The Complete Guide to Aerospace Industry Standards for PCB Manufacturing

There was a time when I was confused about the practical difference between conformance and compliance. After all, both require you to follow the rules. Only after seeing some plans succeed while others failed without any discernible conformance or compliance violations did it finally dawn on me that there was indeed a difference between the two. Conformity, generally thought to indicate following your own rules, can simply mean going through the motions to meet the minimum requirements. Compliance, usually associated with satisfying external demands, can imply that you acquiesce entirely to the intent of the requirement.

From a technical regulatory perspective, you might assume there isn’t much difference between conforming and complying as long as you meet the requirements. However, for a company or agency seeking a supplier that employs aerospace industry standards, it is preferable to work with a developer that strives to exceed, not just meet, the requirements. The manufacturing process is a major component of key aerospace industry standards, including the soon-to-be-mandated AS9100D for quality management systems (QMSs). If you want to be considered a preferred developer of aerospace products, a collaborative relationship with your aerospace contract manufacturer (CM) is crucial. Let’s take a look at AS9100D and other standards and discuss their impact on the manufacture of your PCBs.

Which Aerospace Industry Standards Apply to PCB Development?

Incorporating the appropriate intent requires understanding the standards that apply to the development of your boards.

  • ISO 9100 - The universally recognized International Organization of Standardization (ISO) baseline for QMSs from which a number of other standards are derived. Any organization can use this standard, which focuses on customer satisfaction, top management responsibilities, QMS processes and their continual improvement.

Besides publishing standards for other industries, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) sets a number of aerospace industry standards applicable to your PCB development as listed below.

  • AMS2750E - Covers pyrometric requirements for devices: thermal sensors, instruments, thermal processing equipment; and assessment: testing and surveying to ensure adherence to heat treatment specifications.
  • AS478N - Specifies the type of markings and where they should be located for aerospace components.
  • AS5553A - This standard puts forth generic requirements for every organization in the supply chain that procures or integrates components that will be used in aerospace platforms.
  • AS9006A - Specifies requirements for software and software support components and devices that may be a part of a software system that is a part of, or uploaded to, an aerospace system.
  • AS9100D - Sets the QMS requirements for suppliers to the aerospace industry. Covers in-house and outsourced manufacturing processes, management responsibilities and emphasizes customer satisfaction.
  • AS9101E - Specifies guidelines for the auditing and reporting of your QMS.
  • AS9102B - Lists baseline first article inspection (FAI) requirements.

The aerospace industry standards listed above cover areas that may be impacted by the development of electronics products and PCBs. However, other standards, rules and guidelines intended for multiple industries in addition to aerospace are not included.

Aerospace Industry Standards for PCB Manufacturing

From the list above, it is obvious that the aerospace industry places significant emphasis on the manufacturing processes and components used in any electronics systems. Therefore, it is incumbent upon you to know how these standards affect the fabrication, component procurement, assembly, testing and specifications of your boards. To simplify the process of choosing your CM, the aerospace industry standards are categorized based on the particular aspects of the PCB manufacturing process(es) they primarily focus on.

PCB Manufacturing Impact Area of Aerospace Industry Standards

Aerospace Industry Standard

PCB Manufacturing Impact
AMS2750E Component Procurement, Testing
AS478N Fabrication
AS5553A Component Procurement
AS9006A Component Procurement, Assembly
AS9100D Fabrication, Component Procurement, Assembly, Testing, Specifications
AS9101E Specifications
AS9102B Testing

The special requirements of extensive durability and reliability for space-rated electronics separates their design and manufacture from most PCBs. These quality mandates are embodied in regulations, rules and guidelines that impact the relationship between you and your CM. In fact, your CM should be an integral part of development beginning on day 1 of design to ensure that your boards, components and all processes involved meet or exceed aerospace industry standards.

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Tempo Automation leads the industry in fast, precise, high-quality turnkey PCB manufacturing. We are committed to partnering with you early in the design and development process to ensure that your boards accurately reflect your design specifications and intent and meet or exceed any quality requirements.

Tempo‘s Custom Avionics for PCB Manufacturing Service

●   Accurate quote in less than a day.●   DFM support from Day 1 of design.●   Entire turnkey PCB manufacturing in as fast as 3 days.●   Manufacturing processes that support your AS9100 Quality Management System Requirements.●   Sources components from the most reputable suppliers in the industry to reduce procurement time and help with component security.●   Performs multiple automated inspections during PCB assembly to ensure PCB quality for prototyping.●   Design testing capabilities; including Flying Probe.

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 aerospace industry standards, how they impact the manufacturing of your PCBs or how to incorporate them into your design, contact us.

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