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Rising Stars at Rising Stars
04/25/2019 | Nolan Johnson, I-Connect007
Impact of Stencil Foil Type on Solder Paste Transfer Efficiency for Laser-cut SMT Stencils (Part 1)
04/24/2019 | Greg Smith, BlueRing Stencils
Lionrock Delivers Bendable, Industrial-grade Battery Tech
04/24/2019 | Nolan Johnson, I-Connect007
From Participant to Volunteer to Leader: Matt Smith on the IEEE Rising Stars Conference
04/23/2019 | Nolan Johnson, I-Connect007
Eileen Hibbler and Jason Emes on Improving the West Penn SMTA Chapter
04/22/2019 | Patty Goldman, I-Connect007
SMT :: Assembly
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.
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.
Preparing to Enter the Workforce With PCB Design Experience
Nolan Johnson recently spoke with Alex Burt, a computer engineering student at George Fox University, at a well-attended college career fair on the GFU campus in Newberg, Oregon. In the interview, Alex discusses his PCB classwork, challenges of design, and how it has impacted his internship experience as he prepares to enter the workforce upon graduation in the spring semester of 2019.
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.
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.
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.
Which IPC-A-610 Class is Best for Your PCBA?
For many EMS providers, IPC-A-610 is the agreed standard to define what's acceptable and what's not in the world of PCBA production. As an OEM, it's important that you're clear on the basic principles that separate those classes so that you have a clear and realistic expectation of what the results are going to be.
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.
Bill Cardoso Discusses Creative Electron’s Inspection Strategy
At PCB West in Santa Clara, California, Dr. Bill Cardoso of Creative Electron held a class on advanced packaging and X-ray inspection strategy. Guest Editor Tim Haag and Publisher Barry Matties met with Bill to further discuss his class and the importance of turning inspection data into information.
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.
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.
Automation on Full Display at Recent China Exhibitions
With the rising cost of labor in China, the growing demand for automation has never been stronger. At the recent productronica China 2019, and accompanying shows, one hall was packed full of automation technology. This video gives you a glimpse into what was on display… and the new workforce.
Nano Dimension Offers Update on Dragonfly 3D Printer a Year After Launch
The Nano Dimension Dragonfly 3D printer arrived in much fanfare a little over a year ago. The company has been selling them to customers around the world, many of whom are using them to print antennas, sensors, and PCBs. At AltiumLive in Munich, I asked Product Manager Robert Even to discuss what they’ve learned in the year since the Dragonfly debuted, and some potential uses for 3D printing technology.
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.
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?
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.
IPC Validation Services: New Programs and Updates
At the recent IPC APEX EXPO 2019 show, Randy Cherry, director of IPC Validation Services, gives Judy Warner an overview of a new IPC-1791 QML program focused on prime contractors and OEMs, and provides updates on existing programs.
Four Hidden Materials Handling Costs Every OEM Should Know
Many of the expenses within your electronics manufacturing business are highly visible and undergo regular scrutiny. But there can also be much to be gained by keeping track of those less obvious material costs that may not be formally accounted for in your monthly reporting.
Automation and the Smart Factory: Introduction to Industry 4.0
The characteristics of successful automation application in manufacturing depend on how well business and technical management understand and promote the strategies, tactics, and philosophies used in modern manufacturing. This article briefly outlines the background of computer-integrated manufacturing (CIM) and its evolution to Industry 4.0 and smart factories.
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.
Industry Outlook from IPC's Sharon Starr
Sharon Starr, IPC's director of market research, provides updates on the EMS and PCB industry outlook, benefits of IPC membership and participation, plans to expand the EMS statistical program, and new studies being published.
What Do You Know About Automation?
Test what you know in this 10-question automation quiz! Hint: It helps to download and read I-Connect007’s free eBook Automation and Advanced Procedures in PCB Fabrication, which provides an in-depth look at automation, computer-integrated and computer-aided manufacturing, mechanization, and chemical monitoring and control.
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.
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.
Todd Westerhoff Discusses His New Position and Much More
At DesignCon, I met with our old friend Todd Westerhoff, a veteran signal integrity engineer. Todd joined Mentor, a Siemens Business, since we last spoke. We discussed his new job responsibilities, his drive to get more designers and engineers to use SI tools, and the increasing value of cost-reduced design techniques versus overdesigning PCBs.
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.
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.
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: 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.
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: 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.
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.
Flex Circuit Supply Chain Challenges
In our recent Flex and Rigid-Flex survey, we asked the following question: "Do you have problems with your flex circuit supply chain?" Below are just a few of the explanations of those who answered "Yes", slightly edited for clarity.
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.
Critical Process Issues
In our recent I-Connect007 survey, we asked what the top three critical issues are in the production process. Below are just a few of the replies, slightly edited for clarity.
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.
IPC APEX EXPO 2019 Day Two: Do You Hear That Buzz?
On the IPC APEX EXPO show floor Wednesday, the energy and action peaked with control software and interconnected machine communication continuing to be the buzz at the show.
Happy Anniversary, Gerber Format: Looking Ahead to Digital Innovation
This year, we celebrate the 55th anniversary of the introduction of the Gerber machine language format. We can thank H. Joseph Gerber, the man who took manual PCB design to the next level with the automated photoplotter, for giving us this format in 1964. Gerber immigrated to the United States in 1940 with his mother following the death of his father during the Holocaust. Gerber started Gerber Scientific Instrument Company in 1948 to commercialize his first patented invention—the variable scale.
