Complying with IPC Standards for PCB Design
Whether you work in electronics design, manufacturing, or even defense, the alphabet soup of standards organizations is extensive and may seem daunting. These standards are meant to ensure performance and reliability of PCBs and electronic products in a number of industries. Among the most important and widely accepted standards for PCB design specifications and manufacturing are the IPC standards. Complying with these standards at the design level and during manufacturing becomes much easier when you use the right design software. Take a look at how Altium Designer can help you remain compliant with IPC standards.
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The only unified PCB design suite with design and verification features that can be tailored to IPC standards.
Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), such as printed circuit manufacturers and component manufacturers, as well as PCB designers, have plenty of standards to contend with. The IPC standards are no exception. These industry standards are designed to ensure reliability and manufacturability of printed circuits and other electronic assemblies. No matter which industry you work in, the IPC standards will have something to say about the design and manufacture of your products.
This begs the question, what are IPC standards, and why are they important for PCB manufacturing? Furthermore, where can someone find IPC standards documentation? The IPC releases these standards as they are updated, and you can retrieve them directly from the source. If you are a PCB designer, it is important to design your printed circuit boards around the IPC standards to ensure quality and manufacturability.
The IPC standards define specific design and manufacturing requirements for all aspects of a printed circuit board. Some examples include via and microvia manufacturing, solder joint strength requirements, solder mask material and thickness, material properties for substrates, and several other manufacturing requirements.
What IPC Sections are Relevant to PCB Design and Manufacturing?
Some important design standards that are meant to ensure mechanical strength and thermal stability are IPC 2152, IPC 4761, and IPC 6012E. These standards have important consequences for PCB manufacturers and may affect processing parameters during fabrication. The IPC-A-600 series also includes many important standards for PCB manufacturing and electronics assembly.
For component designers and PCB designers, IPC 7350 specifies footprint and land pattern requirements for SMT components. PCB designers should keep these specifications in mind when designing their land patterns for compliant footprints to ensure solderability and reliable electrical connections.
- The IPC 6012E standards on annular rings are designed to ensure that vias have appropriate mechanical and thermal stability during operation.Learn about designing annular rings on vias to comply with IPC 6012E.
- The IPC 2152 standards define important design specifications to ensure thermal stability and performance.Learn more about IPC 2152 and designing for thermal stability.
- IPC has created standards on component footprints, and component designers should pay attention to these standards to ensure manufacturability on Circuit Boards.See how you can create IPC-compliant footprint models in Altium Designer.
Designing an IPC compliant component footprint in Altium Designer
Military and aerospace are two regulation-heavy and standards-heavy industries that carry their own standards in addition to the IPC standards. The standards in these industries are compatible with IPC, although some standards on complex boards exceed the IPC performance and quality requirements. Some important standards for these industries include ISO, MIL, FAA, and SAE.
Standards Compliance With the Right Design Software
More complex boards, such as those that operate at ultra-high speed or that use HDI design methodologies, carry stringent standards on design and manufacturability. The right design software should help you meet these important design standards without sacrificing adaptability or eas of use. When your design software is built on top of a rules-driven design engine, you can easily incorporate important standards for your particular application as design rules. Professional certifications are available to give you the knowledge you need to remain compliant and define industry standards within your design software.
- As designs become more complex, the IPC standards will continue to keep pace, and designers should stay aware of IPC developments for more complex PCB designs.Learn more about HDI design and quality requirements in the IPC standards.
- In some designs, specifically with RF/microwave devices that use HDI design, you should protect your vias with tented vias or VIPPO pads.
- As a professional designer, you might be looking to further your expertise in PCB design. The IPC CID certification can help you improve your skills and become a major player in the PCB industry.
HDI via design rules in Altium Designer
Altium Designer is the only PCB design platform that has something for everyone. Only Altium Designer includes all the design tools you need for design, manufacturing, and documentation in an integrated design environment. These features are designed to be adaptable, ensuring your board will be compliant with industry standards.
Design to Industry Standards with Altium Designer
The rules-driven design environment in Altium Designer allows you to define industry standards and allowed tolerances as design rules. Every design feature in the program reads from these design rules as you build your board. The verification features automatically check your design against standard and customized design rules, helping you remain compliant with industry standards throughout the design process.
- All the design tools in Altium Designer are built on top of a single rules-driven design engine. You can define industry standards as design rules, helping ensure your board is compliant and manufacturable.Learn more about the rules-driven environment in Altium Designer.
- With physical copper placement being so important in PCBs, working with the right routing tools in a unified design environment will help ensure IPC compliance and manufacturability.See the interactive routing tools in action in Altium Designer.
- Your components, documentation, and overall design can be brought into compliance with IPC standards with Altium Designer.Learn more about IPC compliance tools in Altium Designer.
The integrated design environment in Altium Designer includes all the critical tools you need for creating your board. You can also purchase add-ons for more specialized applications, and these add-ons are accessible directly from a single program. You won’t have to switch between multiple programs, and any extensions access your design data directly within Altium Designer.
Working with integrated design software might seem challenging at first, but Altium will be there with plenty of resources to help you succeed. Altium provides an extensive knowledge base, the AltiumLive forum, podcasts and webinars with PCB design industry experts, and detailed feature tutorials to help you reach success. You’ll have the resources you need to design top-quality Printed Circuit Boards while complying with IPC standards.
With Altium Designer, you can implement the right design strategy to ensure compliance with IPC and other industry standards. The customizable via, pad, component, and other printed board design tools are integrated into a single program with a consistent interface. Forget buying design features piecemeal and getting stuck behind paywalls. Instead, you need to work with the best PCB design software on the market: you need Altium Designer.