Article Highlights
Implementing a Capacity Planning Tool
09/22/2017 | David Prunier, MC Assembly
RTW SMTAI: MIRTEC on Staying Ahead of the Curve
09/21/2017 | Real Time with...SMTAI
RTW SMTAI: Gary Tanel Discusses How SMTA Helps the Industry Evolve
09/20/2017 | Real Time with...SMTAI
Drying Boards after Rework Cleaning—To Do or Not to Do?
09/19/2017 | Bob Wettermann, BEST Inc.
What's Up in Scandinavia's EMS Industry?
09/18/2017 | Dieter G. Weiss, Weiss Engineering
SMT :: Soldering

Latest Articles

Rework and Reliability: Less is More!

Circuit boards are not always perfect after reflow or wave soldering. Scrapping boards with one or two defects is expensive, so rework happens. A good concept for rework is less is more, especially less flux. Use as little rework flux as possible, as in the old Brylcreem ads, "Just a little dab'll do ya."

RTW NEPCON South China: Rehm on Machine Communications and Vacuum Technology in Reflow

Ralf Wagenfuehr of Rehm Thermal Systems speaks about the need for a common communications platform as the industry moves toward Industry 4.0. He also talks about how their new ViCON software can help manufacturers achieve the smart factory vision.

A Look Into PCBA Rework and Repair

Despite the many technology advances in the SMT process, there will always be a need for rework and repair of PCB assemblies. Most especially as the industry trend continues towards finer pitch and spacing, smaller and smaller components, and increasing high-reliability requirements from customers.

Whose Fault is That Bad Board?

Years ago, I held a position in an EMS company where projects were analysed before manufacturing. We found that even some of the best and most innovative circuits could not be manufactured. Why? Because the PCB designer, an electronic engineer, was not acquainted with the fabrication process. He had no idea about technological requirements necessary for electronic production. I know another designer who learned, finally, the importance of the thermal relief pad for heat restriction during reflow for a good soldering. His response? “Oh, was that what they were for? And to think I worked so much to remove them!”

RTW NEPCON South China: JBC Brings Digital Transformation to Hand Soldering Process

Enrique Moreno, technical support engineer at JBC Soldering SL, and I-Connect007 Managing Editor Stephen Las Marias discuss the latest developments in the hand soldering process, including robotics and automation. Moreno also talks about the opportunities in China, and why their Industry 4.0-enabled solutions are suitable for this market.

Improving the Rework Process

An optimized SMT assembly process typically provides a yield of nearly 100%. Technology advancements—from the solder paste printing process, SPI, and parts placement, to reflow and wave soldering and AOI—have pushed the efficiency and accuracy of these steps in the SMT process such that a board assembly should be perfect at the end of the line. Still, EMS providers continually face the need to rework and repair PCBAs even after dialing in the perfect set-up.

NEPCON South China 2017 Opens Today

NEPCON South China 2017, being held in conjunction with the Shenzhen Circuit Sourcing 2017 and Automotive World China, opens its doors today at the Shenzhen Convention and Exhibition Center to showcase nearly 600 companies catering to the electronics manufacturing industry. This year’s event, the largest ever in the show's 30-year history, features 45,000 square meters of exhibition space.

On the Smart Move: Industry 4.0 in Electronics Production

The industrial world is in motion, as we face a revolution in terms of processes, organizational structures, hardware and software in our companies. Many critics complain that terms like Industry 4.0 and smart factory are rather arbitrary and lack concrete meaning. That is correct. What is also true, however, is that technical progress always starts out with a vision, which is then put into concrete terms as time moves on.

Soldering Fumes in Electronics Manufacturing: Damaging Effects and Solutions for Removal

No matter which soldering process you analyze, all of them have one aspect in common: They produce airborne pollutants, which may have a negative impact on employees, plants and products as well. This article discusses the damaging effects of soldering fumes, and solutions for their removal.

QFN Center Pads on PCBs

Not all QFNs come with an exposed metal pad underneath, but most do, and that can still cause problems with reflow solder. The pad itself isn't the problem, but improper solder paste stencil layer design can be.


Process Step Elimination: Driven by Cost and Efficiency, Enabled by Process and Materials Innovation

Electronics manufacturing has evolved from the early days of hand soldering and wave soldering to the more modern SMT process. But while most modern electronics are produced using the SMT process, there are still some mixed technology applications that need both the SMT process and the wave soldering process. This article looks into the pin-in-paste (PiP) process, which enables the soldering of through-hole components during SMT processing, and eliminates the need for the wave process.

Pillarhouse International's Allan Jiang Discusses Selective Soldering Developments

At the recent NEPCON China event in Shanghai, Allan Jiang, sales manager at Pillarhouse International, discusses with I-Connect007 Managing Editor Stephen Las Marias some of the challenges in selective soldering, and technology developments to address these issues.

Using Lead-Free BGAs in a Tin/Lead Soldering Process

Several electronic market segments, such as those electronics used in harsh environments or that have life/system critical functionality, remain exempt from lead-free material restrictions such as the RoHS legislation. While these market segments can use solder containing lead, it is increasingly difficult to procure advanced components in non-ROHS compliant configurations. This article discusses several aspects of having lead-free BGA components in a tin/lead soldering process.

Thermal Indicator Technology for Aerospace Wire Harness Assemblies

Thermal indicator technology was developed into solder sleeves many years ago and has proven to be an effective means of providing visual indication of a reliable solder joint. This article talks about the two types of thermal indicators used in aerospace applications today, and the many benefits that this type of technology.

Using Paste Flux for Rework

When using a hot air or IR rework system where the reflow cycle is mimicking the original SMT reflow profile, and when using flux for re-attachment, paste flux otherwise known as gel or tacky flux is the correct type of flux to use. Due to its high viscosity and tack properties, paste flux prevents components from being moved during hot-air reflow while being able to remain active for the complete time-temperature period.

Today’s Mil/Aero Enemies: Counterfeits, Obsolescence and Failure

The need for high-reliability electronics, components and assemblies that can perform in harsh operating conditions involving extreme temperatures, vibration, and moisture continue to challenge electronics assembly providers catering to the military and aerospace markets. These are on top of current manufacturing issues such as the miniaturization of products, shrinking component sizes, higher density board assemblies, and the obsolescence of electronic components.

