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I-Connect007 Leadership Survey: Valuable Lessons From Grandma
07/10/2020 | I-Connect007 Research Team
Navigating the Current Supply Chain
07/08/2020 | Nolan Johnson, PCB007
Catching Up With Fane Friberg: Supply Chain Management Expert
07/03/2020 | Dan Beaulieu, D.B. Management Group
This Month in SMT007 Magazine—Electronics Manufacturing: A Critical Industry and Supply Chain
07/01/2020 | I-Connect007 Editorial Team
June Issue of SMT007: A Snapshot of a Resilient Industry
06/30/2020 | Tamara Jovanovic, Happiest Baby
SMT :: Assembly
Navigating the Current Supply Chain
Robb Engle, executive VP of Sono-Tek, and Nolan Johnson discuss what the company has seen as far as supply chain challenges and changes to respond to in the past few months in response to COVID-19 and its related effects.
This Month in SMT007 Magazine—Electronics Manufacturing: A Critical Industry and Supply Chain
Chris Peters represents the U.S. Partnership for Assured Electronics, where he advocates for electronics manufacturing as a critical industry. Here, he describes the current status, the supply chain, and what he sees in Washington D.C.
Dr. Ron Lasky: A Solder Alloy and Solder Paste Overview
The I-Connect007 editorial team spoke with Dr. Ron Lasky about why the world has not embraced some of the exciting alloys that companies like Indium Corporation have developed. He also provides an overview of solder alloys, including the difficulty of qualifying SAC305.
MTV Offers Solder Paste Testing Solution
The miniaturization test vehicle (MTV) is a common benchmark test board that can gauge about 25 different paste properties and analyze how different solder pastes will perform in an assembly line. Chrys Shea details the work she’s done to develop and release the MTV.
Burak Aksoy: An Update on DOWSIL EA-3838 Fast Adhesive
On June 10, Nolan Johnson spoke with Burak Aksoy, technical service and development scientist for Dow Silicones. Aksoy updated Johnson on the recent introduction of DOWSIL™ EA-3838, a fast-curing adhesive formulated for use in industrial manufacturing and assembly applications.
The iNEMI 2019 Roadmap: Flexible Hybrid Electronics
The emerging trend for “electronics on everything, everything with electronics” was the theme of iNEMI’s webinar presentation of the highlights of its recently published Flexible Hybrid Electronics Roadmap Chapter, delivered by Girish Wable, senior engineering services manager with Jabil. Pete Starkey provides an overview.
Check Out the 3D June SMT007 Magazine Cover
How much can we really trust what we see? As the cover of this issue of SMT007 Magazine reminds us, there's often much more going on than meets the eye.
This Month in SMT007 Magazine: Leaning on Leadership
It goes without saying that in times of crisis or great uncertainty, we often look to those in leadership positions to guide us and give us direction. In this interview with Barry Matties and Nolan Johnson, Tom Forsythe, executive VP of KYZEN, shares his insight on leadership and what he believes makes a good leader.
The iNEMI 2019 Board Assembly Roadmap
iNEMI continues to publish chapters of its 2019 Roadmap and recently presented an overview of its Board Assembly Roadmap Chapter in a webinar prefaced by Grace O’Malley, vice president of global operations. The new chapter is just the latest addition to this global effort from 23 working groups contributing expert input from all aspects of the electronics industry.
High-reliability, Low-temperature Solder Alloys
Increased digitalization and greater connectivity have been driving miniaturization and more complex and integrated designs in electronics. As the real estate on PCBs shrinks, so does the size of packages. However, the drive for finding design solutions for increased performance has continued to expand. The solder joint is an essential part of assemblies for electronic devices as it provides electrical, thermal, and mechanical connections. Therefore, soldering materials have been evolving to enable such a technological revolution.
This Month in SMT007 Magazine: How Engineers Can Use SPI Tools for Verification
Koh Young’s Ray Welch and Brent Fischthal detail how engineers can work with SPI tools to verify how small they can go in component size with their solder paste application, and how the company’s SPI equipment is helping not only to verify but also to help drive the development collaboration between solder paste and stencil printer manufacturers, and inspection tools and software.
‘Coatings Uncoated!’ Micro-webinar Series Review
I-Connect007 collaborated with Electrolube’s Phil Kinner to create a 12-part series of 5-minute micro-webinar sessions entitled “Coatings Uncoated!” offering the opportunity to gain a comprehensive basic understanding of the technology of conformal coatings, chemical types and application techniques, benefits and limitations, and the practicalities of where and how to use them.
Smart Factory Implementation, Part 2
During one of our recent interviews, conducted as government leaders around the globe were issuing lockdowns, an industry expert had to pause and whisper some gentle and loving “goodnight and sleep well” words to a small child who was headed off to bed. Under these conditions, we’re working with our families and loved ones gathered close. It reminds me that we all have people for whom we do our work, strive to build successful businesses, and make the world a better place.
The Convergence of Technologies and Standards in Smart Manufacturing
Ranjan Chatterjee of Cimetrix and Daniel Gamota of Jabil teamed up to bring you this article, originally published as the paper "The Convergence of Technologies and Standards Across the Electronic Products Manufacturing Industry (SEMI, OSAT, and PCBA) to Realize Smart Manufacturing."
Case Study: Example of ASKEY Applying QML Validation
The PCB007 China team paid a visit to the ASKEY plant in Wujiang, Jiangsu, to learn more about their QML process. In this interview with Qixian Zhang, vice GM of ASKEY’s Electronics Product Quality Assurance Department, he discusses what QML means to ASKEY and the electronics industry as a whole.
Process Ionic Contamination Test (PICT) Standard Roundtable With Industry Experts
With standards committees set to release the first of four new test standards, industry experts discussed the process ionic contamination test (PICT) standard, which was recently approved by the IEC for publication. Roundtable participants included Teresa Rowe, senior director of assembly and standards technology at IPC, Graham Naisbitt, chairman and CEO of Gen3, Jason Keeping, corporate process development at Celestica, and Doug Pauls, principal materials and process engineer at Collins Aerospace.
