Article Highlights
Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO: IPC Training Updates
01/28/2022 | Real Time with...IPC APEX EXPO
Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO: The Testing Demands on PCBA
01/26/2022 | Real Time with...IPC APEX EXPO
Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO: PCBA Cleaning Trends
01/26/2022 | Real Time with...IPC APEX EXPO
GEN3 Webinar, Part 9 Released: SIR, Additional Information
01/19/2022 | I-Connect007 Editorial Team
The Impact of Obsolescence and Shortages on Counterfeit Risk
01/19/2022 | Vernon Densler, Sourceability N.A. LLC
SMT :: Associations

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Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO: IPC Training Updates

Pete Starkey discusses the latest updates to IPC certification programs and their online training with Vince Price of Blackfox Training Institute. If you didn't make it to IPC APEX EXPO, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

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

We just wrapped up IPC APEX EXPO 2022, and I think it went better than anyone could have expected. I wasn’t sure the live show would actually take place. With the COVID protocols in California changing daily, no one knew for sure that a live show would even be allowed to open. But here's my picks for the week, both from the show and from the industry.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO: PCB Manufacturing Today

Dick Crowe speaks with Kurt Palmer, president of Burkle North America, about the trends he sees in PCB manufacturing today. From LDI to laser drills, they discuss a wide range of concerns and opportunities. If you didn't make it to IPC APEX EXPO, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

Day 3: Lots of Action in San Diego

The perfect San Diego weather on Wednesday morning ushered in another full day at IPC APEX EXPO 2022. IPC President and CEO John W. Mitchell’s keynote presentation offered a roadmap for the organization and the future of the electronics manufacturing industry. IPC runs on the contributions of its tireless volunteers, and a group of these engineers and technologists were honored at yesterday’s Awards Luncheon. The traffic on the show floor was steady most of the day, and we saw a constant stream of visitors in the I-Connect007 booth and studio.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO: The Testing Demands on PCBA

Mycronic’s Jesse Dowd and guest editor Steve Williams discuss the company’s new 3D AOI system, which is well adapted to high-mix production. They also look into the demands on testing and challenges that companies should be aware of. If you didn't make it to IPC APEX EXPO, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO: PCBA Cleaning Trends

Tom Forsythe of KYZEN speaks with Editor Nolan Johnson about the launch of the newest addition to their AQUANOX line. They also discuss trends in cleaning of PCB assemblies and what EMS companies can expect in the future. Watch this interview below or click here to view on our show page. If you didn't make it to IPC APEX EXPO, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

Day 2: Keynotes, Competitions, and a Busy Show Floor

Here in San Diego for IPC APEX EXPO, Tuesday saw the keynote address from tech author David Pogue, the ribbon cutting ceremony for the EXPO, the designer’s competition, and a full day of exhibition. Committee work and technical programs continued. We’re here, covering all the events, of course. Pogue stopped by our booth after the keynote. Barry Matties and I interviewed Pogue; look for that interview in our upcoming special edition magazine, Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO Show & Tell.

Day 1: It's Show Time!

IPC APEX EXPO officially opens today, and as Crosby, Still and Nash once sang, “It’s been a long time coming.” The last live IPC APEX EXPO was held two years ago and was—for many of us—the last trade show we would attend before the pandemic hit. A lot has changed since then. But not everything has changed. After spending a few days watching the exhibitors set up, I have to say that it looks a lot like the show floor always does at IPC APEX EXPO. I was surprised at the amount of capital equipment on the floor. I thought that exhibitors might have scaled back their spending, afraid that attendance might be light, but I saw no evidence of that. Companies came here ready to strut their stuff!

IPC APEX EXPO: We’re Back, Masked, and Ready for Business

I-Connect007 is here in San Diego, setting up our booth on the show floor for the exhibition portion of IPC APEX EXPO. Technical conferences and programs start today, and the show floor has filled with all the biggest names in our industry. Registration has been smooth and everyone seems to be wearing masks.

Getting the Most Out of IPC APEX EXPO 2022

It’s going to be a big deal for many of us to attend a large trade show like IPC APEX EXPO again. In fact, this was the last show I attended before locking down in early 2020—and that feels like a decade ago. With that in mind, going to IPC APEX EXPO this month will probably be the most important and valued trade show experience we have had in a very long time. We should all be doing everything we can to make this trade show experience as beneficial as possible. Here are some tips on how to make this show, as well as any other show you attend, a meaningful experience so that you will be sure to get a great return on your investment.


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

Next week, we’ll be in San Diego. In fact, I fly down tomorrow morning to start preparations, along with most of the I-Connect007 team. The weather forecast says to expect sunny, with the occasional cloud, all week, with daytime temperatures around 70 degrees. That’ll be nice, as I’m sure COVID-related social distancing guidelines will encourage us to socialize outside as much as is feasible.

Kelly Dack Teases AltiumLive 2022

AltiumLive 2022 is just around the corner! Editor Nolan Johnson chats with Guest Editor and columnist Kelly Dack, one of the event hosts for AltiumLive Connect 2022. Kelly updates Nolan on the latest about the upcoming AltiumLive virtual conference, what's on the agenda, how it's connected with IPC APEX EXPO, and what attendees can expect to find.

GEN3 Webinar, Part 9 Released: SIR, Additional Information

In this engaging, 11-part micro webinar series, topic experts Graham Naisbitt and Chris Hunt examine the history of the influences of Electrochemical Migration (ECM) and the evolving use of Surface Insulation Resistance Testing (SIR) that has been developed over the past 25 years by GEN3 and its association with the British National Physical Laboratory. GEN3 and NPL have created the standard that has now been in widespread use around the world since the turn of the millennium. The ninth episode, “SIR, Additional Information” can be viewed in just under four minutes. Presenters discuss test duration, number of coupons, and whether SIR is good to use for qualification testing. Also covered in this segment: SIR and objective evidence.

The Impact of Obsolescence and Shortages on Counterfeit Risk

While obsolescence and shortages have always been an issue, recent large-scale disruptions have made the electronic components supply chain even more volatile. Since last December, the global chip shortage has caused pricing shifts, lead time delays, and widespread stockouts. The shortage is bringing a higher-than-normal number of counterfeit parts into the supply chain. To adequately address the problem, it is important to understand its root causes, exacerbating factors, and how its impact can be avoided.

Testing Flexible Circuit Assemblies

I recently spoke with Bert Horner of the Test Connection Inc., about the current state of flex and rigid-flex assembly testing. He explained some of the differences between testing flex and rigid PCBs, the requirements for testing specialties such as high-voltage flex, and the added demands of handling flexible circuits.

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO: Siemens’ Supply Chain Solutions

Nolan Johnson speaks with Oren Manor of Siemens Digital Industries Software about the company’s booth at IPC APEX EXPO, which will highlight a DSI platform meant to help designers find and use components in their designs during these tough supply chain challenges. If you can’t make it to IPC APEX EXPO, don’t worry. We’ll be bringing you interviews with the engineers, managers and technologists who are making a difference in our industry.

‘Trust Me, I Have Your Chips Right Here’

When making the decision to purchase materials, there is a strong benefit from a trust in the supplier. When materials are in short supply, however, there is no time to establish trust with a new supplier, especially when it’s the only one that can fulfill a requirement. While the manufacturing world is seeking methods to find trust with previously unknown suppliers, there are also those who are getting cleverer at disguising their often-nefarious activities—ones that could bring catastrophic results. In the real world, how can supply chain trust be established and maintained, or is it safer to assume that everyone is out to get us?

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

We’re driving headlong into 2022, and there’s a lot going on in the world of PCB design, fabrication, and assembly. It’s trade show season now. IPC APEX EXPO starts in less than two weeks, and we’re all getting ready for what is, for many, the first trade show in years. Do you know where you put your business cards after your last show in 2020? I keep half a box of biz cards in my glove compartment; I’m not going to make that mistake again.

CES 2022: Half Virtual, Still Valuable, and Here’s Why

Another CES has wrapped up, and while not fully back to its glittery self, the show still managed to create quite a buzz in the electronics world. Attendance was about half of its typical 150,000 as hundreds of companies still touted their wares and I’m excited to share with you what I discovered. I reported on the show from the safety of my home office, which was a bit of a letdown because I really enjoy walking the aisles of the show, visiting the exhibits of both large and small companies.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO: Super Dry Matches Storage to Your Needs

In this interview, Editor Nolan Johnson and Richard Heimsch of Super Dry preview the key criteria for component moisture management. If you can’t make it to IPC APEX EXPO, don’t worry. We’ll be bringing you interviews with the engineers, managers and technologists who are making a difference in our industry. To listen to this Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO interview with Kaitlyn Dotson, click here.


GEN3 Webinar, Part 8 Released: New IEC Standards—A Walk Through

In this engaging, 11-part micro webinar series, topic experts Graham Naisbitt and Chris Hunt examine the history of the influences of Electrochemical Migration (ECM) and the evolving use of Surface Insulation Resistance Testing (SIR) that has been developed over the past 25 years by GEN3 and its association with the British National Physical Laboratory. GEN3 and NPL have created the standard that has now been in widespread use around the world since the turn of the millennium. The eighth episode, “New IEC Standards—A Walk Through” can be viewed in just over five minutes. Presenters discuss scope, measurement technique, the B52 and field gradient, dummy components and the test chamber.

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO: CalcuQuote—Making Sense of the Supply Chain

Nolan Johnson speaks with Kaitlyn Dotson, COO of CalcuQuote, about the upcoming IPC APEX EXPO show, what CalcuQuote will be exhibiting, and the current supply chain and market dynamics. If you can’t make it to IPC APEX EXPO, don’t worry. We’ll be bringing you interviews with the engineers, managers and technologists who are making a difference in our industry.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO: Taiyo Focuses on Collaboration

Don Monn, Midwest regional sales director at Taiyo America, reviews the progressive adoption of inkjet solder mask technology while acknowledging that liquid photoimageable mask continues as the mainstream process, with new developments in double-sided coating and vertical drying equipment. He comments on how Taiyo’s collaborative relationships with suppliers and customers have enabled logistics to be successfully managed through difficult times.

Sunstone Growing With Supply Chain Strategies

Barry Matties and Nolan Johnson talk to Sunstone Circuits’ Matt Stevenson, Kelly Atay, and Dawn DelCastillo about the current supply chain challenges and how they are adapting. They also share insights on market conditions, including trends in reshoring and marketing strategies related to reshoring.

Real Time With… IPC APEX EXPO 2022: Blackfox Mixes It Up with Training Opportunities

Andy Shaughnessy speaks with Jamie Noland, master IPC trainer and marketing manager for Blackfox Institute, about current and upcoming training opportunities and what you can expect from them at the show. Blackfox has expanded its offerings to reach a wider audience, including some very basic classes for beginners.

Making the Most of a Smart Factory Initiative

Nolan talks with Joel Scutchfield of Koh Young about trends he’s seen in 2021 and what’s ahead in 2022. “We see the expanded use of artificial intelligence in several areas,” Joel says. “We see predictive maintenance as being something that customers are asking for, and continued refinement and reduction of the human element in the programing process, data analytics, etc. Customers are also driving the trend toward more connectivity, and I don’t see that going away. It’s in their control. They’re going to make all of us get there.”

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

No matter how you look at it, we’re already off to a roaring start in 2022. Here on the West Coast of the U.S., heavy and persistent rains are doing what they can to fix years of drought through the southwest United States. The eastern seaboard is seeing plenty of rainy weather as well. As they say on the salt containers: When it rains, it pours. That adage is rather true in the news of the industry this week. Therefore, my must-reads include a celebration of longevity in business, the launch of our next space telescope, and the sale of equipment for the printing of electronics. On a more circumspect note, we also bring you the IPC’s report on rising material and labor costs, and an article on cybersecurity.

GEN3 Webinar, Part 7 Released: SIR Test Coupon Design

In this engaging, 11-part micro webinar series, topic experts Graham Naisbitt and Chris Hunt examine the history of the influences of Electrochemical Migration (ECM) and the evolving use of Surface Insulation Resistance Testing (SIR) that has been developed over the past 25 years by GEN3 and its association with the British National Physical Laboratory. GEN3 and NPL have created the standard that has now been in widespread use around the world since the turn of the millennium.

Don’t Hit the Snooze on Cybersecurity

I have good news for small manufacturers looking for ways to stand apart from the competition: By delaying the launch of the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC), the Department of Defense (DoD) may have done you a favor. They’ve handed you a golden opportunity to zig when everybody else is zagging. If your competitors are small- and mid-sized businesses that supply the DoD, their concerns aren’t too different from yours. Sure, this CMMC stuff is coming, but it doesn’t seem urgent, or does it?

Jackie Mattox Keynotes Women in Electronics Reception

Named one of the Top 21 female influencers in 2021, Jackie Mattox started her career in the electronics industry during her college years at a small rep firm in Southern California, where she worked her way into the roles of sales and distribution manager and took a passionate interest in strategic key account management. Jackie graduated from California State UniversityNorthridge with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication/journalism. Jackie has always had a heart for people and especially for women’s issues, along with a dedication to personal and professional leadership development.


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

I’m starting to get more and more out-of-office replies. Are you reading this on your phone while standing in line at Best Buy? But if you’re reading this, here’s to you! It’s been a pretty good year—much better than last year, though that’s a fairly low bar to clear. It’s a mixed bag this week, with news about trade shows, along with articles and interviews focusing on everything from education to methods for dealing with supply chain issues by staying flexible and taking action earlier in the process.

Segment 12 of Koh Young Micro Webinar Series: Smart Factory Success

In under four minutes, presenter Ivan Aduna wraps up the series with the 12th episode, Smart Factory Success. Here he teaches viewers that realizing a smart factory means taking a practical approach to process and systems, while examining areas to improve productivity. Combining initiatives such as IPC-CFX, IPC-Hermes, and IPC-DPMX with machine learning and 3D measurement data generated during inspection, helps manufacturers define inefficiencies and boost line efficiency. As new data is fed to these algorithms, they learn and optimize their operations to improve performance, developing intelligence over time.

