IPC is a global trade organization whose goal is to help OEMs, EMS, PCB manufacturers, and suppliers build electronics better. They provide numerous standards covering the electronics manufacturing supply chain as well as engineering education and training.
We're very grateful to have IPC employees Teresa Rowe, Sr. Director, Assembly & Standards Technology and Patrick Crawford, Manager of Design Standards and Related Industry Programs join us in this episode. We discuss how the standards created by IPC provide value, the process that goes into creating and updating different standards, how members can take advantage of IPC's extensive offerings, and more.
If you'd like to submit a comment on one of the standards feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For interest in the PCB design competition email patrickCrawford@ipc.org.
* Edit: At 1:06 Patrick wanted to note that he was referring to perpendicular routing, not parallel.
[00:00:00] Chris: Welcome to the pick place podcast, a show where we talk about electronics, manufacturing and everything related to getting a circuit board into the world. This is Chris Denney with Worthington.
[00:00:17] Melissa: And this is Melissa Hough with CircuitHub
[00:00:19] Chris: Welcome back, Melissa.
[00:00:20] Melissa: welcome back, Chris.
[00:00:22] Chris: And I just want to say, I just finished listening to the ESD episode and that came out even better than I was expecting it to. I was like, whoa, this is going to be a super nerdy topic, but I really enjoyed it.
[00:00:33] Melissa: Yeah, I think I was mentioning to you that even my mom listened to the entire thing,
[00:00:39] Chris: That's pretty good.
[00:00:40] That's pretty good. So now we have, we have another listener from California. There we go. Now we can say we're coast to coast listeners. Perfect. But no, I, I hope everybody enjoyed that episode and the one that comes after it, which technically I don't think we've released yet or no,
[00:00:54] Melissa: no, we did release it this morning. Yeah.
[00:00:55] Chris: That was a good one. Everybody enjoyed talking about designing products with Darren. That was a great one. So, but I think we have a good one here today. Now some listeners know many listeners probably don't know that there's an organization called IPC, which used to actually stand for something that those, those letters actually used to have an acronym associated with it, but they no longer do as far as I understand.
[00:01:17] Melissa: I never really thought about what this is, what it actually stands for.
[00:01:21] Chris: That's sort of the inside joke, that's sort of the inside joke. It doesn't necessarily have anything that it stands for, but but now it's a, it's a super, super valuable, super important organization that, in a very generic 10,000 foot level set standards of how things get designed and made. But it's so much more complicated than that.
[00:01:40] And there's so much more that they can do. So we've been wanting to get these folks on for a long time now. We have some heavy hitters here today. Super, super excited to have them on. So we have the the manager of design standards and related to industry programs. That's Patrick Crawford and then the senior director of assembly and standards technology Teresa Rowe and uh, welcome to the show.
[00:02:02] Patrick: thank you.
[00:02:03] Chris: So if, if you don't mind I I'd just like to start with you. Can you give us a little bit of your background where you came from, how long you've been with IPC and maybe tell us like what your kind of day-to-day looks like.
[00:02:17] Teresa: sure. Thank you, Chris. I started with IPC as a volunteer. Many years ago, I was a committee standards, development volunteer. I led some committees and I'm sure kind of talking about what that means as we go on today. And in 2014, I joined the staff to actually work on this side of the, of the activity where I helped to develop standards and bring them to the industry.
[00:02:44] Chris: So when you were, when you were volunteering, was that because you were, you were already working in the industry, but you needed IPC's like input or your, or you wanted to just get everybody agreeing on something? Well, how did that get started?
[00:02:57] Teresa: I've worked as a defense contractor in the defense market. I was also a trainer for the organization. So, I spent a lot of time working with our field service people and with our manufacturing staff on meeting the requirements and then also with our designers and our proposal teams to prepare the documentation to actually get the contracts, to build the product
[00:03:21] Chris: Okay. So was it like, the reason you got involved was because you were, you were already sort of, and using their resources, but you wanted to have kind of a greater input on it. How did that all get developed?
[00:03:33] Teresa: So now I'm going to date myself a little bit, but yeah, unfortunately I was trying to stay away from that,
[00:03:38] Chris: Yeah. I'm sorry.
[00:03:39] Teresa: no, that's okay. Back in the early nineties, there was something called MIL standard 2000 and um, MIL standard 2000 was very prescriptive. It was department of defense documented military standard as we refer to it and it was canceled and we needed something in our manufacturing world to replace it.
[00:03:59] And there was this thing called J standard 001 out there, I attended an IPC event and activity a conference. And I went to a task group meeting and I started to see that the document was developed by industry for industry. And I said, sign me up for this. I want to be a part of this. I want to be a voice on this.
[00:04:21] And uh, it grew from there.
[00:04:23] Chris: Oh, super cool. All right. Yeah, that, that's kinda neat. It's kind of nice to know how somebody could get involved with committees and stuff like that. I definitely think we're going to have a conversation about that later, but before we do, why don't we introduce Patrick, give him an opportunity to kind of tell us about himself, his background, where he came from before joining IPC and maybe, maybe what your day-to-day looks like.
[00:04:42] Patrick: sure. Yeah. So I come from a completely different world. I come from more of a, I guess, theoretical space. I actually was.
[00:04:52] Yeah. I'm one of these guys. So I studied physics and then I got into the more theoretical side of materials, science and engineering. I worked on, you know, carbon nano tubes and machines
[00:05:04] to build graphene sheets and all sorts of fun stuff.
[00:05:07] Chris: We make it possible? Is it, is it going to happen? Are we going to have graphene batteries?
[00:05:11] Patrick: It's
[00:05:12] Chris: Oh, don't tell me that.
[00:05:13] Patrick: The answer is yes, but the audience can't see my, my hand waving. Can we, can we make them at scale for a cost or for a price that's going to be amenable to huge production runs? I think we're going to really need to figure out some pretty complicated process steps first. Just so, so just look for some context for that.
[00:05:34] We had a one of the machines we used to grow the graphene. It would take us a month maybe to get like a square centimeter of something that we could put
[00:05:45] Chris: oh my goodness.
[00:05:46] Patrick: into the four probe and like actually start to characterize. So, granted it's been half a decade or more since that. So, I could call my colleagues and see where we're at
[00:05:55] Chris: I was going to say, we started with vacuum tubes and now we have billions of transistors. So at some
[00:05:59] Patrick: exactly.
[00:05:59] It will happen. What, I, I
[00:06:01] don't know. I don't know. when and then I moved on I wanted to kind of step away from. You know, 90 hour weeks in a lab, turning bolts,
[00:06:09] something breaks. And if you guys have ever used a vacuum systems before, but you know, it takes you 20 hours to put it together and then you're leak detecting for 60.
[00:06:20] And so I heard about IPC through actually a family friend. She she was talking about it at a party and I was like, wait a minute,
[00:06:27] I've used so
[00:06:29] many standards.
[00:06:29] Chris: This must have been the nerdiest
[00:06:31] Patrick: It, yes. And I was like, wait a minute. I used so many standards when I was in the lab and we kind of started talking about it. And I was like, wow, this is really cool.
[00:06:39] I want to be more on the, to be on the inside of that. So, you know, fast forward a few months applied and here I am completely engrossed in helping industry create some standards.
[00:06:52] Chris: So now neither of you are volunteering and you're both full-time employees of IPC. Okay. And how long have you been there? Patrick?
[00:07:00] Patrick: Coming up on three years. So since mid 2019,
[00:07:04] Chris: Alright. Very cool. So, So some of our audience is probably familiar with Teresa alluded to it earlier J standard. But some of our audience probably less of our audience is familiar with IPC-A610.
[00:07:17] It depends on where you are in your career. If you've been in the industry for a decade or longer, you're almost certainly familiar with IPC-A610, if you're designing products, but most of the time you, as a designer listener, you don't have to worry about A610. You just have to say class two, and then I have to worry about
[00:07:36] I have to worry about making sure that what I deliver to you meets that standard. But to give like kind of a high level overview as far as the guy on this side of the microphone understands A610. It basically just helps us find a target, right? So if I, if I'm an Archer and I'm about to shoot my arrow, I need to know where to aim that thing.
[00:07:58] And I want to aim it at bullseye. Well, guess what? I'm a terrible Archer. I am not going to hit bullseye every single time, but as long as I hit somewhere within that target and the rule state that I landed inside the target, then I get some points for it. the most generic explanation I can give for A610..
[00:08:16] They set the target. Here's what you want to achieve, but you're not always going to hit it because every process is fallible. And if you deviate a little bit, you can still get some points for it. If you deviate too far, no points for you, can't ship that product. Is that a good summary? Who would you say?
[00:08:32] Teresa: I'd hate to crush your world,
[00:08:35] Chris: no.
[00:08:36] Teresa: yeah, but in the latest revision revision, H there are no target conditions anymore.
[00:08:43] Chris: right. That's right. That's
[00:08:45] right. I
[00:08:45] Teresa: only about acceptable process indicator and defect.
[00:08:49] Chris: Yup. Yup. I remember that because we we've been going through our folks have been going through more and more training that I have not gone through yet. But a lot of other folks have, and they were telling me there was no more target,
[00:08:59] Patrick: There's no PCBs in horseshoes or hand grenades. So unfortunately it's not close enough. Yeah.