Automation War Stories From ICM Controls
Members of the I-Connect007 editorial team met with Andy Kadah, president of ICM Controls, and Kevin Jobsky, senior marketing manager, via teleconference on March 20, 2020. Originally, the purpose of our conversation was to discuss factory automation implementation details. Yet, we conducted the interview in the midst of a rapid-fire and wide-ranging onslaught of executive orders from the federal level on down to the local level meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
IPC Europe Shares Technical Education and Standards Awareness
Against a background of COVID-19 uncertainty and unprecedented challenges, but recognizing the vital importance of continuing to educate engineers and share the knowledge and skills required to manufacture boards and assemblies of the highest yields and reliability, the IPC Europe team hosted a technical webinar for the European electronics industry, featuring the expertise of two of I-Connect007’s regular columnists: Mike Carano and Jan Pedersen. Pete Starkey provides an overview.
Cimetrix Helping to Digitize Factories
Dan Feinberg met with Cimetrix’s Ranjan Chatterjee to discuss how their new Sapience software allows factories to establish communication with a wide variety of equipment across multiple lines and multiple facilities across the whole industry.
SMTA Europe’s Electronics in Harsh Environments Conference and Exhibition: A Taste of Things to Come
SMTA Europe’s Electronics in Harsh Environments Conference has become a must-attend annual event; unfortunately, it also became another casualty of the COVID-19 lockdown. Scheduled to take place in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, from April 21–23, 2020, it has now been postponed until December 1–3. Pete Starkey reports on a preview seminar presented by SMTA Europe.
Stencil Cleaning Update With Tom Forsythe
In this video interview from the show, Pete Starkey and Tom Forsythe, executive VP of KYZEN, which celebrated its 30th anniversary, discuss the practicalities of stencil cleaning and describe the characteristics and capabilities of KYZEN's newest versatile stencil cleaning product.
Panasonic: From Hardware to Solutions and Data
In this video interview from the show, Managing Editor Nolan Johnson speaks with Sean Murray—director of sales, service, operations, and logistics process automation at Panasonic—about the company's focus on software and information management on top of their long history in hardware and equipment.
Greg Vance to Serve as SMTA Interim President
Nolan Johnson talks to Greg Vance about taking over the SMTA Board President's role through September. Discussion includes an update on multiple board chair changes, and an update on the board's work to achieve their current set of objectives.
'Coatings Uncoated!' Webinar Series and Automotive Industry Trends
Phil Kinner, global business/technical director of Electrolube’s coatings division, tells Pete Starkey about the positive impact of the “Coatings Uncoated!” webinar series and comments on how the company has responded to the changes in the focus of the automotive industry.
Phil Kinner on Sharing Expertise With the Industry
In this video interview from the show, Technical Editor Pete Starkey speaks with Phil Kinner, global business/technical director of Electrolube's coatings division, about the positive impact of the "Coatings Uncoated!" webinar series. They also discuss some of the ways that the company has responded to recent changes in the focus of the automotive industry.
The Next Generation: 2K Conformal Coatings
In this engaging, 12-part webinar series, Kinner examines conformal coating chemistries in further detail, including their properties, applications, issues to be mindful of, and the processes you should follow to achieve a successful coating outcome. The entire “Coatings Uncoated!” webinar series can be viewed in an hour and covers a comprehensive range of hot topics and application-relevant case-study overviews, as well as back-to-basic subject matter and issues, such as condensation and contamination. Most of the 12 segments can be viewed in five minutes or less.
Watch & Learn! Latest Installment of I-007e Micro Webinar Series Features EV Charging Controller Case Study
The eleventh episode of the popular micro webinar series “Coatings Uncoated!” is now available to view. In “Cycle Time Constrains Coverage,” topic expert Phil Kinner from Electrolube examines the trade-off between cycle time and coverage required while considering an electric vehicle charging controller case study. If you are in the assembly business, an EMS company, or responsible for specifying conformal coating and/or encapsulation, then this free series is for you.
This Month in SMT007 Magazine: Business Practices Drive the Smart Factory, Not the Other Way Around (Part 1)
In Part 1 of this conversation, Sagi Reuven— business development manager at Mentor, a Siemens Business—makes the case that smart factory implementations must start with traditional process analysis and improvement before the data capture process is useful. He also covers how sometimes the key to utilizing Industry 4.0 comes from a change in mindset rather than a drastic change or investment in new equipment or processes.
Watch It! The Perils of Technology Transfer (Selective Spray vs. Selective Dip Application)
The tenth episode of the popular micro webinar series “Coatings Uncoated!” is now available to view. Author of The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to...Conformal Coatings for Harsh Environments and topic expert Phil Kinner from Electrolube shares highly focused educational information on conformal coating and encapsulation. If you are in the assembly business, an EMS company, or responsible for specifying conformal coating and/or encapsulation, then this free series is for you.
Trends From the Show: Solder and Software
In my role as a media representative, my perspective on IPC APEX EXPO may be a bit different from that of many attendees. Since the I-Connect007 team had the opportunity to talk to many attendees and exhibitors and listen to their stories over the course of the week, our view can be particularly wide. When I reflected on all the conversations, pieces from all throughout the week coalesced and provided a different understanding of and takeaway from the show.
IPC APEX EXPO 2020 Attendees Speak: Camille Sybert
"There’s a need for flexible solutions, so people are trying to make the most of the equipment that they buy, and they want to have the equipment that’s able to be flexible in scale with what it is that they’re looking for," said Camille Sybert of Nordson Electronics Solutions. "We have customers asking about future capabilities that they might not be ready for right now, but they want to know that it’s something that can be easily integrated into their processes in the future, as they’re in a position to better be able to do so."
Take Advantage of e-Education: Watch Free Webinar Series ‘Coatings Uncoated!’
The ninth episode of the popular webinar series “Coatings Uncoated!” is now available to view. In this new segment, viewers will learn about an automotive-based application (engine management system). Over a period of two years, the number of field failures escalated beyond all accepted levels, and a new solution was required. Phil discusses the finer details of this interesting case study.
Oren Manor: Mentor Leading Way for Industry 4.0
In this video interview from the show, Guest Editor Steve Williams talks with Oren Manor—director of business development at Mentor, a Siemens Business—about Industry 4.0, robotics, and other applications. They also addressed integration of Mentor's CAD/CAM solutions with Siemens' mechanical offerings.
Watch & Learn! Latest Installment of I-007 Micro Webinar Series Covers UL Approvals: Aerosol Spray Technology
The eighth episode of the popular webinar series “Coatings Uncoated!” is now available to view. In this segment, viewers will learn about a customer application involving aerosol spray coating. The customer reported failures due to arcing, creepage, and corrosion. Kinner explains the relevance of UL approvals and progresses through the details of the case study.