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.
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.
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.
Who’s the Best of the Best in Hand Soldering?
IPC APEX EXPO 2019 will include the new IPC World Championship Hand Soldering and Rework Competition on the expo floor on January 29 and 30. Twelve competitors from Britain, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, and Thailand will compete for the crown and the title of the first-ever IPC World Hand Soldering and Rework Champion.
Most Important Feedback
In our recent I-Connect007 survey, we asked the following question: “What is the most important feedback that you receive after your board is manufactured?” Here are just a few of the replies, edited slightly for clarity.
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.
What Electronics Manufacturers Need to Know About RoHS 3 Compliance
On July 22, 2019, the latest incarnation of RoHS will come into full effect across the European Union. So, what’s changed? And what exactly are the implications for UK electronics manufacturers? This article provides a recap of what RoHS is, why it matters, and the steps that OEMs will need to take to ensure compliance.
Best Advice for Increasing Productivity
We recently asked the industry what their best advice is for increasing productivity. Here are just a few of the replies, edited slightly for clarity.
A Look at Medical Electronics Design and Assembly Challenges
We recently spoke with Dr. Despina Moschou, lecturer at the University of Bath, as well as Kaspars Fricbergs, VP of global quality, and Tom Reilly, director of marketing and sales operations, of EMS firm Vexos Corp., to learn more about the challenges and opportunities in medical electronics design and assembly, as well as the relevant regulatory and supply chain issues.
Randy Burcham Discusses New Techniques for BOM, Daughterboards
During AltiumLive, I spoke with IOTA Engineering's Randy Burcham, who taught several classes during the event. He explained his methodology for filtering BOM data as well as his new approach to working with daughterboards and how he was up and running on Altium tools after only three days.
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.
Defense Speak Interpreted: PERM—Pb-free Electronics Risk Management
In this column, we explore PERM—the Pb-free Electronics Risk Management Consortium. No, the group members do not all have curly hair! The name was chosen around 2008 by a group of engineers from aerospace, defense, and harsh environment (ADHE) organizations.
Internet of Body: The Next Big Thing for Medical
Titu Botos, Ph.D., the VP of engineering at NeuronicWorks, discusses with I-Connect007 Managing Editor Nolan Johnson the next big thing to come after the Internet of Things (IoT)—the Internet of Body (IoB), which could include implantables and ingestible medical devices to monitor your body better.
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.
Mentor Discusses New DFT, DFM, and Design Verification Tools
At electronica 2018, John McMillan, digital marketing program manager-Electronic Board Systems, and Mark Laing, business development manager-Valor Division of Mentor, a Siemens business, discuss new tools for PCB design verification, as well as design for manufacturing (DFM) and design for testing (DFT).
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.
3D Printing and Medical Electronics: A Disruptive Beneficial Technology
We are seeing significant advances and increased uses for 3D manufacturing in medicine—many more than 3D-printed and conductive circuits on device structural components. There is enough movement in this area that 3D additive fabrication in medicine—including but not limited to 3D-printed circuits—has become its own topic, and one that we will be watching and continuing to cover.
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.
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.
Solving the UK Manufacturing Productivity Puzzle
Since the financial crisis of 2008, manufacturing has seen an undeniable slump. Latest industry statistics paint a pretty compelling picture—where once the UK manufacturing sector was hot on the heels of its international counterparts, it now lags behind with average annual growth of less than 1% a year since the advent of the financial crisis. This article looks at five issues that could help to inform our decisions and boost performance within the sector.
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.
In a recent I-Connect007 survey on flex circuits, we asked the following question: What are the major drivers causing you to utilize flex circuits? Here are just a few of the replies, edited slightly for clarity.
Tempo Automation's Open House Raises the Curtain in San Francisco
Based in San Francisco, Tempo Automation specializes in rapid PCB assembly and on low volume production for a wide range of board complexities. It recently held an open house at its brand-new facility in the South of Market (SoMa) district—which is normally restricted under customer non-disclosure agreements as well as International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) regulations—to customers, vendors, local designers, and government officials.
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.
How Effective is Your Induction Process?
This article looks at eight ways manufacturers can ensure their induction process passes the 'so what' test. And more importantly, addresses all of the questions and concerns a new starter might have during their first couple of days.
A Look at Our Readers’ Manufacturing Challenges
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.
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.
Christine Pearsall on Tempo Automation and PCB West
Christine Pearsall, senior director of marketing for Tempo Automation, discusses with Consulting Technical Editor Tim Haag what services Tempo Automation provides, what attracts engineers and designers most to the company, and what events they plan to attend in the upcoming year.
Managing Cyber-Threats Within Electronics Manufacturing
The rise of the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) has brought with it digital interconnectivity that offers unprecedented opportunities for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). But with that openness there also comes risk—the threat of the loss of data, the theft of capital or intellectual property, and the disruption of access to systems or operational technology—all of which can impede businesses and impact on trade.
