SMT, PCB Electronics Industry News

SMT, PCB Electronics Industry News

News from Association Connecting Electronics Industries (IPC)

IPC-9203 Makes it Easier for Users to Determine Materials Compatibility

Apr 30, 2012

The job of testing or demonstrating materials and process compatibility just became easier with the newly released IPC-9203, Users Guide to IPC-9202 and the IPC-B-52 Standard Test Vehicle. IPC-9203 helps original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) alleviate materials and process problems and serves as a guide to using the IPC-B-52 SIR (surface insulation resistance) test board. Written as a companion document to IPC-9202, Material and Process Characterization/Qualification Test Protocol for Assessing Electrochemical Performance, IPC-9203 provides clarification between what a manufacturer "should" do and what a manufacturer "must" do for demonstrating materials and process compatibility.

Together, IPC-9202, published in October 2011, and IPC-9203 give OEMs a wealth of information to ensure that seemingly minor changes in materials and processes don’t end up causing problems in the field.

You can’t separate the materials from the manufacturing processes. The industry needs information on how materials interact on a standard substrate and with each other,” says Doug Pauls, principal materials and process engineer, Rockwell Collins, and member of the 5-32b SIR Electrochemical Migration Task Group that developed the guideline.

As Pauls explains, the concept of whether materials A and B are compatible is not well defined. Engineers have questions about which tests to do, whether they need to do multiple combinations of tests, whether they can set up a test matrix and how to process their test data. IPC-9203 will help users answer questions like these.

Pauls points out that users need to look at the combinations as technology changes. For example, higher power requirements can mean thicker trace lines which can prompt changes in materials and processes. “Those who take the time to run tests to ensure compatibility are likely to find that they can gain a big payoff and track down pesky intermittent problems,” he adds.

IPC members may request a free single-user download of IPC-9203 by sending an e-mail to within 90 days of the document’s publication. After that date, IPC members may purchase the guideline for $36. The standard industry price is $72. For more information or to purchase a copy of IPC-9203, visit

IPC ( is a global trade association based in Bannockburn, Ill., dedicated to the competitive excellence and financial success of its 3,100 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 $2.02 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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