From the Hill: The ‘Twist’ With PWBs Requiring Military Specifications

What Are Your Revenue Priorities Now?
Today’s environmental factors have changed business priorities with regard to printed wiring boards (PWBs) requiring military specifications (MIL-PRF-55110, -50884, and -31032). These factors require re-evaluating and re-ranking revenue streams that until recently seemed very stable. On the positive side, military PWB fabrication is now designated as an “essential” business that must stay open as “nonessential” operations close. This bears consideration for the future.

Overview
If you are fabricating PWBs to military specifications, the master drawing will state: “Fabricate to MIL-PRF-55110, MIL-PRF-50884, or MILPRF-31032.” This sounds very complicated on the surface, but there is a rewarding “twist” if the fabricator is certified to MIL-PRF-31032.

Definitions
1. MIL-PRF-55110
This specification was the first performance military specification for rigid PWBs. The first revision is dated September 1960. It establishes the performance and qualification requirements for rigid single-sided, double-sided, and multilayered PWBs with or without plated through-holes. The standard lists acceptable tests and screening methods for verification. Verification is listed in the associated qualified product list (QPL-55110). MIL-PRF-55110 was superseded by MIL-PRF-31032 as of December 31, 1997; however, legacy fabrication sites not certified to MIL-PRF-31032 can continue to certify to and build MIL-PRF-55110- part numbers.

2. MIL-PRF-50884
This specification was the first performance military specification for flexible PWBs. The first revision was dated October 1971. It establishes the performance and qualification requirements for flexible and rigid-flex PWBs with or without plated through-holes. The standard lists acceptable tests and screening methods for verification. Verification is listed in the associated qualified product list (QPL50884). MIL-PRF-50884 has been superseded by MIL-PRF-31032 as of December 31, 1997; however, legacy fabrication sites not certified to MIL-PRF-31032 can continue to certify to and build MIL-PRF-50884-part numbers.

To read this entire column, which appeared in the May 2020 issue of PCB007 Magazine, click here.

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2020

From the Hill: The ‘Twist’ With PWBs Requiring Military Specifications

05-26-2020

If you are fabricating PWBs to military specifications, the master drawing will state: “Fabricate to MIL-PRF-55110, MIL-PRF-50884, or MIL-PRF-31032.” This sounds very complicated on the surface, but there is a rewarding “twist” if the fabricator is certified to MIL-PRF-31032. Mike Hill explains.

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From the Hill: Have You Hugged Your Technical Review Board Lately?

04-21-2020

The Technical Review Board’s (TRB's) duties and responsibilities are the glue that connects the dots between the site, the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), and the associated military revenue stream. Understanding these duties will help with resource allocation, general support, site priorities, and, most importantly, yearly re-certification to MIL-PRF-31032. Mike Hill explains the function of the TRB as it pertains to MIL-PRF-31032 (military requirements for printed wiring board fabrication).

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From the Hill: Sampling Plan Language in MIL-PRF-31032

04-07-2020

Conformance to military standards is all about using the correct sample specimen and testing the proper quantity. However, military specifications have numerous tests with various sample specimen types that all require different quantities for test or inspection. Mike Hill provides an overview of the key parts of compliance.

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2019

From the Hill: Technology and Reliability Demands Drive Designers and MIL-PRF-31032 Specification

11-12-2019

With the future demand for more and more military electronics, certification to the PCB MIL-PRF-31032 specification becomes a business decision for many fabricators. Fluency in the MIL-PRF-31032 language is a key first step to understand the requirements and communicate with the DoD. Mike Hill defines many terms related to this military specification that you should review before informing the DoD of your intent to certify.

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From the Hill: The Past 15 Years—Changes to MIL-PRF-31032 Certification, Part 2

10-01-2019

The Part 1 of this column series introduced background information and data from changes in military certification to MIL-PRF-31032 from 2003 to 2018. In this installment, Mike Hill provides an overview of the possible related factors to what could have caused the reduction in certified companies, including a decline in the total military market; cost of certification; and number of military boards now built to industry standards, to name a few.

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From the Hill: The Past 15 Years—Changes to MIL-PRF-31032 Certification, Part 1

08-25-2019

Fifteen years ago, when certification to MIL-PRF-31032 was in the early years, I authored an article about certification status. Now, it’s time to revisit the subject, data, and changes that have occurred since.

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