2018 Year in Review

2018 – A year of new ideas, growth and excitement for IPC

Though we’re now into a few weeks of 2019, I’d like to take the time to reflect on what a whirlwind of a year 2018 was for IPC and our members companies. From the growth of our activities in Asia and Europe to our increased government relations involvement in the United States and Europe, along with a vigorous approach to dealing with the critical issue of the skills gap in our industry,  IPC worked to serve our members with technical training events, webinars on subjects ranging from transatlantic trade to professional development courses, a growing presence in the political sphere, and increased visibility in Europe, India and Asia.

The aspirational goals that drive us in Standards, Education, Advocacy and Solutions led to significant progress in those areas. We have our members to thank for their incredible contributions toward meeting our goals. We have delivered many new releases and updates to our standards, we continue to examine the needs of the industry and our member companies to develop solutions to critical problems, we are dedicated to address the skills gap as part of our educational goals, and we have expanded our reach in lobbying efforts to include a larger presence across the globe as we work to advance the industry.

All in all, 2018 was a busy and productive year. I hope we have been able to help support you wherever on the globe you reside as we all work toward success in this exciting, ever changing industry of electronics manufacturing.

Standards – A year of milestones for standards development and Industry 4.0

IPC released more than 70 standards in 2018, with 42 translations done in more than 10 languages. IPC-CFX was a headliner throughout the year.

IPC CFX travels the world in 2018 

IPC-CFX (IPC-2591) is an electronics manufacturing industry developed standard forming the foundation/backbone of Industry 4.0 Applications. IPC-CFX simplifies and standardizes machine to machine communication while also facilitating machine to business/business to machine solutions.  Even in draft stage, the connected factory exchange standard was making headlines. With a world-first live demonstration at IPC APEX EXPO 2018, 23 exhibitors and more than 40 pieces of equipment sent machine-state messages to a cloud server. These messages were displayed in a factory analytics tool and could be monitored on the mobile phone of the attendees in real time. (see connectedfactoryexchange.com).  What was more amazing is that this demonstration was organized in under 60 days – a tribute to CFX and the Software Development Kit.  Not resting on its laurels, CFX then traveled to SMT Nuremberg, Germany in June to do a second machine-to-cloud-to-phone demonstration of CFX with a growing list of supporters and even more equipment.  Then on to UK WNIE in Birmingham, England in September, where actual manufacturing took place using a CFX demonstration board.  By October, in Shenzhen, China, a full manufacturing line was running at the LEAP show, supported by over 100 members of the IPC CFX committee.

In its role as a factory connector, IPC discussed collaboration with the Hermes Standard Initiative and came to agreement that the Hermes Standard would be proposed as IPC-Hermes-9852.  IPC also took the opportunity to reach out to the JARA committee working on their factor standard 1014 seeking collaboration.

A new website for CFX  www.ipc-cfx.org was launched to show the increasing support for IPC CFX and provide those with questions and opportunity to get up to speed on all the CFX happenings.  IPC-2591 is now going to ballot and it is fully expected to be released by IPC APEX Expo 2019.   We also expect IPC-Hermes-9852 to be approved and released as well.

The CFX committee continues to up its game planning not 1 but 2 manufacturing lines at APEX Expo 2019.  One demonstrating CFX and the other demonstrating the collaboration between CFX and Hermes. It is amazing that so much can be accomplished from a standard that is still being written.  Can Industry 4.0 be within our grasp?

The CFX standard is just one of the many standards created and edited by our wonderful volunteer experts.  The cleanliness requirements of J-STD-001G were updated in Amendment 1 and released in September 2018.  This amendment introduces significant changes to cleanliness requirements for soldered assemblies.  

Training and Certification

Training and certification are an important part of improving the results when using IPC standards. IPC has seen continuous growth in the number of industry employees achieving Certified IPC Specialist (CIS). This is good for individual organizations and the industry in general. A certified workforce means that the operators know the best practices in producing quality, long-life products and minimize rework and scrap. More than 430,000 individuals worldwide have earned IPC certification since 1997.