Investigation on the Assembly Process for m03015 and a Brief Look at m0201 Components
Components continue to shrink in the SMT world, and the next evolution of passive components includes m03015 (009005) and m0201 (008004). The m03015 and the m0201 components will see primary adoption in products that require further miniaturization, which would be SiPs. These modules would then be assembled into products through attachment, another assembly, or via other interconnect methods. This article explores the development of an assembly process (SMT only) for the m03015 component.
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.
4 Questions OEMs Typically Ask When Outsourcing
The decision to transfer your electronics manufacturing to an EMS company is a complex process, with the potential to impact your business, your staff, your customers and your suppliers in a multitude of ways. This article highlights four questions OEMs typically ask prospective contract manufacturing partners when they first start engaging with them—and our take on the answers.
I-Connect007 Survey Sees Bright Prospects for Low-Temperature Soldering
There has been an increasing amount of discussion on low-temperature soldering, and solder pastes. And why not? There are several advantages of using low temperature solders—from a technical standpoint and economic perspectives. A recent survey by I-Connect007 saw majority, or 67%, of the respondents saying they will consider using low-temperature solders in their assembly process.
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.
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.
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.
How to Measure Manufacturing Employee Engagement
Disgruntled employees have the ability to sap the lifeblood from your organization. And in some cases, one or two negative views can spread quickly throughout a business like an uncontrollable virus. While it is important to deal with issues the moment they arise, it is also vital to have a system in place to measure views and opinions on a regular basis and with a long-term view.
One-Question Survey, Part 2: What Advice Would You Offer a New Designer?
During AltiumLive 2018, the I-Connect007 editorial team asked some of the attendees to answer one question: What advice would you offer to a brand-new PCB designer? Here are just a few of the replies we received.
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.
RTW SMTAI: Libra's Rod Howell Discusses Tariffs Issue
Rod Howell, CEO of EMS firm Libra Industries, speaks with I-Connect007 Managing Editor Nolan Johnson about the ongoing tariffs issue, how it impacts the global electronics manufacturing supply chain, and their strategic response to address the issue.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Interview with a High School Robotics Team Mentor
On the floor of the recent Wisconsin SMTA Annual Tech Forum, I-Connect007 Technical Editor Happy Holden sat down with Aaron Denk, representing the local Cedarburg High School’s robotics team.
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.
Getting More with Cleaning
The continuing growth of the electronics industry, driven by the rapid expansion of electronics into areas such as automotive and medical, is creating a new mindset with regard to cleaning, mainly due to quality and reliability issues. Read more to find out what our experts have to say when it comes to cleaning challenges in PCBAs and possible solutions.
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.
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.
Practicing Best Practices
Recently, we looked into electronics assembly best practices that help optimize your manufacturing processes. To provide you more insights on this, here's an interview with two assembly experts: Jason Keeping of EMS firm Celestica, and Bob Willis, a renowned EMS consultant and trainer.
Best Practices in Manufacturing: Wave Soldering
Over the years, best practices have evolved and will continue to evolve with the changing environments, company needs and challenges and what may work for one company may not necessarily be best for another. This article offers recommendations to consider in managing your wave soldering process.
The Impact of Industry Regulations on Your Supply Chain
Changes and updates to existing legislation is an ongoing process, and the introduction of new rules is inevitable. It is vital that your EMS partner is committed to staying up to date and to keeping you informed of how these changes may impact your the manufacturing supply chain.
Use of Lean Manufacturing Principles Enhances Quality and Productivity
Using work-cell-based batch assembly processes will enable EMS firms to provide greater flexibility and responsiveness to their box build customers. Here's an example of why this flexibility is important, and find out how regional EMS providers, often thought of as companies primarily focused on PCBA assembly and cellular box builds, who are skilled in mechanical assembly can easily shift to higher-volume work.
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.
Demand Forecasting: The Art of Knowing What You Need Before You Need It
Forecasting is a skill born out of experience, intuition, and most of all, knowledge. But what do you need to know when you’re creating an accurate demand forecast? What data is needed? Are there tools you can use? Where do you start? Find out here.
5 Supply Chain Questions to Ask Your Assembly Partner
A key question for any OEM who may be considering outsourcing production is whether to maintain its existing supply chain or to hand those crucial purchasing decisions over to its assembly partner. This article highlights five questions to ask a potential assembly partner before handing over the responsibility for your supply chain management.
Cross Functional Teams Drive Strong Focus on Risk Mitigation and Quality
Having a traditional cross-functional team (CFT) approach, with a much larger CFT group that includes a tactically focused program manager, a strategically focused account director, a buyer, a product engineer, a process engineer, a test engineer, a quality engineer, a production supervisor or lead person, and a customer service representative focused on materials and scheduling, will help EMS firms govern all the necessary outputs associated with each customer.
Best Practices to Achieve Zero Defects
To ensure that a complex electronics build can be completed on time, on budget and with zero defects, here is a list of checks and balances that will help you with adjustments or corrections real time, instead of discovering them at the end of the build or worse, when it's already arrived at the end user.
We Have the Best Practice for That
Most best practices have been developed over time, based on the many different experiences that people encounter in the manufacturing line. And it is important to institute these best practices to make sure that your processes will result in outstanding job at the end of the day.
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.
