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Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2021: Developments in Digital Manufacturing
03/08/2021 | Real Time with...IPC
Catching Up With Sean McConville, Niche Electronics
02/22/2021 | Dan Beaulieu, D.B. Management Group
Jered Stoehr Discusses New Leadership Role at Milwaukee Electronics
02/16/2021 | Nolan Johnson, I-Connect007
Building A Better, Brighter LED Headlamp with Top-Side Alignment Process (TAP)
02/10/2021 | Glenn Farris, Universal Instruments Corp.
Making the Most of a Virtual Event
02/02/2021 | Nolan Johnson, I-Connect007
SMT :: Certifications
2021: The Year of X = Xc – 1
Throughout 2021, I-Connect007 will focus on our theme, “X = Xc – 1,” in which we will explore continuous improvement in a practical way. Get talking about continuous improvement as a business method and the conversation often hinges around large programs and grand transformations. “Company culture” and “corporate transformation” are terms that often appear in these conversations. Often, it seems, continuous improvement is simply a huge undertaking.
This Month in SMT007 Magazine—Continuous Improvement: As Simple as X = Xc – 1
X=Xc – 1 is a conceptual equation for continuous improvement. You define X and work to reduce it by a factor of 1. This could be one work hour, one process step, one day less in a cycle, and so on. We recently met with Dr. Ron Lasky to discuss the concept of X=Xc – 1 and get his advice on generating enthusiasm among readers and the next generation about continuous improvement. As this discussion illustrates, many process improvements are small in scale, not yearlong, major efforts.
Book Excerpt: The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to Smart Data
Whenever we discuss data, keep in mind that people have been collecting data, verifying it, and translating it into reports for a long time. And if data is collected and processes are changed automatically, people still will be interpreting and verifying the accuracy of the data, creating reports, making recommendations, solving problems, tweaking, improving, and innovating. Whatever data collection system is used, any effort to digitalize needs to engage and empower the production team at the factory. Their role is to attend to the manufacturing process but also to act as the front line of communications and control.
Training Is Hard, But It’s Also Soft
There is a disconnect in many manufacturing companies. This article is not about that disconnect, but rather a topic that gets clouded and the objectives made more difficult by that prevalent disconnect. Business owners, vice presidents, and operational executives are expected to have a vision for the company strategy. But what is not always fully known is the broad strokes of how to get there.
Part 9 of Siemens’ Digital Twin Webinar Series: Intelligent Data Acquisition and Normalization
I-007e Micro Webinars recently released a free, on-demand series titled “Implementing Digital Twin Best Practices From Design Through Manufacturing” with Siemens' Jay Gorajia. In Part 9, Gorajia’s topic is “Intelligent Data Acquisition and Normalization.” He asks, “With the considerable investment in automation of the PCB assembly process, why is it a challenge to get data from the production line?”
90% Solder Dross Recovery: Eliminate Waste, Save Money
The impact of 90% solder dross recovery can have a substantial impact on reducing waste and increasing cost savings. Nolan Johnson recently spoke with Jay Hardin, MS2® product manager at P. Kay Metal, about the process and benefits of efficient solder dross recovery, as well as product roadmaps, the soldering machine market, and raw materials supply chain for solder alloy manufacturing. As Jay says, “For many companies, the savings are in the thousands or millions” of dollars.
Real Time with… SMTAI 2020: Women’s Leadership Program Cruises Through Important Topics
The virtual environment didn’t stop a large gathering of women (and men) from learning, sharing, and enjoying the Women’s Leadership Program during SMTAI 2020. Michelle Te shares her experience.
Virtual SMTAI 2020 Offers a Primer for Trade Show Managers
I really must hand it to Tanya Martin and Ryan Flaherty for pulling off something as audacious as a virtual version of SMTA International, which took place in cyberspace on September 28–30. SMTA did it in record time. A few months ago, SMTAI was still slated to be a live event in metro Chicago. When COVID-19 travel restrictions made a live event impossible, they stopped on a dime, switched to a virtual event, and never looked back.
Part 5 of Siemens’ Digital Twin Webinar Series: Managing the Digital Thread
I-007e Micro Webinars recently released a free, on-demand series titled “Implementing Digital Twin Best Practices From Design Through Manufacturing” with Siemens' Jay Gorajia. In part 5, Gorajia discusses “Managing the Digital Thread From Design to PCB Assembly Engineering.”
Real Time with...SMTAI 2020: Creative Electron Moves Toward Autonomous Systems
Andy Shaughnessy recently spoke with Dr. Bill Cardoso, CEO of Creative Electron, a provider of advanced X-ray inspection systems. Bill discusses some of the new technologies the company will demonstrate in their virtual booth at SMTAI, including a next-generation X-ray parts counter and a new software platform that offers better automation than ever. He also explains the company’s plan to migrate from automation to autonomous systems by using AI to help remove humans from the process.
