What PCB certifications should your manufacturing partner have?
When it comes to choosing your PCB manufacturing partner, it is imperative that you are certain that the partner operates within the PCB industry regulations as well as maintains quality standards. The only way you can be sure of this is if you know that the partner has the right PCB certifications as well as robust Quality Management Systems.
Let us look at the Quality Management Systems first and how they tend to improve operational efficiency:
Some of the advantages of a robust QMS include:
- It helps improve the overall manufacturing process
- It leads to repeatability in processes
- It helps reduce costs
- It improves the quality of the final product
Established by ISO 9001, the QMS helps in the following areas:
- It ensures that all the processes follow certain specifications. Besides it also provides a centralized digitized backup for all documentation
- It also ensures that all the industry compliances are met.
- It aids in interdepartmental communication and therefore increases efficiency
- It can track employee performance as also help disburse training modules.
The QMS PCB certifications definitely need to adhere to ISO 9001, however different industries can also have specific guidelines. In addition to ISO 9001, for example, there is also ISO 13485 that particularly focuses on medical devices. This standard applies to a company that isn’t just involved in turn-key operations in the medical industry but also if it is involved in any step of designing or manufacturing medical devices.
The Institute of Printed Circuits or IPC as it is popularly known as, also provides a number of solutions to the PCB industry & offers research on all aspects of PCB board design as well as manufacturing. Members have access to the following:
- Industrial research
- Process development
- Training guides
These go a long way in ensuring that there are no manufacturing defects in the PCB. Additionally, membership also allows access to industry events, which are a gateway to information on new developments in the industry. An IPC membership, therefore, suitably assures you that the partner adheres to industry norms & therefore acts as some kind of a badge of quality assurance.
IPC also generates many standards, the de-facto standard however being the IPC-A-610. This standard is concerned with the right way of soldering as well as assembly. Here are the industries covered under Class 1 to 3 of this standard:
Class 1: General Electronics Products.
This Class refers to products where the tolerance related to defects is considerably higher & the reliability concerns aren’t so severe.
Class 2: Dedicated Service Electronics.
This is a category where the life of the products is expected to be more than those in Class 1. However these aren’t mission critical operations.
Class 3: High-Reliability Electronics.
These PCBs are meant to adhere to stringent tolerances. These are critical operations where any failure can have dire consequences. Some of the industries in which these PCBs are used include aerospace, medical & more
IPC-A-620 or IPC/WHMA-A-620
This is yet another standard that includes areas such as:
- Ultrasonic Welding & more
Other PCB Certifications
Some of the other important PCB certifications include:
IATR- This is extremely important in the defense industry.
UL 508A- This is used for panels in industrial usage. Some of the areas that fall under UL 508A include:
- Circuit Breakers
It is however important to remember that the loads connected to this circuitry do not fall under this certification as it accounts only for the panel & the circuitry it has direct control over
To Sum Up
To ensure that your design does not meet any manufacturability issues or worse still that you do not have to face costly errors at a later date, it is very important that the PCB manufacturer is equipped with the right certifications & hence the right experience & expertise to do justice to your project. With the right certifications the manufacturer can ensure that no matter what your design challenges and goals are, they can be met effectively and that your expectations can be surpassed.
As ISO 9001:2015, ISO 13485:2016 & AS9100 Rev. D Certified PCB Company we manufacture high quality PCB with continual improvement in QMS to Achieve total customer satisfaction. If you have any requirements regarding PCB manufacturing or need urgent assistance, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 714/630-9200.