How Investment in Staff Well-Being Impacts Manufacturing Productivity
As manufacturers seek to address the challenges of increasing efficiency, there's a greater emphasis on the value of high-performance working practices such as Lean manufacturing. But the emphasis on continual quality improvement processes can also have an indirect effect on employee health and well-being. Here's why manufacturers should invest in the well-being of its employees.
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.
How DFA Converts Complexity into Freedom for Medical Device Development
The assembly of medical devices comprising electronic and mechanical components has become an increasing challenge as devices grow more complex, functional and compact, and as they undergo increasingly frequent product refresh cycles. Read on to find assembly techniques that will help manufacturers to deliver highly engineered and integrated products.
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.
Conversation with… Vexos: Doing It Right the First Time
Harry Chan, Deputy GM and VP Manufacturing for EMS firm Vexos Shenzhen, is responsible for all aspects of manufacturing through continuous process improvement, production management, and development of manufacturing talent and teams. In an interview with SMT007 Magazine, he shared the challenges when dealing with flexible circuit assemblies, and strategies and techniques to address them.
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.
Overcoming Growth Challenges
Growth is usually seen by manufacturers as a good thing—a sign of success and a result of hard work. But if this growth isn’t planned for, or the manufacturer can’t react in time, growth can cause the same devastating results as if the business was in decline. This article looks at seven common areas that can cause manufacturers a headache when their business is growing, along with solutions to help ease the pain.
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.
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.
DFT Strategy Needed for 5G Assembly
Mathieu Kury of Asteelflash USA Corp. provides an overview of 5G, the opportunities in the market, and how it will impact the electronics manufacturing industry. He also discusses the key challenges from an EMS standpoint and how to become successful when 5G really arrives.
How to Apply for a Graduate Scheme in Manufacturing
There are a whole host of benefits which make graduate schemes within the UK manufacturing industry a popular career choice. You get paid while you train, you gain invaluable on-the-job experience within your chosen sector, you develop a breadth of new technical and business skills and there’s an opportunity to continue your academic studies while you work.
5G: Testing the Future Impact
The impending arrival of 5G is not without its entourage of challenges that will require a different approach in the electronics manufacturing process. One that is already impacting the electronics manufacturers and assemblers is the testing of the devices. Industry analyst firm Occams Business Research Consulting expects the global 5G network infrastructure market to register a 70% CAGR from 2016 to 2023 and reach up to $28 billion by the end of the forecast period. North America is the leading market for 5G network.
5G Requires a New Approach to Testing
The industry will be deploying 5G at millimeter wave frequencies between 28 and 40GHz, with significantly wider bandwidths than the current instrumentation. And the rules about how you design a test fixture, or conduct testing of those products is changing. In this article, National Instrument's David Hall explains.
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.
Conversation with… Keysight: Challenges and Opportunities in Testing 5G
Roger Nichols, 5G program manager at test and measurement provider Keysight Technologies Inc., discusses the opportunities that 5G will enable, the many challenges facing electronics manufacturers when it comes to 5G, and how they are helping the industry address these issues.
The Key to Boosting Numbers of Women in Manufacturing
According to latest figures by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the split between male and female employees in UK's manufacturing industry is significant—with men accounting for 76% of the total manufacturing workforce and women making up just 24%. So, what exactly is being done to encourage the recruitment, and retention, of more women within the UK manufacturing environment?
Modeling an SMT Line to Improve Throughput
One of the major challenges for an electronics assembly manufacturing engineer is determining how an SMT machine will impact throughput. Typically, an SMT equipment supplier will ask for a few products to simulate the throughput capability of their machine. Unfortunately, if the engineer works in a high-mix, low-volume environment, he may need to know the impact of a new machine on 1,000 or more products.
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.
Design and Manufacturing Perspectives from DISH Technology’s Les Beller
I recently interviewed Les Beller, a long-time PCB designer who is now a manufacturing engineer for DISH Technology. We discussed his company’s business shift towards 5G and streaming, and the stresses that puts on a design team. He also explains the greatest challenges that he’s facing with HDI and higher frequencies, and the added importance for designers to understand the manufacturing process and DFM tools.
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.
Launching a Manufacturing Career Via an Apprenticeship
Deciding on the right career path within manufacturing, and the best route to take to make those dreams a reality, can sometimes seem a daunting prospect for young people considering their options. Joining apprenticeships combine the opportunity for on-the-job training with classroom learning, but exactly what you learn depends on the role you're training for.
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.
3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing in PCBA
There are several materials that are available for 3D printing for various engineering uses. Various vendors offer over hundreds of different materials that are either specific to an application or to a specific desired characteristic. For this study, eight materials that are regularly used for engineering applications were evaluated and characterized to determine which can be used in PCB processes.
Combining Strengths Synergistically: PDS and Green Circuits
Power Design Services (PDS) and Green Circuits have just announced their merger. I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties recently sat down with Joe O’Neil and Matthew Becker of PDS, along with Ted Park of Green Circuits, to get the full scoop.
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.
How to Secure a Place on an Electronics Manufacturing Graduate Scheme
The world of EMS is a fast-moving and technologically innovative sector that can offer a wide range of compelling career opportunities for new graduates. For those seeking a route into the electronics manufacturing industry, a graduate scheme can be hugely beneficial in gaining practical, first-hand experience of an EMS business across all its operations.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Michael Ford Speaks About Aegis' Role in CFX
At the recent IPC APEX EXPO 2018 trade show in San Diego, California, Michael Ford, European marketing director, discusses his work with Aegis Software and the reaction of attendees who witnessed the Connected Factory Exchange (CFX) demo.
