Ensure your printed circuit boards and finished printed circuit assemblies are of the highest quality and compliant with relevant standards with comprehensive PCB testing from Element.
As the foundation of any printed circuit assembly (PCA), a high-quality printed circuit board (PCB) is crucial to prevent costly failures and recalls in your end products. Element has the equipment and expertise necessary to evaluate and test PCBs of all kinds at every product stage - from raw materials testing to failure analysis.
PCB test methods
Element’s accreditations cover bare PCB, raw materials, and finished PCA testing. Our comprehensive range of testing services adheres to industry-leading performance specifications such as IPC-6012, IPC-6013, IPC-6016, IPC-6018, MIL-PRF-55110, MIL-P-50884, and MIL-PRF-31032. We provide you with certainty that your printed circuit boards (PCBs) are evaluated in accordance with industry standards.
Element’s circuit board testers use IPC-A-610 to visually assess any degradation in the following:
- mechanical integrity
- solder cracking
- burn marks and discoloration
- foreign object debris
- whisker formation
- dendritic growth
- flux residue on printed circuit boards
Additionally, Element conducts cross-sectioning of PCBs to detect solder joint cracks, voids, lamination defects, poor wetting, land lift, and insufficient solder fill. In the event of a PCB failure, our testing experts can perform full root-cause PCB failure analysis and offer consultancy services to support your success.
Highly Accelerated Thermal Shock (HATS2™) Testing
The HATS2™ technology is a faster and more reliable method of thermal shock testing that passes extremely hot or extremely cold air over a stationary sample. Although traditional dual-chamber thermal shock testing has long been the accepted method to test plated-through holes and solder joint connections, it comes with drawbacks in terms of cost, time, and accuracy. Transporting samples between different temperature environments makes it difficult to monitor the resistance of the samples, and the infrequent monitoring typical of traditional thermal shock methods also makes detecting “glitch” conditions challenging.
HATS2™ Plated-through Hole Reliability Testing Technology has been in use since 2003. It was developed to allow convection reflow simulation to take place in-situ and then emulate traditional air-to-air test methods. The HATS2™ system uses a single chamber in which high-volume hot and cold air pass stationary samples while monitoring the resistance of single vais or daisy chains of vias using HATS2™ or “D” test coupons from IPC-2221B Appendix A. This method greatly reduces the time required for each cycle, and the stationary samples can be easily configured to a high-speed precision resistance sampling network. The HATS2™ test systems meet the test parameters of MIL-STD-202; Method 107 and IPC-TM-650; method 188.8.131.52C thermal shock and continuity for printed boards and method 2.6.27B for convection reflow assembly simulations.
PCB Qualification and Conformance Testing
For military specifications, qualification testing should be performed by an approved test lab on a three-year schedule. Conformance testing, on the other hand, should be carried out monthly. IPC standards do not mandate a specific schedule for PCB qualification testing, but do recommend it be done when using a new supplier or introducing changes to the manufacturing process. Conformance testing frequency varies based on the class of the product, with quarterly testing for Class 2 and monthly testing for Class 3. Acceptance testing is performed per lot.
The Element advantage
With over 30 years of experience, Element is well-equipped to help you with the challenging but crucial process of assessing the quality of your PCBs and conducting thorough root cause PCB failure analysis if needed.
For more information on Element’s printed circuit board evaluation or to request a quote, please contact us today.
To ensure the reliability and performance of your PCBs, we offer a wide range of testing services, including:
- Continuity Testing
- Dielectric Withstanding Voltage
- Dimensional Inspection and Verification
- Electrical Testing
- Flexural Endurance
- Folding Flexibility
- Ionic Cleanliness (IC) and/or Resistivity of Solvent Extract (ROSE)
- Microsection / Cross section analysis as received, after thermal stress, after thermal shock, after rework simulation
- Moisture and Insulation Resistance (IR / MIR)
- Peel Strength
- Resistance to Solvents (Marking Ink Testing)
- Solderability per J-STD-003
- Thermal Cycling
- Visual Exam per IPC-A-600 and/or IPC-A-610
Element also has the capabilities to perform PCB testing of the quality and conformance of the raw materials, of which the PCB or PCA may be comprised. Some of the common specifications and/or testing include:
Other circuit board testing on board materials
- Advanced Instrumentation: FTIR, SEM/EDS, Real Time X-Ray
- Conductive Anodic Filament (CAF)
- Copper Testing (Purity, Tensile Strength and Elongation)
- Electrochemical Migration (ECM)
- Environmental Testing
- Flammability IPC-4101 Qualification Testing (Laminate Material)
- IPC-CC-830 or MIL-I-46058 (Conformal Coating)
- IPC-SM-840 (Soldermask)
- Surface Insulation Resistance (SIR)
- Thermal Analysis via DSC, TGA, or TMA
- Time to delamination, Coefficient of Thermal Expansion (CTE), Glass Transition Temperature (Tg / ΔTg)
Conductive Anodic Filament (CAF) Testing
Element’s comprehensive PCB testing includes industry-leading conductive anodic filament (CAF) testing to IPC-TM-650 and to your specific requirements.
Conformal Coating Inspection & Testing
Element provides industry-leading conformal coatings testing and inspection to a variety of standards, including MIL-I-46058C.
Electrochemical Migration (ECM) Testing
Protect your printed circuit boards against failure in the field with electrochemical migration (ECM) testing from the experts at Element.
Electronic Component & PCB Assembly Testing
Element’s testing experts provide the insight you need for complex electrical component and printed circuit board (PCB) assembly testing.
Ion chromatography IC Testing for Electronics
Get precise information about the cleanliness of your PCBs and prevent product failure with ion chromatography (IC) testing from Element.
IPC Testing & Certification
Element is accredited by IPC to inspect and test printed boards, components, and materials, and to validate products subject to IPC standards.
PCB Cleanliness & Contamination Testing
Ensure your PCBs are free of contaminants that may cause corrosion, shorting, and product failure.
PCB Cross-Section (Microsection) Analysis
Trust the experts at Element for fast, efficient, and accurate PCB cross-section analysis.
Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Failure Analysis
Understand and rectify the root causes of PCB failure with industry-leading PCB failure analysis from the testing experts at Element.
Trust Element’s testing experts for easy, accurate solderability testing of your electronic components.
Surface Insulation Resistance (SIR) Testing
Measure the reliability of your printed circuit boards under real-world temperature and humidity conditions with surface insulation resistance (SIR) testing from Element.
Solder Joint Reliability Testing
Be confident that your solder joints are reliable and perform as expected with solder joint reliability testing and solder joint failure analysis from Element.
Destructive Physical Analysis (DPA) of Electronic Components
Rely on Element’s expertise in destructive physical analysis (DPA) to ensure your electronic components are high quality, properly constructed, and fit for purpose.
Tin Whisker Testing
Find the right strategy to prevent tin whisker growth in your electronic components with testing support from Element.
Failure Analysis for Electronic Devices & Components
Understand the root cause of electronic device failure and build better, more reliable components with electronic device failure analysis from Element.
Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM)
SEM analysis is a powerful analytical tool which uses a focused beam of electrons to produce intricate, high magnification images of a sample’s surface topography.