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Creating a Healthy Work Environment
01/19/2018 | Stephen Las Marias, I-Connect007
7 Simple Ways to Motivate Your Electronics Manufacturing Staff
01/18/2018 | Neil Sharp, JJS Manufacturing
The Importance of Product Testing for Quality, Reliability and Durability
01/17/2018 | Patty Rasmussen, East West Manufacturing
Assigning IDs Within the Internet of Things
01/16/2018 | Hubertus Grobbel, Swissbit AG
Improving Design, Manufacturing and Assembly Teamwork
01/15/2018 | Syrma Technology
SMT :: Business
7 Simple Ways to Motivate Your Electronics Manufacturing Staff
Your manufacturing staff are the backbone of your electronics manufacturing organization. They are the ones showing up day in. day out to build products for your customers. So, keeping them motivated and engaged should be a priority, right? But too often during peak production periods, surmounting pressure can lead to staff feeling overworked, demoralized, and underappreciated.
Improving Design, Manufacturing and Assembly Teamwork
Many electronics manufacturers tend to compartmentalize or "silo" their departments, such as the design team versus assembly-related functions. The relationship between design and manufacturing can too often be disconnected or otherwise poor, which stalls productivity and increases bottom-line costs. By identifying and addressing these gaps, this financial hemorrhage can be reduced, and profitability increased.
Is UK Manufacturing Ready for the Fourth Industrial Revolution?
The new fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is driving the transformation of manufacturing across the world, encompassing breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, big data, the Internet of Things and 3D printing. And according to the World Economic Forum's Klaus Schwab, when compared with previous industrial revolutions, the fourth is evolving at an exponential rather than a linear pace.
Recent Innovations in DFMA
Software, electronics and sensors are making their way into the world of product design. New composites, plastics and alloys are replacing traditional metals. Designs are even reducing the carbon footprint of manufacturers, and more products can be recycled when they reach the end of their use.
Configure to Order: Different by Design
When considering implementation of Industry 4.0 solutions, following the hype in the market, attention typically is focused on the need for communication between machines on the shop-floor. Knowing what is currently executing and the status of each process in the factory, as well as all the related resources and support operations, provides critical information for Industry 4.0 computerized management systems.
Focus on the New
It seems like it wasn't too long ago when I was writing about the optimism of the electronics manufacturing and assembly industry going into 2017. Now, here we are again at the beginning of the new year, looking at new trends, disruptive technologies, and emerging markets for 2018. I am also proud to announce our new branding as well as our fresh, new look.
Why You Want Your EMS Partner to Be Annoying and Boring
Outsourcing part or all of your manufacturing to an electronics manufacturing service (EMS) provider can be daunting. Handing over some of the control of your business can be a scary prospect.
Top 10 Most-Read SMT007 Columns of 2017
Another year is over in the SMT industry. 2017 saw a myriad of hot topics, including Industry 4.0, the millennials’ entry into the manufacturing space, and alternative solder materials, to name a few. Without further ado, here are the Top 10 columns from SMT007 over the past year.
Top 10 Most-Read SMT Articles of 2017
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.
Customers Drive Investment Decisions
In our recent survey on investing in new equipment, one question we asked is what or who influences the research into new equipment to buy for their factories. A majority, 77% of respondents, say that addressing customers’ needs is the primary influence in their research for new equipment, followed by market conditions or trends.
Insights from productronica
The recently held productronica was a busy exhibition. There were booths that were so crowded that people were standing in the aisle to talk with company representatives. But some booths were nearly empty. Read to find Dieter G. Weiss' comments on this biennial show.
Tips & Tricks: What to Do if You Can't Have Reference Designators on Your Board
Sometimes, you can't have reference designators on your board. Perhaps it's because it's too densely populated and there isn't room. Or maybe, for aesthetic reasons, you've chosen to leave them off. Here's how you can address that issue.
What Matters Most is Communication
While there may be new techniques and strategies, technologies, equipment, tools, and materials to employ and utilize, there is always one thing that will ensure the manufacturing/ assembly success of your product: communication. Communication between the designer and the assembler will help improve the manufacturability and assembly of the final product—even before the board design gets fabricated.
Is Your EMS Provider The One for You?
No matter where you are in your outsourcing journey, ensuring that your EMS provider is right for you is one of the most important success factors. The right partner should bring you years of pain-free manufacturing that has the ability to evolve and adapt to your needs as your business grows.
How to Ensure Good Service from Your EMS Partner
What does good service mean from an EMS provider? Sure, it’s about consistently delivering products, on time, and to a high quality. But there's more to it than that. This article highlights two factors to consider when choosing an EMS provider to ensure good service and a strong, healthy and happy outsourcing partnership.
Video from productronica 2017: Heraeus Highlights Need for Highly Reliable and Compatible Assembly Materials
At the recent productronica 2017 event in Munich, Germany, Stefan Merlau, global product manager of assembly materials for Heraeus Electronics, discusses with I-Connect007 Managing Editor Andy Shaughnessy the biggest pain points of their customers, and how his company’s latest technologies are helping them address these issues. He also speaks about their outlook for the industry going into the new year.
Video from productronica 2017: Koh Young Focuses on Total Inspection Solution
At the show floor of productronica 2017, I-Connect007 Technical Editor Pete Starkey speaks with Managing Director Harald Eppinger of Koh Young Europe GmbH about the principles of Koh Young’s total 3D inspection solution for SMT process optimization and yield improvement.
Video from productronica 2017: Mycronic Discusses Precision Jetting Systems
From the show floor during productronica 2017, Clemens Jargon, VP of Global Dispensing at Mycronic, discusses with I-Connect007 Technical Editor Pete Starkey the company’s portfolio of precision jetting equipment, with particular reference to the speed and versatility of the MYSmart series.
Blockchain for Manufacturing: What are the Opportunities?
Blockchain is one of the hottest topics in the tech world, and a buzzword that’s been popping up quite a bit over the last year or so. It is said to have the potential to radically simplify many business processes, by reducing risk and boosting transparency. In the manufacturing world, what are its opportunities?
Video from productronica 2017: Nordson ASYMTEK Highlights Bulk Dispensing Technology
At this week’s productronica, Nordson ASYMTEK highlights its the new Helios SD960 bulk and two-component dispensing system. Almar Thewissen, program manager for Industrial Applications, EMEA, at Nordson, discusses its applications with I-Connect007 Technical Editor Pete Starkey.
Video from productronica 2017: Goepel Highlights Updates on X-Line 3D In-line System
At productronica 2017 in Munich, Germany, Goepel electronic's Andreas Turk, head of AXI Systems, explains the latest enhancements to their X-Line 3D in-line system for high-end inspection. He also discusses the benefits of the Stingray Detector option.
Optimal Electronics Sets Sight on Growth
In an interview with SMT Magazine, Dr. Ranko Vujosevic, CEO and CTO of Optimal Electronics, speaks about the latest technology developments at his company, and his plans to sustain growth. He also talks about his paper on lights-out electronics assembly, the technologies that would support this vision, and the ultimate goal of Industry 4.0.
What Does an OEM Really Gain from Outsourcing their Manufacturing?
But what does an OEM really gain when they make the move from an in-house manufacturing operation to an outsourced one? This article looks at two key benefits OEMs stand to gain once they relinquish control and hand over their production responsibility to an EMS provider.
Surprising European EMS Market Numbers
If you think market analysis is always correct and predict the future exactly, you are mistaken. The latest annual reports from EMS companies with manufacturing sites in Europe have changed the picture on the European EMS industry quite a bit and caught us by surprise. Yes, you read that correctly: SURPRISE.
Should I Involve My EMS Partner in DFM?
OEMs are seeking the support of EMS providers with more than just manufacturing, but with design elements too. One of the main design services EMS providers will be likely to offer is design for manufacture (DFM). This article highlights why engaging your EMS partner in DFM is worthwhile, and will be valuable in securing the longevity of your product.
Joining Forces: SMTA and the SMART Group in Europe
Tanya Martin, executive director at SMTA, and Keith Bryant, global director of sales for YXLON International and chairman of the SMART Group, speak with I-Connect007 Managing Editor Patty Goldman about the latest initiatives within their associations, and discuss some interesting news about an upcoming merger.
Counterfeit: A Quality Conundrum
The rise in the ingress of counterfeit materials into the supply chain has made them prolific, though yet, the extent is understated. What needs to be faced now is the need for incoming inspection, but at what cost to industry, and does anyone remember how to do it?
Eight Factors a CEM Should Know About its Suppliers
Selecting a contract electronics manufacturer (CEM) that fits well with your outsourcing strategy can be a difficult and long process. But, by taking the time to research and investigate potential shortlisted partners, you are much more likely to reap the benefits further down the line.
Three Reasons to Use PCB Panel Routing Techniques
Most PCBs are individually routed—meaning they're not panelized. That doesn't mean that, sometimes, sending them to a PCB assembler in a panel isn't a good idea or even required. Generally, assemblers don't require panels, but there are some cases when they do.
RTW SMTAI: How Automation and Government Support Can Help Reshoring Drive
Alex Malek, vice president of sales and service for North America of SAKI, speaks with I-Connect007 Managing Editor Andy Shaughnessy about how automation and government investment can help bring back manufacturing jobs from overseas.
Institute of Circuit Technology Hayling Island Seminar 2017
This year’s event had a well-chosen and varied programme featuring presentations on process chemistry and R&D consortia, a discussion of controversial standards proposals and a review of the experiences of commissioning new technology in a start-up factory.
Is Hybrid Technology Gaining Momentum?
Over the past 20 years, ceramic hybrids have changed more and more to a backyard living in the European electronics industry, mainly driven by price pressure, specifically from the automotive electronics industry.
IPC’s David Bergman on Industry Training and Education
David Bergman, vice president of standards and technology at IPC, talks about the biggest issues facing the electronics manufacturing industry now. He also explains how the organization helps elevate the industry through its training, continuous education, and standards development.
How to Prevent Suspect Components from Entering Your Supply Chain
The success of any supply chain relies on quality and stability. If either of these elements are threatened, OEMs or their EMS provider will struggle to ensure supply chain excellence. Unfortunately, with the risk of counterfeit and other suspect components ever present, this can sometimes be difficult to achieve.
The Root Causes & Solutions for Warped PC Boards
There are two primary types of causes of board warping: process related at the fab or assembly shop, and layout related issues. If it's warped before assembly, it's between fab and layout. If it's flat before assembly and warped after, it's most likely between layout and assembly. That said, sometimes a fab problem won't show up until a pass through the reflow oven at your assembly partner.
