Latest Articles

SMT Xtra Discusses Expansion Plans in the US

At the IPC APEX EXPO 2017 event in San Diego, SMT Xtra's Alexandra Stovin, marketing and public relations manager, and Paul Pittman, sales manager for the United States and Canada, speaks with I-Connect007 Technical Editor Pete Starkey about their company’s expansion plans in the U.S. and the benefits they offer their customers.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Alpha Highlights Technologies Dedicated to Eliminating Solder Voids

Robert Wallace, marketing manager for the Americas at Alpha Assembly Solutions, discusses their new product introductions for this year and their level of customer support as these products are rolled out. He also talks about how these technologies are helping address the issue on solder voiding.

How Servitisation Can Enable Manufacturing Sales Growth

OEMs and EMS providers must implement strategies that enable sales growth – and one such strategy is servitisation, which is about putting the needs of your customers first.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Nordson Highlights Improvements in Dispensing and Conformal Coating Systems

Roberta J. Foster-Smith, global marketing communications manager for Nordson ASYMTEK, discusses the continued improvements in Nordson's dispensing and conformal coating equipment, especially when it comes to automation, precision and consistency in delivering ever-finer deposits to meet industry demands and customer needs.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Indium Discusses Industry Trends and Reliability Issues

Indium Corp. Product Manager Chris Nash talks with I-Connect007 Technical Editor Pete Starkey about how they are helping customers address their reliability issues, and discusses the success of their "Avoid the Void" campaign.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: KIC on Smart Factory Technology Approach in Thermal Ovens

Bjorn Dahle, president of KIC Thermal, discusses with I-Connect007 Guest Editor Dick Crowe their approach to measuring temperatures in thermal ovens and networking the information to a main frame, to enable the process engineer to statistically monitor a specific process.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Alpha Highlights Solder Reclaim Technology

Mitch Holtzer, director of Americas Reclaim Business for Alpha Assembly Solutions, discusses the company’s reclamation technology, which takes solder dross, used solder paste, and solder paste debris and converts it into reusable soldering materials. He also talks about how solder reclamation can help sustainability efforts, and how it helps customers when it comes to their waste materials.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Manncorp on Having a Solutions-centric Approach

Manncorp father-son team Henry Mann and Kyle Mann talk with I-Connect007 Guest Editor Kelly Dack about providing excellent guidance, service, training and support for companies who may be unsure of the best route to take in selecting the right SMT equipment.

How Can I Compare EMS Providers and Create My Shortlist?

Finding the right EMS provider for your business can be a challenge. And trying to compare EMS suppliers and create a shortlist is hard work. Unfortunately, there is no ultimate cheat sheet to help you find the perfect partner. But here's 15 or so questions that you may ask, in order to start collating meaningful data to be able to starting making informed comparisons between EMS providers you are considering partnering with.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Mentor Graphics Finishes Traceability Standard in Record Time

Michael Ford of Mentor Graphics and Editor Andy Shaughnessy discuss Mentor's work with traceability processes, including the new IPC traceability standard that was finished in record time.


RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Thomas Scales of Saline Lectronics Discusses Internet of Things

Thomas Scales of Saline Lectronics speaks with Guest Editor Dick Crowe about their company's approach to offering networking and process control solutions in the automated factory.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Mirtec Discusses Latest Developments in Inspection Technologies

Mirtec President Brian D’Amico talks about the latest in 2D and 3D AOI and SPI, and how to provide smaller users with affordable high-technology systems. He also talks about the sales success of the MV-6 OMNI series in-line full-3D AOI machine, which features advanced features such as 15-megapixel top-down camera and 3D digital multi-frequency Moire.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: CyberOptics' Subodh Kulkarni Discusses Ultra-High-Resolution AOI

Dr. Subodh Kulkarni discusses the new bleeding-edge AOI technology CyberOptics has developed that will advance vision technology to a level not achievable today. MRS technology combines accuracy with speed, which have been mutually exclusive in the past.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: 3D AOI Update With MEK

Henk Biemans of MEK Europe discusses with I-Connect007 Editor Andy Shaughnessy their latest developments in 3D AOI, and their efforts to educate their customers about this growing market.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Indium’s Eric Slezak Talks Project 99

Indium Corporation's Eric Slezak talks with I-Connect007 Guest Editor Steve Williams about the launch of their new Project 99 wave solder process flux system. Indium has created an exciting new spin on this technology by using a comic book theme, with "villains" representing common wave solder defects and "superheroes" representing their flux solutions to combat the problems.

Industry 4.0: Nine Key Points Electronics Manufacturers Must Not Ignore

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is nothing if not massive and complicated. There is a huge amount of information out there, some useful and some perhaps less so. But, among the hype, there are a few consistent themes that really must not be ignored by manufacturers wishing to remain competitive in the future.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Electrolube Discusses New Conformal Coating Technologies

Phil Kinner, technical director of the coatings division at Electrolube, discusses with I-Connect007 Guest Editor Dick Crowe the latest trends happening in the coatings industry, and how their solutions help customers enhance the reliability of their electronics assemblies.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Kyzen’s Thomas Forsythe Talks Latest Developments in Aqueous Cleaning

Thomas Forsythe, executive vice president of Kyzen Corp., talks about the advantages of real-time concentration monitoring, data management and access to data as aqueous cleaning moves towards Industry 4.0.

Metcal Brings Big Science and High Reliability to Hand Soldering

Recently, Judy Warner visited the Metcal facility in Southern California and meet with Product Support Engineer Robert Roush. They talked about Metcal's patented hand-soldering technology, which promises to bring a new level of science and control to the world of hand-soldering.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Rehm Highlights Reflow Improvements for Reliable Solder Results

Michael Hanke, CCO of Rehm Thermal Systems, highlights the latest developments in their reflow solutions, which are targeted at improving the reliability of the soldering process. He also discusses their complete solution, which is inline with the Industry 4.0 trend.


RealTimewith...IPC: Mycronic Highlights Latest Capabilities of Jet Printing

Nico Coenen, global sales director of jet printing at Mycronic, discusses the latest developments in their jet printing technology. He also highlights how these advances align with their Mycronic 4.0 strategy.

Real Time with...IPC: Cogiscan Discusses Connectivity Solutions to Enable Industry 4.0

Francois Monette, VP Sales and Marketing at Cogiscan Inc., talks about how the industry can meet the challenge of connecting different machines, software and enterprise systems to enable Industry 4.0 for the electronics assembly industry.

Real Time with...IPC: CalcuQuote on Risk Assessment and RFQ Management

Chintan Sutaria, president of CalcuQuote, discusses how their RFQ management system, with its risk assessment feature, helps EMS customers improve their supply chain. He also talks about their new BidCQ solution is improving the bidding process.

Real Time with...IPC: Tim O'Neill Discusses Latest Developments in Lead-Free Soldering Market

With RoHS requirements in full swing, companies must adapt and adapt quickly as lead based soldering will be completely phased out by 2019 in Europe.

Real Time with...IPC: BEST Talks Rework Challenges and Opportunities

Bob Wettermann, president of BEST Inc., talks about the challenges in rework, and how his company is helping their customers address these problems. He also discusses his paper presentation at this week's technical conference.

Real Time with...IPC: Alpha Discusses Improving LED Reliability Issues

At this week's IPC APEX EXPO 2017 in San Diego, California, Steve Godber, LED Commercial Manager at Alpha Assembly Solutions, discusses with I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias the reliability and voiding challenges in the LED market, and how the company is helping their customers address these issues through their solder technologies.

Bringing SMT Assembly In-House: Case Studies of the Effects on Lead Time, Inventory, Quality, and Overall Cost

A growing number of low- to medium-volume manufacturers of specialized electronic products are reaping the rewards of bringing their SMT assembly in-house. How have some of these companies justified the cost of their endeavors? In this article, three OEM companies share their experiences.

11 Points to Consider When Buying Selective Soldering Equipment

Although there are clear benefits from investing in a selective soldering equipment, there are also a number of considerations to make prior to purchase. This article looks at 11 points that require further thought, to ensure you select the right piece of selective soldering equipment for your products.

Taking the "Process Approach" to RFQs in Electronics Contract Manufacturing

The ISO 9001:2015 standard can be applied to any organization, any management system and any process. While it is generic in its application, the specific implementation can be the difference between lagging and leading results. This article reviews how the process approach applies specifically to the request for quote process in the EMS industry.

Applying the New IPC Standard for Traceability Makes Compliance and Reporting Easier

IPC has created IPC-1782, a new standard and specification for traceability practices across all levels of electronics manufacturing, and specifically for electronics assembly. With this new standard, companies that are practicing basic levels of traceability can evolve to higher levels, and will be able to clearly define the expectations of what is required for compliance and conformance to customer needs.


What’s Driving the Rapidly Changing Electronics Assembly Industry

Since the EMS landscape has become so competitive, staying on top of new advances in technology and being able to rapidly adapt to changing customer needs, market demands, trends and technological advances is critical. This article highlights some examples of how electronics assembly technology developments have impacted the EMS industry in recent years and will likely continue shaping the industry in the future.

Continuous Improvement in Electronics Manufacturing

With so many variables and "opportunities" to create waste, electronics manufacturing services (EMS) companies have an on-going challenge to identify, address and then eliminate inefficient processes. This is where a continuous improvement approach can help.

The Shape of Things to Come

Where is our industry going? The beginning of a new year provides a good opportunity to look into the crystal ball and foretell what we think will be. So what are the general drivers of change in the high tech electronic product assembly business, and what specific new product and process types do we see that are a result of those drivers?

Achieving Repeatable, Consistent Control over the Selective Soldering Production Process

Selective soldering is a process with more than 100 different parameters that may impact soldering performance. A robust selective soldering process should have a wide process window that is able to handle variations in material quality. In this paper, critical process parameters are discussed as well as methods that can be used to widen the process window.

Investing in New Technologies

Electronics manufacturers are beginning to consider investing in new systems to take their processes to the next level. In our recent survey on the topic of new technology, the top reasons cited by manufacturers to invest in new technologies are to increase efficiency, improve yield, reduce cycle time, and the advance capability of the process.

Turning the Relationship Between the Electronic Product Assembly Employer and Recent Graduates Upside Down

The post-secondary educational system must change from being reactive to our industry’s (high tech electronic product assembly business) needs to being proactive. Students that graduate should act as change agents, challenging a company’s status quo by bringing the latest design, production equipment and process techniques to their new employers from their academic experience.

What to Look for When Auditing an Electronics Manufacturing Facility

Although a large amount of research can be carried out online when selecting an EMS partner, the only real way to satisfy an OEM whether an EMS provider will be a good fit or not is to meet the team and audit their processes. This article lists the approach many OEMs take and highlight some of the key questions they ask.

The Impact of Via and Pad Design on QFN Assembly

Thermal via arrays under QFN components are used to conduct heat away from the device. However, thermal vias can create more voids or result in solder protrusion onto the secondary side. This paper discusses a study on the impact of via size and via design on QFN voiding and solder protrusion.

Reflections on 40 Years of Test and Measurement and What Lies Ahead

Dr. James Truchard, President, CEO, and Cofounder of National Instruments, has penned his reflections on the last 40 years driving and leading some of the greatest progress and innovations the test and measurement industry has seen. In the article, he also leaves us with his thoughts on how he envisions the future to be.

