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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. In 2003, my article explained the new certification process for MIL-PRF-31032 (all military boards), identified the companies that had completed certification, and forecasted where it might go. In this column, I’ll examine the same data from 2018 and take another look at the future.
U.S. Military Requirements for PCBs
The U.S. military segment of the printed circuit board (PCB) industry is small but strategically important to the country and the world. Assuring a reliable supply of such boards is the task of the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) located in Columbus, Ohio. The main DLA tools for verifying capable supply bases are the military specifications for printed wiring boards. There are three main specifications: MIL-PRF-31032 (all boards), MIL-PRF-55110 (rigid PCBs), and MIL-PRF-50884 (flexible PCBs).
In August 2003, there were only 19 company sites (17 in the U.S. and two in Canada) qualified to the new MIL-PRF-31032, and 111 certified to the MIL-PRF-55110 (legacy standard for rigid boards). These 130 public company locations produced 100% of the boards that were required to meet one of these two standards.