IPC Annual Report Highlights IPC Standards, International and Government Relations

IPC Annual Report: 2009
2009 proved to be a challenging year for all facets of the electronics industry, including your trade association, IPC. But that doesn’t mean milestones weren’t reached or progress wasn’t made. Quite the contrary; IPC and its countless volunteers toiled hard on standards efforts, international activities, membership retention, environmental and governmental legislation, and more. Read on to learn what volunteers and staff accomplished during this year of economic uncertainty.

Standards Development
StandardsIPC standards committees achieved several important milestones in 2009 that contributed to continued innovation and cooperation in the electronics industry. IPC published 12 new releases, revisions and amendments in English and translated another nine standards into other languages, such as Chinese, German and Spanish. Twenty standards are available in more than one language; overall, 17 languages are represented.

The following standards in particular illustrate the progress made in 2009:

IPC-2152, Standard for Determining Current-carrying Capacity in Printed Board Design sets the sole industry standard for determining the appropriate sizes of internal and external conductors as a function of the current-carrying capacity required and the acceptable conductor temperature rise.

The main document establishes general, conservative guidelines for sizing conductors and contains simple charts that show testing results for both internal and external conductors in air and vacuum environments. The document’s appendix provides more specifics, giving clarity and insight into how variables impact the temperature rise of a conductor and presents detailed charts based on copper weights.

IPC-4101, Specification for Base Materials for Rigid and Multilayer Printed Boards, adds more flavors to the parlor of laminate and prepreg materials to meet industry demands. Covering the requirements for base materials used primarily in rigid and multilayer printed boards for electrical and electronic circuits, the C revision adds 11 new specification sheets to reflect the expanded offerings for current commercially available laminates and prepregs.

In total, 66 individual specification sheets are contained in IPC-4101C which can be searched using keywords. The keywords allow the document’s users to easily find groups of materials with common characteristics but with enough specific properties that allow them to fine-tune their laminate and/or prepreg search.

The document has also gained significant interest and support from the industry worldwide. “Thanks to significant efforts from the 3-10 Printed Board Base Materials Committee Chair Doug Sober, IPC-4101C has now truly become a global document, within Europe and Asia as well as North America,” commented Tony Senese, OEM business development manager, Panasonic Electric Works, and chair of the 3-11 Laminate/Prepreg Materials Subcommittee, responsible for the standard.

IPC-4553A, Specification for Immersion Silver Plating for Printed Boards sets the requirements for the use of immersion silver (IAg) as a surface finish for printed boards, adding a maximum deposit thickness based on performance criteria; the minimum thickness requirement was provided in the original release of IPC-4553. Revision A also establishes a single thickness range to avert confusion between what is “thin” and “thick.”

As Subcommittee Co-chair George Milad, national accounts manager for technology, Uyemura International Corp., explained, “What was formerly termed ‘thin’ is no longer recognized or addressed in IPC-4553A. ‘Thin’ immersion silver has declined to such a minor portion of the total immersion market that delineating two thickness ranges just exacerbated the confusion between board manufacturers and their chemical suppliers.”

Driven by members’ needs, plans are currently underway for IPC standards on intellectual property protection and the assembly of solar panels. Newly formed standards committees will meet in 2010 to discuss further development of these highly anticipated standards.

More information on these or any other standards is available from the IPC Online store. To learn more about standards committees or to contribute to standards development, visit the IPC committee home pages.

International Activities
International ActivitiesIPC is steadily expanding its role in China, where a standards development program is well underway and demand for certification courses is growing rapidly. On the certification side, an IPC EMS program manager course delivered in Chinese has already had two successful courses completed. Feedback has been positive and IPC is looking to continue this certification in 2010. The multi-segment sessions include three in-person classes and an online class.

On the standards front, a China Task Group is working on techniques for characterizing reflow ovens, making it the first standard being developed by a task group made up of IPC member companies in China. Five companies are creating standard test vehicles to simplify the process and have linked up with regional universities to help with data analysis. The document is currently in its second draft and is expected to be released by the end of 2010.