IPC Certifications Worldwide

Current CIT (individuals) 10,800
Current CIS (individuals) 145,000
Countries with IPC certification 124
Companies with IPC Certified Employees 9500+

Education – the launch of the IPC Education Foundation to strengthen the next generation of workers

2018 was an important year for IPC as it redoubled its efforts to address one of the most difficult challenges facing today’s electronics industry – the chronic shortage of adequately skilled workers.

IPC and its members are tackling this skills gap by making unprecedented investments in electronics education and training programs, including the establishment of the IPC Education Foundation, (501©(3) organization). IPC, as the industry trade association representing over 4,900-member sites for the electronics industry, equally shares the mantle of responsibility of strengthening and shaping our next generation of workers. Our members, who employ over two million individuals throughout the United States, are highly dependent on workers with technical skills. The following achievements will position us for even greater success in 2019:

  • Application submitted to formally establish the IPC Education Foundation
  • Establishing the IPC Scholarship Fund and soliciting financial support from IPC’s industry and corporate members
  • Gained commitments from 5 universities and community/technical colleges to establish IPC Student Run Chapters, including:
    • NC State
    • Sacramento State University
    • Auburn University
    • Central Carolina Community College
    • Michigan Technical University
  • Completed a comprehensive needs assessment for electronics curriculum at the high school level through a 3rd party research provider that will be basis for IPC’s STEM Content and Curriculum Resource Strategy for 2019
  • Identified several partners to engage and work with career technical education instructors and students including robotics competitions organizations and STEM organizations
  • Received a $50,000 Grant from The Network for the Jobs Task Analysis

In addition, IPC recently unveiled the IPC Workforce Champions program, pledging to create at least 1 million new skilled workforce opportunities over the next five years. IPC signed a pledge at the White House committing to the creation of 1 million enhanced career opportunities for American workers over the next five years. This will largely be achieved through strategic partnerships, IPC’s credentialing and training programs and STEM education initiatives driven by the IPC Education Foundation.

Advocacy – A Year of Significant Progress for IPC Government Relations

2018 was a year of significant success for IPC’s government relations. IPC focused on four top priority issue areas: Education & Workforce, Environmental, Supply Chain Resiliency, and Trade. Our successes included advancing legislation and building new relationships with the Administration and Members of Congress, and members of the European Commission.  These accomplishments are outlined below.

Education & Workforce

  • Helped secure passage of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act through written and in-person advocacy.
  • Launched the IPC Workforce Champions campaign at a White House event with President Trump and Ivanka Trump.
    • IPC President and CEO Dr. John Mitchell and representatives of four IPC member companies attended.
    • John Mitchell was quoted by multiple media outlets, including CNN Business.
  • Strengthened relationships with the Departments of Education and Labor.
    • IPC has met with several senior officials in the Trump Administration on workforce development efforts.
  • Nominated John Mitchell to serve on the President’s American Workforce Policy Advisory Board as established by Executive Order #13845.
  • Briefed congressional and executive branch policymakers on IPC’s Job Task Analysis and gained support from the Departments of Education and Labor.
  • Launched an effort to work with DoD at Fort Hood, Texas, to create a certification pilot program to train service members with IPC standards.

Supply Chain Resiliency

  • Worked with key policymakers to win an IPC-backed provision in the FY19 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that requires DoD to report to report to Congress by January 2019 on the defense electronics supply chain and long-term resourcing for the Executive Agent.
    • Worked with Congress to eliminate a provision in the House version that would have repealed the statutory requirement for the Executive Agent
    • Worked with Reps. Trey Hollingsworth (R-IN9), Ro Khanna (D-CA17), and Larry Buschon (R-IN8) to send letters to NDAA conferees in support of the Senate language. Worked with Sens. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Todd Young (R-IN) to secure their active support.
    • Worked with IPC members to engage their own members of Congress, alerting them of the harmful House position.
    • Worked closely with Crane and SAIC on this effort.
  • Developed a list of recommendations for ways the DoD could support the defense electronics supply chain as input to its mandated report.
  • Convened a defense electronics supply chain workshop in Bannockburn, including DoD, other associations, and IPC members, to provide input for the mandated report.


  • Surveyed members on proposed U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports to gain a better understanding of the impacts to the electronics industry.
    • Developed and submitted IPC comments to the US Trade Representative regarding three rounds of China tariffs.
    • Interviewed with Reuters to discuss tariffs.
  • Engaged on the NAFTA renegotiation and issued a statement commending the Trump Administration for finalizing the USMCA agreement.
  • Surveyed IPC members on the status of the defense industrial base.


