Article Highlights
3D Printing and Medical Electronics: A Disruptive Beneficial Technology
12/11/2018 | Dan Feinberg, Technology Editor, I-Connect007
What is ESD and Why Should We Worry About It?
12/10/2018 | Pete Starkey, I-Connect007
Greg Vance on SMTA Ohio Chapter Updates
12/05/2018 | I-Connect007 Editorial Team
Electrolube on Managing Thermal Interfaces and Conformal Coatings
12/03/2018 | Pete Starkey, I-Connect007
Understanding the Benefits of CFX
11/30/2018 | Stephen Las Marias, I-Connect007
SMT :: Business

Latest Articles

How to Avoid Supply Chain Disruption this Chinese New Year

To avoid any negative impact on deliveries or lead-times during the Chinese New Year, the best tactic is to start planning early. And while there's no need to panic buy, you'll definitely want to think ahead when communicating with your PCB suppliers.

Greg Vance on SMTA Ohio Chapter Updates

This summer, Patty Goldman interviewed Greg Vance, senior project engineer at Rockwell Automation and president of the Ohio chapter, at the SMTA Ohio Valley Expo and Tech Forum in Independence, Ohio. Vance discusses the show, young professionals in the industry, and other events, such as solder paste roundtables.

Solving the UK Manufacturing Productivity Puzzle

Since the financial crisis of 2008, manufacturing has seen an undeniable slump. Latest industry statistics paint a pretty compelling picture—where once the UK manufacturing sector was hot on the heels of its international counterparts, it now lags behind with average annual growth of less than 1% a year since the advent of the financial crisis. This article looks at five issues that could help to inform our decisions and boost performance within the sector.

How Effective is Your Induction Process?

This article looks at eight ways manufacturers can ensure their induction process passes the 'so what' test. And more importantly, addresses all of the questions and concerns a new starter might have during their first couple of days.

Christine Pearsall on Tempo Automation and PCB West

Christine Pearsall, senior director of marketing for Tempo Automation, discusses with Consulting Technical Editor Tim Haag what services Tempo Automation provides, what attracts engineers and designers most to the company, and what events they plan to attend in the upcoming year.

Strategies to Manage Your China Business Through Turbulence

While the United States may be the world’s most open market, China remains the most competitive, and is still viewed by most U.S. and EU companies as the "last great opportunity for growth.” Many companies want to gain entry to the Chinese market share for their products or services. Thus, the competition for sales of products or services is correspondingly intense. Here's how to succeed in the world's second largest economy.

RTW SMTAI: KIC's MB Allen on Smart Factory, CFX

Marybeth (MB) Allen, product manager at KIC, speaks with I-Connect007 Managing Editor Nolan Johnson about the smart factory, KIC's new RPI i4.0 software release, and as well as her company's leadership in IPC's Connected Factory Exchange (CFX) initiative.

Green Circuits' Joe O'Neil and Joe Garcia on the Best Kept Secret

Joe O'Neil, CEO, and Joe Garcia, VP of sales and marketing, at Green Circuits discuss with I-Connect007 Managing Editor Nolan Johnson about recruiting new employees, new training and certification requirements, tariffs, and more.

4 Questions OEMs Typically Ask When Outsourcing

The decision to transfer your electronics manufacturing to an EMS company is a complex process, with the potential to impact your business, your staff, your customers and your suppliers in a multitude of ways. This article highlights four questions OEMs typically ask prospective contract manufacturing partners when they first start engaging with them—and our take on the answers.

Pros and Cons of Dual Sourcing

Now, more than ever, there's a need for responsive and flexible supply chains. For OEMs, one solution to mitigate the risk of supply chain disruption is to maintain relationships with more than one supplier through dual sourcing—the practice of purchasing a chosen raw material, product, or service from two (or sometimes multiple) sources. Here are it's pros and cons.


