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Impact of Stencil Foil Type on Solder Paste Transfer Efficiency for Laser-cut SMT Stencils (Part 1)

As innovation and demand continue to drive miniaturization in electronics, manufacturers face the constant challenge of assembling smaller and smaller components with repeatable processes and high yields. Stencil printing is the first step in the PWB assembly process, and improvements to the SMT stencil can significantly improve yields, especially for more challenging miniaturized products.

Lionrock Delivers Bendable, Industrial-grade Battery Tech

David Yeung, co-founder and CEO of Lionrock Batteries, discusses previous projects—including smartwatch straps—and his collaboration with the Nano and Advanced Materials Institute (NAMI) in Hong Kong on wearable, flexible battery technology at CES 2019.

Eileen Hibbler and Jason Emes on Improving the West Penn SMTA Chapter

At the recent West Penn SMTA Expo, Eileen Hibbler, a chapter support specialist at SMTA, and Jason Emes, the current president of the West Penn SMTA Chapter, discuss ways to improve meeting attendance and develop a new slate of chapter officers.

Innovative Battery and Pressure Sensor Technologies

Tracy Liu is the director of R&D of the Nano and Advanced Materials Institute (NAMI) in Hong Kong. In an interview with I-Connect007, Liu talked about NAMI and discussed a number of battery and pressure sensor technologies being developed by the institute for licensing.

Tips & Tricks: Water Contamination and Flux Expiry

Solder joints that form properly are not expected to exhibit reduced reliability. However, a higher number of defects created tends to lead to a higher chance that defective connections escape detection through inspection and functional testing, and that’s not a risk to be taken lightly.

DSG: Breaking Ground on the Smart Factory Revolution

Mauro Dallora leads the I-Connect007 team through the Dongguan Somacis Graphic (DSG) PCB Co. Ltd. facility in China, lays out the company’s strategy for becoming an Industry 4.0 smart factory, and explains the current ongoing major expansion. Read about various topics in this factory tour and interview.

A Working Definition of Automation

Automation in a working context means more than just automatic machinery. Machinery implies mechanization. Automation also means the system information directs and controls people, materials, and machines. This concept is also known as systemization. Therefore, automation is made up of two components: mechanization (material flow) and systemization (information flow). Find out more.

A Young Engineer’s Perspective

Jeffrey Diament, a recent Princeton University graduate and an engineering associate from sensor manufacturer Instrumems, talks about the company’s nanowire sensing platform that can measure velocity, temperature, and humidity. Being his first career job out of college, Diament discusses his experience on the hardware and manufacturing side of things and offers advice to other young professionals.

Tips & Tricks: Humidity Level for Electronics Assembly

Low relative humidity (RH) can allow for higher static charges to build on objects. It can also affect solder pastes, especially OR-class pastes, and this can reduce print performance and stencil life. Read on to find out what level of RH you need for your assembly facility.

Building a Smart Factory Supply Line

I-Connect007 recently toured Victory Giant Technology (VGT) Co. Ltd. in Huizhou, China—one of China’s largest PCB producers. Currently, VGT generates about US$500 million in annual sales, and have plans to reach $1.5 billion in the coming years. Read more to find out VGT's expansion plans and strategies for growth.


WPC's Standardized Cordless Power Solutions

Phoebe Francis, a Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) representative who works as a senior manager in the Dallas offices for Golin, a PR firm, provides a rundown on WPC and what it means for printed circuit manufacturing.

Tips & Tricks: Wave Solder Bridging

Wave solder bridging is the most difficult defect to troubleshoot because it has a number of potential causes. The key is to understand the role of flux during wave contact—thus reducing the surface tension of the solder to reduce the tendency to bridge between pins as the board leaves the wave.

Industrial Cybersecurity Needs to Be in Front of Regulators

Chris Humphreys, principal at Anfield Group, a cybersecurity firm consulting with numerous industrial and infrastructure clients, discusses cybersecurity, the dynamics of regulation, and the responsibilities that manufacturers have to the greater good above and beyond simply adhering to regulation.

Octane Open Concept Solution: Innovative Analytics and Floor-control Software

Octane Open Concept targets the contract manufacturer and is well along in the development process for a pair of software tools designed to optimize assembly and testing results tracking on the manufacturing floor. In an interview, CEO Craig Reiselt discusses the company and the products and opportunities in front of Octane.

Top 10 Most-Read SMT007 Articles for March

Starting this month, we will take a look back at the most popular SMT007 news, articles, interviews, and columns over the past 30 days. For the month of March, these are the top 10 most-read SMT007 articles. Check them out.

No Rest for the Weary: Supply Chain Pressures Are Here to Stay!

As we leave 2018 behind, it should be noted that the challenges faced by all consumers of electronic components in our industry this year have stretched teams both physically and mentally. We will continue to see pressures across the supply chain through 2019 and beyond, so there is no rest for the weary.

Impact of 5G

In our recent I-Connect007 survey on 5G, we asked the following question: "How do you think 5G will impact the electronics manufacturing industry?" Below are some of the replies, edited slightly for clarity.

Jennie Hwang: Get Ready for Disruptive Technologies

At IPC APEX EXPO 2019, Dr. Jennie S. Hwang, a columnist, author, and all-around an expert in PCB assembly, discusses some of the changes she has seen since joining the industry, and disruptive technologies that technologists we are going to have to face in the near future. Are you ready for the future?

CPCA Show and productronica China 2019 Review

It was a busy week in China for the electronics industry. With multiple trade shows and conferences going on simultaneously in Shanghai, including the CPCA Show 2019, productronica China, SEMICON China, electronica China, and FPD China, it appears from the crowds that the market is strong in the region.

Smart Factories: A Shift in Thinking

The components that make up the smart factory foundation are not new, at least not at a basic technological level. Factory automation still uses PLCs, sensors, robotics, etc. But two things are quite different today: governments and key industry players across the globe are striving for cleaner, greener factories for the sake of the environment; and the 21st century allows for interconnected, multifaceted use of the data available through all these sensors and robotics.


SMTA Europe Electronics in Harsh Environments Conference 2019: A Preview

As a prelude to this year's Electronics in Harsh Environments conference, which will be held on April 2–4, 2019 in Amsterdam, Netherlands, SMTA Europe chairman Keith Bryant, supported by technical specialist Bob Willis, showcased the challenges and key issues faced by design and process engineers worldwide, in a webinar entitled "Harsh Environment Failures—Causes & Cures."

Current Megatrends You Pay the Most Attention To

In our recent survey, we asked the following question: "What current megatrends do you pay the most attention to?" Below are some of the replies, edited slightly for clarity.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO 2019: Joining Materials with Laser Energy

Kelly Dack and General Manager Denis Barbini discuss Laserssel's laser soldering equipment. Laser soldering is presented as a solution to mitigate the effects of high heat processing on printed board substrates and components by pinpointing energy where it's needed to join the metals. He talks about the challenges that their customers usually face, and how they are helping them address those by optimizing their processes. He also mentioned their device that eliminate any type of warpage.

2019 IPC EMS Management Meeting Wrap-up

At the recent EMS Management Meeting during IPC APEX EXPO 2019, EMS leaders gathered to discuss issues critical to EMS providers today, including supply chain issues, customer contracts, labor optimization and talent shortages. The highlight of the day was a supply chain challenges panel and discussion featuring supplier, distributor, and end-user perspectives on addressing component supply and lead time challenges.

Rehm Focuses on International Hiring

Rehm Thermal Systems has been successfully recruiting skilled workers from abroad for some time now.

Blackfox on IPC Training and Certification and Mexico Expansion

Joel Sainz, sales manager for Blackfox Training Institute in Mexico, speaks with Guest Editor Osvaldo Targon about his company’s IPC training and certification services during IPC APEX EXPO 2019. Sainz also discusses their plans for expanding their reach in Mexico.

What Drives Your Optimism?

In our previous I-Connect007 survey, we asked the following question: "What drives your optimism?" Here are just a few of the replies, slightly edited for clarity.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO 2019: Standards Updates—IPC-7093 & IPC-7530

Ray Prasad, IPC Hall of Famer and chairman for multiple committees, gives Guest Editor Joe Fjelstad an update on two IPC standards: IPC-7093 on bottom-termination components (BTCs), and IPC-7530 progress with reflow characterization. Prasad talks about the many challenges in dealing with BTCs, including circuit/board design, manufacturing, voiding, connections (or lack thereof), warpage, and reliability. He also addresses no-clean flux and its challenges.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO 2019: iNEMI on Next-generation Soldering

Grace O’Malley, VP of technical operations at iNEMI, and Editor Nolan Johnson discuss the next-generation soldering buzz session workshop hosted by iNEMI at IPC APEX EXPO 2019 and the upcoming bi-annual technology roadmap that will be released this spring.