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.
System-Driven Approach Ensures Automotive Electronics Assembly Success
In an interview with SMT007 Magazine, Mathieu Kury, business development manager at Asteelflash USA Corp., talks about the new challenges and customer requirements when it comes to automotive electronics assembly, trends driving the growth of the market, and where the industry is headed.
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.
Poor Supply Chain Management Will Cost You Money
Supply chain management goes far beyond merely keeping track of all the SKUs currently on sale. It also means tracking the parts going into the products, since those parts are also potentially going to be used for post-sale support if necessary. If you can't trust your components to be legitimate and trustworthy, backed by a solid chain-of-possession, then every aspect of your electronics operation may be in jeopardy.
Industry 4.0 Concerns
The fastest way for manufacturers to achieve growth in a new world of industrial connectivity is to leverage new technologies. A transition to automated data and process management is irrefutable. But, while this heralds smart supply chains that bring enhanced agility, productivity and profitability, many are adopting a "wait and see" approach.
5 Ideas to Enhance the Induction Process in Manufacturing
While most of us work and live in an alternate reality, first impressions still count and your induction process is no different. Here are some ideas to consider implementing within your own manufacturing business when welcoming your new starters.
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.
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.
How to Assess Top Talent when Recruiting for Key Manufacturing Roles
As your business continues to grow and evolve, gaps in talent can start to appear. And while growth is often seen as a sign of success, if you fail to manage growth correctly, it can quickly turn and bite you in a similar way to a business in decline.
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.
Why AOI is a Must-have for PCB Assembly
AOI has an invaluable role to play in speeding up the process of PCB production, in ensuring extreme precision to catch even the smallest of defects, and in minimizing the potential for time-consuming and costly reworking.
Interview with Linda Woody: Dieter Bergman IPC Fellowship Award Recipient
The Dieter Bergman IPC Fellowship Award is given to individuals who have fostered a collaborative spirit, made significant contributions to standards development, and have consistently demonstrated a commitment to global standardization efforts and the electronics industry. This year, Linda Woody is one of the two recipients of the award. Here's what she has to say.
Interview with Dave Hillman: IPC’s 2018 Raymond E. Pritchard Hall of Fame Award Winner
A self-described "dinosaur" of the industry, Dave Hillman has been a steady force in all things solder-related at Rockwell Collins for 30 years. And just to keep things fresh, he has spent years mentoring both college-age and younger children. In this interview, I-Connect007’s Patty Goldman gives Hillman a chance to tell his story.
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.
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: COMET Technologies Highlights Product Range and New Facility
Craig Arcuri of COMET Technologies details the numerous ways his company's technology is employed to manufacture and inspect a wide range of products, from chips to jet engine turbine blades. He also speaks about Lab One, the company's new technology and application center in Silicon Valley.
Manufacturability: Pad Relief and Mask Relationship to Solder Joint Volume
Electronic assembly thermal management has always been an issue but has become more significant as we pack more power and function into a smaller form factor. In recent years, the growing use of LEDs for illumination on a large scale has presented additional thermal demands.
Your Competitors are Outsourcing Their Manufacturing; Shouldn’t You?
As an OEM, you will be focused on increasing sales and maximizing profits. But you can only sell what you can produce, and manufacturing complex industrial electronic products day in, day out can be a headache. As your sales start to climb, you move closer to hitting your internal capacity limits. Here's how EMS providers can help you become successful in your manufacturing.
Setting Clear Boundaries with Your EMS Provider
A common area for confusion, particularly during the early stages of an outsourcing partnership, relates to 'boundaries', and agreeing who is responsible for what. If clear lines are not discussed and agreed between you and your EMS provider, it can be easy to fall into an assumption trap, and we all know what happens then.
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.
The IoT Event of The Decade
The IPC APEX EXPO tradeshow at the end of this month is set to rock the manufacturing world in a way that has not been seen for many years. This is not just a tech-fest, it is the introduction of some serious business growth opportunities for manufacturers, machines vendors and solution providers based on the successful implementation of their Industry 4.0 solutions and enhancements.
The Vital Role of Solder Paste Printing in New Product Introduction
The high degree of automation within the SMT methodology offers a variety of advantages, from automatic correction of errors, to simpler and faster assembly, better mechanical performance, increased production rates and reduced labor costs. In this first in a series of articles exploring SMT assembly, we highlight the specific attributes, and the vital importance, of the solder paste printing process for your NPI.
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.
6 Questions to Assess Your Company's IoT Readiness
Small-to-medium sized companies shouldn't assume that Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT or Industrial Internet) is for the 'big boys' only. Innovations coming out of the IIoT have the potential to significantly level the playing field among companies of all sizes.
Why the Right Preparation is Crucial for Your NPI
In today's increasingly competitive manufacturing environment, it's crucial that you are able to produce high quality new products that can be delivered on time, at the volumes required and at the right cost. And the key to ensuring a smooth transition from the initial design through to final manufacture is the implementation of a new product introduction (NPI) process.
