most widely used standards for specific industry segments, including space and military avionics and automotive, where exceptions have been made to the baseline IPC Class 3 requirement in the parent standard or specification. Never has a case for this approach, however, been more evident than with respect to printed boards utilized in medical device applications. Will the “traditional” IPC Class 3 performance class be sufficient for printed boards used in applications where interruptions to service may result in the loss of life or permanent bodily harm to a patient or equipment operator? If an exception to an IPC Class 3 performance attribute were developed for medical device product, would that exception need to be further sub-divided between “standard” sized printed boards utilized in diagnostic or patient monitoring equipment (e.g. electrocardiograph or blood analyzer) and “micro-PCBs” utilized in implantable devices (e.g. neurostimulator or gastric stimulator)?

Sampling frequencies of production printed boards or test coupons within an overall production “lot” for IPC Class 3 product have traditionally been based on the needs of defense products in ground, airborne or space applications where production lots are relatively small. These traditional IPC sampling frequencies for production lot acceptance, however, fall apart when dealing with production runs in the thousands or tens of thousands of printed boards, as in the case of medical device product.

Recognizing all of this, key members of a new IPC task group will be giving a presentation at the Medical Design and Manufacturing (MD&M) West Expo in Anaheim, Calif. on Tuesday, February 6, 2018, titled “Do you Really Know if Your Medical Device PCBs Comply with Required Qualification Standards?” Located in the Tech Theater on the show floor of the Anaheim Convention Center and scheduled for 10:30 AM local time, the presentation will address:

• Medical and Biological Innovations Across the Decades
• Present Day Medical Device Electronics
• Density Trends in Array Packaging for Medical Device Electronics
• The Cost of Quality of Electronic Failures to Major Medical Device Manufacturers
• Existing Standards for Medical Device Electronics and the Gap in Conformance Assessment for Printed Boards
• Intended Scope for IPC-6012 and IPC-6013 Medical Device Addendums

If you are attending or plan to attend the MD&M West event, IPC encourages those of you involved in printed board manufacturing and procurement to attend this session and learn how we are pulling together OEMs, PCB design engineers and quality engineers and managers at the PCB fabrication level to help put together the new IPC-6012DM and IPC-6013DM Medical Device Addendums to our printed board qualification and performance specifications for rigid, flexible and rigid-flexible printed boards.

Please note that while members of this IPC task group are presenting at MD&M West, IPC is neither sponsoring nor directly involved with this event, and therefore IPC membership has no bearing on registration costs for this event under UBM Management.

For additional information on the IPC-6012DM and IPC-6013DM Medical Device Addendum efforts, please contact me, at JohnPerry@ipc.org or +1-847-597-2818.

IPC E-Textiles Standards Committee Seeks Comments on Draft of New E-Textiles Standard; Participants Needed to Join Subcommittee to Develop E-Textiles Connectors Guideline

By Chris Jorgensen, director, technology transfer

The IPC E-Textiles Materials Subcommittee is collecting comments on the first sections of IPC-4931, Requirements for Electronic Textiles (E-Textiles), Conductive Fibers and Conductive Yarns. This standard will establish the classification system, qualification and quality conformance requirements and electrical/electronic performance requirements for electronically integrated textiles (e-textiles). It also covers similar requirements and performance variables for conductive fibers and conductive yarns, that are essential components of e-textiles.
E-textiles included in this standard:

• Woven textiles
• Knitted textiles
• Nonwoven textiles
• Laminated textiles
• Braided textiles
• Embroidered textiles
• Printed textiles

The subcommittee specifically seeks comments on the first sections of the standard. These sections are important because they lay out the specific types of textiles and their components that the standard will cover. Additionally, the group wants industry input on the key performance characteristics the standard should include for these materials as well as the industry test methods that should be used to test for these characteristics.

The subcommittee is collecting comments through Friday, February 16, and commenting is open to anyone. You do not need to be a member of IPC or to pay any fees to review and comment.
E-mail me, at ChrisJorgensen@ipc.org to request the documents for comment and an IPC comment form.