Nate Ramanathan on Choosing a Prototype Partner and Production Supplier

AEye, a developer of perception systems for autonomous vehicles, has transitioned from initial engineering development into the final design for production and manufacturing of very large quantities. In an interview with I-Connect007, Nate Ramanathan, VP of operations at AEye, speaks about the criteria and his perspective on selecting vendors.


RTW IPC APEX EXPO 2019: Aculon on Technology Developments and Partnership with Henkel

Aculon CEO Edward Hughes and Editor Pete Starkey discuss surface modification technologies based on nanochemistry. Of particular interest to electronics technologists are recent developments in waterproofing treatments for assemblies, and how Aculon's strategic partnership with Henkel opens up new opportunities.

Digi-Key’s Dave Doherty: Tweaking the Supply Chain

In an interview with I-Connect007, Digi-Key COO Dave Doherty discusses supply chain disruptions and shortages and shares a number of ways in which Digi-Key is helping to smooth out the delivery of components even with the current turmoil.

Advice to OEM System Designers

In our previous survey, we asked the following question: "What advice would you give an OEM system designer?" Here are just a few of the replies, slightly edited for clarity.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO 2019: Reducing Voiding in Reflow Soldering

Chris Nash, product manager for PCB assembly solder paste at Indium Corporation, speaks with Kelly Dack and highlights Indium’s take on three important aspects of reliability: thermal, mechanical, and electrical. He talks about challenges of all three aspects, which include solder voiding, and how Indium helps the industry address these issues through its solder paste formulations.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO 2019: Thermaltronics Discusses New Soldering Robot

Michael Gouldsmith, director of Thermaltronics, speaks with Editor Dan Feinberg about their new TMT-9800S robotic soldering unit. He also talks about an inline robotic soldering system—the next stage of their product development—which is scheduled to be released in the middle of the year.

Two Full CFX Demo Lines at IPC APEX EXPO 2019

During IPC APEX EXPO, Editor Dan Feinberg spoke with David Bergman, IPC VP of standards and technology, about CFX, IPC’s Connected Factory Exchange software for machine-to-machine communication. With more than companies now supporting CFX, IPC set up two full lines for demonstration at the show.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO 2019: MIRTEC Discusses Automation, CFX, and Sales Success

MIRTEC President Brian D'Amico speaks with I-Connect007 Guest Editor Dan Beaulieu about automation, the Connected Factory Exchange (CFX) standard, and their banner year last year. He speaks about Industry 4.0, automating the inspection process, and collecting more data to help refine the manufacturing process.

Stephanie Martin: Component Supply Challenges from the Catbird Seat

Vexos Senior Vice President for Global Supply Stephanie Martin gives the I-Connect007 editorial team a wide-ranging and insightful overview of the current parts supply situation from the perspective of procurement at a contract manufacturer.

How Inspection Improved the Manufacturing Process

In our previous survey, we asked how inspection has helped improve the manufacturing process. Here are just a few of the replies, slightly edited for clarity.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO 2019: Advanced 3D Solder Paste Inspection Technology

Olivier Pirou, managing director of Vi TECHNOLOGY, provides Joe Fjelstad with an overview of the company's advanced 3D solder paste inspection technology, featuring the ability to make corrections in real time. Pirou also talks about their efforts in strengthening their inspection systems.


RTW IPC APEX EXPO 2019: BTU Discusses New Solder Flux Reclamation Solutions

Bob Bouchard, corporate marketing manager at BTU International Inc., updates I-Connect007 Managing Editor Nolan Johnson on new solder flux reclamation solutions and details the new aqueous scrub methodologies, their increased ROI and efficiencies, and reduced maintenance.

Executive Forum on Advancing Automotive Electronics

Presented by IPC Hall of Fame Council, the Executive Form on Advancing Automotive Electronics, which aims to provide information on the complete supply chain for automotive electronics, featured 10 presentations on all facets of automotive electronics from materials, fabrication, and reliability testing to market information and future needs.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO 2019: Making Components Count

VJ Electronix is filling the void in pre-build component count verification challenges. Don Naugler, president and general manager, sits down with Guest Editor Kelly Dack to explain details of the machine, how it works, and who benefits from it.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO 2019: Manncorp Highlights Custom SMT Lines

Ed Stone, sales manager for Manncorp Inc., sits down with I-Connect007 Guest Editor Dan Beaulieu and discusses how they are helping customers with low- to medium-volume type production needs by installing custom SMT lines within 48 hours.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO 2019: LPKF on Benefits of Laser Depaneling

Laser technology marches on, and marching along with it is LPKF's new line of laser depaneling equipment. Stephan Schmidt, president, talks with I-Connect007 Guest Editor Kelly Dack about the many benefits of using lasers including cleanliness and higher yields through increased array density.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO 2019: Lenthor Discusses Facility Expansion and New Equipment

Rich Clemente, general manager of Lenthor Engineering, discusses with Dan Feinberg, I-Connect007 Guest Editor, the company’s expansion and new facility and equipment. He also talks about his outlook for the electronics manufacturing industry in North America.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO 2019: MacDermid Alpha Highlights Solutions to Combat Voids in Solder

Joe Fjelstad speaks with Paul Salerno, global portfolio manager at MacDermid Alpha Electronics Solutions, about their latest product and process solutions to combat voids in solder including modifications in pastes, preforms, and vacuum assist soldering.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO 2019: Comet Group's Lab One Facility in Silicon Valley

Joe Fjelstad speaks with Ken Burden, senior director of North American field service, and Craig Arcuri, business development, about Comet Group’s Silicon Valley-based Lab One customer center, which is a key resource for a variety of testing and inspection services, and also offers opportunities to collaborate with Comet Group's industry experts.

Award-winning Koh Young Process Optimizer

Joel Scutchfield, sales director with Koh Young America, discusses the company's outlook and new product offerings for 2019, including their Koh Young Process Optimizer (KPO), which won an award at IPC APEX EXPO 2019 for the process control software category.

Dan Schoenfelder: Searching for Parts in Real Time

The I-Connect007 editors recently sat down with Dan Schoenfelder, vice president of business development at Octopart. We discussed online parts libraries and the impact they can have on choosing parts based on availability data during the design process.


Improving the Efficiency of Your PCBA Production

Ensuring you're hitting your build times is always a major priority in surface mount production. The challenge for many OEMs, however, is that the processes involved with PCBA can be numerous and complex. And the smallest of details can make the biggest of differences.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO 2019: Electrolube Discusses Overcoming Secondary Cure Issues

Phil Kinner, technical director of Electrolube's coatings division, speaks with I-Connect007 Technical Editor Pete Starkey about how secondary cure issues with UV conformal coatings have been overcome and shows some typical examples.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO 2019: Enabling Complete Automation for Customers

Steve Williams and Saki CEO Norihiro Koike discuss Saki's AOI equipment and complete solution for electronic manufacturers, the industry-leading accuracy of their 3D equipment, and their recent Panasonic IoT certification to provide process data back to the pick-and-place equipment.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO 2019: Panasonic Highlights New Products, IPC STEM Student Outreach Program

Sean M. Murray, GM of North American Sales EAG Group for Panasonic, and Nolan Johnson, I-Connect007 Managing Editor, discuss two new product announcements at the show—PanaCIM process tracker software and MPM-WX—and being a sponsor for the IPC STEM Student Outreach Program.

Super Dry Storage Options to Manage Intermetallic Growth

Guest Editor Kelly Dack speaks with Richard Heimsch, director of Super Dry, about some of the differences between storing components and other materials for assembly floor storage versus long-term storage, and how Super Dry can help combat intermetallic growth.

Supply Chain in Crisis

In a traditional design flow, the project team tends to use the parts they already know and have footprints for—maybe a little long in the tooth, but known quantities, after all. Except these are not traditional times. Component supplies, prices, and lead times are in a great deal of turmoil. The automotive, IoT, and telecommunications sectors are vacuuming components out of the supply chain at a record pace, exerting influences like early obsolescence of older components and more.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO 2019: ASM Updates Mid-Level Machines

ASM CEO Americas Jeffery L. Timms and Technica President and CEO Frank Medina give Nolan Johnson a product update on ASM's mid-speed machines—EbySIPLACE and EbyDEK. By bringing key features from ASM's high-end products to their new mid-level models, ASM's new machines are gaining attention Timms and Medina discuss the how and why.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO 2019: KYZEN Intros New Aquanox Aqueous Cleaner

In an interview with I-Connect007 Technical Editor Pete Starkey, KYZEN Executive VP Thomas M. Forsythe introduces the latest member of the Aquanox family of aqueous cleaners and comments on issues of compatibility, rinsability, and consistency of operation.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO 2019: KIC Speaks on Data, Voiding and Traceability

Bjorn Dahle, president of KIC, talks with I-Connect007 Technical Editor Pete Starkey about how the industry has shifted its focus from the machine to data; the issue on voiding and how manufacturers can address this process challenge; and traceability.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: OK International Soldering Robot Integrates CV Technology

Bryan Gass, vice president at OK International, talks with I-Connect007 Managing Editor Nolan Johnson about their new soldering robot that integrates their Connection Validation (CV) technology. Launched at the IPC APEX EXPO last year, the CV technology provided the company a springboard to have a good start into 2018, and to achieve growth throughout the year.