IPC China held three major seminars in 2009: China Electronic Manufacturing Annual conference (CEMAC) in March in conjunction with Electronica/Productronica in Pudong; IPCWorks Asia in October in Shenzhen as a standalone event; and IPC/HKPCA show conference in December in Shenzhen. These events included concurrent workshops, technical committee meetings and networking dinners. For 2010, IPC China is planning to hold a CEMAC conference in cooperation with CPCA.

Supporting the business side, IPC China has formed management councils that mirror its North American counterparts: Solder Products Value Council, electronics manufacturing services, original equipment manufacturers, and surface mount equipment manufacturers. These recently launched councils can facilitate local networking and participation as well as provide helpful local insight to their global counterparts.

In India, in cooperation with IPCA, a successful slate of standard training classes were held in 2009 with a goal for continued growth in 2010.

In Malaysia, IPC is encouraging local participation in IPC standards development through the creation of TgMalaysia which currently has 56 members participating in an online community. For 2010, one of the efforts considered is translation of IPC training programs into Bahasa; the official language of Indonesia also widely understood in Malaysia.

Lars Wallin in Russia
Lars Wallin in Russia

In early March of 2009, IPC only had seven members in Russia, one document distributor in Moscow, and no training centers. Later that month, David Bergman, IPC vice president of international relations and Lars Wallin, IPC’s European representative traveled to Russia and hired Yury Kovalevsky as IPC’s Russian representative. Yury’s goals are to facilitate the translation of IPC standards into Russian, support standards development activities in the region and serve as liaison to member companies. He also organizes seminars and events and supports existing training, certification activities and distributors in the region.

Today, due to the efforts of Wallin and Kovalevsky, IPC has 11 members in Russia, will soon sign a second distributor, Absolut Electronics, and is also close to having a training center established.

Also this past year, IPC Europe developed a seminar, “Increased Reliability and Quality of Lead Free Solder Joints With the Help of IPC Standards Through the Entire Production Chain of Rigid Electronic Hardware.” This seminar was presented to more than 290 attendees from both OEM and EMS companies in Sweden, Russia, Germany and Italy.

At productronica 2009 in Munich, IPC Europe had the largest booth to date and conducted “strategy meetings” with 16 of the existing 25 IPC distributors and training centers. The goals of these meetings were to organize future translations of IPC standards to local languages, start new Task Groups in different areas of Europe and involve the IPC distributors in new marketing initiatives.

Government Relations
CapitolIn 2009, IPC’s government relations efforts spanned the globe and tackled a host of environmental issues and global advocacy initiatives — from the ongoing revisions to the European Union’s RoHS Directive through tax relief to Canada’s potential ban of a key solder flux ingredient — IPC was kept busy representing its members’ diverse interests.

This past year, IPC’s Government Relations Committee continued to identify issues of interest to the membership and advocate for the industry. At an open forum during IPC APEX EXPOTM, the committee discussed both domestic and international issues. In May, the committee held a successful Capitol Hill Day in Washington, D.C. to advocate net operating loss (NOL) relief and a permanent Research and Development (R&D) tax credit. IPC efforts paid off later in the year when Congress enacted legislation to extend NOL relief to businesses of all sizes in 2008 and 2009. IPC continued to press for R&D tax relief throughout the year, and expects to see an extension of R&D tax credit enacted before the end of 2009.

With extensive lobbying by IPC, in conjunction with other electronics trade associatons and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), ruled that inaccessible electronic components in children’s products will not be subject to the lead limits that were enacted last summer under the US Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). This finding is critical to the electronics industry because electronics manufacturers that build children’s products will not need to meet CPSIA lead limits, which are lower than the limits in the European Union (EU) Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive.

In the area of military technology, IPC urged the Department of Defense (DoD) to speed up the appointment of a (PCB) Executive Agent, as mandated in the FY 2009 National Defense Authorization Act. Over halfway into the year, the Navy was designated as the Executive Agent (EA) with a responsibility to oversee the development and implementation of a PCB and interconnect technology roadmap for DoD. IPC continues to urge DoD and Congress to fund the PCB EA program.

