Wires and wire harnesses have become indispensable in the electronic connection industry. In each and every appliance, no matter how small, we find wires. Wires and the way they are attached with the other parts of the electronic products differ per device and are closely connected with the use and/or application of the specific part or product.

Wire harnesses can be of a simple, but sometimes very complex design. Just imagine all the connections that must be made in a car or even an airplane to provide all passengers with light and entertainment. With every seat there has to be a light, a monitor and (very important) the possibility to call the staff for help. How many meters of wire will this involve and how many connectors will be necessary for this?

In many cases the connections have to be very reliable, just imagine what will happen when the telecommunication network breaks down because unreliable connectors have been used. What chaos it would be if because of this rescue services would no longer be accessible.

The connectors that are used sometimes are very divers, an operator must be able to process and connect all of these correctly in the wiring harness. An inspector must be able to judge all connections and accessories correctly. This requires expertise and experience. Experience is gained by practice. Expertise can be attained by studying documents.

Currently IPC has three different documents dealing with wires and wire harnesses namely IPC/WHMA-A-620, IPC-D-620 and IPC-HDBK-620.

IPC/WHMA-A-620 is the standard in which information concerning the processes in use and the acceptance criteria for the production of wire harnesses can be found. This one exists for a longer time now and is now established with many manufacturers of wire harnesses. In the 20 years that this document is on the market, it has been adapted several times to the latest market situation and the information contained has been improved. Based on this document official IPC-certifications are available.

De IPC-D-620 is a standard which mainly focuses on the design of wire harnesses. Also, critical process requirements can be found in here. Matters that might be important for somebody designing wire harnesses, but also for others with an interest in these subjects. Obviously, this document builds up on the IPC/WHMA-A-620 but deepens certain matters and makes them understandable for the designer. For some of the criteria it highlights why these are so determined, so the designer understands to which items he should pay attention to in his design to avoid problems in production and use of the product. Furthermore, obviously it will discuss matters that are related to the design process.

IPC-HDBK-620 is an IPC handbook, it offers in-depth background information regarding wire harnesses. Where the IPC/WHMA-A-620 for instance discusses the requirements for marking with regard to the impact on the wire insulation, the handbook explains the various marking methods and considerations on which ones should rather be avoided with certain isolation materials. Thus, this document is very suitable for people that have to take decisions about this, like for instance process engineers but also designers and the customers that order wire harnesses.

Do you handle wire harnesses and would you like to be aware of the latest requirements and standards, please contact PIEK. Our customer adviser, Mrs. Wendy Wings, can be contacted by phone at +31- (0)45-570 33 33 or by e-mail support@piektraining.com.