RTW SMTAI: Steve Greathouse Discusses Award, Highlights Need for New Engineers

Steve Greathouse, senior staff engineer at Plexus Corp., and recipient of SMTA’s Excellence in Leadership Award this year, speaks about the magic of the SMTA as a collaborative and supportive professional organization. He also discusses the need for “new blood” to join the manufacturing workforce as more senior engineers leave the industry.

How to Measure Manufacturing Employee Engagement

Disgruntled employees have the ability to sap the lifeblood from your organization. And in some cases, one or two negative views can spread quickly throughout a business like an uncontrollable virus. While it is important to deal with issues the moment they arise, it is also vital to have a system in place to measure views and opinions on a regular basis and with a long-term view.

RTW SMTAI: Libra's Rod Howell Discusses Tariffs Issue

Rod Howell, CEO of EMS firm Libra Industries, speaks with I-Connect007 Managing Editor Nolan Johnson about the ongoing tariffs issue, how it impacts the global electronics manufacturing supply chain, and their strategic response to address the issue.

Karl-Heinz Fritz on Cicor’s DenciTec Technology

In a recent interview, Karl-Heinz Fritz, VP of technology at Cicor, discusses the business, DenciTec technology, the impact of tariffs on trade, and applications for 3D printing and additive manufacturing, including potential new opportunities for PCB designers.

Real Time with...SMTAI 2018 Coverage Now Available

The I-Connect007 team traveled to Rosemont, Illinois this week to cover the SMTA International 2018 conference and exhibition. Video interviews of key executives and leaders of our industry are now available for viewing. Also check out the photo gallery for snapshots of the exhibition floor and the conference as well as the after-hours festivities.

GP Ventures’ Tom Kastner on PCB Mergers and Acquisitions

Tom Kastner, president of GP Ventures, he has his finger on the pulse of the industry's mergers and acquisitions (M&A) more than anyone. In this interview, Kastner provides insights on the right time to buy, how to evaluate your company's worth, and when it is too late.

The Smart Robot Revolution is Here

The distance between imagination and reality has reduced considerably. Thanks to advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), data processing, and machine vision, the science fiction writers' vision of smarter robots is becoming a reality. These more intelligent machines are also making a big impact in manufacturing.

Indium on Voiding and Auto Electronics Test Standard

In this interview with I-Connect007, Indium Corporation Technical Manager Jonas Sjoberg discusses voiding and other key challenges in soldering, as well as an automotive electronics testing standard based out of South Korea that is seeing increased utilization all over Asia. He also talks about the increasing trend in manufacturers moving to Type 5 and Type 6 solder powders, and how this is causing its own set of challenges in printing.

AltiumLive 2018 a Mecca for PCB Designers

AltiumLive 2018 San Diego is now in the history books. This is the second annual AltiumLive (North America), and it was even better than the first. With nearly 300 hundred participants, from all parts of the country and industry, the event was a huge success.

RTW NEPCON South China: SEHO Discusses New Production Facility in South Korea

Andreas Reinhardt, R&D director at SEHO Systems GmbH, speaks about their new production facility in South Korea, which aims to address the growing lead times in their supply chain. He also talks about how emerging technologies such as more and more sensors and connections, big data, and cloud computing are impacting the electronics assembly industry.


XR Update: Emerging Realities

The rate of advance in the use of XR—the term now being used to cover AR (augmented reality), VR (virtual reality), and MR (mixed reality)—in many areas, along with advances in the hardware and network capability supporting the use of XR, is accelerating. And because things are moving so quickly, here's a quick review and an update on recent developments in this field.

Mexico: A New Hub for Electronics Manufacturing

With its competitive production costs, good logistical access, a skilled and deep talent pool and state-of-the-art technology, Mexico now produces everything from flat-screen televisions to smartphones and other consumer devices employing surface-mount technologies. Here's how Mexico’s strengths in electronics manufacturing services (EMS) evolved, and why more and more electronics manufacturers are moving to the country.