Joe Fjelstad Breaks Down His Occam Process
Joe Fjelstad recently met with the I-Connect007 Editorial Team to discuss the potential benefits of his Occam process for solderless assembly. This technique allows assembly of the PCB without the risks associated with traditional surface-mount processes, such as solder joint failure. Has the time come for the industry to embrace Occam?
This Month in SMT007 Magazine
We recently surveyed readers on the topic of smart factories, specifically exploring reader perceptions of what a smart factory entails, along with implementation plans that may be on readers’ minds. Looking at how respondents ranked their top three from this list of 10 objectives, some patterns do emerge.
IPC APEX EXPO 2020 Attendees Speak: Mike Montesi
"One of the biggest challenges for me selling is educating customers that they can generate oxygen and nitrogen on their own for up to 90% savings versus getting trucked in deliveries," said Mike Montesi of On Site Gas Systems. "It’s all about education because 98–99% of customers are used to the high cost of delivered gases, where we can separate it on-site with their own equipment, and the payback is typically under a year."
Stencils: Not As Simple As They Seem
Stephanie Hardin of Integrated Ideas and Technologies Inc. discusses her role in the supply chain as a stencil manufacturer, improvements she sees from micromachined step stencils, and why she believes trying to have standardized stencil layouts is wishful thinking due to the many fluctuating variables.
I-007e Micro Webinar: Primary Flight Control Case Study on Condensation and Coverage
The seventh episode of the popular webinar series “Coatings Uncoated!” is now available to view. Author of "The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to Conformal Coatings for Harsh Environments" and topic expert Phil Kinner from Electrolube shares highly focused educational information on conformal coating and encapsulation. If you are in the assembly business, an EMS, or responsible for specifying conformal coating and/or encapsulation, then this free series is for you.
The Success of IPC’s STEM Student Outreach Program
The IPC Education Foundation (IPCEF) hosted its STEM Student Outreach Event on February 6 at IPC APEX EXPO in San Diego. Nine local high schools attended bringing 193 students and 30 educators from Mission Hills High School, Morse High School, North County Trade Tech High School, Saint Marcos High School, E3 Civic High School, Point Loma High School, Otay Ranch High School, Mount Miguel High School, Otay Ranch High School—Girls in STEM. Twice as many students were able to participate this year, and each participating high school received a $1,000 grant and soldering station to enhance STEM-related learning at their school.
Watch Coatings Uncoated Webinar, Part 6 Now: Field Failures, Silicon vs. Sulfur
The sixth episode of the popular webinar series, "Coatings Uncoated," is now available to view. Based on an interesting case study concerning a telecommunications giant experiencing a high degree of field failures, coatings specialist Phil Kinner explains the mechanism behind the failures and why the silicone option proved unsuccessful. Part six of this micro webinar series concludes with a full explanation of the successful solution.
Solder Paste Printing From the Stencil’s Perspective
Jeff Schake of ASM Assembly Systems discusses the complications surrounding printing and solder paste that he sees from his perspective as a stencil expert.
Will Moisture Management Expand to the U.S. Market?
Rich Heimsch, Super Dry director, chats with Nolan Johnson about the growing demand for moisture management in North America versus its earlier adoption in Europe, and how moisture management fits into Industry 4.0 and the smart factory.
IPC APEX EXPO 2020 Attendees Speak: Joel Scutchfield
"Based on traffic and attendance, we have had a great week. We had 40+ more scans than what we did last year at this point, and we’re waiting for the final tally today," said Joel Scutchfield, Koh Young's director of sales for the Americas.
IPC Government Relations: Focus on Supply Chain Resiliency
During IPC APEX EXPO, Editor Nolan Johnson sat down with Chris Mitchell, VP of global government affairs, to discuss IPC’s latest initiative with industry intelligence programs. As Chris explains, some of these efforts are focused on improving the DoD’s supply chain. This includes moving the DoD from leaded to lead-free components to help avoid millions of dollars in rework. He also discusses the team’s drive to unite with partners around the world and create a truly global organization.
Watch and Learn: Not All Acrylics Are Created Equally
How can additional data, including test results, ensure a greater understanding of the most suitable coating for your application? The fifth episode of the popular webinar series, "Coatings Uncoated," is now available to view. Author of "The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to Conformal Coatings for Harsh Environments" and topic expert Phil Kinner from Electrolube shares highly focused educational information on conformal coating and encapsulation.
LPKF on Stencils and Depaneling
Stephan Schmidt and Mirela Orlowski of LPKF Laser & Electronics North America discuss laser technology in cutting stencils and depaneling circuit boards as a factor in shrinking component sizes and why few people in the industry realize how much of an impact the stencil can have on the manufacturing line.
True or False: CFX Edition
Since the release of IPC-2591—Connected Factory Exchange (CFX), Version 1.0—there has been a lot of buzz regarding CFX within the industry from all segments. Still, with all of the buzz, there are also some misconceptions floating around the industry regarding CFX. David Bergman takes some of those statements, using feedback from Subcommittee members, and plays a little game of “True or False: CFX Edition.”
I-007e Micro Webinars Releases Part 4 in ‘Coatings Uncoated!’ Series
What is creepage, and how does it impact clearance? Can conformal coatings reduce creepage? The fourth episode of the popular webinar series, Coatings Uncoated, is now available to view. Author of The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to Conformal Coatings for Harsh Environments and topic expert Phil Kinner from Electrolube shares highly focused educational information on conformal coating and encapsulation.
Upcoming IPC APEX EXPO Offers Sessions on 5G
Dave Hoover of TTM discusses the Sessions @ the Intersection set for IPC APEX EXPO 2020—specifically, the two-part session he will host around the topic of 5G and materials.
IPC Solder Stencil Task Group—Inviting OEM Input to IPC APEX EXPO Meeting
Jeff Schake of ASM Assembly Systems is chairman of IPC’s Solder Stencil Task Group. In this conversation with Nolan Johnson and Barry Matties, Jeff discusses what they will be meeting about at the upcoming IPC APEX EXPO.
I-007e Micro Webinars Releases Part 3 in ‘Coatings Uncoated!’ Series
Have you ever wondered about the process of corrosion and the formation of tin whiskers? The third episode of the popular webinar series, "Coatings Uncoated," is now available to view. Author of "The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to Conformal Coatings for Harsh Environments" and topic expert Phil Kinner from Electrolube shares highly focused educational information on conformal coating and encapsulation.