Benefits of Jet Printing Solder Pastes

In a recent I-Connect007 survey on jet printing solder pastes, we asked the following question: "What are the major benefits with jet printing solder pastes?" Here are just a few of the replies, slightly edited for clarity.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO 2019: MacDermid Alpha Discusses New Materials to Improve Void Issues

Traian Cucu, Ph.D., G.A.T.E Group Leader at MacDermid Alpha Electronics Solutions, discusses with I-Connect007 Managing Editor Nolan Johnson some of the methods to reduce, or eliminate, the solder voiding issue, especially with the continuing trend towards lower-pitch, high-density components.

The Sun Rises on IPC APEX EXPO 2019

It's sunrise on Monday in San Diego, and IPC APEX EXPO at the San Diego Convention Center is already abuzz with activity. The exhibition hall setup is on schedule to open for business tomorrow morning, January 29th, 2019.

Most Important Attributes of Customer Service

In a recent I-Connect007 survey, we asked what the most important attributes of customer service are. Understanding and meeting the customer's needs and expectations top the list, followed by quality of service, and on-time delivery.

Electrolube Overcomes Secondary Cure Issues with New UV-cured Conformal Coatings

Electrolube Managing Director Ron Jakeman and Marketing Manager Julia Vorley speak with I-Connect007 Technical Editor Pete Starkey about the successful outcome of the international collaboration between the company's R&D teams in the UK and China, which resulted in a brand-new range of solvent-free UV-cured conformal coatings about to be launched at the upcoming IPC APEX EXPO 2019.

Mark Friedman on IPC Membership

Mark Friedman, a member success advocate at IPC, recently spoke with I-Connect007's Barry Matties about the current status of IPC's membership programs, the recent growth they've seen, and some hidden benefits of IPC membership that potential members might not be considering.

STEM: The Future of Our Industry

Facing a growing shortage of talented labor with which to fill the employment positions in America, IPC is working to help solve this problem. Colette Buscemi, senior director of IPC’s education programs, is encouraging IPC members to better engage pre-college and post-secondary college students at the local level. Barry Matties spoke with Colette about the educational programs IPC has put in place to invest in future generations, including the STEM program at this year’s IPC APEX EXPO.

IPC APEX EXPO 2019 to Demo Operating CFX Line

A year on from their first demonstration, IPC’s Connected Factory Exchange (CFX) now nears the release of version 1.0 at this year’s upcoming IPC APEX EXPO. The I-Connect007 team spoke with CFX specialists Michael Ford and Dave Bergman about how far the program has come from the first initial public demo all the way through now becoming a published standard, and what users can expect from the demonstrations planned for the 2019 show.

Mentor and Seica Partner for Data Prep and Testing Big Boards

Mark Laing, business development manager of the Valor division at Mentor, a Siemens company, and Luca Corli, director of sales at Seica, speaks with I-Connect007 Technical Editor Pete Starkey about the partnership between their two companies, which enables efficient data preparation for testing big boards, and accelerates new product introduction (NPI) cycles.

The Future of the Customer Experience in Mobility

Based on the protocol stack that starts with 5G, moves up to AI, and continues to layer integrations and user interfaces and experiences on top of those lower-level technologies, how does this all apply to the current mobile experience? A panel on the future of mobility with representatives from several major companies covered this and more at CES.


Solder Paste Selection/Qualification

In a recent SMT007 survey, we asked the following question: " What are your challenges when it comes to solder paste selection/qualification?" Here are just a few of the replies, slightly edited for clarity.

Shopping at IPC APEX EXPO: Evolutionary or Revolutionary Products?

As you're finalizing your shopping list, take a second to consider this: Are you in the market for products that are evolutionary or revolutionary? And what do those terms even mean for someone looking for new DFM software or a new pick-and-place machine?

Executive Forum at IPC APEX EXPO 2019 Focuses on Advancing Automotive Electronics

Senior-level executives from across the global electronics supply chain will gather to discuss opportunities and challenges facing the rapidly changing automotive electronics industry. With five expert speakers and a powerful keynote from GreenSource VP Alex Stepinski, registration will fill fast.

More Than Inspection: It’s Process Improvement

Barry Matties speaks with Brian D’Amico, president of MIRTEC, about the current state of machine-to-machine communication in the industry, and how the inspection company is interfacing with the different manufacturing languages currently available to gather predictive data and feedback from every inspection step to eliminate future defects.

MacDermid Enthone Discusses Consolidation Benefits

At the 2018 electronica exhibition in Munich, Frando van der Pas, director of marketing and sales for MacDermid Enthone—Europe, and Technical Editor Pete Starkey discussed the consolidation benefits and the vision and future of the company.

Welcome to the BIG Show!

This month, we celebrate the impact and reach of the IPC APEX EXPO slated for January 26--31, 2019, in San Diego, California. Have something truly new? It needs to be seen here at IPC APEX EXPO with long-standing products and evolutionary advances from industry stalwarts will grow their installed base here, too. There are other industry shows, but the must-go show for our industry is IPC APEX EXPO.

Top 10 Most-Read SMT Interviews of 2018

We continue our top 10 lists, this time with the most-read SMT interviews in 2018. Topping the list is an interview with Joe O’Neil and Matthew Becker of Power Design Services (PDS), along with Ted Park of Green Circuits, who announced their merger last year.

Words of Advice

In our recent designer survey, we asked the following question: “What advice would you give an OEM system designer?” Here’s what our EMS experts said.

Top 10 Most-Read SMT007 Columns of 2018

Each year, we compile the lists of most-read news, articles and columns. Here are the top 10 most-read SMT007 columns from the past year.

Top 10 Most-Read SMT007 Articles of 2018

Every year, we like to take a look back at the most popular SMT007 news, articles, interviews, and columns. These are the top 10 most-read SMT007 articles from the past year. Check them out.


SMT Electrolytic Capacitor Solder Joint Criteria and Integrity Investigation

The body configuration of SMT electrolytic capacitors results in the solder joints being only partially visible for optical inspection purposes. Therefore, the use of adequate reflow soldering processes is critical for producing solder joints that are acceptable for their end-product use environment.

Challenges in Flex Circuit Assembly

In a recent I-Connect007 survey on flex circuits, we asked the following question: What are some of the challenges that you face utilizing flex circuits? Here are just a few of the replies, edited slightly for clarity.

Dr. Traian Cucu Discusses Low-Temperature and Lead-Free Soldering

Dr. Traian Cucu, group leader of the Global Applications and Technologies Expert Group (GATE)—R&D—within Alpha Assembly Solutions, speaks with I-Connect007 Technical Editor Happy Holden about low-temperature and lead-free soldering applications, and the many critical advantages that can achieved by moving to a low-temperature process. They talk about the industry's transition to lead-free, the first, second and third generation of adoption of low-temperature alloys.

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.

Greatest Challenges in Soldering

In a recent SMT007 survey, we asked the following question: "What are your greatest challenges when it comes to soldering?" Here are just a few of the replies, slightly edited for clarity.

AOI Programs with a Magic Click

Production runs of 10–1,000 assemblies are everyday life for an EMS provider. But what if important staff are on vacation, and component deliveries are very much delayed? And then the customer is determined to have AOI, but the layout of the assembly is highly customized, making it virtually impossible to use complete library entries. Here's how AOI programs can help you in these scenarios.

Rick Almeida Discusses DownStream's Latest News

At the 2018 electronica exhibition in Munich, Rick Almeida, founder of DownStream Technologies, brings Editor Pete Starkey up to speed with the company’s latest news.

What is ESD and Why Should We Worry About It?

The realities of ESD, how static charges are generated, how they can be transferred to electronic components and the damage they can do, and what practical controls are required to protect components, assemblies and equipment from damage—these topics were explored and clearly explained in a webinar presented by SMTA Europe Technical Committee members Dr. Jeremy Smallwood of Electrostatic Solutions and Charles Cawthorne of MBDA.

