Acceptability of Electronic Assemblies

Blue circuit board being checked via IPC A-610H-2020 acceptability of electronic assemblies defect and problem testing.

“This is unacceptable!” is something you might howl at your computer in frustration. However, there is a clear set of acceptability criteria for electronic assemblies. For this integral interest, IPC A-610H-2020: Acceptability Of Electronic Assemblies has remained the most widely used electronics assembly acceptance standard in the electronics industry.

IPC and Guidance for Electronics

Imagine a world, one where machines can compute four times faster than human brain and hold ten times as much data. One where a plenitude of components, soldered together, take the form of devices dependable and abundant enough to supersede practices previously thought impossible in the digital space. You could also just open your eyes.

The users of the modern cyberworld, while reaping the benefits of the many devices that comprise it, rarely consider the complexities that let those devices function. This includes the industry standards that manufacturers depend upon for their production. IPC has developed many such standards documents, ultimately helping original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), electronics manufacturing services (EMS), and printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturers and suppliers build electronics better.

IPC A-610H-2020 is a fantastic example of these efforts, as it correlates other electronics standards. For example, for comprehensive tutorial requirements, the standard advises that users use it in conjunction with IPC HDBK-001, IPC-AJ-820 and IPC J STD-001.

Furthermore, for the content of this document to apply, the assembly/product should comply with other existing IPC requirements, unless acceptance criteria is defined between the user and the supplier. IPC A-610H-2020 lists, in Table 1-1, the following related documents that can provide additional guidance:

Defects with Electronic Assemblies Addressed in IPC A-610H-2020

Components of electronic assemblies can vary drastically across hardware and devices, and manufacturers might work with any range of features, including:

  • Soldering (including anomalies such as dewetting, excess solder, bridging, etc.)
  • Terminal connections (including swaged hardware, insulation, service loops, etc.)
  • Through-hole technology (including component mounting and securing and supported and unsupported holes)
  • Surface mount assemblies
  • Printed boards and assemblies
  • Discrete wiring
  • Soldered connections subject to high voltage
  • Jumper wires

With these and an assortment of other features present in electronic products, visual quality acceptability requirements are key, and IPC A-610H-2020 outlines these to help prevent defects. The illustrations in this document portray specific points for hardware and components, noted in the title of each page, and a brief description, including defects, follows each illustration.  

IPC A-610H-2020 categorizes products into three classes:

  • Class 1 – General Electronic Products
  • Class 2 – Dedicated Service Electronic Products
  • Class 3 – High Performance Electronic Products

A defect for Class 1 automatically implies a defect for Class 2 and 3. A defect for Class 2 implies a defect for Class 3. Criteria are given for each class in three conditions: Acceptable, Defect, or Process Indicator.

IPC A-610H-2020: Acceptability Of Electronic Assemblies is available on the ANSI Webstore. Please note that this standard revises Revision G from 2017. The changes from the past edition are marked in the IPC-A-610H-Redline standard.

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