Printed Circuit Board Testing: Qualification, Acceptance and Conformance

PCB testing, or printed circuit board testing, begins with understanding that the PCB is the foundation for any printed circuit assembly (PCA).

The circuit board is a top quality product that should not cause your end product to cost you money due to failures and recalls. NTS is an internationally accredited test laboratory approved for PCB testing including the bare PCB, the raw materials that the PCB is comprised of, as well as the finished PCA. The most commonly used PCB testing performance specifications for qualification, acceptance, and/or conformance are IPC-6012, IPC-6013, IPC-6016, IPC-6018, MIL-PRF-55110, MIL-P-50884, or MIL-PRF-31032.

The most commonly requested of the test lab from these specifications are outlined below.

PCB Testing Specifications: IPC-6012, IPC-6013, IPC-6016, IPC-6018, MIL-PRF-55110, MIL-P-50884, or MIL-PRF-31032

  • Continuity Testing
  • Dielectric Withstanding Voltage
  • Dimensional Inspection and Verification
  • Electrical Testing
  • Flexural Endurance
  • Folding Flexibility
  • Ionic Cleanliness (IC) and/or Resistivity of Solvent Extract (ROSE)
  • Microsection / Cross section analysis as received, after thermal stress, after thermal shock, after rework simulation
  • Moisture and Insulation Resistance (IR / MIR)
  • Peel Strength
  • Resistance to Solvents (Marking Ink Testing)
  • Solderability per J-STD-003
  • Thermal Cycling
  • Visual Exam per IPC-A-600 and/or IPC-A-610

NTS also has the capabilities to perform PCB testing of the quality and conformance of the raw materials, of which the PCB or PCA may be comprised. Some of the common specifications and/or testing include:

Other circuit board testing on board materials

  • Advanced Instrumentation: FTIR, SEM/EDS, Real Time X-RayFTIR Analysis
  • Conductive Anodic Filament (CAF)
  • Copper Testing (Purity, Tensile Strength and Elongation)
  • Electrochemical Migration (ECM)
  • Environmental Testing
  • Flammability IPC-4101 Qualification Testing (Laminate Material)
  • IPC-CC-830 or MIL-I-46058 (Conformal Coating)
  • IPC-SM-840 (Soldermask)
  • Surface Insulation Resistance (SIR)
  • Thermal Analysis via DSC, TGA, or TMA
          Time to delamination, Coefficient of Thermal Expansion (CTE), Glass Transition Temperature (Tg / ΔTg)

NTS regularly performs PCB testing for Cisco Systems, Hewlett Packard, Dell Computers, Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Land and Maritime, just to name a few. NTS has been testing for PCB quality for more than 30 years and can help you assess board quality in addition to performing full root cause PCB failure analysis if problems are detected.

Qualification testing for military specifications is to be performed by an approved test lab on a 3-year schedule. Conformance testing for military specifications is to be performed monthly.

Regarding PCB testing per IPC standards, there is, at this time, no required schedule for qualification testing. This testing is recommended when using a new supplier or a step of the manufacturing process is changed. Conformance testing is periodic based upon class of product (quarterly for Class 2, monthly for Class 3). Acceptance testing is to be performed per lot.

NTS supplies consultation and testing services to PCB manufacturers and users. Let us be your independent test laboratory.