  • Met with Administrator Pruitt, Deputy Administrator Wheeler, officials from the EPA’s Smart Sectors Office, and Dr. Nancy Beck of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Office to advocate for reduced reporting requirements for byproducts sent for recycling.
  • Held an IPC member site visit at Zentech for Kristinn Sharpe of the EPA Smart Sectors Program.
  • Working with EPA Smart Sectors on an electronics industry snapshot to provide environmental and economic information.
  • Hosted a tech/electronics industry meeting with EPA.

Member Engagement

  • IMPACT WASHINGTON, DC:  15 attendees; 25 individual and group advocacy meetings. Highlights included member executives meeting with leaders of the Trump Administration and members of Congress to share their views on issues including strengthening the defense industrial base; ensuring a skilled workforce; and advancing free and fair trade.
  • IMPACT BRUSSELS: 40+ attendees. Steadily growing in attendance each year, IMPACT Europe drew a variety of IPC members from different points of the supply chain, big and small, from across Europe to discuss some of the most pressing challenges for our industry. Kicking off with a high-level dinner on 28 November 2018, we heard from BBC Chief Correspondent Gavin Hewitt about the tectonic shifts in global politics and the impact of geopolitical trends on industry to bring this year’s event under a global framework. Continuing with an exciting full-day program on 29 November 2018, IPC members joined a parliamentary breakfast with two esteemed Members of the European Parliament, Martina Werner and Jo Leinen on what to expect in EU industrial and environmental policy post-2019. We reiterated our call for a sound and science-based environmental policy as well as an ambitious, long-term industrial agenda for Europe to provide the industry with the necessary coherence and predictability needed to grow.
  • Held the annual Environmental Compliance Seminars with partner ITI, which was well attended.
  • Launched a weekly government relations email update and a monthly update for all IPC members who have self-selected policy/advocacy as an interest.
  • Defense Electronics Industrial Base workshop, noted above.
  • White House workforce event, noted above.
  • “Call to action” for member advocacy on the NDAA provision, noted above.
  • Surveyed members on tariff impacts, noted above.
  • Hosted webinars on trade, the U.S. election, and upcoming China trade policy webinar.
  • Hired Nicolas Robin as IPC senior director for Europe.

IPC’s voice is heard by EU decision makers

Through its newly formed European Government Relations Committee, IPC advocated for its members’ interests in Brussels and across Europe. European regulators are evaluating the key elements of chemicals legislation. IPC team has been actively involved in this discussion in replying to diverse public consultations organized by the European Commission, inviting EU officials at IPC standard committee and in face-to-face meetings between IPC members and Commission officials.  

Solutions - IPC Creates ITERC and Continues its Outreach in E-Textiles

In the past year, IPC has put an increased focus on providing solutions to the many industry challenges faced by our members globally every day.  Solutions can mean something different for every organization, but the common link is the drive to remove obstacles and increase competitive excellence. From the Workforce Champions Pledge to the new IPC Education Foundation, the Connected Factory Exchange (CFX) and Industry 4.0 standards to the launch of training video subscriptions, IPC continues to deliver innovation and value.

Fall of 2018 heralded a new era for IPC as we launched the IPC Transportation Electronics Reliability Council (ITERC), part of IPC’s Transportation Initiative, a three-year effort created to facilitate deep engagement with the world’s leading automotive, trucking, heavy equipment, rail equipment manufacturers and their respective supply chains with the primary goal of helping the industry improve their quality, reliability and cost performance.  This council will serve as a primary VOC (“voice of customer”) to guide IPC’s improvement programs in this space. ITERC’s inaugural group includes key technologists with core expertise in electronic hardware development, manufacturing technology, PCB design, quality, and environmental reliability. This group will provide IPC with an additional path to introduce new automotive and transportation standards as the utilization of electronics increases throughout the automotive, trucking and rail industries.