The Importance of Conformal Coating, Now and in the Future

At the SMTA Michigan Expo and Tech Forum, held in Grand Rapids on May 11, Technical Editor Happy Holden spent a few minutes with AIM Solder’s Technical Marketing Manager Tim O’Neill to discuss O’Neill’s presentation on the topic of conformal coating over no-clean fluxes.

Better Together: How HDP User Group Showcases the Industry’s Best Side

HDPUG is a non-profit trade organization comprised of members from top companies in the electronics industry, from materials suppliers and manufacturers, to OEMs and end users. Key activities include collaborating on issues facing multiple industries and bringing people together on projects who might not have met otherwise. Barry Matties met HDPUG’s European representative and project facilitator Alun Morgan at the recent EIPC Summer Conference to learn more about the group and current projects.

Assembly Training and Education

Even if your PCB assembly process is optimized, there is always room for improvement. And no matter how successful your company has been in the past, you just can’t rest on your laurels. It is always in your best interest to strive towards a better operations model. We've created a survey to help us gauge the importance of training and education in your workforce, and the benefits that you get in ensuring that your operators and engineers have the most current knowledge and skill sets.

Solder Ball Joint Reliability with Electroless Ni/Pd/Au Plating – Influence of Electroless Pd Plating Film Thickness

This paper investigated the influence of Pd film thickness in electroless Ni/Pd/Au plating on the solder ball joint reliability. It was found out that the shape and thickness of the intermetallic compounds (IMCs) are among the key factors that affect solder joint reliability after multiple reflow cycles and thermal aging, respectively.


AOI Capabilities Study with 03015 Components

More EMS companies are implementing AOI into their SMT lines to minimize repair costs and maintain good process and product quality, especially for new component types. This project focuses on the testing of 03015 components, which is challenging for AOI.

Shenzhen Axxon Discusses Acquisition and Dispensing Market Trends

Ivan Li, general manager at Shenzhen Axxon Automation Co. Ltd (China), discusses their recent acquisition by Mycronic, as well as the latest developments in the dispensing market. Also discussed is the China market, and how the company is staying ahead of the increasing competition in the dispensing industry.

RTW NEPCON CHINA: Interflux to Revolutionize Solder Industry

At the recent NEPCON China event in Shanghai, Daniel Werkhoven, CEO of Belgium-based soldering chemistry provider Interflux Electronics N.V., talks with I-Connect007 Managing Editor Stephen Las Marias about how their new bismuth-based solder alloy will help improve the soldering process.

Tape and Reel Solder Preforms: A Success Story for the UD00 X86 SECO Board

SECO's latest product innovation, UDOO X86, is a real computer with an integrated Arduino 101 compatible board that is capable of running games and videos in 4K. But while the success of the UDOO X86 is impressive, so is SECO's ability to develop this game-changing product with low-cost technology for mass appeal and affordability.

Voiding Control at High-Power Die-Attach Preform Soldering

Voiding in the solder joint is a concern for high-reliability and high-performance devices. This paper discusses a study on voiding behavior of large pad high-power devices simulated with Cu coupon to Cu coupon sandwiches. A flux-coated preform was studied in this assembly, with variation in solder alloy type, quantity of solid flux coated on solder preform, Cu coupon pre-oxidation extent, reflow temperature, and pressure exerted onto the sandwich during reflow.

The Benefits of Applying Flux Directly to a Micro BGA

Technology trends continue to drive miniaturization in electronic components. As a result, product designers are often forced into specifying smaller and smaller devices on their bill of materials. Sometimes, miniature devices offer OEMs cost savings, which is seen as a good thing; other times, there is simply no choice.

Keeping an Eye on the Next Generation

Why should a company in our industry dedicate hours to providing professional development to a group of temporary student interns? Why should they open their doors to kids, some of whom haven’t even entered high school? For Indium, the short answer is, it makes them better. Read on to find out why.

The Challenge of Filling PCB Assembly Positions

U.S. manufacturers are having a difficult time filling open positions. They cannot find workers with the necessary skills to fill the openings. If we look specifically at the PCB assembly industry, the rhetoric is similar. There are more openings than people to fill them. The discussions reveal that lower wages, lack of skills, and sometimes the reported low unemployment rate in the United States is part of the problem.

Predicting Solder Paste Transfer Efficiency and Print Volume

Being able to predict the transfer efficiency and print volume reproducibility of solder paste are valuable data points for any circuit assembly process. Knowing how many good boards that can be expected from a jar of solder paste is critical for a contract manufacturer working on paper thin margins.

The Complex World of Soldering

Industry veteran Happy Holden and Saline Lectronics Senior Process Engineer Cathy Cox discuss the various challenges and issues that users face in soldering, including the lack of a "one-size-fits-all" approach in the process, and some key factors that the PCB assembly industry should consider when it comes to different applications and markets.


RTW NEPCON China: Metcal Highlights Innovation in Hand Soldering Technology

At NEPCON China, Bryan Gass, vice president of Metcal, discusses how their Connection Validation soldering station will revolutionize the hand soldering technology industry.

What a Tangled (Soldering) Web We Weave!

Soldering remains one of the most critical processes in the PCB assembly industry. Which is why it is of the utmost importance that the soldering process should be perfect. But soldering is just too complex a process, and further complicating the situation, the requirements and technologies vary between our industry’s market segments. There are just a lot of factors to consider before you put your boards into the reflow and let them run.

Achieving Successful Flex Circuit Assemblies

In this article, Yousef Heidari, vice president of engineering at EMS firm SigmaTron International, talks about the varying challenges in flex-circuit assembly. Chief among these are the solder paste printing process, especially for designs that have multiple areas with fine-pitch components, as well as the subsequent handling of the assembly before final product integration.

JJS Stresses Need for Baking Prior to Flex Circuit Assembly

From an assembly perspective, baking the flex circuits prior to manufacturing assembly is crucial as they can be susceptible to delamination. In this interview, Russell Poppe, director of technology at JJS Manufacturing explains why, as well as discusses other challenges in flex circuit assembly and strategies to address them.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Metcal Brings Disruptive Technology in Hand Soldering

Christopher Larocca, president and CEO of OK International (of which Metcal is a division), tells I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties their strategy for improving the hand solder process. He describes a lack of process feedback to the operator as a core problem inherent in the hand soldering process, and discusses how OK International has developed an innovative solution to address the issue.

Fixturing: Key to Accurate Flex Circuit Assembly

Adrian Nishimoto, operation manager at Spectrum Assembly Inc., talks about the critical factors to consider during flex circuit assembly, such as fixturing and accurate thermal profiling. He also mentions why jet printers are suitable for use in assembling flex circuits.

