SMT, PCB Electronics Industry News

IPC Committee Focuses ON the Box

Sep 12, 2011

For the past year, engineers from companies like Honeywell Aerospace and Rockwell Collins have been meeting to lay the groundwork for IPC-A-630, Requirements and Acceptance for Enclosures, better known as “the box build standard.” These volunteers have come largely from the OEMs that specify the cabinetry they will use. When the IPC 7-31j task group gathers at its upcoming meeting at IPC Midwest on September 21, it will seek greater participation from component suppliers who create those enclosures.

“Participation from all parties involved with the design, manufacture and end use of a product is especially important in areas that involve many components and particularly in a diverse area that currently has no standardization,” says Dave Torp, vice president of standards and technology at IPC. Enclosures that hold boards, card cages, connectors and other electronic components are such an area. No standard currently addresses the complex marketplace that includes everything from paints and coatings to plastic and metal skins to screws that must be set to a certain torque level.

IPC is stepping into this murky area with the work on IPC-A-630. Although the task group’s initial goal is to make IPC-A-630 the document for box builds, focused on high-end boxes, the group envisions that the concepts will one day be endorsed throughout many fields.  “We hope the guideline will migrate from the military and high-end systems to consumer electronics like MP3 players, electronic gaming systems and PCs,” explains IPC Manager of Assembly Technology Kris Roberson.

Starting with a fairly small market segment will simplify development and adoption of an area that involves a dizzying array of terms and technical parameters. When multiple OEMs provide several EMS companies with documentation that uses an array of terms, the potential for problems quickly exceeds acceptable levels.

“It’s clear that customers want to use this document. Now we want to get the manufacturers of boxes, molders and sheet metal people involved. Their terminology is different, so it’s important for them to provide their input to ensure the document will work well for them too,” Roberson said.

A draft of the first document is expected to go out for public comment next summer, giving newcomers plenty of time to provide input as the standard evolves. The next meeting of the IPC 7-31j task group will run 8:00 am-5:00 pm on Wednesday, September 21, 2011, in conjunction with IPC Midwest Conference & Exhibition at the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel & Convention Center, Schaumburg, Ill. Individuals who are interested in participating on the task group should register for “standards development committee meetings,” at www.IPCMidwestShow.org/register. For more information on the activities of the task group, contact Roberson at KrisRoberson@ipc.org or +1 847-597-2846.


IPC (www.IPC.org) is a global trade association based in Bannockburn, Ill., dedicated to the competitive excellence and financial success of its 3,000 member companies which represent all facets of the electronics industry, including design, printed board manufacturing, electronics assembly and test. As a member-driven organization and leading source for industry standards, training, market research and public policy advocacy, IPC supports programs to meet the needs of an estimated $1.85 trillion global electronics industry. IPC maintains additional offices in Taos, N.M.; Arlington, Va.; Stockholm, Sweden; Moscow, Russia; Bangalore, India; and Shanghai, Shenzhen and Beijing, China.

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