RTW SMTAI: Alpha Discusses Solder Dross Reclamation
At the recent SMTA International 2017 exhibition in Rosemont, Illinois, Mitch Holtzer, director of Americas Reclaim Business of Alpha Assembly Solutions, talks with Managing Editor Andy Shaughnessy about the solder dross reclamation process, and discusses his new role in leading Alpha’s reclamation business.
Implementing a Capacity Planning Tool
One of the more common challenges we see in the EMS world is that through the outsourcing of their manufacturing, many OEMs have forgotten the fundamentals of supply chain management and expect quick turnaround on orders without taking into consideration the whole supply chain constraints or the impact of not providing accurate forecasts to the EMS partner.
RTW SMTAI: Gary Tanel Discusses How SMTA Helps the Industry Evolve
At the SMTA International 2017 exhibition in Rosemont, Illinois, Gary Tanel, president of the SMTA Dallas Chapter, speaks with I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties on a myriad of topics, including the goal of the SMTA as an industry association, and how it is helping the industry evolve. They also discussed challenges and strategies in bringing more young people to the industry.
What's Up in Scandinavia's EMS Industry?
Scandinavia, consisting of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland, is relatively small in regards to the overall European EMS revenues, and counts for less than 6% of the European EMS production value. Nevertheless, more than 160 companies offer EMS services, not to mention companies who only manufacture cable harnesses or just do design work, box building, and after-sales services.
Does My Outsourcing Project Fit with the EMS Provider's Strategy?
Once a decision has been made to outsource your electronics manufacturing, the next step is to find a suitable partner. This article highlights some of the questions, checks and balances a good EMS company will carry out before deciding to quote or partner with an OEM. Hopefully, by providing this insight, you will be better placed to find the right supplier for your outsourcing project.
Should You Entrust Your EMS Provider With Your Supply Chain?
Managing your supply chain can be time consuming and expensive and, more importantly, it can distract you away from other key activities such as sales, marketing and product design. As an OEM, however, it's unlikely that your supply chain is a 'core' activity, that is, something that adds real value to your customers. So, what are your options?
The Past and the Future of the European EMS Industry
The EMS industry in Europe is still in a growth stage of its life cycle. This does not mean that there is enough space for everybody. Looking back over the past 10 years, we have seen tremendous changes in the number of companies, counting every separate legal entity.
Cybersecurity: 4 Things OEMs Should Do to Protect Themselves
Manufacturing has been declared one of the top three most targeted industries for cyber attacks. While Industry 4.0 and expansion into cyber-physical systems will have a positive impact on the industry in terms of increasing efficiency, they open the door to even more security risks such as a hacker taking over production, or changing the output of the manufacturing process.
RTW NEPCON South China: Keith Bryant Discusses New Role and Goals at YXLON
Keith Bryant, the newly appointed Global Director of Electronics Sales at YXLON International, talks about his new role and goals at the company.
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.
It was Acceptable in the Noughties
In many software products for manufacturing, the common approach previously was to show as many as possible, if not all, of the various data elements about products, machines and processes to engineers, who liked to feel totally in control of what they were doing. The need, however, to manage complex databases, to have detailed views of values and attributes of anything in the digital domain, rapidly became a major distraction to people performing their designated roles.
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.
Your 6-Point Guide to Finding the Right EMS Provider
If you have already outsourced part or all of your electronics manufacturing operation, then you'll already have a good understanding of what's expected. But, if you're looking to move EMS providers, then chances are something didn't go according to plan the first time. To avoid making the same mistake twice, or if you are considering outsourcing for the very first time, here are six points we recommend you consider to help find the right assembly partner for you.
Sourcing PCBA: Can Your EMS Supplier Do More?
You're in the market for some PCB assemblies for your new product and you need to find the right supplier. You've looked online, gotten recommendations from friends, and the choices are dizzying. Should you look domestically or overseas? What do you do now? Sourcing PCBA doesn't have to be difficult, but there are questions you need to answer.
The Ever Greener Grass
What we think we know is a less dynamic concept than actual reality. So many things progress so quickly, that we either as individuals or organizations, simply cannot keep up any longer. How then do we know whether the grass is really greener on the other side if we are not able to see clearly what is happening?
Empowering the Workforce Through Training: An Investment Return
Electronics manufacturers should take training seriously at all levels. To remain viable and competitive, it’s vital that they keep up with the latest technologies and practices in the electronics field. Perhaps more importantly, investment in employees keeps them engaged and excited in the performance of their daily work. Learning new methods and being exposed to new ideas is pivotal to personal growth.
What to Expect During the First Months of Trading with an EMS Provider
The start of an outsourcing partnership is an exciting time for an OEM, but it's also one that can be daunting. However much you've prepared for that big moment when you hand over responsibility for part or all of your manufacturing operation to your chosen EMS provider, it's still normal to question if you are making the right decision. This article explores five key areas that you and your chosen EMS partner should focus on during the initial months.
The EMS Skills Gap Epidemic
The manufacturing skills gap is real. Interviews with EMS industry executives across the country are united in their top concern for their businesses: finding new talent. Manufacturers can no longer afford to wait. It is time to educate and train the next generation of manufacturing.
6 Tips to Secure New Talent in Electronics Manufacturing
Closing the skills gap in engineering and electronics manufacturing is a topic that comes up for discussion time and time again. And many SMEs and large international companies within the industry have already taken positive steps to meet the demand for attracting and securing highly-skilled new talent.
How Much of My Electronics Manufacturing Should I Outsource?
Once you have decided to outsource to an EMS partner, you need to think about how much of your existing operation you plan to relinquish. This article looks at four distinct areas OEMs outsource—procurement, assembly, test and logistics—explores the benefits associated with relinquishing each of these, and highlights a number of questions that must be considered before any final decision is made.
The Need for Assembly Training and Education
While investing in the latest technologies and having a systems-based approach in your assembly processes are important, the key factors that will make you successful in your continuous improvement goal are the skills, training, and education of your workforce. However you look at it, the human factor remains a critical issue when it comes to your overall efficiency.
4 Ways Your EMS Partner Can Respond to Supply Chain Disruption
When disruptions to the electronic component supply chain occur, they are painful. Lead-times can extend overnight, prices can treble, and in some cases, parts are placed on allocation or discontinued altogether. These concerns amplify the need for EMS firms to have practices in place for dealing with supply chain disruption. This article discusses four ways your EMS partner can mitigate risks to your supply chain.
Perspectives from a First-Timer
Brad Heath, president and CEO of EMS company VirTex, is a first-time attendee of IMPACT Washington D.C. In an interview with I-Connect007 Managing Editor Patty Goldman, he talks about his impressions of the recent IMPACT Washington D.C. event, and how he thinks the industry benefits from such meetings with the policy makers in the government.
STI Electronics' Dave Raby Shares His Insights on IMPACT Washington DC 2017
During the recent IMPACT Washington D.C. 2017 event, I-Connect007 Managing Editor Patty Goldman caught up with Dave Raby, president and CEO of EMS firm STI Electronics, to discuss about the event and their meetings with representatives of the government that came over to hear what the collective electronics manufacturing industry has to say.
Mil/Aero Assembly Success
Davina McDonnell, director of marketing at Michigan-based EMS firm Saline Lectronics, discusses the latest technology and business trends driving the military and aerospace industries, the challenges in these markets—including supply chain issues such as obsolete parts and counterfeit components—and their strategies to stay ahead of the competition.
Field Failure is Not an Option
Audra Gavelis of IEC Electronics Corp. discusses the current challenges in electronics assembly for the military and aerospace markets and the new requirements they are getting from their customers. She also talks about strategies in dealing with component obsolescence and lifecycle issues, and new compliance issues that contract manufacturers are facing.
Four Ways to Buy Electronic Components and the Pros and Cons of Each
When you buy electronic components, there are a number of different supplier types available to you or your EMS partner. From dealing direct with an electronic manufacturer through to using brokers, there are benefits and pitfalls associated with each.
An Alternative Approach to Vertical Integration in Manufacturing
The days of OEMs owning large vertically integrated manufacturing assets are gone and will probably never return. Oddly, the large vertically integrated manufacturing capability of the OEMs started to be dismantled by the emergence of the EMS companies. Now, some of these same EMS companies are adopting the same, vertically integrated solutions themselves.
Does Your EMS Provider Have an Industry 4.0 Roadmap?
At its simplest level, the Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0, is about automation and connectivity. This should lead to faster, more efficient manufacturing--and therefore advantageous pricing. Additionally, it might also mean that products can be made in a different way. For example, new processes might allow late customization or configuration, faster delivery, or enhanced quality.
The Importance of Supplier Training
The human factor remains a critical issue when it comes to the overall efficiency of your PCB assembly lines. But how do you make sure your operators, engineers and supervisors have the proper knowledge and skill sets to perform at their peak levels, day in and day out?
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.
Is Configure to Order Manufacturing the Right Strategy for Me?
This article looks at what the term Configure to Order (CTO) means, the importance of supply chain management, where responsibilities lie when setting up new agreements with an EMS provider, and some of the benefits OEMs can expect to see when adopting a CTO strategy.
EMS Firm Tsukiden Electronics Seeing More Business in Prototypes
At the recent Philippine Semiconductor and Electronics Convention and Exhibition (PSECE) held in Manila, Karen Flordiles, marketing supervisor at EMS firm Tsukiden Electronics Philippines Inc., talks about their customers' changing requirements and their manufacturing challenges. She also discussed new opportunities they are seeing in the EMS sector.
Technology Enabler Highlights Benefits of Having Design Services for an EMS Firm
At the 14th Philippine Semiconductor and Electronics Convention and Exhibition (PSECE) held last week in Manila, Robin Ramiso, design and development manager at Technology Enabler, discusses their activities, and the benefits of having a design services team for an EMS company with I-Connect007 Managing Editor Stephen Las Marias.
The Significance of the PCB in the Value Chain of the European EMS Industry
At SMT Nuremberg, Pete Starkey meets with Dieter Weiss, who comments upon the significance of the PCB in the value chain of the European EMS industry, and looks to a future where we embrace an open-minded attitude and a willingness to work together.
A New Player in the Philippine EMS Industry
There's a new EMS player in town. Come August 2017, Artem Global, a startup EMS firm in the Philippines, will start manufacturing operations, with services ranging from PCB assembly to box build, and even turnkey services. I-Connect007 Managing Editor Stephen Las Marias caught up with Artem Managing Director Art Ledonio at last week's PSECE event in Manila.
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.
