Advancing Manufacturing Technology

PCB/PCBA Material Characterization for Automotive Harsh Environments

Steve Brown, Alpha


Project Report

PCB/PCBA Material Characterization for Automotive Harsh Environments (July 2017).  This is for iNEMI members only.  You must be logged into your iNEMI web account to access the document.

End-of-Project Webinar

Presentation (September 7, 2017).  This webinar discussed the work undertaken by the iNEMI Project: PCB/PCBA Material Characterization for Automotive Harsh Environments. The need for specifications for material used for printed circuit board and printed circuit assembly in harsh automotive environments has long been identified; the existing process today is inconsistent with no coherent view of specifications for automotive electronics for high power, high density and high reliability. Many International Standards are not written specifically for ‘under-the-hood’ applications and are therefore not always sufficient or appropriate. Automotive OEMs have therefore defined their own specifications. The project consequently reviewed all associated specifications and undertook a cross comparison with the objective of providing a complimentary and supplementary sequence of common test methodologies by which material suppliers can demonstrate potential suitability and durability of their material to give high confidence of meeting OEM and other relevant standards. This can provide a cost-effective means of specifying material performance and more easily defining material choices by the OEM and their Tier 1 supplier. The webinar also included a summary of potential future work that may be considered.

Project Statement and Statement of Work


There appears no coherent view of specifications for automotive electronics for harsh environments. IPC-A-610 Class 3 is the highest classification but not specifically for under-hood applications. Tier 1 suppliers may now specify IPC class 3 + wide range of OEM specific standards. There is a need to review OEM’s specifications and undertake a cross comparison. There is also a trend to specify materials that do not meet criteria more than needed (good enough scenario). Tier 1’s serve multiple OEMs requiring multiple validation cycles while trying to simplify the choice or common suite of materials. This is a challenge for both the material suppliers and users.

Project Focus

  • Identify common failure mechanisms in automotive electronics and determine how standards can relate to each
  • Define a suite of test procedures for Tier 1 and material manufacturers that will give a high degree of confidence in meeting OEM’s requirements
  • Correlate the various standards and proprietary specifications for automotive PCB and PCBA materials for a range of harsh environments to enable a consensus for standardized procurement categories.


For Additional Information