I-Connect007 Research

In a recent SMT007 survey, we asked our readers how inspection has helped them improve their manufacturing process. Here are just a few of the answers, edited slightly for clarity.

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.


Is This a Golden Age for Medical Devices?

Just as the telecommunications golden age launched 30 years ago—which led to wireless phones, electronic data terminals, and technology that allows us to watch our favorite shows on our own time and not the TV stations' schedule—it seems that medical device technology is gearing up to do something similar. The Internet of Things (IoT), Internet of the Body (IoB), and printed electronics technologies are emerging, and they're converging with medical devices in a big way.

Electrolube on Managing Thermal Interfaces and Conformal Coatings

Electrolube's Jade Bridges, global technical support manager, speaks with I-Connect007 Technical Editor Pete Starkey about how to manage thermal interfaces for maximum heat transfer efficiency. She also provides an update on conformal coatings.

Understanding the Benefits of CFX

In an interview with SMT007 Magazine, David Fenton, group customer support manager for Blakell Europlacer, discusses the technical challenges and the impact of the IPC Connected Factory Exchange (CFX) initiative on the PCB assembly industry, and what manufacturers can expect from this electronics assembly connectivity standard.

RTW SMTAI: Inventec Discusses the 'Green Way'

At SMTA International 2018, Dan Walker, North American sales manager at Inventec Performance Chemicals USA, provides Editor Nolan Johnson an overview and update on Inventec’s environment-friendly cleaning, soldering and coatings products. He also discusses how they are addressing the latest manufacturing issues, including solder voiding.

U.S. Career Opportunities with Electrolube

In a recent interview, Julia Vorley, group marketing manager for Electrolube, discusses a career opportunity Electrolube is seeking in the U.S. Read on to hear what they’re looking for in a technical account manager.

Training: One of The Best Investments You Can Make

Dan Patten, general manager at BEST Inc., speaks with I-Connect007's Barry Matties about the drivers behind the recent uptick in training from U.S. companies—from contract-driven training for certification levels to newfound demands from quality departments—and why reinvesting in the workforce is beneficial to all parties involved.

Solder Paste Jetting: An Integral Approach

Solder paste jetting is a technique that differs greatly from traditional solder paste deposition methods. In this article, solder paste jetting is compared with the other solder paste deposition methods—solder paste dispensing and solder paste printing and solder paste jetting—and highlights why it is becoming a viable option and how it increases the flexibility of a single production system.

Koh Young's Joel Scutchfield on Smart Factory Connectivity

Joel Scutchfield of Koh Young speaks with I-Connect007's Barry Matties about the struggles system providers currently face in implementing the machine-to-machine connectivity needed for a smart factory with no common platform or protocol in place yet.

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.

How to Avoid Common Wave Soldering Issues

Wave soldering involves using waves of molten solder that act as glue to attach electrical components to the PCB. While this process is expedient and efficient in producing high-quality products, it sometimes experiences glitches that can be prevented or corrected. This article explores some of the main issues and how to remedy them.


Challenges and Opportunities with CFX

Larry Chen, global marketing supervisor at Taiwan-based Test Research Inc. (TRI), speaks about how the company is supporting IPC’s Connected Factory Exchange (CFX) initiative, the user interest on the standard, the challenges, and his outlook for CFX.

Alpha Assembly Solutions on Training, Education, and Low-Temperature Soldering

In this interview, Jason Fullerton of Alpha Assembly Solutions discusses the benefits and challenges of low-temperature soldering. He also highlights the biggest concerns he’s currently seeing in the industry, including young engineers lacking hands-on manufacturing experience and training, voiding and head-in-pillow issues, and low-temperature soldering demands.

Process, Design and Material Factors for Voiding Control for Thermally Demanding Applications

Solder voiding is a common phenomenon across all semiconductor packaging and electronic board assemblies. There are many factors that influence void frequency and size. This article focuses on several process, design and materials selection considerations which control or potentially reduce voiding to meet industry and end-market acceptance criteria.

CFX: Building the Foundation for Industry 4.0

IPC has been showcasing the Connected Factory Exchange (CFX) initiative in action at the many industry events this year, providing a technical demonstration operating in real time with standardized machine data delivered from participating exhibitors through the cloud and onto visitors' cellphones. In this interview, Dave Bergman, VP for international relations at IPC, discusses the latest developments with IPC’s CFX standard, including key highlights, impact in the electronics assembly industry, and what’s next.

Low-temperature Solder Paste Process Advantages

This article examines the performance of two low melting point SnBi alloys used in solder paste when assembling BGA components with SAC alloy spheres, and the advantages of a low-temperature process over the regular SAC assembly process. It will also evaluate solder paste capability regarding the process and the performance of a joint formed with a low melting point alloy solder paste and SAC305 spheres, including process advantages and material capabilities.

Meet Goepel electronic's New Managing Director, Alice Göpel

In August 2018, Alice Göpel took over the managing director position of Goepel electronic, replacing her father Holger Göpel who had managed the company since 1991. In this interview with SMT007, Alice discusses her career, what inspires her, and her outlook for the industry.

RTW SMTAI: PalPilot on Adding Value to Design and Assembly

Tim Sullivan, vice president of sales at PalPilot International Corp., speaks with I-Connect007 Managing Editor Nolan Johnson about their services, and how they add value to their customers from design to assembly/manufacturing. He also talks about their online platform called FootPrintKu, which help designers when it comes to footprints of their design.

Taking an Independent Path: Strategies for Low Risk Sourcing of Components in a Constrained Market

Today, the challenges of a highly stressed supply chain are forcing many OEMs and EMS providers to rethink the way they source components. With parts such as multilayer ceramic capacitors (MLCCs) and other low-cost components in chronic shortage with extended lead times for delivery, manufacturers must be able to get these parts on-time at the lowest possible cost without assuming additional risk.

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.

RTW SMTAI: KYZEN's Forsythe Discusses Gap in Cleaning Knowledge

Tom Forsythe, executive vice president of KYZEN Corp., busts myths around "how-clean-is-clean." He discusses the increasing cleaning challenges as devices get more dense and form factors become even smaller, and how these trends are driving the need for cleaning and causing a gap in cleaning knowledge. He also speaks about their new products in data collection and monitoring software for cleaning equipment.


RTW SMTAI: Harold Sneath Highlights Alpha’s Reclaims Business

Reclamation can be a profit center, not a cost of doing business. At the recent SMTA International 2018 conference and exhibition, Harold Sneath, Eastern Regional Reclaim Manager at Alpha Assembly Solutions, lays out the reclamation services available through Alpha.

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.

Do's and Don'ts of Thermal Management Materials

Selecting a thermal management material that is broadly applicable to a particular electronic assembly and its predicted operating conditions is a good starting point; however, as with many of these things, the devil is very much in the details! Find out the key considerations in choosing your materials.

AI-Powered Inspection

Viscom AG COO Peter Krippner discusses artificial intelligence (AI) and its impact in the electronics manufacturing industry. He speaks about how AI will change the industry, the challenges in adopting AI, and the state of implementation of AI in electronics manufacturing right now.

IoT: Driving Change in Manufacturing

In the manufacturing world, the Internet of Things (IoT) can be seen as an element of Industry 4.0. The idea behind it is that factories would evolve to become smarter, to become a lot more flexible—to be able to make the products that customers want, basically at any time that they need.

How CIM and IoT Can Make Your Factory Smart

As business needs challenge the electronics assembly industry to support increased flexibility, lower overhead, and stricter quality standards, the industry is rapidly adopting improvements in automation and analytics to meet the challenge. This article explores the changes in culture between the past, where data was simply sent point to point, and today’s multi-layered IoT technology-based solutions, as well as the effects and opportunities that are here now for the taking.

Tips to Improve Soldering Tip Life and Reduce Cost

Whether in production, or repair and rework, the cost of soldering iron tips can be easily overlooked, but with today’s requirement for higher temperatures in lead-free solder applications, the consumption of tips has dramatically increased. This fact, combined with changes in tip design to meet the higher thermal load requirements, has also resulted in escalating tip costs, making tip care a high priority.

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.

The Megadrivers

Henry Ford's innovation in manufacturing—the moving assembly line—helped reduce the time it took to build a car from more than 12 hours to just two hours and 30 minutes. It was a revolutionary advancement in production. Through continuous improvements over decades, the assembly line has become the highly efficient primary mode of manufacturing in a wide range of industries and it has changed the way we live and work forever.