GEN3 Releases Micro Webinar Episode 5, ‘Predicting Reliability in Electronics: Materials Testing—Circuit Boards’

In this engaging, 11-part micro webinar series, topic experts Graham Naisbitt and Chris Hunt examine the history of the influences of Electrochemical Migration (ECM) and the evolving use of Surface Insulation Resistance Testing (SIR) that has been developed over the past 25 years by GEN3 and its association with the British National Physical Laboratory. GEN3 and NPL have created the standard that has now been in widespread use around the world since the turn of the millennium.

Alun Morgan's productronica Slide Show

I-Connect007 has been bringing you interviews with a variety of technologists who attended last month's productronica show in Munich, Germany. As part of our continuing coverage of productronica 2021, we present this exclusive slide show of photos taken by our good friend Alun Morgan, technology ambassador for Ventec International Group and a fantastic photographer in his own right. Rumor has it that Lufthansa made him buy a separate seat for that giant camera of his.

Technical Track Opportunities at IPC APEX EXPO 2022

Matt Kelly, IPC chief technologist, discusses the growth of the technical conference tracks in this year’s IPC APEX EXPO program, as well as market dynamics that are influencing the topics presented at this year’s event. "We are thrilled with the number of abstract submissions we have received. As of today, we have over 150 submissions, which may be the highest number we’ve ever received. It shows the appetite and the interest people have to present and share their knowledge."

DoD Faces Growing Risks from Reliance on Lead in Electronics

Like a cancer that spreads untreated until it becomes an urgent problem, the U.S. defense community is facing a small but growing problem that is increasingly undermining U.S. military readiness and technological dominance. The problem is lead—specifically, the lead-alloy solders that traditionally have been used to attach electronic components to printed circuit boards (PCBs). Over the last 15 years, the commercial electronics industry has shifted to lead-free solders, prompted by environmental health regulations in Europe and elsewhere. However, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and its contractors never made the switch and are still heavily reliant on leaded solders. Now, leaded electronics are becoming harder to find and more outdated.

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

Right now, it seems that almost everyone I know is talking about the future. Doesn’t matter whether it’s with my family, loved ones, friends, industry colleagues, or neighbors I meet on the street, conversations are almost entirely forward-looking. This being the holiday season, some reminiscing is to be expected, but I’m just not hearing it in the chatter all around me–this year is different somehow. And it shows in this edition of my must-reads for the week as well. This week we bring you forward-looking discussions with ,,,

CyberOptics: The Confluence of PCB and Semiconductor in Inspection Systems

Dr. Subodh Kulkarni talks to Nolan Johnson about CyberOptics' advancements in metrology inspection applications—especially for highly reflective surfaces—and how semiconductor inspection and PCB inspection are continuing to converge. If you didn’t make it to SMTA International in Minneapolis, don’t worry. We have interviews with the SMT segment’s top engineers and managers. Visit realtimewith.com now for all the interviews produced by I-Connect007 in partnership with SMTA at this year's event.

IPC APEX EXPO 2022: What to Expect Regarding COVID Restrictions

As IPC is adhering to California Department of Public Health Guidelines, proof of COVID vaccination or a negative test will be required to attend IPC APEX EXPO 2022. IPC has partnered with InHouse Physicians (iHP) for attendees to upload their proof of vaccine or negative COVID test results in advance of arrival at IPC APEX EXPO. Once information is uploaded via the iHP link, a trained medical professional will review the information within 24 hours and provide an email confirmation with a green check mark indicating they’ve been cleared for entry.

Segment 11 of Koh Young Micro Webinar Series: Connectivity Using CFX and Hermes

In under four minutes, episode 11 Connectivity Using CFX and Hermes teaches viewers about Machine-to-machine (M2M), the foundation that drives the smart factory vision, enabling automatic SMT line maintenance and management. The systems should be designed to work with the printer, mounter, conveyor, and other equipment types to simplify communication across the entire SMT line. Presenter Ivan Aduna shares how initiatives such as IPC-CFX, IPC-Hermes, and IPC-DPMX all help to pull the factory of the future into the present.


Navigating the Supply Chain Storm with ICAPE

Guillaume Chauvet of ICAPE Group, vice president of sales-Americas East, discusses managing the supply chain through transportation issues, raw material shortages, and longer production times. He also details how he helps customers manage different suppliers and divergent technologies. "As we’ve grown, we have opened a big office and lab in China to control the quality of our Asian suppliers," said Chauvet. "Now we also have inspectors in the factory who just check the quality of the product directly out of the lines. We send the product to the lab to validate the sample before the customer receives the boards."

Industry Market Drivers, Inflation, and the Supply Chain

In this wide-ranging interview, Shawn DuBravac, chief economist for IPC, discusses a variety of market drivers and pressures that are affecting PCB manufacturing and assembly. He also shares his thoughts on the relationship between inflation, wages, and the current supply chain challenges—and what all this may mean to your bottom line in 2022.

Test and Inspection: Competitive Advantage and Cost of Doing Business

In this interview, Charlie Capers of Zentech breaks down the changing requirements he’s seeing in test and inspection in the industry, and the growing importance of investing in testing for the future growth and success of your company. According to Capers, "When you collect statistics on defects, you will start to see a trend that says, for example, we’ve got a lot of shorts and opens, meaning that our solder paste process is not tight. If you’re collecting statistics and really studying them, you will see trends in your processes."

I-Connect007 and the Experts at GEN3 Release Episode 4 of Predicting Reliability in Electronics

In this engaging, 11-part micro webinar series, topic experts Graham Naisbitt and Chris Hunt examine the history of the influences of Electrochemical Migration (ECM) and the evolving use of Surface Insulation Resistance Testing (SIR) that has been developed over the past 25 years by GEN3 and its association with the British National Physical Laboratory. GEN3 and NPL have created the standard that has now been in widespread use around the world since the turn of the millennium. The fourth episode, “Testing Background,” can be viewed in under 11 minutes. Presenters share information on why the 1.56µg/cm2 NaCl equivalence was removed, test options, IPC-TM-650 method 2.6.3.7.1 and more.

ICT Autumn Seminar Review: Live in 2021!

Faced with the choice between a real or virtual event, Bill Wilkie took a calculated risk. It has been many long months since members of the Institute of Circuit Technology had gathered together under one roof, but a fair-sized bunch of industry stalwarts braved the weather and the threat of COVID, descended on the Manor Hotel in Meriden, UK, on Nov. 30, and applauded Bill’s decision to go live. They were not disappointed; the program was superb, the atmosphere upbeat, and the networking opportunity priceless.

John Mitchell: Focus on the Future

In a far-ranging interview, Dr. John Mitchell and Barry Matties discuss the upcoming IPC APEX EXPO, IPC programs, and the challenges (and opportunities) facing our industry. If you think Dr. Mitchell's assessment would be pessimistic, you'd be wrong. We’re an industry that enjoys and needs to work together, and we’ve been held at bay for too long. "Throughout 2021, at every conference I’ve attended, people are really excited about seeing each other again," said Mitchell. "And since APEX EXPO is one of the premier events for the industry, that is the thing I’m happiest about—getting people back together again, getting them excited."

EMS Leadership Summit Expands Its Reach

Nolan Johnson talks with Tracy Riggan, senior director of solutions, and Mark Wolfe, executive EMS advisor, both at IPC. They discuss details for the EMS Leadership Summit planned for IPC APEX EXPO 2022, how the summit program has changed from years past, and who should attend. Hint: Directors and above, along with any “rising star” managers. "It’s important in those discussions to have a wide breadth of ideas and learnings from different levels and roles of organizations," said Riggan. "We’re expanding that conversation by bringing in younger leaders, maybe those in management positions staged to be the next presidents and vice presidents of their organizations."

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

It hardly feels like the end of 2021, but here we are, looking at a new year and IPC APEX EXPO and AltiumLive coming up in less than two months. If you don’t count days lost during the holidays, it’s more like one month before showtime. Hey, at least we have some live events to attend now. This week, we have some association and trade show news, as well as articles on data management and the diminished role of U.S. chip makers in the global electronics supply chain. We’re almost behind the eight-ball here, folks, and we can’t build chip factories overnight. Let’s get a move on!

I-Connect007 Releases Segment 10 of Koh Young Webinar Series: ‘Converting Process Data Into Intelligence’

In this engaging, 12-part micro webinar series, Koh Young topic experts Joel Scutchfield and Ivan Aduna examine 3D inspection, AI, CFX, connectivity and smart factory success. Segment 10 is titled “Understanding CFX and Hermes.” Before your coffee will even get cold (just over three minutes), in this 10th episode, you will learn how initiatives like the IPC Connected Factory Exchange (CFX) and IPC-Hermes-9852 underpin efforts within the industry to develop standards and help create a smart factory. These M2M communication standards, guided in part by Industry 4.0, are altering the manufacturing process by improving metrics such as first pass yield and throughput by applying autonomous process adjustments.

Design to Production Flow: DFT and Test Coverage Using Industry 4.0 Principles to Produce Good Products

Achieving design for test (DFT) can be challenging for both design and test groups, as sometimes both expect that the other will be the one to manage DFT. The design and test groups might be in the same organization, or they could be an OEM vs. an EMS company. It works best if both the design and test groups are engaged in the process of DFT and trying to achieve the goal of the best test coverage and lowest rate of field returns.


Now Playing: Part 3 of 'Predicting Reliability in Electronics' Micro Webinar

In this engaging, 11-part micro webinar series, topic experts Graham Naisbitt and Chris Hunt examine the history of the influences of Electrochemical Migration (ECM) and the evolving use of Surface Insulation Resistance Testing (SIR) that has been developed over the past 25 years by GEN3 and its association with the British National Physical Laboratory. GEN3 and NPL have created the standard that has now been in widespread use around the world since the turn of the millennium. The third episode, “ECM Examples,” can be viewed in under five minutes. Presenters share information on ECM types, including examples from Bosch, HP, and NP. Presenters also discuss ECM requirements and more.

Ram Wissel Details KYZEN Automated Process Control Line

Nolan Johnson speaks with Ram Wissel, VP, global technology manager, about KYZEN’s work in automated process control with its Process Care Line, designed to offer unmatched automated process management and control with remote reporting capabilities. If you didn’t make it to SMTA International in Minneapolis, don’t worry. We have interviews with the SMT segment’s top engineers and managers. Visit realtimewith.com now for all the interviews produced by I-Connect007 in partnership with SMTA at this year's event.

Nolan’s Notes: Preparing for APEX—The 2022 Edition

As summer was waning, I found myself at the airport with my carry-on, headed to a technical conference for the first time in nearly 20 months. During a normal winter trade show season, I keep a “go bag” packed, ready to just grab on my way to the airport. But after more than a year and a half travel-free, my “go bag” had gone. It had long since been unpacked, the contents folded in with my normal household belongings. Repacking my bag was a treasure hunt; I had to remember all the things I’d found useful on the road (and the ones that seemed to be useful but weren’t). But once I’d brought all my gear together, and boarded the plane, I felt a familiarity settle over me; everything seemed to be back in place again. I suspect that many of you will have a similar experience (both personally and professionally) as you prepare for IPC APEX EXPO in January 2022.

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

If you’re in the United States like I am, and if you celebrated with a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, like my family did, then you just might have fallen asleep sitting up in a chair (or in my case, stretched out on the couch) and missed some of the highlights in the news this week. Never fear, I woke up early to bring the top five news items you should know for this week. We have industry bookings and sales news from IPC, some news from the flex sector, an explanation of induction lamination from Happy Holden, and two different takes on “sustainability.”

Now Playing: ‘Predicting Reliability in Electronics’ Presented by the Experts at GEN3

In this engaging, 11-part micro webinar series, topic experts Graham Naisbitt and Chris Hunt examine the history of the influences of Electro-chemical Migration (ECM) and the evolving use of Surface Insulation Resistance Testing (SIR) that has been developed over the past 25 years by GEN3 and its association with the British National Physical Laboratory. GEN3 and NPL have created the standard that has now been in widespread use around the world since the turn of the millennium. The second episode, “Electrochemical Reliability and SIR,” can be viewed in under 15 minutes. Presenters share information on research conducted by NPL as a pan-European project, provide an explanation of ECM as corrosion, discuss the meaning of objective evidence, and more.

Koh Young Furthers Offerings in Conformal Coating Inspection

Joel Scutchfield, general manager of SMT business operations and director of sales at Koh Young, talks with Nolan Johnson about Koh Young’s newest conformal coatings inspection offerings. They also discuss how changing customer needs are creating expansion into new inspection applications. Scutchfield also announces an organizational change. If you didn’t make it to SMTA International in Minneapolis, don’t worry. We have interviews with the SMT segment’s top engineers and managers. Visit realtimewith.com now for all the interviews produced by I-Connect007 in partnership with SMTA at this year's event.

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

This month—and this year, really—has just flown by. As someone mentioned to me recently, “There are basically only three full work weeks before New Year’s Day.” Yikes. Thanksgiving is next week, which means most of your customers and suppliers will be hard to reach. Unless there’s a problem, that is! In that case, they’ll find you, even if you’re carving a turkey with the kids and grandkids. So, with a short week on the horizon, most of us are in overdrive now, trying to get ahead of the game.

