What Is IPC/WHMA-A-620?

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Automotive wire harness loom with multiple branches and various connectors at each end isolated on a white background

Photo courtesy of ASSEMBLY.

IPC/WHMA-A-620. At first glance, it looks like an excellent password, doesn’t it? Online security experts quite often champion the act of selecting a password that is made up of a long line of random characters including numbers, letters and even punctuation. And while IPC/WHMA-A-620 may appear to fit that bill, we’re pretty sure you’re already well aware that this week’s blog has nothing to do with protecting your email account from being hacked.

The seemingly random string of characters actually represents the only industry-consensus standard for Requirements and Acceptance of Cable and Wire Harness Assemblies. As we highlighted in our previous blogs, cable assemblies and wire harnesses are among Flux Connectivity’s most popularly requested manufacturing solutions. So, as you can imagine, the IPC/WHMA-A-620 Standard is very important to us.

What is the IPC/WHMA-A-620 Standard?

Let’s break it down. IPC stands for Institute for Printed Circuits, which is the former name of the Association Connecting Electronics Industries. WHMA stands for Wiring Harness Manufacturer’s Association. Together, these organizations prescribe the practices and requirements for the manufacture of cable, wire and harness assemblies.

As described by the WHMA website, “the standard describes materials, methods, tests and acceptability criteria for producing crimped, mechanically secured and soldered interconnections, and the related assembly activities (corresponding lacing/restraining criteria) associated with cable and harness assemblies. Any method that produces an assembly conforming to the acceptability requirements described in this standard may be used.”

There are three Electronic Product Classifications (or Classes) set by the IPC/WHMA-A-620 Standard.

An important part of the manufacturing process of cable assemblies and wire harnesses is the identification of the Classes to which the assemblies are evaluated. As described by WHMA, those three classes are Class 1: General, Class 2: Dedicated Service and Class 3: High Performance/Harsh Environment.

Class 1: General includes products that are suitable for applications where the primary requirement is the function of the completed assembly. Everyday consumer appliances are examples.

Class 2: Dedicated Service includes products where continued performance and extended life is required. With these products – televisions, gaming systems, home computers and telephones, for example – uninterrupted service is desired, but not mandatory. End-use environments don’t generally cause failures.

Class 3: High Performance/Harsh Environment includes products where continued performance or performance-on-demand is essential. With these products – military and medical devices, for example – high performance is a must and equipment malfunction is considered unacceptable. Consider the extremely high importance of life support equipment. It falls into this Class. End-use environments can be uncommonly harsh.

In January of 2017, the IPC and WHMA released the IPC/WHMA-A-620 Revision C manual.

The IPC/WHMA-A-620 Revision C manual provides the electronics industry with the most up-to-date information regarding the performance and acceptance of cable and wire harness assemblies. It contains over 700 full color pictures and illustrations as well as 19 chapters containing criteria on safety wires and prep, requirements for individual wire seals, soldering to terminals and so much more.

We imagine that you may have more questions about IPC/WHMA-A-620 . As always, the Flux Connectivity team would only be too happy to answer them for you! For more information, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 1-800-557-FLUX or email us at connect@fluxconnectivity.com.


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