For me, waiting to turn 16 so I could finally get my driver’s license was much like half-sleeping and half-listening for Santa and his reindeer to land on the roof on Christmas Eve. Driving was definitely my first enduring love affair. Of course, I was attracted to the horsepower and testing my ability to perfectly hang curves, while being oblivious to the potential danger that two or three tons of steel running dozens of miles per hour could cause. That all changed when I became a parent and the safety of the precious cargo I had on board became my primary concern.
Fortunately for me, and I am sure countless others, the safety of automotive vehicles has been and still is the chief consideration for several standards organizations. This is no easy task, as the typical car has around 30,000 parts. However, these groups collectively manage to produce rules and guidelines that, if followed, help keep drivers and passengers as safe as possible. Not surprisingly, some of these standards can be quite specific, such as IPC-6012DA that targets rigid circuit board manufacturing properties. The number of automotive industry standards is in the thousands and it would be virtually impossible to know them all. Fortunately, there is a much more manageable set of key standards that you can become familiar with to develop automotive PCBs that meet the safety concerns of the precious cargo that vehicles carry.
Key Automotive Industry Standards
The most important aspect of automotive system development is creating a safe-to-use end product. While automotive manufacturers can get carried away with vehicle performance, just like I used to, a number of regulatory organizations exist to ensure that safety, the prime directive, is not lost. The table below lists a few key standards that can be used to assist PCB developers in ensuring their products are safe for the automotive industry.
AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY STANDARDS
Regulation / Standard
Regulatory or Testing Body
|Provides failure test qualifications for integrated circuits||Component functionality and reliability||Automotive Electronics Council (AEC)|
|Provides failure test qualifications for discrete semiconductors||Component functionality and reliability|
|Provides failure test qualifications for discrete optoelectronic semiconductors||Component functionality and reliability|
|Provides failure test qualifications for multichip modules||Component functionality and reliability|
|Provides failure test qualifications for passive components||Component functionality and reliability|
|Defines guidelines and requirements for automotive industry quality management systems (QMS)||Electronic product design and development|
|Defines generic performance specifications for PCBs||PCB design and manufacturing|
|Defines tolerances and test procedures for rigid PCBs used in automotive systems||PCB design, manufacturing and testing|
|Defines performance specifications for flex and rigid-flex PCBs||PCB design and manufacturing|
|SAE J3016_201401||Defines classes for automated driving systems||Vehicle type classification|
Obviously, the listing above is not all-inclusive. However, the standards listed are important and can be used as a basis for your automotive industry PCB design and serve as pointers when adding more specific AEC, IPC, and SAE standards.
Automotive Industry Standards for PCB Design and Manufacture
The sheer number of automotive industry standards can be daunting, to say the least. Yet, there is a paradigm that can be used to navigate through this vast landscape and focus attention on only pertinent standards for each stage of your automotive PCB design. Let’s take a look at the steps involved.
Step 1 - Development Plan
Have or install a QMS that adheres to the rules and guidelines of IATF 16949.
Step 2 - Component Selection
Verify that your components are in compliance with the applicable AEC standard. If necessary, perform the testing procedure given or have it performed by an approved facility.
Step 3 - Design and Manufacturing
Based on your board type, use the appropriate IPC standard(s) to ensure that your board fabrication and PCB assembly meet automotive industry or electronics guidelines.
|Tempo‘s Custom Vehicle Electrification PCB Manufacturing Service|
Tempo Automation, the PCB industry’s fastest turnkey PCB manufacturer for prototyping and low volume production, is well-equipped with the advanced facilities, software-driven processes and expertise to build your automotive industry board’s to the highest precision and quality. We have the capabilities to ensure that your PCBs meet any automotive industry standard required and we will work with you beginning from day 1 of design to ensure the best PCB development experience.
And to help you get started on the best path, we furnish information for your DFM and enable you to easily view and download DRC files. If you’re an Altium user, you can simply add these files to your PCB design software.
If you are ready to have your design manufactured, try our quote tool to upload your CAD and BOM files. If you want more information on automotive industry standards that impact the design and manufacture of your PCBs, contact us.