Segment 8 of Koh Young Webinar Series: Going the Distance With AI

Designed to complement Koh Young’s I-007eBook, The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to... SMT Inspection, Today, Tomorrow and Beyond, topic experts Joel Scutchfield and Ivan Aduna share highly focused educational information on the use of data gathered during the inspection process. In recent times, artificial intelligence has demonstrated promising potential across a variety of industries, from self-driving vehicles to virtual doctors, and it has far-reaching applications within the manufacturing sector. By using the right mixture of AI technologies, manufacturers can boost their efficiency, improve flexibility, speed up processes, and even achieve self-optimizing processes.

Now Playing: ‘Predicting Reliability in Electronics’ Presented by the Experts at GEN3

In this engaging, 11-part micro webinar series, topic experts Graham Naisbitt and Chris Hunt examine the history of the influences of Electro-chemical Migration (ECM) and the evolving use of Surface Insulation Resistance Testing (SIR) that has been developed over the past 25 years by GEN3 and its association with the British National Physical Laboratory. GEN3 and NPL have created the standard that has now been in widespread use around the world since the turn of the millennium. The first episode can be viewed in just over eight minutes. Viewers will be given an introduction to SIR and ECM, including objectives, why we use standards, and why “objective evidence” should be used in place of “cleaning.”

MIRTEC Introduces Extended Z-Axis AOI Vision Capabilities

Nolan speaks with Frank Cormier, regional sales manager for MIRTEC, about the new MV-6Z OMNI 3D In-Line AOI System. Frank outlines the new extended Z-axis vision system, and highlights how this new equipment is targeted to automotive and power supply manufacturers. If you didn’t make it to SMTA International in Minneapolis, don’t worry. We have interviews with the SMT segment’s top engineers and managers. Visit realtimewith.com now for all the interviews produced by I-Connect007 in partnership with SMTA at this year's event.


KYZEN’s Customer Engagement Initiatives

Tom Forsythe, executive vice president of KYZEN, gives Editor Nolan Johnson an update on the company’s new products, product development, and customer engagement, including plans for drawing more new customers. Forsythe also explains how KYZEN’s remote process capabilities wound up being a lifesaver for customers who could not get into their facilities during the pandemic, and why sometimes, “It’s better to be lucky than right.” If you didn’t make it to SMTA International in Minneapolis, don’t worry. We have interviews with the SMT segment’s top engineers and managers. Visit realtimewith.com now for all the interviews produced by I-Connect007 in partnership with SMTA at this year's event.

IPC-J-STD-001: The State of the Standard

In 2015, it was recognized that the long-standing cleanliness provisions of J-STD-001 Section 8 were no longer adequate for modern electronics and that a new approach was needed. A group of cleaning subject matter experts (SMEs), dubbed the Rhino team, were assembled to create the new protocol. This group of SMEs was led by Doug Pauls of Collins Aerospace, a long-time leader in cleaning materials and processes in the IPC. He said “tiger” was overused and he always had a fondness for the rhino, a particular animal of the Serengeti.

Market Changes Require Re-evaluating Your Testing Processes

Nolan Johnson dives into test and inspection with Bob Neves of Microtek Laboratories China. From his perspective running a test lab, Neves shares his view on the current issues for contract manufacturers regarding test and inspection. Over the course of this conversation, Neves discusses the effect of the current supply chain on testing practices, factory automation, the collection an analysis of data, and more. For all the automation and data collection possible, Neves points out, it still comes back to the people.

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

It’s merger mania! Yes, there’s been a lot of M&A activity lately in our industry over the past few months. This week was no different when it comes to merger activities. In this week’s selections, we have news about DuPont’s acquisition of Rogers, Nano Dimension’s merger with Essemtec, and NCAB’s acquisition of Elmatica. We also have news from SMTA International, and an interview with Joe Clark of DownStream Technologies about their new flex and rigid-flex technology.

Explore the Depths of Your Dispensing Process

Past missions to the “final frontier” might have been more successful if the coating on the electronic assemblies had been measured using our novel inspection technology for the dispensing process. While this is just a hypothetical statement, it is highly likely that in a harsh environment like outer space, some effects such as crystal growth and surface contamination can occur. As such, sealing the electronics assembly from environmental contaminants is particularly important because any debris or moisture can form the breeding ground for crystal dendrite growth.

Test Strategies and Pain Points

In this interview with Bert Horner of The Test Connection, Inc., a test engineering service provider, he shares his insights on the trends and challenges for test and inspection. This discussion is centered around common challenges in the industry, and the importance of setting up your test and inspection strategy. Bert states, "The biggest challenge is giving access to the key points and understanding a test strategy prior to the assembly being built."

Perfecting the Application of Conformal Coatings Without a Capital Investment

Research chemist Michael Szwarc isolated the parylene polymer series in the late 1940s at the University of Manchester, England. He discovered the polymer as one of the thermal decomposition products of a common solvent, p-xylene, at a temperature between 700 and 900°C. Union Carbide scientist William Gorham later developed a deposition process to apply the film. He deposited parylene films by the thermal decomposition of di-p-xylylene at 550°C and in vacuum below 1 Torr, a process that did not require a solvent and resulted in chemically resistant films free from pinholes. In 1965, Union Carbide commercialized the material and the chemical vapor deposition (CVD) process that is unique among conformal coatings.

EPTAC Studying Low-Melt Alloys as In-Person Classes Resume

I recently spoke with Leo Lambert, the VP of Technology for EPTAC, about some research the company is doing into low-melt alloys. We also discussed EPTAC’s continuous growth, as well as some of the lessons learned during the pandemic and their plans moving forward.

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

This week’s top picks, as influenced by readership interest, don’t seem to hold to a particular theme. Previously, I’ve referred to this as a potpourri, and now that I’ve done that once, I can’t really do so again, can I? How about a mixed bag? No, I don’t think so. While the news is certainly a diverse assortment, this just feels too obvious.

Real Time With... SMTAI: Anaya Vardya of American Standard Circuits

Anaya Vardya, president and CEO at American Standard Circuits, speaks with Nolan Johnson ahead of the SMTA International exposition. Vardya shares why American Standard Circuits will be exhibiting at the show, and outlines the topics ASC will be presenting on the show floor.


Maximizing ROI and Usage of Test Equipment

With so many variables to consider, making informed acquisition decisions around modern electronic test and measurement equipment can be challenging. While this article focuses on electronic test and measurement equipment, the basic principles of asset optimization can be applied to almost any hard asset. In the context of test equipment, asset optimization represents total equipment life cycle management to reduce costs and improve efficiency and productivity.

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

There’s a lot going on in the industry this week, and my top five picks have a little bit of everything.

SMTAI Pre-Show Interview: Dan Hart of MacDermid Alpha Electronics Solutions

Nolan talks to Dan Hart, Application Development Manager, about the paper his team will be presenting at SMTAI in early November, the work that went into the research, and why his team took on this research.

CapEx Planning With Summit Interconnect

The I-Connect007 Editorial Team recently spoke with John Vaughan, Greg Halvorson, and Brett McCoy of Summit Interconnect about their capital expenditure (CapEx) strategies. They discuss the challenges they face when planning CapEx after acquiring fabricators with different capabilities, and the need to have dedicated funds ready for expenditures each year.

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

Well, William Shatner finally did the field research for his role as Captain James T. Kirk this week, going sub-orbital on the Blue Origin launch platform. No, I’m not making fun of Shatner’s flight, quite the contrary. He’s the first actor in the entire Star Trek franchise to go into space while still living. And at 90 years old, he’s now the oldest person to make the trip as well!

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

This week we have quite a potpourri for you. Our newest columnist, Kim O’Neil of Prototron Circuits, offers details on setting up your own quality management system (QMS). Emmy-winning tech writer David Pogue will be a keynote at IPC APEX EXPO, which I think is a great move on the part of IPC. We have an article from Brent Fischthal of Koh Young America on the value of investing in the latest AOI equipment, which can save you time and money by eliminating false calls.

Naprotek: Knowing Your Value and Maximizing It

Nolan Johnson talks with new Naprotek CEO Daniel Everitt about Naprotek’s value-add for customers, the market dynamics, factory automation, and more.

Increase Production Yield by Investing in Leading-Edge Equipment

Let us consider automated optical inspection (AOI). AOI technology has been available for decades, but only since the introduction and industry adoption of real 3D measurement has it emerged as a major area of focus to prevent defects and improve production yields in post pre-reflow and post-reflow positions. Yet, many manufacturers are using antiquated 2D or quasi-3D systems that increase false calls and escapes.

Fane Friberg on Capital Expenditure Project Planning

In a recent survey, about 75% of SMT007 readers indicated that their organization uses a capital expenditure plan; about 25% do not have a planning process in place. Based on this information, the I-Connect007 Editorial Team reached out to Fane Friberg to discuss capital expenditure planning and execution.

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

Once again, seemingly like clockwork, the controversy erupts. It’s such a divisive issue, and it seems no one can be undecided in this debate; each of us is expected to take a stand. All of society—including the media—asks, “Which side are you on?”


24 Essential Skills for Engineers: The Story Behind the Book

In this interview with I-Connect007’s own Happy Holden about his newest book, 24 Essential Skills for Engineers, which he wrote over the span of his career, he highlights some particular moments from his time working at HP and as CTO of Foxconn which inspired many of the book’s chapters. Happy explains why he covered engineering skills as well as “soft skills” such as problem-solving and communication—skills which are keys to succeeding as an engineer.

The Bill Comes Due: BOMs and the Digital Twin

The I-Connect007 Editorial Team recently discussed the subject of bill of material (BOM) with Michael Ford of Aegis Software. The conversation explored the current state of BOM creation, maintenance, and transfer, as well as the role BOMs play in product development and product life cycle. Naturally, attention also turned to the importance of the BOM within the digital twin.

BOM: The Path to Managing Parts

In the magazine this month, we start with some higher-level discussion about BOMs in the 21st century manufacturing world. We look at questions like “Who owns the BOM?” and “What makes up a BOM?” The reality is that BOMs are often oversimplified down to the component parts list when, in fact, a full-fledged BOM includes information on how to put the pieces together in a finished product as well.

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

Every fall, the action in the world of PCB design and manufacturing begins to pick up again. No more out-of-office email replies; summer vacation is over, and it’s time to get back at it. This week’s Top Five is a veritable pastiche of columns, articles, and news from the electronics industry.

Siemens Global Webinar: Data-Driven Manufacturing in the Electronics Industry

I had the opportunity to attend the second in the series of Siemens global webinars on data-driven manufacturing in the electronics industry, this time focused on data acquisition and analysis, discussing challenges and methodologies and detailing hardware and software solutions, exemplified by real-world illustrations of successful implementation.

BOMs and the Supply Chain from an Assembler's Point of View

Duane Benson of Screaming Circuits speaks with Nolan Johnson about issues assemblers encounter with BOMs and part shortages. Duane gives advice on how to avoid some common pitfalls.

A Multi-Tenant PLM Software Solution

To better understand how bill of materials and business operations software can interact, we reached out to George Lewis, vice president of corporate strategy for Arena, a PTC Business.

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

In some weeks, readership numbers are pretty even, which means I make my picks based on “excellence” or “achievement” of some sort. Other weeks, you readers “go viral” on a few key news items, making the selection process numerically driven. This was one of those weeks. Here, then, are the five most-read news items. Of course, leading the way are our esteemed technical editors, Pete Starkey and Dan Feinberg. These gentlemen are examples of my opening statement, as both enjoy huge popularity with readers precisely because they are so good at reporting on the industry.

Review: Emerging Opportunities for Additive Electronics

The special feature at SMTA’s virtual Additive Electronics TechXchange 2021 was a presentation by Dr. Matthew Dyson, senior technology analyst at IDTechEx, entitled "Emerging Opportunities for Additive Electronics."

Reducing the Cost of Solder Alloys Used in Wave and Selective Soldering Assembly Applications

The continued devaluation of the U.S. dollar and the industrial supply-demand balance between silver has increased the price of silver used in solder alloys. MacDermid Alpha Electronics Solutions has developed a number of low- and no-silver solder alloys to offset this continued trend in the increase in global silver cost. These alloys are appropriate for most applications, but not all.


From DesignCon: Neoconix Reacts Favorably to Higher-Density Market

During my visit to DesignCon, I stopped in to chat with Woody Maynard of Neoconix, a San Jose company making unique custom connectors. In this interview, Woody explains the technology, how they work with their customers, and where he sees the market headed.

BOM Connector: A Ready-Built Solution

Kevin Decker-Weiss of CircuitByte and Mark Laing of Siemens explain how a tool called BOM Connector can improve quoting and manufacturing flow. Mark and Kevin are openly enthusiastic about this topic; this conversation launched immediately into a technical discussion.

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

The kids and grandkids are back in school, and fall is on the way. During this busy week, we published a variety of articles, covering everything from trade shows to mergers. It’s hard to argue with IPC’s plans to require proof of vaccine or a negative COVID test to enter IPC APEX EXPO; you can expect other trade shows to follow suit in the future. We’d hate for a show to become a super-spreader event.

Whizz is Da BOM

In this interview with the I-Connect007 Editorial Team, Whizz President Muhammad Irfan shares his 20-plus years of experience by breaking down the bill of materials process in today’s challenging environment. Irfan describes what that means for his team and suppliers, and how we move forward in a post-pandemic climate.

How to Use Panelization Planning to Save Money and Resources

In this interview, Siemens’ Patrick McGoff speaks with Nolan Johnson about strategies to utilize panelization planning to save money and resources.

A Conversation with Javad EMS

Nolan Johnson speaks with Gary Walker, vice president and co-founder of Javad EMS, about who they are as a company, where they came from, and where they’re going.

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

The past couple weeks have delivered quite a bit of PCB manufacturing industry news, to be sure. If you haven’t already seen this news piece from USPAE, “Electronics Industry Summit With US DoD Spawns More Dialogue, Collaboration,” I’d like to bring it to your attention one more time.