Rework and Repair on Flex Circuits

With this surge in usage of flex, the standards for rework—replacing devices while still meeting the initial specification and functionality—and repair—repairing the physical damage on a flex circuit—of flex circuits has not kept pace.

Strategies for Addressing Flex Circuit Assembly Pain Points

In an interview with SMT Magazine, Steve Fraser, VP of Operations at Firstronic, discusses the key factors that have the greatest impact on the quality of flex circuit assemblies, the challenges they face during assembly, and their strategies to ensure the reliability of the products.

How to Solder SMT Components with Varying Solder Paste Heights

While miniaturized components offer product designers some benefits, such as energy efficiency and the ability to build in greater functionality, mixing "old and new" technology together on the same PCB design can add complexity at the build stage. As a result, it is sometimes necessary to change the way solder paste is applied to the PCB during production.

Supportive Tooling: The Magic Ingredient for Flex Circuit Assembly

Flex circuits have changed the way product development engineers can design and package their electronic products. Flex applications have opened the doors for PCBAs to move out of square, box enclosures and fit into small, tight, even oddly shaped three-dimensional spaces that can withstand harsh vibration and multiple flex uses. While these flex assemblies may perform in the same way a traditional rigid PCBA does, they have their own set of assembly rules and manufacturing nuances.


Navigating the Complex World of Flex Circuit Assembly

We recently conducted a survey on flexible printed circuits to know more about the challenges that designers, fabricators, and assemblers face when dealing with flex circuits. We asked what steps in their processes have the biggest effect on yields; the challenge they face when dealing with flex circuit materials; as well as the factors that have the greatest impact on the quality of their flex circuit design, fabrication and assembly.

Assembly of Flexible Circuits

No matter the method, the assembly of electronic flexible circuits is tedious because of its inherent flexible nature. Therefore, we must give extra attention to the assembly process. This article details some of the key considerations when assembling flexible circuits.

Alpha Papers Investigate High-Reliability Solder Alloys

During SMTA International, Morgana Ribas, manager of Metals Technology Group at Alpha Assembly Solutions, presented a pair of papers that focus on the company’s reliability testing of solder alloys. I-Connect007 Managing Editor Andy Shaughnessy sat down with Morgana to discuss these papers, and some of the surprising results that the testing yielded.

Evaluating a PCB Assembler

When it comes to technology and quality, an SMT assembler's capabilities will be reflected when you go through the key elements in the SMT process. This article provides key points to consider in evaluating a PCB assembler, which allows you to test whether your circuit boards assembled in that factory conform to your required standard.

Alpha on New Technologies to Tackle Voiding

Tom Hunsinger, vice president of marketing at Alpha Assembly Solutions, discusses with SMT Magazine how their company is addressing voiding—one of the greatest challenges in soldering. He talks about the latest market development trends that are shaping product innovation strategies at Alpha. Hunsinger also details some of their latest solder technologies, and how they are helping their customers address their soldering challenges.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Ray Prasad Discusses Revised IPC-7530 Reflow Profile Guidelines

IPC Hall of Famer Ray Prasad, chairman of the IPC-7530 committee, provides an overview of the newly revised IPC-7530, which provides users with guidelines on how to successfully profile and characterize PCB assemblies with high levels of efficiency.

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

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

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

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

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: The Power of Synergies with MacDermid Enthone and Alpha Assembly Solutions

Don Cullen, global director of marketing communications with MacDermid Enthone, and Tom Hunsinger, VP global marketing with Alpha Assembly Solutions explain the structure of MacDermid Performance Solutions, which combines the former MacDermid, Enthone and Alpha Assembly Materials businesses to provide PCB and EMS industries with enhanced innovation and service throughout the supply chain, with unified sales strategies and improved processes.

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

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


RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Alpha Highlights Solder Reclaim Technology

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

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

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

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

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

Metcal Brings Big Science and High Reliability to Hand Soldering

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11 Points to Consider When Buying Selective Soldering Equipment

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

What’s Driving the Rapidly Changing Electronics Assembly Industry

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

Achieving Repeatable, Consistent Control over the Selective Soldering Production Process

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


The Impact of Via and Pad Design on QFN Assembly

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

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

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

Evaluation of the Use of ENEPIG in Small Solder Joints

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

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

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

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

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

Choosing the Correct Flux—Advantages/Disadvantages

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

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

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

Reducing Warpage on BGAs During Rework

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

Editor's Note: Understanding Plating and Surface Finishing

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

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

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


How to Create the Perfect SMT Reflow Oven Profile

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

Rework and Repair Standard Getting Updated

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

LA/Orange County SMTA Tech Expo a Success

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

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

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

Tin Whisker Mitigation Methodologies Report from SMART Group, Part 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KIC Shows Solutions to Voiding Problems via Optimized Reflow Profiling

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


Living Up to Their Name at Alpha Assembly Solutions

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

The Impact of Vias on PCB Assembly

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

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

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

How to Improve PCB Reliability

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

How to Evaluate a Used Machine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The Theory Behind Tin Whisker Phenomena, Part 4

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

How to Specify a Custom Machine

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

Is Your Electronics Manufacturing Factory 'Smart'?

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

Being More than a Manufacturer’s Rep

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Case Study: Flex Smart Factory at Fuyong

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

The Industry Speaks

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

Local SMTA Expos Are Where It’s Happening!

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


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

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

Selecting a Selective Soldering System, Part 5

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

How to Prevent Solder Bridges During Printed Circuit Board Assembly

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

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

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

Understanding How EMS Companies View Capital Investment Decisions

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

A New Dispensing Solder Paste for Laser Soldering Technology

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

ITRI’s Wang Talks Future of Soldering and Paste Printing

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

Selecting a Selective Soldering System, Part 4

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

Hand Soldering: The Move Toward Automation

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

Solder Paste Dispensing: Breaking the Limits of Printing

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


The Reliability Factor in Solder Paste Printing

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

Solder Paste Printing: A User’s Perspective

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

EIPC Summer Conference 2016, Day 1: Strategies to Maintain Profitability in the European PCB Industry

Resplendent in the kilt, EIPC chairman Alun Morgan welcomed a large and enthusiastic gathering of printed circuit professionals from all over Europe and as far afield as the USA, Canada and Russia, to the EIPC Summer Conference 2016 in Edinburgh, Scotland's cosmopolitan capital city.