Catching up With Cabletree’s Thomas Chang
Dan Beaulieu has always been interested in exploring the wire harness and cable areas business, so he jumped at the chance to talk with Thomas Chang, the president and owner of Cabletree. Here, they discuss the cable assembly segment and how Cabletree serves EMS companies.
An EMS Perspective on Inventory Management
Foad Ghalili of Epoch International discusses the inventory management practices the company has in place between its two facilities in Fremont, California, and Dalian, China; and how upgrading to an electronic management system made maintaining a much larger inventory possible.
MTV Offers Solder Paste Testing Solution
The miniaturization test vehicle (MTV) is a common benchmark test board that can gauge about 25 different paste properties and analyze how different solder pastes will perform in an assembly line. Chrys Shea details the work she’s done to develop and release the MTV.
Survey Results: Five Tips to Stay Safe at Work
Face masks, gloves, arrows on the floor, social distancing, working in shifts, working remotely—our work environment has been vastly altered over the past three months. How has it affected you and the people around you the most? Are you open to these changes or do you find yourself resisting the changes? Here are five powerful tips for staying safe at work, according to the latest I-Connect007 survey responses.
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish: Same Industry, New Look
Learning a lesson from challenges is one thing, but implementing changes based on those lessons is quite another. I-Connect007 regularly surveys leaders in the electronics industry to bring you important and relevant information that helps you make better decisions. What lessons have you learned during the COVID-19 crisis, and what changes have you made?
The Next Generation: 2K Conformal Coatings
In this engaging, 12-part webinar series, Kinner examines conformal coating chemistries in further detail, including their properties, applications, issues to be mindful of, and the processes you should follow to achieve a successful coating outcome. The entire “Coatings Uncoated!” webinar series can be viewed in an hour and covers a comprehensive range of hot topics and application-relevant case-study overviews, as well as back-to-basic subject matter and issues, such as condensation and contamination. Most of the 12 segments can be viewed in five minutes or less.
This Month in SMT007 Magazine: Business Practices Drive the Smart Factory, Not the Other Way Around (Part 1)
In Part 1 of this conversation, Sagi Reuven— business development manager at Mentor, a Siemens Business—makes the case that smart factory implementations must start with traditional process analysis and improvement before the data capture process is useful. He also covers how sometimes the key to utilizing Industry 4.0 comes from a change in mindset rather than a drastic change or investment in new equipment or processes.
Semiconductors in Charge: The Changing Face of PCB Manufacturing
The I-Connect007 editorial team recently spoke with Chuck Bauer and Dana Korf in a technical discussion that spanned a number of topics around shrinking components, such as redistribution layers (RDLs), active embeddeds, and why even the most revolutionary technologies must show ROI to be successful.
IPC APEX EXPO 2020 Attendees Speak: Gerry Padnos
"Overall, it has been a successful show for us," said Gerry Padnos. "We have mainly seen serious shoppers, not just window shoppers. We have done a lot of good work here, and we have a lot of interest in our products."
Solder in PCBA: Can’t Live Without It... or Can We?
For most of its historical use in electronics, the solder alloy of choice was tin-lead, either an Sn60/Pb40 alloy or the Sn63/ Pb37 eutectic version of the tin-lead alloy. These two alloys were the workhorses of the industry. They were both well understood in terms of their processing and reliability—that is, until the advent of lead-free, a well-meaning but ill-conceived and poorly executed conversion, forced on the industry by the European Union in 2006.
LPKF on Stencils and Depaneling
Stephan Schmidt and Mirela Orlowski of LPKF Laser & Electronics North America discuss laser technology in cutting stencils and depaneling circuit boards as a factor in shrinking component sizes and why few people in the industry realize how much of an impact the stencil can have on the manufacturing line.
Phil Carmichael: IPC Asia Continues Solid Growth
Phil Carmichael, IPC president of Asia Pacific, talks with Barry Matties at the HKPCA show during the first week of December 2019 about the continued growth and increased engagement by Asian member companies with IPC, with over 320 members in standards committees now working on the development of the next-generation standards.
I-007e Micro Webinars Releases Part 4 in ‘Coatings Uncoated!’ Series
What is creepage, and how does it impact clearance? Can conformal coatings reduce creepage? The fourth episode of the popular webinar series, Coatings Uncoated, is now available to view. Author of The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to Conformal Coatings for Harsh Environments and topic expert Phil Kinner from Electrolube shares highly focused educational information on conformal coating and encapsulation.