Subcommittee Meeting to Discuss Comments
You are invited to attend the IPC D-72 E-Textiles Materials Subcommittee meeting, which will take place Thursday, March 1 during IPC APEX EXPO in San Diego. The specific start and end times for the meeting have not been set yet, but plan on a full-day session.
There is no cost to attend the meeting if you register ahead of time. Visit http://www.ipcapexexpo.org for more information.

New Subcommittee Forming to Develop Guideline for E-Textiles Connectors
Several companies in the e-textiles industry have approached IPC with interest in developing a guideline on e-textiles connections. This is a very new activity, but based on interest, IPC should be forming a subcommittee to break ground on this new document in early 2018. If you have interest in this topic and would like to join the subcommittee roster, e-mail me at ChrisJorgensen@ipc.org.

Mark Your Calendar for IPC E-Textiles 2018
Mark your calendar for September 13, 2018. IPC E-Textiles 2018 will bring together the e-textiles supply chain for a full day of technical presentations, hands-on product demonstrations and networking. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from and interact with innovators from the e-textiles community. Plan to arrive a day early for standards meetings on September 12.

For more information on IPC E-Textiles 2018, or if you have interest in speaking or showcasing your products, e-mail me at ChrisJorgensen@ipc.org.

IPC Applauds Congress on Passing the Tax Cuts and Job Act

IPC applauds Congress for passing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which received its final stamp of approval from the House today, following Senate approval yesterday. The bill now heads to President Trump for his signature, which is expected within days.

“IPC congratulates Congress for its action in passing comprehensive tax reform,” said John Mitchell, IPC president and CEO. “The former tax code was overly complex and not conducive to U.S. global competitiveness. IPC believes this reform will promote competitiveness and innovation in the U.S. electronics manufacturing industry, and it will have spillover benefits to the rest of the world, as well. We look forward to helping our members understand the changes, and continuing our advocacy work in support of policies that encourage broad-based economic growth.”

Several provisions in the bill were actively supported by IPC. Among those, the bill lowers the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent; allows full and immediate expensing of capital investments placed in service between September 27, 2017 and January 1, 2023; and safeguards the R&D tax credit. The bill also allows many small businesses that are organized as “pass through” companies to claim a 20 percent deduction for the non-wage portion of pass-through income.

IPC Supports Historic Tax Reform Bill

BANNOCKBURN, Ill., USA, December 19, 2017 – IPC – Association Connecting Electronics Industries® announced its support for the conference report on H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which is under consideration in the U.S. House and Senate.

Final votes in each chamber are expected this week and could happen as soon as today.

Several measures supported by IPC are included in the conference report. The final bill lowers the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent; allows full and immediate expensing of capital investments placed in service between September 27, 2017 and January 1, 2023; and safeguards the R&D tax credit. The bill also allows many small businesses that are organized as “pass through” companies to claim a 20 percent deduction for the non-wage portion of pass-through income.

“IPC applauds Congress for addressing tax reform with a bill that will strengthen the economy by promoting growth and investment,” said John Mitchell, IPC president and CEO. “We have advocated, on behalf of our members, for a tax reform package that lowers the corporate tax rate while keeping incentives for investment and growth, and this bill accomplishes that goal. We urge the Senate and House to pass it and the President to sign it into law.”

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About IPC

IPC (www.IPC.org) is a global industry association based in Bannockburn, Ill., dedicated to the competitive excellence and financial success of its 4,300 member companies which represent all facets of the electronics industry, including design, printed board manufacturing, electronics assembly and test. As a member-driven organization and leading source for industry standards, training, market research and public policy advocacy, IPC supports programs to meet the needs of an estimated $2 trillion global electronics industry. IPC maintains additional offices in Taos, N.M.; Washington, D.C.; Atlanta, Ga.; Brussels, Belgium; Stockholm, Sweden; Moscow, Russia; Bangalore and New Delhi, India; Bangkok, Thailand; and Qingdao, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Suzhou and Beijing, China.