RTW NEPCON South China: Mycronic Discusses Industry 4.0

At the recent NEPCON South China 2018 event in Shenzhen, Clemens Jargon, VP for Global Dispensing and Asia at Mycronic, discusses I-Connect007's Edy Yu the challenges that customers face on their journey towards Industry 4.0, and how Mycronic is addressing these issues. From jet printing to solder paste inspection, to pick-and-place, Jargon talks about their total solutions that aim to help customers take their production to the next level.

Riding Out the Electronic Components Crisis is No Longer an Option

The electronic components shortage is continuing to take its toll on the electronics manufacturing sector. As market demand outstrips manufacturing capacity, the fallout from the components crisis is now predicted to extend well into 2020, and beyond. And it’s a problem which OEMs can no longer hope to simply ride out. Find out what you can do to address this issue.

Practicing Best Practices

Recently, we looked into electronics assembly best practices that help optimize your manufacturing processes. To provide you more insights on this, here's an interview with two assembly experts: Jason Keeping of EMS firm Celestica, and Bob Willis, a renowned EMS consultant and trainer.

Use of Lean Manufacturing Principles Enhances Quality and Productivity

Using work-cell-based batch assembly processes will enable EMS firms to provide greater flexibility and responsiveness to their box build customers. Here's an example of why this flexibility is important, and find out how regional EMS providers, often thought of as companies primarily focused on PCBA assembly and cellular box builds, who are skilled in mechanical assembly can easily shift to higher-volume work.

Demand Forecasting: The Art of Knowing What You Need Before You Need It

Forecasting is a skill born out of experience, intuition, and most of all, knowledge. But what do you need to know when you’re creating an accurate demand forecast? What data is needed? Are there tools you can use? Where do you start? Find out here.

Cross Functional Teams Drive Strong Focus on Risk Mitigation and Quality

Having a traditional cross-functional team (CFT) approach, with a much larger CFT group that includes a tactically focused program manager, a strategically focused account director, a buyer, a product engineer, a process engineer, a test engineer, a quality engineer, a production supervisor or lead person, and a customer service representative focused on materials and scheduling, will help EMS firms govern all the necessary outputs associated with each customer.

Best Practices to Achieve Zero Defects

To ensure that a complex electronics build can be completed on time, on budget and with zero defects, here is a list of checks and balances that will help you with adjustments or corrections real time, instead of discovering them at the end of the build or worse, when it's already arrived at the end user.

We Have the Best Practice for That

Most best practices have been developed over time, based on the many different experiences that people encounter in the manufacturing line. And it is important to institute these best practices to make sure that your processes will result in outstanding job at the end of the day.


Conversation with… Vexos: Doing It Right the First Time

Harry Chan, Deputy GM and VP Manufacturing for EMS firm Vexos Shenzhen, is responsible for all aspects of manufacturing through continuous process improvement, production management, and development of manufacturing talent and teams. In an interview with SMT007 Magazine, he shared the challenges when dealing with flexible circuit assemblies, and strategies and techniques to address them.

Overcoming Growth Challenges

Growth is usually seen by manufacturers as a good thing—a sign of success and a result of hard work. But if this growth isn’t planned for, or the manufacturer can’t react in time, growth can cause the same devastating results as if the business was in decline. This article looks at seven common areas that can cause manufacturers a headache when their business is growing, along with solutions to help ease the pain.

Nearing Retirement, Juki's Bob Black Reflects on a Long Career

After more than 40 years in the electronics manufacturing industry, Juki's Bob Black is nearing retirement. Bob sat down with Barry Matties at the recent SMT Hybrid Packaging show in Nuremberg to reflect on his career and talk about the importance of strategic partnerships, even if that means playing nice with your competitors.

Is There an End in Sight to the Electronic Components Crisis?

As new and innovative technology continues to evolve on a daily basis, the need for electronic components has reached unprecedented levels, with passive manufacturers in particular among those struggling to cope with demand. Electronic component shortages are now such an issue that many OEMs are predicting their forecasted growth for 2018-2019 will be thwarted if they are unable to source the parts they need.

