I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

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Pull back the rubber band of a slingshot and hold it there. As you do so, you’ll feel the tension, the gathered potential energy. It almost makes your hand quiver just to hold it. Release the rubber band and the object in the slingshot’s pocket launches, hurtling forward as if impatient from waiting so long.

This week, the news feels just like a slingshot. The 2020-21 craziness caused us to pull back and hold there, even while research and development work continued. Tension built as we held; we learned new areas of opportunity while we waited. Then when we finally returned to something closer to historical normal, the research and development work has come flying out at a tremendous pace. 

It shows in this week’s news. We have new projects in the U.S. Army space programs, research on gold thickness and solderability, a call for papers throughout 2023 from SMTA, an investment in Korean facilities by ASM, and an adjustment in TTM’s assignation with the U.S. DoD. All together, these five must-reads represent the hurtling trajectory that R&D seems to be following in 2023. 

TTM Adopts Special Board Resolution with DCSA Replacing SSA 
Published February 6

“Since the SSA was established in 2010, there has been a significant reduction in the foreign ownership of TTM’s public shares and our one non-U.S. citizen board member has retired,” said Rex Geveden, chairman of the Board of TTM. “As a result, the DCSA has agreed to replace the SSA with the SBR. The company plans to maintain much of the robust infrastructure developed during the adoption of and compliance with the SSA to continue to serve our customers and to maintain our focus on the national security of the United States in our Aerospace and Defense Sector, as one of the top 40 U.S. based defense companies.”

CACI Enters Agreement with U.S. Army to Develop, Test Advanced Capabilities on Demonstration Satellite 
Published February 6

If you’re not familiar with CACI, according to their website, the company provides “expertise and technology to enterprise and mission customers in support of national security missions and government transformation for defense, intelligence, and civilian customers.” 

To that end, CACI International announced that it had “signed a five-year cooperative research & development agreement (CRADA) with the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Technical Center (USASMDC-TC) to further the development of advanced payload technologies, space sensor applications, and resilient Positioning, Navigation & Timing (PNT).”

It's hard not to conclude that we are entering into the true golden age of space presence, The 1960s NASA and Soviet space programs may have proven that space travel was possible, but the privatization of space access, and the presence now of multiple countries capable of achieving orbit, speaks to the steady growth of practical space access. Government and DoD work to make space access more accessible continues the momentum. Read about it here.

SMTA: Call for Participation at 2023 Conferences 
Published February 8

SMTA has announced the schedule of events in 2023 for which they are accepting papers. With what seems to be a noticeable uptick in research and development across the industry, perhaps you have recent work to share? Check here to find the conferences that best fit your work … then submit it!

ASM Set to Invest Around $100M in Korean R&D, Manufacturing Operation 
Published February 3

R&D isn’t the only part of our industry benefitting from investment and increased activity. Manufacturing buildouts continue apace. Seems it’s not just the U.S. and EU standing up manufacturing, either. Korea and Japan have recently announced new strategic investment as well. This week it was ASM standing up Korean development and production. Get the details here. 

Why Gold Layer Thickness in ENIG Matters for Soldering 
Published February February 7

Dr. Britta Schafstellar and team published a report on their work with gold final finish. Opening their paper is this, “The main task of the final finish is to protect the copper pad from tarnishing or oxidation while simultaneously keeping the surface active for the assembly. Electroless nickel/immersion gold (ENIG) is a widely accepted finish in the market that provides a good solderability and capability for Al-wire bonding. A main function of the gold layer is to prevent the oxidation of the nickel layer.” The Schafstellar team go on to deliver a detailed look at the relationship between soldering and gold layer thickness; readers found this informative based on the number of reads.


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The Automated Future of PCB Fabrication

03/21/2023 | Dan Beaulieu, D.B. Management Group
I have always felt that automation has the potential to make a big difference in our PCB industry, especially domestically, where labor is at premium. For the past year, I have been looking for the story of how automation can and will make a significant difference in established PCB shops. I was fortunate enough to find that story in Multicircuits, located in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Only a few short years ago, this company was considered a “plain vanilla” PCB fabricator holding its own in our industry; now it has suddenly assumed a true leadership position in the industry in terms of capability, technology, operations, and profitability.

Curtis Grosskopf: Lasting Connections Fuel Progress

03/07/2023 | Patty Goldman, I-Connect007
Dieter Bergman IPC Fellowship Award winner Curtis Grosskopf, a senior engineer at IBM, reflects on the evolution of IPC committees and the vital importance of their work, especially in collaboratively creating industry-wide standards to guide the work of professionals in every sector. This commitment to multidisciplinary cooperation is a mindset that should be fostered at the start of every career.

Time to ‘Finish the Job’ on PCB Funding

03/02/2023 | Nolan Johnson, I-Connect007
In his State of the Union address in early February, President Biden departed from his usual topics about education and the economy to mention the new CHIPS Act, as well as supply chain and infrastructure issues. For perspective on those remarks, Nolan Johnson chats with David Schild, executive director of the Printed Circuit Board Association of America (PCBAA).

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