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.
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.
Talk to Your Customers
Whatever industry we are in, we are a customer and a supplier at the same time. The goal is always 100% customer satisfaction, as dissatisfaction in your customer side will eventually result in problems. For one, according to the results of our survey, the loss of business and reputation can be the consequences of not meeting your customers' needs.
Pros and Cons of Outsourcing Your Product Design to an Independent Contractor
Taking on an independent design contractor or sole trader offers an opportunity to inject a fresh perspective, to gain the value of specialist knowledge and to save on staffing costs, training, infrastructure and equipment. Ultimately though, deciding whether to engage an independent contractor in your product design will require weighing up the pros and cons as they apply to your specific project.
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.
Should You Be Outsourcing Product Design?
While handing over part or all of your manufacturing to a third party can be daunting, it offers a host of benefits. It frees you up to focus on what you do best--whether that's designing, marketing or selling. It reduces your operating costs, and you gain from the range and depth of expertise than an EMS can provide. For OEMs already outsourcing their manufacturing, going to a third party for other services, like product design, could well be the next logical step.
Tempo Automation: Setting the Pace for Low-Volume, Quick-Turn Assembly
Jesse Koenig, co-founder and VP of technology at PCB assembly company Tempo Automation, discusses with I-Connect007's Patty Goldman how they are making electronics development much easier and more seamless for customers.
The Importance of Feedback in the Electronics Assembly Supply Chain
Any customer feedback is a good feedback, whether it is good or bad, because it often pushes the supplier or manufacturer to improve. However, the problem in the electronics assembly supply chain is that customers often do not give feedback, unless it is negative.
Working with Your Customers
Even though you have trusted supplier partners, working closely with them will ensure seamless manufacture and high-quality output. In our recent survey, most of our respondents agree, with more than a third or 40% closely working with at least 50% of their customers.
What's Driving Manufacturing Investment in 4IR?
The use of automation is transforming global manufacturing, with initiatives such as robot technology, big data and 3D printing, providing manufacturers with the ability to create smarter products, more streamlined processes and better solutions for 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.
Selecting X-Ray Inspection Equipment
Automated optical inspection (AOI) is an established, key process control in the SMT industry that greatly increases confidence in the quality of the finished product. But what do you do about devices where you cannot optically see the solder connections? X-ray inspection provides the answer.
How Engineering Support Can Affect QC
Quality processes are part of any reputable contract manufacturer's operation. When working with an electronics contract manufacturer, it is wise to consider a partner that has an experienced engineering team. This article tells more.
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.
7 Simple Ways to Motivate Your Electronics Manufacturing Staff
Your manufacturing staff are the backbone of your electronics manufacturing organization. They are the ones showing up day in. day out to build products for your customers. So, keeping them motivated and engaged should be a priority, right? But too often during peak production periods, surmounting pressure can lead to staff feeling overworked, demoralized, and underappreciated.
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.
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.
Tips & Tricks: Assembly Panelization
Thoughtful PCB array and panel design can reduce line stoppage, improve changeover time and reduce material scrap. Fiducial location and design are good aids to prevent mistakes, but may still result in line stoppage. If you have fiducial recognition issues, making the shape of the mask opening different than the fiducial feature may help the vision system discern the target feature easier.
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.
PCB Pad Repair Techniques
There are a variety of reasons behind pads getting "lifted" completely or partially from the laminate of a PCB. Per the just revised IPC-A-610 Revision G, a defect for all three classes occurs when the land is lifted up one or more pad thicknesses. Lifted pads can occur when a device has been improperly removed or there is a manufacturing defect in the board construction. In any case, as with any repair, the ultimate decision on the ability to repair the pad lies with the customer.
Focus on the New
It seems like it wasn't too long ago when I was writing about the optimism of the electronics manufacturing and assembly industry going into 2017. Now, here we are again at the beginning of the new year, looking at new trends, disruptive technologies, and emerging markets for 2018. I am also proud to announce our new branding as well as our fresh, new look.
Why You Want Your EMS Partner to Be Annoying and Boring
Outsourcing part or all of your manufacturing to an electronics manufacturing service (EMS) provider can be daunting. Handing over some of the control of your business can be a scary prospect.
14 Lessons in Diagnostic Instrument Development
With over 40 years of global leadership in the design, development and manufacture of life-saving medical technology, ITL Group offers invaluable experience and industry insight into what influences the success or failure of a product. Here are 14 lessons from ITL’s many years in diagnostic instrument development.
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.
What Does Digital Twinning Mean for Manufacturing?
Industry 4.0 brings with it new forms of artificial intelligence that organizations can leverage to improve and streamline their processes. Machine intelligence is driving industrial connectivity and possibilities for optimized productivity and in turn, substantial savings.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tips & Tricks: What to Do if You Can't Have Reference Designators on Your Board
Sometimes, you can't have reference designators on your board. Perhaps it's because it's too densely populated and there isn't room. Or maybe, for aesthetic reasons, you've chosen to leave them off. Here's how you can address that issue.
What Matters Most is Communication
While there may be new techniques and strategies, technologies, equipment, tools, and materials to employ and utilize, there is always one thing that will ensure the manufacturing/ assembly success of your product: communication. Communication between the designer and the assembler will help improve the manufacturability and assembly of the final product—even before the board design gets fabricated.
