Note from the editor: IPC APEX EXPO may be over, but this column by Eric Camden serves as a great introduction to IPC standards. If you've been thinking about getting involved with manufacturing and assembly standards but weren't sure how to go about it, this column is a must-read for you.
I have said it many times before, and will say it again: If you are new to the industry, it is important to understand how IPC standards are structured for each part of the assembly process from raw parts to final packaging. The reason this is so important is the number of companies that rely on IPC standards for assembly criteria is already substantial and ever-growing. There is a very real issue with veteran employees retiring and not passing on their tribal knowledge, which impacts new recruits.
We have worked with the same companies on the same reliability issues over the years, and the only thing that is different is the engineering contact. And whenever a question pops up at a company, and there is no clear answer, you can reach for one of these standards and find the answer, or get you pointed in the right direction, at a minimum. These standards are written and reviewed by some of the most experienced people in our industry who have been there, done that, and use that knowledge to help shape the standards.
After you have gained at least a basic understanding of how the standards work, then you can take the next step and get involved with the task groups. This allows you to get deeper in the weeds of setting the standards, which gives you a much better understanding of how and why certain decisions were made. If you disagree with something currently in a standard, you are always open to bring your supporting data and make your case for a change in the next revision.
To read this entire column, which appeared in the January 2020 issue of SMT007 Magazine, click here.