Last month, a group of industry experts met to review and finalize IPC-DR-DES, a PCB Design Desk Reference created to help designers and engineers understand the requirements and critical parameters of IPC design standards. While I have referred to this project in previous columns, it is now in final draft, and I can write about it in more detail.
IPC-DR-DES guides its user through key steps in the design process—materials selection, stackup designs, pad stack designs, microvia design, solder mask, via protection, and tolerancing—and highlights where parameters and requirements can be found for those design steps in other IPC standards. Other industry specifications are also highlighted, where necessary.
As a Desk Reference, this document is only intended to be a tool—a roadmap toward other, more robust standards. As an example, one section of IPC-DR-DES provides an overview of laser-drilled microvia design. There is a cutaway view of a typical microvia with critical dimensions, and a table listing those parameters and where they can be found. In the case of laser-drilled microvias, there are a few parameters fixed by calculation (which are described elsewhere) and a few defined in IPC-6010. Other parameters are restricted by design decisions made elsewhere, and the table refers the user to those relevant sections in IPC-DR-DES.
The document is only 20 pages long in its current form and, if it isn’t obvious, is intended to fit snugly on the desk of any designer or engineer designing or building boards to IPC specs. For a designer who is entering the industry, especially in emerging markets abroad, the IPC-DR-DES is intended to be a foundational pointer to other standards. For veterans, it can act as a quick-reference guide.
I should note that this is not a replacement for the IPC-2231A DFX Guideline, which is a much more robust guideline intended to help companies establish best practices for board design and the subsequent associated engineering processes: design for test (DFT), design for manufacturing (DFM), etc.
The intention is for the IPC-DR-DES to be revised or reaffirmed annually, as it refers to many IPC and industry standards that may undergo revision at any time. Additionally, new material can (and absolutely should) be added upon request by industry. Indeed, a quick turnaround is expected; as a Desk Reference, this document is not metered by the usual IPC Standards Development processes and can therefore be revised quickly. However, if the document is to be maintained annually, it is critical for continuous input from industry.
Last month, I worked with I-Connect007 to advertise the IPC-DR-DES working group and hopefully attract industry volunteers to make sure that this document is a relevant and useful product for the electronics manufacturing industry. I could not be happier with the response, and it is heartening to see design engineers from around the world volunteer their time.
So, I will leave this abbreviated column with a similar call to action: If you would like to become involved with IPC-DR-DES, please reach out to me. Alternatively, if you have an idea for a standard or other project that IPC can help make a reality, we have launched a new portal for submitting such ideas on IPC.org. To submit an idea or look at other ideas (and become involved), click here.
I look forward to hearing from you.
This column originally appeared in the June 2021 issue of Design007 Magazine.