Conversation with Miraco… Strategies for Successful Flex Circuit Assembly

Jason Michaud, a 19-year veteran at Miraco Inc., is the company’s new vice president of sales. In an interview with SMT007 Magazine, Jason speaks about the factors driving the increasing utilization of flexible printed circuits, the challenges in flex circuit assembly, and the best practices to address those issues.

Aegis on CFX and Hermes Efforts

The Connected Factory Exchange (CFX) specification is truly revolutionizing the PCB industry. Michael Ford, from Aegis Software, met with I-Connect007's Barry Matties for an interview during the SMT Hybrid Packaging show in Nuremberg, Germany, to discuss the impact of this collaborative effort, and how it differs from the Hermes Standard.

Tackling the Challenges in Flex Assembly

Apart from the design and manufacturing of flex printed circuits, a critical challenge that needs attention is assembly. Their flexible nature requires specific strategies for paste printing, chip mounting, soldering—whether reflow, wave, or hand—and rework/repair processes. Which is why the June 2018 issue of SMT007 Magazine looks into the many challenges in flex circuit assembly and highlight some of the strategies, techniques and best practices to help assemblers deal with flex circuit issues.

High School Team's Robotics Entry on Spotlight at Wisconsin Expo & Tech Forum

In May, I took the opportunity to drive around Lake Michigan and visit the SMTA Milwaukee Chapter’s Wisconsin Expo & Tech Forum. Held at the Crowne Plaza Milwaukee Airport Hotel, this was a well-organized and attended table-top expo and technical forum, with over 60 exhibitors, and a high school team with their FIRST Robotics entry.

The Value of Site Visits in Selecting Your Electronics Manufacturer

A site visit can be an invaluable exercise in helping you to better understand your electronics manufacturing services (EMS) outsourcing options and to see first-hand the operational capability, procedures and culture of a prospective EMS partner.

Seeing Clearly: XR Headsets and Flex’s Reference Design at AWE

At this year’s CES, they announced the launch of an extended reality (XR) reference design for the next generation of XR headsets. As the “sketch-to-scale” solutions provider, as they describe themselves, that designs and builds “intelligent products for a connected world,” they have now introduced an augmented reality (AR or, as we now call it, XR) reference design to reduce time to market for companies wishing to make and market XR devices.


The Michigan SMTA Expo & Tech Forum 2018: A Review

In May, I had the adventure of driving across Michigan to visit the SMTA Michigan Expo & Tech Forum. This well-organized and attended expo and technical forum featured over 75 exhibitors and two interesting presentations. Read on.

How to Apply for a Graduate Scheme in Manufacturing

There are a whole host of benefits which make graduate schemes within the UK manufacturing industry a popular career choice. You get paid while you train, you gain invaluable on-the-job experience within your chosen sector, you develop a breadth of new technical and business skills and there’s an opportunity to continue your academic studies while you work.

Enabling an Intelligent Supply Chain for Electronics Manufacturing

The first three industrial revolutions came about because of mechanization, electricity and IT. Now, with the advent of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and services making their way into the manufacturing environment, we are seeing the arrival of a fourth industrial revolution, Industry 4.0.

Key Insights from the Annual Manufacturing Report 2018

UK Manufacturing would appear to be experiencing both an exciting and a disconcerting time, according to the findings of the Annual Manufacturing Report 2018. This year's report set out not just to provide a statistical snapshot of the industry, but to test the mood of manufacturers across a range of issues from technology to training.

Newbie in North Carolina: Local SMTA Event

I-Connect007's Jonathan Zinski attended the SMTA Carolinas Expo and Tech Forum on May 15. Featuring numerous local companies who do not do not always attend larger trade shows, the event offered great value, with its smaller environment contributing to more in-depth conversations.

The Value of a Global Sourcing Partner

In today's highly competitive environment, global sourcing is no longer a competitive strategy; it is a standard practice. But the challenges of developing a robust domestic PCB supply chain is daunting enough that moving onto the international stage presents a whole new degree of difficulty that most companies are not equipped to manage.

