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

Latest Articles

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.

Empowering the Workforce Through Training: An Investment Return

Electronics manufacturers should take training seriously at all levels. To remain viable and competitive, it’s vital that they keep up with the latest technologies and practices in the electronics field. Perhaps more importantly, investment in employees keeps them engaged and excited in the performance of their daily work. Learning new methods and being exposed to new ideas is pivotal to personal growth.

The EMS Skills Gap Epidemic

The manufacturing skills gap is real. Interviews with EMS industry executives across the country are united in their top concern for their businesses: finding new talent. Manufacturers can no longer afford to wait. It is time to educate and train the next generation of manufacturing.

Training and Education: Key to Improving Electronics Assembly

For this month's issue of SMT Magazine, we spoke with Luis Ramirez and Dan Prina of EMS firm MC Assembly to discuss the challenges of and strategies in improving the PCB assembly process from an EMS provider’s perspective. We also spoke with Manncorp's Tom Beck and Chris Ellis to get their viewpoints on the subject as an equipment provider.

The Need for Assembly Training and Education

While investing in the latest technologies and having a systems-based approach in your assembly processes are important, the key factors that will make you successful in your continuous improvement goal are the skills, training, and education of your workforce. However you look at it, the human factor remains a critical issue when it comes to your overall efficiency.

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.

The Importance of Training for your Organization

In our recent survey on assembly training and education, another question we asked is about the importance of training to your organization. Around 85% of our respondents consider training really important to their workforce. In fact, the majority of respondents—47%—say it is very important.

Assembly Training and Education

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

Global Impact on European PCB Fabrication: EIPC Summer Conference 2017, Day 1

Electronics industry professionals from 13 countries, mainly from Europe and Scandinavia, others from the USA, but some from as far away as India and Japan, gathered in Meriden, the centre of England, for the EIPC Summer Conference.

Grow Your Own Training Programs

Negative connotations about manufacturing jobs as dirty, repetitive, and boring have plagued the industry for the last 20 years. Manufacturing lacks the sex appeal that jobs in tech use to entice potential employees. Due to the great shortage of skilled workers and the lackluster image of the industry, manufacturing companies have had to re-evaluate and re-design their HR strategies to recruit, hire and train new employees.


Enhancing Recruitment Efforts with Public-Private Partnerships

After nearly two decades of the dominance of the service economy, manufacturers in all industries have a challenge: recruiting and training the next generation of manufacturing employees. This article details how one EMS company has been addressing that challenge through collaborative efforts with educational institutions, other businesses and regional support networks.

Manufacturing Through the Eyes of Human Resources, Recruitment and New Hire Training

Perhaps more important than the technology and tools a manufacturing company has are its people. People are what make a company truly great and the process of recruiting talented, skilled, dedicated employees and training them properly for success is an important aspect of any manufacturing company.

Keeping an Eye on the Next Generation

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

Blackfox Program Trains Vets for Manufacturing Jobs

It's harder than ever for managers in the PCB manufacturing industry to find qualified staff, with some reporting that positions are remaining open for months at a time. On the other hand, there are thousands of soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines transitioning out of the service each year and seeking good jobs. In this interview, Allen Dill, president of Blackfox, discusses their program that offers manufacturing training to veterans, even while they are still in the military.

The Challenge of Filling PCB Assembly Positions

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

Tin Whisker Mitigation Methodologies Report from SMART Group, Part 2

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

New Column: Millennials in Manufacturing

New columnist Davina McDonnell will be writing on the challenges millennials face in the workplace, and the unique dynamic between millennials and the industry veterans who manage them.

The Blackfox Advanced Manufacturing Program for Military Veterans

You might be wondering why you should hire a military veteran, especially if your company has nothing to do with the military. But hiring veterans can bring a wealth of benefits, and this article highlights them. It also focuses on the Blackfox Veteran’s Training Program, the first program of its kind to provide veterans with little to no industry experience with the skills to grow their careers in the electronic assembly industry.

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

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

SMTA Reaching Out to Locals and Students

Tanya Martin, executive director of the SMTA, speaks with I-Connect007's Patty Goldman at the recent SMTA-Ohio expo about local one-day expos that are spread across the country throughout the year, and the increasing interest in student chapters on campuses.