The Time Has Come for Jet Printing

At the recent NEPCON South China 2016 trade show in Shenzhen, Thomas Bredin, area sales manager at Mycronic, discusses with I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias the latest developments in jet printing technology, and their recent acquisition of Shenzhen Axxon Automation.


Effect of Solder Composition, PCB Surface Finish and Solder Joint Volume on Drop-Shock Reliability

Lead free solder joint reliability in drop shock loading has been a recurring issue in mobile and handheld consumer electronics. Changing solder composition may offer an opportunity to improve joint drop reliability. This study focuses on different failure modes in circuit board assemblies as observed based on solder composition, board surface finish, and solder joint volume.

Evaluation of the Use of ENEPIG in Small Solder Joints

When soldering to ENEPIG, all of the palladium is dissolved into the solder joint, and creates a palladium-rich region at the base of the solder joint. The shrinking solder joint sizes due to the ever decreasing size of parts cause the relative size of this palladium-rich microstructure to grow relative to the overall joint thickness. This study evaluates the impact of industry standard Pd thicknesses on thin solder joints through shear testing.

Six Sigma: What is it and How is it Used in Electronics Manufacturing?

Six Sigma is a defined, data-driven methodology aimed at process improvement and consistent output in manufacturing. This article discusses how it is used in electronics manufacturing, and the benefits it offers companies that have implemented it.

A New Organizational Model Using Logic, Cost-Effectiveness and Customer Service, Part 2

In previous articles, Tom Borkes talked extensively about one of the controllable components of labor cost: the counterweight to competing against low labor rates—using automation to reduce labor content. Over the next few months he will drill down into the other controllable component of labor cost: indirect labor.

More Than Just Dry Air: Controlling Oxidation and Intermetallics in Moisture-Sensitive Devices

Our new columnist Richard Heimsch will be focusing on the management of moisture sensitivity in his column “More Than Just Dry Air.” His inaugural article talks about controlling oxidation and intermetallics in moisture-sensitive devices.

Plating and Surface Finish: Assemblers' POV

Joemar Apolinario and Dnichols Dulang of EMS firm Integrated Micro-Electronics Inc. discuss with SMT Magazine the impact of plating and surface finishes on electronics assemblies. They highlight the impact on solderability, the problems with complex components and packages, as well as parameters to consider when it comes to surface finish selection.

How to Choose Your Outsourcing Project Team

When you decide to outsource your manufacturing operation to an EMS provider, you not only have to choose the right partner – you also have to select your in-house outsourcing project team. With so many important decisions to make, it's easy to feel overwhelmed at times. But with the right people in situ, you will be perfectly placed to achieve success. Here's how you should go about assembling your outsourcing project team.

Choosing the Correct Flux—Advantages/Disadvantages

While often overlooked, the flux chosen for the selective soldering process has a great impact on solder joint quality, long term reliability and overall selective soldering performance. This article outlines the critical factors of commonly available selective soldering fluxes and how they impact the soldering quality, reliability and equipment performance.

The Influence of Clean Air on the Value-Added Chain in Electronics Production

A multitude of different processes in modern electronics production—from connection and separation technologies, surface processing such as marking and drilling, the utilisation of fluxes, up to production processes such as soldering, welding and gluing—generate harmful substances that might have extreme health impacts and affect production plants and products.

5 Reasons Why OEMs Outsource to EMS Providers

Why do original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) outsource to electronics manufacturing services (EMS) providers? This article provides five reasons why OEMs venture down an outsourcing path, and the benefits they gain along the way.


Reducing Warpage on BGAs During Rework

This article highlights one of the challenges associated with BGA rework--the effect of device warpage. To address this, Bob Wettermann writes about strategies to reduce device warpage on BGAs to avoid shorts and open circuits post rework.

Editor's Note: Understanding Plating and Surface Finishing

This month’s issue of SMT Magazine focuses on the impact of plating and surface finishing in electronics assembly. True, plating and surface finishing may be more directly significant in PCB fabrication, but surely they are important issues as well when it comes to the assembly side. In fact, according to our recent survey, 82% of the respondents said surface finishing impacts their assembly process.

Breaking Down the Long, Complex Sales Cycle in the EMS Industry

The EMS industry is still considered a young industry, with roots based in the early contract manufacturing days of small harness and PCBA shops. This article discusses how the demand creation process has morphed since the EMS industry's birth around 30 or so years ago into what we might consider as typical in the contract electronics manufacturing industry today.

Successful Sales Strategies

At the recent NIDays 2016 event in Singapore, Matej Krajnc of National Instruments speaks with I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias about the challenges for sales and marketing executives in the electronics manufacturing industry, effective sales strategies, and key attributes of a sales person. He also shares his outlook on some of the key technology trends for next year.

How to Build Up Trust in a Manufacturing Outsourcing Relationship

When you, as an OEM, entrust part or all of your manufacturing operation to an EMS provider, you want to know that this fundamental aspect of your business is in safe and capable hands. It takes time to establish trust. So how can you build it up into a strong and permanent structure? Read on.

Front Lines: Sales—a.k.a., Trench Warfare!

In his inaugural article for his column Front Lines, Craig Arcuri writes about sales—real sales—not pop sales ideas, not sales jargon of the day, not flavor of the month tactics. He talks about sales in the trenches, and provides simple steps to build a sales foundation that will help your company generate more sales.

Real Time With...HKPCA & IPC Show 2016: IPC Hand Soldering World Championship in China

IPC President John Mitchell speaks with Editor Stephen Las Marias about the highlights of this year’s IPC Hand Soldering World Championship, which was held in China for the first time. He discusses how IPC has managed to keep the event so popular and successful for such a long time.

The Hunt for the Best Pre-Owned SMT Equipment Supplier

There are many SMT equipment resellers out there, some with many years of experience and others that are merely intermediaries between a company that’s trying to sell their surplus equipment and you. With that in mind, think of what you can afford not only in terms of the cost of equipment, but also regarding installation, training and support.

How to Create the Perfect SMT Reflow Oven Profile

While EMS providers will have their own preference when it comes to machine type and brand, broadly speaking, the process steps they go through to produce PCBAs are the same. However, one step that can make all of the difference when it comes to quality and consistency is reflow. This article details how EMS companies can go about creating the perfect SMT reflow oven profile.

Sales and Marketing in a Digital Transformation Reality

While many of the common sales and marketing best practices apply to the PCB assembly industry, however, deep manufacturing and electronics design expertise is required to truly drive customer interactions from one-off transactions into long and sustaining relationships as the industry goes through rapid change such as the larger involvement of a younger generation in the workforce, and the move to digital transformation and smart manufacturing.


Meeting Current and Future Requirements of the Automotive Industry

Phil Kinner, technical director of Electrolube's Coatings Division, speaks with I-Connect007's Pete Starkey about the role of conformal coatings in various applications of the automotive industry. He talks about thermal shock testing, and provides updates on their collaboration with the National Physical Lab on condensation testing.

EMS Industry Sales and Marketing: Why Strategies Vary Widely

In this article, Susan Mucha of Powell-Mucha Consulting explains why sales and marketing strategies vary widely in the EMS industry. She provides a case study of four EMS firms and their approach to the sales and marketing process.

The Business of Doing Good

This is the time of year when many people look back to what they have done so far to get a handle on goals for the coming year. Businesses also engage in the same year-end assessment, this time with greater focus on the things they have been doing right and how to improve on aspects that need more work.

Disaster Recovery Planning: What to Look for in an EMS Partner

While you're unlikely to encounter a catastrophic event in your electronics manufacturing outsourcing venture, it's nevertheless prudent to ensure that you work with an EMS partner who has the capabilities to deal with such a scenario if it should occur. So what should you look for in an EMS provider's disaster recovery policy, to ensure you're covered?

Boundary Scan Meets Functional Test

This article discusses some fundamental aspects of the combination of boundary scan and functional test, as well as new technological solutions for embedded functional tests and their practical implementation.

Rework and Repair Standard Getting Updated

The IPC-7711/21 Rework of Electronic Assemblies/Repair and Modification of Printed Boards and Electronic Assemblies is being “upreved” from version “B” to version “C” and will soon be released to the industry. This article talks about a couple of notable changes that strengthened, modernized and brought together changes from the previous “B” version, which was approved in 2007.

How to Avoid a PCB Supply Shortage During Chinese New Year

The post-Christmas blues are bad enough, but getting caught out by a PCB supply shortage due to the week-long Chinese New Year is likely to cause both you and your EMS partner significant pain. By assessing both your current and future demand, and then working closely with your PCB suppliers, EMS provider and end users, you can take a number of steps to minimize the risk to your business.

Digi ConnectCore 6UL Creates a Big Buzz at electronica

Guy Volckaerts, director for EMEA embedded sales at Digi, speaks with I-Connect007's Judy Warner about Digi’s star-of-the-show at the recent electronica event in Germany—the Digi ConnectCore 6UL—a quick, simple, feature-rich, yet very flexible system-on-module solution for OEMS and developers.

Editor's Note: Selling Success in the PCBA Industry

I am neither a salesperson nor a marketing person, but over the course of my editorial work, and through speaking to technology and systems providers in the electronics manufacturing industry, I have learned a few things when it comes to sales and marketing, namely, the importance of collaboration, positive relationships, and technical knowledge. For example, sales and marketing teams must work together to make sure deals get closed and contracts are awarded.

LA/Orange County SMTA Tech Expo a Success

On November 3, I had the pleasure of attending the LA/OC SMTA Tech Expo in Long Beach, California, and meet with chapter President Kathy Palumbo and Vice President Scott Penin, to learn more about this annual event and the chapter’s ongoing activities.


Real Time with...HKPCA & IPC Show 2016 Slideshow - Day 2

The 2016 IPC Hand Soldering World Championship was held concurrently for the first time at the International Printed Circuit & APEX South China Fair (HKPCA and IPC Show 2016) in Shenzhen, China. View the slideshow here.

My Product is Too Large and Complex to Outsource to an EMS Provider

A number of projects that struggle to get off the ground over concerns relating to size, shape or complexity can easily be outsourced – providing the project is approached in the right way. This article explains how.

Tin Whisker Mitigation Methodologies Report from SMART Group, Part 2

Since the introduction of the RoHS legislation in 2006, the threat of tin-whisker-related short circuit failure from pure tin finished components has remained a major concern within the high-reliability electronics manufacturing industry. In the second part of this two-part article series, Editor Pete Starkey concludes his review of the SMART Group's recent seminar, which is focused on tin whisker mitigation methodologies and strategies.

Solder Voiding, Autonomous Autos, and Statistics—So Much to Learn from Dr. Ron

While at the 2016 SMTA International conference and show, I had the lucky opportunity to talk with Indium Corporation’s Dr. Ron Lasky. He gave a great synopsis of the extensive testing done by Indium Corporation’s Chris Nash on solder voids, outlined in a paper co-authored by the two, which was being presented by Ron at the conference.

SMTA Tech Expo Panel Session: It Takes a Village to Discuss Proper Cleaning Solutions

An expert in cleaning processes, Barbara Kanegsberg is known as “The Cleaning Lady.” She moderated the technical session “Ask the Experts: Meeting the Challenges of Effective Cleaning, Defluxing in Southern California.” Here Barbara discusses the myriad of challenges regarding cleaning PCBs (particularly in heavily regulated California) and what transpired during the open forum technical session.