Luminovo Cuts BOM Waste, Improves OEM/EMS Communication

Luminovo founder Sebastian Schaal says his company is using its experience as an AI provider to help implement LumiQuote, a new EMS RFQ software tool. Sebastian explains how LumiQuote helps cut down the waste in the BOM process and friction between OEM and EMS providers, and gives designers the EMS data they need earlier in the design process so they can make more informed decisions.

Nolan's Notes: The Designer to EMS Communication Process

CAD tool developers have been working toward “system design” for most of the history of the sector. Early in my career when I wrote code at an EDA startup that now is recognized as a major player in the market, we were working on the idea of system design. The compute power and wide area network resources necessary to realize the vision of full mechatronic system design just weren’t available then, but we were working on it.

From DesignCon: Fotofab’s Photochemical Etch Process

At DesignCon 2021, Nolan Johnson catches up with Charles Cohen of Fotofab about what the company does for the photonics industry, and how growth in the medical industry impacts his business.


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

This week, we’ve covered a variety of topics in our newsletters and websites. In my Top Five picks, we have quite a mixed bag of industry news and articles. In market reports, there’s good news from the North American PCB side of things, but bad news from the EMS segment, driven by long lead times and material shortages. We also have an article that gets down to the root cause, or causes, of the six-month lead time and price increases.

The EMS/Designer Relationship: Kelly's Story

In a recent discussion with John Vaughan and Kelly Dack, we explored how parts availability information can reverberate back to the design team in unexpected ways. In this part of the interview, Dack details how a parts availability issue can restart the design all the way back with the OEM design team.

Electronics Industry Summit With U.S. DoD Spawns More Dialogue, Collaboration

The U.S. Government, the electronics industry, and academia must continue to step up their joint efforts to address risks and gaps in the defense electronics supply chain.

How To Get Started With IIoT

Every company will have to decide just how much IIoT technology they want to bring into their environment, and how fast. In this article, we will offer some general advice and suggestions for those who want to experiment with a few IIoT devices before committing to a larger IIoT project.

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

I’m at DesignCon as I start pen this week’s must-reads. It’s good to be back in the convention centers, I have to say. In my last installment, I expressed the anticipation; I can now confirm that taking the pulse of our industry is so much easier when one is nearer the heartbeat.

A Deep Dive into Digital Twin

The I-Connect007 Editorial Team spoke with Aegis' Michael Ford to explore his vision and reality of the digital twin as a communication mechanism.

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

Well, we’re officially in the trade show season. Delta variant or not, Editor Nolan Johnson and I are going to DesignCon next week. I’m flying on Delta, which I think is a harbinger of good luck. I did get flight insurance, though. I’m definitely ready to fly somewhere.

SMTA Membership Voting Results

SMTA Vice President of Membership Rob Boguski speaks to Nolan Johnson about the recent annual voting amongst SMTA membership. Besides filling four SMTA Leadership seats, SMTA put a proposed membership restructuring up for approval. Boguski shares the results of that voting and what it means for the SMTA going forward.

EMS/Designer Relationships: Building Communication

In this interview with contract manufacturing expert John Vaughan and design expert Kelly Dack, they discuss the EMS/designer relationship and the communication that must take place for that to be successful.

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

This week’s must-reads include: a recently-run interview with Travis Kelly from Isola; IPC Chief Economist Shawn DuBravac discussing economic trends that will touch the industry; new high-speed materials; technique for copper pour from Design007’s recent “Just Ask…” series; and maintaining continuous manufacturing knowledge throughout your enterprise.


Communicating Effectively with EMS Providers

For the past several decades, OEMs have used outside EMS providers to build a multitude of products from PCBAs to complete box and cable assemblies. Communicating effectively is the key to success in getting products from concept to reality. For companies that want to form a good working relationship with EMS providers, there are several steps that should be followed to ensure a successful product build.

Catching Up with the Latest at Datest

Nolan Johnson chats with Datest's Rob Boguski about the latest happenings at the Fremont, California testing and inspection service provider.

Ductility is Your Greatest 'Alloy': Avoiding Drop Shock Failures

The drop shock reliability of solder joints has become a major issue for the electronic industry not only because of the ever-increasing popularity of portable electronics and the widespread use of lead-free solders, but also in ensuring high first-pass yield during handling in a production environment.

Knowledge Continuity in Manufacturing

“Why do we do it that way?” “Because we always have.” Those can be some of the most dreaded words on the manufacturing floor. It means that someone decided at one point to do things a certain way, and you don’t know whether it’s a critical aspect of the assembly process, or just another roadblock to improvement.

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

In the past week, we published quite a bit of news—some good, some not so good. The supply chain is likely to be a challenge for the next year or so. But in this industry, technologists always seem to find a workaround.

Get Your Industry 4.0 Here! IPC-CFX Momentum Builds

Those of us who have been actively involved in the development of IPC-CFX and IPC-2591 from the beginning always knew the standard would be a breath of fresh air for industry. It was just a matter of time. That time is definitely upon us, and IPC is prepared to meet the challenge to ensure any company’s successful implementation of IPC-CFX.

The Meaning of (PCB) Life

New products, new designs, but still the age-old question persists, “How long will it live and what will its quality of life be?” Assembled printed circuit boards (PCBAs) are a complex system of materials, components, and interconnections that all need to work as intended for the product to reliably operate during its expected life. All it takes is one piece of that complex system to fail and the product’s life span will disappoint.

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

In this week’s top five: a high profile surprise merger between Autodesk and Altium, which had been in the works, resolved this week; financial news from fabs and assemblers around the globe is reporting strong bookings and sales as the industry bounces back from pandemic-related shutdowns; component demands continue to exert pull pressures on the semiconductor suppliers, keeping the market (overly?) competitive pricewise. The tiles are indeed being stirred. Which pieces will you be dealt?

How to Troubleshoot Your Testing Processes

There are a multitude of electronic circuit assembly manufacturers, high-volume/low-product mix to low-volume/high-product mix. Only you will know where you are in that definition.

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

Trade show season is around the corner, and we’re talking about real, in-person trade shows. The virtual shows served their purpose, and we may see more virtual shows in tandem with live events, but I’ll be glad to get back on the show floor and see what’s “really” going on out there. It's great to see IPC’s hand soldering competitions returning to Europe this fall.


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

This may be a global industry, but the effect is very real: holidays in the U.S. will drive the industry news cycle. In fact, I can even (unscientifically) rank the major U.S. holidays by their silencing effect on the news. Christmas leads the way, of course, followed by New Year’s, Thanksgiving, Independence Day, Memorial Day, and Labor Day. Here's a wrap-up of the biggest stories of the past week, starting before Independence Day weekend.

SMTA Offers New Membership Structure

SMTA membership is being revamped for Jan 1 2022. This interview detals those changes with SMTA President Martin Anselm and Membership Vice President Rob Boguski.

IPC-WP-019: The How-to Behind the Cleanliness Requirements in IPC J-STD-001G

IPC-WP-019, “An Overview on Global Change in Ionic Cleanliness Requirements,” was initially released in August 2017. Eleven months after the release of the original IPC-WP-019, a revision of the white paper was released that aligned to the new cleanliness requirements forming the basis of IPC J-STD-001G Amendment 1.

Cleanliness Behind Many Assembly Challenges

Eric Camden says nobody knows your board like you do, so it’s time for assemblers to start doing their own cleanliness testing and due diligence, and stop relying on outside organizations to determine how clean their boards need to be.

State of the Coating Industry

Several trends have really stood out as the first half of 2021 comes to a close. First, 150°C appears to have become the “new normal” for the maximum required operating temperature of conformal coatings for automotive use. This is an increase from 85°C or 120°C on the last generation of products.

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

This week, Nolan Johnson's top five includes two popular press releases on equipment purchases, plus a case study that details another company’s ROI from new equipment. We also bring you Pete Starkey’s latest EIPC webinar writeup, and a bit of historical controversy from Clyde Coombs.

A Framework for Large-Scale AI-Assisted Quality Inspection Implementation in Manufacturing Using Edge Computing

This paper discusses in detail the challenges in large-scale deployment of AI models for quality inspection operation and introduces a framework for large-scale AI-assisted quality inspection in manufacturing environment using edge computing architecture. The framework focuses on IT architectural decisions to fulfill the OT requirement, including user experience in the quality inspection ecosystem.

Excerpt: The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to... SMT Inspection: Today, Tomorrow, and Beyond, Chapter 5

Reliable AOI methods have become powerful, economical complements to traditional test strategies. AOI can be used successfully as a process monitoring tool for measuring printing, placement, and reflow performance. Yet, a single inspection system has limitations, especially when there is limited or no communication with the balance of the line. In this setup, it simply cannot optimize a printed circuit board assembly process. Equipment suppliers must cooperate to achieve communication for a zero-defect future.

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

It’s summertime here in Atlanta. The masks are gone, and my Hawaiian shirts are back in rotation! It feels like we’re getting back to normal. Speaking of normal, it looks like DesignCon, PCB West, SMTA International, and IPC APEX EXPO are good to go; they’re set to be live, in-person events, just like in the “olden days” of early 2020.

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

This week’s can’t miss news items touch all the bases—unlike Pittsburgh Pirates Rookie Ke’Bryan Hayes, who didn’t touch all the bases on Tuesday night’s game, and had his home run revoked.


The Role of 3,000 Committee Members

I believe the committee structure really shines as we are constantly striving to produce the best possible version of the standard and ensure consensus for best practices in each review cycle—currently every three years—for the industry. During the review cycle, users of the standard can submit comments on the document content which are then debated by the committee. The committee has A-Teams and Working Groups that the leaders can delegate to; these groups have members with relevant expertise to review particular areas of the document or individual comments. This gives us a two-fold bonus of having knowledgeable participants provide feedback and frequently passing on information to someone who may not know as much in that area.

Surface Prep vs. Cleaning

Nolan Johnson learns the differences between surface prep and cleaning in a discussion with cleaning expert Tom Forsythe of KYZEN, who says the two are not exactly one and the same with technical jargon around the topic varying from industry to industry.

Cleaning and Inspection

Today’s non-negotiable requirement is to produce objective evidence. As can be seen from Figure 1, the two tools that have been proven to be up to the task, are SIR followed by PICT. What can also be seen is the plethora of issues that must be addressed.

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

In case you’ve been on the beach with an umbrella drink in your hand, in industry news we saw the soft opening of a new laminate facility and more M&A activity in the PCB fab segment. And we ran some really great content from our contributors, with articles on how to save your company money and how to save yourself time in the design cycle. Plus, Editor Nolan Johnson channels his inner John Updike with his review of one of the most popular manufacturing strategy books ever, three decades after its publication.

TIM: Thermal Interface Material in Power Electronics

The omnipresent trend in power electronics for higher performance in smaller spaces requires a quick, effective, and cost-efficient heat transfer, within and out of, highly compact power modules. A well-designed, heat management concept from the beginning of a new design guarantees a longer lifetime of the electronic components and, by that, higher quality of the whole electronic power module.

Excerpt: The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to… Smart Data

IoT applications are gathering huge amounts of real-time, shop-floor data constantly but collecting data simply is not enough—it needs to be used intelligently. Analytics is the application of statistics and other mathematical tools to business data to assess and improve practices.

A Review of ‘World-Class Manufacturing’

"World Class Manufacturing: The Lessons of Simplicity Applied" by Richard J. Schonberger was published in 1986 as part of the World Class Manufacturing (WCM) vanguard of the time. And yet, a careful read shows that even though many processes have changed, there are fundamental thought patterns that persist in electronics manufacturing.

IPC Committees as an Emerging Engineer

We are extremely fortunate to have some of the industry leaders participating in our committees. We also try to make the documents easier to understand with simple wording, so it’s easier to be translated and used globally.

Why You Should Get Involved in IPC Standards Development

From a business perspective, involvement in IPC standards is incredibly important. Usage of IPC’s globally accepted standards creates a level playing field in the electronics supply chain. The playing field, however, is only as level as the participants who are involved in the development of a standard.

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

Summer is almost upon us. But it doesn’t look like there’s much of a summer vacation afoot for this industry. In the past week, we saw lots of traction with our coverage of everything from M&A activity and the supply chain shortage to challenges facing PCB designers, Spanish language training courses, and designing for semi-additive processes.


Medical, Defense Face Shortage of Multilayer Ceramic Capacitors

Industrial, medical, and military demand for high-quality, high-voltage multilayer ceramic capacitors (MLCCs) has been hit hard by a shift in production by the world’s largest MLCC manufacturers who are focusing on a seemingly insatiable demand for smaller, lower voltage—and in some way—lower-performance MLCCs.

IPC: Driving Our Industry for 64 Years

I have participated in many areas of IPC for several years, particularly the Government Relations Committee and the Suppliers Council. Now, there are many IPC committees, and most of them are focused on standards. Many IPC members take part in the committees—after all, electronic design and manufacturing standards is one of the key reasons IPC was founded. The results of the committees’ efforts represent a significant part of the value the IPC has contributed to the industry since it was founded in 1957.

Joe D’Ambrisi Discusses MacDermid Alpha's Acquisition of HK Wentworth

Element Solutions’ Executive Vice President Joe D’Ambrisi speaks with Nolan Johnson about MacDermid Alpha's recent acquisition of HK Wentworth. Joe shares some details on the transaction and outlines the expected benefits that come from bringing these two companies together.

Get Involved with IPC’s EHS-Related Committees

Did you know that IPC members have several opportunities to learn about and get involved in policy debates about environment, health, and safety (EHS) issues? As a member-driven organization, IPC’s Government Relations (GR) team relies on the input of experts from member companies to ensure IPC’s advocacy activities reflect the industry’s priorities.

