Article Highlights
Preparing the Next-gen Tech Workforce
05/18/2022 | Marc Carter, Independent Contributor
The Data Format Effect on Business Costs
05/09/2022 | I-Connect007 Editorial Team
Exploring High Density With Axiom
05/06/2022 | I-Connect007 Editorial Team
Finding Solutions in the Quoting Process
05/03/2022 | Duane Benson, Screaming Circuits
SMTA Dallas Expo: A Novel Approach to Outsourcing Sales
04/27/2022 | Andy Shaughnessy, Design007 Magazine
SMT :: Assembly

Latest Articles

Preparing the Next-gen Tech Workforce

Knowledge transfer, especially from the “graying-out” experienced technical workers in our industry, is a complex, difficult family of problems. It differs wildly between companies, and even within divisions of the same company. One of the biggest barriers is the full manufacturing schedules in North American electronics companies that don’t leave any slack time—and the 40-hour work week is a complete fantasy for many.

The Data Format Effect on Business Costs

Nolan Johnson and Barry Matties talked with Axiom’s Rob Rowland and Kevin Bennett about current challenges facing EMS manufacturing. During this conversation, the pair discuss the impact of data file formats on pricing, manufacturing, and quality. As they explain, the use of intelligent data formats such as IPC-2581 and ODB++ can speed up the data import process compared to Gerber.

Exploring High Density With Axiom

Nolan Johnson and Barry Matties talk with Axiom’s Rob Rowland and Kevin Bennett about the current high-density challenges facing EMS manufacturing. In this interview, Bennett and Rowland zero in on component packaging and feeder technology as critical areas in need of improvement.

Are Your Existing Machines Enough to Keep Up?

Buy new or make do? It’s an age-old debate for manufacturers who are trying to decide how best to manage machine assets inside their manufacturing facilities. New machines are expensive, but so is operating existing machines at a comparative deficit.

VJ Electronix: Automating the X-ray Inspection Process

VJ Electronix's Brennan Caissie shares the benefits of a new inspection tool that can be used on a variety of boards, with an automated system that takes the pressure off the manufacturing floor operators and can provide feedback all the way to the design process.

Finding Solutions in the Quoting Process

It’s easy to frame all our supply chain woes around the COVID-19 pandemic. However, at Screaming Circuits, we started receiving dire warnings about component shortages in early 2018. At that time, we were told that the supply upheaval could last years and that we should expect it to get much worse before it got better. Now, four years later, I would say those warnings nailed it.

SMTA Dallas Expo: A Novel Approach to Outsourcing Sales

Caleb Townsend is the co-founder of Factur, a new kind of recruiting agency that specializes in filling marketing and sales positions. I met with Caleb at SMTA Dallas and asked him to discuss the creative ways he’s helping contract manufacturers to practice Lean principles in their sales department. As Caleb says, his company helps sales departments embrace methods similar to those used on the shop floor, which sometimes means updating their filing system from a “shoebox full of business cards.”

How Smart Are You?

The standard IQ test has been established for many years now. Though the content within these tests has been cleverly and carefully put together, there are different kinds of “smarts” among people. It is likely that those who are putting together IQ tests will favor the kinds of “smarts” that they themselves have. Humans are very complex, however. Everyone is different, with natural skills and abilities in a multitude of disciplines: technical, artistic, social, and others. Put us all together as a society, and we make a pretty good team, at least when we all work together and support each other.

Big Data Can Bring Your Business Back

Let’s face it, in the past, electronics manufacturing has not been a big business for North America. A majority of electronics are assembled in Asia where supply chains and operating costs offer many economic advantages. In North America, the electronics manufacturing industry has been generally focused on lower volume, high-cost devices, while higher volume products are produced elsewhere. However, the COVID pandemic and various legislation in the U.S. are changing the situation, making electronics manufacturing in North America a more attractive option. How can factories in North America compete for the same type of manufacturing traditionally performed in lower-cost regions?

