The PCB Norsemen: Technology’s Future Comes Together—A Great Slogan for Us All!

Jan Pedersen.JPG“Technology’s Future Comes Together” was the theme of this year's IPC APEX EXPO, which is quite suitable during these changing times. I guess we all need to come together, especially the automotive industry. The automotive industry has been characterized by individualism for years when it comes to standards for production. All major car brands and leading suppliers to these car makers have carried out their own PCB standards. Very few of them cooperate to make life easier for the PCB supplier that may deliver to several of these demanding customers.

Many the automotive brands carry out their own requirements not only to the final product but also to the production and process flow. Each one has their own ideas on how to secure zero defects.

The reason why my focus is targeted on the automotive industry is due to the newly released and revised IPC-6012DA-WAM1: Automotive Applications Addendum to IPC-6012D, Qualification and Performance Specification for Rigid Printed Boards. As chair of the task group, it would be an understatement to say that this standard is close to my heart.

A Never-ending Task
The idea behind the automotive addendum was to find a consensus in the jungle of corporate specifications—a common document describing basic PCB requirements for the automotive industry. IPC-6012DA was published in April of 2016, and the work with the amendment started in April 2017, which is now released. I am very excited to present the addendum. The changes of the revised version are of substantial character. The biggest change in WAM1 is going from special automotive requirements for both IPC Class 2 and 3 to become automotive Class-3 requirements.

Among the enhanced features and requirements in IPC-6012DA WAM1, you find a recommendation to use automated optical inspection (AOI), a requirement to use AOI on all layers, a measurable requirement for lifted land after thermal stress, and strengthened requirements to wicking. However, working on standards is a never-ending task. The task group met for new discussions, revisions, and further developments of the IPC-6012-DA standard.

Standards Need to Go Hand-in-hand
So, what does the theme of IPC APEX EXPO 2019 mean? For me, “Technology’s Future Comes Together” when standards are in line with new technology, and go hand-in-hand into the future. Still, to obtain this, we need some changes—or rather, additions—from IPC. Creating, improving, and voting standards forward has no effect at all if they are left in the bottom of the drawer. They need to be used, implemented, and embraced by the industry.

Still, several standards working on their own is no solution either. What we really need is for IPC to develop a parent standard or a work manual supplying the correct guidelines for usage of all standards in the automotive industry, which should provide the automotive industry the opportunity to contribute to further development and make the standards functional.

Today, there are three standards for the automotive industry: one balloted through and released—the IPC 6012-DA—while the Automotive Addendum Task Group 7-31BV and the 5-21M Cold Joining/Press Fit Task Group are still a work in progress, and work there will be. This was my third time attending IPC APEX EXPO, so not feeling like a rookie anymore, I enjoyed meeting old and new friends, working in the task groups, and widening my knowledge.

IPC: Goliath vs. David?
However, some seem to look upon IPC as an unreachable organization with a Goliath versus David feeling. Personally, I do not recognize these opinions. I find Goliath to be the friendly and welcoming giant towards new opinions and suggestions. Running your cases through the IPC system and using the advantages of it will eventually lead to improvements and constructive innovation.

A good example is how we in the medical task group faced the challenge with micro PCBs—a designation not working for these devices. We had constructive discussions within the group, but in the end, found a more suitable designation that suits both IPC and the medical device applications industry better. If you gather the right people together, utilize the strength of IPC, and dare challenge the industry, you will get results.

Shout Out!
We all know that change comes by action; sitting still and keeping your mouth shut creates no action. IPC APEX EXPO is the perfect spot to network and raise your opinions and concerns in the various forums arranged. We all benefit from networking in the industry. I cannot emphasize the value of networking enough; after all, several voices are stronger than one. Further, I was amazed by the energy from the main keynote speech by Jared Cohen last year talking about big technology disruptions. Jared gave a very engaging speech focusing on how the digital revolution is a game changer. This year I was prepped and ready for “Accelerating and Disrupting Innovation: The Tesla Story” presented by JB Straubel, chief technical officer (CTO) and co-founder of electric vehicle maker Tesla Inc. The future is definitely electric, innovative, and moving fast.

This article originally appeared in the December 2018 issue of PCB007 Magazine, click here.

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2019

The PCB Norsemen: Technology’s Future Comes Together—A Great Slogan for Us All!

02-13-2019

“Technology’s Future Comes Together” was the theme of this year's IPC APEX EXPO, which is quite suitable during these changing times. I guess we all need to come together, especially the automotive industry.

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The PCB Norsemen: PCB Standards for Medical Device Applications—A Hard Nut to Crack!

02-04-2019

With digitalization, AI, and IoT, the traceability and transparency to how a PCB is produced will be even more important. We must rule out the PCBs that follow the standards to the ones that do not. The day will come when you or someone you know might need a medical device, and you want to make sure it does its job correctly.

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2018

Digital Specs for Automated Manufacturing: Find the Missing Link!

11-29-2018

Automation and connected smart factories are the new manufacturing trend. Industry 4.0 and the Internet of things (IoT) continue to enter PCB manufacturing. However, if we continue down the same path with specifications and requirements written on electronic papers and unintelligent production files, human interpretation is still crucial to avoid mistakes. CircuitData could solve this problem because having one language for automated smart factories is the future!

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PCB Norsemen: The Solution to the UL Challenge—Industrial Awareness

08-28-2018

Writes Jan Pedersen: The solder-limit subject has been a "hot potato" for a quite some time, with many discussions around the new requirement from Underwriters Laboratories (UL) that UL’s Emma Hudson brought to attention in early 2018.

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The PCB Norsemen: Lean Challenges—Standard vs. Non-Standard Products

08-06-2018

Writes Didrick Bech: People tend to treat standard and non-standard products in the same way; however, they represent two parallel product segments and consequently different challenges for your Lean manufacturing process, especially in relation to production and logistical operations. When you fail to differentiate the processing of standard and non-standard products, not only is the Lean manufacturing process disrupted, but you also introduce a variety of production, financial and logistical challenges.

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The Velocity of Technology— What Does It Really Mean?

07-02-2018

PCB Norseman, Jan Pedersen: Driving a car is probably one of the areas where the user comes in direct touch with the technology development. And we understand the speed when we see how fast we get new versions of smartphones and other gadgets. But in what direction are we going?

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2017

Industry 4.0, AI and CircuitData

11-14-2017

PCB Norseman, Andreas Lydersen: As automation works its way onto the shop floors, it still struggles to replace humans in the supporting roles, such as designers, purchasers, brokers, and back-office staff. Where automation on the shop floor replaces humans in doing repetitive manual tasks, the supporting roles (at least some of them) require intelligence to understand and utilise information.

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