Friday, April 16, 2010

New Standards Revision J-STD-001E Vs. New iPad

During IPC APEX Expo 2010 this month, IPC released J-STD-001E on industry requirements for soldered electrical and electronic assemblies. This is the sole industry-consensus standard for soldering processes and materials, according to the IPC. It encompasses advanced technologies, provides updated criteria for three classes of construction, and expands support of lead-free manufacturing.

My hat goes off to those dedicated industry professionals who voluntarily worked on the 4.5-year revision process for "Requirements for Soldered Electrical and Electronic Assemblies." It took 3500 meeting hours involving voting, writing, revising, and consolidating soldering criteria. The changes in IPC J-STD-001E are significant, including hole-fill criteria for Classes 1 and 2, new SMT termination criteria with flattened post/nail-head, expanded area array, expanded staking, and adhesive criteria for bonding of through-hole and SMT components to boards. Information on thermal management for component attach, consolidated lead placement, and soldering criteria for each terminal type, and more. In other words, if you want to assemble PCBs, you had better become acquainted with the latest standards for doing so: J-STD-001E.

In addition to technical changes, the updated standard has four-color illustrations to make each point clearly, as well as other easy-to-use aids.

Thanks to all that work and countless edits, updated standards can make it so much easier for product developers to help bring a new product to market. Teresa Rowe, director of quality at AAI, chaired the task group responsible for the standard that should make a major step forward to develop new products.

At IPC APEX 2010 this month, Rowe and Daniel Foster, senior analyst with Defense Acquisition Inc. and vice chair of the task group, conducted a course called “The New J-STD-001 Revision E – Learn from the Leaders.” It’s an attempt to provide insight into the revision and reasoning behind these changes. In IPC-A-610E Broadens Scope, coming up in the May/June issue of SMT, Terry Costlow, IPC online editor, explains what you need to know about the streamlined IPC-A-610, "Acceptability of Electronic Assemblies," supplemented with flex circuits, board in board and package on package (PoP).

From Product Development to New Products Now

I looked for news about the electronics assembly standards revisions in the usual places: Business Wire, Reuters, and the Wall Street Journal. Nothing there. What I did find was an abundance of heady press about the recently released Apple iPad as it hit the stores.

The iPad and J-STD-001E hit the marketplace and the relevant news sources at the same time, but with such a different style. Engineers wanted to take the iPad apart, of course, to gather insight into its design and the components inside that make it tick. In response, according to one Reuter’s report, Apple is making teardowns more difficult by stamping their microprocessors with the Apple logo to disguise the component OEM name. Ah, the creation of yet another counterfeit.

iPad teardowns: iSuppli iPad Teardown Reveals Interface-focused Electronics Design

Chipworks Teardown of the iPad: Few Changes in State-of-the-art Semiconductor Technologies

Other sources couldn’t apply enough superlatives to the new iPad. Walter S. Mossberg reviewed the product in the Wall Street Journal saying, “After spending hours and hours with it, I believe this beautiful new touch-screen device from Apple has the potential to change portable computing profoundly, and to challenge the primacy of the laptop.” A contender against not just for PCs, but laptops? Now that’s something.

The biggest difference between the two releases — the revised standard and the iPad — is that the standard tells one how to assemble a product, providing the knowledge that you need to do your work on future projects. The iPad is another exciting new thing to buy, a new way of doing things, a new marvel of ingenuity.

Both are valuable, but work comes first. When attending the APEX course on Revision E, I’ll bet you would like to have had a new iPad...just for taking notes.

Gail Flower, editor-at-large

Check out other standards released at APEX:
IPC-A-610E Released: Industry Requirements for Acceptability of Electronic Assemblies Updated

Updated Materials Declaration Standard IPC-1752A Addresses Revolving Door of Environmental Regulation Changes

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