Leveraging IPC-A-610 for informed procurement decisions

Corintech’s operations manager, Jack Dayeh, offers an overview of IPC-A-610, its importance in the electronics industry and how it supports procurement processes

Electronics purchasing professionals well-versed in IPC-A-610 can make informed decisions when selecting suppliers for electronic assemblies. By understanding IPC-A-610’s acceptance criteria, buyers can assess potential suppliers and verify their products meet the necessary quality standards for specific applications. To control cost, buyers should carefully consider what IPC-A-610 class their product needs to achieve for its intended use and market.

IPC-A-610 is an industry-wide standard published by IPC International. It sets the criteria for evaluating the acceptability of electronic assemblies based on visual appearance and workmanship. The standard defines three distinct classes, each catering to different application categories with varying quality and reliability requirements:

Class 1: General Electronic Products. This class encompasses products where performance is not critical, such as consumer electronics and toys.

Class 2: Dedicated Service Electronic Products. Products that require extended service life and continuous performance fall under Class 2, including industrial and automotive applications.

Class 3: High-Performance Electronic Products. Products for critical applications like aerospace and medical devices, where any failure could have severe consequences fall under Class 3.

IPC-A-610 outlines detailed inspection criteria for electronic assemblies, including:

Solder joints: The standard specifies criteria for solder joint acceptability, covering aspects like the shape, size and overall workmanship. It includes criteria for through-hole, surface mount and mixed-technology assemblies. It defines acceptable solder fillet heights, wetting, and alignment, ensuring solder connections meet required strength and conductivity.

Component mounting: IPC-A-610 focusses on proper placement and alignment of PCB mounted components. It addresses issues like component skew, coplanarity and orientation, all impacting long-term reliability.

Cleanliness: IPC-A-610 also emphasises cleanliness, including inspection of PCBs for residue, flux or contaminants that might impact performance and reliability. Proper cleaning procedures are vital for meeting IPC-A-610 requirements, especially Class 3.

Mechanical aspects: Mechanical inspection criteria of IPC-A-610 focus on verifying the stability and robustness of electronic assemblies, covering factors like physical damage, board warpage and proper mechanical support. Ensuring PCBs and components are free from damage and correctly supported helps prevent premature failure due to environmental stresses or mishandling.

Lead forming and trimming: IPC-A-610 outlines criteria for lead forming and trimming, essential steps for through-hole components. Proper lead forming ensures components optimally fit the PCB, reducing risks of intermittent connections and mechanical stresses during assembly and use.

Conformal coating and encapsulation: Conformal coating and encapsulation are used to improve long-term reliability and safety. The IPC-A-610 standard provides inspection guidelines to verify accurate application.

Identification and marking: IPC-A-610 also covers identification and marking of components and boards. It ensures part numbers, polarity indicators and manufacturer markings are present and legible for maintenance and traceability.

By adhering to the key inspection criteria of IPC-A-610, manufacturers can ensure consistent quality and long-term reliability of the electronic assemblies they produce. Corintech is equipped to work up to IPC-A-610 Class 3, offering the highest quality and reliability.