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Last week, IPC hosted SummerCom, our semi-annual standards development committee meetings, in Raleigh, North Carolina. The event brought together thousands of technical experts from around the world to shape the product, manufacturing, and supply-chain standards that guide our industry.
The three of us—U.S.-based members of IPC’s Government Relations (GR) team—participated in some of the meetings and had seven top take-aways.
1. Industry volunteers are the heart of IPC. IPC standards are developed through the collaboration of thousands of industry volunteers. Their expertise, insights, and support are essential to the success of IPC’s standards, and it is always great to see IPC leaders come together, especially when we have the opportunity to honor those who have made significant contributions to the industry.
2. IPC standards are key to helping members stay on top of environmental and supply-chain regulations. IPC standards committees are on the front lines of understanding and complying with the dizzying array of ever-changing environmental regulations that affect global and domestic supply chains. The Supplier Declaration Subcommittee and the IPC-175x task groups are working to ensure that our members are able to comply with these regulations in the most efficient manner by building flexible frameworks and data exchange models.
3. Industry is tackling microvia reliability concerns. Industry representatives discussed concerns related to microvia reliability and agreed to share the work of understanding the scope of the issue and advancing solutions and standards. Interested in getting involved in this important work? IPC Contact: Chris Jorgensen
4. IPC task group moves closer to final conflict minerals data exchange standard. The IPC 2-18H task group addressed comments received on the standard’s final draft, and now it plans to vote on a final revision this summer. IPC will be working to see that this standard is recognized by the European Commission as an applicable “supply chain due diligence scheme.” Separately, IPC is in talks with the European Partnership for Responsible Minerals (EPRM) to promote collaboration on this issue.
5. The U.S. Executive Agent (EA) for PCBs affirmed the importance of “trusted supplier” programs. IPC, the EA, and the defense contractor community worked together to create a “trusted supplier” standard, known as IPC-1791. Based on this standard, IPC is now providing validation services for members of the IPC-1791 Qualified Manufacturers List (QML). The EA detailed efforts to grow the importance and value of the 1791 program, which coincides with wider efforts within the U.S. DoD to ensure reliable supply chains. To learn more about IPC-1791, contact our colleague Randy Cherry.
6. Workforce shortage remains top industry challenge. No matter where we travel, we hear the same refrain from industry colleagues: The shortage of workers is restraining growth and opportunity. IPC is working to address this issue through our jobs task analysis, credentialing, and STEM education programs. The IPC GR team is advocating for public-private career, technical and adult education (CTE) programs, as well as the expansion of industry-recognized apprenticeship programs. IPC members are also undertaking their own innovative programs. Be sure to tell us about your company’s efforts to bolster the workforce so that we can recognize and share them with the rest of industry. Also, don’t forget to mentor or be mentored in IPC’s Emerging Engineer Program.
7. IPC Government Relations poised to better support standards committees. IPC’s standards committees are taking on many daunting challenges, some of which are related directly or indirectly to public policy. For example, the Halogen-Free Materials Subcommittee is beginning the revision of a seminal white paper on halogen-free alternatives, which is related to EPA’s implementation of the Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act. Halogenated, flame-retardant chemicals like decabromodiphenyl ether (decaBDE) and tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA) are being considered for risk evaluations and risk-management strategies. IPC’s Government Relations team is working to provide policy expertise to this committee and others that are undertaking equally meaningful projects.