How to Make a Bad First Impression with an EMS Provider
Like any relationship, starting off on the wrong foot when finding an EMS provider can quickly trip you up and become painful in the long term. Regardless of the 'why', here are some good examples of what not to do when first approaching a potential EMS provider. This way, you can make sure that you don't end up wasting valuable time and effort finding the wrong EMS provider for your business.
Why You Should Have Formal Business Reviews with Your EMS Provider
Your working relationship with your EMS provider is fundamentally a partnership. Therefore, it's important to ensure that you carve out time to meet with your EMS provider on a frequent basis – even if you are feeling particularly pleased about having handed over responsibility to them.
HDP User Group 2017 European Meeting Highlights Technology Progress
The conference facility at the offices of Oracle, in the royal burgh of Linlithgow in West Lothian, Scotland, was the venue for the 2017 European meeting of the High Density Packaging User Group. I was delighted and privileged to be invited once again to sit in on the open session, an intense programme of technical presentations and discussions, project reviews, status updates and new project proposals.
The Benefits of Postponement Manufacturing When Outsourcing
With the world changing at an incredible pace, OEMs agile enough to respond rapidly to customer demand stand a greater chance of survival compared to those that are not. This article looks into the late stage configuration technique and some of the benefits an OEM can expect to gain when outsourcing to an EMS provider that offers this service.
RTW NEPCON CHINA: Mycronic Meets High-volume Demand with Solder Jet Printing
Mycronic VP for Global Dispensing and Managing Director Clemens Jargon discusses how the flexibility of solder jet printing helps reduce downtime in the line, thus increasing total line speed and enabling it to keep up with high-volume demand.
Business and Technical Developments at Super Dry Totech
At the recent SMT Hybrid Packaging show in Nuremberg, Germany, I-Connect007 Technical Editor Pete Starkey visits Super Dry Totech and spends a few minutes with CEO Jos Brehler and Sales Manager Terry Morgan to talk about the rationale behind ASYS Group's acquisition of stake in Super Dry Totech, as well as the latest technology developments happening at the company.
RTW NEPCON China: Data I/O on Securing the Supply Chain
At the recent NEPCON China show in Shanghai, Anthony Ambrose, president and CEO of Data I/O Corp., discusses the cybersecurity challenges facing the electronics manufacturing industry today amid the proliferation of connected devices and the Internet of Things.
Grow Your Own Training Programs
Negative connotations about manufacturing jobs as dirty, repetitive, and boring have plagued the industry for the last 20 years. Manufacturing lacks the sex appeal that jobs in tech use to entice potential employees. Due to the great shortage of skilled workers and the lackluster image of the industry, manufacturing companies have had to re-evaluate and re-design their HR strategies to recruit, hire and train new employees.
The Role of an Account Manager Within an EMS Provider
How do you start to compare EMS providers when it comes to their account management team? Does it really matter what role they play? And how crucial do you believe they are in helping you achieve your outsourcing objectives? This article looks in-depth at some of the common activities an account manager typically carries out on your behalf when you decide to partner with an EMS provider.
Mentor Graphics: Connecting the Manufacturing Environment
Oren Manor serves as the director of business development for Mentor Graphics Valor Division. In this interview with SMT Magazine, Manor discusses the latest updates in their OML community, their case study regarding Phoenix Contact’s implementation of their IoT solution in its facilities, and what’s new in ODB++.
Why You Shouldn't Hide Your Supply Chain Issues
From a natural or man-made disaster that is completely out of your control to a breakdown in communication, there are many reasons why an OEM might find themselves faced with a problem in their supply chain. Whatever the reason for the disruption, one thing is certain: if you are planning to work with, or are already working with, an EMS provider, you shouldn't hide your supply chain issues.
Enhancing Recruitment Efforts with Public-Private Partnerships
After nearly two decades of the dominance of the service economy, manufacturers in all industries have a challenge: recruiting and training the next generation of manufacturing employees. This article details how one EMS company has been addressing that challenge through collaborative efforts with educational institutions, other businesses and regional support networks.
SMTA West Penn Expo: Who Says There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch!
Bill Capen of DRS Technologies, the president of the SMTA West Pennsylvania Chapter, speaks with I-Connect007's Patty Goldman about the recent West Penn Expo & Tech Forum. He also talks about the group's upcoming chapter meetings this year, and the latest developments happening in the military segment.
Manufacturing Through the Eyes of Human Resources, Recruitment and New Hire Training
Perhaps more important than the technology and tools a manufacturing company has are its people. People are what make a company truly great and the process of recruiting talented, skilled, dedicated employees and training them properly for success is an important aspect of any manufacturing company.
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.
Blackfox Program Trains Vets for Manufacturing Jobs
It's harder than ever for managers in the PCB manufacturing industry to find qualified staff, with some reporting that positions are remaining open for months at a time. On the other hand, there are thousands of soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines transitioning out of the service each year and seeking good jobs. In this interview, Allen Dill, president of Blackfox, discusses their program that offers manufacturing training to veterans, even while they are still in the military.
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.
RTW NEPCON China: Viscom Talks 3D AOI Developments
Guido Bornemann, head of sales for Asia at Viscom, speaks with I-Connect007 Editor Stephen Las Marias about inspection challenges such as false calls and improving first pass yields. He also talks about the latest developments in 3D AOI to address these issues as well as test strategies to achieve zero defects.
IMPACT Washington 2017 Just Around the Corner
IPC's Government Relations team has worked around-the-clock to ensure that IMPACT Washington D.C. 2017 is the best yet. During this two-and-a-half day event, executives from IPC-member companies will have the opportunity to speak with leaders in Congress and the Administration in support of our common priorities.
Virtex on Military and Aerospace Requirements
Brad Heath, VirTex CEO, and Upinder Singh, Vice President and General Manager at VirTex MTI, discuss their company's military and aerospace business, and how they are addressing the latest demands and requirements from their customers.
Your In-depth Guide to Reducing Electronics Manufacturing Waste
Waste is a common problem within the electronics manufacturing industry. Whether large volumes of faulty smartphones need recalling or small batches of complex PCB assemblies need reworking, waste can be time consuming and costly to rectify. This article discusses principles such as DMAIC, Six Sigma and Lean manufacturing to help you implement strategies to minimize your waste output.
The Building Blocks of Industry 4.0
At the recent IPC APEX EXPO, Kevin Decker-Weiss, director of sales at CircuitByte, joins panellist from Mentor Graphics and EMS firm Saline Lectronics in a roundtable on the building blocks of Industry 4.0 hosted by Scoop. Here is his take on that panel and the show.
Dry Storage Cabinets' Role in Industry 4.0
At IPC APEX EXPO 2017, Rich Heimsch, Super Dry’s Director of the Americas, discusses the electronics manufacturing industry’s different versions of Industry 4.0, and his company's strategies in dealing with all of them. He also talks about Super Dry's latest storage developments.
What are the Most Important Principles of Lean Manufacturing?
Lean manufacturing is nothing new, but it remains an important philosophy for manufacturers seeking to grow and effectively contend in a competitive, global environment. Essentially, it provides you with the tools to successfully identify and eliminate waste within your operation.
Should You Use Your CEM Partner's Direct Ship Fulfillment Services?
Gone are the days when OEMs simply outsourced their printed circuit board assemblies to contract electronic manufacturers (CEMs). Today, many CEMs offer a much broader range of services, including an end-to-end outsourcing solution – the end point of which is direct ship fulfillment, whereby the CEM sends fully manufactured and tested products directly to the end customer.
Successful, Long-Term Growth at Prime Technological Services
Publisher Barry Matties sat down with Prime Technological Services CEO Greg Chesnutt at IPC APEX EXPO, to glean how they continue to find success and have been able to maintain such an impressive growth rate over the last four years.
Conflict Minerals – A Mixed Message?
While the EU is taking a more considered but arguably progressive approach towards banning conflict minerals, the US, in contrast, looks to be heading towards a relaxation or even abandonment of its rules.
SMT Xtra Discusses Expansion Plans in the US
At the IPC APEX EXPO 2017 event in San Diego, SMT Xtra's Alexandra Stovin, marketing and public relations manager, and Paul Pittman, sales manager for the United States and Canada, speaks with I-Connect007 Technical Editor Pete Starkey about their company’s expansion plans in the U.S. and the benefits they offer their customers.
How Servitisation Can Enable Manufacturing Sales Growth
OEMs and EMS providers must implement strategies that enable sales growth – and one such strategy is servitisation, which is about putting the needs of your customers first.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Nordson Highlights Improvements in Dispensing and Conformal Coating Systems
Roberta J. Foster-Smith, global marketing communications manager for Nordson ASYMTEK, discusses the continued improvements in Nordson's dispensing and conformal coating equipment, especially when it comes to automation, precision and consistency in delivering ever-finer deposits to meet industry demands and customer needs.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO: 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.
How Can I Compare EMS Providers and Create My Shortlist?
Finding the right EMS provider for your business can be a challenge. And trying to compare EMS suppliers and create a shortlist is hard work. Unfortunately, there is no ultimate cheat sheet to help you find the perfect partner. But here's 15 or so questions that you may ask, in order to start collating meaningful data to be able to starting making informed comparisons between EMS providers you are considering partnering with.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Mentor Graphics Finishes Traceability Standard in Record Time
Michael Ford of Mentor Graphics and Editor Andy Shaughnessy discuss Mentor's work with traceability processes, including the new IPC traceability standard that was finished in record time.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Thomas Scales of Saline Lectronics Discusses Internet of Things
Thomas Scales of Saline Lectronics speaks with Guest Editor Dick Crowe about their company's approach to offering networking and process control solutions in the automated factory.
Industry 4.0: Nine Key Points Electronics Manufacturers Must Not Ignore
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is nothing if not massive and complicated. There is a huge amount of information out there, some useful and some perhaps less so. But, among the hype, there are a few consistent themes that really must not be ignored by manufacturers wishing to remain competitive in the future.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Electrolube Discusses New Conformal Coating Technologies
Phil Kinner, technical director of the coatings division at Electrolube, discusses with I-Connect007 Guest Editor Dick Crowe the latest trends happening in the coatings industry, and how their solutions help customers enhance the reliability of their electronics assemblies.
Real Time with...IPC: Cogiscan Discusses Connectivity Solutions to Enable Industry 4.0
Francois Monette, VP Sales and Marketing at Cogiscan Inc., talks about how the industry can meet the challenge of connecting different machines, software and enterprise systems to enable Industry 4.0 for the electronics assembly industry.
Real Time with...IPC: CalcuQuote on Risk Assessment and RFQ Management
Chintan Sutaria, president of CalcuQuote, discusses how their RFQ management system, with its risk assessment feature, helps EMS customers improve their supply chain. He also talks about their new BidCQ solution is improving the bidding process.