[00:09:06] Chris: Yay. That's good. That's a good point. I like that. Let me put it this way. Somebody at some point has to determine everybody has to agree on what they want to accept. Now. I could, every single time another customer comes to me, I could say, okay, well, my leads were 25% off the pad, would you still accept it?
[00:09:32] And they might say, oh, sure. All right. Well, what if they were 50% off pad? Would you still accept it? Oh, sure. Well, what if they were 75% off the pad? Would you still accept it? No, no, no. That's too far. Oh, okay. All right. So customer a says 75% is too far. And then I go to the next guy and he goes, yeah, 75 is fine, but if you're 80% off then it's not okay.
[00:09:50] And then I'd have to keep a list of every single customer and what they find acceptable, what they don't find acceptable. Can you imagine the madness that that would be to try to determine what every single customer wants and who considers what acceptable? It would be an absolute nightmare. And that is what standards helps us with.
[00:10:10] As far as I'm concerned is finding a way of just, can we all just agree? This is what's acceptable. And then if you have any little deviation from there, just let us know. Like for example, I have one customer who says I do not want my resistor shipped to me upside down. whatever reason he says, under no circumstances, may you ever ship something to me upside down.
[00:10:32] And I say, okay, if this happens in our process, it's going to require rework. You understand the implications of that? Are you okay with that? Yes, he's okay with that. That is a deviation from the A610 standard. And that's something that we both agreed upon, but that's one small deviation as opposed to coming up with an enormous set of standards per each customer.
[00:10:53] That's what we appreciate about having standards like A610. But yeah, we do have this one customer who, who insists on not having any resistors upside down and we try to fix them before they get into the reflow oven,
[00:11:04] because there's so much more difficult to fix after they're
[00:11:06] Patrick: Yeah.
[00:11:06] Chris: reflow oven.
[00:11:08] And that's just, just what he wants. And we explained to him why a six 10 says it's okay. Under limited circumstances, but I digress. So I wanted to give kind of a high-level overview of how IPC looks to me as a manufacturer. But I think here's an opportunity where you guys can step in and you had mentioned in our conversations before recording the show that you'd like to touch on sort of IPC's mission and their goals and what they're trying to achieve.
[00:11:38] And, and I don't know if Teresa or Patrick, either of you would like to get started with that, but you're, you're welcome to, I, I don't know who wrote out those paragraphs, but they're, they're excellent information.
[00:11:49] Patrick: Teresa, I saw you just chomping at the bit to jump in that entire time. I'll, I'll let you go first.
[00:11:56] Chris: You can tell me
[00:11:57] how I'm wrong about the resistors, if
[00:11:59] you want.
[00:11:59] Teresa: know, I'll start here, but I'd like to go back to the comments without a six 10 then, but but let's start with IPC a little bit first. So yes, that is correct. When you said Chris about IPC, not just being an not being an acronym for anything anymore. It had a very long name and then the name changed.
[00:12:18] And in the early two thousands, I believe IPC decided that it was recognized across the world as a trade association for electronics. And it was going to drop the fancy name with the acronym and just be known as IPC.
[00:12:33] Chris: Okay.
[00:12:34] Teresa: So, we are a trade association of member companies. We do also serve non-member companies.
[00:12:40] We have four pillars solutions standards, education and advocacy spells SEAS and as part of that, Patrick and I are part of the standards group where we develop industry standards for anything from design materials assembly, even cables and harnesses and then box build. We think of it as a tree where it starts with the roots, the ideas of the design and build on the materials and then the fabrication of our boards. And then as you go up the trunk of the tree and you go up through the assembly and the cables, and then you get into the box build you have all these branches that come out from the tree, and those are documents and standards that help identify the different pieces of the process and provide requirements for those pieces of the process.
[00:13:35] Chris: When you say materials, you mean like, like when I buy solder paste, there's, there's an IPC standard for how to make the alloy and blend the flux and all
[00:13:45] Teresa: so J standard, double O five talks about solder paste. It talks about the contents, what the contamination levels are of those contents of testing requirements. Yes.
[00:13:56] Chris: So I don't have to, I don't have to put my, my supplier through the ringer on all that. All he has to do is say it meets the. Yeah,
[00:14:03] it's beautiful.
[00:14:04] Teresa: And then later standards will say, you know, as you're J standard, double O one will say, you need to test your solder and your solder pots, for example, for additional contamination, because we know as you tin parts the solder becomes contaminated with some of those other materials that are in the component leads or on the finishes.
[00:14:26] So these standards that hang out on the branches are just as important as the big standards in the trunk of the tree. The education piece of this takes it takes the concepts from the standards and it begins to educate the industry and provides programs and course materials for certification, for example, to standards or workforce training.
[00:14:52] So there are opportunities for people to take different types of training, depending on what their needs are in their facility. And then our advocacy people work with our Washington DC lawmakers and other lawmakers around the world Europe, for example. And they talk about the latest things that are happening with the environment and other manufacturing activities and how we can be of assistance and represent our industry in those activities.
[00:15:24] Chris: Oh, very interesting. So when you say environment, you mean like the natural world environment? Not the socio environment,
[00:15:31] Teresa: and the natural world environment, we're concerned about the environmental impacts of manufacturing in general. And then also we're currently working on a standard for the impact of use of cleaners to an assembly in an assembly environment. So say you have a hundred people working in your assembly environment and they have they have chemicals and cleaners all around them.
[00:15:57] What's the impact on their health. And so we're working on a standard with some industry representatives we call it green cleaners that looks at the world.
[00:16:08] Chris: Interesting. So is that at all related to the GHS, the globally harmonized standard ? I remember when we were when we were working on getting our IPC certification years ago our IPC consultant was talking to us about how to relabel chemicals. So for example, we might buy A gallon of flux.
[00:16:28] Right. But then we, if we want to use that at a work bench, we have to repackage it. Right. Cause we're not going to give every person a giant, here's a big gallon of flux. Right. He says, you know, you may want to consider labeling where, when you repackage it in into your little squeeze bottle or whatever label that as, you know, obviously call it the, you know, Kester, flux, blah, blah, blah, whatever it might be.
[00:16:53] But we actually went one step further and we started to put the safety data right on that bottle as well. And there's these little pictograms. Have you ever seen this little pictograms called the GHS pictograms. Yeah. So is, is that a different cause I don't think that's part of IPC. That's probably a chemical company
[00:17:11] Patrick: So that's actually, I think it's, I don't know how to say it, but it's UN, E C E I think
[00:17:17] is the organization that is
[00:17:21] administrating the GHS. So.
[00:17:24] Chris: But you're more focused on the chemicals within our industry then
[00:17:27] Patrick: It's more. Yeah,
[00:17:28] it's more of a, a worker workplace safety. We
[00:17:32] don't prescribe, how you label the chemicals or anything like
[00:17:35] that. Other Yeah, yeah, And I will say it's not just I mean, I love, I love that it is very concerned with workplace health and safety and then also the natural environment and preserving the natural environment.
[00:17:49] But it's also kind of much more pragmatically dollars. I mean, we are coming up against regulations in the European union, more so than anywhere else. With the most recent implementation of some obligations to report in to certain databases, it's the SCIP database, the substances concern in products where if you're importing into the EU, you basically have to provide.
[00:18:19] Robust kind of litany of chemicals information
[00:18:23] Chris: oh, interesting.
[00:18:23] Patrick: Yeah. And that costs money, right. To have that data package prepared and have that be, you know, audit proof and accurate. And so that's the kind of thing that our advocacy team, the global government relations team is working with standards to provide solutions, you know, to companies to help them bundle this data and make sure that they can kind of shoot that to their downstream.
[00:18:50] They can collect the data from all their, you know, funnel of suppliers
[00:18:56] so that's actually what I work with. My other hat that I take off my design hat
[00:19:00] and I
[00:19:00] Chris: Don't we have many hats.
[00:19:01] Patrick: yeah. As is the materials declaration. So the supplier declaration standards we have I just, I always like to bring that up. I feel like sometimes people hear it and they're like, yeah, I love the environment, but it's like, yeah, no, we get it.
[00:19:13] It's it's
[00:19:14] Chris: What does it actually mean?
[00:19:15] Patrick: Yeah,
[00:19:15] it's expensive. And if you get hit with some of these if you get slapped right, with some of these fines for not complying, it is if anyone's listening to this, trust me, it is you, you will regret in 10 years with the fines that you have accrued not investing in a decent compliance tool right now.
[00:19:34] Chris: believe it, I believe it. We had a I'll tell a quick story. In a previous career, I was visiting a defense contractor and I was saying, Hey, you know, I want you to try this new chemical that we have for cleaning your circuit boards. It's XYZ, ABC. And they go, Nope, stop right there. Stop right there.
[00:19:52] Not interested. And I'm like, how can you even know? I haven't even explained anything yet. And they're like, we've had people go to jail over not handling our chemicals properly. We're not interested. We've qualified this process. It's not going to change. Oh. So when you talk about fines, forget fine. You can go to jail for screwing this stuff up.
[00:20:13] Patrick: Well, it's I did very, very briefly in kind of the interim between my theoretical and where I'm at with IPC. I did work for a company that did environmental inspections for property. Oh man. You find like, you know, five square feet of soil contaminated with a chlorinated solvent from a dry cleaner, 70
[00:20:33] years ago.
[00:20:34] And EPA is like, who can we punish for this? So it's absolutely. Absolutely.