Solder Jet Printing: Keeping Up with the Challenges

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

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

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

Selecting a Selective Soldering System, Part 3

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

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

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

Improving the Solder Paste Printing Cycle Times

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

Solder Paste Printing: Challenges and Best Practices

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

The Solder Paste Factor in Printing

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


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

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

Solder Paste Exploration

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

Selecting a Selective Soldering System, Part 2

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

SMTA West Penn Chapter Plans Manufacturing Boot Camp in August

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

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

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

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

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

Reducing Setup Time to Provide More Uptime in Production

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

EMS Rules of Automation & ROI

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

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

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

Benefits of Improving Reflow and Screen Printing Processes

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


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

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

Weiner’s World

3D printing, China’s SMT equipment and robotics markets, IPC’s mandate, counterfeiters, and Taiwan PCB makers’ shift to automotive electronics—Gene Weiner talks about these things and more in this new article.

Selective Soldering: Design, Process Challenges and Practical Solutions

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

Selecting a Selective Soldering System, Part 1

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

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Kurtz Ersa Talks Latest Innovations

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

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Indium Tackles Solder Voiding

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

Taking the Gremlins Out of Your Process

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

IPC APEX EXPO: EPTAC Updates on Soldering Committee Developments

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

IPC APEX EXPO: Alpha Explains Approach to Address Miniaturization Challenges

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

IPC APEX EXPO: Manncorp Talks 50 Years in Business

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


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

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

Reflow Oven Changeover in a World of Short Production Runs

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

Reliability Study of Low Silver Alloy Solder Pastes

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

3D Assembly Processes: A Look at Today and Tomorrow

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

Overview Miniaturization on Large Form Factor PCBA

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

New Paradigms

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

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

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

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

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

Two-Print Stencil Solutions for Flip Chip/SMT Assembly

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

The Road Less Traveled (Part 3): Why Process Controls and Pride Matter

In the last piece of this three-part article series, Zentech Manufacturing Inc.'s Judy Warner writes about the importance of SMT process controls and pride of ownership, and how having them as part of the company culture can lead to manufacturing and service excellence and success.


Selecting a Wave Soldering System, Part 3

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

Vapor Phase Technology is a Viable Solution, but Carries a Learning Curve

Vapor phase reflow solder technology is a technology that has come of age in an era where its efficiency in reflowing densely packed printed circuit board assemblies is highly valued, since the vapor blanket immersion process ensures perfect wetting and void-free, high-quality solder joints. The challenge is properly sizing the machine to likely workloads and optimizing the necessary profiles. The end result is improved quality, better line flexibility and lower energy consumption.

Medical EMS: Opportunities Abound

Megatrends such as the increasingly ageing population and growing demand in emerging economies worldwide bode well for the medical electronics assembly industry. However, challenges such as margin pressures, compliance costs and risks, supply chain instability, and new product introduction headaches are hindering a more aggressive prognosis of the industry. But, with innovation, medical manufacturers can churn out more.

Top 10 Factors to Consider When Selecting a Medical EMS Company

Once the decision has been made to use an EMS company, selecting the right one involves several steps. Although most EMS companies perform the same basic services, every EMS company is different. In this article, Mo Ohady and David Estes of Digicom Electronics write the 10 key factors to consider when selecting your medical EMS company.

Medical Electronics: Manufacturing Vitals

With the rapidly growing aging population, rising healthcare costs and increasing health awareness, opportunities abound in consumer medical devices, diagnostics, imaging, and instrumentation. However, the medical electronics industry is not without its own set of challenges. The January 2016 issue of SMT Magazine highlights the manufacturing challenges and opportunities in this growing sector.

Nordson EFD Discusses Dispensing Technologies, Solder Reliability and Innovation

Philippe Mysson, business development manager for solder paste at Nordson EFD, discusses a host of solder-related issues, including reliability, the benefits of solder paste dispensing systems, challenges facing their customers and how Nordson EFD is helping to address those issues, and finally, latest trends driving innovation in solder alloys.

Selecting a Wave Soldering System, Part 2

In his last column, Robert Voigt introduced the various types of through-hole soldering techniques, which include: manual, dip, drag, wave, and selective. In the continuation of his new article series, he talks about wave soldering—the most common and efficient form of through-hole soldering available—and the steps in selecting a wave system depending on your needs.

2015’s Most Read SMT Articles

Every year, we like to take a look back at the most popular SMT news and articles. These are the top 10 most-read SMT articles from the past year. Check them out.

iNEMI: Leading the Way to Successful Electronics Manufacturing

iNEMI CEO Bill Bader talks about the consortium’s goals and mission, its collaborative projects, as well as its roadmap for the electronics manufacturing industry. Bader also highlights iNEMI’s milestones in line with the major trends that have happened in the electronics industry, including the transition to lead-free, addressing tin whisker growth, and the move towards HFR-free PCB materials.

Kester Highlights Strategies to Address High-Reliability Issues

Lynnette Colby, global product manager at Kester, discusses the biggest challenge their customers are facing—high reliability—and how using materials other than halogen can help address this issue. She also talks about how a complete solder solution—including the paste, flux and wire—help ensure the reliability of the electronics assembly.


Alpha Talks Challenges of Solder Recycling

Jason Fullerton, customer technical support engineer with Alpha, talked with I-Connect007's Patty Goldman about his presentation on recycling solder and why doing this in-house is not a good idea. He also discussed about the new, smaller particle solder pastes and about Alpha’s recycling program that is really beneficial to their customers.

Innovative New Uses for Ceramic Column Grid Arrays from TopLine

TopLine President and CEO Martin Hart discusses his paper on ceramic column grid arrays (CCGA) at the recent SMTA International show in Chicago. Hart explains the relationship between CCGA and ball grid arrays (BGA), and TopLine's drive to find new uses for CCGA.

Honeywell Paper Investigates Avionics Vibration Durability

Dr. Joseph Juarez, principal mechanical engineer at Honeywell International, discusses with I-Connect007's Andy Shaughnessy his SMTA paper, which addresses avionics vibration durability between tin-lead and lead-free solder, the years of testing he conducted, the importance of doing a good soldering job, and some of the surprising findings of his research.

Alpha's Morgana Ribas on Advances in Lead-Free, High-Reliability Alloys

Morgana Ribas, manager of Alpha's Metals Technology Group in India, presented a paper at the recent SMTA International show in Chicago. She sat down with I-Connect007's Andy Shaughnessy to discuss the paper's focus on high thermal reliability, and some of the new high-reliability lead-free alloys hitting the market.