Excerpt—The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to... SMT Inspection: Today, Tomorrow, and Beyond, Chapter 4

Using the right 3D measurement technology will deliver accurate measurement data to help manufacturers streamline the SMT line and realize a zero defect production environment. The ability to generate reliable measurement data has given rise to the creation of measurement-based analysis and optimization solutions. With quality control capabilities and a full lineup of integrated inspection systems, the ideal software suite should tie everything together: SPI, AOI and other production machines, all supported by AI-powered analysis for fully automated control that boosts productivity and minimizes costs.

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

Finally, it’s May. The snow has melted, the flowers are beginning to bloom, and summer is just around the corner. We’re slowly getting back to normal after the craziest year I can remember. And our industry is on the move! This week, we bring you a veritable seafood platter of articles and columns about PCB design, fabrication, and assembly.

IPC Technical Staff Liaisons—Your ‘Shepherds’ in the IPC Standards Development Process

If you have ever attended an IPC standards development meeting, whether it be in person or through a web meeting, then you’ve seen or heard us—that collection of IPC staff members within the IPC Technical Department that schedule the myriad face-to-face or online standards meetings taking place at annual IPC events or throughout the year. We’re the ones you hear from when IPC circulates a new standard working draft, promotes it to Final Draft for Industry Review (FDIR) for broader industry input, or notifies you that the document is ready for balloting towards release.

Excerpt: The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to… Smart Data, Chapter 3

There are many different and valid perspectives on the performance of a factory. For instance, the fact that the factory is on shutdown may be significant to a planner who is concerned with overall factory capacity. However, the shutdown is less significant to the production manager, who simply wants to know if the machines will run efficiently when they are scheduled to run.

Process Control in Solder and Reflow

Nolan Johnson speaks with KIC’s Miles Moreau to get his perspective on topics such as wave process inspection (WPI), wave solder, and vacuum reflow, and how they will fit into Industry 4.0 and smart factories.

An Inside Look at the IPC Committee Process

As IPC committee meetings were in full effect at this year’s APEX EXPO, Nolan Johnson and Barry Matties have a discussion with many of IPC’s directors and program managers—Teresa Rowe, Chris Jorgensen, Deb Obitz, John Perry, Andres Ojalill, and Patrick Crawford—to gain a better understanding of how committees work.


PRIDE Industries: A Nonprofit EMS and Staffing Firm Moves Into Mil-aero

PRIDE Industries is a contract manufacturing provider with a twist: The company provides training and coaching for job seekers with disabilities, including service-disabled veterans. If they don’t have openings in their Sacramento facility, they may have a job for you in one of 15 other states.

A Tribute to Dieter Bergman

In 1962, while at Philco Ford, Dieter became the company’s official representative to the IPC. Dieter tag-teamed with his friend and co-worker Gerald Ginsberg on the development of a prolific run of technical publications including a multilayer design standard and the massive binder known as the IPC-D-330 IPC Design Guide. For his standards contributions, Dieter received the IPC President’s Award in 1968, the same year he assumed chairmanship of the IPC Design Committee.

Show & Tell Magazine Now Available on Demand

IPC APEX EXPO 2021 is in the history books now. But as the paperboys used to say in the 1930s, you can still “read all about it” in Real Time With… IPC APEX EXPO 2021 Show & Tell Magazine! It’s all right here in one convenient publication: interviews with award winners, coverage of keynote speeches, show notes from our technical staff, thoughts from IPC Emerging Engineers, and much more

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

This week’s biggest news came in the form of industry briefings—there were a lot of them and the news was universally positive. The news you need to read for this week includes three reports from IPC detailing: the strength and risks in the global economic recovery; a strong EMS book-to-bill ratio; and strong North American PCB sales. Zeroing in on a single company, Apple reported a significant jump in revenue.

Nolan’s Notes: Driving Cost Out of the Supply Chain

Supply chain issues have become mainstream news as virtually all supply chains were affected in some manner by the pandemic lockdowns. The interactions of supply, demand, and distribution became a topic of scrutiny even for my 80-something parents; we all became experts at understanding supply chain when we had to explain exactly why toilet paper was peculiarly absent from store shelves, while there was plenty of liquor still available. The vagaries of the distribution chain for all sorts of daily necessities suddenly became our concern; we no longer could take the supply chain for granted.

Catching Up With Nova Engineering

When searching for companies to interview, I always look for something unique and that makes the company special. Truth be told, I am a collector of stories about good, well-run, unique companies that we can learn something from. Nova Engineering is one of those companies.

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

This week, we bring you a wide swath of news, columns, and articles from the past week. Altium announced a new cloud platform that connects design stakeholders with users of its Altium 365 environment. Cadence Design Systems has acquired a company that develops computational fluid dynamics technology to help expand its system analysis offerings.

Hans-Peter Tranitz: Dieter Bergman IPC Fellowship Award Recipient

In this wide-ranging interview, Patty Goldman speaks with Continental Automotive’s Peter Tranitz about his IPC involvement with press-fit and other automotive standards which have earned him the coveted Dieter Bergman IPC Fellowship Award.

Excerpt—The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to... SMT Inspection: Today, Tomorrow, and Beyond, Chapter 3

Initiatives like the IPC Connected Factory Exchange (CFX) and IPC-Hermes-9852 underpin efforts within the industry to develop standards and help create a smart factory. These M2M communication standards, guided in part by Industry 4.0, are altering the manufacturing process by improving metrics such as first pass yield and throughput by applying autonomous process adjustments.

Smart Is Not A Binary Concept

“Smart” is not simply an “on” or “off” state. Just like people, some solutions are “smarter” than others; as we see from the various ways of measuring intelligence within humans, there are many kinds of “smarts.” When looking to invest in a smart manufacturing strategy, the playing field is more complex than it may appear. We should first understand and define what “smart” means, to what extent it exists, and the other requirements and dependencies that are needed to get the best value from investment.


I-Connect007 'Just Ask' Q&A Compilation Available Now

Throughout 2020, we asked you to send us your questions for Happy Holden, John Mitchell, Joe Fjelstad, Tara Dunn, and Heidi Barnes. You all had plenty of questions for these industry experts. The following is a handy compilation of your questions and their answers.

A New Captive PCB Facility in the U.S.

Diane Maceri and Jessi Hall discuss how Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL) has been working with Alex Stepinski of GreenSource Fabrication to build their own captive PCB facility in Moscow, Idaho; the thought process behind that decision; and their involvement in the Managers Forum at IPC APEX EXPO 2021.

IBM Awarded Best Technical Paper at IPC APEX EXPO 2021

Nolan Johnson and Happy Holden speak with Sarah Czaplewski, whose team at IBM won the Best Technical Paper award at this year’s IPC APEX for “Signal Integrity, Reliability, and Cost Evaluation of PCB Interlayer Crosstalk Reduction.”

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

I’m sure it’s just me being hyperaware, but I can’t shake it: Mars is where it’s at right now. Is it just me, or do you get the same feeling from the news? There are the Mars rovers—three generations of them still rolling, now—and a drone helicopter winding up for a maiden flight any day now. But that’s not all. There’s SpaceX’s StarShip, rapid-prototyping its way into a manned flight to Mars. And NASA’s whole “return to the Moon” project is simply a shakedown for the U.S. government contractors’ Mars flight hardware, too.

Top Five Takeaways from IPC APEX EXPO 2021

IPC APEX EXPO 2021, which went all virtual this year, exemplified how the electronics industry has responded to the COVID-19 global pandemic: with resiliency, agility, and an unwavering commitment to build electronics better. APEX EXPO featured great content and robust discussions on topics of critical importance to the global electronics industry. From my vantage point leading IPC’s government relations programs, here are my top five takeaways from this year’s event.

Excerpt—The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to... SMT Inspection: Today, Tomorrow, and Beyond, Chapter 2

A limitation of many 3D optical inspection systems is the cycle time typically associated with processing millions of pixels to reconstruct a full 3D image using data captured from multiple channels. There should not be a compromise between 3D inspection and throughput. A successful inspection deployment should provide oversight for the process, not compromise, interrupt or slow that process.

Overcoming Component Selection and Sourcing Challenges

Most PCB designers know precisely how Captain James T. Kirk felt because we often feel the same way when starting a new design. We are launching into something that we ultimately don't know how it will turn out. We don't know the difficulties we'll face or problems we’ll need to fix. While we can control the design process and use our skills to make reasonable decisions, there are often huge hazards awaiting us in the "unknown." One worsening problem for all designers is component procurement.

Highlights on a Rousing Virtual IPC APEX EXPO 2021

What a week that was! I didn’t get to endure the 11-hour flight each way, neither did I need my comfy old shoes, but it certainly was a marathon event. And real-time-plus-six-hours gave me a few late nights, but it was such a meaningful experience, and well worth the effort!

My Thoughts From the Virtual Show

Gosh, I sure missed the live event! I listened in on several technical sessions, the awards ceremony, the keynotes, and the Hall of Fame management session. I tried a couple of professional development courses but got the frownie face on my screen and didn’t go back in. I have almost 90 days(!) to browse them to my heart’s content, so what the heck. There were good points and a few not so good things about this first ever virtual conference. You probably experienced some yourself.

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

In this week’s roundup, we have news about a new DFM environment from Siemens EDA, a 2D field solver from Avishtech, and a milestone for the IPC-CFX-2591 QPL. We also have a great article by Calumet’s Audra Thurston, who points out the many advantages of a virtual trade show. And in his latest column, Denny Fritz explains why the DoD is now thinking like many U.S. OEMs—worrying about single-source components, for instance—but the stakes are much higher.


Polar Instruments Driven by Customer Demand

Andy Shaughnessy recently spoke with Geoffrey Hazelett, vice president of sales for Polar Instruments, about the virtual IPC APEX EXPO and the eventual return of live trade shows and conferences. They also discussed some of the company’s newest releases, many of which came about through customer demand.

Technical Conference—Balancing Conventional and Disruptive Technologies

I thought the three keynotes given by IPC President and CEO John Mitchell, Industry Week Editor-in-Chief Travis Hessman, and IPC Chief Economist Shawn DuBravac, were spot on. They all spoke to the fact that the way products are conceived, designed, manufactured, and used is changing rapidly. While the keynotes had different focus areas, I noted an important similarity—they all underscored the need for increased industry collaboration to help bring the factory and supply chain of the future to life.

What Makes a Great Supply Chain Manager?

Building a competitive and reliable supply chain is a critical success factor for any manufacturing business. This is especially true today, where we face constant volatility and disruption across global supply chains. In this environment, effective supply chain leadership is more critical than ever. So, what makes a great supply chain manager?

10 Ways to Identify Counterfeit ICs

How about a little refresher on some of the most effective techniques for component inspection using X-ray? While other visual inspection techniques provide important insight into component quality and authenticity, nothing exceeds X-ray inspection for fast, accurate, non-destructive evaluation. The following are 10 ways to identify a fake IC using X-ray.

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

The Top 5 is labeled as “editor’s choice,” which is a good thing this week because if I were limited to just posting the five most viewed news items, this week’s list would be full of our own coverage for IPC APEX EXPO. Judging from the metrics, that content has been extremely popular.

Rooting Out an 'Us vs. Them' Mentality: An Interview with Laura Kriska

Earlier this year, I-Connect007 columnist Dan Beaulieu submitted a book review on "The Business of WE: The Proven Three-Step Process for Closing the Gap Between Us and Them in Your Workplace." As a follow up to that review, Dan has interviewed the book's author, Laura Kriska.

IPC Supporting Newcomers in the Industry: Notes from IPC APEX EXPO 2021

With the wrap-up of IPC APEX EXPO 2021, it was extremely gratifying to note the emphasis placed on getting young people involved to combat the “graying out” knowledge losses facing our industry. A part of that emphasis was reflected in the award ceremony on Tuesday, March 9, which featured some people you may have seen mentioned in my “Better to Light a Candle” columns.

Emerging Engineers: Raviteja Boyana

Recent engineering graduate Raviteja Boyana discusses IPC's Emerging Engineer program and the IPC Education Foundation Scholarship, along with his mentorship with Gen3's Graham Naisbitt. Ravi has already found a job in the industry with Maxim Integrated.

IPC CFX Update v1.3

By the time that you read this, version 1.3 of the CFX standard should have been published. There are some very interesting additions in this release, including messages for predictive maintenance and smart energy management. As CFX is an IPC standard, the industry is assured of open content, designed to evolve Industry 4.0 manufacturing for everyone.

PCB Sourcing Using PCQR2

In a global market, it is often difficult to determine the best PCB suppliers for your technology needs, while also achieving the lowest costs for your products. Considering each PCB supplier has their own niche in terms of equipment, process, and performance, uniform test data from the IPC-9151D Process Capability, Quality, and Relative Reliability (PCQR2) Benchmark Test Standard can help find the right source for the board based on its specific technology requirements.


KIC Adds Wave Process Inspection to Product Line

Miles Moreau, general manager for EMEA, Americas & Australia at KIC, shares some details on the new Wave Process Inspection (WPI) solution that KIC is currently rolling out. This solution brings real-time process control capabilities to wave soldering equipment, adding and extending capabilities.

Bringing New Talent To Our Industry

Joe O’Neil, chairman of the IPC Education Foundation, talks about the panel discussion with young engineers and how the education foundation is working to attract new students into our industry. This effort provides resources to educators and helps young engineers advance their careers.

Happy’s Play-by-Play of IPC APEX EXPO

This was the first time IPC had a virtual APEX EXPO. It went well, but I missed seeing everyone. On the other hand, all this material being available for 90 days certainly allows it to fit anyone’s schedule. I spent all week intently listening to the presentations.

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

This week, we have a round-up of stories from around the industry, including a Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO interview with Ventec, an article by Tamara Jovanovic about eliminating “garbage in, garbage out,” a review of an EIPC webinar by Pete Starkey, and news about another trade show going virtual this summer. And last but certainly not least, we bring you our one-minute video salute to all the fantastic people in this industry who we’ve worked with for decades. Enjoy!