[00:20:45] Chris: That's so funny. All right, well, good. You're doing, doing great work there. As keen listeners of the show are likely aware, Melissa and I are definitely advocates for, for the environment and finding creative solutions to, to reduce the amount of energy and carbon impact that we have in the manufacturing process.
[00:21:04] It's not easy, but it does help a lot when your suppliers and your customers, and everybody works together to make these sorts of things much easier. And chemicals is definitely an enormous, enormous part of that. So that's great. But I did want to go back a little bit to what Teresa was mentioning earlier.
[00:21:20] You were talking about the education standpoint. So, again, I'm gonna put my cards out on the table here. My. Most intimate relationship with, with education when it comes from IPC has been literally just the IPC A610 class, right?
[00:21:35] Going out to there's a, an educational company. I think it's EPE TAC epitaph. Does that sound familiar at all to you? And they, they actually, I think we got a grant from the state of Massachusetts and they came to us, they sent somebody to us and, and trained us and then also certified a trainer so that we could train our new folks that came in, stuff like that.
[00:21:58] But how do you, like, how does a manufacturer or a designer for that matter, where do they even begin to understand what resources are available? So you talk about education, but how. Do you advertise that you offer classes? Like where do you even begin with like the educational ends is standpoint.
[00:22:20] Teresa: certainly IPC's website, ipc.org has a whole page on what's offered from the educational perspective, as well as a whole page on standards. So there are different Pages that you can go to from the main page that talks about different things that standards offer and also the certification and training courses that are offered.
[00:22:42] Chris: So it's mostly a, a incoming, it's not like you're going out
[00:22:47] there and, and, saying, Hey, come to these classes or you are, you are
[00:22:51] Teresa: The certification courses that you're talking about are offered from master trainer sites, licensed master trainers sites that that are licensed to IPC to train using the materials that are provided to them. But then there's also the, we do advertise that we have other training courses available through email and other avenues.
[00:23:12] Chris: And I know like at Apex so I see you guys at apex all
[00:23:15] the time, that trade shows and stuff. Yeah.
[00:23:17] Teresa: yeah, yeah.
[00:23:19] Chris: Well, so what if you're, what if you're a designer? Cause I would say in a very large portion of the listeners are people designing circuit boards, either, either they're doing the design of the circuit and the schematic, or they might actually be doing the layout or both as we, as we heard about last week's episode I have to imagine there's resources for, for those folks as well.
[00:23:39] Patrick: So we have two certifications. One of them is kind of the evolved form of the other, but we have CID and CID plus. If you're a designer listening, I guarantee you have at least heard those letters before. But
[00:23:55] Chris: Probably like I've heard of A610, but not heard of CID.
[00:23:58] Patrick: right? Yeah. so those are also offered through trainers and our partners throughout the world.
[00:24:04] I believe we have trainers everywhere we have an office . But it's, it's a globally available. And that is very similar to what you're familiar with Chris with the A610 is it's it's for circuit design. It's for actually
[00:24:17] designing the boards.
[00:24:19] Chris: If you work for if you work for Raytheon, for example, you probably have somebody in your company, that's already doing the CID training, but let's say you work for, you know, mom and dad's boutique mouse design company. Where, where do you go? If, if you don't have that kind of in-house resources.
[00:24:37] Patrick: sure. Again, you can go to our website for more information, ipc.org. But that would be a third party trainer that you would go
[00:24:44] to. Yeah.
[00:24:45] Chris: So you guys are going to license you're you're gonna, somebody comes to, okay, Chris, then he comes to you and says, you know what? I'm tired of manufacturing, circuit boards. I want to be a trainer. I can go to IPC and I can start a business. And you can explain to me how I could start my business by being a certified CID trainer. And then
[00:25:03] that's where, that's where, mom and dad's boutique mouse design company would go. They would go to Chris Denny's CID training program, blah, blah, blah. I got ya. Okay. Almost like a distributor, but not really a distributor. What do you call, what do you call that business
[00:25:18] Teresa: licensed training center.
[00:25:20] Chris: licensed training center. I think
[00:25:22] you might've mentioned that earlier, but.
[00:25:23] Teresa: I did.
[00:25:24] Chris: As we've learned, I'm slow. It takes, it takes me a minute. I'll get here. Okay. Here. You gotta, you can't believe I've, I've, I've listened back to some of our previous episodes and Melissa is like, I like, do you remember this, Melissa? When we had an episode with Dave where we're talking about PCB fabrication and Dave's like, so, you know, first you do this, then you do that.
[00:25:45] And I'm like, wait, I don't get it. And this is like, Chris, he just said, first you do this. And then you do that.
[00:25:51] Patrick: But see, you have host brain, right? Like you're like, all right. I gotta, I gotta keep everything moving along. I gotta make sure we're not running. Yeah, I get it.
[00:25:59] Chris: Patrick I appreciate you making excuses for me, but really it's just that I'm not that smart. It's all that it comes down to. All right. So another note that you have in here is how. You know, standards drive value and they drive value in so many different ways. I don't want to put words in your mouth, but perhaps one of you would like to kind of speak to, you know, where that comes from and that sort of thing.
[00:26:25] Teresa: Sure. So I'll start and Patrick you can chime in then, but I want to go back to your comment about IPCA six, 10. No, I'm going to start like explanation with IPCA six, 10. That's really at the end of the game, that's after your assembly is done finished, and it's a visual inspection document, which is a fantastic place to start way back when six 10 was developed, you know, back in the seventies or eighties timeframe, that's really where the focus was.
[00:26:56] Initially is what do. I have people had processes in place. But along about the time that whole mill standard 2000 story happened J standard double O one became the soldering process document requirements document. And so you, when you talk about adding value, it really is if S if you start at the beginning and you apply IPC standards and methods through your process, your you're using industry adopted, or industry accepted criteria and processes that have that have some kind of data or experience behind them.
[00:27:38] And so. Yeah.
[00:27:39] So you're putting value into your products simply by cutting away at the, I'm going to repeat, trying to recreate the wheel. I'm going to recreate that wheel again because, well, I don't remember what I did the last time or I did something, but you know, I had six hands in there doing it and I'm not sure what the other four did.
[00:27:59] And so we're going to have to start all over again and IPC standard sets that cadence of things that you do to get to your end product. So you're adding value by following that set standards or set of requirements. So, Patrick, do you want to add anything there?
[00:28:18] Patrick: Yeah. So you're definitely cutting down. I really liked that about what did I do last time? I can't remember. Oops. Forgot to write it down. which I'm
[00:28:28] sure happens more often than not. Yeah. So you're cutting down, I guess that like re R and D time the recount, whatever you want to call it, cutting down on that.
[00:28:39] But then like T said, like, this is these standards don't come out of a vacuum. So a lot, especially on the board design side, kind of where I'm involved, real value is you are reducing the likelihood that your board will fail respecting compared to the criteria that your customer or your manager, if you're an in-house designer has set forth, you're harnessing the power of centuries worth of experience on our committees to reduce, fail, right. To reduce it getting sent back like, Hey, it's actually uh it doesn't work? We tested it and it doesn't work so
[00:29:18] Chris: harnessing the power of of work that came before. I love that.
[00:29:23] I just love that. That should be IPC's tagline harness power of centuries.
[00:29:29] Patrick: Of
[00:29:29] combined experience. Yeah. So, so I think you're looking at, you look at it from a couple different angles on where the value of adopting, not only so we have a couple of standards or specifically one that I can think of the design for excellence standard, the 2231. It is not even considering a single product.
[00:29:47] Right. It's considering a entire design process flows. Like
[00:29:52] Chris: This is, cause this is cause you worked in theory, this, this is why you like this
[00:29:55] Patrick: Yeah. Yeah. I need to set up the, the general equation before we plug in the numbers. But it, and that's incredibly valuable to you, especially if you're starting up, if you are, you know, if you're new to the game, so to speak, if you're establishing your processes as a designer, as a team of designers, you don't need to spend weeks and months figuring out what to do.
[00:30:18] You can look through a document, a guideline that
[00:30:21] Chris: So, so that leads me to a question.
[00:30:23] If you don't mind me interrupting you, but I, I, I let's say. Like that, that standard. What was the number again? Give me the number again. You just mentioned
[00:30:33] Patrick: 2231.
[00:30:35] Chris: 2231.
[00:30:36] Patrick: Yes.
[00:30:37] Chris: If you went through this CID or CID plus training course, would you be touching on 2231 or is that a different thing?
[00:30:47] Patrick: as you would be. So from my understanding. You would be touching more on the like 22, 20 series of documents that are more prescriptive through requirements of board design. Right.
[00:30:59] You're looking at like trace width based on, you know, your, your electrical requirements and things like
[00:31:05] Chris: Then I'm going to shelve 2231, my 2231 question for a moment. And I want to focus on, I want to focus on the CID question,
[00:31:12] but I want to come back to 2231. So, when you go through CID or CID plus, and you go through this 2220 should I call it a standard,
[00:31:21] Patrick: it's it's a series, a series of like a family of or design standards yet.
[00:31:26] Chris: Board design standards.
[00:31:27] So, you see, when I, when I manufacture a board, I can, I can give that a certificate of conformance saying that it meets IPC a six, 10 class to, you know, according to what we've done, is there, is there a way to do that for a design? Is it, are there tools or resources to say, Hey, this design conforms to these, these series of standards, like I've, I've confirmed or I've ha I have software.
[00:31:54] That's confirmed that it meets these. Am I, or am I, am I like not even thinking of this properly?