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.
Is Your EMS Provider The One for You?
No matter where you are in your outsourcing journey, ensuring that your EMS provider is right for you is one of the most important success factors. The right partner should bring you years of pain-free manufacturing that has the ability to evolve and adapt to your needs as your business grows.
Via-in-Pad Plated over Design Considerations to Mitigate Solder Separation Failure
Under certain conditions, the use of VIPPO with other pad structures within a BGA footprint can result in a unique failure mode in which the BGA solder joint separates between the bulk solder and the intermetallic compound either at the package pad or PCB pad interface, depending on whichever is the weaker interface. It can be either a complete or partial separation and hence, may or may not be detected at ICT/functional test.
How to Ensure Good Service from Your EMS Partner
What does good service mean from an EMS provider? Sure, it’s about consistently delivering products, on time, and to a high quality. But there's more to it than that. This article highlights two factors to consider when choosing an EMS provider to ensure good service and a strong, healthy and happy outsourcing partnership.
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.
HDI Considerations: Interview with ACDi's Garret Maxson
Garret Maxson, manager of engineering services at American Computer Development Inc. (ACDi), discusses the PCB assembly challenges when dealing with high-density interconnect (HDI) boards, parameters to consider, and strategies to help facilitate a smooth assembly process when using HDI boards.
5 Simple Elements to Guarantee Outsourcing Success
Rather than viewing outsourcing as a way to offload unwanted tasks, OEMs should spend time carefully selecting and then maintaining a properly managed relationship with their chosen EMS partner. Here are five simple elements that you should focus on before, during and after an outsourcing strategy to guarantee it is a success.
Dealing with Vias-in-Pad
Screaming Circuits, a division of EMS firm Milwaukee Electronics, specializes in short-run, one-off, and prototype PCB assembly. In an interview with SMT Magazine, Duane Benson, CTO of Screaming Circuits, talks about the challenges when dealing with microvias and vias-in-pad from an assembly standpoint, and how in-circuit test issues, such as access to test points, can be addressed.
Happy Holden and Charles Pfeil Discuss the Past and Future of PCB Design, Part 1
When it comes to the PCB design community and the challenges facing it, as well as where design has been and where it’s heading, there aren’t many people as qualified to speak on the topic as long-time industry veterans Happy Holden and Charles Pfeil. Joined by I-Connect007’s Barry Matties at the recent AltiumLive 2017 event in San Diego, the three sat down for a discussion about the current state of PCB design, what the future holds, and what it means to be a designer.
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.
Surprising European EMS Market Numbers
If you think market analysis is always correct and predict the future exactly, you are mistaken. The latest annual reports from EMS companies with manufacturing sites in Europe have changed the picture on the European EMS industry quite a bit and caught us by surprise. Yes, you read that correctly: SURPRISE.
Should I Involve My EMS Partner in DFM?
OEMs are seeking the support of EMS providers with more than just manufacturing, but with design elements too. One of the main design services EMS providers will be likely to offer is design for manufacture (DFM). This article highlights why engaging your EMS partner in DFM is worthwhile, and will be valuable in securing the longevity of your product.
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?
Rework and Reball Challenges for Wafer Level Packages
Amid the growing trend in package and PCB miniaturization, wafer-level packages (WLPs) have garnered recent popularity for their affordable cost, small footprint, and thin profile. Component suppliers must be prepared to support failure analysis for PCB-assembled WLPs, including fault isolation, nondestructive screening, as well as destructive analysis techniques.
Eight Factors a CEM Should Know About its Suppliers
Selecting a contract electronics manufacturer (CEM) that fits well with your outsourcing strategy can be a difficult and long process. But, by taking the time to research and investigate potential shortlisted partners, you are much more likely to reap the benefits further down the line.
Three Reasons to Use PCB Panel Routing Techniques
Most PCBs are individually routed—meaning they're not panelized. That doesn't mean that, sometimes, sending them to a PCB assembler in a panel isn't a good idea or even required. Generally, assemblers don't require panels, but there are some cases when they do.
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.
Is Hybrid Technology Gaining Momentum?
Over the past 20 years, ceramic hybrids have changed more and more to a backyard living in the European electronics industry, mainly driven by price pressure, specifically from the automotive electronics industry.
The Root Causes & Solutions for Warped PC Boards
There are two primary types of causes of board warping: process related at the fab or assembly shop, and layout related issues. If it's warped before assembly, it's between fab and layout. If it's flat before assembly and warped after, it's most likely between layout and assembly. That said, sometimes a fab problem won't show up until a pass through the reflow oven at your assembly partner.
Sensible Design: Thermal Management—The Heat is On
Thermal management materials are designed to prolong equipment life and reduce incidences of failure. They also maintain equipment performance parameters and reduce energy consumption by reducing operating temperatures, and minimising the risk of damage to surrounding components. Indirectly, they maintain brand reputation, as the reliability of the equipment will be very dependent upon the effectiveness of the thermal management technique used.
Drying Boards after Rework Cleaning—To Do or Not to Do?
In cases where water soluble fluxes are being used in the rework process, in cases where the components need to have flux residues washed off, or in cases where the board needs to be cleaned with water for subsequent conformal coating touchup, proper drying and perhaps even bake out procedures need to be performed.
