Nearly all electronic products are built with printed circuit boards (PCBs). The IPC-A-600 Acceptability of Printed Boards together with IPC-6012 Qualification and Performance Specification for Rigid Printed Boards have been the de facto standards for PCB quality in the industry for many years. These documents provide detailed acceptance criteria and include photographs and color illustrations of all types of PCB internal and surface conditions. The IPC-A-600 is one of the documents published by IPC that is the most extensively used by both PCB manufacturers and assemblers.
The IPC-A-600 various Training and Certification Program assist all sectors of the electronics interconnection industry by providing portable credentials to industry professionals. In addition, it improves communication between printed circuit board manufacturers and their customers and suppliers and improves their understanding of printed board quality issues.
It is essential that PCB manufacturers understand acceptance criteria to enable them to trace any nonconforming condition to the root cause in manufacturing. The IPC-A-600 Training and Certification Program highlights the relationship between the IPC-6012 and the IPC-A-600. The program also demonstrates that the company is committed to improving quality continuously. Prior to this program being developed, there was no training available for PCB fabrication companies that is technically accurate and recognized by Industry.
Companies doing electronics assemblies want to avoid the expense of populating defective PCBs. IPC-A-600 Training and Certification enables assemblers to improve the incoming inspection process. When acceptable conditions are known, it leads to PCBs not being scrapped needlessly, while understanding nonconforming conditions reduces costly component mounting operations. More productive relationships can be forged with PCB suppliers by certified IPC Trainers involved in assembly of electronics.
Material and Equipment Suppliers and OEMs need to know IPC-A-600 and IPC-6012 criteria as OEMs have a massive investment in printed circuit boards and also perform incoming board inspections. Designers understanding the critical board quality requirements for different types of products will be able to design better boards. Companies supplying material and equipment, as well as OEMs will greatly increase their skills at recognizing nonconforming conditions.
A train-the-trainer model lies at the core of the program. OEMs or any company that is involved in assembly or fabrication can enroll representatives for the twenty-hour training program. Courses are presented at IPC Licensed IPC-A-600 Certification Centers worldwide. The program reviews the criteria of IPC-A-600 in detail and includes a qualifying exam. On passing the exam, participants are qualified as “IPC-A-600 Certified IPC Trainers” and receive “Application Specialist” training instructional materials. The training material is in a modular format and any of the 4 modules may be taught.
Companies interested in quality assurance can use this IPC-sponsored program, developed and approved by industry, to enhance their commitment to continuous improvement of both product and operations. Being recognized by IPC conveys a powerful message that the company takes implementing IPC-A-600 seriously.
On completion of the program, all successful participants receive the following materials that can be used to train Application Specialists:
- IPC certificate.
- An instructor guide that can be used to present the Application Specialist training.
- A CD-ROM containing 250+ color visuals. These cover every aspect of the training course and the standard.
- Student textbook files that may be printed, and all forms and reports needed to conduct Application Specialist training.
- IPC-6012 Qualification and Performance Specification for Rigid Printed Boards.
- The IPC-A-600 Acceptability of Printed Boards
- A PCB sample demonstrating external characteristics, including solder resist registration, annular ring, and conductor spacing and width.
- A student handbook that should be used for the classroom sections of the course.
- Examinations (Closed and Open Book) for IPC-A-600 Application Specialist training.
Only Certified IPC Trainers and their companies may buy materials for Application Specialist training from IPC. Certified Trainers may present the course anywhere they want and are allowed to charge a fee for the training.
The IPC-A-600 Certified IPC Trainer certificate is valid for 2 years. Training for re-certification is available at IPC Licensed Certification Centers.
The following topics are included in the IPC-A-600 Certified IPC Trainer Course:
- Classifications of printed board products.
- Metal core, rigid-flex and flexible PCB acceptance criteria.
- Solder resist coverage for registration to lands and conductors.
- Plated-through hole requirements for cracks, nodules, voids and copper plating thickness.
- Base material subsurface and surface conditions such as crazing/measling.
- Dielectric material criteria for resin recession, voids and etchback.
- Annular ring requirements and conductor spacing and width.
- Skills for effectively presenting the course.
To get training and certification, contact a local training center. The training centers with the most complete IPC classroom training programs are listed below on a per continent base.
Africa: SQC-Pretoria – http://solvedirectelectronics.co.za/
Asia: IPC China – http://www.ipc.org.cn/
Europe: PIEK International Education Centre (I.E.C.) – https://piek.international/
North America: EPTAC Corporation – https://www.eptac.com/
South America: Blackfox Training Institute-Guadalajara – http://www.blackfox.com/
Australia/Oceania: Australia SMCBA Training Centre – https://www.smcba.asn.au/
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