The recent release of IPC 4552-Rev. A presents challenges for PCB manufacturers that apply ENIG coatings to their boards. In particular, the new specification puts an upper limit on the amount of gold that is applied for optimum product performance. This gold thickness must be closely monitored, and the accepted measurement method is XRF thickness testing. To accurately measure the gold thickness in this newly defined range requires specific XRF hardware, software, and calibration standards.
Most PCB manufacturers already have XRF equipment in place as part of their QC process, but they are finding that many of the older instruments struggle to meet the new IPC specification demands, and may require upgrading to the latest in XRF technology. Bowman is the only company that guarantees that all of their XRF systems meet the new IPC 4552-A requirements.