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."
Does My Outsourcing Project Fit with the EMS Provider's Strategy?
Once a decision has been made to outsource your electronics manufacturing, the next step is to find a suitable partner. This article highlights some of the questions, checks and balances a good EMS company will carry out before deciding to quote or partner with an OEM. Hopefully, by providing this insight, you will be better placed to find the right supplier for your outsourcing project.
A Look Into PCBA Rework and Repair
Despite the many technology advances in the SMT process, there will always be a need for rework and repair of PCB assemblies. Most especially as the industry trend continues towards finer pitch and spacing, smaller and smaller components, and increasing high-reliability requirements from customers.
Should You Entrust Your EMS Provider With Your Supply Chain?
Managing your supply chain can be time consuming and expensive and, more importantly, it can distract you away from other key activities such as sales, marketing and product design. As an OEM, however, it's unlikely that your supply chain is a 'core' activity, that is, something that adds real value to your customers. So, what are your options?
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.
House of Cards
With challenges like Industry 4.0 turning the manufacturing world upside down, we see solutions that are being quite brutally put together, through acquisition or partnership, which are expected to be perceived as being the solutions of tomorrow.
NEPCON South China 2017 Opens Today
NEPCON South China 2017, being held in conjunction with the Shenzhen Circuit Sourcing 2017 and Automotive World China, opens its doors today at the Shenzhen Convention and Exhibition Center to showcase nearly 600 companies catering to the electronics manufacturing industry. This year’s event, the largest ever in the show's 30-year history, features 45,000 square meters of exhibition space.
Your 6-Point Guide to Finding the Right EMS Provider
If you have already outsourced part or all of your electronics manufacturing operation, then you'll already have a good understanding of what's expected. But, if you're looking to move EMS providers, then chances are something didn't go according to plan the first time. To avoid making the same mistake twice, or if you are considering outsourcing for the very first time, here are six points we recommend you consider to help find the right assembly partner for you.
Sourcing PCBA: Can Your EMS Supplier Do More?
You're in the market for some PCB assemblies for your new product and you need to find the right supplier. You've looked online, gotten recommendations from friends, and the choices are dizzying. Should you look domestically or overseas? What do you do now? Sourcing PCBA doesn't have to be difficult, but there are questions you need to answer.
Empowering the Workforce Through Training: An Investment Return
Electronics manufacturers should take training seriously at all levels. To remain viable and competitive, it’s vital that they keep up with the latest technologies and practices in the electronics field. Perhaps more importantly, investment in employees keeps them engaged and excited in the performance of their daily work. Learning new methods and being exposed to new ideas is pivotal to personal growth.
What to Expect During the First Months of Trading with an EMS Provider
The start of an outsourcing partnership is an exciting time for an OEM, but it's also one that can be daunting. However much you've prepared for that big moment when you hand over responsibility for part or all of your manufacturing operation to your chosen EMS provider, it's still normal to question if you are making the right decision. This article explores five key areas that you and your chosen EMS partner should focus on during the initial months.
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.
Cleaning that Matters
James Yeoh, executive director of Zestron Precision Cleaning Sdn Bhd, discusses the challenges in the cleaning industry, and strategies that can help manufacturers address those issues. He also covers the need for continuous education when it comes to cleaning, and how automation can ensure the stability of cleaning systems.
Soldering Fumes in Electronics Manufacturing: Damaging Effects and Solutions for Removal
No matter which soldering process you analyze, all of them have one aspect in common: They produce airborne pollutants, which may have a negative impact on employees, plants and products as well. This article discusses the damaging effects of soldering fumes, and solutions for their removal.
QFN Center Pads on PCBs
Not all QFNs come with an exposed metal pad underneath, but most do, and that can still cause problems with reflow solder. The pad itself isn't the problem, but improper solder paste stencil layer design can be.
Process Step Elimination: Driven by Cost and Efficiency, Enabled by Process and Materials Innovation
Electronics manufacturing has evolved from the early days of hand soldering and wave soldering to the more modern SMT process. But while most modern electronics are produced using the SMT process, there are still some mixed technology applications that need both the SMT process and the wave soldering process. This article looks into the pin-in-paste (PiP) process, which enables the soldering of through-hole components during SMT processing, and eliminates the need for the wave process.
How Much of My Electronics Manufacturing Should I Outsource?
Once you have decided to outsource to an EMS partner, you need to think about how much of your existing operation you plan to relinquish. This article looks at four distinct areas OEMs outsource—procurement, assembly, test and logistics—explores the benefits associated with relinquishing each of these, and highlights a number of questions that must be considered before any final decision is made.
The Need for Assembly Training and Education
While investing in the latest technologies and having a systems-based approach in your assembly processes are important, the key factors that will make you successful in your continuous improvement goal are the skills, training, and education of your workforce. However you look at it, the human factor remains a critical issue when it comes to your overall efficiency.
Counterfeit Electronic Components Identification: A Case Study
Counterfeit electronic components are finding their way into today's defense electronics. The problem gets even more complex when procuring diminishing manufacturing source parts. This article provides a brief introduction to counterfeit prevention and detection standards, particularly as they relate to the aerospace and defense sector.
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.
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