The world standard in PCB inspection criteria for assembled PCBs is the IPC A-610 formally known as “Acceptability of Electronic Assemblies”. It includes hundreds of pictures, tables , diagrams and references developed by industry subject matter experts. It is THE definitive source for the inspection criteria for consumer grade, commercial grade and high reliability electronic assemblies.
The industry trade group, the IPC, develops the standards based on industry input and prints, distributes and monitors and develops the training program for this standard. By taking on this certification training you can demonstrate your commitment to discerning customer requirements and assists companies interested in quality assurance programs such as ISO-9000 or others.
IPC training comes with it a recognition and legitimacy worldwide in the electronics industry. Many individuals have been trained to be IPC-A-610 Certified IPC Trainers. The IPC-A-610 training and certification program for company trainers provides quality training materials, online testing and certification housing and detailed instructional plans for IPC training application specialists. These candidates typically come from nearly every level in the electronics “food chain” including but not limited to purchasing, sales, process engineering, quality and more.
IPC-A-610 training and certification program has two tiers of certification including both trainers and applications specialists. Trainers are sent by their respective employers to IPC training centers to receive standardized extensive training. They are certified as trainers after sitting through the instruction and passing the online tests. Potential IPC training instructors can “challenge test” at the training center if they feel like they know the material already . These trainers are then given the material and knowledge to train associates as IPC CIS candidates. The IPC A-610 CIS training consists of a modularized training course which is modularized or customized to the needs of the specific employer. In both cases the IPC solder certification program cert is valid for a 2 year time period. Recertification is also done at an IPC training center.
BEST is an IPC Master Certification Solder Training Center offering Instructor and Operator courses for IPC-A-610, J-STD-001, IPC/WHMA 620, IPC 7711/7721 as well as customized classes to meet you specific standard or criteria. Our IPC Training Division employs some of the most experienced instructors in the industry. We offer customized classes for SMT, Advanced SMT, and BGA Rework classes on site at your facility or at our headquarters near Chicago, Illinois. All classes are all taught by instructors who not only know the material, but have also performed the techniques thousands of times on our customer’s boards to prove their “real life” effectiveness and reliability. BEST has performed IPC and Custom Solder Training Courses for customers throughout the United States such as Motorola, Nokia, IBM, Solectron, Flextronics, Erricson, Tellabs, Plexus, 3COM, GE Medical, Siemens, Sanmina, Rockwell, Northrop, and many more.
BEST is a leader in training technology. BEST has trained thousands of soldering technicians with a long list of satisfied customers. Whether you send one student or one hundred, we take the time to determine what you want from the training experience, and then deliver it. BEST has developed courses that emphasize “hands-on” work, and students are evaluated on the quality of that work. BEST is the only IPC Certification Center to offer the Mobile Training Center…a fully equipped, mobile soldering lab available at your door to teach the latest IPC standards and techniques. BEST brings the classroom to you
BEST is a leader in training technology. BEST has trained thousands of soldering technicians with a long list of satisfied customers. Whether you send one student or one hundred, we take the time to determine what you want from the training experience, and then deliver it. BEST has developed courses that emphasize “hands-on” work, and students are evaluated on the quality of that work. BEST is the only IPC Certification Center to offer the Mobile Training Center…a fully equipped, mobile soldering lab available at your door to teach the latest IPC standards and techniques. BEST brings the classroom to you!
Several people have asked about the differences between the IPC7711 and the IPC7721 courses. I will attempt to clarify on a few postings beginning with the IPC-7711.
The IPC 7711 certification is an advanced hand soldering class for the rework of printed circuit board assemblies. The rework of PCBs involves the removal and replacement of devices in a variety of different circumstances. Some if these reasons include manufacturing defects, component defects or upgrades or engineering changes. It is designed for those who will be repairing electronics that have already been out in the field or those which just come off the assembly line and are in need of rework.
This class is not designed for the new soldering technician, rather it is for those who have proficiency in hand soldering. It is a fast-paced course that is a busy 5 days. This is an advanced course for anyone responsible for quality and reliability of reworked or repaired electronic assemblies. It is a comprehensive hands-on training program with 80% lab work.
· Basic surface mount and through hole component removal
· Land preparation and component installation
· Primary heating methods: conductive, convective an others
· Handling electronic assemblies
· Wire splicing procedures
· Through hole component removal and installation
· Chip and MELF rework procedures
· SOIC/SOT, J-lead and QFP rework
This class has both CIS and CIT level certifications.
The second highest number of certifications granted are for the IPC J-STD-001. This standard deals with the assembly of electronic assemblies and includes the testing and certification of hand soldering skills as well as the testing of the knowledge of the JSTD-001 document.
As in the IPCA610, the J-STD-001 has two program certification levels ……CIS and CIT. CIS, or technician level certification is for floor personal including but not limited to QC inspectors, leads for test of manufacturing and engineering personnel. Sometimes management and personnel get in to the act as well. At the CIT level we find people who will act as the instructors of these standards within their respective companies.