HKPCA & IPC Bring Hand-Soldering Competition World Championships to China

Helen Guo, member services director at IPC Greater China, discusses with I-Connect007's Edy Yu IPC’s activities and initiatives in China. She also discusses the upcoming International Printed Circuit and APEX South China Fair 2016, which will feature the hand-soldering competition world championship for the first time in China.

Tin Whisker Mitigation Methodologies: Report from SMART Group, Part 1

Since the introduction of the RoHS legislation in 2006, the threat of tin-whisker-related short circuit failure from pure tin finished components has remained a major concern within the high-reliability electronics manufacturing industry. In this article, Editor Pete Starkey reviews a recent seminar by the SMART Group to discuss tin whisker mitigation methodologies and strategies.

3 Reasons Why Outsourcing to an EMS Provider Can Go Wrong

A true outsourcing partnership should deliver benefits to both the OEM and the EMS provider. However, there are always risks, and sometimes outsourcing can go wrong. This article highlights three reasons why the OEM/EMS provider partnership might turn sour.

Leadership in Your Company: Something to Worry About?

Leadership is an ingredient that most feel is important, even though many find it is hard to define. Some say that you will know good leadership when you see it. In this article, Tom Borkes of The Jefferson Project discusses the role of leadership, and how it can be taught in the academia.

The Fine Art of Providing a Single Source for Fab, Assembly

Jay Rupani, president of Precision Technologies, speaks with I-Connect007's Patty Goldman about what exactly his company does, what differentiates them and why. He also talks about why having a single source for bare board manufacturing and assembly saves customers time, money and much angst.


KIC Shows Solutions to Voiding Problems via Optimized Reflow Profiling

At the recent SMTAI event, MB (Marybeth) Allen of KIC speaks with I-Connect007's Patty Goldman about her company, and discusses some of the details of her presentation titled "Optimized Reflow Profiling to Minimize Voiding".

The Hidden Costs when Outsourcing your Electronics Manufacturing

There's a lot of truth in the saying, "You get what you pay for" – so it's important not to skimp on price when selecting a partner. Equally, you need to remain competitive. So, when you're comparing quotes from EMS suppliers, how do you find the right fit for you? This article tells you how.

An EMS with a Nimble Global Footprint Makes a Big Splash at electronica

At the recent electronica trade show in Munich, Alwyn Rea, director of business development for non-automotive products at ALL CIRCUITS, a French-based EMS company, speaks with I-Connect007's Judy Warner about his company, their capabilities, and what makes them different from their competitors.

Living Up to Their Name at Alpha Assembly Solutions

At SMTAI in October, I-Connect007's Judy Warner spent some quality time with Alpha Assembly Solutions' Jason Fullerton, to discuss Alpha's innovative new products. Fullerton also discussed a paper he was presenting, which compares two lead-free, silver-free alloys in a selective soldering application.

The Impact of Vias on PCB Assembly

Via technology has been one of the solutions to address the miniaturization and component density challenges in current electronic assemblies. However, vias are not without their own set of challenges. As per our recent survey, these include impedance matching, routing, placement of vias, minimum size limitations, aspect ratio, and the limitations for the PCB manufacturer.

Why an SLA is Central to Meeting Customer Demand

How do EMS providers overcome supply chain challenges in order to successfully meet the challenge of consistently delivering product to fluctuating customer demand? Through service level agreements (SLAs). This article explains why.

To Bake or Not to Bake: Examining the Impact of Waiving PCB Pre-Baking Prior to Assembly

Moisture plays a critical role in lead-free PCB assembly—and one process that aims to drive moisture out of the PCB is baking. In this article, Yash Sutariya explains the results of his study on the impact of waiving PCB pre-baking prior to assembly. His study includes via integrity, via life impact, via failure, and overall reliability failures.

Electrolube on Addressing Thermal Management Issues in LEDs

At the recent electronica 2016 trade show in Munich, Germany, Jade Bridges, global technical support manager of Electrolube, speaks with I-Connect007’s Pete Starkey about how they are helping customers address the thermal management challenges in electronics assemblies, including LEDs and LED assemblies.

Electrolube’s Alistair Little on Thermal Management in Automotive Electronics

At electronica 2016, Alistair Little, technical director of Electrolube’s Resins Division, sits down with Editor Pete Starkey to discuss thermal management challenges in the automotive industry, and how their resin solutions are helping customers address those high-temperature requirements.

Chintan Sutaria: CalcuQuote Aims to Disrupt EMS Quoting Status Quo

Chintan Sutaria of CalcuQuote speaks with I-Connect007's Judy Warner about what inspired him to develop CalcuQuote. He also explains how CalcuQuote supports capturing customers' requirements to coming up with labor and material costs, allocating overhead, markups, and following up with the customer.


Why Takt Time is Important, and How to Calculate It

A common misconception is that takt time relates to the overall build time, i.e., the number of man-hours put in to building a product. It doesn't; it relates to the time span required to build a product from start to finish to ensure the continual flow of finished products needed to satisfy customer demand.

How to Improve PCB Reliability

Component failure rates have steadily declined over the years to the point where non-component failure sources have become the dominant cause of failures for a PCB. If the reliability of the components is becoming a non-issue, then the only way to improve electronics further—for this article, automotive electronics—is to look at the non-component aspects of the electronics, and a significant one is the PCB.

A Long-term Career Prospect

The next millennial in this series is Alex Johnson, an associate engineer at Saline Lectronics and who has been with the company for over two years. Even though Alex received a lot of negative information about manufacturing throughout his lifetime, his work experience in engineering has directly challenged those preconceived notions.

The Taken-for-granted Via

Vias are so simple, yet they can be so complex at the same time. Designed properly, they complete a circuit. However, a poorly designed via can be a reliability nightmare. The bottom line is that, in many ways, they are the unsung hero to a circuit board, much like an offensive line is to a football team.

Increasing Reliability through Predictive Analysis

At SMTA International 2016, Joe Russeau of Precision Analytical Laboratory discusses with I-Connect007's Patty Goldman the paper he was presented, which was co-authored by Mark Northrup and Tim Estes. The paper presents early data comparing the results of two different analytical test methods to determine how well they correlate with each other as predictors of PC board cleanliness and reliability.

Is Your Manufacturing Facility Now the Weak Link?

If your manufacturing facility is the weakest link in your chain, all of the hard work put in beforehand—design, marketing, sales, purchasing—will have been wasted. This article looks at three signs your manufacturing facility could be dragging the rest of your company down, and highlights how outsourcing to an EMS provider can help.

Achieving the Smart Factory Vision

James Liu, director of Standardization and Electronics Manufacturing at the Smart Factory Institute of the China Science and Technology Automation Alliance, talks about helping small- and medium-sized companies transform their production into smart factories. He explains the challenges these companies face, and the need for a free, open interface to connect disparate electronics manufacturing equipment and systems on the factory floor.

Leadership Toward Greater Meaning

In the last decade, sustainability has moved up the priority agenda of business leaders tasked to shape their companies' goals. Strategies are now being set up to provide not only profitability and financial growth but, more importantly, ensure that the people that are involved, the communities that these companies serve, and the products that they build are actually entwined in making the world a better place.

Is Your Sales Growth Outstripping Your Current Manufacturing Capacity?

Picture the scene: you are an OEM enjoying healthy sales growth—business is booming as you win new customers and sell more to the ones you already have. However, there's just one problem – you don’t have the manufacturing capacity to accommodate your growth, whether because your factory is too small, you are lacking crucial equipment, or you simply don't have enough staff. Here's what you can do.

The Make-up of a Great Leader

Knoll Evangelista EMS Components Assembly Inc. speaks about leadership, motivation, and how great leaders navigate the challenges to bring their companies to success. He also shares his insights regarding best strategies in managing millennials.


Inspiring Others: The Key to Leadership

In an interview with SMT Magazine, Jean-Marc Peallat, vice president of global sales at Vi Technology, shares his thoughts on the role of a leader and how it differs from that of a manager. He also discusses how management has evolved over the past decade, and why inspiration is the key to leadership.

Recruiting and Maintaining a High-Quality Manufacturing Workforce

In almost all industries, the people are companies' biggest competitive advantage. This article looks at strategies to develop an effective way to recruit and retain high-quality team members in labor markets where experienced manufacturing talent is in short supply.

Industry 4.0 and the Circular Economy

There has been much written recently about Industry 4.0, and rightly so as it's a huge and far-reaching concept that will have an enormous impact on our design and manufacturing industries in the coming years. Even so, Industry 4.0 is just part of an idea that is much, much bigger; something known as the "circular economy".

Building Bridges with Cross-Cultural Teams

Understanding behavior patterns driven by the cultures of team members, having discussions about differences and similarities, and creating an environment where people are comfortable discussing their concerns can go a long way to eliminating cultural conflict and building stronger teams.

Do the High-Paid Managers in Your Organization Add Value?

The widening gap between industry need and academic preparation has an adverse effect on the ability of a company to compete in the global manufacturing marketplace—and all competitive roads in any capitalist free market business ultimately lead to a cost versus contribution analysis. This article discuss another important cost driver—the cost of management and leadership, what a company gets for that money.

New Column: Millennials in Manufacturing

New columnist Davina McDonnell will be writing on the challenges millennials face in the workplace, and the unique dynamic between millennials and the industry veterans who manage them.

Defining a Leader

One could define a leader as an individual leading a group of individuals towards a clearly defined goal. This article highlights some of the key leadership principles, such as self-evaluation, skills, knowing your employees, and setting standards by leading by example, that would help steer a company in this industry to success.

Koh Young Talks AOI Landscape and Trends

During the recent NEPCON South China tradeshow in Shenzhen, Thomas Lau, sales manager for Southeast Asia at Koh Young Technology Inc., speaks with I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias about the challenges and developments happening in the AOI sector.

How to Successfully Manage the OEM/CEM Partnership

A successful outsourcing initiative is built on trust and communication and both partners—the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and a contract electronics manufacturer (CEM)—need to be clear on what their own roles are, in order to realize the innumerable benefits.

Choosing an EMS Partner

So many times we hear that an EMS company and their potential new customer want to have a partnership where each side can have a very open dialogue of what is going well and what needs improvement. At the end of these discussions, both sides typically leave feeling warm and fuzzy, and ready to hold hands into the sunset. Then, the rubber hits the road and you start dealing with the real world.


How to Evaluate a Used Machine

There are some cases where you can get a good deal on used SMT assembly equipment and save some money over a new machine. This article will help guide you in your search and give you some tips to avoid getting a raw deal or actually spending more than new by the time you get that bargain acquisition in good working order.

Leadership Evolution in a Changing Marketplace

To continue to grow and remain competitive amid broad systemic change such as the growing number of millennials in the workplace, the globalization of both customers and competitors, increased uncertainty in the marketplace, and increased demands for flexibility, leaders must continue to evolve their own leadership skills and approaches, and make better use of the talent they hire.

Real Time with…SMTAI: Dimation's Same-Day EMS Service

Edward Knutson, president and founder of EMS firm Dimation, speaks with I-Connect007’s Judy Warner about his company’s quick-turn EMS service: from a turnaround time of one to two days. In fact, if customers bring in their parts and board, they can even expect their product within the same day.

What Makes a Great Leader?

Leadership encompasses the ability of an individual to lead or guide other individuals, teams, or entire organizations in the accomplishment of common goals. In many industries, great leadership is required now more than ever as companies face a myriad of challenges such as globalization, uncertainties in global markets, and increased demand for flexibility.

