The North American electronics assembly industry is rock solid. Sales numbers for semiconductor and electronics manufacturers are rising steadily, and printed circuit board sales are on the uptick. The U.S. Purchasing Managers’ Index is reflecting a positive position for industry sales, which also bodes well for sales projections over the next few months.
In addition, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects assemblers and fabricators to experience stable employment opportunities through 2024, despite the rise of automation (1,824,300 projected industry workers by 2024). The intricate nature of assembly and technical expertise required will necessitate the retention of these workers by manufacturers.
According to the BLS, “Qualified applicants, including those with technical vocational training and certification, are likely to have the best job opportunities in the manufacturing sector, particularly in growing, high-technology industries, such as aerospace and electro-medical devices.”
This industry and employment outlook data emphasizes the need for electronics assemblers and fabricators to continue training to deepen their technical expertise.
The value of standard practice and evolving technology
Quality end products are built on skillful designs and specific production methods. Meticulous planning of step-by-step assembly and execution by workers certified in time-tested techniques – along with the latest technological advances – ensures product reliability. This results in customer satisfaction, increased sales, and expanded market share.
IPC is the international trade association that standardizes the practices of the electronics assembly industry. The organization’s standards mirror most steps of the production processes required. By publishing these standards, IPC has developed a highly recognized method for electronics assembly and printed board manufacturing.
From visual inspection and soldering techniques, to component rework and cable wire harness assemblies (among other processes), IPC has specified standards that are followed by companies around the world. Along with advancing the achievement of reliable and quality products, this also eliminates confusion and creates consistency industry-wide.
These are just some of the companies utilizing IPC standards today:
- Apple, Inc.
- Bayer Health Care
- Boeing Company
- Bose Corporation
- Caterpillar, Inc.
- Cisco Systems, Inc.
- Dell, Inc.
- Eastman Kodak Company
- Hewlett-Packard Company
- Honeywell International
- IBM Corporation
- Intel Corporation
- Johnson Controls, Inc.
- Logitech, Inc.
- Microsoft Corporation
- Motorola, Inc.
- Panasonic Corporation
- Sony Corporation
- Sun Microsystems, Inc.
- Thermo Fisher Scientific
As noted earlier, the future of the electronics assembly industry is with high-technology corporations like these. To remain competitive, manufacturers and their employees must seek training to remain current with the latest production and quality assurance techniques.
Securing the future
IPC approves training centers, like EPTAC Corporation, to deliver high quality certification – and recertification – trainings for electronics assembly and printed circuit board production and inspection. The organization has even published guides for assemblers and inspectors to utilize in the field. For example, the IPC-J-STD-001 “Requirements for Electrical and Electronic Assemblies,” and the IPC-A-610 “Acceptability of Electronic Assemblies” are standards for assemblers and inspectors, respectively, to refer to regularly.
Consistency in training and certifications proves its value with every sale of a quality product – and helps to secure steady employment for the skilled worker. IPC certifications are valid for two years, so recertification is standard practice in the electronics assembly industry.
EPTAC is proud to further the advancement of the industry and promote its contributions to the global economy through scheduled classes, on-site programs and upon request, online trainings. Free webinars about relevant topics are also available to anyone in the industry seeking to broaden their knowledge and deepen their impact in the workplace.