BTU Discusses Time-Saving New Technologies

Nolan Johnson and BTU's Rob DiMatteo drill down into the company's new capabilities in vacuum reflow and new technology for flux management, a system that greatly reduces downtime for cleaning and maintenance, among other benefits.

Achieving Growth in a Difficult Year: The Benefits of Global Supply Chain Management

Jack Pattie, president of Ventec USA, discusses the growth of the business, the strengthening of the operation, quality system accreditations, the advantages of building close working relationships with OEMs, and how a well-managed global supply chain has overcome some of the challenges and frustrations encountered during the past year.

I-Connect007 Video: A Salute to The Industry

I-Connect007 has produced this new one-minute video to acknowledge nearly 35 years of sharing your stories. In 1987 we launched our first industry publication and we have been dedicated to covering this industry ever since. We did not start out as publishers: in fact, our background was in printed circuit board fabrication. In 1987 there were still nearly 3,000 PCB shops in North America. At the time, profits were goods, trade events included giant industry parties (remember the extravagant hospitality suites in Anaheim?), and the industry was in a state of change.

Advanced Inspection Solutions and Intelligent Factory Automation

Effective inspection is the key to advancing the quality of the manufacturing operation. With the benefit of AI to spot the early signs, any trends away from optimum can be resolved before they become problems. MIRTEC President Brian D’Amico explains.

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

Last week was “APEX Week” and, unsurprisingly, the most popular news this week was APEX related (with one outlier, of course!) This week, the top five items you should follow lean strongly toward APEX interviews focusing on future trends. Remember, this year APEX offers on-demand access to the papers, presentations, events, keynotes, and forums. You can even register for post-show access.

Expanded Suite for Component Storage Needs

Super Dry’s Richard Heimsch will be showcasing the expanded suite of storage management controls as well as some long-term storage solutions at this year's event.


Cleaning is the New Standard

If you are interested in cleaning and the Process Ionic Contamination Test (PICT), then listen to Graham Naisbitt of Gen3 give his update on this standard.

Post-Show Interview with IPC President John Mitchell

In this relaxed wrap-up interview, John Mitchell shares his thoughts on this year’s virtual show with Barry Matties. Some of the emerging themes that came up include smart factory implementation and the increased traction for the emerging engineer program.

Solder Paste Innovations and Low-Temperature Assembly

Paul Salerno, MacDermid Alpha's Global Portfolio Manager SMT Assembly Solutions, discusses no-clean pastes designed to maximize electrochemical reliability with fine-pitch, low-standoff components and describes latest innovations in ultra-low-temperature soldering technology.

The Ongoing Need for Tribal Knowledge

IPC Hall of Fame recipients Bob Neves and Don Dupriest led a special event on the first day of IPC APEX EXPO 2021 called “Forgotten Tribal Knowledge with IPC Hall of Fame and Emerging Engineers.” In this interview, Bob discusses the ongoing need to harness tribal knowledge for the benefit of emerging engineers.

New Online Training Programs Enhance Delivery Options

Jahr Turchan, Blackfox's Director of Veteran Services & Advanced Manufacturing Programs, discusses how technical training programs pivoted in 2020 and how customers responded to their training needs throughout the year.

The Laser World is Rapidly Developing

Stephan Schmidt, LPKF president, discusses the LPKF laser 14x20” depaneling system. The company is also introducing automatic handling solutions, helping to fill the gap in automated SMT manufacturing lines.

APEX Thursday Keynote: Shawn DuBravac on a Data-driven Tech World

Shawn DuBravac, IPC chief economist, provided Thursday’s IPC APEX EXPO keynote address, “The Tech Industry in a Post-pandemic World.”

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

There was a lot going on in the industry this week, and most of it happened at the virtual IPC APEX EXPO. Sure, it wasn’t the same as being in San Diego, but the show went pretty well, especially for a first-time event. There were a few technical snafus, but the IPC technical staff was responsive and took care of most of the issues right away. As I said a few months ago, how would you like to be in trade show management during a pandemic? So, without further ado, here are my top five stories from the past week.

Lessons Learned During Pandemic Fuel KYZEN's Customer Support, Growth

Tom Forsythe shares how KYZEN applied pandemic experiences to their delivery of customer support. The company's R&D has continued, including AquaNox product line formulations for water soluble organic acids, where cleaning has historically not been necessary but now is increasingly required.

APEX Panel: Lessons Learned in Times of Crisis

During a crisis, communication among employees, customers and suppliers is key to keeping business operations running as smoothly as possible.This consensus came from a panel moderated by Mark Wolfe in the EMS portion of the Managers Forum on Monday, March 6, during the virtual IPC APEX EXPO 2021. Panelists were asked to speak about lessons learned during the pandemic and how it affected their business and employees.


IPC APEX EXPO 2021 Keynote: Travis Hessman on ‘The Great Digital Transformation’

Wednesday’s Premier Keynote at IPC APEX EXPO 2021 came from Travis Hessman, editor-in-chief of IndustryWeek, “a website and magazine dedicated to manufacturing leadership, operational excellence and the technologies that make it possible.” An energetic and animated presenter, a powerful storyteller and visibly passionate about digital manufacturing, Hessman made it clear at the outset that his goal was not to hype an already over-hyped industry, nor to focus on the technologies themselves, but to walk-through the process of transformation.

Real Time with...IPC APEX EXPO 2021: Optimizing Pin Inspection In Automotive With True3D Tech

Guest Editor Michael Ford and Gustavo Jimenez, Koh Young's sales manager for Northern Mexico, discuss some of the company's newest technologies, including True3D™ technology for pin inspection, which has proven popular with the automotive segment.

IPC Managers Forum: Packed With Useful Information

Gene Weiner of Weiner International Associates discusses the highlights of the IPC Managers Forum which took place on the first day of IPC APEX EXPO. The forum was filled with a variety of speakers covering a range of industry topics.

IPC Releases Free Smart Factory for Electronics Manufacturing Presentation

The IPC APEX EXPO 2021 Technical Program features a tract on the “Factory of the Future Implementation,” March 10-11. As part of that program, IPC has made available a free presentation and video from the Manufacturing Technology Center (MTC), a CFX Program member. In this presentation, Barry Maybank along with Naim Kapadia, MTC technology manager, explains the background of the MTC, one of seven high-value-manufacturing technology catapult centers established in the UK.

IPC APEX EXPO Keynote: John Mitchell on the State of the Industry

IPC President and CEO Dr. John Mitchell was the Monday keynote for the 2021 edition of IPC APEX EXPO. Delivered via video conference as a part of this year’s virtual format, Mitchell made good use of a panel approach. After opening remarks, Mitchell anchored an around-the-horn series of reports from IPC experts.

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2021: Developments in Digital Manufacturing

Michael Ford and Pete Starkey discuss the industry trend towards digital manufacturing, the latest in 3D CAD technology, ontological data and the benefits of the new IPC standard for digital twins.

IPC APEX EXPO 2021: The Complete Agenda

IPC APEX EXPO week kicks off today in a first-ever virtual format. The 24-page IPC APEX EXPO program of courses and conference events details the events, technical program, keynotes, and much more.

Virtual IPC APEX EXPO Kicks Off Today

There will be no long TSA lines, late flights, Uber rides, noisy hotel rooms, missing luggage, or aching feet...all things that we long for. Instead, we will be attending our first-ever online IPC APEX EXPO 2021 starting today. One key benefit with this year’s IPC APEX EXPO is your ability to choose what session you will see or not see, as the IPC will have the sessions available for 90 days after the show so that you can catch up on whatever you missed. Also, those on your team who normally do not travel to the event will now be able to take part.

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

A perennial and yet irregular category on the popular game show Jeopardy is “potpourri.” My dad, as I was growing up, pronounced the word as “pot-poury.” It wasn’t until I was a sophomore in college that my girlfriend’s mom—who had a penchant for a soupcon of French euphemism in her tête-à-têtes—pronounced the word properly: “po-pu-ree.” Such are the risks of growing up just a bit rural.

Real Time With… Premium Sponsors Share ‘Top 5 Things You Need to Know’

As part of I-Connect007’s coverage of the IPC APEX EXPO 2021, four premium sponsors share their knowledge and expertise in the following categories.


Super Dry: Increasing Component Storage Needs

Nolan Johnson speaks with Super Dry’s Richard Heimsch about how the need for dry storage solutions has increased throughout the pandemic, including further demands for traceability and automation capabilities.

EIPC Technical Snapshot: Cleanliness

John Ling’s invitation to the fifth in EIPC’s series of Technical Snapshots was as droll as we have come to expect: “In these confined days of lockdown, and exhortations to stay at home and only go out for exercise, this only exercises the natural inclination to hop on a ‘plane to some sunshine.’ Although not the same as Factor 20, one of our webinars gives a high degree of protection from harmful ignorance, and you do not have to go out in the cold.”

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

We’re seeing an increase in optimism as more people are vaccinated and states under lockdown begin flipping open their shutters. This positive outlook is spreading, albeit slowly.

Finding Process Improvement Opportunities in Training

Nolan Johnson speaks with Leo Lambert of EPTAC about training the next generation out of high school and vocational schools, and how his company continues to improve processes, grow and adapt to changing requirements while fulfilling its mission to deliver technical certification training.

Predicting a ‘Roaring Twenties’ Innovation Boom

The 2020s have not started as anyone would have wished. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed weaknesses in supply chains and in global manufacturing, yet this could still be the most innovative decade ever.

Catching Up With Sean McConville, Niche Electronics

Dan Beaulieu catches up with Sean McConville, vice president of business development at Niche Electronics, who shares his background in the industry, the strengths of his company, and how the pandemic has affected its business.

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

I’m following the landing procedures for NASA’s Perseverance Mars lander as I’m finishing my Top 5 list for the week. The successful landing of the lander seems a nice highlight for this week. Our global aerospace programs, both national and private enterprise, make these missions seem almost, almost routine. They are, as we all know, anything but routine. No surprise, then, that aerospace-related news percolated to the top of mind for our readers this week.

Footprints: A Distributor’s Perspective

No issue on footprints and library management would be complete without input from a component distributor. I recently interviewed Geof Lipman of Octopart; as director of operations for part data, he’s one of the brains behind the entire site. Geof explains how Octopart functions and manages millions of component data points, and he also discusses the current landscape of electronic components.

Jered Stoehr Discusses New Leadership Role at Milwaukee Electronics

On Friday, February 12, 2021, Nolan Johnson spoke with Jered Stoehr, incoming CEO at Milwaukee Electronics Corporation (MEC) about his new role. Jered steps in for his father, Michael Stoehr, after approximately 35 years of leadership from the elder Stoehr. In their conversation Jered provides Nolan with some additional detail to accompany the recent press announcement, including the timeline for the transition, how Jered prepared for this role, and what he sees as the agenda to grow and advance the business.

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

We’re moving on into 2021, and there’s quite a bit going on in the world of PCB design, fabrication, and assembly. IPC APEX EXPO is fast approaching, and I know a lot of you will be attending, albeit virtually. In this week’s Top Five, columnist Eric Camden provides a how-to guide for PCBA technologists planning their IPC APEX EXPO schedule.


Building A Better, Brighter LED Headlamp with Top-Side Alignment Process (TAP)

An emerging trend in the automotive industry is the adoption of advanced LED headlamp lighting systems. These systems drive challenging placement requirements for LED packages. In this paper, we will review these unique challenges and discuss a novel approach to high-accuracy placement of LED packages enabling a scalable production solution.

Best Practices: Footprint Design and CAD Library Management

The I-Connect team spoke with Altium’s John Watson about the hurdles surrounding footprints and footprint design. John talks about how being proactive and improving the CAD library can better QC processes and help protect against footprint difficulties.

Joe Fjelstad's Book Review: The Innovators

"The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution" by Walter Isaacson is the best technology history book I have ever read, and at the same time one of the most engaging and entertaining. It is a forte of Isaacson to write biographies of great people. I have read his other books on DaVinci, Steve Jobs, Ben Franklin and Albert Einstein and found them equally brilliant. Isaacson has a number of other titles I have yet to get to in the future. He is a singularly great storyteller.

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

Another active news week in the electronics industry! February is launching with a high-G burn, to be sure. And if you’re a fan of The Expanse, like I am, then you’ve probably already watched through to the Season 5 finale; this means you have attention to spare for industry news all of a sudden. And if you haven’t reached the current end of the line for The Expanse, then today’s list is just what you need while you catch up.

Making the Most of a Virtual Event

Nolan Johnson speaks with Alicia Balonek, senior director of tradeshows and events at IPC, about how both attendees and exhibitors can best prepare for this year’s virtual IPC APEX EXPO and breaks down some of the events you can look forward to at this year’s show.

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

This week, we have a variety of news and articles to share, and it’s all positive. We have a new president, and he’s pledging to help American businesses. December PCB sales were up 4.5% over the same period a year ago. Atotech is just about ready to launch an IPO. Sunstone has tweaked its free CAD tool, PCB123, to make it even easier for designers to receive their Gerber files. And columnist John Watson breaks down what we all learned during the chaos that was 2020.

IPC’s Alicia Balonek Talks Trade Show News

Nolan Johnson discusses IPC APEX EXPO 2021 with Alicia Balonek, senior director of trade shows and events at IPC. Alicia provides an update on how IPC APEX EXPO will be structured in a virtual format, overviews the programming changes, and new additions designed to make IPC APEX EXPO the best virtual event possible.

5 Keys to Smart Process Success

Smart factories require the core underlying processes to be connected and “talking” to generate the data necessary to make real-time process decisions, that is, the IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things). In a truly connected factory, an ongoing continuous dialog between machines, business processes, suppliers and customers is happening in the background. This dialog is not only interactive, but proactive, as a constant stream of real-time data is tweaking and adjusting processes to drive improvement. It also provides time-critical information on how processes are operating, supply chain pipeline, and delivery status updates—all based on data.