In addition to the automotive industry, IPC made inroads into the area of E-Textiles, with a successful inaugural event held in the Fall to piggyback on the standards development work that began in 2017. The goal of the event was to provide a platform for education and collaboration among a diverse group of professionals from two converging industries – textiles and electronics.  The workshop was attended by key representatives from the e-textiles ecosystem - product innovators, material suppliers, electrical engineers and academia representing a wide range of industry segments including fashion design, health monitoring, medical, automotive and military/aerospace.   

Global Outreach

IPC continued to expand its reach in Asia Pacific, India and Europe, with all IPC offices seeing increased membership and involvement in industry events.

Asia Pacific experiences growth in all areas


Member growth:

  • Asia Pacific added 150 members in 2018. Sixth consecutive year of CAGR 15%.

Training & Certification:

  • IPC Asia Pacific continued with the effort in providing high quality training and certification programs, in local languages. There were 183 classes offered for CIT and CIS.

Standards Development:

  • Over the past year, there were 375 people working on 27 standards, including 5 standards initiated from China.
  • In March, Yusaku Kono from Japan received the IPC Rising Star Award, for his dedicated effort over the past three years to enhancing the value of IPC standards among Japanese electronics manufacturers, and increasing membership in critical IPC market by 50%.


  • 58 Exhibitors from Asia Pacific region attended the 2018 APEX EXPO held in San Diego, a new record.
  • In June, IPC China & Messe Muenchen China entered a partnership to host the leading show productronica China in Shanghai and productronica South China, a new tradeshow held in October in Shenzhen.
  • During the October productronica South China, IPC organized the CFX Live Demo Line, with participation from 17 companies. The concept of the IPC CFX standard was successfully integrated with the line, and actual product was produced.


  • Forty events were held throughout Asia Pacific Region, including technic seminars, Hand Soldering and Rework competitions, Technic Group and Member appreciation events in China, Japan, Korea and Southeast Asia. Total attendees for events was 1,900.
  • The IPC WorksAsia Space Seminars featured with speaker from NASA were very well received by the 475 qualified attendees.

IPC India

E – Commerce:

  • IPC India introduced the e-commerce portal in the IPC India website. Enrollment for all IPC INDIA conducted certification courses are now online through this portal and there is no need for filling a physical form anymore.
  • Work is in progress for introduction of online registration of certification class by individual CITs.
  • The same e-commerce portal also facilitates renewal and new registration of memberships.


  • The total membership number stands at 187 in 2018, up from 127 members at the end of December 2017, registering an increase of 32% for the year 2018. Efforts are on to reach this figure to at least 200 by the end of the year 2018.


  • IPC India has conducted many events in the year 2018 to promote brand IPC to the customers in India and to encourage and recognize individual electronic hardware manufacturing professionals towards achieving excellence:
  • Hand Soldering Competitions: IPC India has conducted three events which had collective participation of 113 hand soldering professionals.
  • PCB Design Competition: The design competition was conducted offline and there were 18 entries to the competition.
  • Workshop: One professional learning workshop was conducted by IPC India, delivered by Mr. SLN Murthy on “High - Speed PCB Design Analysis and Challenges” and there were 63 participants to this workshop.

New Office:

  • IPC India has extended its support services to customers in northern part of India by having an office in New Delhi.

Revised Digital Newsletter:

  • The digital newsletter has been revised and upgraded.

Technical articles:

  • IPC India has introduced publication of technical articles in its digital news-letter circulated to about 30,00 professionals every month. These articles are written by eminent electronics professionals.

Member benefit for advertisements:

  • The upgraded newsletter has a provision for the members to advertise their company/ products. The same benefit is also available on the IPC India website as well.

Upgraded Practical skills Lab:

  • The Upgraded practical skill courses lab at the IPC India training center, now has the facility to meet the space requirements and the addendum.

Reference Library:

  • The existing reference library at the IPC India office is being upgraded to a digital reference library for the benefit of the members. This is accessible only at the IPC India office and not remotely.
  • IPC India has introduced a ‘Chat Module” on its website as well as the e-commerce portal.

IPC drastically increases its footprint in Europe 

In 2018, IPC expanded its offering of events and member benefits, including public affairs advocacy, in Brussels. Nicolas Robin joined the European team in May as Senior Director, Europe to lead and coordinate these efforts.