Low-Temperature Thick Film Pastes Permit Lead-Free Soldering

There has been an increased interest in low-temperature polymer thick film products that perform at the same level as their high-temperature counterparts, including high reliability, strong adhesion, and solderability with lead-free solders. This article talks about a new, easy-to-process polymer thick film paste compatible with a variety of substrates, features low temperature curing, and offers excellent solderability with SAC305 solder.

AIM Solder Talks Innovations to Address Assembly, Reliability Issues

David Suraski, executive vice president at AIM Solder's assembly materials division, sat down with us at productronica 2015 to discuss the latest industry trends and customer challenges facing the solder industry, and innovations that are helping customers address their issues. Suraski also talked about reliability issues, and how the company is addressing them.

Printed Circuit Board Failures – Causes and Cures

PCBs can fail for a multitude of reasons. And the ability to detect and identify failures during assembly and final test is preferable to having to accept the consequences of field returns. This article details Bob Willis' recent webinar, which described failure mechanisms, demonstrated the use of standard test methods and tricks of the trade, and explained how to eliminate many of the common causes of PCB defects.

Considering Temperature Control as a Cleaning Method

A proper thermal profile more effectively complexes no-clean flux residues, mitigating a potential product reliability issue. This article discusses variables impacting solder joint quality, and how accurately controlling the thermal profile of the solder reflow can improve the cleanliness of the electronics assemblies.

A Look at the Theory Behind Tin Whisker Phenomena, Part 3

The third installation in Jennie Hwang's five-part series on tin whisker phenomena continues the discussion on key processes engaged in tin whisker growth. She discusses the energy of free surface, recrystallization, and the impact of solubility and external temperature on grain growth.

Selecting a Through-Hole Soldering System, Part 1

This new article series discusses through-hole assembly, and why it is still a viable and important technique that requires an understanding of the various soldering systems available. Part 1 outlines the available methods and provides a brief overview of their strengths and weaknesses.


The New Industrial Era

Key transformative technologies such as big data, analytics, and IoT are ushering in a new industrial era, where new technology forces and innovations are changing the dynamics, risks, and success factors for global manufacturing companies. To be successful in this environment, a mindset shift is required when it comes to deciding what to do and how to take your manufacturing operations to the next level.

AIM on RoHS Compliance for 2016 and Success with M8

AIM Technical Marketing Manager Tim O'Neill discusses with I-Connect007's Andy Shaughnessy what the next phase of RoHS compliance will mean for AIM’s customers, the success they’re seeing with their new M8 solder paste, and where the company is headed in terms of expansion.

Reducing Print Cycle Time

Of the several steps in the SMT process, an effective method of increasing throughput is to reduce the cycle time of the rate-controlling process step. This article will discuss two simple experiments that may lead to increased throughput and increased profitability.

Technologies to Enable Quick-Turn PCB Assemblies

Multi-day lead times for PCB assembly are a thing of the past as a few advanced thinking assemblers have worked hard to remove the time-related road blocks, enabling quick prototype assembly. This article highlights the latest technologies and innovations in PCB assembly that help electronics manufacturers continue their rapid development of new products and get to the market faster.

Gold Embrittlement Mitigation: Understanding the New J-STD-001 Requirements

With the advent of more information from studies on the behavior of how much gold can impact the mechanical structure of the solder joint, the "washing away" of gold has become more important. This article discusses the significant changes made in the J-STD-001 specification, and their impact in the EMS and OEM industries.

Selecting a Reflow Oven, Part 3

In this conclusion of a three-part series on selecting and evaluating a basic reflow oven configuration for a circuit board assembly environment, methods of control and profiling techniques--such as on-board and PC-based control, and on-board, PC-driven and third-party profiling--are discussed and evaluated.

Soldering Process for Molded Interconnect Devices in Three Dimensions

MID (molded interconnect device) technology is used in particular where significant miniaturization, freedom of design with regard to geometry, and a reduced number of components for the electronics assembly is required. This article takes a closer look at vapor distribution to improve the three-dimensional soldering process for a MID application.

Surface Mount Technology Association—a New Milestone

With a grand mission, SMTA is an international network of professionals who build skills, share practical experience and develop solutions in electronic assembly technologies, including microsystems, emerging technologies, and related business operations. The organization delivers the right information at the right time to empower the workforce, who collectively advances technology, innovates new products, and serves the global industry.

BTU Talks Challenges and Trends Driving Product Development Strategies

Coco Zhang, product manager at BTU Ltd, discusses with I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias some of the technology trends and customer challenges and requirements that are driving innovations in their reflow ovens. She talks about energy efficiency, the challenges of complex boards used in the telecom and server industry, and the advanced technology requirements from the semiconductor packaging industry.

The Need for Speed

I was recently invited to judge the editor’s choice award at National Instrument’s 2015 NI Engineering Impact Awards—ASEAN Regional Contest, and there was one project that I found relevant to our topic for this month’s issue of SMT Magazine. Developed by Gatepacific Circuits Inc., the project improved the process of dispensing paste compared to the manual process done by human operators, and increased the throughput from 500 units to more than 1,000 units.


Tin Whisker Self-Mitigation in Surface Mount Components Attached with Leaded Solder Alloys

This article provides the findings of a lengthy project of soldering electronic components with pure tin finishes with lead-containing solder for the attachment. The object of the project was to determine the conditions under which sufficient alloying of the pure tin finish by lead in the solder is achieved for the purpose of whisker suppression.

ELCOSINT - The Future of High Temperature Interconnect

The increasing need for electronic assemblies to endure high-temperature operating conditions in aerospace, automotive, oil and gas drilling, power management and renewable energy applications, whether those conditions involve high ambient temperatures, high cycle temperatures or high junction temperatures, is driving the development of high temperature interconnection technologies.

Faster, More Precise Jet-dispensing in Microsystems Technology

As miniaturization advances relentlessly, the components that need to be connected are becoming ever smaller and more delicate. At the same time, quality standards and the functionality of the materials are increasing. This development requires joining processes that can reliably fix the smallest of components.

Mycronic Jet Printer Technology Addresses Board Challenges

Thomas Bredin, area manager and market support and sales for Mycronic, highlighted the unique characteristics of their jet printer, and how this technology helps customers in maintaining the volume distribution of the solder paste over the pad amid today's trends of high mix of small and big components on the same board.