[00:32:00] Patrick: so no, and I think that that's like a real, that's a really good question. And that is one of the challenges is how do you communicate this to you know, the beginning front end engineering process of like, Hey, this board is compliant to X, Y, and Z.
[00:32:13] So if I'm using a design tool, part of how I am going to apply these standards is in my design rules that I set up.
[00:32:20] Chris: So it all, as always, it comes back to the DRC.
[00:32:24] Patrick: Exactly. Exactly.
[00:32:25] Chris: all worship at the altar of the DRC.
[00:32:27] Patrick: Yeah. So, so there's going to be these automated or semi-automated checks throughout the process. And then when you're actually pulling that into a cam system, you can run those checks as well. Right. So it's not just on faith that we've applied the correct rules. And then there's more of these, I think it's more of a subjective value of like, Hey, the designer working on this are the designers on our team are all CID or CID
[00:32:51] plus right? That becomes a value added for you as a service or as a department within an OEM.
[00:32:59] Chris: Because if you're a design house, you can, you can go to your customers and say, Hey, look, when we design a product for you, we have all CID certified designers. Yeah. Cool. All right. I'm with you there now, I guess, I guess really what you're saying is that the DRC is, is programmed quote unquote, or gets its information according to the spec.
[00:33:21] So how do we know to set it to six mil spacing for one ounce, blah, blah, blah. Well, that comes from maybe the spec is, is that kind of what you're okay.
[00:33:29] Patrick: Correct. And there's, and I mean, you know,
[00:33:32] not everything is going to be in the, in the rules. There definitely are still areas where it is the human designer that is making calls and,
[00:33:43] and looking and saying, okay, like it really needs like this fiducial should really be here
[00:33:48] or like, yeah.
[00:33:49] Right. But, but for all intents and purposes it's yeah.
[00:33:54] Chris: So how does, I'm going to touch on the biggest, anybody who's listening to the show knows this by now Chris's biggest pet peeve. Can we, can we talk about for a moment or we're going to get really into the weeds were so off of theory at this point, it's going to, it's going to terrify you, Patrick. So we, we have what, I don't know if there is an, a more appropriate term, but internally we call it, we call this on a fine pitch device.
[00:34:21] So let's say you were talking about a QFN or QFP you have pocket masking and gang masking. And I don't know if you guys use the same terms or if you know what I'm referring to when I talk about those two things, but basically you need to have a mask opening so that you can solder to the. For these
[00:34:39] And as a manufacturer, I really, really, really want some solder mask between those pieces of copper so that it acts as a dam and prevent solder bridging, and, the, the you know, but the, but the PCB fabricator goes, I don't have to deal with all those tiny little solder slivers. I would just open the whole thing up.
[00:34:58] It's so much easier for me to do that. And so there's this sort of like this, there's this pragmatic thing that keeps happening where, you know, the, the fabricator doesn't want to bother with it. And the assembler needs them to bother with it. It's like critical to providing a quality product. But I keep thinking to myself, It isn't there something I can go back to isn't there something I can point back to an IPC that says, no, this is the you're supposed to do it this way.
[00:35:26] I guess, at the end of the day, they're like, no, because all that matters is that you deliver the product to the right way. All these little details in between are things you have to figure out.
[00:35:34] I'm not asking you to actually respond to that very specific thing.
[00:35:37] What I'm more saying is I'm using that as a specific example of where you have the circumstances where. It feels like there should be a standard for something like that. Cause I know like when I, when I go to use Altium for example, as opposed to maybe KiCAD Altium has a they have a, a footprint builder. I don't know if you've ever seen this before, but basically okay. Give us your dimensions and we'll build you a footprint and, and oftentimes they're, they're tagging that with the IPC standards for such and such a footprint and that's being informed by something.
[00:36:15] And I guess my question was more is the 2220 where they're getting information to be able to create a tool like that.
[00:36:23] Patrick: It'll be a combination of standards. That is definitely going to be, I think, more based on the land pattern standard, which I do, I do manage the 20 73 51, which is actually turning into what guidelines.
[00:36:34] So it's kind of wishy washy where it's at right now, but it, once it becomes a guideline, it won't matter. It can still inform tools that do that. But you know, the, so the land pattern document, right? Like that takes into account electrical characteristics. Like you said, you want to have the actual practical manufacturability.
[00:36:52] Are we going to have a
[00:36:53] short shorts? We're going to have solder just spilling everywhere, especially for these fine pitch, you know, these HDI devices it will take that into account. And so that is what is
[00:37:01] feeding into. Built in tools in these design tools. I can't speak against specifically for the Altium.
[00:37:10] Uh, yeah, But it's probably many different sections up within a standard and then standards themselves that are feeding into
[00:37:17] Chris: So, so this leads me directly into, and, and like, you literally set this, you set this on the tee for me. This is exactly what, how do you keep up with manufacturing capability? Right? Because at one time, 15 years ago, a PCB fab would look at this thing and go, there's no way I can lay down that soldermask sliver for you.
[00:37:40] It's impossible. Can't be done. See you later. No bid. And now it's, it's, it's constantly keeping up. How do you keep, how does a standard keep itself informed of these manufacturing capabilities and somebody new comes along and says, that's no problem. I don't know what all these jokers are having all these issues with, but we can do those all day long, you know?
[00:37:58] And how do you keep up with that sort of thing,
[00:38:00] Patrick: T standards development. Go
[00:38:03] Teresa: Thank you. Standards development. I was about to turn this question back to Chris. I was going to say, Hey, can I ask a question this time? And that is, how do you think a standard gets changed? How do you think it gets revised?
[00:38:18] Chris: Well, this is, this is great. I'm glad you asked me because what happens is when, when I like my day to day is, is like, you know, I got to get stuff built. I got to get stuff shipped. I'm not thinking about standards. You know what I mean? And so I, it, it doesn't even like, it's, it's so rarely even on my radar to think about as a small business, right?
[00:38:37] Cause we're only, we're like barely even 40 people at this point, you know, on the Worthington side. Whereas I think I would imagine the way that these things happen is, is your Lockheed Martins of the world or your NASA's of the world. They go and they say, Hey, you know, we've got suppliers that are able to do X, Y, and Z now, but the, but the spec is, is not matching up to reality.
[00:39:02] Can we, can we revise this? And. And then, and then something happens.
[00:39:08] Teresa: well, that was an okay start to an answer,
[00:39:11] Chris: That's my guess. just my
[00:39:13] Teresa: right. Okay. That was a good, well, okay. I can't even say good guess righ now no, this
[00:39:18] Chris: Oh, burn
[00:39:20] Teresa: sorry. So standards that are, are new. So we'll start first with the new standard. You're looking to develop something from nothing that's that usually comes with a big concept and there's a small working group that goes off and does , a straw man, or some kind of a draft document.
[00:39:39] But when a document or a standard is out there and industry is using it, there's a place on our website or there's an opportunity to come to an email called answers that ipc.org, you just email email@example.com with a comment. I want to change this in the standard, and this is why I want to change it.
[00:40:03] So we need the recommendation and the reason for the recommendation, all of those comments, because our standardization process is, is approved by ANSI the American national standards Institute. We have a set of standardization procedures that we have to follow, and all of those comments have to go to the committee that's working and responsible for that document.
[00:40:30] So Patrick and I, are staff liaisons to, he mentioned the design documents. I mentioned double one and six, 10, and there are many others. But we take all those. We collect all of those comments and we bring them to the committee and we say, here are your comments. There may be technical comments to change substantative requirements.
[00:40:52] There are editorial comments of you missed a period. That needs a comma. That word is misspelled. All of those things have to go to our committee to, to, to
[00:41:05] Chris: do I get credit for that? If I fix that for you in the six, 10, we'll get, well, I get my name printed in the book.
[00:41:10] Teresa: If you're a committee member, you will.
[00:41:12] Chris: Ah,
[00:41:13] Teresa: We acknowledge our committee members is so yes, we do acknowledge our committee members working on these documents. I can tell you Patrick knows this. I think I hold the record for the most comments, right.
[00:41:24] Patrick, I had,
[00:41:25] Patrick: I can't imagine you don't.
[00:41:27] Teresa: I,
[00:41:28] Chris: Nice,
[00:41:29] Teresa: I had something like 1,400 and some comments to a combined J standard, double O one and IPC a six, 10 standardization activity or revision activity.
[00:41:42] And that was built over the course of three years, but those comments are all collected. They go on to a master. We have to keep traceability to those so that we know what changes were made or if they were not made, if someone's comment was not accepted, what is the reason we didn't accept it? then that information is available to the commenter to understand why the change happened or not.
[00:42:10] So if you have something you want to change, this goes for any document, you go to IPC's website, there's a place to add a comment in the, on the webpage. And that'll be filtered to the correct staff liaison to bring it to the committee.
[00:42:26] Chris: No kidding. Interesting. All right. So
[00:42:28] how, I, all right, so, so you mentioned you have over a thousand comments on, is it, is it many standards or one particular standard? Do you have over a thousand
[00:42:36] Teresa: So most staff liaisons or most documents are revised one document at a time. So we would revise an IPC, a 600. Or we would revise one of Patrick's documents or we would revise an IPC CC 8 30, 4 conformal coating, but J standard, double O one, an IPC, a six 10 are developed in synergy as, as how we refer to
[00:43:02] Chris: makes
[00:43:02] Teresa: because J standard double O one is of the soldering requirements, but it also includes some acceptance criteria.