Market Insights From Epoch International’s President
Epoch International is an EMS company specializing in front-end engineering. Barry Matties speaks with Epoch President Foad Ghalili at productronica 2019 about the company’s ability to maintain little employee turnover, challenges they’re facing, and expected growth in the U.S. market.
Risk Mitigation: An Essential Guide
Risk mitigation in the global supply chain is nothing new to many industries. What is new, however, is the exponential rise in potential risks and the reality that those are risks that simply cannot be predicted. What are some factors for a winning strategy that might not immediately come to mind? Here are a few essential recommendations to the global PCB industry that might significantly lower the risk impact on a company’s productivity, time to market, and financial success.
I-007e Micro Webinars Releases Part 3 in ‘Coatings Uncoated!’ Series
Have you ever wondered about the process of corrosion and the formation of tin whiskers? The third episode of the popular webinar series, "Coatings Uncoated," is now available to view. Author of "The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to Conformal Coatings for Harsh Environments" and topic expert Phil Kinner from Electrolube shares highly focused educational information on conformal coating and encapsulation.
New From I-007e Micro Webinars: The 5-Minute Webinar Series
I-Connect007 takes the on-demand webinar to a new level. A perfect companion to our I-007 Micro eBook series, these bite-sized webinars are released weekly, exclusively at I-Connect007, and are also available all at once for those who can’t wait for the next installment.
Upgrading to a Digital Line
Ridhi Kantelal of Arch Systems breaks down what fabricators considering bringing in digitalization and upgrading their lines should know, and why they may see the most benefit from focusing on the data engineering aspect rather than the actual retrofitting of their systems.
What You Need to Know About the Digital Factory
Barry Matties spoke with Oren Manor, director of business development for Mentor, A Siemens Business, during productronica about the many benefits of a digital factory and what’s keeping companies from becoming one. Oren also gives examples of big data analytics along with the move to a lot size of one.
PCB Repair: Thoughtful Best Practices
Barry Matties recently spoke with Curtis Smith of Huntron about the critical factors that somebody needs to understand about the plant maintenance regarding the PCB repair process. The PCB repair process is not just a matter of just getting the equipment anymore but finding the right people with a troubleshooting mindset that can do it. A failed PCB can bring down an entire manufacturing line, and companies need to be able to repair the board and keep their manufacturing going.
Nolan’s Notes: A Tour of the Industry
As far back as the 1600s, and lasting through the mid-1800s, young, imperial English aristocrats would leave the island to travel “the world;” however, this often simply meant visiting continental Europe on an out-and-back trip, resembling a golf outing, before returning home to settle down to the business of running their family estate and/or the country. This practice was commonly called “the Grand Tour.”
Practical Verification of Void Reduction Method for BTC Using Exposed Via-in-pad
The method explored in this article regards the use of exposed via-in-pad. A dedicated test vehicle was designed for two types of QFN components. The main variables accounted for were the component size, number of exposed vias in the thermal pad, via pitch, via size, and solder paste coverage. The responses sought in this experiment include a thermal pad void level and solder wicking down the via barrel with resulting solder protrusion on the opposite side of the PCB.
SEMI Discusses Benefits of SMT-ELS Protocol
Editor Nolan Johnson and Tom Salmon discuss the SMT- ELS protocol, which is being developed collaboratively as a replacement for SMEMA. Salmon overviews the technology involved and industry acceptance so far. He also explains SEMI’s focus on information and control standards, including the newest solution which allows companies to perform switchovers much faster, thanks to the TCP/IP protocol. This platform also works with traditional PLC systems, shrinking development time from one month to several days.
Rules or Recommendations?
There are rules, and then there are recommendations. One person's rule might be another person's recommendation and vice versa. That is where standards come into play. What are they? What do they mean? How do they get specified? And what are the impacts on our industry? Read on to find out.
Zentech's Mission-critical Tips for Program Success
Nolan Johnson and John Vaughan, I-Connect007 columnist and VP of sales and marketing at Zentech Manufacturing, discuss how to make customer programs successful through early communication, complete design packages, and more from a company servicing mission- and life-critical industries, including military, aerospace, and medical.
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.
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.
Best Practices to Achieve Zero Defects
To ensure that a complex electronics build can be completed on time, on budget and with zero defects, here is a list of checks and balances that will help you with adjustments or corrections real time, instead of discovering them at the end of the build or worse, when it's already arrived at the end user.
Designing Electronics for Harsh Conditions
We expect a lot from our products, especially our electronic products. Think about it: cellphones, wearables, medical devices—for some reason we think they should still work after being immersed in liquid, left outdoors in freezing temperatures or dropped on concrete from a standing position.
