Standardization is one of the key issues in promoting any new technology, but it is almost mandatory for SMT because of the need for automation to promote consistency in quality. Standards make the market grow faster than it would without them. A good standard benefits both users and suppliers. For example, if the package size tolerances are tightly controlled (within the requirement of the standard), the user can properly design the land pattern and use the same design for all suppliers of that package. The supplier also benefits because as long as the packages meet the standard, they can meet the needs of all their customers.
Use of standards also sets the quality expectations for both the suppliers and users. An industry standard creates a win-win situation for everyone. Following standards ensures that suppliers and OEMs are on the same page to ensure superior quality and reliability and lower cost.
However, standards have a couple of downsides. They take time to develop and release because there are established guidelines and rules, which are critical for their acceptance and need to be followed. They are also not good for lawyers because they reduce conflicts and legal disputes; on second thought, this is an upside.
Standard vs. Specification
A standard is not the same as a specification. Standards are set by industry organizations, such as IPC and EIA, in their areas of interest to their industry in general and their members in particular. Specifications, on the other hand, are established by users to meet their own unique requirements. However, if a particular company wishes to use a given standard as their specification, they certainly can do that, and many just do that.
To read this entire column, which appeared in the September 2019 issue of SMT007 Magazine, click here.