Electronic Components Market Update

Unfortunately, there is still no end in sight to the electronic component shortage, and some lead-times are being quoted with 2019 and even 2020 delivery dates! So if you are working with an EMS provider, it remains vital that you communicate and share forecast information with them. You may also want to start looking at the option of fitting, or designing in, smaller components to your PCB assemblies.

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.

RTW NEPCON South China: Rehm Sees Growing Demand for Vacuum Soldering

Ralf Wagenfuehr, plant manager of Rehm Thermal Systems (Dongguan) Ltd, speaks with I-Connect007’s Edy Yu about the developments in the company’s convection reflow soldering system, which features a vacuum module, aimed at addressing the increasing demand for vacuum soldering. He also discusses their software developments, as well as how they are helping their customers toward their Industry 4.0 journey.

RTW NEPCON South China: Viscom Increases 3D AXI Throughput

Guido Bornemann, head of sales for Asia at Viscom, speaks with Editor Edy Yu about the innovations in in-line 3D AXI systems that help manufacturers reduce handling time by about 40–50% and improve their throughputs.

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.

Mark Curtin on Large-Board Stencil Printing and Metal Squeegees

Transition Automation Inc. recently developed a large-area benchtop stencil printer targeted for high-mix low- or medium-volume production. In an interview with I-Connect007, Mark Curtin talks about the new system, and why metal squeegees are the way to go when it comes to solder paste printing.

Should You Send Your PCB Assembler Loose Parts?

Everybody has a few loose PCB components lying around. Sometimes, it's a few chip caps left over from a hand-rework task, or maybe it's a tiny QFN or big old BGA. But, should you send your PCB assembler those loose parts? Read on.

Towards a Data-Driven Cleaning Environment

Tom Forsythe, executive vice president at KYZEN, discusses the most critical challenges of the cleaning process, a new approach to testing the cleanliness of PCB assemblies, and how KYZEN is helping customers develop a more data-driven approach to cleaning.

Why Clean?

In our conversations, many assemblers said that cleaning is not a value add, that their customers are getting nothing out of it. It also means an added process, and as such, an additional production cost. On top of that, no-clean fluxes have been in the industry for over 20 years now. But still, why clean?


What SMT Component Shortages Mean for Design and Manufacturing Engineers

Much has been written about the increasing shortages of electronic components such as MLCCs, chip resistors and other semiconductor devices. And the manufacturing industry is now seeing price increases and greatly extended lead times. It seems the situation is likely to get rapidly worse rather than better. What can we do? Read on.

Looking Under the Hood of MLCCs

The multilayer ceramic capacitor (MLCC) is one of the most widely used, and the most highly produced, passive devices in modern electronics manufacturing—with more than a thousand billion devices being produced worldwide every year. This article explores the evolution, applications and current state of the MLCC industry and what this means for electronics manufacturers.

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.

Whitepaper: Electronics Cleanliness Testing

This paper investigates and compares the performance of no-clean liquid wave soldering fluxes using a commercially available localized extraction and cleanliness testing system, and surface insulation resistance (SIR) testing. Find out which test is suitable for your processes.

A New Standard for Standards – From Data to Information

The main challenge we have today with our manufacturing standards is that they are deterministic, such as the 30% maximum void per ball for X-ray inspection of BGAs—which determines if a BGA assembly passes or fails. This article proposes a new perspective on setting pass and fail thresholds in the manufacturing line.

Is Component Testing Using ROSE Practical?

Industry experts are saying that Resistivity of Solvent Extract (ROSE) testing should be retired as a cleanliness or process control test in the PCB assembly industry. This article emphasizes that position by highlighting some work by the authors comparing component cleanliness results from the ROSE against Ion Chromatography (IC) results.

Strengthening the Joint with a Revolutionary New Low-Temp Solder Paste

I-Connect007 Editor Patty Goldman interviews one of Alpha Assembly Solution’s solder process experts, Traian Cucu, who is based at Alpha’s R&D center in New Jersey. Traian, along with Morgana Ribas, have played key roles in the development of Alpha’s innovation new low-temperature solder paste process. He also talks about how this solves many of the defects issues that one would see on a SAC assembly process.

Newly Re-Branded Optel Software Lays Down China Strategy

Optimal Electronics Corp., a provider of smart software solutions for electronics assembly, recently rebranded globally as Optel Software, as it starts its venture in China. In an interview with SMT007 Magazine, Dr. Ranko Vujosevic, CEO and CTO, updates on the latest developments from the company and discusses their plans in China and Asia this year.

3D Printing: Enabling a New Manufacturing Landscape

At the recent Michigan SMTA Tech Forum, Scott Schwarz, senior sales representative for rapid technology at Fisher Unitech, discusses with I-Connect007 Technical Editor Happy Holden the latest developments in 3D printing, and the advanced applications that have made significant impacts in the automotive manufacturing industry.

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.


Inspection and Design for Testability

In an interview with I-Connect007, Matthias Müller of Goepel electronic talks about about test and inspection technologies, especially in the automotive industry. He discussed design for testing (DFT) and the benefits technologists can gain from DFT. He also mentioned about the increasing need for 3D SPI, as well as why X-ray inspection has become very important now for the automotive, military, and aerospace industries.

KYZEN: Cleaning with Data

With the ability to monitor the temperature and concentration of the bath, and automatically adjust either if needed, the KYZEN Analyst system has caught the attention of the electronics assembly industry. In this interview with I-Connect007, Tom Forsythe, executive vice president for KYZEN, provides an update on KYZEN Analyst and describes how it has evolved into an Internet 4.0 solution with the ability to increase performance and life of the chemistry.

Full Material Declarations: Removing Barriers to Environmental Data Reporting

Full material declaration of product content in electronics and other industries continues to be a challenge for both suppliers and customers alike. This article focuses on requirements for tools that enable rapid and accurate reporting of Class D FMDs that can be used by suppliers primarily in the base of the supply chain.

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.

Strategies for Choosing Solder Paste for Successful Electronics Assembly

One common question from solder customers is, "How do I test and evaluate new solder pastes?" Although that seems like it should be a straightforward question with an easy answer, this could not be further from the truth. This article tells more about this, and how to best select solder pastes for your product.

Alpha's Revolutionary Approach to Low-Temp Soldering

In an interview with I-Connect007, Morgana Ribas discusses the new technology on low-temperature solder that she has developed at Alpha Assembly Solutions. She also talks about why there is a need for a low-temperature process and the benefits it offers.

Factronix on Cleaning, the Market and More

Stefan Theil, product manager at Factronix, discusses the growing need for cleaning in European electronics manufacturing and the demands he's facing from customers when it comes to finer pitches, automation, and environmental concerns.

AXI 4.0 in a Smart Factory Environment

Outstanding quality is vital to be able to survive the fierce competition between contract manufacturers. Here's how one EMS provider address inspection challenges and board complexities to ensure the quality and reliability of their PCB assemblies.

IMPACT Washington D.C., 2018 with Juki Automation’s Bill Astle

I-Connect007's Patty Goldman caught up with Juki Automation’s Bill Astle during a luncheon on the last day of IMPACT Washington D.C., 2018. As a first-time attendee, Bill came away feeling like he made the right connections with key members of Congress, and he looks forward to returning to the event in the future.

Evaluating the Impact of Powder Size and Stencils on Solder Paste Transfer Efficiency

Building upon an earlier study that focused on solder paste powder size, room-temperature aging and PCB pad and aperture designs, this study continues to investigate powder mesh size, but also examines stencil surface treatments and stencil foil tension.


Flex Circuit Assembly: Challenges and Strategies for Success

The flexible printed circuit market is on track for growth. But dealing with flex circuits during assembly is very different from rigid PCBs. This article highlights some of the assembly challenges when working with flex circuits, and strategies to address them.

Novel Approach to Void Reduction Using Microflux Coated Solder Preforms

Shrinking QFN package sizes and power requirements are driving new developments in micro-fluxed preform. Learn what factors contribute to an optimal solution.

Addressing Temperature Challenges in Flex Circuit Rework

Zen Lee and Michael Gouldsmith of Thermaltronics discuss the challenges of flex circuit assemblies during the rework process, the power-on-demand feature of smarter hand soldering systems, as well as how Curie Point helps operators avoid temperature overshoots during rework.

I-Connect007 Survey Shows Rising Use of Flex and Rigid-Flex

In our recent survey on flex and rigid-flex circuits, the majority of our respondents indicated an increase in their use of flex and rigid-flex technologies in their designs, indicating a continued shift in flex technology usage. We bring you the survey details here.

