Manufacturing Specifications
Epec, LLC

  1. Purpose
    1. This specification defines manufacturing qualifications for printed circuit board, both rigid and flex.

  2. Responsibilities
    1. Quality management is responsible for the implementation and maintenance of this specification. Planning and Engineering is responsible for supplying this document and any associated documentation to manufacturers or potential manufacturers. The manufacturer is responsible for notifying Epec, LLC if any part of this specification cannot be met, or if any processes used in the fabrication of PCB's is to be performed at an alternate location, or by a sub-contractor.

  3. Requirements
    1. General Requirements
      1. Board specific requirements for manufacturing of Printed Circuit Boards (PCB's) are defined by Epec, LLC's documentation package, to include, but not limited to:
        • Gerber Data
        • Specifications
        • Drawings
      2. In the event of conflicting requirements within our data, Epec, LLC is to be contacted for definition and correction BEFORE moving forward with production. For all criteria not specifically listed in this specification, or in our documentation package, all PCB's must conform to the latest revision of the applicable IPC specification, for class II or class III.

    2. Manufacturability
      1. It is the responsibility of production to conduct a thorough review of our Gerber data and artwork. Epec, LLC must be advised in advance of manufacturing of any changes, corrections, or recommendations to ensure conformance to the applicable specifications. All communications should be forwarded to the engineer and, which issued the production data.
      2. With repeat builds of any part numbers, any changes to materials used, or processes MUST be approved by Epec, LLC before proceeding with the change.

    3. Coupons
      1. The manufacturer shall use test coupons. The manufacturer is responsible for the configuration and placement of test coupons per IPC guidelines. Revision letter for the coupon shall be the latest board revision level.

    4. Test Stamps, Certificates of Compliance
      1. The manufacturer is responsible to supply as required by our purchase order, Epec, LLC supplied documentation including C of C's and RoHS certificates, for each shipment, and for the correct placement of test stamps as per the latest supplied data.

    5. Production Data
      1. In the event that a conflict in supplied production data and drawing/print is identified, Epec, LLC and shall be notified of said conflict. Epec, LLC shall determine the resolution of said conflict.

    6. Material
      1. Materials used shall be the type listed on the drawing. Any other substitutions shall require written approval from Epec, LLC.

    7. RoHS Compliant Material
      1. Lead free product shall meet the following: High performance FR-4 or other suitable materials are allowed. All materials must comply with IPC 4101, latest revision, and our supplied documentation.

    8. Lamination
      1. Individual circuit layers shall be laminated using suitable preparation and laminate processing to form a multilayer board. Overall thickness and other design requirements shall be as defined by our data. Laminate material in any lay-up shall be from the same manufacturer. With rigid-flex product, the rigid material and the flex material may be from different manufacturers. The manufacturer shall maintain documentation indicating the laminates and prepreg used in each manufactured lot of PCB's. Traceability of material suppliers to actual material manufacturer, for laminate used in board fabrication shall be maintained by the PCB manufacturer.

    9. Laminate Adhesion
      1. There shall be no evidence of laminate degradation.
      2. Insulation resistance as per IPC-6012, latest revision.
      3. All layers shall be securely bonded with no evidence of poor adhesion, blistering, delaminating or cracking after bonding. The rejection criteria for internal voids shall be in accordance with IPC-A-600. Internal layers, board surfaces, and edges shall be free of loose or protruding fibers or particles or other evidence of damage. Any of these conditions shall be cause for rejection.

    10. Construction
      1. The manufacturer shall use a balanced construction unless otherwise specified in the data. The manufacturer shall provide minimum dielectrics as defined in the data.

    11. Drilling
      1. Holes shall be drilled and free from burrs, epoxy smearing, protruding fibers, and delamination. The final hole size shall be within +/- 0.003” of the required hole size or in accordance with Epec, LLC supplied data. The hole shall be within the area defined by the land, and meet annular ring requirements of IPC-6012 and 6013, unless otherwise specified on Epec, LLC supplied data.

    12. Etchback
      1. Etchback shall be required when specified on the drawing, and shall meet IPC 6012. Plasma etchback is the preferred method, but permanganate etchback may be used. Other methods must have prior approval from Epec, LLC.
      2. Etchback is always a requirement for multi-layer flex and rigid-flex per IPC 6013 sec and is not part of drawing.

    13. Copper Plating
      1. Copper used for plating shall be in accordance with the requirements of IPC-6012. Plated holes shall show no evidence of defective plating. Joints between inner layers and the plated hole wall shall be free of epoxy smear. Minimum copper plating shall be per IPC 6012 and IPC 6013.

    14. Etching
      1. After etching, conductor patterns shall show no evidence of lifting, poor adherence, and poorly defined or missing circuitry. There shall be no slivers or particles of metal on the board surfaces or in the holes.