Getting Involved Earlier in the Test Process

At SMTA Dallas, Andy Shaughnessy stopped by the booth for The Test Connection, to find out from Bert Horner why the company has evolved into spending more time educating and consulting with their customers when it comes to testing new designs.


The Future is Driven by Data

When we visited Rocket EMS in 2013 to observe a DIY 4.0 factory data collection and management system in action, we were very impressed. This was clearly a factory of the future, even back then. We recently followed up with Rocket’s president, Michael Kottke, to discuss how this work has given the company a huge advantage over the competition. The moment he realized he’s now in a data collection business that happens to build printed circuit boards, everything changed. Is this where all companies should be headed? Perhaps, but you’ll want to take a cue from this type of innovative thinking.

Matt Kelly: The Digital Factory is Now

The I-Connect007 Editorial Team spoke with Matt Kelly, IPC chief technologist, about Factory of the Future. In this wide-ranging conversation, the team starts with the premise that factory automation is no longer a future topic, but a concern for right now. The conversation takes a closer look at the need for digitization, upskilling the workforce, ensuring ROI is gained from digitizing the factory and, at the center of it all, the need for a strong commitment to move forward as a company.

How to Minimize Quoting Time and Increase Accuracy in EMS Production

New product introductions (NPIs) and customization have been increasing rapidly over the past few years—with the results that the already-small profit margins in electronics assembly are shrinking even further. Fifteen years ago, the PCB was the product. Today, most products are a system, with multiple PCBs, cables, and enclosures. Many manufacturers want to provide turn-key products that have multiple BOMs, making the assembly process even more complicated.

M&A Activity: Keep Your Eye on the Ball

M&A activity is on the rise and shows no indication of slowing down, even if interest rates climb. In the past two years, there were more than 45 deals. Where does your company fit in? In this interview with Dan Beaulieu, M&A expert Tom Kastner breaks down the market and who benefits most when it comes to buyers, sellers, and where you live.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO 2022: Material Technology for Automotive

Nicholas Huffer of Acuity Electronics discusses with Nolan Johnson the use of IoT for material traceability for automotive and aerospace compliance. He explains how Acuity provides solutions, when used in tandem, represent a unified platform for electronics manufacturers. Representing the Siemens PLM Software suite of products for electronics manufacturing Acuity offers best-in-class services and support to maximize your investment in these solutions.

Going Global: Bridging Today's Labor Gap

No doubt you will relate to Foad Ghalili when he expresses his concerns about rising input costs to doing business, from getting the right components, to delivery times, and price increases. But what’s unique for the president of Epoch International is the way his company has leveraged its U.S. and China operations to make the most of the other thing on everyone’s mind—the labor shortage. If you’re not already implementing his ideas, you will walk away from this interview with some sure-fire tips.

IPC’s Dieter Bergman Fellowship Award Presented to Bev Christian, HDPUG

The Dieter Bergman IPC Fellowship Award is given to individuals who have fostered a collaborative spirit, made significant contributions to standards development, and have consistently demonstrated a commitment to global standardization efforts and the electronics industry. Bev Christian is a facilitator for the High Density Packaging User Group (HDPUG) and an adjunct associate professor in the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering of the University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. In the past 31 years he has held positions at Nortel, BlackBerry, and CALCE; all in the areas of materials and failure analysis. Bev has never missed an IPC APEX EXPO since its inception. He is a member of 27 IPC committees and attends as time and the lack of clones allow.

Lean on Me: A U.S.–Europe Partnership

The United States is not the only region to feel the sting of losing the bulk of its printed circuit board manufacturing to Asia. European countries, such as France, recognize the dire need to modernize their factories, upskill their labor force, and provide for a more secure supply chain. But what are governments doing to help? In this conversation with Nolan Johnson, IPC Europe’s Alison James breaks down the tremendous potential for a partnership between the U.S. and Europe and what that means for a stronger global industry.

New IPC Excellence in Education Award Presented to Tabbatha Greek, Honeywell Aerospace

Tabbatha Greek serves as the Master IPC Trainer for Honeywell Aerospace, where she runs a private IPC Training Center. She has been involved with manufacturing training for more than 15 years. Through her experience, she recognized that the industry needed a better way to bridge the skill-gap in electronics manufacturing. After discussing the issue with IPC, they began work on an introductory course written specifically for operators. Tabbatha continued collaborating with IPC to address the challenges that trainees face when they are new to the industry. Once IPC had released the new online Electronics Assembly Operator course, her team was the first to become certified and provided valuable feedback for further improvements on the Workforce Development Training series.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

In the news this week we found a synchrony of topics. Much of the world is aware of the speaking points from U.S. President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address this past Tuesday. In that speech, President Biden talked prominently about U.S. legislation in process to bring more technology manufacturing back to the states. In fact, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger was not only an invited guest, but was referred to directly in the speech as a positive example. I can only assume that President Biden meant that moment to be a motivator for other CEOs in the industry.


SMTA Dallas: Texas Open for Electronics Business

The Dallas SMTA Expo is scheduled for March 22 at the Plano Event Center, and we heard that our Texan friends have quite a gathering set up. Andy Shaughnessy spoke with Gary Tanel, president and ambassador of the Dallas Chapter of SMTA and chairman of the Electronics Alliance. He asked him to discuss what his group has on hand for the Dallas SMTA Expo. As Gary says, “Texas is open for business.”

Where Have All the Board Shops Gone?

When I look at the landscape of U.S.-based PCB fabricators, the title of this article reminds me of a 1960s protest song. If you don’t remember the song or that era, you have some interesting research to do. As well, a Hank Williams Jr. song comes to mind, “All my rowdy friends have settled…” Seriously, I am pleased to see many of my old friends taking advantage of the present opportunities.

GEN3 Webinar Concludes With Release of Part 11: Historical Background

In this engaging, 11-part micro webinar series, topic experts Graham Naisbitt and Chris Hunt examine the history of the influences of Electrochemical Migration (ECM) and the evolving use of Surface Insulation Resistance Testing (SIR) that has been developed over the past 25 years by GEN3 and its association with the British National Physical Laboratory. GEN3 and NPL have created the standard that has now been in widespread use around the world since the turn of the millennium.

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2022: The Health of the Electronics Business

If you are interested in the overall health of the electronics business for MAES then you will enjoy this interview with Joe D'Ambrisi of MacDermid Alpha. This interview is conducted by Pete Starkey, and it also covers the recent Electrolube integration. If you were unable to attend IPC APEX EXPO 2022, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events in San Diego, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2022: Time to Conform

Joe Fjelstad of I-Connect007 talks with Camille Sybert of Nordson ASYMTEK on conformal coating equipment and process options, and material and market demands. If you were unable to attend IPC APEX EXPO 2022, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events in San Diego, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

The Under-Reported Story of the Semiconductor Shortage: Counterfeits

At this stage, we are all aware of the semiconductor shortage. While chips are still in short supply, there’s been no shortage of news stories about the chip shortage. If media coverage of the problem actually generated chips, the shortages might well be over. We’ve all seen stories about exploding demand for consumer electronics, factories shuttered during COVID-19 lockdowns, supply chain bottlenecks, a dearth of raw materials, and even drought, all in an effort to explain why we can’t get enough of these critical components.

Real-time Strategies to Offset Soaring Expenses

Supply chain, distribution, and price inflation are headline news topics these days. To better understand how EMS companies do—or could—respond to pricing pressure from input costs, we asked both EMS industry company representatives and EMS equipment manufacturers to comment on how the industry can respond to current pressures. Editor Nolan Johnson spoke with several EMS executives about a variety of ways for dealing with rising costs.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO: ICAPE Continues to Expand

ICAPE’s Paulo Franca and Editor Andy Shaughnessy discuss the company’s recent acquisitions around the globe, including a PCB fabrication facility in South Africa. If you didn't make it to IPC APEX EXPO, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events in San Diego, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

Supply Chain’s Risky Behavior

Barry Matties and Nolan Johnson speak with Joe O’Neil, CEO of Green Circuits, about something that seems to be on everyone’s minds—the rising cost of, well, everything. Joe’s background in marketing and finance, as well as his leadership at Green Circuits, positions him as an expert on managing costs related to labor, facilities, lead times, employee training, and the future of the industry. But what rising costs actually surprised him? This is a must-read for us all.

GEN3 Webinar, Part 9 Released: SIR, Additional Information

In this engaging, 11-part micro webinar series, topic experts Graham Naisbitt and Chris Hunt examine the history of the influences of Electrochemical Migration (ECM) and the evolving use of Surface Insulation Resistance Testing (SIR) that has been developed over the past 25 years by GEN3 and its association with the British National Physical Laboratory. GEN3 and NPL have created the standard that has now been in widespread use around the world since the turn of the millennium. The ninth episode, “SIR, Additional Information” can be viewed in just under four minutes. Presenters discuss test duration, number of coupons, and whether SIR is good to use for qualification testing. Also covered in this segment: SIR and objective evidence.


The Impact of Obsolescence and Shortages on Counterfeit Risk

While obsolescence and shortages have always been an issue, recent large-scale disruptions have made the electronic components supply chain even more volatile. Since last December, the global chip shortage has caused pricing shifts, lead time delays, and widespread stockouts. The shortage is bringing a higher-than-normal number of counterfeit parts into the supply chain. To adequately address the problem, it is important to understand its root causes, exacerbating factors, and how its impact can be avoided.

GEN3 Webinar, Part 8 Released: New IEC Standards—A Walk Through

In this engaging, 11-part micro webinar series, topic experts Graham Naisbitt and Chris Hunt examine the history of the influences of Electrochemical Migration (ECM) and the evolving use of Surface Insulation Resistance Testing (SIR) that has been developed over the past 25 years by GEN3 and its association with the British National Physical Laboratory. GEN3 and NPL have created the standard that has now been in widespread use around the world since the turn of the millennium. The eighth episode, “New IEC Standards—A Walk Through” can be viewed in just over five minutes. Presenters discuss scope, measurement technique, the B52 and field gradient, dummy components and the test chamber.

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2022: Blackfox Mixes It Up with Training Opportunities

Andy Shaughnessy speaks with Jamie Noland, master IPC trainer and marketing manager for Blackfox Institute, about current and upcoming training opportunities and what you can expect from them at the show. Blackfox has expanded its offerings to reach a wider audience, including some very basic classes for beginners.

GEN3 Webinar, Part 7 Released: SIR Test Coupon Design

In this engaging, 11-part micro webinar series, topic experts Graham Naisbitt and Chris Hunt examine the history of the influences of Electrochemical Migration (ECM) and the evolving use of Surface Insulation Resistance Testing (SIR) that has been developed over the past 25 years by GEN3 and its association with the British National Physical Laboratory. GEN3 and NPL have created the standard that has now been in widespread use around the world since the turn of the millennium.

Don’t Hit the Snooze on Cybersecurity

I have good news for small manufacturers looking for ways to stand apart from the competition: By delaying the launch of the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC), the Department of Defense (DoD) may have done you a favor. They’ve handed you a golden opportunity to zig when everybody else is zagging. If your competitors are small- and mid-sized businesses that supply the DoD, their concerns aren’t too different from yours. Sure, this CMMC stuff is coming, but it doesn’t seem urgent, or does it?

Don’t Miss Further Discussion of Materials Testing in GEN3 Episode 6 of ‘Predicting Reliability in Electronics’

The sixth episode, “Materials Testing—Process Materials,” can be viewed in under four minutes. Presenters share information on paste vs. flux vs. rework, limitations of standards, hand soldering/rework cautions, and more. Designed to complement GEN3’s book, The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to...Process Validation, this entire webinar series can be viewed in about an hour and covers a comprehensive range of topics surrounding the four groundbreaking test standards published between 2019 and 2021 that set the scene for Objective Evidence and its widespread influence throughout the world of electronics, whether in the high reliability arena of space, medical, automotive, or general industrial applications.

Mycronic is Bullish on Data-Driven Production

Nolan Johnson speaks with Mycronic’s Clemens Jargon and Göran Frank about data-driven production technology and strategies. With the introduction of new data-driven software, Mycronic has made monitoring the line easier to use, faster to learn, and more purposeful. They discuss the company’s plans to drive competition and improve customer engagement. "Everything in the production line needs to be rationally analyzed based on data," says Jargon. "Therefore, it is so important to collect good data, because then we can analyze it and continuously improve the performance of lines."

Segment 12 of Koh Young Micro Webinar Series: Smart Factory Success

In under four minutes, presenter Ivan Aduna wraps up the series with the 12th episode, Smart Factory Success. Here he teaches viewers that realizing a smart factory means taking a practical approach to process and systems, while examining areas to improve productivity. Combining initiatives such as IPC-CFX, IPC-Hermes, and IPC-DPMX with machine learning and 3D measurement data generated during inspection, helps manufacturers define inefficiencies and boost line efficiency. As new data is fed to these algorithms, they learn and optimize their operations to improve performance, developing intelligence over time.

SMTAI 2021: Rob DiMatteo Turns Up the Heat at BTU

At SMTA International 2021, Nolan Johnson spoke with Rob DiMatteo of BTU International about the current shift in market drivers, pain points from customers, and what he expects to see in the near future. Chip shortages and port delays are just two of the challenges facing BTU’s customers. As general manager of BTU, DiMatteo wants his company to excel at customer service despite these challenges. He also previews a new flux management technology for keeping reflow ovens extremely clean, calling it a significant breakthrough.

GEN3 Releases Micro Webinar Episode 5, ‘Predicting Reliability in Electronics: Materials Testing—Circuit Boards’

In this engaging, 11-part micro webinar series, topic experts Graham Naisbitt and Chris Hunt examine the history of the influences of Electrochemical Migration (ECM) and the evolving use of Surface Insulation Resistance Testing (SIR) that has been developed over the past 25 years by GEN3 and its association with the British National Physical Laboratory. GEN3 and NPL have created the standard that has now been in widespread use around the world since the turn of the millennium.


Navigating the Supply Chain Storm with ICAPE

Guillaume Chauvet of ICAPE Group, vice president of sales-Americas East, discusses managing the supply chain through transportation issues, raw material shortages, and longer production times. He also details how he helps customers manage different suppliers and divergent technologies. "As we’ve grown, we have opened a big office and lab in China to control the quality of our Asian suppliers," said Chauvet. "Now we also have inspectors in the factory who just check the quality of the product directly out of the lines. We send the product to the lab to validate the sample before the customer receives the boards."

I-Connect007 and the Experts at GEN3 Release Episode 4 of Predicting Reliability in Electronics

In this engaging, 11-part micro webinar series, topic experts Graham Naisbitt and Chris Hunt examine the history of the influences of Electrochemical Migration (ECM) and the evolving use of Surface Insulation Resistance Testing (SIR) that has been developed over the past 25 years by GEN3 and its association with the British National Physical Laboratory. GEN3 and NPL have created the standard that has now been in widespread use around the world since the turn of the millennium. The fourth episode, “Testing Background,” can be viewed in under 11 minutes. Presenters share information on why the 1.56µg/cm2 NaCl equivalence was removed, test options, IPC-TM-650 method 2.6.3.7.1 and more.

ICT Autumn Seminar Review: Live in 2021!

Faced with the choice between a real or virtual event, Bill Wilkie took a calculated risk. It has been many long months since members of the Institute of Circuit Technology had gathered together under one roof, but a fair-sized bunch of industry stalwarts braved the weather and the threat of COVID, descended on the Manor Hotel in Meriden, UK, on Nov. 30, and applauded Bill’s decision to go live. They were not disappointed; the program was superb, the atmosphere upbeat, and the networking opportunity priceless.

I-Connect007 Releases Segment 10 of Koh Young Webinar Series: ‘Converting Process Data Into Intelligence’

In this engaging, 12-part micro webinar series, Koh Young topic experts Joel Scutchfield and Ivan Aduna examine 3D inspection, AI, CFX, connectivity and smart factory success. Segment 10 is titled “Understanding CFX and Hermes.” Before your coffee will even get cold (just over three minutes), in this 10th episode, you will learn how initiatives like the IPC Connected Factory Exchange (CFX) and IPC-Hermes-9852 underpin efforts within the industry to develop standards and help create a smart factory. These M2M communication standards, guided in part by Industry 4.0, are altering the manufacturing process by improving metrics such as first pass yield and throughput by applying autonomous process adjustments.

Ron Lasky: A Perspective on Writing About Solder Defects

Nolan Johnson speaks with Dr. Ron Lasky About "The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to... Solder Defects." Ron is a full professor at Dartmouth College, but works part-time at Indium Corporation, helping their customers solve defects. This I-Connect007 eBook, he says, is a compilation of all he’s learned over the years as well as the deep technical knowledge of the team at Indium.

Now Playing: Part 3 of 'Predicting Reliability in Electronics' Micro Webinar

In this engaging, 11-part micro webinar series, topic experts Graham Naisbitt and Chris Hunt examine the history of the influences of Electrochemical Migration (ECM) and the evolving use of Surface Insulation Resistance Testing (SIR) that has been developed over the past 25 years by GEN3 and its association with the British National Physical Laboratory. GEN3 and NPL have created the standard that has now been in widespread use around the world since the turn of the millennium. The third episode, “ECM Examples,” can be viewed in under five minutes. Presenters share information on ECM types, including examples from Bosch, HP, and NP. Presenters also discuss ECM requirements and more.

Ram Wissel Details KYZEN Automated Process Control Line

Nolan Johnson speaks with Ram Wissel, VP, global technology manager, about KYZEN’s work in automated process control with its Process Care Line, designed to offer unmatched automated process management and control with remote reporting capabilities. If you didn’t make it to SMTA International in Minneapolis, don’t worry. We have interviews with the SMT segment’s top engineers and managers. Visit realtimewith.com now for all the interviews produced by I-Connect007 in partnership with SMTA at this year's event.

Research and Development Leads to Biogreen Coatings

In the November 2021 issue of SMT007 Magazine, we featured a pre-productronica interview with Phil Kinner of Electrolube, who shared a preview of the company’s newest products that the company planned to launch at the show in Munich. "This is the first show that we’ve been to in a while, and we have a couple of new products we are launching," said Kinner. "One is a thermal gap filler, designed in China by our Chinese team with a thermal conductivity of 6 watts per meter K, which is really decent. We also have a new conformal coating with a high degree of bio-renewable source materials."

Now Playing: ‘Predicting Reliability in Electronics’ Presented by the Experts at GEN3

In this engaging, 11-part micro webinar series, topic experts Graham Naisbitt and Chris Hunt examine the history of the influences of Electro-chemical Migration (ECM) and the evolving use of Surface Insulation Resistance Testing (SIR) that has been developed over the past 25 years by GEN3 and its association with the British National Physical Laboratory. GEN3 and NPL have created the standard that has now been in widespread use around the world since the turn of the millennium. The second episode, “Electrochemical Reliability and SIR,” can be viewed in under 15 minutes. Presenters share information on research conducted by NPL as a pan-European project, provide an explanation of ECM as corrosion, discuss the meaning of objective evidence, and more.