The certifications are based on knowing how to use , how to look up and interpret what is found in the industry consensus document, the J-STD-001.In addition, the students must demonstrate proficiency in hand soldering based on the skills being tested. Like the IPC-A-610, the J-STD-001 certifications are valid for 2 years and are transferable, as they belong to the individual.
Classes for the CIS level are structured so that they are modularized to fit those who manufacture nearly every conceivable electronics assembly from those dealing with wire harnesses and cable manufacturing to complex mixed technology assemblies. They are modularized with some of the modules being mandatory while others are suitable to a given business and therefore are only taught when required.
A space addendum has recently been added to this certification program which now is accepted as a substitute for previous NASA only certification levels. This added certification takes another 4-6 hours.
Again make sure you are being instructed to the latest revision level (see your contract wordings) as the “E” revision was recently launched in the summer of 2010.
When deciding on a solder training program there are numerous paths a company can take.
We advise clients that the approaches to consider are:
1. Internal training using outside resources (DVD, web-based) such as those available from the IPC or 3rd parties such as ALC
2. Professional soldering skills training from a professional training center such as BEST
3. IPC training, either by training a trainer or having a professional trainer come on site to perform the training to IPC standards
Not training soldering or rework or repair technician is NOT one of the options IMHO.
The third approach mentioned, where the training is to be performed to IPC standards with the outcome being an industry-recognized certification, can be driven by a multitude of influences. Some of the most common influences include customer-driven requirements, ISO system driven requirements or marketing-driven requirements.
Customer –driven requirements for IPC certification generally stem from end customer requirements including different branches of the US government. For example, when NASA work is being performed, operator certification to the new DS amendment to the JSTD assembly specification (or a NASA specification) is a requirement for performing work on such contracts. Some large government contractor OEMs require that their supply chain be certificated in order to assemble, inspect or repair their products.
In some organizations which are ISO registered or follow some other quality system compliance, certification to a 3rd party industry recognized training standard is required. The IPC documents are ANSI documents which help to solidify the quality claims of the document and by association the training program.
Marketing requirements are another driver for a firm wanting to obtain IPC certification. This marketing “checkbox” is certainly a driver in the US market. In order for an EMS provider to be considered “credible” it should have staff which are certified to know what a high quality PCB assembly should look like. Certainly customers buying assembly services want their partners to be knowledge and credible in the field using this 3rd party resource to referee and help determine what are acceptable practices to make a board/cable as well as to what it should look like coming out the door.
These industry-developed and approved programs use the two-tier “train the trainer” approach for standardized classroom training to assure understanding of criteria in the industry’s most popular documents. This training leads to an industry traceable certification for the instructors, quality team, management and operators on J-STD-001, IPC-A-610, IPC-A-620 and lastly the Rework and Repair standard IPC7711/21. Official IPC Serialized Certificates designate that someone has passed the requirements for certification. These certifications are good for 2 years and are transferable.
Overwhelming. That is what could be said about BOTH some salad bars and the choices you have in terms of the soldering classes available. The further I took this analogy when writing for today, the more it seemed to fit.
There are several basic “go to” foods at the salad bar-foods that I would expect as an American, at the salad bar. These staples would be iceberg lettuce (tasteless, but a foundation) , several veggies ( tomatoes, broccoli, peas), salad dressing/s and of course something salty and crunchy to top off the salad. Several hand soldering courses are also the “go to” soldering classes. If IPC classes are a “gotta have” then IPC JSTD-001 is the one you have to go to. Other classes that help build this diet include a class on the basics of hand soldering, the soldering of wires and terminals and some more advanced mixed technology hand soldering classes. These classes make up the basic hand soldering salad bar (like the one you would find a basic Pizza Hut or a Wendys)..
While I like the traditional veggies part of a salad bar experience, I really have come to expect the choices and the protein of the full meal experience of salad bars that wander beyond the greens. One of the reasons I like getting extended beyond the salad greens is the feeling of being more satisfied if other items with protein such as chicken, beef, cheeses and sausages are put onto the salad bar. These “proteins” in terms of the entire soldering course experience include classes taught by instructors who routinely teach ESD, MSD and SMT process classes as well. Of course their industry experience would be helpful to the whole experience sustaining you like the proteins at the salad bar do long after you have eaten.
What can ruin a salad bar is not having the right salad dressing available at the salad bar. Yeah you can live through the known routine thousand island, ranch, French and honey mustard. However what keeps you coming back are those unique dressings like pomegranate vinaigrette, tomato bacon or a hand grated blue cheese inside the dressing of the same name. What keeps you coming back for another helping in the soldering courses world are those instructors. Those instructors who do not just do the minimum to get you “full” but rather those who satisfy your desire to learn the most and take away the most.
Like some salad bars some soldering classes are “over the top”. Specific classes on rework, PCB repair, rework of leadless devices or customized classes and the associated value and the increase to productivity that they bring are invaluable. Like these soldering classes the specialty salad bars, where a whole meal can be had and enjoyed with a plethora of different flavors, can be enjoyed and talked about and remembered for quite a while.