[00:43:11] And then IPC a six, 10 is acceptance criteria for electronic assemblies there's crossover. And since this document, wasn't at rev C back in the early two thousands, the committees recognized that they had to work together. I was actually sitting in a committee meeting where someone came in, they made a comment to J standard, double a one, and we made a revision to the document.
[00:43:39] The very next day we had the IPCA six, 10 meeting, same comment or a similar comment. And different criteria were developed and we're like, wait a minute, 24 hours ago, we made this decision over here and now suddenly you want to say something different. And we looked around the room and there was a huge crossover in the people that were working on both.
[00:44:06] And so at that point in time, the group started meeting on a regular basis together where they put on their double O one hat, then they put on their six, 10 hat and then they put them together and they say, Okay. this is a synergy comment. We need to iron out the requirements. And then we need to place the acceptance criteria in six 10. So that's why this particular set of documents has the most comments that. And the largest development groups. It is not uncommon at a face-to-face meeting to have 100 to 125 people sitting in the room, working together to come to acceptance criteria
[00:44:51] Chris: Wow. Holy moly. Okay. And so, and so I guess the reason you've had so many comments on that is because you, it just you've, you've been doing it for a while. You started out as a volunteer or was that on a different, was that on a different committee you were
[00:45:04] Teresa: Oh no, I chaired the JSTD001 committee as a volunteer.. No. Comments have grown though, the number have grown over the years because the industry is using the documents more so as training programs become more available. As people start taking training programs, people are using the documents more and they're finding things they believe need to be added to the criteria or they don't understand something because six 10 for? example, is translated into dozens of languages.
[00:45:38] I think we're up to 20 languages or so, so as you start to translate, though, you recognize that people say things differently in different languages. And so we have to be very careful how things are presented. So we develop in English, but we have regional groups that work in Europe we have a regional group in China.
[00:46:02] We have a group working in India and what they're doing is they're looking at the comments and they are providing feedback as well on the content of the documents.
[00:46:15] Chris: Wow. Wow. That's, that's an enormous enterprise right there trying to get all that done. But it's, it's obviously very important. I guess my next question then is so you are both full-time employees of IPC, but this committee is not made up of 125 full-time
[00:46:35] IPC employees who, who wishes IPC or the committee
[00:46:42] Patrick: some of those committee members.
[00:46:44] Chris: So, what,
[00:46:45] Or are all of them except for the direct employees, volunteers then.
[00:46:51] Teresa: yes, they are all volunteers and people have different commitment levels. We have people who come to committee meetings to stay abreast of what's happening. They want to know what's happening. They want to be able to contribute but they. Don't have a lot of time outside our committee meetings to contribute
[00:47:11] and that's acceptable. We have others whose sole function within their facility is to be the IPC person. They're the person coming to the meetings. They're the person bringing the information back. They spend more time with us. We have our go-to people from time to time, our committee leaders, for example, our volunteers that are leading activities, they know that when it comes time to publish a document, they're on the hot seat.
[00:47:43] They're the ones looking at the content and saying, yeah, we agree. Or no, that's not quite what we thought it was going to look like. We need to work on that, but we also have something called a teams. We introduced the, a team concept about what was it, Patrick? Three years ago now
[00:48:02] Patrick: two or three. Yeah.
[00:48:04] Recently, recently.
[00:48:06] Teresa: And A teams are small groups of dedicated people on these projects that do have a little more time to come in. They look at the comments first, before the larger committee ever sees them. They look at them, they say, we recommend this, or we recommend you don't accept this. And this is why, or we need to go out and find a bunch of technical data, make this an action item for us, where we're going to talk to somebody who we know in the industry has experienced with this new hot topic.
[00:48:38] And so we've cut down the amount of bureaucracy and time that a hundred and some people, or, or are sitting in a room, even smaller groups are utilizing the 18 concept to keep standards, moving, to bring new things to the industry.
[00:48:58] Chris: Okay. So, I told you that dad jokes are welcome on this podcast, right? I have to mention it. It's the elephant in the room, the A team, very well known, very well known show, TV, television show in the United States. And Patrick keeps calling you T is it because you're Mrs. T of the A team, is that
[00:49:18] Patrick: really funny.
[00:49:19] Well, now, well, that, that is why I'm calling from now on. That's all I will think about when I call her at T
[00:49:26] Chris: sorry? I had to, I had to.
[00:49:28] Teresa: Chris, my staff does call me T it has nothing to do with a team but I have had so many misspellings of my name. I just, just call me T
[00:49:36] Chris: I almost threw it through an H in there many times when writing to you. So, now, so you, you've got this committee and you mentioned that some of them are volunteers just trying to keep up and trying to keep their knowledge and they want to be able to contribute if they can. Some of them, like, let's say, you know, let's say apple goes, look, IPC is so important to everything we do.
[00:49:56] We're gonna have somebody in that room, every single meeting, because we make consumer electronics. So they're volunteer as far as IPC is concerned, but obviously they're paid by apple to show up at every single meeting. Do you have so obviously billion dollar trillion dollar at this point, corporations are going to be sending people to these committees.
[00:50:13] Do you have people like me, like people who are in 20 person companies that
[00:50:18] Patrick: Absolutely. Yeah. And it's it's
[00:50:20] and Tim mentioned the ANSI the rules and the IPC standardization rules that we have are in place to make sure that your vote. Or your input from the 20 person company is equal to the input from the billion dollar company. so I would say in my committees, the average person comes from a small business.
[00:50:44] Obviously we have folks from, you know, Boeing and, and like you mentioned Raytheon
[00:50:49] before. But there's also folks from, you know, yeah. Like I said, you joked earlier mom and pops electronic shop.
[00:50:57] And furthermore, one of the steps, the phases to a document being published it's called a proposed standard for ballot is it's actually voted on by interested volunteers from the committee who sign up for a group where they cast a cast, a vote.
[00:51:11] It's only one person per company per site. So. You aren't going to have 50 people from apple voting
[00:51:19] against three people from mom and pops electronic shop. It's
[00:51:23] Chris: That's kind of what I was wondering if it was headed there.
[00:51:25] Patrick: Yeah,
[00:51:25] no, it's not like it's not a, a rigged system, so to speak. So, so I guess the call to action then to the, till the listeners is please you're, you're welcome.
[00:51:34] You can be a one person company. I have plenty of
[00:51:37] Chris: imagine,
[00:51:38] Patrick: consultants and, and you know, someone who just, they just do board design. They're just doing contract board design. It's just them in a, in an LLC and they're experts in their feedback and their comments are welcomed.
[00:51:51] Chris: Cool. Very cool. So how all right, so you've, you've got this group of volunteers on a committee. You, you get together in these meetings, you don't have to go super, super into the details, but what, what does that look like? Like, how, how do, how do you go from, you've got, you've got the comments at IPC or what was the email address?
[00:52:13] You can send that to, again,
[00:52:14] Teresa: answer's at ipc.org.
[00:52:16] Chris: thank you. firstname.lastname@example.org. You're sending in your comments. Here's why I want to change it. Your collecting an enormous amount of feedback from all these people. How do you then go from, and you've got the A team that first kind of gets through these things.
[00:52:29] So it doesn't become too bureaucratic. How do you get to the point where. Now it's rev H and we're shipping a printed document.
[00:52:37] Teresa: One comment at a time,
[00:52:40] Patrick: Yeah.
[00:52:42] Teresa: One comment at a time. And it said at some point in time Patrick first we go to final draft for industry review, right? So we have a formal 30 day industry review period where we make it available to industry at large. And we say, you know, here we are with what we think is the industry document, the next draft.
[00:53:05] And then from there one comment at a time from all of that review period we go through those as well. And when the comments are all resolved or, or, and resolved includes if we have a new topic that comes up and it's going to take a large amount of industry time and collection for data, we may defer that comment as part of, as the resolution to the next revision. Then we would go out for this proposed standard for ballot period. And so after 30 days we add up our valid ballot results. And we determine based on our roles, whether we've passed ballot or we need more discussion, maybe we have a topic we need to re ballot. And we go from there and then it's time to type, set and publish.
[00:53:54] Chris: Do you like when, when, when we're building a board and, and we have to change something about it. We, we put together an eco, right. An engineering change order. Do you have that sort of thing when you're going through this process? So if you send to Worthington assembly, here's our proposed new, like, can I just see what's changed?
[00:54:12] How, cause I don't want to have to read through this entire standard again.
[00:54:15] Teresa: So that, so during the development process, there are track change files that the staff liaisons keep, and we do make those available to our committee members. When a document is published, we would put a red line document together. It's a side-by-side comparison. But we do not do what you're referring to, where you have a page 13 changed this and page 14 changed that we, we have it as a part of the document that it shows that it's been changed.
[00:54:47] Chris: I see. Interesting. All right, cool man. That's I can just only imagine as something as, I mean, as important as J standard and six 10, and all these things, how difficult that must be to push through a new, a new revision of that. Cause like you said, you're only at what H now that
[00:55:11] Teresa: We're working on J
[00:55:13] Chris: and considering how long it's been around for it, it sounds like it's once every three ish years or
[00:55:20] so that you get a new revision.
[00:55:21] Teresa: it's a three-year cycle for a double, a one in six, 10.
[00:55:25] Chris: Okay.