Real Time with...IPC: IPC Market Research Update
Sharon Starr updated everyone on the Market Research services, industry forecasting and research projects her group publishes. She also mentioned a "call to action" for a meeting tomorrow with IPC members, seeking input on needed metrics for their new Pulse of the Industry program she will be rolling out this year, which will be a "Industry Health Scorecard".
Real Time with...IPC: BEST Talks Rework Challenges and Opportunities
Bob Wettermann, president of BEST Inc., talks about the challenges in rework, and how his company is helping their customers address these problems. He also discusses his paper presentation at this week's technical conference.
Bringing SMT Assembly In-House: Case Studies of the Effects on Lead Time, Inventory, Quality, and Overall Cost
A growing number of low- to medium-volume manufacturers of specialized electronic products are reaping the rewards of bringing their SMT assembly in-house. How have some of these companies justified the cost of their endeavors? In this article, three OEM companies share their experiences.
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.
Help Wanted! Our 2017 Industry Hiring Survey
This month we conducted an industry survey on plans for hiring during the year. Included here is a summary of the results. We started by simply asking, “Do you plan to hire additional people this year?” More than half of the respondents answered yes while about a third said no—which we take as an optimistic sign that our industry plans to expand in 2017.
Investing in New Technologies
Electronics manufacturers are beginning to consider investing in new systems to take their processes to the next level. In our recent survey on the topic of new technology, the top reasons cited by manufacturers to invest in new technologies are to increase efficiency, improve yield, reduce cycle time, and the advance capability of the process.
Turning the Relationship Between the Electronic Product Assembly Employer and Recent Graduates Upside Down
The post-secondary educational system must change from being reactive to our industry’s (high tech electronic product assembly business) needs to being proactive. Students that graduate should act as change agents, challenging a company’s status quo by bringing the latest design, production equipment and process techniques to their new employers from their academic experience.
What to Look for When Auditing an Electronics Manufacturing Facility
Although a large amount of research can be carried out online when selecting an EMS partner, the only real way to satisfy an OEM whether an EMS provider will be a good fit or not is to meet the team and audit their processes. This article lists the approach many OEMs take and highlight some of the key questions they ask.
Reflections on 40 Years of Test and Measurement and What Lies Ahead
Dr. James Truchard, President, CEO, and Cofounder of National Instruments, has penned his reflections on the last 40 years driving and leading some of the greatest progress and innovations the test and measurement industry has seen. In the article, he also leaves us with his thoughts on how he envisions the future to be.
Understanding Rush PCB
I had an interesting interview recently with Rush PCB CEO Akber Roy, who goes by Roy. I was stunned by some of the things he told me about the Silicon Valley company, such as how Rush PCB can turn around full turn-key quotes in less than three hours. He also told me they can deliver full turn-key product in five days or less, sometimes three days.
Six Sigma: What is it and How is it Used in Electronics Manufacturing?
Six Sigma is a defined, data-driven methodology aimed at process improvement and consistent output in manufacturing. This article discusses how it is used in electronics manufacturing, and the benefits it offers companies that have implemented it.
A New Organizational Model Using Logic, Cost-Effectiveness and Customer Service, Part 2
In previous articles, Tom Borkes talked extensively about one of the controllable components of labor cost: the counterweight to competing against low labor rates—using automation to reduce labor content. Over the next few months he will drill down into the other controllable component of labor cost: indirect labor.
How to Choose Your Outsourcing Project Team
When you decide to outsource your manufacturing operation to an EMS provider, you not only have to choose the right partner – you also have to select your in-house outsourcing project team. With so many important decisions to make, it's easy to feel overwhelmed at times. But with the right people in situ, you will be perfectly placed to achieve success. Here's how you should go about assembling your outsourcing project team.
Editor's Note: Understanding Plating and Surface Finishing
This month’s issue of SMT Magazine focuses on the impact of plating and surface finishing in electronics assembly. True, plating and surface finishing may be more directly significant in PCB fabrication, but surely they are important issues as well when it comes to the assembly side. In fact, according to our recent survey, 82% of the respondents said surface finishing impacts their assembly process.
Breaking Down the Long, Complex Sales Cycle in the EMS Industry
The EMS industry is still considered a young industry, with roots based in the early contract manufacturing days of small harness and PCBA shops. This article discusses how the demand creation process has morphed since the EMS industry's birth around 30 or so years ago into what we might consider as typical in the contract electronics manufacturing industry today.
How to Build Up Trust in a Manufacturing Outsourcing Relationship
When you, as an OEM, entrust part or all of your manufacturing operation to an EMS provider, you want to know that this fundamental aspect of your business is in safe and capable hands. It takes time to establish trust. So how can you build it up into a strong and permanent structure? Read on.
Front Lines: Sales—a.k.a., Trench Warfare!
In his inaugural article for his column Front Lines, Craig Arcuri writes about sales—real sales—not pop sales ideas, not sales jargon of the day, not flavor of the month tactics. He talks about sales in the trenches, and provides simple steps to build a sales foundation that will help your company generate more sales.
Sales and Marketing in a Digital Transformation Reality
While many of the common sales and marketing best practices apply to the PCB assembly industry, however, deep manufacturing and electronics design expertise is required to truly drive customer interactions from one-off transactions into long and sustaining relationships as the industry goes through rapid change such as the larger involvement of a younger generation in the workforce, and the move to digital transformation and smart manufacturing.
EMS Industry Sales and Marketing: Why Strategies Vary Widely
In this article, Susan Mucha of Powell-Mucha Consulting explains why sales and marketing strategies vary widely in the EMS industry. She provides a case study of four EMS firms and their approach to the sales and marketing process.
The Business of Doing Good
This is the time of year when many people look back to what they have done so far to get a handle on goals for the coming year. Businesses also engage in the same year-end assessment, this time with greater focus on the things they have been doing right and how to improve on aspects that need more work.
Disaster Recovery Planning: What to Look for in an EMS Partner
While you're unlikely to encounter a catastrophic event in your electronics manufacturing outsourcing venture, it's nevertheless prudent to ensure that you work with an EMS partner who has the capabilities to deal with such a scenario if it should occur. So what should you look for in an EMS provider's disaster recovery policy, to ensure you're covered?
How to Avoid a PCB Supply Shortage During Chinese New Year
The post-Christmas blues are bad enough, but getting caught out by a PCB supply shortage due to the week-long Chinese New Year is likely to cause both you and your EMS partner significant pain. By assessing both your current and future demand, and then working closely with your PCB suppliers, EMS provider and end users, you can take a number of steps to minimize the risk to your business.
Editor's Note: Selling Success in the PCBA Industry
I am neither a salesperson nor a marketing person, but over the course of my editorial work, and through speaking to technology and systems providers in the electronics manufacturing industry, I have learned a few things when it comes to sales and marketing, namely, the importance of collaboration, positive relationships, and technical knowledge. For example, sales and marketing teams must work together to make sure deals get closed and contracts are awarded.
My Product is Too Large and Complex to Outsource to an EMS Provider
A number of projects that struggle to get off the ground over concerns relating to size, shape or complexity can easily be outsourced – providing the project is approached in the right way. This article explains how.
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.
3 Reasons Why Outsourcing to an EMS Provider Can Go Wrong
A true outsourcing partnership should deliver benefits to both the OEM and the EMS provider. However, there are always risks, and sometimes outsourcing can go wrong. This article highlights three reasons why the OEM/EMS provider partnership might turn sour.
Leadership in Your Company: Something to Worry About?
Leadership is an ingredient that most feel is important, even though many find it is hard to define. Some say that you will know good leadership when you see it. In this article, Tom Borkes of The Jefferson Project discusses the role of leadership, and how it can be taught in the academia.
The Fine Art of Providing a Single Source for Fab, Assembly
Jay Rupani, president of Precision Technologies, speaks with I-Connect007's Patty Goldman about what exactly his company does, what differentiates them and why. He also talks about why having a single source for bare board manufacturing and assembly saves customers time, money and much angst.
The Hidden Costs when Outsourcing your Electronics Manufacturing
There's a lot of truth in the saying, "You get what you pay for" – so it's important not to skimp on price when selecting a partner. Equally, you need to remain competitive. So, when you're comparing quotes from EMS suppliers, how do you find the right fit for you? This article tells you how.
An EMS with a Nimble Global Footprint Makes a Big Splash at electronica
At the recent electronica trade show in Munich, Alwyn Rea, director of business development for non-automotive products at ALL CIRCUITS, a French-based EMS company, speaks with I-Connect007's Judy Warner about his company, their capabilities, and what makes them different from their competitors.
electronica 2016 Impressions
Germany’s third-largest city, and capital of the southeastern state of Bavaria, Munich was once more host to electronica, which can justifiably claim to be the world’s leading trade fair for electronic components, systems and applications.
The Impact of Vias on PCB Assembly
Via technology has been one of the solutions to address the miniaturization and component density challenges in current electronic assemblies. However, vias are not without their own set of challenges. As per our recent survey, these include impedance matching, routing, placement of vias, minimum size limitations, aspect ratio, and the limitations for the PCB manufacturer.
Why an SLA is Central to Meeting Customer Demand
How do EMS providers overcome supply chain challenges in order to successfully meet the challenge of consistently delivering product to fluctuating customer demand? Through service level agreements (SLAs). This article explains why.
Electrolube’s Alistair Little on Thermal Management in Automotive Electronics
At electronica 2016, Alistair Little, technical director of Electrolube’s Resins Division, sits down with Editor Pete Starkey to discuss thermal management challenges in the automotive industry, and how their resin solutions are helping customers address those high-temperature requirements.
Chintan Sutaria: CalcuQuote Aims to Disrupt EMS Quoting Status Quo
Chintan Sutaria of CalcuQuote speaks with I-Connect007's Judy Warner about what inspired him to develop CalcuQuote. He also explains how CalcuQuote supports capturing customers' requirements to coming up with labor and material costs, allocating overhead, markups, and following up with the customer.
Is Your Manufacturing Facility Now the Weak Link?
If your manufacturing facility is the weakest link in your chain, all of the hard work put in beforehand—design, marketing, sales, purchasing—will have been wasted. This article looks at three signs your manufacturing facility could be dragging the rest of your company down, and highlights how outsourcing to an EMS provider can help.
Achieving the Smart Factory Vision
James Liu, director of Standardization and Electronics Manufacturing at the Smart Factory Institute of the China Science and Technology Automation Alliance, talks about helping small- and medium-sized companies transform their production into smart factories. He explains the challenges these companies face, and the need for a free, open interface to connect disparate electronics manufacturing equipment and systems on the factory floor.