Real Time with... SMTAI: Mentor and Kulicke and Soffa Discuss Partnership

Michael Ford of Mentor Graphics and Tom Kramer of Kulicke and Soffa speak with I-Connect007’s Andy Shaughnessy about their partnership and synergy, and how they enable customers to become flexible and productive even with high-mix operations.

Smart for Smart’s Sake, Part 1

In his previous article, Michael Ford wrote about the various historical methods of collecting data from shop-floor processes, and how it compares to the fully normalized approach of OML, where data from any machine operation can be expressed in a single interoperable language. This article discusses the next layer of activity—how the data collected is to be used for asset utilization and productivity.

Defect Features Detected by Acoustic Emission for Flip-Chip CGA/FCBGA/PBGA/FPBGA Packages and Assemblies

The C-SAM (C-mode scanning acoustic microscopy) is the preferred method for finding "air gaps" such as delamination, cracks, voids, and porosity. This paper presents evaluations performed on various advanced packages/assemblies especially flip-chip die version of ball grid array/column grid array (BGA/CGA) using C-SAM equipment.

Is PCB Assembly Really the Best Entry Point into Outsourcing?

By outsourcing your PCB assembly, you will free up more time and resources to direct your focus elsewhere. However, the PCBA is just one component within your final product; you still have a lot of work to do once your EMS partner has delivered the completed boards to you.

Real Time with… SMTAI: Making Your Shop Floor More Intelligent

Mitch DeCaire, channel sales manager at Cogiscan, speaks with I-Connect007’s Andy Shaughnessy about how real-time data collection from the factory floor can help customers improve their quality and overall productivity.

Real Time with… SMTAI: Merger Puts Libra Industries in Driver's Seat

W. Scott Fillebrown, CTO of EMS firm Libra Industries, talks with I-Connect007’s Andy Shaughnessy about Libra’s acquisition of ACD last year, their migration to common platforms and systems, and how their latest equipment installations have helped improved efficiency and throughput in their manufacturing lines.


Real Time with... SMTAI: Gary Tanel on His Founder's Award, SMTA Benefits

Gary Tanel, vice president of business development at McDonald Technologies and president of the SMTA Dallas Chapter, speaks with I-Connect007’s Andy Shaughnessy about his SMTA Founder's Award—the highest honor given by SMTA.

10 Meaningless Statistics EMS Providers List on their Websites

In an attempt to stand out from other EMS providers, we include a range of statistics on our websites. We assume OEMs find these helpful and use them to make decisions on whether or not we could be the right partner to outsource to. But are they really the key important statistics to feature?

Real Time with... SMTAI: Mirtec’s Brian D’Amico Discusses Benefits of 3D Inspection Technologies

Brian D'Amico, president of Mirtec, discusses with I-Connect007’s Andy Shaughnessy why more and more manufacturers are adopting 3D inspection technologies, such as 3D AOI and 3D SPI systems. He also mentions the increasing use of very small components—such as the 0201s and 01005s—and the advent of the 03015s.

Real Time with… SMTAI: Alpha's Strategies to Ensure Reliability of Assemblies

I-Connect007’s Judy Warner and Robert Wallace, regional marketing manager and channel partner manager for the Americas for Alpha Assembly Solutions, discuss how Alpha helps ensure reliability of their customers’ assemblies by providing soldering material set combinations that had been fully tested together for the J-STD-004B.

Real Time with… SMTAI: Metcal Updates Scavenging with the Scarab

Paul Wood, applications manager at Metcal, discusses with I-Connect007’s Andy Shaughnessy how their standalone, contactless Scarab site cleaning system is helping manufacturers optimize their pad cleaning process.

Real Time with... SMTAI: AIM’s Tim O'Neill on Soldering Challenges and Innovation

Tim O’Neill, technical marketing manager for AIM Solder, speaks with I-Connect007’s Andy Shaughnessy about the biggest problems related to solder paste printing in a typical manufacturing process—and how their M8 no-clean solder paste is helping address these issues.

Real Time with... SMTAI: KYZEN Pushes Cleaning Data to the Cloud

At the recent SMTA International exhibition, Tom Forsythe, executive vice president of Kyzen, discusses with I-Connect007’s Andy Shaughnessy their latest system that helps customers have a better handle on their cleaning process.

Saline Lectronics Invests in the Millennial Generation

You're heard all the knocks against millennials: they're flaky job-hoppers and they're tough to motivate. But Saline Lectronics has a larger presence of these younger employees, and they find quite a few advantages to hiring staff who are far from retirement age. Saline's Jason Sciberra explains how he manages and motivates these young people.

Mitigation of Pure Tin Risk by Tin-Lead SMT Reflow – Results of an Industry Round-Robin

The risk associated with whisker growth from pure tin solderable terminations is fully mitigated when all of the pure tin is dissolved into tin-lead solder during SMT reflow. This article details a round robin study that has been performed by IPC Task group 8-81f, to guide high-reliability end-users on the applicability and limitations of this mitigation strategy.

IPC Certification Program's 'Space Hardware Addendums' Training and Certification

In this article, Sharon Montana-Beard of Blackfox discusses the IPC Certification Program's Space Hardware Addendums training and certification, the topics covered in the training course, and the benefits of the program.


Ionics EMS Talks Industry 4.0, Mil/Aero Opportunities, and Supply Chain

In an interview with SMT Magazine, Dr. Jay Sabido, president and COO of Ionics EMS Inc., discusses a wide range of topics, including Industry 4.0, automation, and the challenges in the military and aerospace industry, including lead-free, counterfeit components, and traceability.

IPC-1782 Standard for Traceability Supporting Counterfeit Components

Traceability has grown from being a specialized need for certain safety critical segments of the industry, to now being a recognized value-add tool for the industry as a whole. This article discusses the IPC-1782 project, which aims to create a single flexible data structure that can be adopted for all levels of traceability that are required across the industry.

Recycling Substrates and Components in Mil/Aero Assemblies: Secure Metals Recovery

In this article, Mitch Holtzer of Alpha Assembly Solutions writes about reworking defective military and aerospace electronics assemblies, and recovering the value of the substrate and components without compromising the top secret design of the circuit.

The Theory Behind Tin Whisker Phenomena, Part 4

In this fourth installment of the series on the theory behind tin whiskers, Dr. Jennie S. Hwang continues on her discussion of the likely key processes engaged in tin whisker growth—lattice vs. grain boundary diffusion, and reaction and dynamic of intermetallic compounds.

Asteelflash on Mil/Aero Challenges, ITAR, and Opportunities

In an interview with SMT Magazine, Albert Yanez, corporate executive VP and president of Asteelflash, Americas, discusses the challenges in the military and aerospace industries, ITAR compliance, and the opportunities in these sectors.

The Blackfox Advanced Manufacturing Program for Military Veterans

You might be wondering why you should hire a military veteran, especially if your company has nothing to do with the military. But hiring veterans can bring a wealth of benefits, and this article highlights them. It also focuses on the Blackfox Veteran’s Training Program, the first program of its kind to provide veterans with little to no industry experience with the skills to grow their careers in the electronic assembly industry.

How to Specify a Custom Machine

Let’s say you have an unusual product configuration, a unique space requirement, an unorthodox handling system, or an application totally unrelated to the PCB or SMT assembly business, and you can’t find a standard machine provider that can handle your requirements. What then? This article highlights key points to consider when going the custom machine way for your project.

Is Your Electronics Manufacturing Factory 'Smart'?

Despite the amount of content being produced around big data, Industry 4.0, digital manufacturing, mass customization and various other subjects, a large number of electronics manufacturing companies still don't fully understand this question. This article looks to provide guidance on how you can assess your manufacturing facility without investing huge amounts of time and money upfront.

Being More than a Manufacturer’s Rep

Matt Bonweg, process support specialist at manufacturers' rep firm Murray Percival Company, speaks with I-Connect007's Patty Goldman during the recent SMTA Ohio Expo about the company's history and philosophy, as well as their strategies for success in this industry.

Naprotek: Building a Successful EMS in Silicon Valley with a Woman's Touch

I-Connect007's Judy Warner recently visited Naprotek Inc., an EMS provider in the heart of Silicon Valley. She speaks with CEO Najat Badriyeh and two of her team members – VP of Marketing Liz Davidson, and Director of Business Development Mike Brown – about their company and their plans for the future.


Silicon Valley SMTA Chapter President Kevin McClay on Evolution and Current Status of SMTA

Kevin McClay, president of Silicon Valley SMTA Chapter, speaks with I-Connect007’s Judy Warner on the activities of the SMTA in the Valley, and the challenge of attracting young talent to join the manufacturing engineering industry.

Digital X-Ray—For More Than Inspection

At the recent SMTA Ohio Expo, Sheri Martin, sales manager at YXLON, spoke with I-Connect007's Patty Goldman about her company, their digital X-ray system, and the value of joining such trade events, and the benefits of using X-ray when it comes to failure analysis.

Real Time with NEPCON South China: Mentor Graphics Discusses Control on the Shop Floor

Ofer Lavi Ben David, director of shop floor manufacturing solutions at Mentor Graphics Valor Division, talks with I-Connect007’s Stephen Las Marias about how the smart factory should look, their Open Manufacturing Language, and their solution to provide end-to-end visibility and control in the shop floor.

Geek-A-Palooza: 'Who Says Doing Business Can't Be Fun?'

Geek-a-Palooza, now in its fourth year, is the new kind of business event that combines networking with fun. With a relaxed environment approach, the event is catching on and continues to grow. Dan Beaulieu catches up with Tara Dunn about the upcoming Boston and Minneapolis events…and beyond.

SMTA Reaching Out to Locals and Students

Tanya Martin, executive director of the SMTA, speaks with I-Connect007's Patty Goldman at the recent SMTA-Ohio expo about local one-day expos that are spread across the country throughout the year, and the increasing interest in student chapters on campuses.

Real Time with NEPCON South China: BTU Talks Voiding in Automotive Electronics, Industry 4.0 Strategies

At NEPCON South China 2016, Bob Bouchard of BTU International Inc. discusses with I-Connect007’s Stephen Las Marias the challenges and opportunities in the China market, how BTU is helping address voiding issues in automotive electronics assemblies, and their Industry 4.0 strategies.

Real Time with NEPCON South China: WKK on Automation, China Outlook, Challenges and Opportunities

Victor J.S. Chang, director and general manager of WKK Distribution Ltd, discusses with I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias the increasing automation trend in the region; the efforts of the Chinese government to support the growth of advanced manufacturing; and the latest initiatives at WKK.

Real Time with NEPCON South China: Rehm Thermal Systems Highlights Industry 4.0 Benefits

In Shenzhen, China, Ralf Wagenfuehr, plant manager for Rehm Thermal Systems, speaks with I-Connect007’s Stephen Las Marias about Industry 4.0 and the benefits of this automation trend.

Real Time with NEPCON South China: P. Kay Metal Discusses New Markets for MS2

James Goyne, the newly appointed global business development director at P. Kay Metal Inc., speaks with I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias about what he aims to achieve in his new role, as well as the new markets and opportunities for their MS2 solder dross eliminator.