Growth in Europe increases member engagement

European Industry engagement is one of the key objectives IPC is pursuing in Europe, bringing more activities, networking opportunities and local activities, closer to its members and users. In 2018, IPC organized 20 events across Europe, involving more than 650 individual participants. IPC was present at four European and local exhibitions, including MIDEST in France, SMT Hybrid in Germany and WNIE 2018 in the UK. Four Hand Soldering Competitions have been held, involving more than 100 qualified entrants and crowning three European champions who will participate at the World Championship in San Diego in January 2019. In parallel, up to six local events took place in various European countries including UK, France, Netherlands, Spain and Denmark reaching out more than 200 individuals in the region.

Some conferences have been tailored for specific subjects or verticals such as the IPC/WHMA European Wire Harness Innovation Conference or Automotive Electronics Reliability Forum in Nuremberg. At IPC/WHMA European Wire Harness Innovation Conference,60 industry experts discussed, exchanged and focused on new methods, processes and designs that are being utilized to improve product quality and field reliability.

Expanded standard development committee activities

In addition to these activities, standard development committee activities have grown significantly. During 2018, IPC held standard development committees for 17 different standard initiatives including committees initiated in Europe and outside Europe. European members have had the opportunity to initiate new standards based on local needs as well as to represent European interests in committees originated elsewhere around the globe.

To serve members’ interest in field of standardization, IPC formed the Technical Activities Executive Committee (TAEC) global group which is responsible for the management function related to standardization within the IPC. Two of seven TAEC-Global members are from Europe.

Sustained effort in Europe

Because of all the above combined efforts, IPC membership in Europe grew steadily to reach a total number of 700-member locations at the end of the Summer and more than 21,000 certifications. IPC Europe will sustain its effort in the years to come to develop more activities relevant to the industry and to its Europe-based members.

Market Research Provides Data and Insights to Support IPC Members and the Vitality of the Industry

IPC's market research services are designed to further the competitive excellence and financial success of IPC members in the electronics industry. In 2018, IPC continued to expand the wealth of data available to IPC members, which aid in business decision-making, planning and forecasting.

2018 highlights:

  • IPC members in the North American PCB and EMS industries, as well assembly equipment and solder industries worldwide, had the continuing opportunity to participate in IPC’s confidential statistical programs for those industry segments. Participants received the reports and aggregate data files at no charge for the programs in which they participate, a valuable benefit of membership.
  • IPC’s global Pulse of the Electronics Industry quarterly surveys, first launched in late 2017, expanded in 2018. The quarterly reports, which examine the industry’s current state and 3-, 6- and 12-month outlook, reveal marketplace and industry trends by industry segment, region and company size. Members and nonmembers can participate. Survey participants receive the report at no cost. After a successful launch, the quarterly reports were made available by subscription in 2018.
  • IPC continued to publish two free reports for members only:
    • Quarterly Market Update at a Glance assesses global and regional economic trends and offers high-level data on industry growth trends.
    • Annual WECC Global PCB Production Report, which contains aggregated country and regional estimates of PCB production value, is developed in cooperation with seven other PCB organizations worldwide. IPC leads this data-exchange partnership.
  • IPC continued to offer the following Statistical Program reports by subscription:
    • North American PCB Market Report
    • North American EMS Market Report
    • North American EMS Business Performance Report
    • Global Assembly Equipment Market Report
    • Global Solder Market Report (published in English and Chinese)
  • IPC published five major studies in 2018:
    • 2018 Annual Report on the North American PCB Industry
    • 2018 Annual Report and Forecast for the North American EMS Industry
    • 2018 Study of Quality Benchmarks for Electronics Assembly
    • World PCB Production Report for the Year 2017
    • 2018 PCB Technology Trends
  • IPC’s market research team also contributed research and consultation internally to support major IPC initiatives, including:
    • Survey of U.S. defense suppliers’ capabilities for IPC’s support of the U.S. Defense Department as it prepares its report to Congress on the condition of the U.S. defense industrial base
    • Research on industry cost drivers and shortages
    • Support for IPC’s education initiatives to address the skills shortage in the labor market

To learn more about IPC’s market research services, visit www.ipc.org/IndustryData. For information about market research reports or to purchase a report, visit www.ipc.org/market-research-reports.

