Strong and Varied Opinions Expected at IPC Microvia Virtual Summit

The upcoming IPC Microvia Virtual Summit (July 15-16) offers presentations from subject matter experts focused on determining the root causes for observed weak interface failures as well as mitigation techniques and test protocols.

IPC Events Connection (EC) editorial staff went behind the scenes to talk to IPC’s John Perry, director, printed board standards and technology, to find out how the challenge of weak microvias came to the attention of his committees.

EC: You are responsible for setting up meetings and leading committee members through numerous activities related to printed board fabrication and acceptance. Can you tell us how and when the issue of weak microvias came to the attention of IPC? Which committees were involved in the initial discussions?

JP: Our test coupon design, printed board performance and thermal stress testing task groups had already been working collectively, going back over 10 years, on new ways to thermally stress board samples to screen for latent via defects, but things really began to hit home several years ago when we were approached by a number of OEMs who were dealing with multiple instances of high-profile, expensive functional failures of product – product that had passed existing IPC and OEM testing and inspections and had featured stacked and/or staggered microvia structures.

EC: Is there a global awareness of this issue? How is that reflected in committee meetings?

JP: We’ve heard from OEMs in North America and Europe who have experienced microvia failures in deployed product that had passed traditional IPC-6010 performance specification evaluations, which included thermal stress testing such as IPC-TM-650 Method 2.6.8 and microsection inspection of legacy IPC-2221 A/B test coupons.  So, it has validated our goals of providing better and more modern test coupon designs and testing protocols.

EC: How are the committees currently addressing the possible solutions to the issue of testing? Is there a consensus on next steps? If not, how will that be addressed at the IPC Microvia Virtual Summit?

JP: We’ve had a collective IPC committee effort in place, including the 1-10c Test Coupon, D-32 Thermal Stress Methodology, D-33a IPC-6012, D-12 IPC-6013 and D-22 IPC-6018 groups, and have come up with a couple of integrated solutions:

First, through industry standard consensus, we’ve designed newer test coupons that can better represent the complex stacked and staggered microvia structures present in many board designs, through the IPC-2221B Appendix A.  This suite of test coupons has been developed through industry consensus and are available to anyone who wants to use them.

Second, we’ve developed the IPC-TM-650 Test Method 2.6.27B, which provides for thermal stressing of IPC-2221B Appendix A test coupons in a convection reflow environment with continuous electrical resistance measurements throughout the reflow profiles.  Our group of IPC committees feel that replicating the type of thermal reflow profiles that the actual production boards will be subjected to throughout the manufacturing process is a better way to thermally stress test coupon samples.  When you pair that up with the continuous monitoring of the percent change in resistance during reflow simulation, OEMs have told us that this procedure has helped to shelter them from numerous possible defect escapes, in comparison with other thermal stress procedures that have been used in the industry for many years.

EC: Which IPC standards reflect this issue? Are there new standards in development?

JP: We published the IPC-2221B printed board design standard with the Appendix A test coupon suite a number of years ago, and we make the Appendix A itself available for free download from our website, as we continually add and update coupons in that design suite.  Anyone can freely make use of these test coupon designs.

We also published Revision E to the IPC-6012, Qualification and Performance Specification for Rigid Printed Boards, earlier this year in March.  In that revision we’ve added a caution statement about the microvia-to-target land plating failure mode, and offered suggestions on performance-based acceptance testing using the IPC 2.6.27B test method and the IPC-2221B Appendix A “D” via integrity test coupon.

And later this year we will begin work on an Amendment to IPC-6012E that provides requirements for the usage of the IPC-2221B Appendix A test coupons in printed board production lot acceptance testing, giving OEMs the option to specify the usage of the more modern test coupons for lot acceptance.

EC: Is there a consensus on test protocols or can we expect opposing viewpoints on the best way to test for microvia reliability?

The test coupon designs provided by IPC-2221B Appendix A were developed through industry consensus and are freely available – anyone can make these test coupons if they desire.  And the test protocol called out in IPC-TM-650 Method 2.6.27B? Anybody can make a thermal oven that meets the profiles called out in that test method.  I’m not saying it is easy to build a system that can make the number of electrical resistance measurements required throughout the thermal profiles in that test method, but the test coupon designs and the test procedure are not proprietary – anyone can use them and make them if they desire.

The same cannot be said for some of the older thermal stress test protocols out there.  You’re going to hear strong and varying opinions on these different testing protocols within the IPC Microvia Virtual Summit, but hey, that’s okay, isn’t it?  In the long run, healthy, even contentious debate is a good thing for the industry, right?

