Printed circuit boards are found in all types of small and large electronic gadgets such as beepers to computer systems to radars, and so on. They contribute to the current-carrying capacity of these gadgets and also lend support to the components attached to them. All this means printed circuit boards play a key role in the success of electronic gadgets. Hence, they need to meet certain quality standards. Today, most PCB manufacturers produce these circuit boards in adherence to guidelines set by different quality standards. The post introduces you to various PCB certifications and their applicability across different industries. It ends by letting you know about a provider of quality and performance-driven PCBs in the US.
Know About Different PCB Certifications Required for PCB Manufacturers
The following are a few PCB certifications by electronic manufacturers who build the printed circuit boards for mission-critical applications for use across different industries:
- ISO: These standards are devised by the International Organization of Standardization (ISO) and widely accepted throughout the globe. ISO sets guidelines encouraging the global companies to meet and exceed the expectations of their customers by providing them quality services and products. ISO 9001 standards are adopted by several PCB manufacturers to ensure their services and products meet regulatory requirements as well as quality standards required across industries. ISO 9001:2015 is one of the most popular certifications designed by ISO.
- ITAR: The International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) controls the import and export of all defense-related services and articles on the United States Munition List, abbreviated as USML. The US government regulates that all manufacturers, brokers, and exporters of defense-related services, products, and technical data must adhere to ITAR guidelines. These specifications also cover printed circuit boards to be used in sensitive military and defense applications.
- UL Listing: Founded in 1894, the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) is one of the oldest independent safety science companies in the world. Acknowledged by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), UL focuses on building safe working and living environments. UL helps safeguard products, people, and places in several ways. UL devises safety standards, tests, as well as certifies manufacturers of electronic devices. UL regularly updates safety standards for products to be used in different commercial and industrial sectors. There are several UL standards for electrical and electronic products. Among them, UL 796 is one of the important standards adopted by most PCB manufacturers. These standards govern the design and manufacturing of printed wiring boards. Similarly, there are standards for plastic materials. The UL 94 flammability tests are performed on plastic parts used in various electronic appliances and devices. Whenever a printed circuit board is built to these standards, it features a UL logo.
- AS9100: This is a widely accepted quality management system designed for the aerospace industry. AS9100 incorporates the quality requirements of ISO 9001 in its entirety and spruces them with additional safety requirements established by the aerospace industry to comply with diverse DOD, FAA, and NASA quality requirements. AS9100 standards are adopted by PCB manufacturers who design, manufacture, or test the printed circuit boards for space, aviation, and defense-related services.
- IPC: The Institute of Printed Circuits is a trade organization, which devises quality standards for the manufacturing of PCB assemblies and PCBs. Recognized globally, manufacturers specializing in IPC standards may adopt IPC-6012 or IPC-A-600 standards.
- MIL: This is the defense standard set by the United States Department of Defense. These standards help electronic manufacturers achieve interoperability, and ensure their printed circuit boards meet certain stringent requirements. Many PCB manufacturers follow MIL-PRF-31032, MIL-PRF-50884, and MIL-PRF-55110 that help them meet the requirements of their military and defense industry clients easily.
- PCQR 2: The PCB market is highly competitive. Owing to various specifications, it becomes difficult to identify the PCB suppliers for your application requirements. As the manufacturers follow different processes, equipment, and performance standards, so establishing a standardized testing format becomes difficult. The IPC -915D Process Capability, Quality, and Relative Reliability (PCQR 2) Benchmark Test Standard help users evaluate the manufacturing processes and find the right board for their application requirements. This standard was developed by CAT and IPC for users, designers, assembly services, and manufacturers of the printed circuit board.
- IPC J-STD-001 ES: This standard is established by the IPC for soldered electrical and electronic assemblies. IPC J-STD-001 ES sets methods, materials, and verification criteria for creating quality soldered interconnections. IPC now offers a comprehensive and industry developed hands-on soldering training as well as a certification program, which is designed based on J-STD-001.
The consideration of quality standards entirely depends on the industry you serve. After reading the above list of PCB certifications, you will get an idea that the quality standards for the defense industry may differ from that of the aerospace industry. So, it is important to make the appropriate selection. You can visit the website of the prospective PCB manufacturer to check various PCB certifications owned by them and their adherence to your application. This post introduces you to Rigiflex, which is one of the leading providers of industrial and commercial PCBs in the US. The company is ITAR registered and provides flexible, rigid-flexible, and rigid printed circuit boards. The company also possesses PCB certifications such as IPC-6012, 6013, AS9100, ISO-9001, and UL94V.0. Rigiflex has been catering to the demands of its clients in the military industry for a long time. The PCB certifications such as MIL-PRF-31032, MIL-PRF-50884, and MIL-PRF-55110 enable it to meet the stringent requirements of military and defense applications.