A customer called into the EMPF Helpline...and asked what type of training and logistics would be needed to implement IPC/EIA J-STD- 001 and WHMA-A-620 specifications in a shipyard located in the southeastern United States.
In late September 2006, a senior quality-assurance supervisor, working for a shipyard located in the southeastern United States, contacted the EMPF helpline. A number of time-critical needs were identified by the supervisor:
- The need to immediately conduct training in IPC/EIA J-STD-001 (Requirements for Soldered Electrical and Electronic Assemblies) onboard the ship, to a team of electrical technicians;
- The need to conduct an inspection of equipment in order to validate the capability to perform to applicable specifications;
- The need to supervise and validate that wire harnesses were being manufactured to J-STD-001 and inspected to WHMA-A-620 specifications.
Electrical specifications issued to the EMPF confirmed that J-STD-001 and WHMA-A-620 standards were specified for wire harness fabrication and soldering of connectors and inter-connects. These specifications had been implemented to supersede previous electrical fabrication standards. The J-STD-001 and IPC-A-620 standards better support the high-reliability requirements of the complex equipment scheduled for shipboard installation. Improved reliability reduces the need for repairs over the service life of the ship. Fewer repairs reduce maintenance costs and increase the affordability of operating the ship.
An experienced EMPF instructor/technician, trained and certified to J-STD-001 and WHMA-A-620 standards, was identified and made available to the shipyard. Arrangements were made for EMPF equipment to support product build requirements to be forwarded to the shipyard. Upon arrival, the EMPF technician conducted an inspection of the multiple shipboard compartments where the harnesses and interconnects would be fabricated.
After inspection, the shipyard supervisor briefed the EMPF technician on the tight shipyard build-schedule. The updated build-schedule did not allow time to train the shipyard electrical technicians prior to fabrication of the wire harnesses.
This time schedule was a change from the scope of work previously defined by the shipyard and accepted by EMPF. Within 24 hours the EMPF developed, submitted, and received authorization to modify the original scope of work.
With the modified scope of work, the on-site EMPF technician fabricated the wire harnesses to WHMA-A-620 specifications, and made all solder connections under the supervision of a NAVSEA inspector. Among the different types of connectors were “J” plug connectors, which are locking connectors commonly used with avionics instrumentation. The J Plug connectors, located outside on elevated stanchions and bulkheads, required special procedures to insure that the solder iron tip was at the correct temperature for proper solder reflow. For example, a portable windscreen was designed and fabricated to enclose the immediate work area surrounding the J plug connectors.
Upon completion of the harness fabrication and the soldering of connectors and interconnects, the EMPF technician conducted
J-STD-001 and Certified IPC Specialist (CIS) training. This training was tailored to the specific needs of the shipbuilder. The Training and Certification Program provides individuals with a valuable credential that recognizes their understanding of J-STD-001 and is valid for 2 years. This standard has emerged as the preeminent authority for electronics assembly manufacturing. It describes materials, methods and verification criteria for producing high quality soldered interconnections. The standard emphasizes process control and sets industry-consensus requirements for a broad range of electronic products.
Training to J-STD-001 and WHMA-A-620 standards are critical to the long-term success of businesses directly engaged in the electronic manufacturing industry. This case study is an example of how the EMPF quickly responded to a company’s need to build wire harnesses to their application specific standards and train employees without impacting the build schedule. For further information on this training contact the EMPF helpline at 610-362-1320.