If you’ve used a high-performance electronic product before (for example, a life support system), you should be thankful to the wire harness industry that helps create these products that deliver consistent performances without any interruptions. The wire harness industry is also behind the manufacture of countless other general electronics products and devices. However, this smooth-sailing industry wasn’t always this efficient.
Did you know that there were no universally recognized workmanship standards in the wire harness industry until 2002? That’s when the IPC-WHMA-A-620 was developed by the Wiring Harness Manufacturer’s Association and the IPC (Association Connecting Electronics Industries). Since then, all cable and wire harness manufacturers worldwide follow this standard to determine whether their finished products meet the acceptable quality standards.
Since 2002, the IPC/WHMA-A-620 standard has been used to define requirements for electronic assemblies based on visual criteria. The standard covers issues such as –
- Hardware Mounting
- Electrostatic Discharge Protection
- Rework and Repair of Cables and Wire Harnesses
- Preparation of Wires (Deformation, Stripping, Strand Damage, Etc.)
- Cleanliness Standards
- Soldering Requirements
All topics covered in this standard are intended to help industry professionals create high-quality products that meet user requirements. The IPC/WHMA-A-620 standard is subject to revisions every three years. The revised standards feature detailed pictures that inform factory floor professionals about acceptable/unacceptable features of assemblies. These revisions are important because they ensure that the standards are up-to-date with the latest technological advancements and industry practices.
Why Should Wire Harness and Electronics Assembly Professionals Master the IPC/WHMA-A-620 Standard?
Usually, wire harness manufacturers who use the A-620 standard to produce their goods pay for their employees to receive this training and certification. A professional with the IPC/WHMA-A-620 certification will be able to –
- Communicate with other OEM’s and wire harness manufacturers as they all speak a common language based on the IPC/WHMA-A-620 guidelines.
- Training to learn the IPC/WHMA-A-620 standards helps industry professionals work on projects with customized build specifications.
- Companies with certified workforces can perform better than their competitors as these professionals are able to ensure that their manufacturing processes comply with regulatory requirements consistently.
- ISO and several other global electronics manufacturing agencies recognize the IPC/WHMA-A-620.
- The standard is also used for recognizing chances to improve the cable and wire harness manufacturing processes.
- Manufacturers with A-620 certified workforces can offer their clients more than just products, components, or materials. They can provide value-added services like helping OEMs adhere to regulatory standards.
Overall, for electronics manufacturing companies, having an A-620-certified workforce is a testament to their capabilities, credibility, and commitment to equipping their employees with knowledge about every aspect of the wire manufacturing process. From stripping to testing the parts – a certified workforce can keep all manufacturing requirements in-house and significantly cut down their employers’ expenses. That’s why top manufacturers don’t refrain from paying wire harness training costfor their employees. Plus, such forward-thinking companies are also able to win the trust of their target customers.
What is IPC/WHMA-A-620 Training?
The IPC/WHMA-A-620 training and certification program is one of many IPC certification programs. IPC-certified instructors conduct these training programs. The topics covered in these training programs range from how to manufacture cable and wire harness assemblies to which materials should/shouldn’t be used during manufacture.
The central purpose of these training programs is to equip qualified candidates with the knowledge of how to create and test cable and wire harness assemblies. Students also learn the criteria of acceptability for soldered interconnections in cables and harness assemblies. The A-620 IPC certification standards are presently used by Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and wire harness manufacturers in 42 countries across the globe. Training materials and resources come in twelve different languages.
Students receive their IPC/WHMA-A-620 certification after passing certain tests. Once they pass the training, professionals can expect to obtain skills such as –
- Accept or reject cable or wire harness products based on the quality standards mentioned in the IPC/WHMA-A-620 standard.
- Interpret the rationale behind creating and implementing these standards.
- Become fluent in the terminologies and definitions used by cable and wire harness manufacturing industry professionals.
Who Should Get the IPC/WHMA-A-620 Certification?
Since the IPC/WHMA-A-620 standard is the global electronics manufacturing industry’s yardstick for determining whether cable and wire harness products are quality or not, all aspiring soldering or electronics assembly professionals are advised to receive IPC/WHMA-A-620 training and certification. To partake in this training and certification program, applicants must –
- Have 5th-grade level reading and writing skills (at least).
- Have a basic understanding of electrostatic overstress and electrostatic discharge practices (EOS and ESD).
- Familiarity with basic connector terminologies.
If students are successful at basic IPC/WHMA-A-620 training, they can apply for special CIT certification programs and become IPC-certified trainers. They can then train and certify other professionals (quality inspectors, operators, etc.) in the cable and wire harness manufacturing industry. Any individual, be it an experienced pro or an amateur, who wants to obtain IPC/WHMA-A-620 certification should visit an IPC-licensed training and certification center!