A Banner Year for Events

Each year, IPC hosts and participates in several industry related events. Ranging from small to large, IPC hosted more than 100 events across the globe in 2018, drawing in thousands of participants. These events included technical education both online and, in the classroom, government relations conferences, webinars, workshops, and regional hand soldering competitions.

Event highlights include:

  • In May, IPC held its annual IPC High Reliability Forum in Baltimore, Md. Industry leaders provided two days of education and networking on emerging technologies as a key enabler for long-term product reliability in harsh-use environments.
  • In June, IPC gathered thought leaders and subject matter experts from leading electronics and automotive companies to discuss the future of automotive electronics design and manufacturing at “IPC Automotive Electronics Reliability Forum,” in Nuremberg, Germany.
  • In September, innovators, technologists and engineers from across the globe gathered to collaborate and identify partners and solutions to propel growth for the e-textiles market. IPC E-Textiles 2018 covered all aspects of e-textile development, including: smart textile wearables for consumers, sports, medical, military and safety markets; bringing the Internet of Things (IoT) to textiles; how to develop an e-textiles business model; how to collaborate with the supply chain to get the end-product to market; and materials and components that make up e-textiles and how to select the right ones for various applications.
  • In November, IPC in partnership with Surface Mount Technology Association (SMTA), hosted the High-Reliability Cleaning and Conformal Coating Conference, in Schaumburg, Ill. The 2018 conference focused on electronics assembly and the influence of cleanliness and coating on producing reliable hardware.
  • The highlight of IPC’s event calendar was the 2018 IPC APEX EXPO, which was held in San Diego. More than 9,100 electronics manufacturing professionals from 43 countries converged at the San Diego Convention Center. In addition to experiencing a 22 percent increase in first-day show floor attendance, IPC APEX EXPO hosted a sold-out exhibition: 479 exhibitors showcased cutting-edge products and services on 149,700 net square feet, making it the largest exhibition in a decade. And with more than 80 percent of the 4,574 attendees identifying themselves as key buyers or influencers, the exhibitors at North America's largest electronics assembly event enjoyed three days of qualified leads, business development and brisk sales.

    In keeping with the event’s theme, “Succeed at the Velocity of Technology,” APEX EXPO 2018 featured nearly 100 technical papers detailing original research and innovations from industry experts around the world. Attendees had access to new research on materials and processes, opportunities to learn more about trending materials, applications and processes such as Industry 4.0 (including a live demonstration on the show floor by more than two dozen exhibitors using IPC’s CFX standard) and e-textiles.

    IPC APEX EXPO’s full- and half-day professional development courses blended traditional electronics industry topics with hot-new developments, delivered by corporate technologists, consultants, training center staff and university faculty. Attendees choose from an array of leading topics such as: PCB fabrication troubleshooting; dispensing/jetting; printing; manufacturing yield, defect analysis, failure analysis; reliability and design for excellence (DFX).

    In 2019, IPC APEX EXPO returns to the San Diego Convention Center, January 26-31.

Membership Reaches New Milestones

IPC worldwide membership climbed to an all-time high in 2018 for the fourth year in a row with more than 5,000 member sites as companies in the electronics interconnect industry continued to acknowledge the strong value of IPC’s product and service offerings, fueled by double digit percentage growth across Asia and the addition of nearly 90 new member sites in Europe buoyed by our office in Brussels. Additionally, the Enterprise membership category, launched in 2015, grew significantly as companies recognized it as a cost-effective way for companies with multiple locations to increase their overall engagement in and access to IPC’s core activities such as standards, education, advocacy and solutions. Retention remained at 85 percent with members renewing their annual membership naming the importance of certification, standards and events as valuable benefits for their productivity and profitability.

Over the past year, IPC has introduced tools which improve the value you receive for your membership.

  • Additional free Wisdom Wednesday webinars, highlighting current trends in the industry
  • A new Pulse of the Industry market statistical program,
  • A local newsletter for European members to highlight local activities
  • Member Marketing Services for companies that need digital marketing services through Multiview
  • An e-mail service that notifies IPC members of new standards and how to obtain free copies

IPC is looking forward to another year of strong membership growth, especially as the association continues to introduce new and improved solutions to drive member success.