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I would like to have a PCB design manufactured and plated with an ENEPIG finish. I have found a fab house that states they can perform ENEPIG finish and their site lists the plating option as one that is available. I asked said board house if their ENEPIG plating adheres to IPC-4556, which defines the plating process. They said that I would have to send the IPC-4556 document if I wanted it to adhere to it.

I have only worked with a couple of board houses in the past, and have never had to supply IPC documents for plating. These requirements were always met without question. Is requiring the customer to supply IPC documents common protocol in the PCB manufacturing world?

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If the fab house does not have access to IPC documents, then they have no place building anyone's boards. IPC documents are THE STANDARD for PCB design and manufacturing, and are only available by purchase and/or subscription, so even requesting that you send them a copy is unethical, if not illegal. My advice to you would be to run. Don't give them your business - they sound very shady to me.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ That was my first reaction, but as I have had little experience, I wanted a second opinion. Thanks DerStrom \$\endgroup\$ – cjswish Mar 14 '18 at 18:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ If you can't copy a standard to let them know "hey we need this to adhere to this standard" then that is pretty stupid. I would think that would be considered to be normal use of a standards document when the other party doesn't already have a copy. (Of course the other party would not be allowed to make copies or keep it for any other purpose) \$\endgroup\$ – user253751 Mar 15 '18 at 5:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ DerStrom is correct. I spoke with an IPC representative and they said the only legal way is to buy them their own copy of the standard. Sending them an electronic copy or scanned/copied version of the hard copy is copyright infringement. \$\endgroup\$ – cjswish Mar 15 '18 at 13:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DerStrom8 I'm also not familiar with the laws, I'm just pointing out something that is incredibly stupid. I also don't have a copy of this standard so I can't talk about the specific things it says. But even if you can't send them the standard document itself, you should be able to say "we need this thickness of this material with these tolerances" or whatever. \$\endgroup\$ – user253751 Mar 16 '18 at 6:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ @immibis I don't see any problems giving thicknesses and tolerances that coincide with those given in the IPC document as you mention. But whenever I am creating a fab drawing, I word it like "ENEPIG plating per IPC-4556, latest rev". This way if the standard plating thicknesses for that process are changed in the IPC standard (which does happen), we do not have to update our drawings to reflect the changes. It is implied by plating to the latest rev of said IPC standard. \$\endgroup\$ – cjswish Mar 16 '18 at 16:31

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