Implementing Digital Twin Best Practices From Design Through Manufacturing Webinar Review

I-007e recently released a highly informative series of short webinars called Implementing Digital Twin Best Practices from Design Through Manufacturing presented by industry expert Jay Gorajia, the Director of Siemens Global Digital Manufacturing Services. The webinar is an excellent overview how data that is generated using a digital twin model can be effectively utilized to improve business execution using the Siemens tool suite.

Tech 2 Tech: KYZEN’s Short Technical Sessions a Big Hit

Nolan Johnson gets an update from Tom Forsythe on KYZEN’s Tech 2 Tech sessions. These brief 15-minute sessions were set up during the pandemic by KYZEN for customers, prospects, and new engineers around cleaning, and have since found traction with their manufacturers, reps and distributors.


Your Greatest Competition is Yourself

It really doesn’t matter who you think your external competitors are, because the only competitor that really matters is you. Of course, you will look externally to stay on top of latest trends, but when it comes to competition, just competing with yourself is a win. When you look at yourself as your greatest competitor you will start with a huge advantage: you already have great intel on how “your competition” thinks. Ask yourself, “What can I do to displace my ‘competitor’ and create something much better?”

MivaTek’s New Technology and Market Drivers

I recently spoke with Brendan Hogan about the upcoming new product releases from MivaTek. The conversation flows naturally from the new product’s market drivers to the X=Xc – 1 idea that is at the core of the market drivers.

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

Hard to believe that a year ago, I was getting ready to attend DesignCon and IPC APEX EXPO and wondering if this Novel Coronavirus was going to cut into attendance from the Pacific Rim. Now, we’re accustomed to virtual trade shows. They’re not ideal, but they’re the best we can do while meeting in person is not possible. We’ve learned to adapt.

CES Dispatches: Opening Day at Pepcom

On Monday, January 11, I attended the launch of the CES 2021. Well, more precisely, I attended the Pepcom program, one of the multitude of ways to connect with CES in the virtual environment. Pepcom is a regular at CES, functioning a bit like a show-within-a-show.

CES 2021: Just How Different Will It Be?

CES 2021 starts today and this year there is no need for an overpriced hotel room in Vegas, no long lines to get a taxi or board a bus, and no crowded exhibit halls (one good thing this year). On the other hand, you must decide ahead of time what you want to see and make a reservation or appointment if you wish to have time and access assured.

2021: The Year of X = Xc – 1

Throughout 2021, I-Connect007 will focus on our theme, “X = Xc – 1,” in which we will explore continuous improvement in a practical way. Get talking about continuous improvement as a business method and the conversation often hinges around large programs and grand transformations. “Company culture” and “corporate transformation” are terms that often appear in these conversations. Often, it seems, continuous improvement is simply a huge undertaking.

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

It’s a new year, and time for new resolutions and new beginnings. “New year, new you” certainly is reflected in this past week’s news. We saw several announcements regarding mergers, acquisitions, and organizational changes, plus some government legislation to help kick off the new year. Based on viewing activity, readers were keen to keep up on the changes under way.

IPC CEO and President John Mitchell Discusses New Membership and Dues Structure

In this video, IPC CEO and President Dr. John Mitchell discusses the organization’s move from a site-based and enterprise membership dues structure to a company revenue-based model. Mitchell explains that this change will go into effect upon each member company’s renewal in 2021, and he points out that many of the existing member discounts will remain unchanged.

This Month in SMT007 Magazine: The Skilled Worker

Why do we train and educate our employees? Here, I will share my perspective based on what is happening in facilities trying to outsource their products, as I see that many companies are losing the tribal knowledge of how things are manufactured and the basic skills necessary to physically build a product.

Tales from a Trailblazer: An Interview with Christine Davis

Columnist Steve Williams recorded a series of interviews with new I-Connect007 columnist Christine Davis, president and founder of contract manufacturer CAMtek, who recently joined Zentech Bloomington. As a female business owner in a male-dominated industry, Christine has a unique perspective on what it takes to thrive in the electronics industry, and shares some of her stories and lessons learned along the journey.


Top 10 Most-Read SMT Articles of 2020

As 2020 comes to a close, the I-Connect007 Editorial Team takes a look back at its most read articles. Here are the top 10 reads in SMT from the past year.

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

We always hear that the PCB industry is “mature,” full of people past their prime who don’t know how to change with the times. I think 2020 puts the lie to that idea. I’m honored to be a journalist covering such an amazing group of people. In the words of U2, “I will begin again.” Happy New Year!

I-Connect007 Wishes You a Happy New Year

Could there be a more welcome year in recent memory than 2021? If there’s one thing most of us can agree on, it’s that we want 2020 squarely in our rearview mirror as we speed ahead with a fresh, new start. This past year has brought with it much reflection, change and even some consternation. Thank you for taking this journey with us!

Chapter 1 Excerpt: The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to Process Validation

The original principle underlying the IPC’s ionic cleanliness requirement was that the mobility of surface ions, detectable from SIR measurements, would correlate to a maximum value of detectable ionic elements permissible on the circuit surface. The industry required a test that was both fast and accurate for process control. Thus, a simplified ion chromatograph that was able to detect ionic elements without differentiation was created.

Happy Holden Discusses His Favorite Career Moment

Managing Editor Nolan Johnson recently buttonholed Happy Holden and asked him to discuss the favorite moment of his career. To know Happy is to understand the full weight of his quiet influence on this industry. We’re delighted to share with you Happy’s reminiscence about spending time with his family at David Packard’s ranch while re-engineering the tank controls at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. As Happy explains, Packard may have been a billionaire and an ex-secretary of defense, but he still cleaned all of the fish that Happy’s kids caught on the ranch.

Book Excerpt: The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to Smart Data, Chapter 1

Accurate data is required to adjust processes and to ensure quality over time. This is difficult because not all data is in the same format, and not all sensors perform the same over time. How do you know what the best data to collect is and how to filter out the junk data from useful or smart data? This is not an easy task when the interfaces to data collection sources are complex, and they do not speak the same language, often requiring the vendor’s help to get data out of the machine and then spending time normalizing the data to turn it into something useful. This is a challenge for companies trying to set up a custom data collection system themselves.

John Watson Discusses His Favorite Career Moments

As we celebrate the holidays after a tumultuous year, it’s important to remember all of the good things in our lives. In this short video, Altium’s John Watson discusses a few of the moments that really stand out in his career: earning his IPC Certified Interconnect Designer credentials and designing his very first circuit board.

Book Excerpt: The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to Process Validation

It is assumed that readers are familiar with manufacturing electronic circuit assemblies in accordance with IPC-J-STD-001 or IEC 61189-1; both are titled “Requirements for Soldered Electrical and Electronic Assemblies.” In October 2018, IPC-J-STD-001 Revision G was amended and released with a new Section 8 of the document titled “Cleaning.” The change was primarily the removal of a “cleanliness” level of 1.56 mg/square cm of NaCl equivalence. This small change has great significance in relation to how companies ensure the electrochemical reliability of their products.

Batteries and Data Centers

The I-Connect007 team met with electrical engineer Mike Mosman, who has spent the majority of his career designing some of the country’s largest data centers. Mike recently sold his engineering company CCG Facilities Integration; he is now the vice president of electrical engineering in mission-critical facilities for Morrison Hershfield, and is still designing leading-edge data centers for large Internet companies. In this discussion, Mike explains how evolving battery technology and a strong demand are playing a key role in this area and others.

IPC Addresses Critical Industry Skills Gaps With Electronics Workforce Training

Over the past three decades, IPC standards and certification programs have played a critical role in protecting public safety and promoting excellence by ensuring the quality, reliability, and consistency of electronic products. In 2019, IPC worked with its global network of certification centers to certify over 108,000 individuals across 200 countries and 21 languages to seven IPC standards. The ubiquitous adoption of these programs speaks to the strong partnership forged between IPC and the electronics industry.


Dr. John Mitchell on IPC APEX EXPO Going Virtual

On Monday, December 14, 2020, Barry Matties and Dr. John Mitchell, IPC president and CEO, discussed last week’s decision to move IPC APEX EXPO to an all-virtual platform. In this interview, Dr. Mitchell confirms that IPC is committed to delivering a cutting-edge experience, including a strong technical program, exhibitor and visitor support, multiple keynotes and a wide variety of online networking events. Matties and Mitchell also analyze the challenges for IPC in hosting the show, as well as some of the unique opportunities that a virtual show presents for IPC and attendee alike.

SMTA Europe Solder Finish Webinar Addresses Defects Causes and Cures

“What is your most common PCB problem?” A survey conducted by Bob Willis had revealed finish solderability to be the predominant contender, and it was clear that the choice of solderable finish applied to surface mount boards could have a significant effect on the assembly yield and cost of the final circuit. SMTA Europe organised an informative and enlightening webinar this month entitled “Guide to PCB Solder Finishes—Process Defects Causes and Cures,” with soldering specialist Bob Willis as presenter.

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

This week’s mainstream news was dominated—well, my personalized online news feed was, at least—by ballistics. SpaceX was in the news daily for lobbing multiple pieces of iron, even as their CEO took his household suborbital, leaving California and touching down in Texas. Pandemic numbers charts continue their skyward trajectory worldwide. The ever-present military tests and technology demonstrations, seemed a bit more commonplace this week as well. Worldwide political news, in general, seemed to follow parabolic curves like an Australian boomerang, veering off in unexpected ways only to suddenly cut a curving path and return.

Training Is Hard, But It’s Also Soft

There is a disconnect in many manufacturing companies. This article is not about that disconnect, but rather a topic that gets clouded and the objectives made more difficult by that prevalent disconnect. Business owners, vice presidents, and operational executives are expected to have a vision for the company strategy. But what is not always fully known is the broad strokes of how to get there.

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

Around the holidays, we often see a slowdown in PCB design and manufacturing news. But this holiday season, there’s been no rest for the newsmakers in our industry! In the last week, our daily and weekly newsletters have been chock-full of breaking news and up-to-the-minute technical information that readers like you rely upon every day.

Siemens and Computrol: Achieving Operational Excellence in Electronics Manufacturing

I-Connect007’s Happy Holden and Nolan Johnson speak with Zac Elliott, technical marketing engineer at Siemens Digital Industries Software, and Farid Anani, VP of operations at Computrol, about how to achieve operational excellence in electronics manufacturing. They start by discussing the dynamic wherein automation projects may initially create islands of automation and the need to eventually connect those islands to achieve even greater operational efficiencies. The discussion then moves to how to make the data smarter and more useful for analysis and optimization.

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

Well, it’s the last Friday in November. On any normal year in the U.S., this would be “Black Friday” because, for many retailers, the kickoff to the holiday season’s shopping spree is the source for most of the operating income for the year. While it remains to be seen how exactly how much traditional in-store and online retailing will rake in, with the varied pandemic lockdowns, it’s clear that readers wanted to get the latest electronics industry sales numbers!

Our Thanksgiving Wish

As we take time to observe this holiday, the I-Connect007 team wishes to offer our thanks to you, our global readers and contributors: designers, fabricators, engineers, assemblers, quality and process control gurus, chemists, physicists, supervisors, managers, entrepreneurs, business owners, standards writers, industry experts, and more. You breathe life into the vital, thriving, world-changing electronics industry. You are the real story.

Catching up With QCMS General Manager Rick McAnally

Founded in 2007, QCMS is one of the more interesting EMS companies on the East Coast. They are actually a sister company to Niche Electronics located in Pennsylvania. Dan Beaulieu interviews QCMS General Manager Rick McAnally.

Part 12 of Siemens’ Digital Twin Webinar Series: MES and Enterprise Systems

I-007e Micro Webinars recently released a free, on-demand series titled “Implementing Digital Twin Best Practices From Design Through Manufacturing” with Siemens' Jay Gorajia. To conclude the series, in Part 12, Gorajia discusses, “Integrating Valor Solutions as Part of MES and Enterprise Systems."


Mentor’s User2User Conference Focuses on Semiconductor Development

Mentor conducted its annual User2User Conference virtually this year on November 10. In a departure from past U2U conferences, this event was focused primarily on developing semiconductor advances. Happy Holden reports on all the details.

KYZEN’s Popular Cleaning Series Continues

Wondering what to look for in a PCB cleaning agent? In just 10 minutes, you will learn from Jack Reinke what impacts your waste stream as part of the latest installment of KYZEN’s Tech2Tech series. This special webinar is held live at two times: 7:18 a.m. and 5:33 p.m. PST December 3, 2020.

PC Technological Advances in 2020

With CES quickly approaching, which is perhaps the largest technology event globally that is also going virtual this year, key component and sub-assembly companies are not waiting to announce their next generation of components. Dan Feinberg details new components and performance advances, as well as why you should consider building your own PC.

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

In my top five picks, we have news about columnist Tara Dunn moving to Averatek to work with their A-SAP additive processes, and an interview with Audrey Sim regarding the “hybrid” model adopted by the HKPCA for its upcoming Electronic Circuits World Convention. We also have a compilation of the questions that readers have asked Joe Fjelstad and news about DownStream Technologies adding support for flex, rigid-flex, and embedded component designs. Finally, we share a review of some of KYZEN’s new training sessions on cleaning electronic assemblies—virtual courses that pack a lot of information into 15-minute snapshots. Knowing how tight everyone’s schedules are now, 15-minute events might be the ticket.

Just Ask Joe Fjelstad: The Exclusive Compilation

We asked for you to send in your questions for Joe Fjelstad, and you took us up on it! We know you all enjoyed reading these questions and answers, so we’ve compiled all of them into one article for easy reference. We hope you enjoy having another bite at the apple. And if you’d like to hear more from Joe, view his column series “Flexible Thinking.”