[00:55:25] Patrick: Yeah. And it's I would say that the, the length of the document does correlate to the difficulty in revision. but it also can, it can correlate to other factors. I'll leave it at that to be polite that can cause some, some delays and my documents, the supplier declaration the materials, declaration documents for example, I have one document that's 15 pages long but it needs to be revised or amended every 18 month.
[00:55:56] Because that's how quickly the regulation it refers to is changing.
[00:55:59] And so you have a time limit now where with some of these other documents, it's not necessarily like you got to have it out by October 20, 23, or it is going to be useless and companies are going to start hemorrhaging money because they can't use it.
[00:56:12] and so that can, it's, it's difficult for a different reason, I
[00:56:16] think is that you have to, you know, we still have to adhere to the rules. We still have to make sure that it's a fair process. The document is considering all viewpoints. It's not going to be railroaded through by three companies that really want to get it done.
[00:56:31] And that's where us as liaisons are, that's where we come in. I, and I should say, I don't know if we've like, explicated it, but these committees have chairs that are running the meetings and there they are helping to collect the comments they're helping
[00:56:45] Chris: Is it usually an individual or a two or three people that are the chair?
[00:56:49] Patrick: usually, I think we it's co-chairs actually, I think usually
[00:56:51] we have more than one.
[00:56:53] Leader they're working together to facilitate and run the meetings. And so we as liaisons though, the staff of IPC, we are I don't want to say doing the backend because we're interfacing with pretty much everyone on the committee all the time, but we're the ones making sure that the process is followed.
[00:57:11] We're the ones making sure that you know, things stay fair. We're the ones tracking the comments, keeping the files, doing everything, to support the committees. And so it can be, can be fun. Let's put it that way
[00:57:24] when you've got through
[00:57:26] Chris: you got to play kindergarten
[00:57:27] Patrick: Yeah. Herd cats is, I would like to say it herding
[00:57:30] Chris: herding cats. So what do these meetings look like? Well, let's talk about what, what did these meetings look like in 2019? Where did they take place? Were they in a conference room? What was it before that, where you had all the volunteers together and you had your committee.
[00:57:47] Teresa: So 2019, we met in San Diego in January, and then we met in, Raleigh, North Carolina at summer con in June, right? Patrick? Yeah, because that was right before you CA that was right before you came on board. Yeah. So we met in June, in Raleigh, North Carolina for what we call summer con. And then we actually had the opportunity in January of 2020 to meet face-to-face at apex Right before lockdown.
[00:58:17] Chris: before.
[00:58:19] Teresa: And so. We had been doing some teleconferences prior to that, the groups were meeting on a regular basis, but we started just doing that for every group. So even groups that hadn't been using teleconferencing before. started using it, the larger committees, many of the committees no longer meet just twice a year. That's the traditional old model.
[00:58:44] Chris: That's what I was about to
[00:58:45] ask is how often they would meet too. Okay.
[00:58:47] Teresa: The 001610 committee meets three consecutive days, Saturday, eight hours, Sunday, four to six hours and Monday eight hours at a face-to-face event. Groups typically meet two to four hours at a time. The other groups are most of the other groups, but.
[00:59:05] When we, we looked at summer com for 2021 or yeah, 2020, excuse me, summer come 2020. We ended up going virtual with the whole activity over what roughly about a week and a half Patrick. I think we did it. And then when apex rolled around the staff liaisons liked to refer to apex 20, 21 as the longest apex on record that we've ever had, because we decided that the technical conference was all teleconferenced and people were not able to jump in and out.
[00:59:41] And so there, that would be a sacred week. We would have no standards development activities, but typically during a week's time, a staff liaison is in more than one technical committee meeting at a time. So we would get up and we would run to the next meeting and. Take care of them and make sure. there aren't any questions.
[01:00:04] And if we have a strong chair, we'd be like, okay, are you good? We're right next door or down the hall or in some cases on the other end of the convention center, but we'll be back. And so we'll go to the other meeting and we'll try to support that way. You can't really do that. Teleconferencing. That's impossible.
[01:00:22] So apex 2021 standard development activities started in the last weekend February and went until March 31st.
[01:00:33] Chris: Oh, wow.
[01:00:34] Teresa: was the longest apex on record. It really was. And so we've talked about that a lot where it was, it was nice to not have to run and feel pulled between different committee meetings. But at the same time, we. It was so long that even people were saying, but I had three meetings last week and I have work to do, and I'm a volunteer. And now you want me to attend this meeting again this week. And so everybody had to make choices. So when we decided last year summer comm was In August and we decided to go face to face.
[01:01:14] So we decided to take it to Milwaukee and meet face to face and try to kind of, get back into the, into those activities and being in person, it looked a little different than, than our previous summer comm did. But it was just good to see people. And we've, we've heard those comments where. things you just can't do teleconferencing.
[01:01:40] It just doesn't, you can't look people in the face, you can't see reactions when you bring topics up. And so we did that in San Marco and then we were back at apex in, in January. And now we have summer comm coming up in may in Milwaukee,
[01:01:57] Chris: Milwaukee again. All right, cool. Milwaukee in the summer. Thank goodness. I'm glad you didn't do it in January or
[01:02:04] Teresa: So are we.
[01:02:07] Chris: I have seen those Packers games in January that does not look like fun all the way up there. That's awesome. All right. So that's, that's cool. I, I love, see, this is another thing I love about this show is it's an opportunity to sort of pull back the curtain.
[01:02:20] I've known IPC since I was a teenager working in this industry, but I didn't really know like how it happened and it's, it's exciting to hear how all that works. And I really appreciate you sharing that with us. There's another subject, you touched on here in our correspondence about the board design activities.
[01:02:38] That sounds like something's pretty interesting. If you, if you want to speak.
[01:02:42] Patrick: sure. Yeah. I'd love to. So, I think it was 2012. Yeah. Early 20, 20. We were like, man, we really want to get reinvested reinvigorated with the board design community and board designers.
[01:02:54] Chris: 2020 is going to be the best year
[01:02:56] Patrick: Yup. Yup. A lot of plans. I was, you know, bright eyed and bushy tailed. I was like, all right, boy,
[01:03:01] Oh boy, let's do it.
[01:03:02] And then the
[01:03:03] world closed for two years. but our design activities are focused on, I'd say right now they're focused on two things, which is education and just speaking, honestly entertainment and fun and getting people together to celebrate board design.
[01:03:18] Chris: Don't underestimate that because ha having it be fun is an enormous part of good education.
[01:03:25] Patrick: Absolutely. And that's what we found is that, you know, you're trying to, you're trying to build a program that is going to add value to a designer and, they are busy people. They are very busy people. And so when you're putting together something that is going to take them away from their job duties, like Teresa said, you know, we have some committee members that are like, I love, I love to help out, but I also have work that I need to do.
[01:03:47] And I understand that we get it. And so the kind of the flagship activity that I started really in earnest in 2021 was a PCB design competition. So actually putting together a competitive Activity for board designers from around the world to show off their skills. And so we had, I think it was 20 people entering the preliminary heat.
[01:04:12] We had to separate into two heats. First one was a virtual events where we gave a scope of work, a bill of materials. And just kind of, I think I can't really what else we gave. It gives them they'll sorry. Oh, duh schematic kinda need that. And we said, and we said, design a board, that's it design a board.
[01:04:31] You've got to meet. I mean, you know, in the scope of work, we gave him the requirements like we've been talking about. And they turned in their boards and we had some experts look through the
[01:04:39] boards and
[01:04:39] Chris: got to use any tool they
[01:04:40] Patrick: any tool they want it to. Yeah. Yeah. We had the, you know, you can kind of picture the top three tools that were used to turn in.
[01:04:47] But you know, we had, we had an amazing array of designs that were returned. Some of them would definitely not work, but were creative. Uh, Some of them. Some of them were just absolutely brilliant. You could tell this person spent a lot of time. And we got good feedback, right? We got people we have one individual who was a hobbyist and had never really designed a board before.
[01:05:09] And they were like, wow, I, this is great because it's kinda like, you know, you're putting together, you're putting together that MVP almost, you gotta get that minimum viable
[01:05:18] product out that really kind of pushes you to like, okay, I've got a deadline. And he was like, I, I learned more about board design in 30 days than I have in
[01:05:26] two years of just poking around and reading wikis and mess around and
[01:05:30] Key-cad KiCAD sorry.
[01:05:32] And I always
[01:05:34] mess. I always re I know I w
[01:05:36] I always
[01:05:36] Chris: There. is no correct answer. There's no correct answer.
[01:05:39] Patrick: Yeah. Anyway, so we, we chose three finalists and then at apex 2022, that, what year are we in 2022. Yeah. We invited them to compete. Unfortunately they had to compete virtually, but we had their designs kind of piped into the hall on big TVs.
[01:05:55] And we spent a night judging their designs. Again, we gave them actually, it was kind of fun. We gave them everything was defined. So all of the all of the layout was set except for like a couple of components that can move around if they want it to. And we said, you've got, you've got four hours.
[01:06:12] Just do the traces, just do the routing
[01:06:15] Chris: Oh, interesting.
[01:06:16] Patrick: And again, all three of them were just like, Wow, like totally different in how
[01:06:22] they were doing it. Right. I mean, you know, you had one guy doing the, I think the more traditional, you know, parallel routing with the different layers of the board, but then you had one guy that was just like, you know what, it's competition, I'm going to have fun.