The Authors of the Printed Circuits Handbook 'Speak'

The seventh edition of the Printed Circuits Handbook was published this spring, which was also the 50th anniversary of the first edition. For this issue—“Voices”—we asked the many authors of the handbook for their thoughts—their voices. We asked a few questions to get them started; though not everyone spoke strictly about the handbook, we found their comments interesting and thought-provoking, and we hope you do as well.


Will The “Internet of Manufacturing” Really Impact Business?

Supporting legacy, new, and future automated processes, as well as the vast number of manual processes in use today, is the key to being able to successfully introduce the Internet of Manufacturing into SMT production.

I-Connect Survey: A Look at the Mil/Aero Industry

I-Connect007 recently conducted a survey on the military/defense and aerospace markets. Respondents were asked about the greatest challenges when it comes to PCB design, fabrication, and assembly; their customers’ demands; whether lead-free components are still an issue; and compliance challenges.

4 Benefits of Industrial Automation in Electronics Manufacturing

In a nutshell, industrial automation is a step beyond mechanization; it is about using control systems and technology to replace human physical and mental labor in the manufacturing and engineering sector. This article talks about four of the resulting benefits of automation for electronics manufacturers.

Standardizing Platforms from Characterization to Production

Over the past decade, the intense focus to reduce the cost of testing has produced a significant shift from using turnkey automated test equipment to building in-house and cost-optimized testers based on off-the-shelf instrumentation. This shift to a custom tester approach has been a large factor in the success of modular instrumentation platforms in the electronics manufacturing industry. This article explains why.

Case Study: Flex Smart Factory at Fuyong

This paper discusses Flex's experience with their current project called Smart Factory, which is being implemented at their Fuyong facility in Shenzhen, China. It also highlights some of the benefits they have achieved, including traceability, improved productivity and quality, and minimized defects through process predictability.

The Industry Speaks

In the latest issue of SMT Magazine, we take a pause from covering the latest technology trends, challenges, and solutions in the electronics manufacturing and assembly industry. Instead, we are focusing on our readers—to give a voice to their thoughts on the industry, companies, jobs, interests, and even pain points when it comes to their respective specialties.

Integrated Manufacturing Solutions: an EMS, ODM, CM, and OEM!

Robbin Thompson, VP Business Development at San Diego-based contract manufacturer Integrated Manufacturing Solutions (IMS), speaks with I-Connect007's Barry Matties and Judy Warner about her company's expansion, production capabilities and product lineup, as well as the culture at IMS.

Local SMTA Expos Are Where It’s Happening!

At the recent SMTA chapter expos, Greg Vance with Rockwell Automation and Brett Crane with Bird Electronic Corporation speak with I-Connect007's Patty Goldman about the event, and the trends happening in the electronics manufacturing industry.

The Benefits of 3D Printing within Contract Electronics Manufacturing

The buzz around 3D printing, or additive manufacturing as it also known, continues to grow day-by-day, and it is regularly hailed as a revolutionary "new" process. This article discusses the basics of 3D printing and the different types of printing processes that exist, along with the benefits these bring to contract electronics manufacturers and the customers they serve.

IMS and STEM: Building a Stronger Future

At the recent IEEE International Microwave Symposium (IMS2016) show held in San Francisco, California, I-Connect007's Barry Matties met with IEEE MTT Education Committee STEM Lead Steven Lardizabal to learn more about the show’s STEM outreach, how they inspire students to join the technology field, and the success of the educational program.


Nondestructive Inspection of Underfill Layers Stacked up in Ceramics-Organics-Ceramics Packages with SAT

Ceramics packages are being used in the electronics industry to operate the devices in harsh environments. This article reports a study on acoustic imaging technology for nondestructively inspecting underfill layers connecting organic interposers sandwiched between two ceramics substrates.

Event Review: 7th Electronic Materials and Processes for Space Workshop

This year's Electronic Materials and Processes for Space Workshop discussed a wide range of technology issues and developments when it comes to PCB fabrication and assembly for space applications. From addressing reliability issues to dealing with cracks that may form during thermal cycling, to REACH regulations and their impact on space hardware, and tin whisker growths. Barrie Dunn provides the highlights.

3 Common Fears About Outsourcing Your Outbound Logistics

If you are still responsible for shipping finished product to your end users, you may be facing difficulties that are distracting you from your core activities. This article explains how you can overcome the common fears about outsourcing your outbound logistics to an EMS provider.

Moving Beyond Paideia: Learning for Earning

The complexities of our technological world and global marketplace now demand the development of specific, saleable skills as part of the student-customer's educational process--and that the template for teaching these skills must be based in the real world. Tom Borkes explains why in this article.

Investing in the Future Voices of our Industries

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a massive global initiative, aimed at getting kids more interested in STEM subjects through a variety of fun and interactive experiences. At a recent Maker Faire, Barry Matties spoke with FIRST's Jill Wilker and Ken Johnson about their organization's mission and vision.

Bumping of QFNs/LGAs and Other Leadless Devices for More Consistent Rework

Among the greatest challenges leadless devices present are the solder voiding primarily on the ground plane, the inability to clean underneath the devices post rework, and the difficulty in getting similar standoff heights on both the IO and center ground. This article talks about the type of rework methods available to address these issues.

Selecting a Selective Soldering System, Part 5

For the conclusion of his series on selective soldering discussion, Robert Voigt does a quick wrap-up to remind potential buyers about some important considerations that affect the purchase decisions they make.

How to Prevent Solder Bridges During Printed Circuit Board Assembly

Solder bridges occur when solder unintentionally connects one electronic component lead to another. Thankfully, a large number of solder bridges can be easily prevented. And while preventive measures may cost you a small amount of additional time and money, the long term payback can be significant.

Milwaukee Electronics: Screaming-Fast in Pursuit of 'Perfect Products'

Jered Stoehr, VP of sales and marketing at Milwaukee Electronics, discusses with I-Connect007's Judy Warner the innovative ways their company is meeting the needs of today's OEMs. He also talks about the challenges and opportunities they are seeing in their markets.

The STEM Trap

Post-secondary schools have not been responsive to the changing landscape of the modern electronic product assembly operation—they really can’t, considering the lack of real-world experience of most of the faculty. In this article, Tom Borkes explains why.


Condensation Testing—A New Approach

While the characterization of coating performance under high humidity conditions is detailed in well accepted IPC and IEC standards, the performance and testing under condensing conditions is not so well developed. This article talks about a new approach that has been developed where the test board is mounted on a substrate whose temperature can be independently controlled without changing the ambient condition.

Divergence in Test Results Using IPC Standard SIR and Ionic Contamination Measurements

This study will compare the results from testing two solder pastes using the IPC-J-STD-004B IPC TM-650 2.6.3.7 surface insulation resistance test and IPC TM-650 2.3.25 in an attempt to investigate the correlation of ROSE methods as predictors of electronic assembly electrical reliability.

Perfect Placement of Connectors and Pins: 3D Measurement of Swash Circumference and Embedment Depth

Manufacturers are faced with steadily increasing miniaturization and higher packing density in PCB assemblies. Packing densities, in particular, repeatedly create challenges in terms of testability, especially when high components such as connectors are fitted in close proximity to other components. This article looks at different handling and testing requirements for connectors.

Why Flexibility is Crucial to the Success of Your Outbound Logistics

When it comes to outbound logistics, the ability to adapt in order to reach new markets and meet ever-changing customer demands, is vital. This article explores how partnering with an electronics manufacturing services (EMS) provider will help to ensure you are fully equipped for change in a fast-paced global environment.

Material Effects of Laser Energy When Processing Circuit Board Substrates During Depaneling

Using modern laser systems for the depanelization of circuit boards can create some challenges for the production engineer when it is compared to traditional mechanical singulation methods. Understanding the effects of the laser energy to the substrate material properly is essential in order to take advantage of the technology without creating unintended side effects.

Industry 4.0: Making the First Move

Many companies now have active Industry 4.0, Internet of Manufacturing, or smart factory projects. In each case, different approaches were taken that appeared to best fit the project requirements and that would deliver the intended benefits versus the cost and effort investment needed. However, there is no best solution. This article explains why.

Package-on-Package Warpage Characteristics and Requirements

iNEMI organized the Warpage Characteristics of Organic Packages Project to identify primary factors that can contribute to the warpage performance of selected components during typical SMT processes, to better understand package warpage characteristics across different package types and attributes. This article focuses on the work related to package-on-package.

EPC’s Michael de Rooij Discusses Strategic Partnership with Wurth Electronik

Michael de Rooij, PhD, of Efficient Power Conversion Corp. (EPC) talks to I-Connect007 guest editor Kim Sauer about their strategic alliance with Wurth Electronik, how their cooperation works, and how the technology solution they are co-developing can address the wireless power challenge as a whole.

Understanding How EMS Companies View Capital Investment Decisions

One of the great benefits of outsourcing your manufacturing is that it can largely remove the need to continually invest in expensive capital equipment. But when selecting an EMS partner, it is important to take a realistic view of their equipment list. This article explains why.

A New Dispensing Solder Paste for Laser Soldering Technology

A new solder paste of alloy composition of Sn-3.0Ag-0.5Cu in a dispensing way is developed for the automatic laser soldering processes. This paper presents the results of soldering BGA spheres on circuit boards with minimal voiding and no splash or solder balling issues.


How to Overcome Medical Electronics Manufacturing Challenges

There are a lot of things to consider when choosing a medical EMS provider to work with and it is worth taking time to make sure the partner fits your needs. To help you make comparisons between suppliers, this article lists a set of questions to ask to help ensure that the manufacturer you work with has the right experience and expertise for you.

The Pasternack Story

John Farley, director of marketing for Pasternack Enterprises, speaks with I-Connect007's Judy Warner during the recent International Microwave Symposium event about their experience at this year's show. John also discusses the multiple layers of Pasternack's RF products and services and the unique way they do business.

Addressing New Testing & Inspection Challenges

NK Chari, marketing director for manufacturing technologies at the Electronic Industrial Solutions Group of Keysight Technologies, talked about the challenges in PCBA testing and inspection, tougher requirements for testing, and the need for functional testing. He also mentioned some best practices to consider to improve the PCBA testing and inspection process.

Case Study: Achieving Near-Perfect Reads of Data Matrix Codes in PCB Assemblies

The range of Data Matrix marking techniques and PCB materials means that the appearance of marks in PCB assemblies can vary dramatically from one situation to the next. In this case study, each PCB needs to be read at the time of solder inspection so the inspection results can be stored in a database. An integrated solution was developed to reduce the downtime required for opening the inspection machine and manually entering the labels of the PCB assemblies.

I-Connect Survey: Automation or Reducing Process Steps?

In our recent survey, we asked what is more important: automating a process or eliminating process steps. Interestingly, the results are 50-50: half of our respondents say automating a process is more important, while the remaining 50 percent consider eliminating a process step a key strategy.

ITRI’s Wang Talks Future of Soldering and Paste Printing

In an interview with SMT Magazine, Wang Chao, technology manager at UK-based ITRI Ltd, discusses the biggest challenges in solder paste printing, how the solder paste material impacts the process, and the future for soldering and paste printing.

5 Myths About Electronics Manufacturing Outsourcing

OEMs have been outsourcing their electronics manufacturing and test for decades, yet a number of myths relating to outsourcing still remain today. In this article, Neil Sharp tackles some of these myths head on so that anyone considering outsourcing to an EMS provider can base their decision on facts and not fiction.