High-Tech, High-Value Cleaning Answers Made Easy With KYZEN’s Tech-2-Tech

Tech-2-Tech offers a wide-ranging selection of well-chosen topics, covering diverse aspects of selecting, evaluating, operating, and maintaining cleaning processes. These were clearly explained in a series of focused 15-minute sessions, each one presented by a different member of KYZEN’s team of industry experts. It’s amazing how much practical information can be effectively transferred and explained in a 15-minute slot.

SMTA Europe Webinar: What Is a Good Solder Joint, and How Can Solder Joints Be Tested?

What is a good solder joint? And how can they be tested not only for purposes of process characterisation, optimisation, monitoring, and control but also for ensuring their long-term reliability? Pete Starkey details a webinar organised by the Europe Chapter of SMTA that was presented by Bob Willis, an expert in soldering, assembly technologies, and failure analysis.

electronica Virtual 2020: Automotive Conference Keynotes

While not the same as battling with the traffic to catch the early flight to Munich, followed by an S-Bahn into the city and a crowded U-Bahn to the Messe, electronica 2020 went virtual. Pete Starkey details the Automotive Conference—an event he was particularly keen to attend.

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

My last turn to select the top five editor’s picks was just before the triple-threat Halloween holiday (full moon, blue moon, and on a Saturday). Now that it’s my turn again, it falls the mega-superstitious Friday the 13th. You’re not triskaidekaphobic, are you?

Manufacturers Weigh in on Made-in-America Debate

As the U.S. grapples with who will take the helm of the U.S. presidency, electronics manufacturers around the country are grappling with which policies and ideas would promote growth and innovation in the sector. Many agree that a push for “made in America” policies and incentives might be useful. Often, they point to similar initiatives used by other countries, including China and India.


Part 10 of Siemens’ Digital Twin Webinar Series: Inventory Management

I-007e Micro Webinars recently released a free, on-demand series titled “Implementing Digital Twin Best Practices From Design Through Manufacturing” with Siemens' Jay Gorajia. In Part 10, Gorajia looks at “Inventory Management in the Warehouse and on the Shop Floor.” Material accounts for 80% of PCB assembly costs. If not managed correctly, margins can be cut even further.

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

This past week, we published a variety of articles, interviews, and columns—and readers definitely made their favorites known. There was good news about hiring and staffing. (In case you were wondering, there are quite a few open positions in this industry right now.) We touched base with a pair of young engineers to get their thoughts on what it’s like for recent grads working in the PCB manufacturing community. We learned about a company’s new program that can help take some of the stress out of NPI. We also launched a new chapter in our “Just Ask” series, this time starring columnist Tara Dunn. And there was sad news that a contract manufacturer’s chairman had just passed away.

Part 9 of Siemens’ Digital Twin Webinar Series: Intelligent Data Acquisition and Normalization

I-007e Micro Webinars recently released a free, on-demand series titled “Implementing Digital Twin Best Practices From Design Through Manufacturing” with Siemens' Jay Gorajia. In Part 9, Gorajia’s topic is “Intelligent Data Acquisition and Normalization.” He asks, “With the considerable investment in automation of the PCB assembly process, why is it a challenge to get data from the production line?”

Real Time with… AltiumLive 2020: OSV Project—From Zero to Ventilator PCBs in Record Time

Andy Shaughnessy recently spoke with Chris Denney, CTO of Worthington Assembly, about his role in the Open Source Ventilator project, which he discussed during a panel at AltiumLive with partners Dugan Karnazes of Velocity Research and Rob Cooke of Calumet Electronics. Chris explains how many of the normal hurdles disappeared once the focus on revenue was removed from the equation, and the ventilator PCBs were designed and manufactured in record time.

Survey Results: ‘Are You Currently Hiring?’

The I-Connect007 research team invited readers to share their thoughts on what's happening with staffing and retention to help prepare for an upcoming issue on this important topic. Here, we delve into the first question, "Are you currently hiring?"

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

Welcome to the Halloween issue of the I-Connect007 Top Five Editor’s Picks! This year’s Halloween lands on a doozy of a day. Astronomers among us will, undoubtedly, already have noticed that not only does the spooky holiday fall on a Saturday night, but it also falls exactly on a full moon—and a Blue Moon, at that! The last time a Halloween Blue Moon occurred in all time zones was in 1941. As if there weren’t enough “ghoulishness” already, 2020 delivers yet another rare occurrence.

Reducing Flux Splatter in Sensors and Camera Modules

With the increased use of electronics in new technology areas, flux formulations are being developed to address the new and existing requirements. For sensors and camera modules used for Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) and internet of things (IoT) applications, there is a demand for no-clean flux formulations in lead-free solder paste, which can reduce flux splattering during reflow.

Real Time with… Altium Live Europe 2020: Rick Hartley’s Secrets of PCB Optimization

As Lawrence Romine said in his introduction, “There’s that moment when you sit in the crowd and hear Mr. Rick Hartley speak that you know you’ve arrived in PCB design.” With 50 years in the industry focused on circuit and PCB design—and as a specialist in EMI, noise, and signal integrity issues—Rick Hartley was invited to talk about PCB optimization. Pete Starkey provides an overview of the presentation.

IPC Standards Development: Business Challenges and an Inside View

With increasing frequency, standardising the standards, such as ISO 9201, imposes certain rules that must be met to ensure “fair play” amongst the supply chain. There will be those familiar with hearing about “false positives/negatives” and “never trust the salesman,” so mitigating these is no easy task. However, there is the chance for each 5-30 Task Group to review industry requirements and set out the work program for the ensuing period. With that in mind, much of what follows is based on comments we learn about from our industry around the world, many of whom are not yet IPC members. Yes, this is a membership recruitment drive, unashamedly, as well as a search for volunteers willing to help create the standards of tomorrow.

How to Benefit From Robotic Soldering Processes

Webinars are in vogue! But in Pete Starkey's experience, the master of the technical webinar with many years’ experience of delivering first-rate events is Bob Willis—electronics assembly specialist, soldering expert, and provider of training and consultancy in electronics manufacture. Here, Pete recaps Bob’s presentation on the upcoming robotic soldering experience.


Electronics Additive Manufacturing for Defense and Space

At the SMTA Additive Electronics TechXchange, Dr. Kourtney Wright spoke about Lockheed’s DoD work and explained why Lockheed is interested in additive. Nolan Johnson shares the highlights.

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

After a crazy year like this, we shouldn’t be surprised that this trade show season is unlike any other. Here’s one of the many “silver linings” of 2020: We actually dodged a bullet earlier this year when COVID-19 hit after most of our industry’s big events had taken place. In this week’s top five, we have an assortment of trade show and conference news items, plus a few examples of technological trends and innovation.

Northrop Grumman: 3D Nanomaterials May Counter Gaps in Additive Supply Chain

The best technology is dead in the water if your domestic supply chain won’t support it. That was just one of the takeaways from Dr. Judy Dickson’s talk during the SMTA Additive Electronics TechXchange. In her presentation, titled “Advanced PWBs: A Collaboration Between Design, Operations, and the Supply Chain,” Dickson, a senior principal systems engineer at Northrop Grumman Mission Systems, laid out the many challenges her department faces in fielding HDI advanced packaging into the next decade. Most of these challenges are related to sourcing the necessary materials in the U.S.

Part 7 of Siemens’ Digital Twin Webinar Series: Optimizing Inspection and Test Engineering

Have you ever wondered what digital twin is, how it's used, and its benefits? Are you interested in learning ways to optimize and streamline how data flows from design, production planning, process engineering, and manufacturing? Then this micro webinar series is for you! Throughout this 12-part series, Jay Gorajia from Siemens Industries Software describes how to leverage the digital twin concept—from design to production planning and process engineering—through manufacturing execution and supply chain. The goal of the series is to define a blueprint for organizations seeking to digitalize and optimize their design to manufacturing processes and manufacturing operations.

SMTA Additive TechXchange Keynote: An Outlook on Advanced PCB Fab

Organised as a virtual event by Lenora Clark of ESI Automotive and Tara Dunn of Omni PCB, SMTA’s Additive TechXchange addressed additive technology specifically in the context of the electronics industry. Pete Starkey details the keynote presentation, an outlook on advanced printed circuit board fabrication, from Jeff Doubrava, managing partner at Prismark Partners.

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

Trade shows and technical conferences haven’t died; they’ve just moved online. The trade show season continues in virtual full force this week, and event coverage dominates the top five this week. Surprisingly, I don’t see events as this week’s theme. No, this week’s theme is “pundits.” We have Walt Custer’s industry outlook, seven experts on additive electronics, a designers conference keynote, and the IPC’s government relations expert. Don’t get me wrong: These folks are asked to speak to the industry for a good reason. They know their subject matter, and they present it skillfully. This week’s top five picks are worth reading.

Just Ask Paul: Automotive and Lead-Free Solders

We asked you to send in your questions for Happy Holden, Joe Fjelstad, Eric Camden, John Mitchell, and Greg Smith in our “Just Ask” series. Now, MacDermid Alpha Electronics Solutions’ Paul Salerno gets a chance to answer a question. Paul Salerno is a global portfolio manager for SMT applications focused on the automotive and consumer market segments. He holds a bachelor’s degree in materials engineering as well as an MBA in finance and marketing from Rutgers University.

Part 6 of Siemens’ Digital Twin Webinar Series: Single CAM Solutions

I-007e Micro Webinars recently released a free, on-demand series titled “Implementing Digital Twin Best Practices From Design Through Manufacturing” with Siemens' Jay Gorajia. In part 6, Gorajia discusses a “Single CAM Solution for All Process Engineering Tasks.”

Real Time with… SMTAI 2020: Women’s Leadership Program Cruises Through Important Topics

The virtual environment didn’t stop a large gathering of women (and men) from learning, sharing, and enjoying the Women’s Leadership Program during SMTAI 2020. Michelle Te shares her experience.

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

It’s showtime! This past week, we saw quite a bit of news about virtual trade shows. It’s great to see show managers pivot from live, in-person events to virtual shows with only a few months to make it all happen. How would you like to be a show manager today?


Virtual SMTAI 2020 Offers a Primer for Trade Show Managers

I really must hand it to Tanya Martin and Ryan Flaherty for pulling off something as audacious as a virtual version of SMTA International, which took place in cyberspace on September 28–30. SMTA did it in record time. A few months ago, SMTAI was still slated to be a live event in metro Chicago. When COVID-19 travel restrictions made a live event impossible, they stopped on a dime, switched to a virtual event, and never looked back.

Real Time with… AltiumLive 2020: Greg Ziraldo on a New Approach to DFM

Andy Shaughnessy speaks with Greg Ziraldo, senior director of operations at Advanced Assembly, about his AltiumLive panel, "Design With Manufacturing." Greg discusses things that designers and electrical engineers should keep in mind regarding assembly during the design process, as well as a few ideas that he hopes attendees will take away.

Part 5 of Siemens’ Digital Twin Webinar Series: Managing the Digital Thread

I-007e Micro Webinars recently released a free, on-demand series titled “Implementing Digital Twin Best Practices From Design Through Manufacturing” with Siemens' Jay Gorajia. In part 5, Gorajia discusses “Managing the Digital Thread From Design to PCB Assembly Engineering.”

Combatting Thermal Challenges With TRM Software

Johannes Adam is the creator of a simulation tool called Thermal Risk Management (TRM) used to help PCB designers and design engineers predict hot spots on the board before during layout. He and Douglas Brooks, founder of UltraCAD Design, have used the tool to produce several technical articles and a book on the subject. In this interview, they tackle the biggest misconceptions they see from designers and engineers who deal with thermal management issues.

Programs for Veterans: A Blackfox Update

At IPC APEX EXPO 2020, I spoke with Al Dill, president and CEO of Blackfox, about the Evolution Foundation, a nonprofit program to assist veterans with training and assistance into civilian tech jobs. Here, we get an update from Dill, Jahr Turchan, director of veteran services and advanced manufacturing programs, and Sharon Montana-Beard, VP and director of sales and operations, on Blackfox’s programs for veterans.

My Experience at SMTAI 2020 Virtual

Denny Fritz shares his experience while attending SMTAI, concentrating on the exhibition portion of the virtual show. He also compliments SMTA on organizing and operating the virtual event.

Real Time with… SMTAI 2020: Technical Conference Review

SMTAI 2020, which was converted to a virtual event, took place from September 28–30. I attend every year, but since there was no keynote in the virtual format, I went straight to the technical conference. This event covered a broad range of topics related to everything in assembly. Over 90 technical presentations are available, but this report covers just some of the sessions I attended.

Just Ask John Mitchell: The Exclusive Compilation

We asked for you to send in your questions for IPC President and CEO John Mitchell, and you took us up on it! We know you all enjoyed reading these questions and answers, so we’ve compiled all of them into one article for easy reference. We hope you enjoy having another bite at the apple. And if you’d like to hear more from John Mitchell, view his column series “One World, One Industry.”

Real Time with… SMTAI 2020: SMTA Announces Members of Distinction Annual Awards

SMTA recognized exceptional individual and corporate members for their immeasurable contributions to the association since 1994. And while the SMTA International Technical Committee announced the best presentation and paper awards from the 2019 conference on March 18, 2020, recipients were also recognized at SMTAI 2020.

Real Time with...SMTAI 2020: Seika’s Preparation Pays Off

Nolan Johnson and Seika Machinery’s Michelle Ogihara, senior sales and marketing manager, catch up on SMTAI 2020. Michelle shares her team’s generally positive experience in preparing for the exhibition, details the new products on display in the Seika virtual booth, and describes an experience from SMTAI that could have only happened at a virtual event like this.


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