Leadership Toward Greater Meaning
In the last decade, sustainability has moved up the priority agenda of business leaders tasked to shape their companies' goals. Strategies are now being set up to provide not only profitability and financial growth but, more importantly, ensure that the people that are involved, the communities that these companies serve, and the products that they build are actually entwined in making the world a better place.
Is Your Sales Growth Outstripping Your Current Manufacturing Capacity?
Picture the scene: you are an OEM enjoying healthy sales growth—business is booming as you win new customers and sell more to the ones you already have. However, there's just one problem – you don’t have the manufacturing capacity to accommodate your growth, whether because your factory is too small, you are lacking crucial equipment, or you simply don't have enough staff. Here's what you can do.
The Make-up of a Great Leader
Knoll Evangelista EMS Components Assembly Inc. speaks about leadership, motivation, and how great leaders navigate the challenges to bring their companies to success. He also shares his insights regarding best strategies in managing millennials.
Inspiring Others: The Key to Leadership
In an interview with SMT Magazine, Jean-Marc Peallat, vice president of global sales at Vi Technology, shares his thoughts on the role of a leader and how it differs from that of a manager. He also discusses how management has evolved over the past decade, and why inspiration is the key to leadership.
Recruiting and Maintaining a High-Quality Manufacturing Workforce
In almost all industries, the people are companies' biggest competitive advantage. This article looks at strategies to develop an effective way to recruit and retain high-quality team members in labor markets where experienced manufacturing talent is in short supply.
Industry 4.0 and the Circular Economy
There has been much written recently about Industry 4.0, and rightly so as it's a huge and far-reaching concept that will have an enormous impact on our design and manufacturing industries in the coming years. Even so, Industry 4.0 is just part of an idea that is much, much bigger; something known as the "circular economy".
Building Bridges with Cross-Cultural Teams
Understanding behavior patterns driven by the cultures of team members, having discussions about differences and similarities, and creating an environment where people are comfortable discussing their concerns can go a long way to eliminating cultural conflict and building stronger teams.
Do the High-Paid Managers in Your Organization Add Value?
The widening gap between industry need and academic preparation has an adverse effect on the ability of a company to compete in the global manufacturing marketplace—and all competitive roads in any capitalist free market business ultimately lead to a cost versus contribution analysis. This article discuss another important cost driver—the cost of management and leadership, what a company gets for that money.
New Column: Millennials in Manufacturing
New columnist Davina McDonnell will be writing on the challenges millennials face in the workplace, and the unique dynamic between millennials and the industry veterans who manage them.
Defining a Leader
One could define a leader as an individual leading a group of individuals towards a clearly defined goal. This article highlights some of the key leadership principles, such as self-evaluation, skills, knowing your employees, and setting standards by leading by example, that would help steer a company in this industry to success.
How to Successfully Manage the OEM/CEM Partnership
A successful outsourcing initiative is built on trust and communication and both partners—the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and a contract electronics manufacturer (CEM)—need to be clear on what their own roles are, in order to realize the innumerable benefits.
Choosing an EMS Partner
So many times we hear that an EMS company and their potential new customer want to have a partnership where each side can have a very open dialogue of what is going well and what needs improvement. At the end of these discussions, both sides typically leave feeling warm and fuzzy, and ready to hold hands into the sunset. Then, the rubber hits the road and you start dealing with the real world.
Leadership Evolution in a Changing Marketplace
To continue to grow and remain competitive amid broad systemic change such as the growing number of millennials in the workplace, the globalization of both customers and competitors, increased uncertainty in the marketplace, and increased demands for flexibility, leaders must continue to evolve their own leadership skills and approaches, and make better use of the talent they hire.
Real Time with…SMTAI: Dimation's Same-Day EMS Service
Edward Knutson, president and founder of EMS firm Dimation, speaks with I-Connect007’s Judy Warner about his company’s quick-turn EMS service: from a turnaround time of one to two days. In fact, if customers bring in their parts and board, they can even expect their product within the same day.
What Makes a Great Leader?
Leadership encompasses the ability of an individual to lead or guide other individuals, teams, or entire organizations in the accomplishment of common goals. In many industries, great leadership is required now more than ever as companies face a myriad of challenges such as globalization, uncertainties in global markets, and increased demand for flexibility.
Real Time with... SMTAI: Mentor and Kulicke and Soffa Discuss Partnership
Michael Ford of Mentor Graphics and Tom Kramer of Kulicke and Soffa speak with I-Connect007’s Andy Shaughnessy about their partnership and synergy, and how they enable customers to become flexible and productive even with high-mix operations.
Smart for Smart’s Sake, Part 1
In his previous article, Michael Ford wrote about the various historical methods of collecting data from shop-floor processes, and how it compares to the fully normalized approach of OML, where data from any machine operation can be expressed in a single interoperable language. This article discusses the next layer of activity—how the data collected is to be used for asset utilization and productivity.
Is PCB Assembly Really the Best Entry Point into Outsourcing?
By outsourcing your PCB assembly, you will free up more time and resources to direct your focus elsewhere. However, the PCBA is just one component within your final product; you still have a lot of work to do once your EMS partner has delivered the completed boards to you.
Institute of Circuit Technology Hayling Island Seminar 2016
In recent years, the Hayling Island Seminar has become established as the most popular date on the Institute of Circuit Technology calendar and, as expected, the 2016 event attracted a large gathering of industry professionals to the south coast of England to share knowledge and experience and to discuss current developments.
Real Time with… SMTAI: Merger Puts Libra Industries in Driver's Seat
W. Scott Fillebrown, CTO of EMS firm Libra Industries, talks with I-Connect007’s Andy Shaughnessy about Libra’s acquisition of ACD last year, their migration to common platforms and systems, and how their latest equipment installations have helped improved efficiency and throughput in their manufacturing lines.
10 Meaningless Statistics EMS Providers List on their Websites
In an attempt to stand out from other EMS providers, we include a range of statistics on our websites. We assume OEMs find these helpful and use them to make decisions on whether or not we could be the right partner to outsource to. But are they really the key important statistics to feature?
Ionics EMS Talks Industry 4.0, Mil/Aero Opportunities, and Supply Chain
In an interview with SMT Magazine, Dr. Jay Sabido, president and COO of Ionics EMS Inc., discusses a wide range of topics, including Industry 4.0, automation, and the challenges in the military and aerospace industry, including lead-free, counterfeit components, and traceability.
Asteelflash on Mil/Aero Challenges, ITAR, and Opportunities
In an interview with SMT Magazine, Albert Yanez, corporate executive VP and president of Asteelflash, Americas, discusses the challenges in the military and aerospace industries, ITAR compliance, and the opportunities in these sectors.
Happy’s Essential Skills: Computer-Aided-Manufacturing, Part 1—Automation Protocols
I have addressed automation planning previously in this series, so I hope by now you realize the difference between ‘automation’ and ‘mechanization.’ In printed circuit fabrication and assembly, most of what is advertised is mechanization. But when you get to assembly test, then you begin to see true automated solutions.
Naprotek: Building a Successful EMS in Silicon Valley with a Woman's Touch
I-Connect007's Judy Warner recently visited Naprotek Inc., an EMS provider in the heart of Silicon Valley. She speaks with CEO Najat Badriyeh and two of her team members – VP of Marketing Liz Davidson, and Director of Business Development Mike Brown – about their company and their plans for the future.
Geek-A-Palooza: 'Who Says Doing Business Can't Be Fun?'
Geek-a-Palooza, now in its fourth year, is the new kind of business event that combines networking with fun. With a relaxed environment approach, the event is catching on and continues to grow. Dan Beaulieu catches up with Tara Dunn about the upcoming Boston and Minneapolis events…and beyond.
Real Time with NEPCON South China: BTU Talks Voiding in Automotive Electronics, Industry 4.0 Strategies
At NEPCON South China 2016, Bob Bouchard of BTU International Inc. discusses with I-Connect007’s Stephen Las Marias the challenges and opportunities in the China market, how BTU is helping address voiding issues in automotive electronics assemblies, and their Industry 4.0 strategies.
Real Time with NEPCON South China: WKK on Automation, China Outlook, Challenges and Opportunities
Victor J.S. Chang, director and general manager of WKK Distribution Ltd, discusses with I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias the increasing automation trend in the region; the efforts of the Chinese government to support the growth of advanced manufacturing; and the latest initiatives at WKK.
Real Time with NEPCON South China: Rehm Thermal Systems Highlights Industry 4.0 Benefits
In Shenzhen, China, Ralf Wagenfuehr, plant manager for Rehm Thermal Systems, speaks with I-Connect007’s Stephen Las Marias about Industry 4.0 and the benefits of this automation trend.
Real Time with NEPCON South China: P. Kay Metal Discusses New Markets for MS2
James Goyne, the newly appointed global business development director at P. Kay Metal Inc., speaks with I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias about what he aims to achieve in his new role, as well as the new markets and opportunities for their MS2 solder dross eliminator.
The Authors of the Printed Circuits Handbook 'Speak'
The seventh edition of the Printed Circuits Handbook was published this spring, which was also the 50th anniversary of the first edition. For this issue—“Voices”—we asked the many authors of the handbook for their thoughts—their voices. We asked a few questions to get them started; though not everyone spoke strictly about the handbook, we found their comments interesting and thought-provoking, and we hope you do as well.
4 Benefits of Industrial Automation in Electronics Manufacturing
In a nutshell, industrial automation is a step beyond mechanization; it is about using control systems and technology to replace human physical and mental labor in the manufacturing and engineering sector. This article talks about four of the resulting benefits of automation for electronics manufacturers.
The Industry Speaks
In the latest issue of SMT Magazine, we take a pause from covering the latest technology trends, challenges, and solutions in the electronics manufacturing and assembly industry. Instead, we are focusing on our readers—to give a voice to their thoughts on the industry, companies, jobs, interests, and even pain points when it comes to their respective specialties.
Integrated Manufacturing Solutions: an EMS, ODM, CM, and OEM!
Robbin Thompson, VP Business Development at San Diego-based contract manufacturer Integrated Manufacturing Solutions (IMS), speaks with I-Connect007's Barry Matties and Judy Warner about her company's expansion, production capabilities and product lineup, as well as the culture at IMS.
3 Common Fears About Outsourcing Your Outbound Logistics
If you are still responsible for shipping finished product to your end users, you may be facing difficulties that are distracting you from your core activities. This article explains how you can overcome the common fears about outsourcing your outbound logistics to an EMS provider.
