The number one IPC certification program is the IPC A-610. This is for good reason. This definitive standard is at the end of the manufacturing food chain impacting the quality, procurement, process, inspection, end customer inspection and assembly groups tremendously. It is the “refere” document which guides users on the acceptability requirements for PCBs.
The training and certification training is based on the IPC A-610 industry consensus standards which define the acceptability criteria for finished and assembled PWBs. It is used as a reference guide when OEMs are discussing with either their contract manufacturers or internal assembly group about what is acceptable and what is a reject.
In IPC jargon there exist 3 training program levels … CIS, CIT and MITs. CIS, or technician level certification is for floor personal including but not limited to QC inspectors, leads for test of manufacturing, engineering personnel. Sometimes management and personnel get in to the act as well. At the CIT level these are the people who will be instructing those who are CIS certified. Finally, MITs are the SMEs who train the CITs and become the outreach ambassadors for the IPC certification program.
The certificates are based on knowing how to use the and look up and interpret what is found in the industry consensus document, the IPCA-610. the certificates are valid for 2 years and are transferable with you, as they belong to you individually.
Classes for the CIS level are structured so that they are modularized to fit those who manufacture almost every conceivable electronics assembly all the way to those dealing with just wire harness and cable manufacturing. They are modularized where some of the modules are mandatory while others are suitable to a given business and therefore are only taught when required. If all the modules are taught the complete class is taught in 3 days. By the way, make sure you are being instructed to the latest revision level (see your contract words) as the “E” revision was recently launched in the summer of 2010.
At the CIT level the instructors are required to know the complete document. They are to be SMEs for the CISs being trained. Topics which are included in the CIT training are accept / reject criteria for the following:
- Handling of electronic assemblies
- Mechanical assembly
- Component installation
- Location and orientation
- Cleanliness of assemblies
- Marking of assemblies
- Laminate conditions
- Discrete wiring assemblies
- SMT assemblies
The IPCA-610 CIT certification is valid for 2 years and is a transportable industry certification.