Top 10 Most-Read SMT007 Columns of 2017


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Another year is over in the SMT industry. 2017 saw a myriad of hot topics, including Industry 4.0, the millennials’ entry into the manufacturing space, and alternative solder materials, to name a few. Without further ado, here are the Top 10 columns from SMT007 over the past year.

1. Millennials in Manufacturing: Hiring, Training and Retaining Millennials

Shelly Phelps is the human resource manager at Saline Lectronics, where she manages recruitment strategies, disciplinary actions, and employee relations. In this interview, she discusses the greatest challenges when dealing with millennials, and how she thinks management and training should evolve for a more effective onboarding of this new generation of manufacturing workforce.

2. If It's My Data, I Can Do What I Want, Right?

In the light of the new IoT philosophies that are rapidly becoming the expectation, the problem of flexibility versus risk is resolved on the lower level, as IoT establishes the transfer and availability of data everywhere without the need for "hacking" into internal system database structures.

3. PCBs are MSDs

There were no published standards for storage and moisture protection for printed boards until 2010, and their proper handling is still often overlooked. But with the correct storage control and the use of suitable drying methods, considerable manufacturing advantages can be gained; PCBs will remain solderable for a much longer time and damage during reflow due to moisture can be eliminated.

4. Flex Talk: Mina—Trouble-Free Soldering to Aluminum 

Thinking about the RFID market and the significant growth projected in this market, I decided to do a little research on RFID tag manufacturing. During this research, I learned of a relatively new offering, Mina, an advanced surface treatment technology that addresses the common constraints of large scale manufacturing of aluminum on polyester (Al-PET) circuits.

5. The Role of Bismuth (Bi) in Electronics: A Prelude

When it comes to considering applications in electronics and microelectronics industry, over last three decades, the industry has shied away from using bismuth (Bi), at least not in standard practices in mass production. However, an interest has surfaced recently. This article series is tailored to electronics and microelectronics industry, to provide an overview in its entirety in the areas of importance to industry applications going forward.

6. The Role of Bismuth (Bi) in Electronics, Part 2

Part 2 of Dr. Jennie Hwang's article series outlines the Bi effects on 63Sn37Pb solder material, which have been substantiated by years of field performance prior to lead-free implementation. This should serve as the sound baseline for further discussion on the subject.

7. Do Acquisitions Bear Fruit? A Pragmatic Perspective

Acquisition is an effective tool for a company’s growth as a part of corporate growth strategy; and it is one of the top fiduciary duties of a company board’s governance oversight. However, statistically, the acquisition failure rate is quite high. In her column this month, Dr. Jennie Hwang reflects on her hands-on experience as well as observations on mergers and acquisitions in the corporate world.

8. Got Whiskers?

The tin whisker phenomenon is an issue that has plagued the electronics industry for many years now; however, with even more sectors of the industry now looking to shift or go lead-free—eliminating or limiting lead—in their processes and products, focus on this potentially devastating issue appears to be on the rise once again.

9. The Role of Bismuth (Bi) in Electronics, Part 1

In this column series about bismuth, Dr. Jennie Hwang starts with its elemental properties: where it is usually mined, its safety data, and application areas—in the chemical world, the metals industry, and electronics. She also writes about how bismuth compounds improve the performance some electronics devices, such as varistors.

10. Analyzing the Cost of Material in Today’s Global Economy, Part 3

Any increase in material cost based solely on an assembly operation's geographic location could, in itself, cause a condition that would not allow a turnkey electronic product assembler to successfully compete on the global landscape—notwithstanding the difference that exists in direct labor rates.

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