Moving Beyond Paideia: Learning for Earning
The complexities of our technological world and global marketplace now demand the development of specific, saleable skills as part of the student-customer's educational process--and that the template for teaching these skills must be based in the real world. Tom Borkes explains why in this article.
Investing in the Future Voices of our Industries
FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a massive global initiative, aimed at getting kids more interested in STEM subjects through a variety of fun and interactive experiences. At a recent Maker Faire, Barry Matties spoke with FIRST's Jill Wilker and Ken Johnson about their organization's mission and vision.
Milwaukee Electronics: Screaming-Fast in Pursuit of 'Perfect Products'
Jered Stoehr, VP of sales and marketing at Milwaukee Electronics, discusses with I-Connect007's Judy Warner the innovative ways their company is meeting the needs of today's OEMs. He also talks about the challenges and opportunities they are seeing in their markets.
The STEM Trap
Post-secondary schools have not been responsive to the changing landscape of the modern electronic product assembly operation—they really can’t, considering the lack of real-world experience of most of the faculty. In this article, Tom Borkes explains why.
Why Flexibility is Crucial to the Success of Your Outbound Logistics
When it comes to outbound logistics, the ability to adapt in order to reach new markets and meet ever-changing customer demands, is vital. This article explores how partnering with an electronics manufacturing services (EMS) provider will help to ensure you are fully equipped for change in a fast-paced global environment.
EPC’s Michael de Rooij Discusses Strategic Partnership with Wurth Electronik
Michael de Rooij, PhD, of Efficient Power Conversion Corp. (EPC) talks to I-Connect007 guest editor Kim Sauer about their strategic alliance with Wurth Electronik, how their cooperation works, and how the technology solution they are co-developing can address the wireless power challenge as a whole.
Understanding How EMS Companies View Capital Investment Decisions
One of the great benefits of outsourcing your manufacturing is that it can largely remove the need to continually invest in expensive capital equipment. But when selecting an EMS partner, it is important to take a realistic view of their equipment list. This article explains why.
The Pasternack Story
John Farley, director of marketing for Pasternack Enterprises, speaks with I-Connect007's Judy Warner during the recent International Microwave Symposium event about their experience at this year's show. John also discusses the multiple layers of Pasternack's RF products and services and the unique way they do business.
Addressing New Testing & Inspection Challenges
NK Chari, marketing director for manufacturing technologies at the Electronic Industrial Solutions Group of Keysight Technologies, talked about the challenges in PCBA testing and inspection, tougher requirements for testing, and the need for functional testing. He also mentioned some best practices to consider to improve the PCBA testing and inspection process.
I-Connect Survey: Automation or Reducing Process Steps?
In our recent survey, we asked what is more important: automating a process or eliminating process steps. Interestingly, the results are 50-50: half of our respondents say automating a process is more important, while the remaining 50 percent consider eliminating a process step a key strategy.
5 Myths About Electronics Manufacturing Outsourcing
OEMs have been outsourcing their electronics manufacturing and test for decades, yet a number of myths relating to outsourcing still remain today. In this article, Neil Sharp tackles some of these myths head on so that anyone considering outsourcing to an EMS provider can base their decision on facts and not fiction.
An Integrated PCB Producer’s Approach to the Market
NCAB Group is one of the biggest PCB suppliers in the world. Barry Matties and Stephen Las Marias recently met with Andy Liu of NCAB to discuss an integrated producer’s approach to the market, new design tools, the current state of the Chinese market, and the future of 3D printed electronics.
Improving Test and Inspection
In our recent survey on PCBA test and inspection challenges, respondents consider the following to be among their biggest problems: probing to narrower traces and pads; testing boards with smaller and finer features and sizes; dry solder and other solder-related issues; finding sublayer defects; dealing with flat, no-lead components; and testing cycle time. This month, we look into different PCBA test and inspection strategies that address the key challenges in today’s electronics manufacturing and assembly environment.
Conversations with STI Electronics' Dave Raby at IPC IMPACT Washington, D.C.
Dave Raby, president and CEO of EMS firm STI Electronics and an eager participant at this year’s IMPACT Washington, D.C. event, speaks with I-Connect007’s Patty Goldman about his expectations at this year’s conference.
SPI Parameter Considerations for Tighter Tolerances
In an interview with SMT Magazine, Vi Technology’s Jean-Marc Peallat and Chong Choon Hee speak about the solder paste inspection challenges when it comes to tighter tolerances and finer lines and pitches in board assemblies, and the latest innovations happening in the SPI space to help customers address these issues.
The Sum of All Parts: The Fabricator-Assembler Connection
After discussing the relationship between PCB fabricators and those who design the boards (see my previous column ), it is imperative to do the same for the relationship between assemblers and fabricators. This brings about a whole new set of potential complications.
Jumping Off the Bandwagon: The Production Engineering Student as Customer
Production, industrial, process, manufacturing engineering, to name a few fields of engineering study, will never be successfully taught on-line. In his latest article, Tom Borkes explains why.
Creation Technologies on IMPACT Washington, D.C. 2016
Bhawnesh Mathur, president and CEO of contract electronics manufacturer Creation Technologies, shares his thoughts with I-Connect007's Patty Goldman on the benefits of the recent IMPACT Washington D.C. event.
Solder 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.
The Henry Ford Division of Labor Production Model
We are all aware of what the price of assembling a product is based upon: material cost, number of labor hours needed for the product assembly and test, and labor sell rate in dollars per hour. In this article, Tom Borkes writes why the disparity in labor sell rates is still daunting.
Electrolube: We Like Problems (Chinese Style)
In a follow-up interview, Ron Jakeman, group managing director of Electrolube, discusses with I-Connect007's Pete Starkey his company's strategy in China and the opportunities they are seeing in the region. They also discussed the company's two new products that will complement their European range.
China, Trump, and the Future
At NEPCON China, Hamed El-Abd of WKK and I-Connect007's Barry Matties discussed China’s fluctuating economy, the impact of the U.S. presidential election, the current state of electronics manufacturing in the region, and the overall craziness of doing business in modern day China.
Reducing Setup Time to Provide More Uptime in Production
In an interview with I-Connect007 at the recent IPC APEX EXPO event in Las Vegas, Bob Bouchard, corporate marketing manager at BTU, talks about the latest developments in their products, how their technology is helping users reduce their setup times, and the impact of Industry 4.0 in the electronics assembly industry.
How Far Does It Make Sense to Automate?
There are often many advantages to automating the final assembly process, but how far does it make sense to automate? Is a fully automated process better than a semi-automated, or partially manual process? This article tells you more about the challenges and advantages of automation, and the right approach to adopt based on your operations.
EMS Rules of Automation & ROI
Are smaller EMS companies effectively dependent on manual labor and excluded from the innovation that automation and the computerization of the factory operation can bring? The answer is no because IoT is coming to the rescue. This article explains the cost of automation, how much to invest in automation, and the latest technology developments that will provide you manufacturing flexibility.
The Importance of Being Earnest (Educated)
This new column in SMT Magazine, titled "Jumping Off the Bandwagon," is dedicated to the continued development and improvement of the high-tech electronic product assembly industry, and the human component of that industry. For his first article, Tom Borkes talks about issues that, unless addressed, will continue to put product assembly at a disadvantage in high labor rate areas of the world.
To Outsource or Not to Outsource PCB Rework
There is a case to be made that outsourcing certain rework projects makes a lot of sense, especially in large, complex or highly time-sensitive rework projects. However, careful review of the suppliers' knowledge of standards and adherence to processes needs to be taken in to consideration prior to making the outsourcing call.
IMPACT Washington, D.C. 2016: Industry Leaders Advocate for a Pro-Manufacturing Policy Agenda
IPC places a high priority on educating government officials about key policy issues of importance to the electronics industry. That’s why top executives from leading electronics companies gathered in Washington, D.C. recently for “IMPACT Washington, D.C. 2016.”
Best-Practice Process Preparation for PCB Assembly
In this high-pressure environment, process preparation systems need to be able to cope with every aspect and production, all machines and processes, without mistakes and without confusion, to scale the flexibility and responsiveness of the production operation in line with customer and market expectations.
Benefits of Improving Reflow and Screen Printing Processes
With a level playing field in terms of access to talent, technology, knowhow, infrastructure, and financial resources, how can an EMS company build a successful business year after year, decade after decade? Read this article to find out how one EMS player—through process improvements—manages to remain strong in this industry.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Metcal on the Benefits of Customer Collaboration
Robert Roush, product support engineer at Metcal, discusses with I-Connect007 editor Andy Shaughnessy the importance of working together with customers, and how this approach can drive innovations in every market. They also explore the benefits of having digital solder feeders compared to traditional analog versions.
Selective Soldering: Design, Process Challenges and Practical Solutions
A SMART Group workshop at the Bromsgrove, UK, premises of equipment and process materials distributor APP Electronics, set out to provide the answers, with a programme combining technical presentations, live demonstrations and hands-on sessions, introduced and moderated by Nigel Burtt, senior electronics manufacturing engineer at Renishaw and SMART Technical Committee Chairman.
Enabling Process Innovation through Test and Measurement Solutions
In an interview with I-Connect007, National Instruments Managing Director Matej Kranjc discussed how their platforms are enabling the development of intelligent systems of systems that help users make smarter business decisions, and how big data analysis is enabling process innovation in the electronics assembly line.
In a Culture of Continuous Improvement, Processes Continually Improve
In an interview with SMT Magazine, Etratech’s Mike Renneboog, manufacturing manager, and Robert Clarke, process manufacturing engineer, discussed their most significant challenge to improving SMT line productivity and quality, and the lessons they learned along the way.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Saline Lectronics Discusses How Industry 4.0 Can Give CMs the Edge
Jason Sciberras and Davina McDonnell of Saline Lectronics speak with I-Connect007 guest editor Steve Williams about how they embraced Industry 4.0 in their manufacturing line.
IPC APEX EXPO: Zentech's Matt Turpin Talks Strategies for Success in CM Industry
Zentech's Matt Turpin, named as one the electronics industry's Rising Stars by the IPC, speaks with I-Connect007 guest editor Dan Beaulieu on how to become successful in the electronics contract manufacturing space.
Standard of Excellence: Tips for Finding a Great PCB R&D Partner
This new column, Standard of Excellence, represents a cooperative writing effort by a team of experts at American Standard Circuits. This month, we begin with CEO Anaya Vardya, who focuses on R&D. In his piece, he provides his insights on what characteristics to look for in a good R&D PCB fabrication vendor partner, and a few things that are expected of them to do for you.