Selecting a Selective Soldering System, Part 4

In the previous three chapters on selective soldering, Robert Voigt covered the different applications well-suited to this technology, the various types of fluxing and soldering methods available, and nitrogen inerting. In this chapter, he discusses programming software, and how you can figure out the best sequence to optimize production speed.

An Integrated PCB Producer’s Approach to the Market

NCAB Group is one of the biggest PCB suppliers in the world. Barry Matties and Stephen Las Marias recently met with Andy Liu of NCAB to discuss an integrated producer’s approach to the market, new design tools, the current state of the Chinese market, and the future of 3D printed electronics.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0): Intelligent Manufacturing

The last industrial revolution was driven by striking advances in electronics and information technology having achieved enormous economic prosperity and manufacturing automation. So what is the fourth industrial revolution and what does it encompass? This article talks about the genesis of the term and the vision for Industry 4.0.


Improving Test and Inspection

In our recent survey on PCBA test and inspection challenges, respondents consider the following to be among their biggest problems: probing to narrower traces and pads; testing boards with smaller and finer features and sizes; dry solder and other solder-related issues; finding sublayer defects; dealing with flat, no-lead components; and testing cycle time. This month, we look into different PCBA test and inspection strategies that address the key challenges in today’s electronics manufacturing and assembly environment.

Conversations with STI Electronics' Dave Raby at IPC IMPACT Washington, D.C.

Dave Raby, president and CEO of EMS firm STI Electronics and an eager participant at this year’s IMPACT Washington, D.C. event, speaks with I-Connect007’s Patty Goldman about his expectations at this year’s conference.

Zentech’s Matt Turpin on IMPACT Washington, D.C.’s Benefits

At the recent IMPACT Washington, D.C. 2016 event in Capitol Hill, Matt Turpin, CEO of EMS firm Zentech discusses with I-Connect007's Patty Goldman his expectations on the event, its importance, and how, so far, it has helped the electronics manufacturing industry in the United States.

Hand Soldering: The Move Toward Automation

At the recent NEPCON event in Shanghai, JBC's Domingo Taberner discussed with I-Connect007's Barry Matties the hand soldering market in China, the move towards automation, the greatest challenges their customers have in soldering, and what to know about choosing the right temperature and tip.

A First-Timer's Perspective on IMPACT Washington, D.C. 2016

I-Connect007 editor Patty Goldman speaks with Faisal Pandit, president of Panasonic Factory Solutions Company, during the recent IMPACT Washington D.C. 2016 event. They discuss his experience as a first-time attendee, and his reasons for attending the event this year.

Solder Paste Dispensing: Breaking the Limits of Printing

In an interview with SMT Magazine, Eric Gu, application manager at Nordson Asymtek China, talks about the greatest challenges and innovations in solder paste dispensing, and factors to consider when using solder paste dispensers.

The Reliability Factor in Solder Paste Printing

In an interview with SMT Magazine, Knoll Evangelista of EMS firm EMS Components Assembly Inc. speaks about the solder paste printing challenge, what factors impact the process, and best practices to consider.

To Clean or No Clean?

The addition of a cleaning process to your manufacturing line will amount to an added 5–6 cents per board produced. Mike Konrad of Aqueous Technologies believes that is a small price to pay for the added value, testing, and reduced liability and insurance that a cleaning solution can provide; however, he admits cleaning isn’t for everyone.

Solder Paste Printing: A User’s Perspective

Integrated Micro-Electronics' Joemar Apolinario, Aurelio Bantigue, and Rodney Bebe, discuss the challenges and key considerations to make when dealing with tighter tolerances and finer pitches in line with the continuing miniaturization trend in the electronics manufacturing industry. They also talked about the impact of solder pastes in the printing process, and the criteria for their selection and qualification.

SPI Parameter Considerations for Tighter Tolerances

In an interview with SMT Magazine, Vi Technology’s Jean-Marc Peallat and Chong Choon Hee speak about the solder paste inspection challenges when it comes to tighter tolerances and finer lines and pitches in board assemblies, and the latest innovations happening in the SPI space to help customers address these issues.


IPC President John Mitchell Discusses IPC's Footprint in China

At the Capital Club in Beijing, IPC’s president John Mitchell met with I-Connect007’s Edy Yu to discuss the current activites of IPC China. Some of the topics covered included the growing China membership, training, trade shows and IPC China’s standards development effort.

Jumping Off the Bandwagon: The Production Engineering Student as Customer

Production, industrial, process, manufacturing engineering, to name a few fields of engineering study, will never be successfully taught on-line. In his latest article, Tom Borkes explains why.

Creation Technologies on IMPACT Washington, D.C. 2016

Bhawnesh Mathur, president and CEO of contract electronics manufacturer Creation Technologies, shares his thoughts with I-Connect007's Patty Goldman on the benefits of the recent IMPACT Washington D.C. event.

Solder Jet Printing: Keeping Up with the Challenges

In an interview with SMT Magazine, Thomas Bredin, area sales manager at Mycronic, discusses solder paste printing, and how the jet printers are getting up to speed with the challenges such as tighter tolerances and finer lines and pitches. He also talks about key factors to consider when selecting a solder paste printer, and what Mycronic 4.0 is all about.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: ACE's Alan Cable Discusses Benefits of Selective Soldering, and Need for Lead Tinning

Alan Cable, president of ACE Production Technologies, talks to I-Connect007 guest editor Mark Thompson about selective soldering and how it helps electronics assemblers overcome the high cost of labor.

Selecting a Selective Soldering System, Part 3

The previous two articles on selective soldering covered the different applications well-suited to this technology, and the various types of fluxing methods available. In this article, Robert Voigt discusses the common types of soldering technologies available, as well as nitrogen inerting systems.

Pad Defined vs. Mask Defined: Which Method is Optimal?

It seems that there is no universal consensus on a seemingly simple choice used in designing electronic circuits. Should the pads on the PCB be defined by the edge of the solder mask opening (mask defined), or should the solder mask opening fall short of the circuit board interconnect (pad or non-solder mask defined)? In this article, SMT Magazine columnist Mitch Holtzer discusses which among the two methods is optimal.

Improving the Solder Paste Printing Cycle Times

At the recent NEPCON China show in Shanghai, I interviewed Adam Sim, senior sales manager at Speedline ITW EAE, about the challenges in solder stencil printing, how printing cycle times may be improved, and the key factors to consider when selecting a solder paste printing solution.

To Bake or Not to Bake (in Rework)—That is the Question

When performing rework on printed circuit boards, the issue of the moisture having to be baked out of the PCB is often debated. Whether it is localized mini-wave rework, hand-soldering or convection rework, the board, as well as neighboring components, needs to be taken into account in terms of moisture protection during the reflow cycle. This article details the baking requirements during PCB rework.

Bright Future/Bright Plan: Photostencil

Photostencil is looking at a multitude of new developments right now, not least of which is the opening of a “new from the ground up” factory that will allow them to address their customer’s greatest needs, including the growing challenge of miniaturization. Photostencil’s VP of Global Sales, Rachel Short, talks to Guest Editor Kelly Dack about the new factory, the positive outlook the company’s customers are exhibiting for 2015 and 2016, and customer reports of projected growth of 3–7%. Short also discusses the new nickel-cobalt electroform stencil, which is more durable and helps alleviate stretch.​


Solder Paste Printing: Challenges and Best Practices

In an interview with SMT Magazine, Watson Tseng, General Manager of Shenmao America Inc., talks about the challenges in solder paste printing, key parameters and best practices to consider, and variables involved when it comes to selecting the appropriate solder paste for the printing process.

The Solder Paste Factor in Printing

Mitch Holtzer, Alpha Assembly Solutions’ global director of customer technical support, and expert columnist at SMT Magazine, talks about the challenges that customers face when it comes to solder paste printing, the impact of solder pastes on the printing process, and the variables involved when selecting the type of solder to use for specific applications.

3D Solder Joint Reconstruction on SMD Based on 2D Images

Solder joint inspection has been a critical issue for quality control, mainly due to their specular reflections. AOI systems have been faced with the same difficulty for solder inspection. This paper presents an algorithm for 3D solder joint reconstruction, which gives 3D analysis capability to the traditional 2D AOI equipment, practically without increasing the financial cost and with no cycle time impact, bringing 2D AOI equipment back into the game of SMT technology.

Solder Paste Exploration

From the manufacturers of solder pastes, to equipment makers, all the way to the solder paste inspection guys, and the electronics assemblers who are using their products, I talked to the supply chain to find out what’s going on in the solder paste printing process, what factors impact the process, the challenges, and the best practices to consider to be able to address those challenges and improve efficiencies and yield in the SMT line.

Flexible Circuit Component Assembly… and a Math Lesson

Flexible circuits are often sold in multiple-up panels or arrays to facilitate the assembly of SMT components. Coordination between the desires of the assembly supplier and the fabricator can have a significant effect on costs based on material/panel utilization.

The Henry Ford Division of Labor Production Model

We are all aware of what the price of assembling a product is based upon: material cost, number of labor hours needed for the product assembly and test, and labor sell rate in dollars per hour. In this article, Tom Borkes writes why the disparity in labor sell rates is still daunting.

Selecting a Selective Soldering System, Part 2

In Part 1, Robert Voigt began a discussion of selective soldering, including how it works, some pros and cons, and several fluxing and soldering options to choose from. This chapter dives a little deeper into the mechanics of fluxing systems.

What’s in a Name? ICAPE Group’s Glenn Colescott Explains

Glenn Colescott, director of ICAPE USA, speaks with I-Connect007's Patty Goldman about his company, their expansion plans, why they attend regional shows like the SMTA West Penn Chapter Expo & Tech Forum, and how they make customers get over the phobia over a trading company.

SMTA West Penn Chapter Plans Manufacturing Boot Camp in August

DRS Technologies' Bill Capen, who is also the president of the SMTA West Penn Chapter, talks with I-Connect007's Patty Goldman about their expanded Chapter Expo & Tech Forum, and their plans of doing a boot camp in August.

Soldering Experts on Hand at SMTA’s West Penn Chapter Expo & Tech Forum

At the recent SMTA West Penn Chapter Expo & Tech Forum, Marilyn Lawrence, founder and president of Conformance Technologies Inc., speaks with I-Connect007's Patty Goldman about the importance of solder training, and how far it has come through the years.


Electrolube: We Like Problems (Chinese Style)

In a follow-up interview, Ron Jakeman, group managing director of Electrolube, discusses with I-Connect007's Pete Starkey his company's strategy in China and the opportunities they are seeing in the region. They also discussed the company's two new products that will complement their European range.

China, Trump, and the Future

At NEPCON China, Hamed El-Abd of WKK and I-Connect007's Barry Matties discussed China’s fluctuating economy, the impact of the U.S. presidential election, the current state of electronics manufacturing in the region, and the overall craziness of doing business in modern day China.

Making Systems Smarter to Gain Visibility, Traceability, and Reduce Handling Errors

At the recent IPC APEX EXPO event in Las Vegas, Bjorn Dahle, president of KIC, talks about his views on automation, the technology improvements being made in reflow ovens, and some of the strategies to reduce handling errors in assembly lines.

A Preview of the 2016 International Microwave Symposium

The 2016 International Microwave Symposium (IMS) is taking place May 22–27 in San Francisco. I-Connect007's Barry Matties spoke with IMS’s Amanda Scacchitti about the upcoming show, the keynote speakers, and how IMS continues to put an emphasis on STEM education with their own STEM program for kids.