Recognizing the magnitude of the tasks before the EA, in January IPC mobilized a panel of experts comprising executives from leading North American PCB manufacturers to develop comprehensive policy recommendations for building upon and sustaining a North American PCB industry capable of supporting DoD needs and ensuring national security. With input from top military OEMs and months of research, the IPC PCB Executive Agent Task Force created a roadmap to assist the newly appointed DoD PCB Executive Agent. The IPC Printed Board Defense Roadmap was released at IPC’s Technology Interchange in December.

IPC 2009 at a glance

IPC Members as of December 21 2009: 2,640

Staff: 75 full time, 9 part time

Revenue: $12.5M

Offices: 5 (United States, Sweden, China)

Standards Released/Translated: 12/9

Events Held (including conferences, workshops and webcasts): 53

Certified IPC Trainers: 6,522 (all programs)

Domestic Training Centers: 38

International Training Centers: 29

On the environmental front, the recast of the EU RoHS Directive took an unpleasant, although expected, turn at the end of November as the Green Party and leading OEMs called for the restriction of Tetrabromobisphenol-a (TBBPA), the leading flame retardant in printed boards, despite the lack of scientific basis or evidence that any substances are better for the environment. IPC will continue to aggressively advocate that any changes to the RoHS Directive be scientifically based.

Low halogen electronics continue to be promoted and specified by major OEMs despite continuing questions as to whether they are better for the environment. This has become a very controversial issue for a number of IPC members. A recent ballot of a joint IPC and JEDEC guideline (J-STD-709) on the definition of low halogen electronics was not approved by the IPC membership.

IPC’s Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) Committee, with input from the IPC Solder Product Value Council (SPVC) submitted comments in response to Canada’s Chemical Management Plan proposal banning five rosin-containing substances from all products manufactured and sold in Canada.

A ban on rosin would make it difficult for electronics manufacturers to continue to do business in Canada. “Military and telecommunications manufacturers, because of their specifications requiring rosin based fluxes to ensure product reliability, would be dramatically impacted if this ban was enacted,” Karl Seelig, vice president of technology for AIM Solder, Inc. and chairman of the IPC SPVC cautioned.

test tubesIn November, IPC’s Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) Steering Committee submitted comments to California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) on their proposal for a green chemistry regulation. The EHS committee comments urged the DTSC to adhere to a science-based, lifecycle approach to evaluating chemicals and to initially limit the scope of the regulation to the nine product categories identified in the first section of the straw proposal in order to be able to implement a more targeted, manageable regulation.

2009: A Year in Review
2009 was a year of uncertainty with the continuing effect of environmental legislation affecting the manufacture and reliability of electronic products. But it was also a year of global growth, strengthening industry’s voice through our lobbying efforts and providing the resources to assist our industry with their operations as transitions and new challenges arise.


  1. Yoav Gilad
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 1:52 am | Permalink

    How comes the threats of the REACH regulation’s SVHC was not mentioned?

  2. Posted January 13, 2010 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    The Report highlights the key or major areas of IPC activity in 2009. While IPC continues to educate our members regarding the REACH regulation, REACH was not an area of signficant focus for IPC in 2009.

  3. Posted July 26, 2010 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    Why was the recent ballot of a joint IPC and JEDEC guideline on the definition of low halogen electronics not approved by the IPC membership?

    • Kim Sterling
      Posted July 27, 2010 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      The standard did not pass because committee members were divided over whether the standard should apply to all halogens, only bromine and chlorine, or only certain compounds containing bromine and chlorine. IPC standards are approved through a consensus process. The draft standard did not receive enough votes to be approved.

      The committee will be meeting on September 30 to determine a path forward.
      Low-Halogen Guideline Task Group
      Thursday, 9/30/2010 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM
      This task group will review the possibility of pursuing a draft of a dual-level guideline on the definition of low-halogen electronics that would cover printed boards, components, electronics assemblies, cables and mechanical plastics.
      More information is here: http://www.ipc.org/Electronics-Midwest/standards-development-meetings.aspx?id=4-33a.

  4. Antonio Mccelland
    Posted February 28, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Looks like PIC’s worldwide efforts have been paying off. The annuals reports show significant improvement for last year.

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