IMS and STEM: Building a Stronger Future

At the recent IEEE International Microwave Symposium (IMS2016) show held in San Francisco, California, I-Connect007's Barry Matties met with IEEE MTT Education Committee STEM Lead Steven Lardizabal to learn more about the show’s STEM outreach, how they inspire students to join the technology field, and the success of the educational program.

Moving Beyond Paideia: Learning for Earning

The complexities of our technological world and global marketplace now demand the development of specific, saleable skills as part of the student-customer's educational process--and that the template for teaching these skills must be based in the real world. Tom Borkes explains why in this article.

Investing in the Future Voices of our Industries

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a massive global initiative, aimed at getting kids more interested in STEM subjects through a variety of fun and interactive experiences. At a recent Maker Faire, Barry Matties spoke with FIRST's Jill Wilker and Ken Johnson about their organization's mission and vision.

SMTA West Penn Chapter Plans Manufacturing Boot Camp in August

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

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

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

A Preview of the 2016 International Microwave Symposium

The 2016 International Microwave Symposium (IMS) is taking place May 22–27 in San Francisco. I-Connect007's Barry Matties spoke with IMS’s Amanda Scacchitti about the upcoming show, the keynote speakers, and how IMS continues to put an emphasis on STEM education with their own STEM program for kids.

The Importance of Being Earnest (Educated)

This new column in SMT Magazine, titled "Jumping Off the Bandwagon," is dedicated to the continued development and improvement of the high-tech electronic product assembly industry, and the human component of that industry. For his first article, Tom Borkes talks about issues that, unless addressed, will continue to put product assembly at a disadvantage in high labor rate areas of the world.

IPC APEX EXPO: Blackfox Celebrating 20 Years of Providing Quality Training

Sharon Montana-Beard, vice president of sales and operations at Blackfox, talks with I-Connect007's Andy Shaughnessy about the company's 20th year in business, their recent partnership with Pace, as well as their latest developments and activities.

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.


SMART Group: The Guiding Influence in the Electronics Industry

Founded in 1984, the SMART Group promotes advanced manufacturing technologies and helps companies cope with the challenges of surface mount technology. In an interview with I-Connect007, Keith Bryant, chairman of SMART Group, discusses the association, its activities, and how it is supporting the electronics manufacturing and SMT industries.

Printed Circuit Board Failures – Causes and Cures

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

Surface Mount Technology Association—a New Milestone

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

Technica’s Annual Tech Forum a Success

Co-sponsored by ASM Assembly Systems, with active participation from Koh Young Technology and Rehm Thermal Systems, Technica USA's Annual Technology Forum Event held last July 22–23 in San Jose, California, was again a success. The event featured technical presentations and demonstrations on stencil printing, SPI, SMT placement defects, as well as the challenge in complex boards with 03015 parts up to large components.

NEPCON Shenzhen 2015 Puts Spotlight on China's EMS Industry

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

A Conversation (and Day) with Joe Fjelstad Part 3

In Part 3 of this interview series, Fjelstad divulges his interesting entry into the electronics manufacturing industry, including a brief diversion as a restaurateur. In this portion of the interview, the pair was touring the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum (home of the Spruce Goose) where Fjelstad spoke frankly about his experience in Vietnam and how it has shaped his view about war, which he shares. Finally, the importance of education was discussed, as well as India, and why the rest of the manufacturing world should be paying attention to them.

SMTA: Call for Papers for 2015 Events

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

Plasma Polymerization: A Versatile and Attractive Process for Conformal Coating

This paper discusses the plasma coating process and the equipment used. The application of this type of coating to electronic assemblies and high-frequency RF applications, and the results of tests to demonstrate the protection offered by these coatings, is also addressed.

SMT Welcomes Advisory Board Members

SMT Magazine welcomes Laura J. Turbini, Ph.D., and Harald Wack, Ph.D., to its Editorial Advisory Board. The Board offers insight on the industry, future trends, and market technology; members write columns such as "Speaking of Process Optimization," "Speaking of Cleaning," and more. Turbini and Wack will join 10 other industry experts that analyze the SMT industry from every possible angle.

Solder Paste vs. Flux-only Attachment for BGA Rework

Proper rework procedures, which should mimic the original manufacturing process to ensure the reliability of the reworked device, have taken a backseat to expediency.


Maximizing Lead-free Wetting

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

Mixed Technologies Converge - Changing the Assembly Scene

Commercial markets for pervasive high-tech products dominate the electronics scene and are forcing assemblers to respond to the miniaturization and convergence of diverse technologies.
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