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.

California Adds Three Chemicals to the Prop 65 List

On October 27, 2017, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) added N,N‑dimethylformamide, 2‑mercaptobenzothiazole, and tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA) to the list of chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer for purposes of the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Proposition 65).

Under Prop 65, companies are required to warn consumers of potential exposure to substances which cause cancer or reproductive harm. TBBPA is widely used as a flame retardant in printed circuit boards (PCBs). In PCBs TBBPA is used reactively, which means it is reacted into the resins and is not chemically available.

The basis for the listing of N,N‑dimethylformamide, 2‑mercaptobenzothiazole, and tetrabromobisphenol A was described in a public notice published in the June 30, 2017, issue of the California Regulatory Notice Register (Register 2017, No. 26-Z).

EU Chemicals Agency Explains Reporting Requirements for Articles

On November 2, 2017, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) hosted a webinar explaining the communication and notification obligations that EU importers, producers and suppliers of products may have when their articles contain Substances of Very High Concern (SVHCs). The webinar which included a discussion of communication and notification duties for complex objects and the pilot enforcement project, can be viewed here.

On June 28, 2017, ECHA published a comprehensive update to its guidance on requirements for substances in articles. The updated guidance includes new examples in line with the judgement of the Court of Justice on September 10, 2015, which further clarified the scope of the obligations. According to the ruling, the legal obligations also apply to articles that are present in complex products – for example, a component of a car or a washing machine.

Tax Reform on the Move in Washington, D.C.

By Ken Schramko, government relations director

Comprehensive tax reform is on the move in the U.S. Congress.

On Thursday, November 2, Republican leaders in the U.S. House unveiled a comprehensive tax reform proposal and signaled plans to seek approval in the full House by Thanksgiving. Senate Republicans also are crafting a bill, which they aim to move to the floor by early December. Congressional Republicans and President Trump are vowing to complete tax reform by Christmas.

The package released by the House addresses four top IPC priorities. The bill would:
• Permanently reduce the corporate tax rate to 20 percent;
• Allow for immediate 100 percent expensing of new equipment through January 1, 2023;
• Preserve the R&D tax credit; and
• Reduce the top pass-through rate to 25 percent, but with new rules designed to prevent abuse by high-earning individuals who form themselves into corporations to get a tax cut.

Other provisions that could be of interest to IPC members include:
• Business interest expense would be allowed for businesses with average gross receipts of $25 million or less;
• The repatriation tax on earnings and profits comprising cash or cash equivalents would be 12 percent, higher than originally proposed, while remaining earnings and profits would be taxed at 5 percent;
• The estate tax exemption would be doubled at first, and then the tax would be repealed after six years; and
• The state and local tax (SALT) deduction would be eliminated except for property taxes (up to $10,000).

The bill text is here (https://waysandmeansforms.house.gov/uploadedfiles/bill_text.pdf), and a section-by-section summary is here: https://waysandmeansforms.house.gov/uploadedfiles/tax_cuts_and_jobs_act_section_by_section_hr1.pdf?niReferrerLink=homepageHero.

House committee action is scheduled to begin on Monday, November 6. The “markup” session is likely to last the entire week as members of the House Ways and Means Committee are given a chance to offer amendments that could alter the bill’s language.

IPC remains optimistic in the effort to reform the U.S. tax code, with a goal of making the United States more congenial to the electronics manufacturing ecosystem. We will continue to work with our champions on Capitol Hill to advocate for IPC’s priorities in an effort to have them reflected in the final legislation.

If you have questions or comments about tax reform, or if you’d like to learn more about IPC’s government relations efforts and how your company can get involved, please contact me at KenSchramko@ipc.org.

 

Brexit: Potential Impact on the Electronics Industry

Brexit will have a big impact on the electronics industry. The so called “phase one” of the negotiations between the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) is ongoing, with the two parts trying to reach an agreement on the terms of the exit of the UK from the bloc. In December, we are expecting the negotiators to move on to “phase-two,” which is the crucial discussion on the future EU/UK relationship, including trade arrangements.

With this in mind, IPC has sought the views of its European members on the key issues of concern for them. Electronics has benefitted substantially from the possibility to move components and articles across borders without restrictions and concerns over the imposition of customs checks or any measure that might delay the movement of goods across borders are key concerns for our members. In addition, there have been concerns over the possibility of products moving between the EU and the UK having tariffs imposed on them. Finally, to a lesser extent, some IPC members have voiced concern over possible restrictions in the access of highly skilled labor, which could make the recruitment of the necessary staff more difficult for the sector.

Brexit was discussed with key EU policy makers during this year’s IMPACT Europe event in Brussels, where our members’ concerns were communicated to officials. View discussion paper on the potential impact of Brexit on IPC members.

IPC members are invited to share their feedback on this document and any other thoughts and concerns they might have on Brexit with Ken Schramko, IPC’s director of government relations.

