Class 3: The only suitable manufacturing standard for hand controllers

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Military hand controllers must deliver years of active service in the most demanding environments. To achieve this level of reliability the manufacturing process must adhere to the most stringent quality criteria.

The IPC, the global industry association for electronics industries, has developed a set of standards for soldered electrical and electronic assembly. Called the IPC J-STD-001, it is the preeminent authority for electronics assembly manufacturing worldwide. It is therefore an important standard for military equipment.

IPC J-STD-001 classifies products in three ways based on their intended end use. Class 1 is for general electronic products, Class 2 is for dedicated service electronic products, and Class 3 is for high performance electronic performance products.

A Class 3 product is defined as a product where ‘continued high performance or performance-on-demand is critical. Equipment downtime cannot be tolerated; the end-use environment may be uncommonly harsh; and the equipment must function when required.’

Military hand controllers clearly fall into Class 3, and should therefore be manufactured to Class 3 standards unless a contract specifies otherwise.

Here are some examples that illustrate why.

  • Securing a wire bundle. For a Class 1 product it is acceptable for a wire to be under stress at the wrap. The same condition is a so-called ‘process indicator’ for a Class 2 product. This is regarded as a defect for a Class 3 product.
  • Routing a wire bundle. For a Class 1 product it is acceptable for the wires to twist and crossover underneath a restraining device. This is a process indicator for Class 2. It is a defect for a Class 3 product, where customers expect to see minimal crossover and a uniform appearance.
  • Chip components on a printed board assembly. For a Class 1 or 2 product it is acceptable for there to be nicks or chip-outs to defined levels. For a Class 3 product any nick, crack or stress fracture is a defect.

All our products are delivered to Class 3 standards. Every single one includes stage inspection at appropriate times during build and before closing up, followed by 100% product acceptance testing.

We also offer a Class 3 assembly and repair service.

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