For more information on the IPC Microvia Virtual Summit, July 15-16, visit


New Opportunity for Managers Announced, Special Attention to ‘Emerging Managers’

By Tracy Riggan, senior director, Business Development

In times like these, effective management skills to navigate uncertainty and fast-paced shifts are critical. Coupled with talent shortages which overburden existing teams, it can be challenging for businesses to build internal mentorship and management training from within.

Our members tell us that one of the key areas they need help with is leadership training. At the same time, the Raymond E. Pritchard Hall of Fame Council recognized a gap in management content for engineering managers at the beginning of their careers.

With this in mind, the council is proud to announce a new offering at IPC APEX EXPO 2021. The Managers’ Forum, presented by the Raymond E. Pritchard Hall of Fame Council will take place on Monday, January 25. The theme in 2021 will be Managing Challenges in Periods of Transition and will cover pandemic, trade, economic, and political impacts.

“Our purpose with this event is to provide information, experiences, advice, training and exposure for emerging and rising managers in the electronics supply chain while at the same time, engaging existing managers. We hope to share the wisdom of current industry leaders with future leaders,” said Denny Fritz, Hall of Fame Council Chair.

“We’ve brought together an exciting list of industry icons and senior managers to tell what they learned from the recent unexpected disruptions, the changes they have made to survive, and how they now plan to thrive going forward,” said event chair Gene Weiner, Weiner International Associates. Weiner shared the following sneak peak of the agenda:

• A supply chain panel, composed of a material supplier, fabricator, EMS company, component supplier, and OEM will field questions regarding their experiences, actions taken, and plans for the future.
• Presentations by senior executives of fabricators and their supply chain will highlight how they have weathered the storm, plan to go forward, and will evaluate new products and processes.
• Norman Weiss, enabler of international alliances and advisor for digitized manufacturing, Industry 4.0 and the Chairman of German Robotics, will speak on digitizing in the new world.
• Harald Ahnert, president of Atotech Electronics, will tell how his global operations have supported its fabrication, packaging, and IC customers around the world and what the company’s plans are going forward for future development during a period of rapid change.

“This is a step by the Hall of Fame Council in the direction of providing and organizing industry mentorship specifically for its managers and future leaders,” added Sanjay Huprikar, IPC vice president, Solutions.

We invite all managers of technology businesses in the electronics supply chain to attend on January 25 and especially welcome emerging and rising managers.

For more information, visit

IPC and ITI Convene Experts and Members to Examine Critical Environmental Requirements for Electronics

Kelly Scanlon, IPC director of environment, health and safety policy and research

Last Tuesday, June 9, IPC partnered with the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) to offer an educational conference for the electronics sector on critical environmental requirements. Previous conferences entailed a cross-country roadshow including stops in multiple cities from the East to West coasts. Due to the pandemic, this year’s event was held via webinar, and the participation level was strong!

In all, we hosted 90 attendees, 12 speakers, and four sponsors from 25 states and 10 countries, who learned about:
• The “Circular Economy” strategy;
• The U.S. Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA);
• The European Commission’s Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive;
• The Substances of Concern in Products (SCIP) database;
• IPC and other industry standards for electronics and the environment; and
• Novel approaches for product sustainability and COVID-19 response.

The conference speakers represented government and industry experience, including:
• William Neale, from the Directorate-General for Environment within the European Commission;
• Susanna Blair and Ryan Schmit from the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics within the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency;
• Steve Andrews, currently with a global solutions provider in supply chain management and the former Deputy Head of the Resources & Waste Team in the UK Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra); and
• Walter Jager, an environmental compliance provider and leader in standards development for IEC, ISO, IPC, IEEE, NSF, UL, and CSA.

Attendees also had the chance to engage with the event sponsors: Anthesis/The Compliance Map; Gensuite; GreenSoft Technology; and iPoint. This year, the sponsors doubled as speakers during five-minute “sponsor takeovers” during which subject matter experts from the sponsoring companies engaged directly with the audience in short, informative presentations – kind of like high-intensity intervals that kept attendees engaged and pumped. Kudos to Marc Church, Anne Barr, Brian Ahlers, Randy Flinders, and Donavan Hornsby for their creative presentations.

This year, we also increased our social media presence. IPC, ITI, event sponsors, and speakers used Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to advertise and share news about the event with a large, global audience.

The key takeaways included policy themes that reflect our daily work to engage with industry and government colleagues on critical environmental requirements for electronics.

These themes include:
Consideration of the product life cycle. The chemicals and materials that are critical at each stage of an electronic product’s life-cycle require industry to have end-to-end data and information throughout the supply chain. The TSCA risk evaluations for high-priority substances and the requirements for the SCIP database are real-time examples of how we need to frame our understanding of conditions of use and the risks to human health and the environment in each stage.