Catching up with…PNC: Open House Planned for May
I’m a great believer in open houses. Any time customers and vendors get together to learn and talk about what they can do for each other it’s a good thing. That’s why, when I heard that PNC, in Nutley, New Jersey, planned to hold an open house on May 20, I wanted to learn more about it. So I called my friend Sam Sangani, the company’s owner, to learn more about it.
IPC APEX EXPO: Improving Assembly Line Efficiencies with Material Handling Solutions
Ben Khoshnood, president of Inovaxe, discusses with I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias how EMS and OEM firms can utilize material handling solutions to increase the efficiencies of their assembly lines and reduce operator errors. He also highlights the latest technology developments in their material handling systems.
IPC APEX EXPO: Cogiscan Explains Benefits of Having Real-Time Factory Intelligence
Francois Monette, VP of sales and marketing at Cogiscan, speaks to I-Connect007 guest editor Mark Thompson about modern factory intelligence, and the the benefits of having this capability in assembly lines.
IPC APEX EXPO: Acromag Discusses Newly Launched Electronic Contract Manufacturing Division
Acromag’s David Wolfe and Stacy Moore talk with I-Connect007’s Andy Shaughnessy about the company’s newly launched electronic contract manufacturing division, and the services it will offer to industries including telematics, military, aerospace, and automotive.
IPC APEX EXPO: Manncorp Talks 50 Years in Business
Henry Mann, founder and CEO of Manncorp, discusses with I-Connect007’s Stephen Las Marias the highlights of their 50 years in this industry, and the changes he had seen over the past five decades. He also provides his outlook on where the industry is headed.
Finding the Perfect Partner
Whether you’re making screen printers or producing solder paste, whether you’re part of a multinational conglomerate or you’ve spotted a niche and you’ve launched a startup company, one day you’ll need someone to find you new business, sell your stuff and keep your customers happy.
Design for Test in the U.S. Market
With most high-volume printed circuit assembly being sent outside the United States, we have a unique challenge for testing the lower volume/high turnover assemblies domestically. However, with a little planning and the right contract manufacturer (CM), test does not need to be an issue.
IPC APEX EXPO: Kimball Electronics Sees Strong Growth in Automotive Electronics Sector
Kimball Electronics' Chris Thyen discusses with I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias the company's growth and first year as an independent, public company after its spin off from Kimball International, as well as its new facility in Romania.
3 Ways to Ensure Your EMS Provider's Supply Chain is Excellent
As an original equipment manufacturer, once you’ve outsourced your manufacturing to an electronics manufacturing services provider, you will have very little hands-on involvement with your materials supply chain. And that’s a good thing because it means you have more time to focus on your core competencies (i.e., designing and selling your products).
Product Compliance Requires Supply Chain Transparency
Changes to the RoHS, REACH, and conflict minerals regulations make the need for supply chain transparency more crucial than ever. In line with this, full material declaration (FMD) is quickly becoming the "gold standard" data requirement for an OEM to accurately assess the risk of restricted materials in a product.
Mentor Graphics’ Oren Manor Explains Exactly What Industry 4.0 Brings to Manufacturing
Oren Manor of Mentor Graphics talks about what Industry 4.0 is really about, and how it benefits electronics manufacturers. He also discusses their design to manufacture solution, and how it helps OEMs large and small make the transition to Industry 4.0 without a complete factory overhaul.
Manufacturing Institutes Can Boost the Nation
In his most recent State of the Union address, President Obama highlighted a remarkable trend of recent years: the turnaround in many corners of America’s manufacturing sector. Nearly 900,000 new jobs have been created by U.S. manufacturers in the last six years.
The Benefits of a Vertically Integrated Approach to EMS
The combination of vertical integration and investments made in workforce and systems offers a responsive, cost competitive and scalable business model that will help electronics assemblers improve customer satisfaction, improve their margins, and increase their profitability.
A Practical Guide to Managing Material Cost Impact
More SMT lines, faster machines, or new ERP software are not the only, or even the best, answers to achieve business goals in the electronics manufacturing and assembly industry. To win the race for survival, growth and profitability, companies must give the highest priority to the material operation and material handling tools.
Remove Your Shop Floor by Using a CEM
Once OEMs embark on an outsourcing strategy, a number of "shop floor" activities are transferred over to their CEM's manufacturing facility. In this article, Neil Sharp discusses the different areas that OEMs need to relinquish to their CEM in order to be in a position to remove their shop floor completely, so that they can focus on the areas of their business that matter the most.
An Onboarding Process Can Build a Strong Organizational Culture
Designing an onboarding process that aims to make employees feel valued by the company will deliver leading metrics that include compound annual revenue growth rate >50%, gross margin >21%, on-time delivery over 99.6%, and inventory turns between 12–14.
According to our recent survey, the key challenges impacting profitablility of electronics manufacturers and assemblers are cost, process improvement, changing customer demand, design, training, and Lean manufacturing. The March 2016 issue of SMT Magazine highlights strategies that will help electronics manufacturers address those issues and achieve profitability in their operations.
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.
Challenges and Opportunities for Smaller EMS for Onshoring
The onshoring trend has been speculated and talked about for a few years now, and is certainly a reality with greater opportunities and challenges. In this article, McDonald Technologies' Gary Tanel, who is also a member of SMT Magazine's Editorial Advisory Board, writes about the trends driving companies to increasingly consider onshoring.
EMS: Quo Vadis? (Where are You Going?)
In an industry that is constantly changing, EMS providers have reinvented themselves to stay relevant and fuel profitable growth. In this article, Integrated Micro-Electronics Inc.'s Frederick Blancas talks about five of the many transformation trends happening in the EMS industry, and how they are pushing the industry to continue to evolve, progress and advance.
The Jefferson Project, Part 2: Automation as a Counterweight to Low Labor-Rate Assembly
In Part 1 of this interview, Tom Borkes, founder of The Jefferson Project and the forthcoming Jefferson Institute of Technology, provided his well-researched plan to introduce students to tech manufacturing, as well as discussed the paper he presented at SMTAI. In Part 2, Tom expands on the example set forth in his SMTAI paper, and describes another important tool in reducing labor cost through the reduction of labor content: designing for automation.
Efficiency, Energy and Convenience: Driving New Solutions and Markets
Craig Hunter, senior director for global marketing communications at Vishay Intertechnology and a member of the SMT Magazine Editorial Advisory Board, discusses significant changes in the electronics manufacturing industry during the past decade, persistent challenges, and new technologies that will provide opportunities and growth.
New Year Outlook: Electronics Hardware
Industry veteran Dr. Jennie S. Hwang writes about how "smartness," mobility, connectivity and wearability will drive innovation in end markets and electronics manufacturing process and technologies this year. She also mentions new developments that will make footprints on the advanced technology map.
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.
The Road Less Traveled (Part 2): Why Equipment Matters
In Part 1 of this article series, Zentech's Judy Warner shared the first of three legitimate differentiators to consider when selecting a contract manufacturing partner: the differentiating power of certifications and training. In Part 2, she writes about the importance of continually investing in the best equipment.
The Road Less Traveled (Part 1): Contract Manufacturing Differentiators
The word "differentiator" is tossed around a lot these days in the electronics industry—especially within the contract manufacturing (CM) community. When evaluating a new potential CM partner, decision makers frequently ask: "What would you say differentiates your organization from other contract manufacturers?" This article talks about three powerful and very real difference-makers that would set a CM apart from the competition.
New Year Outlook: China’s Five Year Plan
In this article, Dr. Jennie Hwang writes about the latest developments in the current global economic landscape, as well as mega-technological trends, which include: the highlights of macro-economy outlook, China factor, oil dynamics, cyber security, and grand challenges in technology and the path forward.
K&S and Assembléon: A Perfect Marriage of Technology and Services
Jeroen de Groot and Chan Pin Chong of Kulicke & Soffa talk about the company's acquisition of Assembléon and its benefits to their customers. They also discuss the latest innovations happening at the company's product lines and key trends driving their product development strategies.
The Jefferson Project: Educating the Next Generation in Applied Manufacturing Sciences (Pt. 1)
Tom Borkes, founder of The Jefferson Project and the forthcoming Jefferson Institute of Technology, sat down with I-Connect007's Patty Goldman during the recent SMTAI and provided his well-researched plan to bring manufacturing to engineering undergraduate students by bringing students to manufacturing, through a hands-on, real world learning experience.
What You Need to Know About Dispensing
In an interview with I-Connect007, Garrett Wong, technical product manager at Nordson ASYMTEK, discusses the latest innovations in dispensing technology as well as important considerations when it comes to reliability, quality and speed.
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.
Lost in the System: How Traceability can Solve the Problem of Counterfeit Materials
The word "counterfeit" encompasses a wide range of activities that are happening continuously in an "underground” SMT supply chain. In this article, Michael Ford of Mentor Graphics Valor Division investigates why this is so, and highlights how the SMT industry can eliminate counterfeit components in the supply chain.
Valtronic Highlights Vital Components in Medical Electronics Manufacturing
Jay Wimer, executive vice president of the Valtronic Group, and president and CEO of Valtronic USA, discusses the impact of the medical market on the electronics manufacturing industry, the challenges facing medical electronics manufacturers and technology providers, and how the trends happening in the medical electronics segment are driving innovation in electronics manufacturing.
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.
EMS Providers: Maintaining Competitiveness and Seeking Significance
The EMS industry faces myriad difficulties. A new report by analyst firm New Venture Research notes that the global EMS industry is anticipated to grow a mere 6.4% CAGR from US$336 billion in 2014 to US$458 billion in 2019. In this article, Frederick Blancas writes about how EMS firms can maintain their competitiveness and find opportunities in the current economic environment.
VDMA Productronics: Pushing Forward the German Electronics Manufacturing Industry
VDMA Electronics, Micro and Nano Technologies is one of the 40 Sector Associations within VDMA. Its sector group Productronics covers the whole semiconductor front and backend processes, packaging, all the way to PCB manufacturing and assembly. Dr. Eric Maiser, managing director of Productronics, discusses the group, its activities, member services, and the electronics manufacturing industry.
SMART Group: The Guiding Influence in the Electronics Industry
Founded in 1984, the SMART Group promotes advanced manufacturing technologies and helps companies cope with the challenges of surface mount technology. In an interview with I-Connect007, Keith Bryant, chairman of SMART Group, discusses the association, its activities, and how it is supporting the electronics manufacturing and SMT industries.
Making Connections with Associations
To provide our readers more information about their associations, this month's issue of SMT Magazine features articles and interviews with SMTA, IPC, iNEMI, SMART Group, and VDMA Productronics, to help understand more their activities, goals, and missions, and how they are helping push forward the electronics manufacturing industry.
