IPC Validation Services (VS) was created to answer a recognized need identified in an industry survey: 75% of responding engineers and executive management from OEMs, EMS providers and industry suppliers viewed a supplier qualification program as vital to their business. For EMS providers and industry suppliers, IPC Validation Services provides the opportunity to become part of a network of trusted sources that industry will look to first and foremost when evaluating existing and potential business partners.
Participating EMS providers and supplier companies will be audited by IPC Validation Services — the authoritative, objective source for quality conformance and data reporting — to earn certification through the Qualified Products List (QPL) and Qualified Manufacturers List (QML) programs.
With IPC Validation Services, EMS companies:
- Reduce your costs and labor for quality assurance audits and minimize material qualification cycle time
- Become part of the global network of trusted sources via the IPC Qualified Manufacturers List (QML)
- Differentiate your company from the competition
- Demonstrate a dedication to current industry standards and consistent high quality
- Reduce client turnover
- Have the wherewithal to require that suppliers obtain QPL standing to increase product quality throughout your supply chain
- Have access to industry product test reports via IPC’s Validation Services Qualified Products List (QPL)
- Are, overall, better positioned for growth
How the Programs Work
IPC Validation Services representatives certify the sites and qualify the product or processes.
- IPC Validation Services provides auditing and certification of EMS and EMS suppliers by trained IPC personnel. Individuals are certified to IPC standards and have auditing experience.
- Audits and certifications are based on how products and process conform to IPC standards and specifications.
- IPC Validation Services only uses IPC-approved test laboratories.
- IPC Validation Services certification is valid for 3 years.
- All provided proprietary information is kept confidential.
Gain A High-Level of Visibility
Once certification is achieved, EMS companies and industry suppliers earn the right to a high level of visibility throughout the industry.
- Certified companies are branded as IPC-trusted sources, and are placed on our online, centralized QPL and QML lists.
- Companies will be able to utilize official QPL and/or QML logos in their communications.
- Companies are recognized at IPC events, such as IPC APEX EXPO and through IPC publications and other communication vehicles.
What is the difference between a QPL and QML?
QPL (Qualified Products List) certification is used to certify and qualify both the products as well as the manufacturing site producing those products evaluated. The QPL certifies products and processes to the following IPC standards:
- J-STD-004, Requirements for Soldering Fluxes
- J-STD-005, Requirements for Soldering Pastes
- J-STD-006, Requirements for Electronic Grade Solder Alloys and Fluxed and
- Non-Fluxed Solid Solders for Electronic Soldering Applications
QML (Qualified Manufacturers List) certification is used to certify an electronic assembly processes to IPC standards:
J-STD-001, Requirements for Soldered Electrical and Electronic Assemblies and IPC-A-610, Acceptability of Electronic Assemblies. Other QML programs include IPC/WHMA-A-620 Requirements and Acceptance for Cable and Wire Harness Assemblies and 1071A / 1072 Intellectual Property Protection. In the future, a QML program will be offered for the IPC-6010 Family of Board Performance Standards, starting with the IPC-6012/600 Qualification and Performance Specification for Rigid Printed Boards and Acceptability of Printed Boards.
Can my facility earn a QML if I have a QPL?
In reality, it is doubtful that both a QML and a QPL will be required for the same facility. Typically, suppliers are not necessarily a PCBA manufacturer and vice versa. Therefore, it is possible to have both, but unlikely.
Is QPL certification valid across multiple sites?
As the QPL is both certification for products as well as the process used to manufacturer them, it will require on-site audits for all process locations (sites) where the products are manufactured. However, IPC will recognize internal test data for subsequent sites producing a previously qualified product with a valid QPL, provided the testing is performed by testing labs following IPC TM (Testing Methods), and have the minimum criteria for Lab Qualifications as defined by the QPL policy and procedures.
How long is the certification valid for?
Certification is valid for three years.
Does the QML process consider other quality systems’ certifications?
Yes, as part of the requirements for the audit, a review of the site’s current quality systems and certifications are incorporated into the IPC audit. As an example, a site with a valid ISO 9001 will reduce the IPC audit efforts. Yes, we will leverage the bona-fide certifications from recognized quality management systems.
What standards are used by the QML process?
The QML certifies to the following IPC Standards, IPC J-STD-001, IPC-A-610, IPC/WHMA-A-620, 1071A, 1072, IPC-6012, IPC-A-600. Applicable documents are reviewed when required as well.
What standards are used by the QPL process?
The QPL certifies to IPC J-STD-004, -005 and -006.
Can any company see my certification listing or it only available to IPC members?
Certifications will be published and listed on the public IPC website.
Are there any feedback processes established to provide an enforcement of the certification?
Yes, a feedback process is provided. Each year a series of key metrics will be collected to gauge the effectiveness of the certification. Feedback from the industry about a specific certified provider will be directly addressed by the IPC Validation Services team. Feedback from customers will be used to review certification.
Who does the Certification? IPC only or IPC partners?
Certification will be conducted by IPC Auditors only.
How long does the certification process typically take?
Typically, the first steps of the process will take about a month. These steps include completing IPC documentation (NDA, Manufacturer’s Agreement, etc.). IPC validation Services will provide an audit checklist to the customer for a process performance assessment review or self-audit check of their facility.
Once the first steps are completed, the on-site audit is scheduled. That process can take two to three days depending on several factors, such as existing certifications, size of the facility, and type of program selected. Testing, if required, will be at the duration of the specific standards’ testing methods (TM) as defined in the associated standard.
Are there any companies specifying IPC QML and/or QPL certification as a supplier requirement?
Many OEMs and EMS providers are specifying the same IPC standards used in the QML/QPL policies and procedures and will likely start to include references and requirements to Validation Services certification.
Why was IPC’s Validation Services Program created?
The program was created in response to the industry’s request to certify an organization to produce products and processes that meet or exceed specific IPC standards.
When were the Validation Services Programs created?
The QPL programs were launched in 2013. The QML programs were launched in 2014.