The Role of Industry Associations in Training and Education
Industry associations, such as the IPC and the SMTA, help advance the electronics manufacturing industry through standardization, training, education, advocacy, and interaction through trade events, exhibitions and symposiums. They help members to become aware of the latest technology developments happening in their industry verticals, and of the market trends shaping the direction of the industry.
Today’s Mil/Aero Enemies: Counterfeits, Obsolescence and Failure
The need for high-reliability electronics, components and assemblies that can perform in harsh operating conditions involving extreme temperatures, vibration, and moisture continue to challenge electronics assembly providers catering to the military and aerospace markets. These are on top of current manufacturing issues such as the miniaturization of products, shrinking component sizes, higher density board assemblies, and the obsolescence of electronic components.
Virtex on Military and Aerospace Requirements
Brad Heath, VirTex CEO, and Upinder Singh, Vice President and General Manager at VirTex MTI, discuss their company's military and aerospace business, and how they are addressing the latest demands and requirements from their customers.
Applying the New IPC Standard for Traceability Makes Compliance and Reporting Easier
IPC has created IPC-1782, a new standard and specification for traceability practices across all levels of electronics manufacturing, and specifically for electronics assembly. With this new standard, companies that are practicing basic levels of traceability can evolve to higher levels, and will be able to clearly define the expectations of what is required for compliance and conformance to customer needs.
Six Sigma: What is it and How is it Used in Electronics Manufacturing?
Six Sigma is a defined, data-driven methodology aimed at process improvement and consistent output in manufacturing. This article discusses how it is used in electronics manufacturing, and the benefits it offers companies that have implemented it.
IPC Certification Program's 'Space Hardware Addendums' Training and Certification
In this article, Sharon Montana-Beard of Blackfox discusses the IPC Certification Program's Space Hardware Addendums training and certification, the topics covered in the training course, and the benefits of the program.
Asteelflash on Mil/Aero Challenges, ITAR, and Opportunities
In an interview with SMT Magazine, Albert Yanez, corporate executive VP and president of Asteelflash, Americas, discusses the challenges in the military and aerospace industries, ITAR compliance, and the opportunities in these sectors.
I-Connect Survey: A Look at the Mil/Aero Industry
I-Connect007 recently conducted a survey on the military/defense and aerospace markets. Respondents were asked about the greatest challenges when it comes to PCB design, fabrication, and assembly; their customers’ demands; whether lead-free components are still an issue; and compliance challenges.
The Road Less Traveled (Part 1): Contract Manufacturing Differentiators
The word "differentiator" is tossed around a lot these days in the electronics industry—especially within the contract manufacturing (CM) community. When evaluating a new potential CM partner, decision makers frequently ask: "What would you say differentiates your organization from other contract manufacturers?" This article talks about three powerful and very real difference-makers that would set a CM apart from the competition.
Medical EMS: Opportunities Abound
Megatrends such as the increasingly ageing population and growing demand in emerging economies worldwide bode well for the medical electronics assembly industry. However, challenges such as margin pressures, compliance costs and risks, supply chain instability, and new product introduction headaches are hindering a more aggressive prognosis of the industry. But, with innovation, medical manufacturers can churn out more.
Top 10 Factors to Consider When Selecting a Medical EMS Company
Once the decision has been made to use an EMS company, selecting the right one involves several steps. Although most EMS companies perform the same basic services, every EMS company is different. In this article, Mo Ohady and David Estes of Digicom Electronics write the 10 key factors to consider when selecting your medical EMS company.
Medical Electronics: Manufacturing Vitals
With the rapidly growing aging population, rising healthcare costs and increasing health awareness, opportunities abound in consumer medical devices, diagnostics, imaging, and instrumentation. However, the medical electronics industry is not without its own set of challenges. The January 2016 issue of SMT Magazine highlights the manufacturing challenges and opportunities in this growing sector.
Making Connections with Associations
To provide our readers more information about their associations, this month's issue of SMT Magazine features articles and interviews with SMTA, IPC, iNEMI, SMART Group, and VDMA Productronics, to help understand more their activities, goals, and missions, and how they are helping push forward the electronics manufacturing industry.
Don’t Allow Standards to Get the Better of You
In the electronics manufacturing industry, there are so many different so-called standards for everything ranging from operational rules and documentation, to quality and traceability, which are confusing, incomplete, and represent a major cost and waste to manufacturing. In the coming Internet of Manufacturing (IoM) age, where standardization of communication and storage of information will be critical, the current way in which we approach and adopt standards cannot prevail.
The Power of Counterfeit Component Detection, Prevention, and Mitigation Training
The counterfeit component landscape is changing, and there is a need to continuously improve and stay on top of current detection training techniques for the prevention and mitigation of counterfeit electronic components.
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