Factors to consider when selecting a Class 3-trained supplier

The IPC, the global industry association for electronics industries, developed Class 3 to ensure products used in harsh conditions are manufactured to the highest standards. When it comes to defence articles such as hand controllers, Class 3 is the only way to be confident the product will operate in the field as intended.

By selecting a supplier that adheres to Class 3 for every order, you are assured of receiving optimum quality and reliability. Here are some questions to ask potential suppliers to ensure they are delivering to Class 3.

Is everyone working on defence articles registered to Class 3?

With quality standards such as ISO 9001, AS9100 and ISO/TS 16949 it is the company that is registered. But with IPC standards – including J-STD-001, A-610 and A-620 – it is the individual that is registered.

As a result, all individuals working on – or even handling – an electro-mechanical or electronic defence article must be able to demonstrate their ability to work to and maintain Class 3 workmanship at all times. The IPC is very strict about regular testing for those it has certified, and it is easy for individuals to fall behind. Ask potential suppliers to provide written evidence that all employees in contact with defence articles are up to date with their Class 3 certifications.

Is there an accredited Class 3 trainer on site?

Having a Class 3 trainer on site is crucial to achieving a fast turnaround with the highest level of quality – having this expertise and speed in-house is a powerful combination. Even if individual process engineers are accredited to Class 3, an on-site trainer ensures there is someone on hand for quick sign-off on equipment and for immediate decision-making.

Are all the supplier’s contracts delivered to Class 3?

If suppliers manufacture to more than one class in the same facility it can be difficult to ensure they’re differentiating appropriately, and Class 3 adherence can become lax. Don't ever assume that suppliers work to Class 3 simply because they say they do. Ask to see previous work and enquire about an open door policy allowing you to view work in progress.

Does the supplier maintain transparent records?

The best manufacturers continually gather data on flaws and errors in materials and workmanship, creating reports and reviewing them with employees at all levels. This process is key to improving quality, so look for manufacturers with strict and transparent routines in this regard.

All Daco 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’re always happy to answer any questions about our manufacturing process, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch on +44 118 981 7311 (UK) or +1 248 982 3266 (US).

We also offer a Class 3 assembly and repair service.

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