Plasmatreat on Atmospheric Pressure Plasma

At the recent SMT Hybrid Packaging 2018 event held in Nuremberg, Germany, I-Connect007's Barry Matties sat down with Nico Coenen, global business development manager of Plasmatreat, for a discussion on Plasmatreat's atmospheric pressure plasma (AP plasma) treatment process and its various applications in the electronics industry.

Tackling Reliability Challenges in Low-Temperature Soldering

William Yu, senior technical services manager for Alpha Assembly Solutions, recently shared with I-Connect007 the challenges when it comes to the reliability of low-temperature solder pastes, and soldering strategies to overcome these issues.

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.

ASM Assembly Solutions on CFX

ASM Assembly Solutions was one of the 30+ companies participating in IPC's CFX (Connected Factory Exchange) showcase at the recent SMT Hybrid Packaging show in Nuremberg, Germany. In this interview, ASM's Thomas Marktscheffel shared his perspective on CFX and its current challenges, and dispelled the notion that CFX might be a cookie-cutter approach to the smart factory.

Reflow Perspectives to Flex Circuit Assemblies

At the recent NEPCON China 2018 event in Shanghai, I spoke with Ralf Wagenfuehr, plant manager at Rehm Thermal Systems, to gain insight into flex circuit assembly, and the challenges of reflow soldering. He also speaks about the need for industry forums focused on soldering flex printed circuits.

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.

DFM: Top Ten PCB Concerns

DFM—design for manufacturability—is a critically important but often ignored aspect of the PCB design process that directly impacts product quality and reliability. This article will discuss the top 10 DFM concerns that should be part of any design review process.

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.

Dave Bergman on IPC and CFX

The recent SMT Hybrid Packaging show in Nuremberg, Germany, marked the second opportunity for IPC to showcase its new Connected Factory Exchange (CFX) initiative. In this interview, David Bergman, VP for international relations at IPC, tells us more on the overall reception of CFX and the benefits users are seeing thus far. He also provides an update on what’s next for the open source standard.

West Penn SMTA: New Leadership, Same Commitment

SMTA's new chapter president, Jason Emes, a quality engineer with Pennatronics Corporation enthusiastically discussed with I-Connect007's Patty Goldman the latest goings-on with this Keystone State chapter. He also spoke about his plans and initiatives for the SMTA West Penn Chapter.

It’s Time to Retire ROSE Testing

Over the last two to three years, there has been considerable discussion within various IPC committees about the role of the ROSE test in today's assembly environment. The transition from predominantly water wash processes to "no clean" has meant the advent of very different flux compositions. The question has been posed as to whether the ROSE test is still a viable option for evaluating PCB and PCBA cleanliness.

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.


Jigar Patel on ZESTRON’s Reliability Solutions for Class 3 Assemblies

At the SMTA West Penn Expo, I had a chance to discuss a paper presented by Jigar Patel, senior application engineer at ZESTRON. Jigar explained some of the cleaning challenges with newer components and how ZESTRON helps optimize cleaning processes for their customers.

Why Cleaning Still Matters

Paco Solis, lead investigator at Foresite Inc., speaks with I-Connect007 about why cleaning is more important now, the common pitfalls and misconceptions in cleaning, and strategies to consider to ensure reliable PCB assemblies.

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.

Elements to Consider on BGA Assembly Process Capability

As a cutting-edge technology applied in SMT assembly, BGA packages have quickly become a significant selection to conform to fine pitch and ultrafine pitch technology, achieving high-density interconnection with a reliable assembly technology provided, which leads to the increasingly more applications of this type of package.

RTW NEPCON China: Armada Discusses Impact of Auto Electrification on PCB Assembly

At the recent NEPCON China 2018, Klaus Schubert, managing director of Armada, speaks about the increasing electrification in cars and how this is impacting the PCB assembly processes, and in particular, the solder paste printing.

8 Terms Commonly Used When Buying Electronic Components

As a buyer of electronic components, I've taken for granted just how many terms are used on a daily basis during the procurement process. Here's a quick guide explaining what some of the more common terms used when buying electronic components actually mean.

LPKF Sees Increasing Use of UV Lasers

Julian Rose, product manager for the UV and stencil laser machines of LPKF, discusses with I-Connect007 Managing Editor Stephen Las Marias the challenges in laser stencils and strategies and techniques to address them, and the increasing use of UV lasers.

RTW NEPCON China: Christian Koenen Stencil Technologies Ensure First Pass Yields

At the recent NEPCON China 2018 event in Shanghai, Michael Zahn, development manager for Christian Koenen GmbH, explains how stencil technologies can improve the solder paste printing process and ensure first pass yields.

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.


RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Indium's Brook Sandy-Smith on PMI-Squared

Indium Corporation's Brook Sandy-Smith discusses ionic process residues on PCB assemblies and introduces the concept of "PMI-squared" (process material interaction investigation), the topic of an IPC Technical Buzz Session at IPC APEX EXPO 2018.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Inspection Technology Developments

Brian D'Amico, president of Mirtec Corp., speaks with I-Connect007 Technical Editor Pete Starkey about the challenges of miniaturization, increasing component density, and the shadowing of small components by taller ones, and how Mirtec has developed its inspection technology to ensure they remain at the leading edge.

Under the Hood: Solder Joint Reliability

It has been long established that packages using NSMD BGA pads were more resilient than ones with SMD pads to fatigue-induced solder joint cracks. However, NSMD pads in previous investigations on 292MAPBGA and 416PBGA packages failed sooner in AATS testing due to an alternate failure mode: substrate Cu trace cracks. This article looks into the effects of substrate material and package pad design on solder joint reliability of 0.8 mm pitch BGA.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Koh Young Discusses New Equipment and Data Challenges

Joel Scutchfield, Americas Sales Manager for Koh Young, discusses the company's latest inspection equipment and some of the challenges of providing customers the data they need for the real achievement of smart factory realization.

Zestron Opens Technical Center in Taiwan

Zestron on Wednesday, May 16, launched a new technical center in Hsinchu, Taiwan. With the opening of this new technical center, the company now owns a total of eight globally linked technical support facilities throughout the world.

RTW NEPCON CHINA: Mycronic Discusses Recent Acquisitions

At the recent NEPCON China 2018 event, Thomas Stetter, senior vice president for assembly solutions at Mycronic AB, speaks about the company's recent acquisitions and how it helped the company expand into different areas in the electronics assembly industry.

RTW NEPCON CHINA: OK International Highlights Need for Smarter Systems

At the recent NEPCON China 2018 tradeshow in Shanghai, Steven Fang, director of sales for Asia at OK International, speaks about the challenges their customers face when it comes to hiring skilled operators, which warrants the need for smarter systems and tools.

RTW NEPCON CHINA: Rehm Discusses Reflow Strategies to Reduce Voiding

At the recent NEPCON China 2018 event in Shanghai, Ralf Wagenfuehr, plant manager at Rehm Thermal Systems in China, speaks with I-Connect007’s Stephen Las Marias about their latest advancements in reflow oven technology, as well as on strategies to reduce voiding.

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.


CFX: The Next Step Toward the Future of Factories

For the past two to three years, almost every exhibitor in almost every trade show focused on the electronics manufacturing industry has an "Industry 4.0 Compatible" sign in their booth. As of today, the best question to ask is, "Compatible with what?" There has really been no standard yet developed toward this goal, and Industry 4.0 has been just a buzz word.

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.

How the Factory Ecosystem Positively Drives Exponential Value

In today's factories, the output must far exceed the accumulative performance of each machine to stay competitive. No machine or process is an island—they must form ecosystems. The trend towards extreme automation and the smart factory leads to ever more connectivity and interdependence.

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.

SMT Renting: A Trend for the Future?

You may have heard the name Martin Ziehbrunner before: he cofounded the equipment company Essemtec AG in 1992. He left the company in 2013, and soon he'd cofounded another SMT company, but with a twist. SMT Renting specializes in renting SMT equipment with an operational lease, primarily for the European market. In this interview, he explains how his latest company is challenging the normal way of acquiring SMT capital equipment.

Solving Reliability and Thermal Management Challenges in Automotive Electronics

Paul Salerno, global portfolio manager for SMT assembly solutions at Alpha Assembly Solutions, discusses the growing automotive electronics industry, its impact on the soldering materials business, and how Alpha helps customers address the new challenges and requirements in the automotive market.

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.

Investigating Analytical Tools for Testing Cleanliness with Foresite's Eric Camden

At the recent West Penn SMTA Expo, Eric Camden, lead investigator at Foresite Inc., speaks with I-Connect007's Patty Goldman about fluxes and analytical tools for testing cleanliness, and how these impact the reliability of the assembled boards.