OK International Talks Trends Driving Product Innovation Strategies

Bryan Gass, vice president for global sales and marketing at OK International, discussed with I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias how trends such as automation, wearables, and Industry 4.0 are driving his company's product innovation strategies.

Selecting a Reflow Oven, Part 2

In this follow-up to Part 1, Robert Voigt writes about heating technologies such as vapor phase, infrared and convection--including their pros and cons; methods of board transportation such as belt conveyor and pin conveyor; and inerting systems.

What’s Driving Automotive Electronics?

Despite optimistic forecasts surrounding the automotive electronics industry, challenges remain, driven by the high level of complexity of devices and electronics being built into cars and the harsh operating conditions that these products are expected to operate in. Find out how equipment suppliers and automotive OEMs and EMS providers are addressing these issues in the September 2015 issue of SMT Magazine.

Collaboration between OEM and EMS to Combat Head-on-Pillowing Defects (Part 2)

There have been many publications, industry workshops, and symposia that describe process mitigation techniques for minimizing the occurrence of head-on-pillow defects during surface mount assembly. In this article, the authors address the root cause of the HoP defect—specifically the link between HoP defects and component warpage.

How Clean is Clean Enough to Achieve Reliable Electronic Hardware?

This article aims to develop an improved test method to measure the resistance on non-cleaned and cleaned test boards using low residue solder pastes under a series of bottom termination components. Testing the location, flux type, quantity and mobility may provide an improved risk assessment of reliability expectations.

Detecting Process Defects

In many cases, the same process problems in soldering, PCB manufacture, and component failures just go round and round and will return if the true cause of failure is not detected. The causes can be highly complex or very simple, but they are available if you care to search. In this article, Bob Willis talks about typical failures of boards and solder joints, process problems and their root causes, and their solutions.


Addressing Quality and Manufacturability Challenges of Mission-Critical Products

Mission-critical military and aerospace PCBAs are based on 100% SMT and optimized for manufacturability from day one of design. But the reality is that many of these products utilize mixed technology. In many cases, these mixed technology designs often violate industry-standard design guidelines, creating manufacturability issues.

Declaring War on Failure in Electronics

Failure, in electronics, while not necessarily desired by either manufacturer or consumer, is expected. This is not to say that the industry has not attempted to improve reliability. In this article, Verdant Electronics' Joseph Fjelstad writes that much is being done in an effort to improve reliability with new solder alloys, new fluxes, new materials, new equipment and process parameters.

The War on Soldering Defects under Area Array Packages: Head-in-Pillow and Non-Wet Open

The most difficult aspect of any soldering defect on an area array package is the inability to observe the defect easily. This article explains the characteristics of soldering defects to help identify the proper action to take to mitigate the defects in a soldering process. One particular defect in focus is the head-in-pillow (HiP), which are soldering defects on area array packages characterized by a lack of coalescence between the solder paste deposit and the package solder bump.

Acceptance Testing Of Low-Ag Reflow Solder Alloys (Part 2)

In Part 2 of this two-part article series, the authors discussed the test results for low-silver alloys using these solder paste alloy assessment protocols for BGAs and leaded components, and the impact of the alloys on printed circuit assembly process windows.

Acceptance Testing Of Low-Ag Reflow Solder Alloys (Part 1)

The electronics industry has seen an expansion of available low-silver Pb-free alloys for wave soldering, miniwave rework, BGA and CSP solder balls, and, more recently, solder pastes for mass reflow. In Part 1 of this two-part article series, the authors discussed test protocols that can be used for assessing new Sn-Ag-Cu(SAC), Sn-Ag, and Sn-Cu alloys for general use in electronics.

NEPCON Shenzhen 2015 Puts Spotlight on China's EMS Industry

From ODM and OEM to EMS, the Chinese electronics manufacturing industry is transforming from single, passive processing to active, intelligent manufacturing—in line with the "Made in China 2025" plan, as well as the latest trends happening in the electronics industry.

Selecting a Reflow Oven, Part 1

Finding out the size of oven you need is related to the number of zones you can afford. There will be tradeoffs between cost and capabilities, and more zones will always give you better flexibility and more control over your profile—but at a cost. Therefore, decision has to be qualified primarily on your anticipated throughput; that is, how many boards you process in a day or a week.

SMT Magazine August Issue Tackles War on Process Failure

Based on our survey, there are four major issues when it comes to quality and process failure: poor process control, poor training of employees around quality, inability to quickly identify where and how waste is being created, and poor technical support from suppliers. The August issue of SMT Magazine features several though-provoking articles tackling the war on process failure in manufacturing electronics assemblies.

Connector Cleanliness and Flux Entrapment

Plated through hole connectors can present special challenges when it comes to assembly cleanliness and reliability. Cleanliness of the raw part, processing parameters and chemistry selection can all negatively affect the reliability and robustness of the interconnect system. This article will discuss some common issues and how to resolve them.

Pad Cratering Susceptibility Testing with Acoustic Emission

Pad cratering is difficult to detect by monitoring electric resistance since it initiates before an electrical failure occurs. This article presents the results of pad cratering susceptibility of laminates using the acoustic emission method under four-point bend and compares the AE results to the pad-solder level testing results.


Benefits of Soldering with Vacuum Profiles, Part 2

Part 1 of this article series explained the continuously increasing requirements for void-free solder joints in electronics manufacturing, amid the relentless introduction of new variants of bottom-terminated components. This article takes a closer look at the soldering process with a focus on vacuum profiles, as well as an evaluation project and the obtained soldering results.

China Electronics Manufacturing Industry Welcomes New Era

NEPCON South China 2015 will connect upstream and downstream players in the electronics manufacturing equipment and automation technologies industries, and provide the best possible platform to showcase industry progress, conduct exchange and advance trade.

The Theory Behind Tin Whisker Phenomena, Part 2

In the second part of this article series, Dr. Jennie Hwang writes that a plausible theory of tin whisker growth can be postulated through deliberating the combination and confluence of several key metallurgical processes.

Reliability Study of Bottom Terminated Components (Part 2)

In the finale of this two-part article series, the authors discussed their thermal cycle tests, as well as the impact of solder voids in the thermal pad of the BTC. They also touched on BTC thermal modeling, as well as determined the acceptable amount of solder voiding in a thermal pad for devices with power dissipation greater than 3W.

Reliability Study of Bottom Terminated Components (Part 1)

This article series discusses bottom terminated components (BTC), and the stress and strain on these components when it comes to solder joints. In Part 1, the authors look at the impact of large voids at the thermal pads of BTC components and their impact on solder joint reliability.