EU Circular Economy Initiatives — Possible Impact on Electronics Waste Management, Reuse and Recycling

The European Union (EU) is currently discussing new legislative and non-legislative initiatives aimed at establishing a Circular Economy. Their objective is to improve waste management, recycling, and reuse in Europe, in order to minimize the environmental impact of products, including electronics. These initiatives, once adopted, are likely to impact the electronics industry in different areas, including Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), spare parts availability, chemicals’ authorization and information requirements.

Having a proportionate and smart environmental regulation is one of the key principles guiding IPC in its global advocacy policy. For this reason, IPC is following the current debate on Circular Economy, in order to identify the possible impact on the industry. If you would like to know more about the status of the discussions and their possible consequences on the electronics industry, view the IPC issue brief.

If you have any questions, please contact me at FernAbrams@ipc.org.

PCB Prototype Sales Trends Often Diverge from PCB Market Trends According to New IPC Report

A new report published this week by IPC, Trends in the North American Market for PCB Prototypes, reveals cycles in demand for PCB prototypes that often differ from demand trends in regular or volume-production PCB sales. Despite high volatility in prototype sales from month to month, the IPC data show clear cycles in prototype sales growth, year over year. Rigid PCB and flexible circuit prototype sales do not always reflect growth in the rigid PCB and flexible circuit markets overall.

Since 2014, rigid PCB prototype growth peaked in 2015, when overall rigid PCB sales growth was flat. In the first half of 2017, year-on-year sales growth for rigid PCBs and rigid PCB prototypes were both in negative territory, but the downturn for prototypes was more severe. In contrast, flexible circuit prototype sales took a nosedive in 2015 when overall flex sales were up. Flex prototype sales rebounded sharply in the first half of 2017 while regular-production flex sales were falling below last year’s levels.

Different drivers are the likely explanation for the different patterns of growth in sales of prototypes versus regular-production PCBs. New product development is a major driver of prototype work, while regular-production PCB sales tend to be more cyclical, reflecting economic conditions and end-user demand.

The study is based on data from IPC’s North American PCB Statistical Program covering 2014 through mid-2017. Data on prototype sales percentages by month compared to regular-production PCB sales, and estimates of North American prototype market sizes, are reported for all PCBs as well as for rigid PCBs and flexible circuits separately. The 29-page report, priced at $250 for IPC members and $500 for nonmembers, is available for immediate download in IPC’s online store.

The Value and Importance of Training and Certifying Employees

Training, certification and education are central pillars at IPC. John Mitchell, IPC president and CEO, discusses the value of training, certification and education and how IPC’s programs can help grow your business.

 

 

Treasury Report Calls for End of Conflict Minerals Regulations

The Treasury Department has called for scrapping corporate reporting requirements on conflict minerals and other topics. The department, in an October 6 report on growing the economy stated, “federal securities laws are ill-equipped to achieve such policy goals, and the effort to use securities disclosure to advance policy goals distracts from their purpose of providing effective disclosure to investors.”

Getting rid of the disclosure rules would require congressional action. Legislation that includes their repeal passed the House earlier this year, but is unlikely to be acted on by the Senate.

In the absence of action in Congress, the report suggested that the Securities and Exchange Commission tweak its rules to exempt smaller and certain newly public companies from reporting.

Although IPC members are deeply concerned by the human rights abuses that are occurring in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the conflict minerals requirements of the Dodd-Frank financial regulation law have had questionable success in addressing the situation, while imposing significant costs on industry and consumers.

IPC continues to highlight the burden of conflict minerals compliance, most recently in meetings with members of the House and Senate during the IPC IMPACT advocacy event in Washington, D.C. in May.

IPC Secures Governors’ Proclamations for Manufacturing Day 2017

By Julie Desisto, IPC Government Relations Coordinator

Friday, October 6th marks the annual celebration of Manufacturing Day (MFG Day) across the United States. Manufacturers are joining in a collaborative effort to highlight current innovations and inspire the next generation of manufacturing professionals.

IPC, an official endorser of MFG Day, took the initiative of reaching out to several state governors to request proclamations on the importance of this annual celebration. We are pleased to applaud Governors Greg Abbot (R-TX)John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Bruce Rauner (R-IL), and Tom Wolf (R-PA) for recognizing the contributions of the advanced manufacturing industry in their communities and across the country.

Meanwhile, several IPC member companies have joined the growing list of more than 900 events occurring on or around MFG Day 2017. IPC member companies include:

STI Electronics will host local school groups, including a group of women engineers, to tour their manufacturing facility in Madison, Alabama.

Bay Area Circuits will give a presentation to invited guests on the importance of PCB manufacturing, and will conduct a tour of its facility in Fremont, California.

K-TECHnologies will provide tours for 85 Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) students from 46 different high schools in the Wester New York region.

Power Design Services will conduct a tour of their 10,000-square-foot facility in San Jose, where attendees will be able to see the PCB assembly process. The event will include a career fair and a brief presentation on assembly technology and flow.

If you have any questions about participating in Manufacturing Day or have an event planned, please contact Julie Desisto, IPC Government Relations Coordinator, at JulieDesisto@ipc.org or 202-661-8093.

Wishing you all a successful MFG Day!