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62 PCB007 MAGAZINE I MAY 2019 base material used. This level of traceability is possible today but rarely implemented. With the implementation of full connected facto- ry control, we will soon see such traceability even down to used chemicals and other pro- cess parameters that are impossible to achieve right now. Today, in printed board production, we ac- cept the fact that errors occur because of the high number of complex processes and simply because humans are involved. We also know that hidden failures will escape the outgoing control. This leads us to the importance of con- sequence and cost limitation when the failure potentially could jeopardize function and reli- ability in the end product, such as life-critical medical devices. Traceability in PCB Production: Not a Sufficient Focus Being chair of two IPC task groups where we write performance standards for printed boards used in automotive and medical devices, trace- ability is frequently discussed. We experience how traceability has a focus in PCB assem- bly processes but is generally neglected in re- quirements to PCB production. Some compa- nies understand the importance of traceability and implement different smart ways to trace one printed board back to its panel, or at least the production lot, and limit the consequential cost. Other printed board factories have imple - mented good systems. However, when the sys- tems are not implemented into the performance standards, it's left to the customers and suppli- ers to apply for them, and they often don't. If the system was made mandatory in the perfor- mance standard, they would have to follow it. Strict Requirements for Medical Devices: Not Consistent Enough As a part of my work with the automotive and medical standards, I have learned that traceability is an area where some companies are good while others simply miss out. Very few, if any, excel. The closest are companies involved in human implant electronics. When I looked into the standard, I found the same as we see in medical electronics—the require- ments are strict for the manufacturing of the medical devices, but not upstream to printed board manufacturing. One might think that with the importance traceability offers, there would be several IPC standards describing how to handle it, but there are not. IPC-1782 is the only one de - scribing the issue, and it is the standard for manufacturing and supply chain traceability of electronic products. Until now, this stan- dard described traceability for electronic pro- duction, excluding the printed board. This is about to change. In the ongoing work toward a new revision, we have started to discuss how we can implement traceability for printed boards as well. Compliance to Specification and Corporate and Regulatory Requirements To secure traceability of compliance to prod- uct performance and requirements in an elec- tronic device application, a computer-readable digital specification should be created during the product development process. This speci- fies the product requirements in all PCB pro- curement stages between buyer and seller through the complete product lifecycle, and encompass the parameters as written in the procurement documentation as a minimum. It is a good habit to let the digital specification be part of the request for quotation to protect the buyer and secure that the seller has suffi- cient capability to meet the specified qualifica- tion and performance requirements. Such digital specification is not common today, but I am sure Today, in printed board production, we accept the fact that errors occur because of the high number of complex processes and simply because humans are involved.

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