EIPC Summer Conference: Day 2

Refreshed after an excellent conference dinner, and for most, a good night’s sleep, delegates returned for the second day of the EIPC Summer Conference in Berlin, continuing the theme of improving profitability through technical leadership and innovation to meet future market requirements, with sessions on materials and processes for high performance PCBs and advanced material testing strategies to meet OEM and ODM needs.

EIPC Summer Conference, Berlin: Day 1

Berlin, capital of Germany and a world city of culture, politics, media and science, was the venue for the 2015 EIPC Summer Conference, which attracted delegates from sixteen countries, including Russia, Hong Kong, Japan, Israel, USA and Canada, as well as the European Union, to experience a programme of 21 technical presentations over two days. Also included was a visit to the Berlin laboratories of Fraunhofer Institute, Europe’s largest application-oriented research organisation.

Taking the Human Out of Hand Soldering: Is it a Must?

At the recent NEPCON Show in Shanghai, I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties stopped by the WKK booth where Japan Unix (represented by WKK in China) was displaying its new robotic soldering technology. In this interview, General Manager Hirofumi Kono explains why this new technology makes so much sense.

Solder Paste Printing: Quality Assurance Methodology

In this article, Lars Bruno and Tord Johnson describes a method to ensure quality secured data from both solder paste printers and inspection machines in electronic assembly manufacturing.

NEPCON China 2015 a Resounding Success in Shanghai

The three-day event was a complete success, bringing together nearly 22,000 trade visitors and high-quality buyers, as well as 450 leading brand names from 22 countries and regions worldwide. NEPCON China keeps up with market trends and gathers resources from all stakeholders to present a comprehensive event that covers SMT, new electronics materials, soldering, dispensing, electronics automation, measurement and other innovative technologies and products across the world.


IPC Plating Sub-committee 4-14: Surface Finish Specifications

IPC specifications are reference documents to be called out by designers and OEMs. Designers may take exception with one or more items in the specification to ensure that the product meets the requirements of its intended use. The acronym AAUBUS (as agreed upon between user and supplier) is part of any specification. Specifications are consensus documents. They are agreed upon by a panel of interested industry participants composed of suppliers, manufacturers, assembly houses (CMs) and end-users. The IPC Plating Sub-committee 4-14 is no exception.

A Look at Saki’s Approach to 2D, 3D and X-ray Technology

At NEPCON 2015, I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties sat down with Nori Koike, COO of Saki Japan, to discuss the latest demands for 3D and their approach to inspection. With more than 20 years of experience, they have built a line-up of tools that covers the inspection spectrum. Koike also stresses the importance of using inspection data as a tool to improve and automate the process.

Advances in Electronics Assembly Technology - SMART Group Seminar Preview

In a preview webinar to introduce the upcoming SMART Group seminar where the latest advances in assembly technology and reliability will be discussed by industry and subject experts, SMART Group Technical Committee members Charles Cawthorne from MBDA and Ian Fox from Controls and Data Services summarized the papers to be presented.

Material Witness: How About that Technical Roadmap!

You may remember the movie "What About Bob?" If you do, you may recall the scene in which Bob (Bill Murray) confronts his psychiatrist (Richard Dreyfuss) and emotes, “I need! I need! I need! Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!” As I thought recently about some of the drivers that IPC and others have incorporated into their technical roadmaps, I feel a bit like that befuddled psychiatrist.

CyberOptics: Honing in on the High-Reliability Market with 3D AOI and SPI Platforms

I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties and CyberOptics’ Sean Langbridge spent time together in China recently, where they discussed, among other things, the company’s newest product launch, a 3D AOI and SPI platform. Langbridge also discusses the latest requirements for inspection.

Reducing SMT Print Cycle Time: The Effects on Assembly Cost and Quality

Models have been available for over 10 years showing how reduced stencil wiping frequency can lower print cycle time. More recently, solder paste formulations have been widely adapted that offer higher transfer efficiencies at small area ratios when subjected to higher sheer forces associated with faster squeegee speed and pressure over the stencil. This article shows how these two cycle time reducers increase throughput when the print step is the rate controller in an SMT process.

Jetting Strategies for mBGAs: A Question of Give and Take

Among the alternatives for the deposition of solder paste and other fluids on a PCB is jetting, which offers advantages concerning precise volume repeatability, software control and local volume control. The goal of this study is to examine the effect of piezo actuation profile on deposit quality with respect to positioning, shape and satellite levels in order to achieve adequate deposition quality for applications such as 0.4 mm BGA.

A Conversation (and Day) with Joe Fjelstad Part 4

We continue the conversation as it turns to the more technically focused area of disruptive technology. The method Joe has been demonstrating for years now is one which is poised to offer dramatic increases in electronic reliability while decreasing overall cost through the elimination of solder--a cornerstone concept of what has been coined as Occam technology.

Position Accuracy Machines for Selective Soldering of Fine-Pitch Components

Selective soldering is a reliable soldering process for THT connectors and offers a wide process window for designers. But selective soldering is a different process. Compared to wave soldering, there are additional process parameters that are affected by the higher temperatures.

Reliability Assessment of No-clean and Water-soluble Solder Pastes, Part II

Twenty-five years ago, solder paste residues had to be cleaned after reflow due to their corrosive nature: two ways of cleaning were available, either with solvent or by using water, with or without detergent. Now, the assembly world is mainly no-clean: paste formulation is safer in terms of chemical reliability and process costs are reduced without cleaning.


Reflow Profiling on the Electrical Reliability of No-Clean Solder Paste Flux Residues

Optimization of a reflow profile often focuses on mitigating defects such as voiding, tombstoning, graping, and slumping/bridging. But little thought is given to the reflow profile’s effect on the electrical reliability of the no-clean flux residue. Because of the wide variation in size and thermal density of SMT components and PCBs, achieving a reflow profile that equally heats the entire assembly can be challenging and often impossible.

A Conversation (and Day) with Joe Fjelstad, Part 2

In Part 2 of this multi-part interview series, Verdant Electronics Founder and CEO Joe Fjelstad, and I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties discuss the future of what’s to come for the electronics industry, which, according to Fjelstad, has a lot to do with where we’ve just been in our quest for lead-free manufacturing. He also offers his view on the natural order of the evolution of personal political persuasions.