Data. Data and information about the chemicals and materials that make up electronic products are more important than ever to sound decision making and policy creation. We need to consider how to improve our abilities to collect, manage, present, and communicate data within industry and to policy makers.

Standards can help industry and government. Ecodesign, ecolabel, and materials declaration standards enable industry to identify the data and information that are useful in design choices, circularity objectives, and end-of-life management options. These standards can be used to meet reporting requirements that will enable the circular economy goals.

Policies as instruments for change. RoHS continues to evolve even as we see new policies and requirements emerging, such as the various chemical and product strategies under the EU’s Circular Economy Action Plan. We need to stay engaged.

Communication. We are remiss if we do not work together to nurture partnerships among supply chain members and between industry and government. Industry and government can engage through public comments, stakeholder meetings, site visits, and/or less formal meetings that aim to build trust and shared goals.

While it is the responsibility of every company to understand the environmental requirements that apply to them, IPC will continue to be your educational resource and your advocate. To learn more about IPC’s policy and research work in the area of environment, health, and sustainability, please e-mail me at or subscribe to our weekly e-newsletter.

Embrace Disruption – How to Move Forward During Great Change

John Mitchell, IPC president and CEO, discusses how the electronics manufacturing industry can move forward in uncertain times.

Meet Paige Fiet — IPC Student Board Member Liaison

Meet Paige Fiet, the first student member liaison elected to the IPC Board of Directors. President of the IPC Student Chapter at Michigan Tech and summer employee at IPC member Calumet Electronics, Paige is pursuing an #electrical #engineering degree with a biomed application. Paige shares her experiences and career goals with Charlene Gunter du Plessis, senior director, IPC Education Foundation (IPCEF).

IPC Offers Opportunities for Online Learning

IPC offers many opportunities for online learning, providing relevant education to meet the needs of the industry, from operators to engineers and executives. Events Connection (EC) editorial staff talked to Carlos Plaza, IPC director of education development, about how IPC chooses which courses will benefit the industry, and what options are available for students this summer.

EC: How do you decide what online courses to create?
CP: We work closely with the industry to identify skill gaps and learning opportunities. We learn directly from subject matter experts in the electronics industry about what their employees need to know to do their jobs efficiently. We develop courses with subject matter experts in the electronics industry, but we also include instructional designers on our team to ensure we are using best practices in our instruction. Students get the best of both worlds, industry experts and education experts.

EC: How do instructional designers contribute to course creation?
CP: The education team develops the scope and sequence of the course, interactive activities, and assessments. Essentially, they build the learning modules with excellent input from industry experts, internal IPC experts, and our technical team.

EC: How is online learning at IPC unique?
CP: We have very skilled instructors. They provide students not only with the broad concepts of a subject, but how to utilize those skills in a way that is applicable to their job immediately. They are experts in the field, and they provide invaluable instruction helping our students transfer what they learn online into real life situations.

EC: What’s happening in IPC Education this summer?
CP: IPC is offering several online, instructor-led courses this summer for a wide variety of job functions and skill levels. Contracting with the Customer is what every EMS executive should know about contracts when dealing with OEMs and other EMS companies. This course is a huge value that is taught by two attorneys working in the electronics manufacturing sector.

We have another section of PCB Defect Analysis and Troubleshooting that started on June 2. This course is led by industry veteran, Mike Carano, a bona fide expert on troubleshooting PCBs. For some quick insight into Mr. Carano’s expertise check out his recent article in PCB007.

We offer a really in-depth series of courses in PCB Design starting June 16 – The upcoming course, Design 1 focuses on the schematic capture of the design with in-depth explorations of PCB design software. PCB Design 2 focuses more on PCB layout. Plus we’re launching our next PCB Design course that will focus on Advanced packaging (Rigid Boards). More courses are in development like Design for Manufacturability (DFM). We hope to make these available in the third quarter.

In July there’s an opportunity to earn an IPC Certification in Electronics Program Management. Do you have managers that need to boost their business knowledge? This certification leverages real-world examples specific to the electronics industry to help teach program managers to make the right business decisions in concert with the right technical decisions.

New IPC Video Explains Electronics Manufacturing’s Importance in Evocative, People-Centered Language and Imagery

A new video from IPC,  shows viewers the many ways “our lives and our communities depend on electronics” and invites them to learn more about “the crucial industry that’s at the heart of the modern world.”