CES: The Main Halls
CES 2020 is now over, and the next round of shows is underway (NAMM is also over now, IPC APEX EXPO is next week, followed by AWE and others). CES displayed electronics related to gaming, monitors, computers, smartwatches, TVs, vehicles, cellphones, etc. However, the effect on the industry and the way we live will be felt until the next CES. The largest and most influential participants are usually found at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
New From I-007e Micro Webinars: Part 2 in ‘Coatings Uncoated!’ Series
Got five minutes? Watch Phil Kinner's the latest segment, Never Underestimate the Importance of the Application Process, which examines the pivotal role that application plays in the overall success of coating, and presents a great opportunity to grasp the importance of the process.
Foundations of the Future: Get More Engaged in 2020
Since the inception of the IPC Education Foundation in January 2019, the mission remains to create connections between electronics manufacturers and supply chain companies, academia and the emerging workforce. In this debut column, Charlene Gunter du Plessis describes plans for engaging in 2020, including scholarships and more, and the IPC APEX EXPO 2020 STEM Student Outreach event.
New From I-007e Micro Webinars: The 5-Minute Webinar Series
I-Connect007 takes the on-demand webinar to a new level. A perfect companion to our I-007 Micro eBook series, these bite-sized webinars are released weekly, exclusively at I-Connect007, and are also available all at once for those who can’t wait for the next installment.
CFX Preview at IPC APEX EXPO 2020
The I-Connect007 Editorial Team chats with IPC’s Chris Jorgensen about the advances CFX has made in the past year and where the standard is in the standardization process. Chris also previews the CFX line that will be on display at the upcoming IPC APEX EXPO and shares IPC’s plans on educating and providing support solutions to potential users of CFX to implement it more easily.
Updates on Cleaning Standards and Committees
Graham Naisbitt of Gen3 discusses the changes he's seeing in cleaning, including how the WP-019 white paper has caused a closer look at electrochemical reliability. As a long-time head of committees, Graham also breaks down many of the topics he hopes are addressed at this year’s IPC APEX EXPO.
What You Need to Know About a PCB Design Career
Never stop learning. Why? Because the industry never stops changing. Those that continuously stay in that state of learning are the ones who succeed. The old saying “Knowledge is power,” often attributed to Sir Francis Bacon, has never been truer. Fortunately, there is never a lack of things to learn. Don’t ever become apathetic about learning. Make a point of keeping a running list of ideas or subjects that you want to research, and then purposely set aside time in your week strictly to study and learn about these things anywhere you can.
How to Become a Certified IPC Trainer
The Blackfox Certified IPC Trainer (CIT) programs are best suited for experienced and skilled electronics technicians, engineers, and supervisors who have the will and passion to teach and train colleagues about the quality standards of IPC. They also provide successful candidates with a credential that confirms their knowledge and understanding of IPC quality systems.
Clean vs. No-clean: A Generational Difference
Tom Forsythe, executive VP of KYZEN, discusses what readers should know about cleaning as reliability expectations continue to increase. He also explains what is driving the new interest in cleaning and why engineers from the no-clean generation may not even realize they need to learn more about cleaning.
MacroFab: Manufacturing Digitized
MacroFab CEO Misha Govshteyn explains how a digital manufacturing platform connected to a network of vetted partner factories can help eliminate a lot of variability from the fabrication process.
UV-curable Materials and Conformal Coatings
Pete Starkey and Phil Kinner, global business and technical director, coatings division, Electrolube, discuss the characteristics and benefits of the company’s new UV-cured conformal coatings. Phil also describes the development of coatings for critical avionics applications and Electrolube’s collaboration with the U.K. National Physical Laboratory to establish a new condensation test.
BTU Discusses its Next-generation Flux Management System
At productronica 2019, Nolan Johnson spoke with Peter Franklin, managing director of BTU Europe, about BTU’s next-generation solder reflow flux management system—Aqua Scrub. A winner of the show’s Global Technology Award for Soldering, Peter breaks down the specifics of what makes Aqua Scrub such an intriguing technology.
A Walking Tour of Mycronic Equipment at productronica 2019
I-Connect007 pays a visit to the Mycronic booth at productronica 2019 in Munich, and Jeff Leal, product manager for Mysmart, takes us on a walking tour of just one of the lines on display at the show. Jeff takes us through a series of dispensing and conformal coating machines.
Practical Verification of Void Reduction Method for BTC Using Exposed Via-in-pad
The method explored in this article regards the use of exposed via-in-pad. A dedicated test vehicle was designed for two types of QFN components. The main variables accounted for were the component size, number of exposed vias in the thermal pad, via pitch, via size, and solder paste coverage. The responses sought in this experiment include a thermal pad void level and solder wicking down the via barrel with resulting solder protrusion on the opposite side of the PCB.
Reliability Testing in Automotive and Digital Factories
Barry Matties spoke with Gen3’s Andrew Naisbitt about what readers should know about SIR and CAF testing, what to consider if you’re thinking of bringing it in-house, and how reliability testing fits into automotive and the digital factory.
LA/Orange County SMTA Expo and Tech Forum Review
Dan Feinberg recently attended the LA/Orange County SMTA Expo and Tech Forum, which was held in Long Beach, California. He provides an overview of the activities, from the show floor to the presentations.
The Digital Medical Revolution
Zulki Khan, founder and CEO of NexLogic Technologies Inc., offers his unique perspective on manufacturing trends as a PCB turnkey solutions provider based in Silicon Valley. He discusses additional requirements that are now necessary to compete in different industry sectors, most notably medical, which he says is set for a “digital revolution.”
KYZEN on Stencil Cleaning
In this video interview, part of the productronica 2019 coverage, we spoke with Tom Forsythe, executive VP for KYZEN. The discussion revolves around the challenges of stencil cleaning, particularly as aperture sizes continue to decrease. Tom also introduces KYZEN’s E5631 aqueous-based stencil cleaner.
David Meyers on Digital Twin and ‘Cobots’
With over 30+ years in the industry, David Meyers recently took on a new role at Siemens as a global solutions director in the Electronics Industry team of Siemens Digital Industries Software, working on improving communications between CMs and their OEM partners. In a conversation with Nolan Johnson and Happy Holden, David speaks on the digital twin and virtual environment software that should help establish that communication early in the process.
Digi-Key on Adapting to the Changing Industry Landscape, Pt. 1
The I-Connect007 editorial team recently spoke with Chris Beeson, executive vice president of global supplier and new business development at Digi-Key Electronics, about trends and the changing landscape of the industry. Beeson describes how Digi-Key is looking to continue growing its user community as a design service provider while providing greater services for the entire PCB.
Requirements of Being a MIL-certified Shop
Barry Matties speaks with American Standard Circuits’ VP of Business Development David Lackey, who has nearly 40 years of experience producing PCBs for the mil/aero market. David talks about what it’s like being a MIL-certified shop and the stringent quality and reporting requirements that it entails.
Explaining the QSFP-DD Data Center Interconnect Standard
According to Cisco’s report, most IP traffic either originates or terminates in data centers. Yet as massive as the flows between centers are becoming, the data managed within those same facilities is going even higher. All of this activity means that “hyperscale” is the word of the future. Roughly one-quarter of all servers installed in 2016 went to hyperscale facilities, but that number will grow to almost one-half by next year.
Meet Ray Prasad, SMT007 Columnist
Meet Ray Prasad, one of our SMT007 columnists! Prasad’s columns explore DFM, manufacturing processes, yield improvement, quality control, IPC standards, and much more.
The Ecosystem of Industry Standards
I-Connect007 reached out to representatives from several industry standards organizations and talked with them about how they participate in the standards process. Along the way, these conversations clarify which group does what, how they all work together as well as clarify and dispel a couple of industry myths.
Juan Arango on Koh Young’s New U.S. Headquarters
At a recent open house, Managing Director Juan Arango talks about his role in the company’s transition from their Arizona facility to a new headquarters located outside of Atlanta, Georgia. Juan details many of the benefits customers can expect, including brand new spaces dedicated to customer demos as well as training.
Meet Zulki Khan, SMT007 Columnist
Meet Zulki Khan, one of our newest SMT007 columnists! Khan’s columns address new frontiers in upcoming manufacturing techniques, including challenges in the marriage of SMT and microelectronics manufacturing and the critical aspects involved.
Discover the Benefits of a Technology Center
Nico Fahrner, application engineer at Rehm Thermal Systems, talks with Barry Matties about the benefits prospective customers get from being able to fully test their systems in-line at Rehm’s technology centers before purchasing.
Catching up With Niche Electronics
Niche Electronics President Frank Bowman speaks with Dan Beaulieu about his company, their services, how they help their customers, and their plans for the future.
SMTAI 2019: Michael Ford on IPC-CFX and the Effects of Industry 4.0
Michael Ford, senior director of emerging industry strategy at Aegis Software, and Nolan Johnson discuss some of the long-term, global effects of Industry 4.0 and life beyond IPC-CFX.
SMTAI 2019: Nir Benson Discusses Mentor's Challenges and Solutions
Nir Benson, business development manager at Mentor, a Siemens Business, talks with Andy Shaughnessy about his work to integrate the two companies' solutions, some of the challenges he sees, and his efforts to optimize their cloud-based systems.
SMTAI 2019: Happy Holden’s On-the-Scene Report
Last week concluded the 2019 SMTAI conference in Rosemont, Illinois. Overall, I think the show was successful and covered all aspects of SMT processes.
Real Time with… SMTAI 2019 Slideshow
The SMTA International 2019 Conference and Exhibition closed last week on a high note. For those who were not able to attend the event, held at Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois, the slideshow contains a selection of photos from the exhibition show floor as well as the conference.
SMTAI 2019: Technical Sessions Overview and 2020 Preview
Karlie Severinson, SMTA events and administrative manager, gives Nolan Johnson an overview of the SMTAI 2019 technical sessions and plans for next year's event.
IPC Panel on Bottom-terminated Components
During the IPC Summer Meetings in Raleigh, North Carolina, I sat down with Tom Rovere, a materials and process engineer at Lockheed Martin in Owego, New York. We explored a panel discussion on bottom-terminated components (BTCs) that Tom participated in as well as the challenges and issues related to BTCs and the important role that designers play in that process.
Real Time with... SMTAI 2019 Videos Now Live
If you couldn't make it to SMTAI 2019, be sure to catch I-Connect007’s video interviews with the movers and shakers of the electronics industry. We’ve updated our video presentation for a better experience for our users, so check it out!
Standards Through Time: Changing to Stay the Same
The use of standards has, ultimately, propelled civilization forward. As the electronics manufacturing industry works to create, revise, update, and restructure standards, it helps to take a moment to review how standards, and the process of creating them, have occurred throughout history.
Combating ESD: The Silent Assassin in Electronics Manufacturing
ESD is a constant but invisible force within electronics manufacturing that can have a powerfully detrimental impact on production yield, product and product reliability, and company profitability. And as the circuitry within electronic devices continues to get faster, smaller, and more sophisticated, their sensitivity to the effects of ESD is only likely to increase.
The Long Road to a New Standard
Graham Naisbitt, chairman and CEO of Gen3 Systems, has spent decades leading cleanliness testing standards in a number of different standards organizations like IPC, IEC, and ISO around an assortment of testing methods, such as CAF, SIR, and even introducing a new standard this year for his own testing method—process ionic contamination testing (PICT). Naisbitt breaks down his long involvement with standards and where they stand currently.
The Convergence: IPC Merging CFX With IPC-2581
Gary Carter of XPLM and Michael Ford of Aegis Software are heading a group tasked with combining the IPC-2581 standard, now referred to as Digital Product Model Exchange (DPMX), with IPC’s Connected Factory Exchange (CFX). In this interview, they discuss the benefits that can be expected when these standards are fully merged for both PCB designers and process engineers on the manufacturing floor.
How Digitalization Is Transforming the Electronics Manufacturing Industry
The rise of the "digital" supply network—such as the cloud, big data, 3D printing, augmented reality, or the internet of things (IoT)—promises to address issues such as increasing global competition, rising consumer expectations, and the increasingly complex patterns of consumer demand, by providing a greater level of transparency, innovation, and resiliency. And there is a growing belief among business strategists that the more digitalized our manufacturing supply chains can become, the greater our efficiency will be.
Comparing Soldering Results of ENIG and EPIG Post-steam Exposure
Electroless nickel immersion gold (ENIG) is now a well-regarded finish used to enhance and preserve the solderability of copper circuits. Electroless palladium immersion gold (EPIG), meanwhile, is a new surface finish also for enhancing and preserving solderability—but with the advantage of eliminating electroless nickel from the deposit layer. This feature has become increasingly important with the increasing use of high-frequency PCB designs whereby nickel’s magnetic properties are detrimental.
