Companies that purchase Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) embedded computer systems often need them to be extremely reliable. For mission critical applications, companies often specify products designed and manufactured to IPC Class 3 require- ments. The IPC Class 3 standard was developed in the 1960’s to ensure the reliability of electronic products in the most demanding environments. However, with the advent of high-density printed circuit boards, new design and manufacturing challenges arise in meeting IPC Class 3 requirements. The result is that following the current IPC Class 3 guidelines is no longer always consistent with providing the most reliable product. It’s a classic case of an important standard that hasn’t kept pace with advancements in technology.
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