Conversation with… Keysight: Challenges and Opportunities in Testing 5G

Roger Nichols, 5G program manager at test and measurement provider Keysight Technologies Inc., discusses the opportunities that 5G will enable, the many challenges facing electronics manufacturers when it comes to 5G, and how they are helping the industry address these issues.

The Key to Boosting Numbers of Women in Manufacturing

According to latest figures by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the split between male and female employees in UK's manufacturing industry is significant—with men accounting for 76% of the total manufacturing workforce and women making up just 24%. So, what exactly is being done to encourage the recruitment, and retention, of more women within the UK manufacturing environment?

The Survey Said: Industry Optimistic After Strong 2017

During recent trade shows and conferences, we spoke with a variety of fabricators and assembly providers. They had one thing in common: Every company achieved strong growth in 2017, and shared a positive outlook about the future. This year, the industry is optimistic, driven by positive economic outlook, growing customer demand, and new technologies and vertical markets, among others.

Combining Strengths Synergistically: PDS and Green Circuits

Power Design Services (PDS) and Green Circuits have just announced their merger. I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties recently sat down with Joe O’Neil and Matthew Becker of PDS, along with Ted Park of Green Circuits, to get the full scoop.


How to Secure a Place on an Electronics Manufacturing Graduate Scheme

The world of EMS is a fast-moving and technologically innovative sector that can offer a wide range of compelling career opportunities for new graduates. For those seeking a route into the electronics manufacturing industry, a graduate scheme can be hugely beneficial in gaining practical, first-hand experience of an EMS business across all its operations.

System-Driven Approach Ensures Automotive Electronics Assembly Success

In an interview with SMT007 Magazine, Mathieu Kury, business development manager at Asteelflash USA Corp., talks about the new challenges and customer requirements when it comes to automotive electronics assembly, trends driving the growth of the market, and where the industry is headed.

On Globalization and Standards

Like a language—English, Chinese, Hindi, German, Spanish, French—a standard builds a bridge between people. "If I make this sound, we both understand that it means this. If I write this symbol, we both understand that means that. If I perform this action, we both understand the gesture."

Vehicle Electrification: Disrupting the Automotive Industry and Beyond

Around the globe, governments are announcing mandates that will bring about the demise of the internal combustion engine. China has led the charge by requiring 8% of new vehicles on the road to be “new energy” or zero emission vehicles in 2018, up from the current 2–3% on the road today. Similar strong government regulations limiting the future of the internal combustion engine have passed around the world, and the importance and growth of the hybrid and fully electric automobile industry can’t be overstated.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Heraeus Discusses Developments at New Lab

Jim Wertin, technical sales manager at Heraeus Electronics, shares news about the company's latest product offerings, as well as its newly established application laboratory, which helps customers and potential customers resolve production issues and improve the quality of their products.

Electronic Component Shortages are Real

The electronic component market is in poor shape (again) and the sooner you face this fact, the sooner you can put plans in place to mitigate the risk to your business. Electronic component shortages are once again causing OEMs and EMS providers a real headache. Here's a look at the current state of the market, and seven ways in which you can work closely with your EMS provider to make the best out of a bad situation.

What's the Scoop? APEX CFX Showcase

The IPC Connected Factory Exchange (CFX) demo at the recent IPC APEX EXPO 2018 trade show in San Diego, California, is a great example of industry collaboration. The CFX Showcase at APEX had 245,000 CFX website page views; 701,200 CFX messages transmitted; and 664.5 million bytes of data exchanged; and the whole thing was pulled together in a matter of weeks. Here's what the participants in the program have got to say.

The Climate Change of Data

From a typical manufacturing standpoint, cloud storage is simply another way or place in which to put data. From a usage perspective, many see it as being no different from an on-site server or even the external hard disk on your laptop. Off-site cloud storage is vast and can easily be cost effective, requiring no maintenance or fixed overhead other than paying the service bills. There are, however, a couple of very important things to consider with cloud storage.