    15. Solder Mask
      1. 4The solder mask shall be applied per the following requirements;
      2. Liquid Photo-imageable (LPI) solder mask shall be applied to both sides of the board over bare copper, unless otherwise specified on Epec, LLC data.
      3. Via holes shall be plugged or tented unless specifically stated by Epec, LLC's data.
      4. Solder mask must be compatible with the laminate and the vendor UL recognition program.
      5. Mask materials shall be matte or gloss, green in color unless otherwise specified on Epec, LLC data, and meet the requirements of IPC-SM-840. Mask thickness shall be as per IPC 6012.
      6. Solder mask mis-registration shall not exceed 0.002”.
      7. Solder mask dams shall be defined per Epec, LLC supplied data.

    16. Blind and Buried Vias
      1. Methods and materials for hole fill material shall be specified by Epec, LLC supplied data. Hole fill material shall be either conductive or nonconductive, as specified in Epec, LLC supplied data.

    17. Surface Finishes
      1. The surface finish type shall be stated on the drawing. Surface finish characteristics shall be per IPC Class 2, unless otherwise specified on the drawing, or within the Epec, LLC data.

    18. Markings
      1. Item identification and UL markings shall be per supplied Epec, LLC documentation. Markings shall be legible, per IPC-600. Ink markings shall be applied by silk screening with high temperature, permanent and non-conductive marking ink. Silk screen ink must not be present on pads, annular rings, or any other surface feature intended for soldering.
      2. When requested, ROHS/No lead PCB's shall be marked “PB free” or with a symbol depicted in IPC-1066.

    19. Legend
      1. Legend registration must not intrude on any solderable area. Marking ink shall be non-conductive marking ink, unless otherwise specified in Epec, LLC data. All legend (reference designators, text, and part outlines) shall be legible.

    20. Annular Ring
      1. The annular ring shall be per IPC 6012, Class 2, unless otherwise noted in Epec, LLC data.

    21. Bow and Twist
      1. Unless otherwise specified on the drawing, the maximum bow and twist for all rigid boards shall be per IPC-6012.
      2. Unless otherwise specified on the drawing, the maximum bow and twist for all rigid-flex boards shall be per IPC-6013.

    22. X-Outs
      1. Rigid PCB's
        1. Unless otherwise specified within Epec, LLC data, our X-Out policy is as follows:
          • 1 up to 4 up array, No X-Outs allowed.
          • 6 up to 12 up array, 1 X-out allowed per array, but no more than 5% of total order.
          • 14 up or greater array, 2 X-outs allowed per array, but no more than 5% of total order.
      2. Flex/Rigid-Flex PCB's
        1. X-Outs for flex & rigid- flex will be stated as part of our data package.
      3. Arrays with X-outs are to be packaged separately from good arrays, and identified on outside of packaging.

    23. Ionic Testing
      1. Unless otherwise specified, all suppliers shall perform ionic testing, per lot, before packaging. Contamination level shall not be greater than 7.0 micrograms per inch, squared. (1.1 micrograms per centimeter, squared)

    24. Washing PCB's
      1. The manufacturer shall perform 100% post surface finish cleaning for the PCB's produced, prior to delivery. The cleaning agents used shall not degrade the materials and surface finish used in producing the PCB, nor shall the chemical agent reduce the PCB solderability during the assembly process. The manufacturer shall use a cleaning method that is equal to or exceeds the standard method for aqueous cleaning. The manufacturer shall use clean de-ionized rinse water or equivalent to rinse the PCB's after washing. The manufacturer shall insure the clean PCB's are fully dried before packaging.

  4. Quality Assurance
    1. Manufacturer Quality Program
      1. The manufacturer quality program, shall meet the requirements of ISO 9001.
      2. All rigid PCB's shall be produced with UL certified materials and processes. Epec, LLC is to be notified if any parts cannot meet UL certification, or 94V-0 specifications.
      3. All flex/rigid-flex will have UL certification requirements stated in the supplied data package.

    2. Workmanship
      1. Manufacturers shall be responsible for delivering products that are fit for use and meet the specifications identified on drawings, or as specified within Epec, LLC data. Printed circuit boards shall be free of dirt, oil, corrosion, corrosive products, salts, grease, fingerprints, foreign materials, uncured ink or solder mask, tin/lead dross, copper slivers, or other harmful elements. All boards within a lot shall have consistent placement of tooling and component holes, and shall maintain all dimensional requirements of the drawing from lot to lot. Reference IPC-A-600 for acceptance. Repairs to metal features are NOT permitted.

    3. Electrical Testing
      1. All PCB's that have been electrically tested shall have a permanent test stamp located per our data. The test stamp shall be clearly legible and shall not interfere with any other stamps, marks, or designators. Test stamps shall be marked with permanent ink that will not deteriorate in the normal manufacturing process of the board fabrication. All PCB's shall be electrically tested unless noted otherwise in Epec, LLC supplied data.