Sustainable Product Design and Supplier Material Disclosure
One of the biggest challenges for companies in addressing product sustainability initiatives is getting accurate and complete data from their supply chain. This article discusses how manufacturers can automate the process of gathering and managing supplier disclosure data to address current sustainability challenges, gain a competitive edge, and produce innovative and compliant products.
Quality is Key
Johnny Ho, vice president and plant manager at Sanmina Kunshan, discusses winning a Diamond Award from Echostar, and their QA challenges, process improvements, and success. He also talks about having a tight inspection and testing process to improve quality, and the importance of working closely with the customer to achieve a common goal.
Echostar Talks Impact of Quality Process Collaboration with Partners
Ron Meier, senior quality assurance and manufacturing engineering manager at Echostar, discusses with I-Connect007's Edy Yu the importance of working closely with your OEM partner and the impact of having the same process and quality goals.
Tremol SMD Talks EMS Trends and Industry Outlook
At the recent productronica 2015 event in Munich, Germany, I interviewed Kiril Yanneff, CEO of Bulgaria-based EMS firm Tremol SMD about the electronics manufacturing landscape in east Europe and his outlook for the industry. He also spoke about the significance of automating production lines.
Improving Production Efficiencies with Better Data Strategies
Is your manufacturing company wasting significant time and energy struggling to collect and analyze its own data? I sat down with Bill Moradkhan, the founder, president and CEO of Portus, to discuss the benefits of upgrading your data intelligence to help transform that data into actionable business intelligence and improve your business.
productronica 2015: Transition Automation Talks about Improving Paste Print Quality for New Markets
Mark Curtin, president of Transition Automation explains the finer points of metal squeegee blades to I-Connect007’s Stephen Las Marias. The improved print quality has proved significant to meet the reliability challenges of high power electronics as well as the increased precision required for newer automotive electronics requirements.
The SMT Internet of Things— Back to Basics
Different people have different understandings and expectations about what the Internet of Things (IoT) actually is, especially with respect to how it could work and what it could bring to the SMT assembly industry. There are a lot of expectations to fulfil as principles behind innovations such as Industry 4.0 take hold.
Made in USA and Total Cost: Six Ways U.S. Sourcing Saves Money
There is no question that manufacturing in countries known for lower labor costs can save money on some projects. In cases of highvolume production, selecting low-cost labor regions close to end markets can generate significant savings and in some cases, fulfill the local content requirements necessary for entry into those markets.
Industry 4.0: Implications for the Asia Pacific Manufacturing Industry
Industry 4.0 refers to a new level of organization and control of the entire value chain, across the life cycle of products. Seen as the fourth industrial revolution, Industry 4.0 seeks to merge physical and virtual worlds. This marks a significant change in the level of complexity from the third industrial revolution, where electronics and information technology were used to automate production.
Super Dry Technology Helps Expand Market Share
Rich Heimsch, director of the Americas for Super Dry-Totech, discusses with I-Connect007's Andy Shaughnessy the specialized moisture management technology that Super Dry has developed, as well as how both the European and American markets are evolving with regard to use of the technology.
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.
Process Improvements for Cycle Time Reduction
In an interview with I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias, industry veteran Randall Williams, a mechanical automation engineer at B&P Automation, explains the importance of reducing cycle time, key metrics to look for when planning for improvement processes in assembly lines, best practices to consider, and how automation can help electronics manufacturers improve their production.
Cycle Time Reduction with WORK, Part I
Lean, theory of constraints, quick response manufacturing, cross training, and SPC are powerful, tried and true methodologies for process improvement--but they are rooted in high-volume manufacturing environments and don't always play nice in a high-mix, low-volume operation. This article talks about the new WORK manufacturing strategy specifically developed to overcome these shortcomings while capitalizing on their strengths.
Choosing the Right Component to Reduce Cycle Times
SMAC Moving Coil Actuators president Edward Neff talks with I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias about the strategies they implement in their production lines to reduce cycle times and go to market faster. He also talks about how using proven components can help manufacturers ensure the uptime of their equipment and processes.
Cycle Time Reduction in the Eye of AOI
In our survey for this month’s topic for SMT Magazine—cycle time reduction—inspection was identified as one of the key issues highlighted by respondents as a bottleneck in their manufacturing process when it comes to cycle times. I spoke with Norihiko Koike, COO of Saki Co. Ltd, to get his insights on this, and how his company is helping their customers address the issue. He also talked about the future technology developments that we can expect in the AOI industry.
Value Stream Mapping: Operationalizing Lean Manufacturing
By applying value stream mapping (VSM), EMS providers can have a clearer picture of multiple processes involved in a work flow, identify waste and its sources, identify where change is required, standardize the process, and identify potential problems that could be encountered in the future state. It can also be used as a tool for planning as well as for managing changes.
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.
Automotive Electronics Driving Innovations in Test
Boon Khim Tan, general manager of the Measurement Systems Division at Keysight Technologies, discusses with I-Connect007’s Stephen Las Marias the increasingly challenging test requirements in the automotive electronics space and the latest trends driving innovation in the sector.
Experience is Key
Sanmina's Bernd Enser, VP of Global Automotive, discusses with I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias the impact of the latest development trends in cars today on the automotive electronics assembly space, as well as the qualifications required of an EMS provider to get into an automaker's AVL. He also explains why experience is essential to becoming successful in the automotive electronics space, and offers his outlook for the industry.
Arthur Tan, president and CEO of IMI, discusses with I-Connect007’s Stephen Las Marias the latest developments in his company, some of the trends happening in the automotive electronics space, the challenges he is seeing in Asia, as well as the opportunities for growth. He also touches on some of the latest technologies that will help improve the assembly processes.
Rehm Thermal Systems Talks 25 Years of Technology and Trends
Ralf Wagenfuehr, plant manager at Rehm Thermal Systems, talked with I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias about the business and technology developments and evolution that have happened at the company as it celebrates its 25 years of success in this business.
The Demands on Automated Fluid Dispensing
In an interview with I-Connect007's Barry Matties, Brad Perkins of Nordson ASYMTEK discusses the current demands on dispensing equipment, and the benefits of investing in a high-end dispenser and coating system. He also talks about their strategies to reduce the process time and cycle time of their equipment.
DoD’s First Pass at Grey Market Regulation
The U.S. government gets a great deal of heat for many things, including fostering the introduction of counterfeit components into the supply chain. But when you really study how their procurement process is setup, when you break down the layers, it’s not hard to see how a counterfeit component or suspect material can find its way in.
Technica’s Annual Tech Forum a Success
Co-sponsored by ASM Assembly Systems, with active participation from Koh Young Technology and Rehm Thermal Systems, Technica USA's Annual Technology Forum Event held last July 22–23 in San Jose, California, was again a success. The event featured technical presentations and demonstrations on stencil printing, SPI, SMT placement defects, as well as the challenge in complex boards with 03015 parts up to large components.
Automotive EMS: Going Beyond Assembly
The trend toward outsourcing in the automotive industry continues as automotive manufacturers strive to capitalize on the technical expertise and cost effectiveness of the EMS providers. For their part, the automotive EMS players have expanded their role through vertical integration and venture into the realm of non-electronics manufacturing.
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.
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.
Don’t Allow Standards to Get the Better of You
In the electronics manufacturing industry, there are so many different so-called standards for everything ranging from operational rules and documentation, to quality and traceability, which are confusing, incomplete, and represent a major cost and waste to manufacturing. In the coming Internet of Manufacturing (IoM) age, where standardization of communication and storage of information will be critical, the current way in which we approach and adopt standards cannot prevail.
WKK Discusses Trends and Opportunities in China's Electronics Assembly Industry
WKK's Hamed El-Abd talked to I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias about his outlook for the electronics manufacturing assembly industry. He also provided his insights on the current business climate in China.
ELEDLights.com: Manncorp's Bright Future
Ed Stone, sales manager at Manncorp Inc., speaks with I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias about some of the trends he's seeing in the SMT equipment technology space that's driving demand for their ELEDLights.com business.
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.
Stencils: Why They Still Matter
Eric Weissmann, president and CEO of Photo Stencil, discusses with I-Connect007's Barry Matties some important points about the venerable stencil, the latest in stencil innovation, and the impact stencils, blades, and cleanliness can have on product quality.
Reducing Risks to Employees’ Health with Extraction and Filtration Technology
Occupational health and safety in manufacturing companies have become increasingly important in recent years. As manufacturing processes gain in complexity, the resulting pollutants have become smaller and particularly more exotic. These factors lead to a rising demand for extraction and filtration technology, which reliably protects equipment and employee health, and furthermore, takes account of changing process parameters.
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.
Supply Chain Risk Mitigation Applications for the Grey Market
It's 2015, and it's time that your supply chain became educated on how to effectively incorporate the benefits that independent distributors and brokers can offer your supply chain, while reducing your risk. If your supply chain still looks down on brokers or independent distributors, you are likely missing opportunities to reduce liability and cost, and increase readiness.
A Greener, Money-saving Approach to Dealing with Waste
EMS firm Sanmina has a high technology manufacturing facility in Huntsville, Alabama, where it produces state of the art PCBAs on several advanced SMT lines, for some of the world’s leading medical and defense companies. Here's how the company was able to manage its hazardous waste disposal and be certified by ADEM, one of the strictest state regulatory agencies in the country.
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.
Fairlight: An Iconic Name in Digital Audio
Fairlight Instruments became one of the biggest names in the recording industry with its digital sampling technology in 1975. Forty years later, the company is still leading with a full line of products that their technologists design, engineer in house, and produce with a network of EMS companies. In this interview with I-Connect007's Barry Matties, Fairlight's Emilijo Mihatov shares insights and strategies for succeeding by thinking differently.
EchoStar: The Future of Supply Chain Management Done Right
EchoStar isn’t your typical OEM—they take supply chain management to a whole new level. Barry Matties was able to visit Echostar's EMS partner in Shanghai, DD & TT Electronic Enterprise, to take a look at what they are doing, and find out about Echostar's supply chain management strategies.
Cutting Cost, Not Price
In any supply chain survey, the issue of cost comes up repeatedly. This article explores the downside of focussing on price and suggests some of the practical ways you can reduce costs without having a negative impact on your product.
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.
Industry 4.0: Who Benefits?
After many cycles of ROI justification have occurred already in most PCB assembly manufacturing companies, people are realizing that innovation and investment in new systems may affect them in ways that are less than optimum, resulting in certain groups within the organization resisting pretty much every major innovation. Along comes Industry 4.0, which could certainly trigger a significant amount of “automated” objection from the shop floor.
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