Selecting the Proper Flex Coverlayer Material
Coverlayers are polymer materials used to cover and protect the copper traces of the flex circuit product. There are a number of different options available for protecting the circuits, and they serve different design requirements in terms of cost, performance, and flexural endurance optimization. When specifying the choice, it is critical to call out not just the type of coverlayer material but also the thickness requirement. This can be very important in certain types of constructions, especially when a flex circuit will experience dynamic flexing during use.
eSMART Factory Conference 2019, Day 2
Happy Holden continues his report on the the eSMART Factory Conference Dearborn, Michigan, with highlights from the event's second day, which includes a keynote from Brian Toleno titled "Augmented Reality: Next-Generation Computing for Front-Line Workers."
Meet Our Newest Columnists From NCAB Group
Meet our newest I-Connect007 columnists from NCAB Group! Alifiya Arastu, Jeff Beauchamp, Ruben Contreras, and Harry Kennedy are field application engineers from NCAB Group's technical team. In their columns, they will explore fresh PCB concepts, including medical and telecommunications applications, topics related to RoHS, and much more.
Automated Conformal Coating of CCAs Using Polyurethane
The development of an automated circuit card assembly (CCA) conformal coating process using a low-outgassing polyurethane material was essential for meeting the increase in customer demand from 3,000 to 60,000 units per year.
Conformal Coating Processes and Trends
The I-Connect007 editorial team spoke with one of Nordson ASYMTEK’s conformal coating experts, Camille Sybert, to discuss where the coating industry is trending and, with the rise of Industry 4.0 and automation, how it is much less about providing the right applicator and more about addressing the entire conformal coating process.
Dispensing EMI Shielding Materials: An Alternative to Sputtering
Shielding electronic systems against EMI has become a hot topic. Technological advancements toward 5G standards, wireless charging of mobile electronics, in-package antenna integration, and SiP adoption are driving the need to apply more effective EMI shielding and isolation to component packages and larger modules. For conformal shielding, EMI shielding materials for exterior package surfaces have mostly been applied with a PVD process of sputtering, leveraging front-end packaging technologies to back-end packaging applications.
Whizz Systems on Competing in Silicon Valley
Whizz Systems is an EMS provider located in Silicon Valley that has managed to survive and thrive through many of the industry ups and downs of the past two decades. President Muhammad Irfan discusses the company's assembly and design services, as well as trends he’s seeing from the industry in the Valley. He also details how choosing the right type of customer has led Whizz to see sustained success in one of the most difficult and expensive areas for an assembly shop to survive.
Nano Dimension Details New DragonFly LDM
Dan Feinberg talks with Nano Dimension CEO Amit Dror about the new DragonFly LDM 3D printer technology announced by the Israeli company on July 24, 2019, aimed at increasing machine uptime and moving forward from prototyping to higher production volumes.
The Role of Parylene Conformal Coatings in Next-gen Electronics
Designers and manufacturers of electronics are under pressure to make packages smaller, lighter, and more environmentally friendly, while ensuring that their new technologies perform reliably in their operating environments. This article takes a closer look at Parylene conformal coatings and the role they can play in helping manufacturers address current and future challenges in the electronics industry.
Development of Flexible Hybrid Electronics
This article will present a hybrid manufacturing process to manufacture FHE systems with a two-layer interconnect structure utilizing screen printing of silver conductive ink, filled microvias to connect ink traces at the different layers, and use of the traditional reflow process to attach the semiconductor chips to the printed substrates.
Seven Key Steps to Selecting a New EMS Partner
Choosing to outsource your electronics manufacturing to an EMS provider requires careful planning and consideration. And even once you’ve made your decision, there may still be things that test you or that don’t go quite to plan. An experienced EMS partner has been there before; they understand the challenges, and they’ll be able to support you through the process to ensure you achieve your goals.
Conformal Coating Selection: Conventional vs. Two-part
As assemblies become more densely populated, and housing/casing designs become more permeable to save weight, the use of conformal coatings is essential to protect the assembly from its operating environment and ensure acceptable reliability for the application intended, especially when operating in hostile environments.
Which Matters Most: Unit Cost or Total Cost of Supply?
The primary objective for any OEM is to design, manufacture, and deliver high-quality products in the most cost-effective way possible. When demand patterns change, or there is an increase in competition, it can be easy to rely on the calculation of unit cost to relieve the price pressure. But, as many manufacturers are discovering, choosing to base their outsourcing decisions purely on unit cost may not always reap the expected benefits in the long term.
Advancement of SPI Tools to Support Industry 4.0 and Package Scaling
This paper evaluates the current state of inline SPI tools from multiple vendors for solder paste measurement accuracy and capability. It discusses a measurement capability analysis that was carried out against a golden metrology tool across a range of volume deposits, and highlights the results from the study.
While conformal coatings may have been something of an afterthought at the front of the design process, that can no longer be the case. Conformal coatings are now a critical part of any board assembly that might be subjected to challenging conditions. But coatings can also contribute to increased mean time between failure in any conditions, even environmentally controlled environments.
Words of Advice: Making Life Easier for Fabrication and Assembly
In a recent survey, we asked the following question: What steps do you take to make the job easier for your fabrication and assembly providers? Here are a few of the answers, edited slightly for clarity.
Outsourcing Electronics Manufacturing: Key to Growth?
Deciding to outsource part or all of your electronics manufacturing operations could provide the means to increase production capacity and improve your sales lead times. But before you choose to hand over responsibility to an EMS provider, it’s important to take stock not just of the tangible benefits but also of the potential risks.
Practical Implementation of Assembly Processes for Low Melting Point Solder Pastes (Part 2)
In the last three to five years, there has been a resurgence of interest in the use of low melting point alloys for SMT applications. Typically, the compositions are around the eutectic bismuth-tin alloy, perhaps with additions of other elements to increase the robustness of certain alloy properties. Now, there are several new products on the market and numerous ongoing reliability projects in industry consortia.
The Four Things You Need to Know About Test
The electronics manufacturing process can often be extremely complex, and the costs associated with product recalls can be astronomical. A robust approach to test is key to ensuring the quality of your product and the satisfaction of your end user.