    4. Date Codes
      1. All boards are to be marked with a date code system, which will identify the date of fabrication, and not the shipment date. Details of the coding system will be defined by Epec, LLC data. Date code should be identifiable to an individual purchase order, or lot, and shall not be mixed within packaging. Multiple date codes in one shipment shall be packaged separately, with quantity of each date code identified on the outside of the box.

    5. Solderability
      1. All parts that require soldering shall meet industry standards for hand and machine soldering per J-STD-003.

    6. Statistical Process Control
      1. All manufacturers shall have a statistical process control (SPC) in place that includes a control plan. Manufacturers shall be able to demonstrate actual use of SPC to control processes and identify opportunities for improvement. Epec, LLC reserves the right to review all SPC data.

    7. Calibration
      1. The manufacturer shall have a system that meets or complies with the requirements of ISO-10012 and ISO-9001, and shall be able to demonstrate traceability of standards used to the National Institute of Standards and Test (NIST).

    8. Manufacturer Compliance
      1. The manufacturer shall be responsible for maintaining the latest revision level of this fabrication specification within their facility. The latest released revision of this document shall be supplied to the manufacturer by Epec, LLC management.

  5. Preparation for Delivery
    1. Certificate of Compliance
      1. Each shipment shall be accompanied by a certificate of compliance (C of C) signed by a company official responsible for product assurance. Each of these certificates shall identify, as a minimum, the inspection date, job number, part number, revision, date code, and PO number. Additional information shall include quantity, materials, and certification to class III and/or ROHS, if required.

    2. Packaging
      1. Vacuum packaging shall be used. Desiccant and humidity indicator cards shall be included in packages unless otherwise specified by Epec, LLC data. If slip-sheeting is required, it will be stated on the Epec, LLC purchase order. If packaging in MBB bags is required, it will be stated on the Epec, LLC purchase order. Individual boxes should not weigh more than 40lbs. Foam peanuts as packaging materials is not allowed.

    3. Coupons
      1. When required, test coupons will be located on production panels per IPC-6012. Coupons shall be designed in accordance with IPC-6012, and each layer of the PCB shall be represented including internal and external ground planes. Coupons shall be evaluated in accordance with IPC-6012, and this specification. When clarification is needed, IPC-600 shall be used.
      2. For PCB's with controlled impedance requirements, each panel will have a minimum of two impedance coupons. Each coupon will be tested for the specified impedance. The impedance test data and coupons will be supplied with the delivery of the PCB's.

    4. Micro-sections
      1. Micro-sections shall be included with every delivery. The micro-section shall be of a stressed sample, and in the case of multi-layers, shall exhibit all layers. The micro-section shall be labeled with the date code of the part number from which it was sampled from.

    5. 6.5. Solderability (Thermal Stress Test)
      1. A 2" x 2" stressed sample, or the ordered part number, shall be supplied with each delivery. The sample shall include plated through holes, and if present on the part, surface mount pads. The sample shall be stressed per IPC TM-650.
      2. When requested on the purchase order, a full sample for solder analysis shall be supplied. This sample need NOT be a functional board, but MUST be a full array, or part if there is no array. This sample shall not be solder tested, but supplied as is.

    6. Inspection Documentation
      1. Each delivery shall include inspection documentation, recorded on Epec, LLC supplied documents. This shall include:
        • Gerber Data
        • Specifications
        • Drawings
      2. Material Certifications that state the lot number of the laminates used.
      3. If the parts are ROHS compliant, F0138 (ROHS Form) will also be included.

  6. Handling and Storage
    1. The supplier shall prevent contamination to surface finish plating by preventing any contact with oils, water, chemistries, or human skin after the final surface has been applied. Inspectors shall wear gloves when handling our finished parts.
    2. Parts will be stored under monitored conditions per IPC 1601. Any parts with a date code older than 6 months shall NOT be shipped to Epec, LLC without written approval from Epec, LLC.

  7. Non-Conforming Product
    1. In the event that the supplier has non-conforming product, Epec, LLC is to be notified of the non-conformance immediately, with photos, and options to correct the non-conformance, if they exist. Disposition of the non-conformance shall be determined, in writing, by Epec, LLC. Under no circumstances shall non-conforming product be shipped to Epec, LLC unless an approval in writing is received from Epec, LLC.

  8. Reworking of Product for Conformance
    1. Rework is acceptable, but shall be in accordance with IPC-6012 and IPC-6013. Reworked parts shall not exceed 10% of the total delivery quantity.

America's Oldest, A History of Innovation.  Learn More →
Our History

As the oldest production Printed Circuit Board Company in North America, perhaps in the world, the 60-year plus story of Epec is connected to the development of the PCB and the electronics industry.

See our history timeline →

  • Epec Founded in 1952
  • IPC Founded in 1957
  • Epec Builds PCB for Apollo 11