Reducing Setup Time to Provide More Uptime in Production

In an interview with I-Connect007 at the recent IPC APEX EXPO event in Las Vegas, Bob Bouchard, corporate marketing manager at BTU, talks about the latest developments in their products, how their technology is helping users reduce their setup times, and the impact of Industry 4.0 in the electronics assembly industry.

How Far Does It Make Sense to Automate?

There are often many advantages to automating the final assembly process, but how far does it make sense to automate? Is a fully automated process better than a semi-automated, or partially manual process? This article tells you more about the challenges and advantages of automation, and the right approach to adopt based on your operations.

EMS Rules of Automation & ROI

Are smaller EMS companies effectively dependent on manual labor and excluded from the innovation that automation and the computerization of the factory operation can bring? The answer is no because IoT is coming to the rescue. This article explains the cost of automation, how much to invest in automation, and the latest technology developments that will provide you manufacturing flexibility.

Strategies to Reduce Handling Errors in Your Rework Process

In this interview during the recent IPC APEX EXPO in Las Vegas, Donald Naugler, president and general manager of VJ Electronix, discusses rework challenges and strategies to help customers reduce handling errors in their processes. He also talks about automation, and the impact of Industry 4.0 in the electronics assembly industry.

Working Smarter Through a Proprietary Systems Strategy

From an IT perspective, EMS companies have two choices: select off-the-shelf systems and deal with support gaps if the systems don’t provide all the tools needed to manage the business, or buy an off-the-shelf core system and create highly customized solutions to address any support gaps. This article talks about the benefits of having the latter approach.

The Importance of Being Earnest (Educated)

This new column in SMT Magazine, titled "Jumping Off the Bandwagon," is dedicated to the continued development and improvement of the high-tech electronic product assembly industry, and the human component of that industry. For his first article, Tom Borkes talks about issues that, unless addressed, will continue to put product assembly at a disadvantage in high labor rate areas of the world.


To Outsource or Not to Outsource PCB Rework

There is a case to be made that outsourcing certain rework projects makes a lot of sense, especially in large, complex or highly time-sensitive rework projects. However, careful review of the suppliers' knowledge of standards and adherence to processes needs to be taken in to consideration prior to making the outsourcing call.

Cost vs. Cause: What is More Critical to EMS Profitability?

The reality of the market is that each major global EMS player will ask solder paste manufacturers to reduce price, rather than improving first pass yield. But the economics of this market trend are unsustainable. This article explains why achieving first pass yield can be a tremendous driver for maximizing the profitability of an EMS provider.

Best-Practice Process Preparation for PCB Assembly

In this high-pressure environment, process preparation systems need to be able to cope with every aspect and production, all machines and processes, without mistakes and without confusion, to scale the flexibility and responsiveness of the production operation in line with customer and market expectations.

Benefits of Improving Reflow and Screen Printing Processes

With a level playing field in terms of access to talent, technology, knowhow, infrastructure, and financial resources, how can an EMS company build a successful business year after year, decade after decade? Read this article to find out how one EMS player—through process improvements—manages to remain strong in this industry.

The Launch of a Lifetime: Catching up with Barry Lee Cohen

Dan Beaulieu catches up with industry veteran Barry Lee Cohen to talk about the new company he launched last month—Launch Communications; his vision; and why he took the chance in striking it out on his own.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Introbotix Highlights HF Tech for Nondestructive Testing

Brian Butler, president and CEO of Introbotix, speaks with I-Connect007 guest editor Bob Neves about using high-frequency test technology for insertion loss testing. He also talks about the HDP User Group and its current activities and initiatives.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Mentor Graphics Takes Manufacturing Operations to the Next Level

Dan Hoz, general manager of Mentor Graphics Valor Division, discusses with I-Connect007's Andy Shaughnessy how they are helping electronics manufacturers take their operations to the next level through their Valor IoT Manufacturing solutions. He talks about the OML and the Valor IoT Device, and how these solutions will help the electronics manufacturing industry to move to Industry 4.0.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Metcal on the Benefits of Customer Collaboration

Robert Roush, product support engineer at Metcal, discusses with I-Connect007 editor Andy Shaughnessy the importance of working together with customers, and how this approach can drive innovations in every market. They also explore the benefits of having digital solder feeders compared to traditional analog versions.

Selective Soldering: Design, Process Challenges and Practical Solutions

A SMART Group workshop at the Bromsgrove, UK, premises of equipment and process materials distributor APP Electronics, set out to provide the answers, with a programme combining technical presentations, live demonstrations and hands-on sessions, introduced and moderated by Nigel Burtt, senior electronics manufacturing engineer at Renishaw and SMART Technical Committee Chairman.

Supplier Spotlight: Transition Automation

In an interview with I-Connect007, Alden Lewis, vice president of sales at Transition Automation, discusses how they are tackling solder paste printing problems with squeegee technologies.


Selecting a Selective Soldering System, Part 1

So far in this series, we’ve covered stencil printers, pick and place machines, reflow ovens and multiple types of through-hole soldering. In this and the next couple of chapters, we’ll discuss selective soldering machines. It’s useful to start by understanding why and when selective soldering is used.

The Buyer’s Guide to Automation

Back in the 1990s when high-volume production was still enjoyed by most operations, the idea of replacing remaining manual operations with automated processes seemed like a great idea, but the technology at the time did not quite deliver on expectations. Today, the same goals for automation are once again in play; but this time, although technical capabilities have vastly improved, little high-volume is left.

Super Dry Discusses Tower System Developments

Rich Heimsch, director of the Americas for Super Dry-Totech, sits with I-Connect007's Andy Shaughnessy during the recent IPC APEX EXPO in Las Vegas to discuss the latest product developments at his company, as well as opportunities they are looking at.

Enabling Process Innovation through Test and Measurement Solutions

In an interview with I-Connect007, National Instruments Managing Director Matej Kranjc discussed how their platforms are enabling the development of intelligent systems of systems that help users make smarter business decisions, and how big data analysis is enabling process innovation in the electronics assembly line.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Rehm Discusses Advantages of Moving Heat Technology

Rehm Thermal Systems general manager Paul Handler speaks with I-Connect007 guest editor Steve Williams about the advantages of the moving heat chamber compared to traditional technology in the market today, and why their systems are all Industry 4.0-ready.

In a Culture of Continuous Improvement, Processes Continually Improve

In an interview with SMT Magazine, Etratech’s Mike Renneboog, manufacturing manager, and Robert Clarke, process manufacturing engineer, discussed their most significant challenge to improving SMT line productivity and quality, and the lessons they learned along the way.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Saline Lectronics Discusses How Industry 4.0 Can Give CMs the Edge

Jason Sciberras and Davina McDonnell of Saline Lectronics speak with I-Connect007 guest editor Steve Williams about how they embraced Industry 4.0 in their manufacturing line.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Kurtz Ersa Talks Latest Innovations

Ernie Grice of Kurtz Ersa North America speaks with I-Connect007 guest editor Mark Thompson about their latest innovations, including voidless reflow machines, selective soldering machines and rework systems, as well as a new paste printer that incorporates a 3D inspection system.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Indium Tackles Solder Voiding

Glen Thomas, product manager for solder pastes at Indium Corp., discusses with I-Connect007 Guest Editor Dick Crowe the primary problem in SMT lines today—solder voiding—and how they are helping their customers address this issue.

Taking the Gremlins Out of Your Process

Every step in your assembly line is supposed to be designed to perform optimally for you to have an efficient, reliable, robust and reproducible process. However, and as isolated as they may seem, "gremlins" sometimes appear and mess up the results of a batch. The latest issue of SMT Magazine features strategies that can help you address these issues.


RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Mentor Graphics Makes Internet of Manufacturing Affordable

Michael Ford, marketing development manager at Mentor Graphics, and I-Connect007 editor Andy Shaughnessy discuss the Open Manufacturing Language (OML), the challenges in supporting the hundreds of thousands of machines that are out there at shopfloors already, and how Mentor is making the Internet of Manufacturing affordable for everyone in the PCB assembly supply chain.

IPC APEX EXPO: Zentech's Matt Turpin Talks Strategies for Success in CM Industry

Zentech's Matt Turpin, named as one the electronics industry's Rising Stars by the IPC, speaks with I-Connect007 guest editor Dan Beaulieu on how to become successful in the electronics contract manufacturing space.

IPC APEX EXPO: Mirtec's D'Amico Speaks on How 3D AOI Tackles SMT Inspection Challenges

Brian D'Amico, president of Mirtec, speaks with I-Connect007 guest editor Bob Neves about the inspection challenges in the SMT industry amid the continuing trend towards smaller devices and components, and how 3D AOI is helping manufacturers address these issues.

IPC APEX EXPO: EPTAC Updates on Soldering Committee Developments

Leo Lambert, vice president and technical director at EPTAC Corp., provides I-Connect007 guest editor Joe Fjelstad an update on some of the standard developments at IPC's soldering and assembly committee.

Standard of Excellence: Tips for Finding a Great PCB R&D Partner

This new column, Standard of Excellence, represents a cooperative writing effort by a team of experts at American Standard Circuits. This month, we begin with CEO Anaya Vardya, who focuses on R&D. In his piece, he provides his insights on what characteristics to look for in a good R&D PCB fabrication vendor partner, and a few things that are expected of them to do for you.

IPC APEX EXPO: Foresite Discusses Cleaning Challenges

I-Connect007 guest editor Michael Konrad sits with Eric Camden, lead investigator with Foresite, to talk about cleaning and why it is now back in the spotlight in electronics assembly.

IPC APEX EXPO: Improving Assembly Line Efficiencies with Material Handling Solutions

Ben Khoshnood, president of Inovaxe, discusses with I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias how EMS and OEM firms can utilize material handling solutions to increase the efficiencies of their assembly lines and reduce operator errors. He also highlights the latest technology developments in their material handling systems.

IPC APEX EXPO: Cogiscan Explains Benefits of Having Real-Time Factory Intelligence

Francois Monette, VP of sales and marketing at Cogiscan, speaks to I-Connect007 guest editor Mark Thompson about modern factory intelligence, and the the benefits of having this capability in assembly lines.

IPC APEX EXPO: Blackfox Celebrating 20 Years of Providing Quality Training

Sharon Montana-Beard, vice president of sales and operations at Blackfox, talks with I-Connect007's Andy Shaughnessy about the company's 20th year in business, their recent partnership with Pace, as well as their latest developments and activities.

IPC APEX EXPO: Alpha Explains Approach to Address Miniaturization Challenges

Jason Fullerton of Alpha Assembly Solutions discusses with Dr. Jennie Hwang the company's approach to helping customers address product reliability issues amid the continuing miniaturization trend in electronics.


IPC APEX EXPO: Technica USA and ASM Americas Highlight Expanded Partnership

In this interview with I-Connect007’s Andy Shaughnessy, Jeff Timms, Managing Director, ASM Assembly Systems Americas, and Frank Medina, president of Technica, discuss their expanded cooperation.

IPC APEX EXPO: Acromag Discusses Newly Launched Electronic Contract Manufacturing Division

Acromag’s David Wolfe and Stacy Moore talk with I-Connect007’s Andy Shaughnessy about the company’s newly launched electronic contract manufacturing division, and the services it will offer to industries including telematics, military, aerospace, and automotive.

