IPC 175X Enables Uniform RoHS Declarations


Reading time ( words)

by Ray Franklin

RoHSwell.com

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The IPC 175X standard for material content data exchange was released on 9 March 2006. This free standard makes possible uniform RoHS and JIG material content declarations. The PDF forms support six different levels of declaration. Anyone may download the free, 3.62 MB Zip file from the IPC website (see below). Inside the package are 6 files.

IPC-1751.pdf - Generic Requirements for Declaration Process Management

IPC-1752-1_v1.0.pdf - Material and Substance Declaration Description Form - Class 1 to 4

IPC-1752-2_v1.0.pdf - Material and Substance Declaration Description Form - Class 1, 2, 5 and 6

IPC-1752-3.pdf - Material and Substance Declaration Description Users Guide

IPC-1752.pdf - Sectional Requirements for Material Declaration Management

IPC-1752_XMLschema_v1.0.xsd - XML schema

1751 gives a good overview of the problem being solved, the supporting standards and the organizing principles applied. The whole point is to provide a uniform means for managing declarations between members of a supply chain relationship. In other words, if you buy or sell materials in the electronics industry, you need to become familiar with this standard.

The two forms are intended to provide a way to rapidly implement the standard. In addition, the XML schema makes it possible to automate many of the tasks associated with declaration exchange. The best starting point is the User's Guide, 1752-3.

The User's Guide provides detailed instructions for most of the fields on the forms. This is a very important document. These forms are complex pieces of software wrapped in a PDF file. It really is best to read the guide first, before attempting to use the forms. Even though the forms are relatively easy to use, there are many ways to render a form unusable.

One of the best things you can do is to make a copy of all the files. Better yet, make two copies. Keep the original Zip in a safe place and put at least one copy of all the files on a removable medium. When you start working with a form, make a copy of it first, preferably to a different name in a new directory.

Also be aware that these files will expand in size as you enter information. The more features of the form you use and the more information you enter, the larger the file. Simple declarations can easily grow to half a megabyte in size. This is one of the more annoying aspects of the implementation. If you plan to use the Acrobat forms for distribution, expect some hefty increases in your monthly internet bandwidth consumption. The PDF forms are really only useful for those who will be completing declarations manually.

For most companies, it will be worthwhile to figure out how to use the XML schema to bypass the Acrobat forms altogether. The most efficient transfer mechanism will be machine-to-machine via text XML files or some other compact data file. For that, you will want to study the XML schema.

The schema file, IPC-1752_XMLschema_v1.0.xsd, is a text file, but is not what I consider to be human readable. If you open the raw file (I used Notepad) you will see that it is unorganized. From Notepad I saved the file, changing the suffix from xsd to xml. Then I used Internet Explorer to open the xml file. Fortunately, IE automatically formats all xml files to be very human readable. The schema is then presented in a nicely indented fashion for easy reading.

The XSD file type is used specifically for schema files. The W3C website explains schema files and provides links to numerous schema tools. You will want to spend some time here if you plan to automate your declaration processes.

This is an important standard. The deadline for RoHS compliance is very close, but it is never too late to adopt a standard such as this. Eventually, I expect to see virtually all compliance data exchanged via this standard and its inevitable children.

Download the released standard from:

IPC 175X Standard

W3C information page on XML schema

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