The 90-second video features a series of evocative vignettes in which electronics-based devices and systems are making people’s lives safer, healthier, more connected, secure, and fun. The video also demystifies electronics technology by comparing it to the workings of a lightbulb and showing animations of the hard wiring inside consumer devices. The video is free of technical jargon and aims to help tech-centric IPC connect on a gut level with non-industry audiences such as policymakers and educators.

“We want people to take notice of things they’ve always taken for granted and be more curious about this critically important industrial sector,” said Chris Mitchell, IPC vice president of global government relations. “Part of our job in representing the industry is helping people understand what we do and why it matters, and this video is an effort to do that in language and pictures that will resonate with everyone.”

IPC will promote the video to targeted audiences in a campaign spanning YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, e-mail newsletters, online presentations, and in-person meetings. IPC members are being encouraged to share it with their coworkers, friends, families, elected officials, and local educators and community leaders.

IPC’s embrace of a more people-centered message began last year with its award-winning “Start with the Standards” campaign, which linked IPC’s industry standards program with images of “those who mean the world to us,” including a baby in an incubator; a child in car seat; and a man in an MRI machine.

Most recently, IPC published new data showing that the electronics manufacturing sector supports more than 5.3 million American jobs, pays above-average compensation, and provides critical equipment and inputs to other key sectors including healthcare, transportation, and aerospace.

Deadline Extended for TSCA Fees Rule Self-Identification Obligation

by Kelly Scanlon, director, environment, health and safety policy & research

IPC has posted on February 26 and March 26 regarding industry’s responsibility to determine if they are obligated to pay fees to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2020 to support risk evaluations of 20 high-priority chemical substances under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Comments were due today, May 27, but the EPA is extending the comment and reporting period on the preliminary lists of manufacturers and importers subject to fees. The new date will be Monday, June 15.

The EPA is extending the comment period to allow companies additional time to self-identify as to whether they are a manufacturer that is subject to the Fees Rule. This also provides time for those who are incorrectly listed on the preliminary lists to use the Chemical Data Exchange (CDX) system to remove the company’s listing.

The EPA intends to publish the final list of companies obligated to pay fees concurrently with the final scope documents for the 20 high-priority chemical substances. IPC will continue to monitor the status of the scope documents to track whether the EPA will defer the publication of the final documents or defer fee payments, two requests that have been made by both NGOs and industry. Point of contact: Kelly Scanlon.

How Can You Obtain or Renew Your IPC Certification During COVID-19?

Candidates may now take online remote proctored exams right from the comfort of your own home. Dave Hernandez, vice president of education, answers questions about this new option from IPC EDGE.

Why remote proctoring?

In this time of shelter-in-place, IPC wanted to find a way for students to obtain or renew IPC certification remotely. We integrated a remote proctoring solution into IPC EDGE that allows candidates to complete their CIS, CIT, CID, and CSE certification exams without the need for an in-person proctor. Remote proctoring is not available for exams with a hands-on component.

How were you able to create a remote proctoring process?

The internal team at IPC partnered with global remote proctoring services to integrate their services into IPC EDGE. We were lucky that so many of our training centers offered to Beta test the process. Their feedback and assistance were invaluable.

How does remote proctoring work?

Instructors register students into a remote proctoring course. Once the student is ready to take the certification exam, their instructor would schedule the assessment through ICP EDGE. Remote proctored exams are available 24/7.

What will candidates need to complete the exam?

Candidates will need a computer with a broadband internet connection, as well as a webcam and microphone. Candidates must have the ability to download and install the remote proctoring application through their web browser. A comprehensive user guide provides instructions on how to set up and take the remote proctored exam is available on IPC EDGE. Students can reach out to their training center or in-house trainer for details and to schedule their exam.

Is remote proctoring available for hands-on exams or modules to the certification exams for IPC-J-STD-001 and IPC-7711/21?

No, it is not. These exams continue to require a workmanship assessment that must be completed face-to-face.

How much will a remote proctoring exam cost?

To help the industry through this transitional period, IPC will subsidize a portion of the costs until the end of June. Currently, there is a $30 charge added to the certification cost. For example, if an IPC member registering for a remote proctored CIS exam, the cost would be $95 instead of $65.

Where can we find more information?

We have instructions for instructors and students on the Certification Portal:


Coronavirus and Supply Chains Disruption Panel

Join us today, May 5 — Coronavirus and Supply Chains Disruption Panel

Broadcast at: 7:45 am PCT, 10:45 am EST, 3:45 pm BST and 4:45 pm CET

COVID-19 has caused severe supply chain disruptions and has affected almost every facet of our daily lives. What will the landscape look like after this disease passes and how will the electronics manufacturing industry adjust to mitigate the risk in the future.

Panel guests include: