IPC Standard for PCB Manufacturing
To produce a high quality printed circuit board with absolute reliability, PCB manufacturing standards are followed by worldwide manufacturers.
The idea of standard manufacturing technique was introduced in late 1950s as institute of printed circuits (IPC) to standardize the circuit board manufacturing. IPC is currently abbreviated to institute for interconnecting and packing electronics circuits. They define the widely accepted standards for producing the circuit board.
IPC defines the standards for each and every stage of the PCB manufacturing process including material selection, copper foil, solder mask, marking and labeling, assembly materials, testing methods etc.
PCB manufacturing standard defines the standards for recognizing and categorizing each and every component in each of the above steps.
For example the material standards include Pressure Sensitive Adhesives Assembly Guidelines (IPC-FC-234), Metal Foil for Printed circuits (IPC-4562), Laminate Prepreg Materials Standard for Printed Boards (IPC-4101), Flexible Base Dielectrics for Use in Flexible Printed Circuitry (IPC-4202), Flexible Metal-Clad Dielectrics for Use in Fabrication of Flexible Printed Circuitry (IPC-4204).
The documents include the complete technical specifications and buyer guide and safety certificates. Testing boards is as important as material selection.
PCB manufacturing standards instructs the industry to perform certain mandatory tests to ensure the reliability and safety of the circuit boards. Even though combining materials to produce custom results is entirely the designer’s choice, IPC does have certain rules to enforce the PCB manufacturing process when it comes to safety.
The design must be safety compliant and fulfill the minimum safety requirements that are defined by IPC and various government bodies. To ensure the safety of the manufactured circuit boards, certain safety certifications are issued like the lead level RoHS status etc.