Approaches to Overcome Nodules and Scratches on Wire-Bondable Plating on PCBs
Initially adopted internal specifications for acceptance of printed circuit boards (PCBs) used for wire bonding was that there were no nodules or scratches allowed on the wirebond pads when inspected under 20X magnification. This paper details if wire bonding could be successfully performed over nodules and scratches and if there was a dimensional threshold where wire bonding could be successful.
Practical Implementation of Assembly Processes for Low Melting Point Solder Pastes (Part 1)
Since 2006 and the implementation of the RoHS directive, the interest in bismuth-tin solder alloys—whose melting point around 140°C is very desirable because it allows for the use of lower temperature laminate materials and reduces thermal stress on sensitive components—has only increased as the industry has searched for Pb-free alternatives to the chosen standard, SAC305, which melts at considerably higher temperatures than the incumbent tin-lead alloys.
Surface Treatment Enabling Low-Temperature Soldering to Aluminum
An increasingly popular method to meet the need for lower cost circuitry is the use of aluminum on polyester (Al-PET) substrates. This material is gaining popularity and has found wide use in RFID tags, low-cost LED lighting, and other single-layer circuits. However, both aluminum and PET have their own constraints and require special processing to make finished circuits.
Dissecting the IPC Regional Survey on PCB Technology Trends
Sharon Starr, Denny Fritz, and Mike Carano talk about the global 2018 IPC Technology Trends Report released early this year—the size of the survey, how it was conducted, the general findings, and regional differences. They also shared their takeaways and regional insights, and the industry outlook over the next five to 10 years.
Size Matters: The Effects of Solder Powder Size on Solder Paste Performance
Solder powder size is a popular topic in the electronics industry due to the continuing trend of miniaturization of electronics. And the question commonly asked is, "When should we switch from Type 3 to a smaller solder powder?" Read more to find out.
Low-Temperature SMT Solder Evaluation
Until recently, the use of Sn/Bi-based SMT solder materials has been investigated with negative consequences for high strain rate (drop-shock) applications; thus, these alloys have been avoided. Recent advances in alloy 'doping' have opened the door to revisit Sn/Bi alloys as a possible alternative to SAC-305 for many applications.
Cavity Board SMT Assembly Challenges (Part 2)
This article describes the details of a study of assembling SiP BGA packages into a cavity. It points out the challenges involved in the board cavity design and assembly of components in a cavity. The authors discussed the board design challenge of having a cavity and defining the proper depth of the cavity to accommodate the board fabricator, the product design, and the SMT assembly.
Clean vs. No-clean Solder Process
Although IPC suggests clear guidelines, agreeing on the cleanliness (or otherwise) of a PCB assembly can often be a subjective and even contentious subject within the electronics manufacturing industry. If you’ve chosen to outsource your assemblies, how do you decide what to specify to your EMS partner? Find out here.
Smart Manufacturing Roadmap: Data Flow Considerations for the Electronics Manufacturing Industry
The 2019 iNEMI Roadmap features a new chapter on smart manufacturing. The chapter identifies key technology gaps and needs and offers recommendations to guide the electronics manufacturing industry in realizing the benefits of smart manufacturing. This article is based on information excerpted from the chapter.
Digitalization: Key to the Future of Electronics Manufacturing?
Electronics manufacturers have long relied on automation to streamline their production processes. The concept of the smart factory takes this one step further with artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, analytics, big data, and the Internet of Things (IoT) promising an even greater level of autonomy, agility, and connectivity.
Cavity Board SMT Assembly Challenges (Part 1)
The concept behind Component-in-Cavity (CiC) is straightforward. If the tallest component(s) on the motherboard can be placed into a recession created in the motherboard, their thickness relative to the components on the surface of the PCB will thus effectively be reduced. While this concept may be straightforward, its implementation is not. That implementation is the focus of this paper. Read on.
Here's What You Need When Outsourcing Box Build Assembly
Box build, or top-level assembly, can be less well-defined. A box build can mean many things—from a PCBA in a small enclosure to a large cabinet full of wires or a complex fully integrated electromechanical system with electronics and pneumatics. Here's what you will need to consider to get an accurate quote and help the build process go smoothly with your EMS partner.
Data: Key to Automating Right the First Time
Michael Ford, senior director of emerging industry strategy, reflects on his first two years with Aegis Software Corporation and looks to the future of the data-driven manufacturing environment. Michael shares how the CFX and data collection model can play an important role in the streamlining processes, including Industry 4.0 and the supply chain.
The Effectiveness of 75% IPA/25% DI Extraction Solution on No-clean Flux Residues
The continuous challenge in the electronics industry is to keep up with the demand for smaller, faster, and more reliable electronics. When it comes to cleaning, this rapid development of manufacturing and reliability challenges is juxtaposed with the slow pace of new test method development.
Laserssel Brings High-speed Soldering to New Application Areas
In this interview with I-Connect007, Denis Barbini, general manager of Laserssel, talks about the company's new laser-selective reflow solution aimed at reducing a typical reflow oven’s 10-minute cycle down to just 10 seconds as well as the overall benefits manufacturers could see from streamlining this process.
4 Key Considerations When Auditing a New EMS Partner
Choosing whether (or not) to outsource your electronics manufacturing is likely to bring with it a multitude of questions—and some understandable doubts. Outsourcing is a critical decision—and it’s one that will rely on thorough research, close examination and the asking of some tough questions. This article summarizes four key areas that you'll want to scrutinize as you embark on your supplier selection process.
PCB Fabricators’ Tech Capabilities Exceed OEMs’ Needs in Many Areas
Some interesting differences showed up in the board property data reported by the OEMs and PCB fabricators that participated in IPC’s PCB Technology Trends 2018 study.
Synergy Between Smart Manufacturing and the Secure Supply Chain (Part 2)
With the trend of shortening lead-times within the material ordering process, and the frequency with which urgent orders for materials from the grey market are made, there is increased opportunity for the ingress of counterfeit materials. The situation is made far worse when a genuine shortage of materials in the supply chain occurs. The consequences of not being able to eliminate the risk of defects getting through into the market will be disastrous for individuals as well as for the company brand image, not to mention the associated costs of recovery. It is only a matter of time, unless something very significant changes.
Smart Factory Transitions Are Attainable—With a Plan
In a white paper, Zac Elliott, technical marketing engineer at Mentor, a Siemens company, outlines a structured organization for smart factory implementation. While there can be one set of challenges to overcome when building a smart factory on a greenfield site, firms restricted to pre-existing facilities face a different set of hurdles. In this interview, Elliott discusses how things have proceeded since the paper was published, and talks about strategies for smaller firms and brownfield companies.
