By Sandhya Malhotra
With the objective of formulating indigenous standards to test printed circuit boards (PCBs) and to improve the quality of PCBs, the Indian Printed Circuit Association (IPCA) has announced that it plans to open a state-of-the-art PCB laboratory in Bengaluru by June 2011, in collaboration with Japan Printed Circuit Association. This full fledged test lab will meet the needs of the PCB industry and its member for testing the quality of their products and certifying them, based on international standards.
The association has earmarked an investment of Rs 25 million for the first phase of operation. The testing of boards will be carried on high end testing equipment, which the association will be importing.
Commenting on the need for such a lab, Anil Kumar, ex-president, IPCA explains, “Presently, there is no suitable facility available in the country to technically assess and certify the quality parameters of PCBs and raw materials under one roof. Our industry need a suitable testing and accreditation facility to certify the quality of the products manufactured here, including the assessment of the quality of raw materials required to manufacture PCBs.”
Currently, there is no accredited facility for PCB testing as the per requirements of international standards, at one premise, where small and medium companies can go for testing and certification.
“The test lab will cater to the quality assessment of laminates used and PCBs, as a certifying facility with due official accreditation by global standardising agencies,” says Kumar. “Currently, we are in the process of collecting PCB testing specifications from the Indian railways, the defence sector and other large customers to understand their specifications and standard needs, so that Indian small and medium PCB manufacturers can match up to those standards and supply to such large customers,” said Kumar.
“We will be certifying and charging a fee, based on the end customers’ requirements. However, we have not worked out the fee structure, but it will be nominal and hence affordable for all our IPCA members. Non members will have to pay extra to get our certification. At our facility, we will be constructing the complete ecosystem for different tests, such as testing of end to end PCBs, testing of PCBs with components and finished goods, etc,” adds Kumar.
It is important that PCB testing is done so that any problems with the system are worked out before any mass production takes place. PCB testing is necessary for even small devices so that it can be assured that they will work properly. There are many components to PCB testing that are usually performed by PCB services. If PCB testing is not completed by reliable services, then the result will be a poor product in the end that will not satisfy the customer. This is why even small companies should rely on high quality PCB services to make sure that their products are of good quality.