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The History of IPC: Deep Roots in Assembler Training

Tue, Dec 13, 2022 at 6:20PM

The History of IPC: Deep Roots in Assembler Training

IPC standards govern all steps related to the inspection, design, assembly, and documentation of printed circuits.

The association was originally founded in 1957 as the Institute for Printed Circuits and today, its legal name is IPC International, Inc. In between, however, the name was changed to the Institute for Interconnecting and Packaging Electronic Circuits.

The company recognized that most people throughout the industry couldn’t remember the entire official name or what the words in the name meant. For this reason, and to avoid other confusing name changes, it was decided in 1999 that the official name would be IPC.

The Road to IPC Training and Technical Courses

IPC has come a long way since its first meeting was held in 1957 in Chicago, but the main objectives remain the same:

  • Promote an awareness of the attributes of PWBs instead of hand wiring
  • Offer forums during which industry members can exchange information
  • Provide the industry with meaningful data and studies
  • Develop standards and specifications for manufacturers and users of the industry

By 1959, IPC was holding meetings with the likes of RCA, Sylvania, and Westinghouse to develop cooperative programs to educate users about the advantages of printed circuits. This represented the beginning of IPC training and education.

In 1960, IPC began cooperating with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) regarding the development of industry standards.

Forming Industry Standards: The Need for Training

By 1963, committees had been created to write standards for flat cables, develop data on the solderability of printed circuit boards, develop data on shearing and punching laminates, and study multilayer PWBs.

The need for organized and systematic training and protocols was becoming apparent. IPC formed the Technical Planning and Standards Coordinating Committee to guide the technical coordination of standards, and a numbering system was established.

In 1967, IPC opened membership to universities and colleges, further helping to establish a foundation for the training and education of standards. Through the years, several books, pamphlets, manuals, and handbooks have been printed by IPC leadership, and several educational programs have been organized.

A cooperative program with Underwriters Laboratories (UL) was established in 1971 and still continues today. In 1972, a major undertaking by IPC included an upgrade of the procedures for developing IPC standards.

World-Class Technical Training Courses Today

The first IPC certification and technical training program was implemented in 1994 and was based on IPC-A-610B, Acceptability of Electronic Assemblies. Today, these same technical courses are taught all over the world in different languages.

There are more than 10,000 certified instructors who have trained more than 125,000 operators, buyers, inspectors, engineers, and managers. The original certification program has also spawned hundreds of additional IPC certification efforts.

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