Interview with Yusaku Kono: Rising Star Award Recipient

The IPC Rising Star Award is given to IPC members who have taken leadership roles and provided support to IPC standards, education, advocacy and solutions to industry challenges. Their contributions have made significant impact upon IPC and industry within the past five years and will continue to have a lasting impact for many years to come.

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.

Stencil Printing Techniques for Challenging Heterogeneous Assembly Applications

A new generation of near microscopic size SMT chip capacitors has appeared in the market, known as either 0201 or 008004. This article investigates and characterizes the stencil printing process for compatibility with M0201 capacitor assembly. Effects of circuit board quality, stencil thickness, and stencil nano-coating are evaluated against solder paste volume transfer efficiency and raw-volume print distribution.

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.

Conversations on the Floor: IPC APEX EXPO 2018

This year’s show was one of the best in recent history, both in attendance and enthusiasm. The exhibit floor was sold out, and every single person I talked to was extremely optimistic about business in 2018. What follows are a series of observations and excerpts from conversations I had with some of the most interesting people I met.

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.

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.

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.

Industry 4.0 Technologies: If Only I Had Known

What is coming in 2018 is not a single master Industry 4.0 solution as people may expect, but rather the opportunity for everyone in the industry to play their part, re-evaluating what can be done in their processes or products to take maximum advantage of the new CFX-fueled Industrial IoT environment.

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.

Cleaning with Data

Tom Forsythe, vice president of KYZEN, spoke to Barry Matties about KYZEN’s new process control monitoring and data service. They discussed the drivers behind these developments, the company's focus on managing data, and how KYZEN plans to support an industry embracing more cleaning and Industry 4.0.

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.

Electronics Manufacturing (R)evolution

2018 is going to be the year of Industry 4.0, where we will see how enabling technologies including sensors, big data, analytics, and the Internet of Things (IoT), will transform the electronics manufacturing landscape.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: How Smart Factories Will Revolutionize Electronics Manufacturing

KIC president Bjorn Dahle discusses the smart manufacturing trend in the electronics assembly industry, and how KIC can help their customers with smart manufacturing transitions.

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.


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.

Dr. Bill Cardoso of Creative Electron Talks About IPC’s CFX Standard

Creative Electron's Dr. Bill Cardoso is a member of the CFX committee and has equipment in the CFX showcase at APEX in San Diego from February 27 to March 1. In an interview, he talks about the standard and the group that has delivered such a successful collaboration.

Mycronic Announces the Acquisition of Vi TECHNOLOGY

Mycronic recently announced the acquisition of Vi TECHNOLOGY, with the intent of combining VIT’s inspection technology with Mycronic’s jetting capabilities. In an interview with I-Connect007, Olivier Pirou, Managing Director of VIT, discusses more about the merger and how this will help VIT contend in such a competitive environment.

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.

Working with Customers: A Consultant's Perspective

Industry veteran and expert Chrys Shea is in a unique position when it comes to her work for the electronics assembly industry. As president of consulting firm Shea Engineering Services, she helps suppliers test and bring new products to the market, and helps assemblers bring new processes or skills to their assembly lines.

Improving SMT Yield and Reducing Defects: A Rauland Case Study

Ever-increasing demand for more complex boards that have higher densities of components means more challenges for SMT assembly operations and yields. Smaller component sizes and more densely packed PCBs lead to more powerful designs in much smaller product packages. These advancements have spurred a new set of challenges in building smaller and more complex assemblies.

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.


Super Dry’s Novel Approach to the Drying Process

Pete Starkey spent a few minutes at the SuperDry booth on the first day of the productroncica show, and chatted with old friend Rich Heimsch, who taught the old dog a few new tricks about the drying process.

Why You Should Invest In Package Testing

Have you ever thought about why you should invest in package testing? Packaged products often take multiple modes of transportation in various conditions before they ever reach the customer. The best way to ensure the product makes it to the customer, intact and in working order, is to test the package before it ever leaves the manufacturing facility.

Tips & Tricks: Machine Assist Time

Assist time is the human intervention required to keep a machine producing during normal operation. It does not include errors, maintenance, setup, and prototyping. There are many reasons for a machine to require assistance. PCB loading, stencil wiping, paste addition, feeder replenishment, and PCBA unloading—some require labor, some can be automated, but all will require some amount of time to complete.

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.

Making the Right Equipment Selection

For the January 2018 issue of SMT007 Magazine, we invited Kathy Nargi-Toth, president of Eltek USA, and Matt Turpin, president and CEO of Zentech Manufacturing to a discussion on the decision-making process for new equipment, and the key considerations for choosing the best machine solution for a process.

Indium's Karthik Vijay Talks Engineering for Automotive Applications

Barry Matties met with Karthik Vijay, Indium Corporation's technical manager for Europe, at last year's productronica, where everything from stencils and laser cutting to flux technology and jetting were discussed. If you want to know about where material technology currently stands in the automotive landscape, you’ll want to read on.

Creating a Healthy Work Environment

In an interview with SMT007 Magazine, Wolfgang Koehler, CEO of the North America branch of ULT, discusses how their business has been over the past year, their challenges and opportunities, and how they are helping their customers. Another topic of discussion is investing in new equipment—the key parameters to consider, and what’s driving customers to buy their systems.

The Importance of Product Testing for Quality, Reliability and Durability

One really vital piece of the product development process is product testing for quality, reliability and durability. You need to find out whether your product will do what it's supposed to do—that's quality. You also need to learn whether it will do what it's supposed to do over and over again, even when conditions aren't ideal—that's reliability and durability.

Assigning IDs Within the Internet of Things

Networking devices and machinery is in full swing. However, despite all the Industry 4.0 enthusiasm, there are voices of caution: Secure your communication. For this, identification of the participants is one requirement and special SD cards offer a surprisingly simple and flexible solution.


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.

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.

The Effect of Area Shape and Area Ratio on Solder Paste Printing Performance

The ongoing miniaturization trend in the SMT production induces new challenges and highly integrated systems. In passive components, the miniaturization leads to the introduction of the EIA size 01005 or smaller. Despite numerous publications in this field already addressing the printing of such devices, a defined wholly optimized process remains unsolved and inspires further novel research ideas on this topic.

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.

Top Reasons for Investing in New Equipment

In our recent survey, a majority of respondents said they consider increasing capacity and improving their existing manufacturing capability as top reasons for investing in new equipment for their production lines.


Evaluation of Stencil Technology for Miniaturization

SMT stencil printing technology continually evolves to keep pace with device miniaturization technologies. Printed circuit board assemblers have numerous new technology options to choose from, and need to determine the most effective ones to produce the highest quality and most reliable solder interconnections.

Step Stencil Technologies and Their Effect on the SMT Printing Process

Components such as quad flat no lead (QFNs), land grid array (LGAs), micro ball grid array (micro BGAs), 0201s and even 01005s continue to push manufacturers to use thinner stencil foils to apply the correct volume of paste onto their boards, but larger components such as edge connectors still require larger paste volumes.

Mirtec Succeeding Through Inspection Innovation

David Bennett, president of Mirtec Europe, speaks with I-Connect007 Technical Editor Pete Starkey about the company's latest inspection technologies, the challenges that miniaturization can bring, and Mirtec's efforts to stay on the leading edge and never be a “me too” company.

Industry 4.0 and the Platform-Based Approach to Testing

Chandran Nair, the vice president for Asia Pacific at National Instruments, explains how the Industry 4.0 vision will change electronics manufacturing. He discusses key technology enablers that would drive the evolution of manufacturing processes, and how a platform-based approach can help improve test and measurement.

Koh Young Europe Ready for Next Year, and Beyond

Harald Eppinger, managing director of Koh Young Europe, speaks with I-Connect007 Managing Editor Andy Shaughnessy about the demands of the European market, the company's long-standing success with its solutions, and the future of Koh Young Europe.

The Year of IoT Digitalization

There is no longer any significant disagreement that having an industry-wide standard for IoT communication is absolutely essential for digitalization of factories if they are going to deliver on Industry 4.0 performance expectations. Digitalization of manufacturing is the key business opportunity of the decade, whoever and wherever you are, so stand-up and be a part of it, and create your opportunities.

Solder Printing Process Inputs Impacting Distribution of Paste Volume

The volume of solder deposition, like any process, has variations that may be characterized by a statistical distribution curve, whether normal or non-normal. As complexity, density, cost and reliability requirements increase, there may be value in narrowing the distribution curve. It is common sense that less variation serves the interest of quality of the more complex and dense circuit boards.