Streamlining, but Streamlining What?
Electronics continue to grow in application areas, capabilities, and complexities. With such growth in the raw number of circuit boards being produced globally, the pressure is on to build more faster with higher quality and greater reliability. But this isn't new. What is new is the thinking and problem-solving that will need to happen at the manufacturing floor level to deliver on this coming need.
The GraftWorx Fluid Management Patch Story
The GraftWorx vision is to connect patients to clinicians with clinical data that will have a meaningful impact on their care. Its first application is to monitor patients with end-stage renal disease or kidney failure using a wearable device called the SmartPatch that records numerous clinical cardiovascular metrics. This article details how GraftWorx was designed, fabricated, and assembled.
Synergy Between Smart Manufacturing and the Secure Supply Chain (Part 1)
As MRP and ERP functions follow computing trends and start to migrate into the cloud, a fundamental question is being raised as to whether these are still the right tools to use in today’s modern Industry 4.0 driven factory, or whether these need to evolve, be enhanced, or even replaced in order to meet the more extreme requirements of operational flexibility, as well as cope with volatile material availability in the market.
Collaboratively Creating Wearable Medical Products
Patty Goldman, Barry Matties, and Happy Holden recently spoke with David Moody and Rich Clemente of Lenthor Engineering along with Anthony Flattery and Amit Rushi—their customers at GraftWorx. They discussed a recent project and how they worked together to solve a difficult problem by designing a rigidized flex circuit for their product.
4 Ways Electronics Manufacturers are Growing Their Businesses in 2019
At a time when many manufacturers are struggling to remain profitable, and with the uncertainty of the Brexit negotiations still looming large, finding new ways to nurture and grow your electronics manufacturing business has never been more crucial. Yet, despite the current challenges, some EMS providers are bucking the trend with reports of sustained growth. Here is their secret.
Whizz Systems on Knowing Your Strengths and Building Customer Relationships
Located in the heart of the Silicon Valley, Whizz Systems Inc. provides electronics product design, development and manufacturing services. Muhammed Irfan, president of the company, speaks with Nolan Johnson about knowing your strengths, engaging start-ups, and building strong customer relationships through education and preparation.
Green Circuits' Three Tips to Be a Well-prepared Customer
Nolan Johnson speaks with Joe Garcia, VP of sales and marketing at Green Circuits, about how they can help on both the front and back end of the process, their hidden gem—design services—as well as three tips to be a well-prepared customer.
Communication and Information: Two Keys to Success
Nolan Johnson and Duane Benson, an I-Connect007 columnist and a representative from Milwaukee Electronics, discuss how assemblers can help their customers through submitting and maintaining accurate information, and engaging in open communication early and often about the highly important bill of materials.
From DataED’s NPI Center to the Manufacturing Floor
The I-Connecct007 team recently spoke with a team of technologists and managers at Data Electronic Devices (DataED). Jeff Hamlett, director of sales and marketing; Lori Giglio, general manager at the NPI Engineering Center; Vic Giglio, president and CEO; and Ron Sprizza, VP of quality for DataED, provided an overview of the importance of company culture and making your customers the first priority.
Five Key Components of an NPI Report
An NPI report is an opportunity for your contract manufacturer to highlight any outstanding issues that will need to be addressed for future builds. The information that your EMS partner provides can play a pivotal role in ensuring that they continue to deliver your products on time, within budget, and to the highest quality standards.
Incoming CEO Steve Pudles on the Acquisition of Zentech
Nolan Johnson talks to Steve Pudles about the recent acquisition of Zentech Manufacturing Inc. by BlackBern Partners LLC and Zentech management. Steve, also an investor in Zentech, steps in as the incoming CEO of the new organization and discusses the deal, his new role, changes to management, and the company's plans post-sale.
Smart Design Data Is Essential for Industry 4.0 Manufacturing
Almost all of the conversation regarding Industry 4.0 is centered on the manufacturing floor, which is where the effect of the initiative is most felt initially. Little attention is given to the starting data for manufacturing—the data that comes from design. However, you can’t have smart manufacturing if your process begins with dumb data. As Pink Floyd said, “You can’t have your pudding if you don’t eat your meat!”
Five Key Questions Your EMS Partner Should Be Asking in the Supplier Selection Process
As we've continued to observe the impact of the ongoing global electronics components shortage, any challenge to the supply chain has the potential to cause major disruption. Whether you currently manage your own end-to-end electronics manufacturing, or you have opted to outsource to an EMS provider, there are five essential issues (and potential risks) to bear in mind when assessing the value and reliability of any proposed new supplier.
Impact of Stencil Foil Type on Solder Paste Transfer Efficiency for Laser-cut SMT Stencils (Part 2)
In the first part of this two-part article, Greg Smith talks about a study wherein a test vehicle was created to show transfer efficiency over a wide array of area ratios. Part 2 discusses the results of the experiment, including discussions of the different SEM results featuring the paste transfer efficiencies of each material, to better understand how the aperture wall surface smoothness compares to SMT stencil performance.
Catching up With Darrel Yarbrough of YES
Yarbrough Electronic Sales (YES) is one of the fastest growing contract manufacturers in the Southwest. As people get to know them better, they are becoming the go-to company in their area. In this interview, long-time industry veteran Darrel Yarbrough, owner of YES, provides a background about the company, its capabilities, and his outlook for the industry.
The Perfect Job
After all the days and weeks invested into developing the schematic, the PCB design, poring over the data sheets and online libraries for component parts, and running the calculations for mechanical clearances inside the enclosure, you—designers—are ready to be done. You're ready for the next design challenge—not for a week or so perfecting the bill of materials and the design notes. And there's the rub. Find out why.
Ralf Wagenfuehr on Developing Rehm Thermal Systems' RDS Semico Oven
Ralf Wagenfuehr, plant manager of Rehm Thermal Systems, describes Rehm's new oven—the RDS Semico—and gives an in-depth analysis about how it was designed specifically with the semiconductor industry in mind. Ralf also discusses the semiconductor industry as a whole and outlines the company’s desire to gain market share in Taiwan and Korea in the upcoming year.
How Electronics Manufacturers Can Reduce Their Environmental Impact
With OEMs demanding ever greater value for money from their suppliers, EMS providers can find themselves facing increasing pressure on every front. To remain competitive, there's a growing recognition of the need to continually improve, adapt, and evolve the manufacturing process.
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.
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