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IPC Solder Training

The quality of solder joints is critical to the longevity and reliability of electronic products ‘in situ’. The Institute for Packaging and Connection (IPC) has developed a set of international standards to ensure conformity and an industry recognised standard for the quality of soldering/assembly for the electronics sector.

A highly qualified and experienced group of IPC member companies have examined in minute detail, every operation which relates to the provision and manufacture of electronic assemblies. They have established rules which relate to it. As a result, Target, Acceptable and Reject standards have been established.


Target Condition is the ‘ideal’ situation, the perfect joint, placement, etc

Acceptable takes into consideration slight deviations from target conditions but represents a standard of workmanship within the tolerance of acceptability.

Reject represents a situation which does not meet the specified target or acceptable conditions

As a result, customers of the electronics sector can anticipate a quality of finished work from companies which adhere to IPC standards which accurately reflects the cost of their assemblies and the purpose for which the work is meant.

These standards apply across three main classes.

Class 1- General Electronic Products

Includes products suitable for applications where the major requirement is function of the related assembly.

Class 2- Dedicated Service Electronics

Includes products where continued performance and extended life is required, and for which uninterrupted service is desired but not critical. Typically the end application would not cause failures.

Class 3- High performance Electronic Products

Includes products where continued high performance or performance on demand is critical, where equipment down time cannot be tolerated, or end use may be uncommonly harsh. The equipment must function when required. (e.g. life support systems, avionics etc.)

Revision D – Lead Free

Indicates that the standard recognises the special considerations concerning lead free soldering and componetry.


The purpose of training related to the IPC standards is to enable companies to facilitate qualifications for their staff. The IPC standards acknowledge both skills and experience, enabling workers to indicate the level of competence achieved and the type of work that can be undertaken.

One of the main principles during this whole process is the assumption that every worker should own responsibility for the work that they produce. Having a reference standard negates the need for inspectors in the workplace. As a result, the IPC training programme is highly successful and has become the accepted standard throughout the world.

Soldering Training is usually trained using guided classroom learning. This involves intensive reference to the IPC 610 “Acceptability of Electronic Assemblies” standard. To achieve the IPC 610 standard requires training in a number of mandatory topics as well optional modules depending upon skills required. There are tests related to every module, with review modules to consolidate learning. There are open and closed book tests which require the delegate to achieve a % pass mark as well as stringent rules for the re-sitting of failed modules.

Modules are listed below:-

  • M1 – Introduction /IPC professional policies and procedures - mandatory
  • M2 – Forward, applicable documents & handling – mandatory
  • M3 - Hardware Installation - Optional
  • M4 – Soldering (including high voltage) – optional
  • M5 – Terminal connections (requires modules 4 and 8 in advance of this module) –optional
  • M6 – Through hole Technology (requires modules 4 and 8 in advance of this module) –optional
  • M7 – Surface Mount Assemblies (requires modules 4 and 8 in advance of this module) –optional
  • M8 – Component damage and printed circuit boards and assemblies
  • M9 – Solderless wire wrap - optional

For example to achieve the certified IPC specialist (CIS) level, all of the above modules have to be successfully completed by the delegate.

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Guide Written by Paul Wilson

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