PSMA Joins Chorus of Concern over IPC-9592

June 21, 2007 by Jeff Shepard

Today and tomorrow, the IPC, the Association Connecting Electronics Industries®, is hosting a Power Conversion Standards Meeting in Schaumburg, Illinois, to address comments to the recently-issued draft document, IPC-9592, “Performance Parameters for Power Conversion Devices.” The meeting will be closed to the press, but Douglas Bess, Editor of PowerPulse, will be there to interview participants as they emerge from the discussions. Video coverage will be available on-line starting tomorrow. Yesterday, on the eve of the meeting, the Power Sources Manufacturers Association (PSMA) issued a “response to IPC-9592.”

“PSMA has some serious concerns about the creation and purpose of the IPC-9592 document and its impact on the power supply industry,” said Chavonne Yee, President of the PSMA in a written statement. “The document presented for comment and review is listed as Final Draft which implies that there will not be on-going revision beyond the June 26-27 feedback period.

“If this document is adopted by major users, the power supply industry will have to supply products according to the standards presented in the document. It seems unfair to the power supply companies that they will have to abide by standards created by a third party without their input, advice or consent. PSMA, a global association of the power supply manufacturers was neither consulted nor advised on this issue,” according to Yee.

The events leading up to this meeting began in April when IPC first publicly announced the standard under development. On April 20, PowerPulse was the first industry publication to run a story about the activities to launch IPC-9592. The nearly 100-page proposal was developed by the IPC Power Conversion Subcommittee chaired by Dr. Scott Strand, Program Director, Power/Cooling Procurement Engineering, Integrated Supply Chain, IBM.

In the April article, Dr. Strand was quoted, “This is a comprehensive document that will be of significant value to both customer and supplier. We started developing the document in September 2006 and I am confident we can finalize this consensus standard by the third quarter of 2007. This is not only a testament to the process, but to the hard work of the IPC subcommittee members.”

Most recently, in announcing the meeting, Tony Hilvers, Vice President of Industry Programs with IPC stated, “We welcome all comments and suggestions. If you don’t like the draft, I challenge you to get involved in the process and make constructive comments. Only the first draft has been released. We may go though multiple drafts before reaching a consensus on the document.”

During the recent interview, Mr. Hilvers indicated that between 15 and 20 companies sent in over 70 pages of comments to the current Draft. From the beginning, the public comments over IPC9592 have grown more and more strident and various parties have begun to establish increasingly hardened positions for and against the draft. It is to be seen if Dr. Strand’s goal of finalizing a consensus standard by the third quarter of this year can still be achieved.

On June 1, the European Power Supply Manufacturers Association, EPSMA, issued an open letter stating it was “very concerned” about the draft document. The EPSMA letter continued, “The draft has the content of a guideline, but the language of a standard.”

A week later, EPSMA issued a further statement. Lars Thorsell, who chairs the EPSMA’s Technical Committee, commented: “A guideline of this type is useful but the document should look very different. At the moment it feels like a standard. The documentation required by IPC9592 is excessive, and makes it impossible to protect suppliers’ confidential information. Furthermore the extensive testing specified would significantly increase cost and time-to-market, which runs completely counter to market demands.”

Also at that time, the EPSMA “offered its expertise to produce a new document, leading to feasible and economically viable requirements.”

In commenting on the EPSMA concerns, a representative of the IPC Power Conversion Subcommittee responded in part, “The purpose of the IPC 9592 is to put forth a minimum set of acceptable requirements for power supply specifications. The IPC subcommittee members all agree that FMEA is a very important process to develop a design that meets requirements for function, quality, and reliability as early in the process as possible. I am not in total agreement that FMEA will cost a lot of money.”

Check back tomorrow to hear first-hand the comments of key participants in today’s meeting in Schaumburg.