IPC’s Hand Soldering Competition Program: A Brief History


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The history of the IPC Hand Soldering Competition (HSC) grew from the 2010 Scandinavian Electronics Event which saw the first Swedish Championship in hand soldering organized by Lars Wallin IPC Europe, Lars-Gunnar Klag and Krister Park. The first IPC organized competition was held at IPC APEX EXPO 2012 and was created to celebrate the outstanding skills and professional achievements of talented manufacturing floor workers. With interest in HSC competitions in Europe and China growing, IPC launched the World HSC Championship to further prove the value of these professionals within the electronics industry.

With regional competitions in the Americas, Europe and Asia, IPC Hand Soldering Competition participants compete to build a functional electronics assembly within a 60-minute time limit. Assemblies are judged on their soldering quality in accordance with the current IPC-A-610 Class 3 criteria, the speed at which the assembly was produced and the overall electrical functionality of the assembly. IPCA-610 Master Instructors serve as independent judges for the competitions.

Competitions are held in two categories: professionals and beginners. The beginners category was added in 2016, to encourage the younger generation to the value of improving their highly specialized and rare hand soldering skills, which are needed in the electronics industry.

The winners of regional competitions receive cash prizes and the opportunity to compete in the World Hand Soldering Championship, held each year in various cities worldwide in conjunction with highly prestigious electronics trade shows.

“The IPC Hand Soldering Competition highlights the skills of the best hand soldering talent in the world,” said Dave Bergman, vice president, IPC standards and training. “The competition provides members of the electronics industry a chance to demonstrate their know-how to their customers as well as to champion and reward their skilled workers internally. Hand soldering competitions foster a successful work dynamic, fully compliant with stringent IPC requirements, on their manufacturing floor,”

The first World Hand Soldering Championship was held on February 21, 2013, in San Diego, at IPC APEX EXPO 2013 with competitors representing 9 nations who competed in a very strong competition. With a cheering crowd and enthusiastic participants, this first World Championship set the scene to what has become a true electronics industry tradition that is supported by the leading suppliers of hand soldering products worldwide.

The hand soldering competition started out as a showcase event in Sweden to highlight the importance of hand soldering skilled professionals. It has continuously grown to now include six regional competitions in Europe, regional competitions in India and several regional competitions in Asia Pacific.

This past year at IPC APEX EXPO 2019 saw the world championship grow to 12 competitors coming from Britain, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and Thailand. Watch for an IPC Hand Soldering competitions near you to celebrate these highly skilled professionals.

For more information, view IPC’s Hand Soldering Competition web page.

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