Poor Supply Chain Management Will Cost You Money

Supply chain management goes far beyond merely keeping track of all the SKUs currently on sale. It also means tracking the parts going into the products, since those parts are also potentially going to be used for post-sale support if necessary. If you can't trust your components to be legitimate and trustworthy, backed by a solid chain-of-possession, then every aspect of your electronics operation may be in jeopardy.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Mycronic Broadens Product Portfolio

Thomas Stetter, senior vice president of assembly at Mycronic, discussed with I-Connect007's Pete Starkey how their company continues to broaden their product portfolio towards a full-line SMT solution and the Industry 4.0 automated factory.


RTW IPC APEX EXPO: MEK on Increasing Demand for THT AOI Systems

Henk Biemans, managing director of MEK Marantz Electronics Ltd, speaks with I-Connect007 Managing Editor Stephen Las Marias about what's driving the increasing demand for THT AOI systems. Other topics discussed include reliability issues, articifial intelligence, and machine learning in inspection systems.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Nordson SELECT's Acquisition Update

Carlos E. Bouras, general manager of Nordson SELECT, discusses the acquisition of ACE Production Technologies and InterSelect GmbH one year later, along with the synergies between the two companies, and how they have strengthened Nordson SELECT's capabilities.

5 Ideas to Enhance the Induction Process in Manufacturing

While most of us work and live in an alternate reality, first impressions still count and your induction process is no different. Here are some ideas to consider implementing within your own manufacturing business when welcoming your new starters.

Succeeding at the Velocity of Technology: An IPC APEX EXPO 2018 Wrap-Up

After many months of planning, IPC APEX EXPO 2018 proved to be a success. From revolutionary advancements displayed on the show floor to expert insights conveyed in technical conference sessions and professional development courses, IPC APEX EXPO provided the learning and connections that helped 4,574 attendees from 43 countries prepare for the future.

How to Assess Top Talent when Recruiting for Key Manufacturing Roles

As your business continues to grow and evolve, gaps in talent can start to appear. And while growth is often seen as a sign of success, if you fail to manage growth correctly, it can quickly turn and bite you in a similar way to a business in decline.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Super Dry Tackles International Moisture Management Differences and Floor-Life-Reset Techniques

Rich Heimsch comments on the differences in attitude regarding moisture management between Europe and the U.S., and the increasing awareness of floor-life-reset techniques.

The Direction of Autonomous Driving

Flex (formerly Flextronics) is a company that I've worked with for decades, both as a customer and as a supplier. Recently, they were honored with Frost & Sullivan’s Manufacturing Leadership Award. I sat down with Eric Hoarau, the senior director managing automotive innovation at Flex, to discuss his company’s views on where autonomous driving technology is heading in the next 10 - 15 years.

Automotive Electronics Still in the Driver’s Seat

The past year was one of the strongest years that the PCB supply chain and the rest of the electronics manufacturing industry in general, has seen. Everyone we talked to at the shows were optimistic that the strong growth in the industry in 2017 will continue through 2018. And most industry players point to one thing when it comes to what’s driving this strong growth—automotive electronics.

Creative Electron's Bill Cardoso on the iPhone 10 Teardown and Much More

At the recent West Penn SMTA Expo, Creative Electron CEO Bill Cardoso speaks with Patty Goldman about his presentation on the iPhone 10 teardown, and how this reflects the direction where contract manufacturers are headed. He also highlights what sets Creative Electron apart in the market.

The Evolution of Camtek Manufacturing

Chris Davis, president and founder of EMS firm Camtek Manufacturing, in Bloomington, Illinois, discusses with Dan Beaulieu what led her to not only start Camtek from the ground up, but also what it means for her business to be a certified women's business enterprise (WBE).