Tips & Tricks: Generating Stencil Tooling

Many engineers are leaving the editing up to the stencil fabricator these days. From the outside, this may appear as a time saver for process engineers, but considering how many stencil redos have been required and how many processes that have run 'sort of OK,' there's a tremendous amount of scrap and rework that could be saved from just a little more attention paid to stencil tooling.

Improving Solder Paste Printing

Of the three elements involved in the solder paste printing process—stencil, solder paste, and printer—the stencil is considered one of the major factors affecting the transfer efficiency, accuracy, and consistency, of solder pastes into the pads, especially with the continuing trend towards miniaturization.

9 Ways to Keep Up with Changes in Manufacturing Technology

The world of manufacturing technology might not be quite as fast to change as consumer electronics, but it is evolving, and faster than you think. Recent evidence shows that companies are increasingly adopting 'servitized' business models and technology is a key enabler, so falling behind the times is not really an option.


Two Questions to Ask Yourself with PCB Continuous Strips of Parts

Sometimes, you don't want to buy a reel, full or partial, but still want your PCB parts all in one continuous strip. Everyone wants to use up their odds and ends, but once those are gone, it's easier for you if each part is one strip. If you want to save a little money and can use a longer turn-time, you might want to choose a short-run production service with continuous strips.

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.

Equipment Matters in Solder Paste Printing

The solder paste printing process has always been considered a major contributor to yield loss. According to many studies, solder paste printing accounts for up to 70% of all PCB assembly defects. For the December issue of SMT Magazine, we interviewed experts in the solder paste printing process to learn more about the key issues leading to this huge percentage of defects, and the technology developments that are addressing these challenges and improving yields in the process.

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.

DFx on High-Density Assemblies

Use of new technologies poses a number of challenges for solder paste selection, PCB design, assembly process, and reliability. The type of end product will have different challenges, concerns, and requirements in all aspects. The assembly line for many of these end products will look very similar, but specification limits would be different.

Video from productronica 2017: YXLON Moves Away from One-Size-Fits-All Approach

Keith Bryant, global director for electronics sales at YXLON International, speaks with I-Connect007 Technical Editor Pete Starkey about their latest X-ray inspection machines that are designed as a specific fit for its own market sector. He also talks about what's state of the art right now in X-ray inspection systems, as well as updates on the progress of the integration of SMART Group into the SMTA.

Video from productronica 2017: Rehm Discusses Trends Driving Product Development

Michael Hanke, chief customer officer of Rehm Thermal Systems, speaks with I-Connect007 Managing Editor Andy Shaughnessy about the importance of communicating with their customers when it comes to new process and technology trends. He also talks about Industry 4.0 and big data, and process monitoring and transparency.

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.


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.

Solder Preforms 101: Ask the Expert

At the recent SMTA International 2017 event, Jerry Sidone, product manager for the engineered materials at Alpha Assembly Solutions, speaks with I-Connect007 Managing Editor Patty Goldman about the voiding challenge, especially with bottom termination components, and how solder technologies from Alpha are helping PCB assemblers address this issue.

Two Prevalent Rework Heating Methods--Which One is Best?

There are two prevalent heating technologies in use throughout most electronic assembly operations for advanced component rework—the first method employs the use of hot air gas to heat up the component through the package, while the second much-used heating technology relies on infrared energy. This article highlights the pros and cons of the two methods, and discusses which one is the best to use for your application.

Reliability of ENEPIG by Sequential Thermal Cycling and Aging

Electroless nickel/electroless palladium/immersion gold (ENEPIG) surface finish for PCBs has now become a key surface finish that is used for both tin-lead and lead-free solder assemblies. This article presents the reliability of LGA component packages with 1156 pads assembled with tin-lead solder onto PCBs with an ENEPIG finish and then subjected to thermal cycling and then isothermal aging.

Creating the Perfect Solder Joint

From a visual standpoint, a good solder joint should be smooth, bright, shiny, clean, and have a nice concave solder fillet. But how do you ensure that inside those joints, good intermetallic bonds are formed? Solder joints play several different roles, and they represent several different opportunities to be a problem, a partial improvement, or a complete improvement. Since all solder joints aren’t created equal, the first step is to understand what is expected or required of that joint.

Cleaning Trends: The Challenges of Miniaturization and Proximity

At the recent SMTA International conference, I-Connect007 Managing Editor Patty Goldman caught up with Ram Wissel, VP of Global Technology at KYZEN, to talk about the latest cleaning challenges, and bringing Industry 4.0 into the world of cleaning in PCB assembly.

Soldering Tip: Key to Good Solder Joints

In an interview with SMT Magazine, Enrique Moreno, technical support engineer at JBC Soldering, discusses the key parameters to consider during hand soldering to achieve the perfect solder joint. He also talks about the the increasing move towards automation and robotics soldering.

Achieving the Perfect Solder Joint: The Many Perspectives on Soldering

For this month's issue of SMT Magazine, we brought several experts together to discuss the many aspects of soldering, from solder paste, to automation, inspection, and the challenges in achieving the perfect solder joint. We also talked about the strategies and parameters to consider to ensure reliable, good solder joints.


Choosing Solder Processes: Getting It Right

In an interview with SMT Magazine, Ralf Wagenfuehr, plant manager at Rehm Thermal Systems, shares his insights on the topic of achieving the perfect solder joint, from the perspective of a reflow oven supplier. He also talks about the latest developments in reflow ovens aimed at addressing voiding in solder joints.

Moving Toward the Zero-Defect Line

During the recent NEPCON South China exhibition in Shenzhen, Olivier Pirou, chief operating officer of Vi TECHNOLOGY, talks about achieving the perfect solder joint from the point of view of an inspection systems provider, and how manufacturers can strategize to achieve a zero-defect line.

Spreading the Word about SMTA—One Local Show at a Time

Eileen Hibbler of TEK Products, who currently sits on the Board of Directors of SMTA and is the VP of Membership, talks about educating the people in the industry; the importance of the local shows; SMTA's university chapters and their initiatives; and how SMTA is reaching out to millennials.

Test Solutions Your EMS Partner Should Offer

When looking to outsource your manufacturing, you need to know that your chosen EMS partner has good test solutions in place so that they can produce consistent, high-quality products to your customers’ requirements. This article highlights the importance of test, and outlines the different types of test your EMS partner should offer.

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.

RTW SMTAI: Mentor Eases Programming in Viscom Inspection Systems

Jesper Lykke, engineering manager for USA of Viscom AG, and Zac Elliott, technical marketing engineer at Mentor, speak with I-Connect007 Managing Editor Andy Shaughnessy about Viscom's adoption of the Valor Process Preparation and how it is helping users with their inspection programming.

Top Five BGA Challenges to Overcome

Higher reflow temperatures of lead-free rework increases the pressure for properly shielding the neighboring components. These developments are causing BGA rework challenges. This summary will discuss the most challenging aspects of BGA rework and options for solutions.

BTC and SMT Rework Challenges

In the assembly of bottom terminated components (BTC), the formation of voids has become a serious problem in many applications. In the SMT process, the reliability of solder joints becomes more of a concern, as less and less solder is allowed for each joint. The presence of voids can deteriorate the joint strength and eventually lead to joint failure.

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.


RTW SMTAI: AIM's Dr. Mehran Maalekian Speaks on New Alloys for Harsh Environments

Dr. Mehran Maalekian, R&D Manager at AIM Solder, speaks with I-Connect007 Managing Editor Andy Shaughnessy about new alloys that are targeted for high-temperature and demanding applications, particularly in harsh environments, where standard lead-free alloy such as SAC will not perform as well.

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.

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.

RTW SMTAI: MIRTEC on Staying Ahead of the Curve

Brian D’Amico, president of MIRTEC, talks with I-Connect007 Managing Editor Andy Shaughnessy about some of the latest 3D AOI challenges, including dealing with highly reflective surfaces of solder joints or wafer-level die, which make it impossible to characterize in 3D. He says it's not just plain SMT boards anymore, but an integration of wafer-level manufacturing, which they see as coming down more and more.

Rework and Reliability: Less is More!

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

RTW NEPCON South China: Vermes Discusses Piezo Technology in Microdispensing

During the recent NEPCON South China event in Shenzhen, Juergen Staedtler, CEO of Vermes Microdispensing GmbH, discusses their latest innovations in microdispensing, and how their piezo technology is addressing the trend towards miniaturization in PCB assemblies.

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

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

Improving the Rework Process

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

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.

RTW NEPCON South China: KYZEN on Optimizing the Cleaning Process

At the NEPCON South China event happening this week in Shenzhen, China, Thomas Forsythe, executive vice president at KYZEN Corp., discusses the current cleaning challenges in the PCB assembly industry, and how manufacturers can optimize their cleaning process.


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