[01:06:32] And he was like doing some really cool, like kind of like almost artistic design with
[01:06:38] it. And I was like, and I was like, well, from a, from a functionality standpoint, I don't know if we can give any points, but I liked, I liked the idea of and we crowned a winner actually a guide from he's originally from Poland.
[01:06:48] I think he's working in Germany, Rafael, Chris Lasky. And he, he was actually the guy that did the parallel routing when we ran the when we ran it
[01:06:55] at the end, we were like, oh, well you got to give points to what would probably actually work. Right.
[01:06:59] Chris: yeah. Yeah.
[01:07:00] Patrick: yeah. It, it was so much fun. And we had people just like walking by the TVs at apex on the floor and they looked at it and they're like, ha cool.
[01:07:08] And they were like, sit down at one point, we had someone actually shouting at one of the TV. Like it was like a
[01:07:15] Chris: Like jeopardy style. Like how do you not know the
[01:07:19] Patrick: Yeah. Like I can can't exactly what it was. I think it was something to do with via his, I can't remember exactly what it was and they were like, they're like, what are you doing?
[01:07:26] That's the wrong size and it, was
[01:07:30] so it was fun. And it was you know, it was admittedly a very limited thing. We, we wanted to cap it at about 20 people. We wanted to cap it for the prelims, capita three people for the finals, because we really wanted to stress test this idea. But we're
[01:07:44] Chris: I'm curious about how you, how you determined the winner. Like what, what was it that like, what, what are they trying to target? What are they trying to prove?
[01:07:55] Patrick: Yeah. And, and so that was, that was one of the questions. So we had a committee of volunteers just like we do with all of our standards they were the ones who created the schematic with the prelims. They did
[01:08:06] all of the work for the finals pretty much. And they sat down for a month and they were like, what do we care about?
[01:08:12] And so the rubric that we came up with actually goes through all of our, I'm going to say all, cause there's probably one that I'm forgetting off the top of my head, but most, if not all of our design standards, looking at the relevant sections and saying, okay, let's look at just off the top of my head you know, landline spacing, let's look at the the manufacturability of this, you know, it,
[01:08:35] are you exactly? Yeah. The DFN if you, actually put this through the reflow of it, like what's going to happen to, wow. You've got those two capacitors really close to each other. I'm sure that when you
[01:08:46] toggle with 3d view, you're like, oh, that's fine. But the actual, the mechanical electrical interplay there like is actually gonna work.
[01:08:52] And then we also had a subjective section. So, you know, these, the judges have been in industry for 30, 40 years and there is not, you cannot discount just the human looking at it and saying,
[01:09:06] I dunno, I dunno, chief don't think that's going to work. So it was a combination of objective metrics and subjective metrics.
[01:09:12] Chris: I'm not sure what, I'm more interested in being a, being a competitor or being a judge. I think,
[01:09:18] Patrick: was
[01:09:19] Chris: be a much better judge than I would be a competitor.
[01:09:21] Patrick: it was fun. And so that, that is the kind of thing that we want to start doing more of you know, definitely derailed a little bit by the pandemic. I say that sitting in my nice office and like cushy
[01:09:30] chair when the pandemic has destroyed so many lives, but going forward though, we really want to partner with the education.
[01:09:38] So that's one of the SEAS letters that I think we.
[01:09:41] Kind of moved past pretty quickly, but we do have the board design education. So actually we offer classes, entire courses on various board design topics. So we have a PCB design intro to PCB design. You've never done it
[01:09:56] before. You have a basic understanding of physics, you know, ENM, but you haven't done any electronics design.
[01:10:03] That is two courses that are each they meet twice a week for six weeks. It's instructor led you have an assignment, you actually get a complimentary license for Altium and you have that for two months and you are working on a board and then we have more I'm not gonna say niche is the wrong word, but more specific courses.
[01:10:22] We have advanced assembly. I think that involves like harsh environments. We have HDI, we have designed for manufacturability. So actually looking at kind of what you're saying, what we're saying, right? Like cool. You can design the board. Can you build this in a
[01:10:37] Chris: That's this whole show, by the way, the whole show is about design for manufacturer.
[01:10:41] Patrick: Yeah. And so we have these excellent courses. I actually took the PCB design one to two of the introductory courses just to kind of audit them. And I was blown away. I was like, this is better than 60% of the courses I took in grad school,
[01:10:57] Chris: Yeah
[01:10:58] I believe it.
[01:10:59] Patrick: yeah, so it was great. And so we want to start to work more with education and how we can really synergize with what we're doing in this other department and making that fun and offering that to designers in a way that's engaging and exciting.
[01:11:11] And then we also have an education foundation that is dedicated solely to high school and college level either, you know, four year institution or trade school, whatever that is for you. And it's, it's aimed at getting students involved in electronics. And that is I actually, if that's, that's probably worth a podcast in itself, if I'm being
[01:11:36] honest, what we're doing there.
[01:11:37] But we're looking at ways to connect professional designers people who have been in industry for at least five or six years, people who are they don't just know how to design the board. They know how to do it in the context of a working environment, working with a team, working with you know, the systems to help, you know, PLM, you have these downstream requirements that you don't think about when you're just being taught, how to design a board and, and really hooking up these, these kids with these professional designers and making those connections and hopefully 10 years from now, you know, you can have a pretty sweet job designing boards.
[01:12:18] and so that's very long winded. I'm sorry, but that is
[01:12:21] Chris: okay. No, this show is long
[01:12:23] Patrick: can you tell that I'm excited about this stuff? I
[01:12:25] Chris: Yeah. Yeah, of course. You got to remember. There's nobody more long-winded than Chris Denny. So don't you, you have no, no problem with
[01:12:33] Patrick: love it. I love it. Yeah. Yeah. And then, so it's fun. It's, it's a good time. I'm really excited for what the future brings. Volunteerism is the name of the game though. I mean, none of what we're
[01:12:43] doing could exist without calling me up telling me, Hey, I have an idea that has happened already.
[01:12:51] You've got some stuff in the works designers answering the call to come be a part of this or design competition committee, or, Hey, I want to interface with some students. I want to offer some factory tours, right? Like whatever. So if you're listening to this, I always put this out in any podcast I'm in, you have an idea for something that you think would be fun for professional designers.
[01:13:12] If you want to get involved with the design competition, if you want to compete, maybe you're thinking I could, I could do that. I'm pretty good at design. I can do that.
[01:13:22] Chris: Not me. I'm terrible at design.
[01:13:27] Patrick: Just let me know. patrickCrawford@ipc.org or email@example.com. And we'd love to hear from you.
[01:13:32] Chris: cool. Before we get into my very, very favorite part of the show, which is the pet peeve of the week. I just want to give you both an opportunity. Is there anything we haven't talked about that you still wanted to bring up? Is there, like, you're just waiting for Chris Denney to ask this question or anything like that?
[01:13:49] Teresa: I have one. If, if someone is in the first five years of their career, we do offer the emerging engineer program where . We pair someone up with a mentor three yeears. And they have an opportunity to have an all access pass to apex. We assign activities for them and get them involved. And we don't, we don't typically pair someone with a mentor from maybe their own expertise area.
[01:14:20] We might say, oh, we have someone here. Who's a board fab fabricator. We're, we're going to pair you with an assembler or someone to help grow your insights into the industry. It's been an opportunity for a lot of us, a lot of people that have just come out of college to really learn what apex has to offer, what the industry has to offer and give them an opportunity for some education along the way. So.
[01:14:51] Chris: so cool.
[01:14:52] How can I be the grizzled old mentor? Can I, I be on that side of
[01:14:55] Teresa: So, so this program started in 2016 and we actually have some people who have finished their three years as an emerging engineer and have become mentors themselves. But typically it's someone that's seven years or more into their career with some kind of experience with standards development, because we want to make sure that as tribal knowledge leaves our industry through retirement and natural attrition, we want to be able to not recreate things? We want people to come in with the knowledge that, oh, I remember having that meeting with that person and they told me this, I know the resources to go look now to find the answers to my questions.
[01:15:41] Chris: Cool. That sounds super cool. I did not know that existed. I really wish it existed in 1999 when
[01:15:49] I got started with all this stuff. Cool. That is super cool. All right. Unless I think it's that time.
[01:15:57] Melissa: It is. Yeah, I agree.
[01:16:00] Chris: Favorite part of the show pet peeve of the week. This is your opportunity to get something off of your chest.
[01:16:05] So let's have it. Let's see. Who would like to go first or, you know, if only one of you
[01:16:10] Patrick: I think team, I think maybe you should go first while I pontificate for a minute.
[01:16:15] Teresa: okay. Sure. So my pet peeve is the plastic packaging that requires me to use heavy duty, extra scissors to get the product out
[01:16:27] Patrick: clamshell packaging, the
[01:16:28] Teresa: Yes.
[01:16:29] Chris: The worst.
[01:16:30] Patrick: worst God,
[01:16:33] Chris: with you
[01:16:33] Teresa: I have been known not to purchase things with that packaging because I just don't want to deal with it.
[01:16:41] Chris: There you go. There's an incentive to not package your stuff that way is because there's so much of a thing. Have you ever cut, I've cut myself
[01:16:47] on that. yes.
[01:16:50] Patrick: like, like a deep, a deep cut
[01:16:53] Chris: a bad cut
[01:16:54] Patrick: I thought I might need stitches for on my finger. Yeah. And I was like, who designed this? It's awful.