New EU Measures to Better Enforce Intellectual Property Rights

The European Commission published on 29 November the EU IP package, which aims to promote a balanced enforcement of intellectual property (IP) rights and protect supply chains against IP infringement threats.

It is estimated that IPR-intensive sectors account for around 42 percent of EU GDP, generate 38 percent of all jobs, and contribute to as much as 90 percent of EU exports.

The evaluation by the European Commission has shown that the 2004 Directive on the enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPRED) has proved a relevant tool in fighting IPR abuse, but its measures, procedures and remedies were not being applied consistently across the Member States, resulting in different levels of protection within the EU. Therefore, a new guidance published by the Commission aims at clarifying these interpretation issues, which will increase legal certainty for all stakeholders and facilitate civil enforcement across the EU. Moreover, the Commission calls on the Member States to step up their efforts to provide for effective and predictable civil redress against IP infringements – this would benefit in particular, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by facilitating their access to justice. Member States are also encouraged to step up their efforts by boosting judicial training, systematically publishing judgements on IP cases and encouraging alternative dispute resolution tools.

The new package includes a commitment by the Commission to promote due diligence in supply chains. Companies are increasingly confronted with cases of counterfeit products (such as, for instance, counterfeit electronic parts) infiltrating their supply chains. This is in part due to the emergence of new technologies, which have helped infringers improve their counterfeiting techniques, as well as to the increasing complexity of supply chains, which makes it often difficult for companies, SMEs in particular, to monitor their suppliers and sub-suppliers. The Commission plans to explore the potential of new technologies such as blockchain and encourage the use of existing accreditation processes to introduce IP compliance schemes.

Finally, the Commission promises to step up efforts to reduce IP abuses in third countries. In particular, they plan to create a watch-list of countries that engage in, or facilitate, substantial IPR infringement, and work with customs authorities to stop counterfeit products at the EU’s external borders.

IPC continues to promote strong intellectual property protection and strives to prevent counterfeit products in the supply chain through our standards initiatives and advocacy efforts. Consequently, we welcome the Commission’s commitment to better enforcement of IPRs.

If you would like to learn more about the new EU Intellectual Property package or share your comments, please contact me, at KenSchramko@ipc.org.

IPC Releases G Revisions of Two Widely Used Standards, IPC-A-610 and IPC J-STD-001

IPC has released the G revisions of the two most widely used standards in the electronic industry, IPC-J-STD-001, Requirements of Soldered Electrical and Electronic Assemblies, and IPC-A-610, Acceptability of Electronic Assemblies. These two documents are on a three-year renewal cycle, keeping pace with the ever-changing technology within the electronics industry.

Often used as companion documents, IPC J-STD-001G and IPC-A 610G each has a unique purpose. IPC-A-610G remains as the visual quality acceptance standard for post assembly products used in today’s electronics industry. IPC J-STD-001G continues to be the materials and process requirements document critical for use during manufacturing. Each standard has significant changes and updates that keep pace with the changes within the industry. Some of these changes include updated criteria for both through hole and surface mount in IPC-A-610. Other changes include replacement of the “Space Shuttle Symbol” with the “International Space Station Symbol,” and updates to the general and product assurance sections of IPC J-STD-001.

An IPC first was reached with the release of the G revisions for IPC-A-610 and IPC J-STD-001. The IPC training and certification team, with exceptional support from the master IPC trainer (MIT) and certified IPC trainer (CIT) Beta teams, delivered updated training and certification materials. Kris Roberson, IPC manager of certification and training products and portfolio products, and his beta teams in Europe and the United States worked to deliver the training and certification materials at the same time as the release of the G revisions. Companies can now train their employees to the latest G revision of the standards.

In addition, the redline documents for IPC-A-610G and IPC J-STD-001G are available. By delivering the redline documents at the release of the new revision, the users of the standards can see what changes were made immediately.

Translations of the G revisions will be released in the coming months. For more information on IPC J-STD-001G, IPC-A-610G, the redline documents and training and certification materials, visit www.IPC.org/onlinestore.