Printed circuit boards play an important role in the operation of electronic products. Not only do they carry the components soldered to them or attached by other techniques. The circuit traces or conductors also carry current to all components and connections.
Using the correct materials in relation to the desired operation is of utmost importance.
The IPC-6012 document guides the printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturer in his choice of the various materials used for the production of bare boards. Likewise, it might also be useful for designers who want to know more about the PCB production processes and materials used.
This document fulfills an interface function between a customer and a PCB manufacturer and is one of the keystone documents in the procurement of printed circuit boards. Being one of the performance standards in a series (the IPC-6010 series), it is the document of choice when it comes down to determining the correct thickness of the various surface finishers used in the industry. Based on the IPC-6011, the IPC-6012 shows the specific requirements for the qualification and performance for the fabrication of rigid printed boards.
It provides criteria for single sided, double sided as well as multilayer boards, with or without via’s as well as metal core boards. It describes the various materials to be used, like the laminates, bonding materials, and metal foils.
Criteria for the visual inspection of the finished PCB can be found, but also for the inspection of cross-sections. Furthermore, the various tests that are to be performed by the board manufacturer are described. A mandatory test described in this standard is the electrical continuity and isolation resistance test. Other tests like thermal shock, vibration, dielectric withstanding voltage etcetera are described as well, they shall be performed by the manufacturer if specified by the customer. Not only the different tests are described but also the test frequency for the different classes of product.
Like other IPC documents this standard is developed by a task group with members from the various areas of the electronics industry, PCB manufacturers, but also users of the printed circuit boards. Together they work on a regular update of this document.
IPC also has published two addendums based on the IPC-6012. Specific criteria for Space applications are to be found in the IPC-6012 DS, the IPC-6012 DA describes specific criteria for printed circuit boards typically used in automotive applications.
Even though the certification program based on this standard is relatively new the Master Trainers at PIEK are fully prepared to perform the IPC-6012 training courses and certifications.