IPC APEX EXPO: Manncorp Talks 50 Years in Business

Henry Mann, founder and CEO of Manncorp, discusses with I-Connect007’s Stephen Las Marias the highlights of their 50 years in this industry, and the changes he had seen over the past five decades. He also provides his outlook on where the industry is headed.

IPC APEX EXPO: Rethink Robotics Provides a Glimpse into the Future of Electronics Assembly Industry

Carl Palme, applications product manager at Rethink Robotics, discusses with I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias the impact of robotics, and its future, in the electronics assembly industry.

IPC APEX EXPO: IPC's Fern Abrams Provides Updates on RoHS, REACH Directives

Fern Abrams, director of regulatory affairs and government relations at IPC, discusses with I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias the latest updates on the changes happening in the RoHS and REACH directives this year, as well as IPC's new initiatives and advocacies.

IPC APEX EXPO: AIM's O'Neill Highlights M8 Solder Paste

Timothy O'Neill, technical marketing manager at AIM Solder, updates I-Connect007 Guest Editor Mark Thompson about the company's M8 solder paste, which they launched at last year's APEX. O'Neill discusses how the product improves print quality and reduces voiding on bottom-terminated devices.

IPC APEX EXPO: Kyzen, Dell Discuss Latest HDP User Group Research and Activities

Kyzen's Mike Bixenman and Dell's Wallace Ables discuss the latest projects and activities of the HDP Users Group. In particular, they talked about a research project that aims to develop a test process and procedure to identify the risk of pitting and crevice corrosion from the no-clean fluxes on assembled products.

Finding the Perfect Partner

Whether you’re making screen printers or producing solder paste, whether you’re part of a multinational conglomerate or you’ve spotted a niche and you’ve launched a startup company, one day you’ll need someone to find you new business, sell your stuff and keep your customers happy.

Design for Test in the U.S. Market

With most high-volume printed circuit assembly being sent outside the United States, we have a unique challenge for testing the lower volume/high turnover assemblies domestically. However, with a little planning and the right contract manufacturer (CM), test does not need to be an issue.

IPC APEX EXPO: Kimball Electronics Sees Strong Growth in Automotive Electronics Sector

Kimball Electronics' Chris Thyen discusses with I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias the company's growth and first year as an independent, public company after its spin off from Kimball International, as well as its new facility in Romania.


Reflow Oven Changeover in a World of Short Production Runs

When drilling down to the individual machines, you may find that the biggest drag on your productivity is the reflow oven. The use of more effective production planning and scheduling as well as modern data mining software to identify one or a few oven recipes may provide dramatic improvements to line changeover time and, consequently, profits.

3 Ways to Ensure Your EMS Provider's Supply Chain is Excellent

As an original equipment manufacturer, once you’ve outsourced your manufacturing to an electronics manufacturing services provider, you will have very little hands-on involvement with your materials supply chain. And that’s a good thing because it means you have more time to focus on your core competencies (i.e., designing and selling your products).

Product Compliance Requires Supply Chain Transparency

Changes to the RoHS, REACH, and conflict minerals regulations make the need for supply chain transparency more crucial than ever. In line with this, full material declaration (FMD) is quickly becoming the "gold standard" data requirement for an OEM to accurately assess the risk of restricted materials in a product.

Mentor Graphics’ Oren Manor Explains Exactly What Industry 4.0 Brings to Manufacturing

Oren Manor of Mentor Graphics talks about what Industry 4.0 is really about, and how it benefits electronics manufacturers. He also discusses their design to manufacture solution, and how it helps OEMs large and small make the transition to Industry 4.0 without a complete factory overhaul.

The Benefits of a Vertically Integrated Approach to EMS

The combination of vertical integration and investments made in workforce and systems offers a responsive, cost competitive and scalable business model that will help electronics assemblers improve customer satisfaction, improve their margins, and increase their profitability.

Filtration Technology: A Critical Influence on the Removal of Airborne Pollutants

Occupational health and safety protection in electronics manufacturing companies as well as in laboratories has gained importance in recent decades, because the impact of airborne pollutants on employees, machines and products has a critical influence on production and profitability.

A Practical Guide to Managing Material Cost Impact

More SMT lines, faster machines, or new ERP software are not the only, or even the best, answers to achieve business goals in the electronics manufacturing and assembly industry. To win the race for survival, growth and profitability, companies must give the highest priority to the material operation and material handling tools.

Remove Your Shop Floor by Using a CEM

Once OEMs embark on an outsourcing strategy, a number of "shop floor" activities are transferred over to their CEM's manufacturing facility. In this article, Neil Sharp discusses the different areas that OEMs need to relinquish to their CEM in order to be in a position to remove their shop floor completely, so that they can focus on the areas of their business that matter the most.

An Onboarding Process Can Build a Strong Organizational Culture

Designing an onboarding process that aims to make employees feel valued by the company will deliver leading metrics that include compound annual revenue growth rate >50%, gross margin >21%, on-time delivery over 99.6%, and inventory turns between 12–14.

Ensuring Profitability

According to our recent survey, the key challenges impacting profitablility of electronics manufacturers and assemblers are cost, process improvement, changing customer demand, design, training, and Lean manufacturing. The March 2016 issue of SMT Magazine highlights strategies that will help electronics manufacturers address those issues and achieve profitability in their operations.


Reliability Study of Low Silver Alloy Solder Pastes

This article presents the reliability study of lead-free solder joints reflowed using various lead-free alloy solder pastes, such as low and no silver solder pastes and a low temperature SnBiAg solder pastes, after thermal cycling tests.

Changing Role of the Medical Device Contract Manufacturer

The biggest impact that the medical market has had on the electronics manufacturing industry is quality systems due to the regulations of medical devices. In this article, Jay Wimer of Valtronic writes about the challenges in medical electronics manufacturing, innovation drivers, and navigating the regulatory issues for compliance.

3D Assembly Processes: A Look at Today and Tomorrow

One of the ways to increase density of a product is to utilize more of the three-dimensional spaces available. This article explores the evolution of 3D assembly techniques, and takes a glimpse into the future, based on technologies available now, to examine potential assembly methods on the horizon for 3D assemblies.

Evaluating the Tripod as an Alternative Cross-Sectioning Method

One alternative method for cross-sectioning SMT and PCB-related architectures is using a tripod fixture. In this article, Steve Ring of Foresite Inc.discusses the advantages of using this method in analyzing SMT and PCB sections.

Overview Miniaturization on Large Form Factor PCBA

Many of the miniaturization technologies were developed for the consumer market, targeted mainly at the smart phone. Many designers in other areas such as medical and telecom are looking at ways to miniaturize the product or increase the functional density. This article explores some of the common miniaturization technologies and their application to larger form factor boards.

3 Areas for Improvement in the Medical Device Industry in 2016

With advancements in research and innovation, the medical device industry continues to push the envelope, saving lives and improving the quality of living for people across the globe. But even with all of the game-changing products that have been recently introduced, there are still many barriers and process inefficiencies that are detrimental to innovation.

Rapid Prototyping is a Fiscal Game Changer

When done right, rapid prototyping can increase an OEM's top-line revenue and extend their product lifecycles by ensuring that their product features at launch are actually the features their customers need.

New Paradigms

While the latest technology innovations bode well for the electronics industry, they also offer many challenges in terms of the way products are being manufactured. The latest issue of SMT Magazine features "what's new" in the electronics assembly industry, and discusses how they are addressing current manufacturing challenges.

Magnetically Aligned Novel ACA Revolutionizes 3D Chip Stacking

The use of anisotropic conductive adhesive (ACA) is not new within the electronics industry; however, drop-in replacements don't exist for lead-based and lead-free solder assemblies. Also, current ACAs require pressure and sequential assembly of components. In this article, Rochester Institute of Technology's Dr. S. Manian Ramkumar writes about a novel ACA that will help revolutionize the packaging industry.

Greener Cleaning

While other electronic assembly processes measure performance in "more" – more feeders, more zones, more magnification, more capacity – cleaning equipment and chemicals measure progress in "less" – less water, less chemicals, less VOCs, less discharge, and less contamination. In this article, Aqueous Technologies' Mike Konrad writes why less is more in the cleaning world.


Rework Site Printing using Mini Stencils—Plastic Adhesive vs. Metal

Bob Wettermann of Best Inc. provides some details about a soon-to-be-published study that compares the older miniature metal stencil printing process to the more modern plastic film with adhesive approach, and quantifies the differences in performance for the first time.

Challenges and Opportunities for Smaller EMS for Onshoring

The onshoring trend has been speculated and talked about for a few years now, and is certainly a reality with greater opportunities and challenges. In this article, McDonald Technologies' Gary Tanel, who is also a member of SMT Magazine's Editorial Advisory Board, writes about the trends driving companies to increasingly consider onshoring.

EMS: Quo Vadis? (Where are You Going?)

In an industry that is constantly changing, EMS providers have reinvented themselves to stay relevant and fuel profitable growth. In this article, Integrated Micro-Electronics Inc.'s Frederick Blancas talks about five of the many transformation trends happening in the EMS industry, and how they are pushing the industry to continue to evolve, progress and advance.

The Jefferson Project, Part 2: Automation as a Counterweight to Low Labor-Rate Assembly

In Part 1 of this interview, Tom Borkes, founder of The Jefferson Project and the forthcoming Jefferson Institute of Technology, provided his well-researched plan to introduce students to tech manufacturing, as well as discussed the paper he presented at SMTAI. In Part 2, Tom expands on the example set forth in his SMTAI paper, and describes another important tool in reducing labor cost through the reduction of labor content: designing for automation.

Electrolube: We Like Problems!

I-Connect007 Technical Editor Pete Starkey toured Electrolube's UK headquarters in the historic Leicestershire town of Ashby-de-la-Zouch, where he learned more about the company's mission to exceed their customers' satisfaction and meet the highest possible levels of customer service.

Efficiency, Energy and Convenience: Driving New Solutions and Markets

Craig Hunter, senior director for global marketing communications at Vishay Intertechnology and a member of the SMT Magazine Editorial Advisory Board, discusses significant changes in the electronics manufacturing industry during the past decade, persistent challenges, and new technologies that will provide opportunities and growth.

Two-Print Stencil Solutions for Flip Chip/SMT Assembly

Mixed technology packages that have both flip chip and surface mount devices on the same substrate are now being assembled in a normal SMT assembly process. In this article, William Coleman of Photo Stencil describes a new process—requires a “two-print stencil” printing procedure and requires two inline stencil printing machines—for mixed technology packages.

New Year Outlook: Electronics Hardware

Industry veteran Dr. Jennie S. Hwang writes about how "smartness," mobility, connectivity and wearability will drive innovation in end markets and electronics manufacturing process and technologies this year. She also mentions new developments that will make footprints on the advanced technology map.

High-Reliability Interconnects for High-Power LED Assembly

New super-high and ultra-high-power LED package designs provide high lumen density that can enable significant system cost reductions through fewer LEDs, smaller PCBs, and smaller heat sink size requirements. This, however, puts significant performance demands on interconnects (solder joints in particular). This article talks about the role of high-reliability interconnects and where they fit in the LED lighting supply chain.

Selecting a Wave Soldering System, Part 3

In my last column, we discussed the attributes of the various types of wave solder systems, the most common through-hole assembly system for small- to mid-volume operations. In this chapter, we will dive a little deeper and address board handling techniques; in particular, the three common methods of running boards in wave soldering.


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