Show & Tell: Corporate Awards Bestowed by IPC

Every year IPC recognizes two companies that have made significant contributions to IPC and the electronics industry. These awards are named after industry executives who were themselves significant and outstanding contributors: one for a PCB fabricator company and one for an electronics manufacturing services (EMS) company. This year’s recipients were Northrop Grumman and Rockwell Collins, respectively.

IPC APEX EXPO Takeaways

The IPC Connected Factory Exchange (CFX) live demo at this year's IPC APEX EXPO show in San Diego, California highlighted how the CFX standard will enable manufacturers to track their efficiencies better, prevent issues even before they happen, and make adjustments wherever needed.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Miraco Company and Services Introduction

Miraco's current quality manager, William Pfingston, fills Guest Editor Steve Williams in on the company's contract manufacturing capabilities and services, including strengths in design and flex circuits. He also talks about the company's expansion and organizational changes.

Should You Outsource Your Outbound Logistics to Your EMS Partner?

Shipping your products to their end destination is the final stage in your manufacturing process and one which is crucial to the ongoing success of your entire manufacturing operation. After all, getting your product delivered on time, in the correct quantities, to the right people and in pristine condition all contributes to your customer’s first impression.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: New Electrolube Developments and Improved Coatings

Electrolube's Phil Kinner discusses new developments in two-component polyurethane conformal coatings, and improved silicone coatings for high-temperature applications.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Kyzen’s Tom Forsythe Talks Tips for Better Cleaning

Tom Forsythe, executive VP of KYZEN, offers his advice on designing for better cleaning. Forsythe also discusses customers' continuing demand for data and KYZEN's data management efforts.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Blackfox—Training Program for Transitioning Military Personnel

Al Dill, president and CEO, discusses a training program for transitioning military personnel provided by Blackfox, who is a certified IPC training organization around the world.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Saki—The Smart Factory Concept

Alex Malek, VP of sales and service for Saki, explains how the company's software and hardware provide a common platform for machine-to-machine interconnectivity.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Manncorp Expands With New Learning Center

Ed Stone, sales manager of Manncorp, discusses the company's expansion, specifically their new application and learning center, their new equipment in the pipeline, and his outlook for this year.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Zentech Discusses New NIST Legislation

Matt Turpin, president and CEO of EMS firm Zentech Manufacturing Inc., speaks about the NIST 800-171 legislation published by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and how it is different from other regulations such as ITAR.


5 Techniques Used to Detect Counterfeit Electronic Components

Although government pressure and private resources have helped minimize the risk of counterfeit components from entering the supply chain, there is still and will most likely continue to be, a prominent threat. So, what can you do to minimize this risk? Read on.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Kimball Electronics Discusses New Opportunities in the Medical Market

Tom Ferris, business development director for Kimball Electronics' medical industry solutions business, discusses the latest opportunities in the medical market and new requirements from customers.

A Not So Surprising Focus for Flex in the XR Realm

Dan Feinberg has been covering augmented, virtual, and mixed-reality for I-Connect007 for the last few years. He recently met with Eric Braddom, VP of Extended Reality (XR) Product Management for Flex, a company that is involved in this disruptive technology. In this interview, Dan and Eric discuss the future of augmented, mixed and/or virtual reality, or as Flex calls it, "extended reality."

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: COMET Technologies Highlights Product Range and New Facility

Craig Arcuri of COMET Technologies details the numerous ways his company's technology is employed to manufacture and inspect a wide range of products, from chips to jet engine turbine blades. He also speaks about Lab One, the company's new technology and application center in Silicon Valley.

Your Competitors are Outsourcing Their Manufacturing; Shouldn’t You?

As an OEM, you will be focused on increasing sales and maximizing profits. But you can only sell what you can produce, and manufacturing complex industrial electronic products day in, day out can be a headache. As your sales start to climb, you move closer to hitting your internal capacity limits. Here's how EMS providers can help you become successful in your manufacturing.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Indium Discusses Fighting Solder Voids

Voiding has increasingly become one of the most critical challenges in the soldering process. In this interview, Christopher Nash, product manager for the PCB assembly solder paste business of Indium, speaks about how the company is helping customers address the voiding challenge.