[01:17:01] Chris: it's because, so this, we can come full circle to this. It's it's, you know, they're not thinking far enough down the chain, right? Just as your early designer, isn't thinking far enough down the manufacturing chain and you put these two capacitors super close to each other. Cause he can fit it in his EDA tool.
[01:17:17] He doesn't know what it looks like in manufacturing. Right. They design these things for theft deterrence because you ain't gonna open it with your hands that's for sure. So meat's theft deterrence perfectly, but it fails everywhere else.
[01:17:28] Teresa: Yeah. Including the environment. Because now you're throwing that packaging out away or in the recycle bin. Yeah.
[01:17:38] Chris: yeah.
[01:17:38] Well, you know what? Okay, so theft, deterrence. All right, fine. I get you, you put this on a retail shelf. You want to deter thieves, but if it shows up in a brown box carried by a person wearing a brown uniform, I don't think we have to worry about theft. Deterrence
[01:17:55] Patrick: Well, porch pirates are a thing, but I think at
[01:17:57] Chris: Yeah. Well, I
[01:17:58] Patrick: the same tools as we do.
[01:18:00] Chris: but they're going to, you know, if it's loose in the box or if it's in one of those plastic things, they're going to take it regardless. They don't have that packaging. Isn't gonna help one bit
[01:18:08] Patrick: No
[01:18:09] Chris: porch
[01:18:09] pirates. That's
[01:18:11] Patrick: porch pirates, man. Yeah. It's, it's a big problem, right? I live it's awful.
[01:18:16] That's not my pet peeve though.
[01:18:18] Chris: kind of a city area
[01:18:19] Patrick: No, I live in a suburban, almost rural apartment complex. And thankfully it has not happened to me, but when Amazon or ups or FedEx, they drop stuff at the door. So our neighbors are like, yep. Stuff walks.
[01:18:34] If you don't get it in 30 minutes, it's gone. And I'm like,
[01:18:37] Chris: Oh, my goodness.
[01:18:38] Patrick: yep.
[01:18:40] Chris: So here's the thing. You put you ring, ring, video doorbell, doesn't help because you know, somebody is wearing their, their war on their mask for COVID. You can't see who they are. And they've got some sunglasses on the hat on
[01:18:49] you have no idea who it was
[01:18:51] Patrick: It's also, It's kind of like, it's almost insult to injury because your ring is like, not, I don't have one, but I know it sends you an alert, like someone's at the door and you're at the grocery
[01:18:58] Chris: they're gone.
[01:18:59] Patrick: or at work. It's like, what am I
[01:19:01] going to do? Like a frame of this and post it on the bulletin board.
[01:19:05] Like wanted man in glasses. Yeah.
[01:19:07] Chris: You want that? You want that like Looney tunes, a telescoping punch glove. They just, boom, just
[01:19:12] pop some
[01:19:15] Teresa: Yep.
[01:19:15] Chris: Teresa that. Perfect. Oh my goodness. I'm surprised. I I'm surprised that hadn't come up before. That is a perfect one. We seem to love to pick on the packaging
[01:19:25] Melissa: yeah.
[01:19:26] Patrick: yeah.
[01:19:27] it's just, they deserve it in some aspects. That's for sure.
[01:19:31] Chris: we had. Cause we had one earlier about the
[01:19:34] Melissa: the perforated tabs.
[01:19:36] Chris: on, on cardboard boxes and how
[01:19:38] they almost never work, you know?
[01:19:40] Patrick: it's yeah. Yeah. Mine is similar. I think in that it, like you said, it's like, man, this was a really good idea on paper and then its execution is just so terrible. So I
[01:19:53] have a gaming computer, which laptop, I should say, gaming laptop, which doesn't really actually mean anything. It just means that.
[01:20:01] Chris: It just means it has an RTX 20, 60, and it is all.
[01:20:03] Patrick: Yeah, the, the, whatever it is, I can't even remember the the chip that's in it right now, but of course, you know, the thermal profile is awful and it just overheats anyways, so it's bad, but
[01:20:11] my least favorite part about it is that the power button is just on the keyboard.
[01:20:18] It's not a button somewhere else. It's actually built into the keyboard. It's in the upper right-hand corner where your delete key normally is,
[01:20:24] and it's just a regular size button. But next
[01:20:26] to that is the delete key. And so I'll be working on something where I'll be playing a game, a halo, infinite. I remapped a key to delete.
[01:20:35] I immediately undid that because I was playing, I went to go hit it and I turned my computer off
[01:20:40] and it's happens to me at least once a week. So you can go in and you can go into like, settings and reconfigure it and whatever, but why, why?.
[01:20:49] Chris: They would have failed the design award. I don't think they would have won your design award
[01:20:53] Patrick: Definitely. Why would you do that, man?
[01:20:56] And every time I look at it, it just blood pressure goes up. It's
[01:21:01] Chris: It's just that's bad design right there. You know, on my, I have a, my personal computer is is a Mac book air, and that is integrated into the keyboard, but it's a hard button. Like it's, it's like you really, if you go to push on it, you really have to push on it. Like you gotta be putting some effort into, it's not just a light, you know, so I've never turned it off accidentally, but it is in the upper right-hand corner, integrated into the keyboard.
[01:21:26] That's all they had to do. They just had to make it a heavier duty button.
[01:21:29] Patrick: no.
[01:21:29] But then they would have had to have sourced a
[01:21:32] Chris: or even
[01:21:32] Patrick: tension spring or whatever
[01:21:34] Chris: add a three second delay. This can be solved with software. Has to be, you have to hold it for three seconds or something for it to register.
[01:21:41] Patrick: It's and you can, you can, and this just adds to it. You can turn it off. You can turn that function off. And I did it. And then I was sitting there and I was like, wait, do I have to go to the start menu to turn it off? Fine. No big deal. Computer turned off. And then I was like, oh, I really hope. I really hope I went to go turn it on. And of course it disabled it to turn it on. So yeah. So I actually had to like call I won't name drop the company who made the computer. I had to call them and ask them how to boot it without that. And the dude on the phone, he was just like, huh? Yeah, that's a good question. Isn't it? And you have to like, walk me through like these like weird keyboard.
[01:22:21] Yeah. It was, it was awful. I'd like plug it in and do crazy stuff with it. It was which is weird. Cause I think, I thought that was like a bios thing. Like you couldn't undo that,
[01:22:30] but I did. I don't know if
[01:22:34] someone is listening.
[01:22:35] Chris: wake over ether, net or something like that? I'm just
[01:22:38] Patrick: this was like
[01:22:38] two years ago. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. I think, I think it was something like that I'd get, cause I had to plug it in.
[01:22:43] It was super weird. If anyone's listening and you have had this issue before we have the same computer, I can almost guarantee it. And I'm so sorry for you. My, my brother or sister, because it is just the worst thing in the world. Yeah.
[01:22:56] Chris: Oh, God, it's
[01:22:57] Patrick: Your settings should not be able to remap bios key bindings.
[01:23:06] Chris: My goodness. Well, you guys, I mean, you guys pulled out some really good pet peeves. This is impressive. I think we're going to have a tough time top of these ones and no offense, Patrick, but the one Teresa mentioned that is just
[01:23:17] Patrick: Oh no, absolutely. Absolutely.
[01:23:19] Chris: solid gold. I couldn't. And it's universal. I've never heard a single person like this stuff.
[01:23:27] Melissa: Yeah.
[01:23:27] Chris: you know, it's terrible. It's, there's probably a designer at the company that makes the machines to make that listening to this going well, hang on a second. I make the boards that control that
[01:23:38] Patrick: I like the clamshell packaging. like that meme from from star wars where the, I can't remember what it was, where the storm are running around and they're like, wait a minute. I thought we were the good guys.
[01:23:54] Chris: that's perfect. Is there anything else we didn't touch on? Just one last chance speak now forever. Hold your peace. You know, the brides about to get married here. This is it. All right. Beautiful. Well, I appreciate you both coming on the show. I really, really thoroughly super much enjoyed this.
[01:24:10] One more time. If you want to throw out the email address that what is the firstname.lastname@example.org?
[01:24:15] Teresa: correct.
[01:24:16] Chris: Plural answers email@example.com . And also, if you are interested in the competition, Patrick, one more time, your email address, if you want to share that
[01:24:25] Patrick: sure. Yeah. It's Patrick P a T R I C K Crawford, C R a w F O R firstname.lastname@example.org. We also have email@example.com,
[01:24:36] but that will take a longer for me to get back to you. So if you want to get
[01:24:40] in touch with me personally, just use Patrick crawford
[01:24:44] Chris: Awesome. Well, thank you. Thank you both so much for coming on the show. I really, really I've been looking forward to this one. I'm excited to publish this one. And
[01:24:52] Melissa: to edit this one. That's
[01:24:53] Patrick: there you go.
[01:24:57] Chris: Melissa so much editing to be done, but this is, this is great. Thank you. Thank you so much. As always, if anybody wants to get in touch with us we can be firstname.lastname@example.org. You're welcome to tweet at us at CircuitHub or at w assembly. And if for any reason you didn't get Patrick or Teresa's contact info, I'm sure we can help put you in touch with them if you reach out to either of us.
[01:25:20] Melissa: Thanks for listening to the pick place podcast. If you like, what you heard consider following us in your favorite podcast app, and please leave us a review on apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts from.
[01:25:33] Chris: very much.