A Conversation (and Day) with Joe Fjelstad, Part 1

I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties and industry veteran Joe Fjelstad, CEO and founder of Verdant Electronics, met recently to spend a day together enjoying the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum (home of the Spruce Goose), located in the Oregon community of McMinnville. Their conversation ebbed and flowed between a wide variety of topics, from the electronics industry, to political shenanigans and the “war against failure.” In Part 1 of this multi-part series, Fjelstad introduces his “war against failure” idea, and what went terribly wrong in the advent of lead-free manufacturing.

Solder Paste Stencil Design for Optimal QFN Yield and Reliability

Over the past 15 years, the implementation of the QFN/BTC package has garnered a great amount of attention due to the assembly and inspection process challenges associated with the package. The difference in solder application parameters between the center pad and the perimeter pads complicates stencil design, and must be given special attention to balance the dissimilar requirements.

Benefits of Soldering with Vacuum Profiles

Requirements for void-free solder joints are continuously increasing in the field of electronics manufacturing, bringing new challenges that are evolving on a daily basis due to the relentless introduction of new variants of so-called bottom-terminated components (BTCs). Connector geometries alone are not decisive—numerous pitfalls are of greater significance.

The Importance of Solder Process Expertise

Alpha's Marketing Manager for the Americas Robert Wallace talks with Guest Editor Kelly Dack about the company's new products such as solder preforms shaped like passive components and low temperature solder alloy pastes, as well as other innovations that the company is doing.

Product Line Philosophy: Start Small...End Big

Ralph Savage, CEO of EasyBraid, talks to Kelly Dack about his company started their business, as well as some of the activites and technologies they are doing now, such as desoldering, stencil cleaning and a soldering technology based on the Curie principle. He also discussed the company's strategy in bringing world-class technology into the United States.

Upping the U.S. Service Level of Chinese Manufacturing

Eddie Tang of Glory Faith and Yash Sutariya, president of Alpha Circuit discuss the unique business relationship between their companies. Alpha provides consulting and technical service in North America for GF, including rework and emergency manufacturing capability in its North American plants.

Tin Whisker Risk Assessment of a Tin Surface Finished Connector

Rockwell Collins initially investigated and qualified Samtec’s SEARAY solder charge connector technology with a focus on solder joint integrity. However, the connector in question was found to have a potential risk of tin whiskers due to a small region of the connector that was not protected by either solder poisoning or the connector’s mechanical configuration.

The Unpredictability of Tin Whiskers Endures

Into decade number two of the European Union’s RoHS and REACH restrictions for the use of lead in electronic components, the risk of tin whiskers in critical circuitry continues. This article will explore a tin whisker mitigation process for surface mount electronic components applicable to both passive and active components.


Tin Whisker Growth on the Surface of Tin-Rich Lead-Free Alloys

This article presents the results of energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) studies showing the relationship between tin whisker formation and copper and oxygen surface content in whisker neighborhood.

Tin Whiskers: Why Testing Temperature Can Change the Outcome

Tin whisker phenomena have been observed and its potential mishaps have been recognized for more than six decades in electronic, electrical and industrial applications. In this article, Dr. Jennie Hwang discusses why temperature is one of the key variables that drive the tin whisker phenomenon, mechanism and how the underlying science operates.

Advanced Printing for Microelectronic Packaging

The concept of dispensing a wide range of materials in three dimensions presents a potential change in electronic packaging. This article will cover the concept of combining dispensing technologies on a single platform to build integrated and monolithic electronic structural circuits.

Risk and Mitigation for Tin Whiskers and Tin Pest

In this article, Dr. Ronald C. Lasky provides a semi-quantitative analysis of the effect of these risk and mitigation strategies on tin pest and tin whisker risk.

Minimizing the Risk of Tin Whisker Formation in Lead-Free Assemblies

Although tin whiskers are very small crystalline fibers, they have reportedly caused multiple NASA satellites to become inoperable, automotive accelerator pedals to become unusable and a nuclear reactor to malfunction. The risk, however, can be minimized by specifying material sets that are less likely to produce tin whiskers.

2015 EIPC Winter Conference, Munich: Day 1 Review

Ninety delegates, eleven countries represented and a thought-provoking two-day programme on themes of reliability in PCB fabrication and assembly, copper cleaning and advanced material solutions, advanced imaging and soldermask, and how to make PCBs smart and ready for Industry 4.0. Add the further attractions of a keynote by Walt Custer and the chance to visit a military aircraft assembly plant: the formula for another highly successful EIPC Conference, this time close to Munich Airport.

RPS to Exhibit Multiple Systems at IPC APEX

RPS Automation LLC has made plans to display four systems from their Selective Soldering line at the upcoming IPC APEX EXPO in San Diego, February 24-26.

SMTA: Call for Papers for 2015 Events

SMTA announces abstracts are now being accepted for several events taking place in 2015. All submissions must be non-commercial in nature and focus on technology research rather than a company product.

Rework Challenges for Smartphones and Tablets

The implementation of surface-mount devices is crucial for smartphone manufacturers, offering increased component density and improved performance. Mobile products generally use an epoxy underfill to adhere components to the PCB to meet the mechanical strength requirements of a drop test. Reworking glued components is the most difficult application in the electronics industry, and must be addressed as a process.

High-reliability, Pb-free, Halogen-free Solder

This paper from Ian Wilding and Gavin Jackson addresses the performance of a specifically designed lead-free solder alloy for increased reliability in high-temperature thermal cycling. It also documents the challenges and breakthroughs in developing halogen-free or zero-halogen solder fluxes compatible with the lead-free alloy specifically designed for higher reliability.


Assembly and the Quest for Solder Alloy-Free Electronics (SAFE)

"As first brush, the title's suggestion that solder can be eliminated from the assembly process may appear absurd. Everyone related in any way to this industry knows solder is the universally accepted way of connecting components to printed circuits in electronic assemblies. Thus, the fact that many knowledgeable people in the industry might scoff at the notion solder can be eliminated comes both without surprise and a certain amount of resignation," writes Joe Fjelstad.

Assembly with Solder - An Unblinking Look at

While soldering holds many benefits in terms of offering a means of mass assembly of components to PCBs and is fundamentally simple, its application is much more complex and fraught with opportunity for defects to be generated, but it is also the demon we have elected to live with, for as the old saying suggests: "Better is the devil we know."

Maximizing Lead-free Wetting

This article examines the findings of several studies using quantitative wetting gauges to measure solder-paste wetting to PCB surfaces.
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