Setting Clear Boundaries with Your EMS Provider

A common area for confusion, particularly during the early stages of an outsourcing partnership, relates to 'boundaries', and agreeing who is responsible for what. If clear lines are not discussed and agreed between you and your EMS provider, it can be easy to fall into an assumption trap, and we all know what happens then.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Addressing Challenges in Automotive Electronics

Paul Salerno explains how Alpha Assembly Solutions have addressed the challenges of the exponential growth in automotive electronics, with specific reference to soldering in power train, ADAS, and infotainment applications

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Asteelflash Expansion Plans and Industry Challenges

Mathieu Kury, business development manager at EMS firm Asteelflash, discusses the company's expansion plans and activities amid the growing demand in the automotive electronics space.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Developments and Reliability Improvements in Solder Alloys

Tim O'Neill explains developments in solder alloys for cost-sensitive applications, and improvements in the reliability of alloys subjected to sustained high temperatures.


Exceeding Customer Expectations

Aculon Inc. commercializes unique surface coatings leveraging nanotechnology and other surface modification techniques. The company’s original focus was the optical industry, developing treatments of prescription eyewear, sunglasses and other optics.

9 Essentials of an Electronics Contract Manufacturer

Differentiating between the best contract electronics manufacturing providers and those that are sub-par can initially seem tricky. In order to help you make the best and most educated decision possible, here are nine essentials to look for when hiring an electronics manufacturing service.

6 Questions to Assess Your Company's IoT Readiness

Small-to-medium sized companies shouldn't assume that Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT or Industrial Internet) is for the 'big boys' only. Innovations coming out of the IIoT have the potential to significantly level the playing field among companies of all sizes.

Growing with the Customer

Greg Hebson, global director for strategic accounts at EMS firm Vexos Inc., speaks with I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias about working closely and growing with customers, as well as ensuring total customer satisfaction.

Talk to Your Customers

Whatever industry we are in, we are a customer and a supplier at the same time. The goal is always 100% customer satisfaction, as dissatisfaction in your customer side will eventually result in problems. For one, according to the results of our survey, the loss of business and reputation can be the consequences of not meeting your customers' needs.

Pros and Cons of Outsourcing Your Product Design to an Independent Contractor

Taking on an independent design contractor or sole trader offers an opportunity to inject a fresh perspective, to gain the value of specialist knowledge and to save on staffing costs, training, infrastructure and equipment. Ultimately though, deciding whether to engage an independent contractor in your product design will require weighing up the pros and cons as they apply to your specific project.

Should You Be Outsourcing Product Design?

While handing over part or all of your manufacturing to a third party can be daunting, it offers a host of benefits. It frees you up to focus on what you do best--whether that's designing, marketing or selling. It reduces your operating costs, and you gain from the range and depth of expertise than an EMS can provide. For OEMs already outsourcing their manufacturing, going to a third party for other services, like product design, could well be the next logical step.

Tempo Automation: Setting the Pace for Low-Volume, Quick-Turn Assembly

Jesse Koenig, co-founder and VP of technology at PCB assembly company Tempo Automation, discusses with I-Connect007's Patty Goldman how they are making electronics development much easier and more seamless for customers.

The Importance of Feedback in the Electronics Assembly Supply Chain

Any customer feedback is a good feedback, whether it is good or bad, because it often pushes the supplier or manufacturer to improve. However, the problem in the electronics assembly supply chain is that customers often do not give feedback, unless it is negative.

Working with Your Customers

Even though you have trusted supplier partners, working closely with them will ensure seamless manufacture and high-quality output. In our recent survey, most of our respondents agree, with more than a third or 40% closely working with at least 50% of their customers.


How Engineering Support Can Affect QC

Quality processes are part of any reputable contract manufacturer's operation. When working with an electronics contract manufacturer, it is wise to consider a partner that has an experienced engineering team. This article tells more.

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.


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