Segment 9 of Koh Young Webinar Series: Koh Young Auto Programming (KAP)

In this engaging, 12-part micro webinar series, Koh Young topic experts Joel Scutchfield and Ivan Aduna examine 3D inspection, AI, CFX, connectivity and smart factory success. At just over 8 minutes, the ninth episode, “AI in Action” is now available to view. In this segment, viewers will learn about 3D profilometry technology and how it converges with Koh Young’s proprietary AI technology to deliver true automatic programming. This geometry-based software solution reduces the programming process to minimize time to production and reduce costs.


Koh Young Furthers Offerings in Conformal Coating Inspection

Joel Scutchfield, general manager of SMT business operations and director of sales at Koh Young, talks with Nolan Johnson about Koh Young’s newest conformal coatings inspection offerings. They also discuss how changing customer needs are creating expansion into new inspection applications. Scutchfield also announces an organizational change. If you didn’t make it to SMTA International in Minneapolis, don’t worry. We have interviews with the SMT segment’s top engineers and managers. Visit realtimewith.com now for all the interviews produced by I-Connect007 in partnership with SMTA at this year's event.

Segment 8 of Koh Young Webinar Series: Going the Distance With AI

Designed to complement Koh Young’s I-007eBook, The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to... SMT Inspection, Today, Tomorrow and Beyond, topic experts Joel Scutchfield and Ivan Aduna share highly focused educational information on the use of data gathered during the inspection process. In recent times, artificial intelligence has demonstrated promising potential across a variety of industries, from self-driving vehicles to virtual doctors, and it has far-reaching applications within the manufacturing sector. By using the right mixture of AI technologies, manufacturers can boost their efficiency, improve flexibility, speed up processes, and even achieve self-optimizing processes.

Now Playing: ‘Predicting Reliability in Electronics’ Presented by the Experts at GEN3

In this engaging, 11-part micro webinar series, topic experts Graham Naisbitt and Chris Hunt examine the history of the influences of Electro-chemical Migration (ECM) and the evolving use of Surface Insulation Resistance Testing (SIR) that has been developed over the past 25 years by GEN3 and its association with the British National Physical Laboratory. GEN3 and NPL have created the standard that has now been in widespread use around the world since the turn of the millennium. The first episode can be viewed in just over eight minutes. Viewers will be given an introduction to SIR and ECM, including objectives, why we use standards, and why “objective evidence” should be used in place of “cleaning.”

MIRTEC Introduces Extended Z-Axis AOI Vision Capabilities

Nolan speaks with Frank Cormier, regional sales manager for MIRTEC, about the new MV-6Z OMNI 3D In-Line AOI System. Frank outlines the new extended Z-axis vision system, and highlights how this new equipment is targeted to automotive and power supply manufacturers. If you didn’t make it to SMTA International in Minneapolis, don’t worry. We have interviews with the SMT segment’s top engineers and managers. Visit realtimewith.com now for all the interviews produced by I-Connect007 in partnership with SMTA at this year's event.

KYZEN’s Customer Engagement Initiatives

Tom Forsythe, executive vice president of KYZEN, gives Editor Nolan Johnson an update on the company’s new products, product development, and customer engagement, including plans for drawing more new customers. Forsythe also explains how KYZEN’s remote process capabilities wound up being a lifesaver for customers who could not get into their facilities during the pandemic, and why sometimes, “It’s better to be lucky than right.” If you didn’t make it to SMTA International in Minneapolis, don’t worry. We have interviews with the SMT segment’s top engineers and managers. Visit realtimewith.com now for all the interviews produced by I-Connect007 in partnership with SMTA at this year's event.

Conformal Coatings and Legacy X-Rays

Viscom President Ed Moll talks about test and inspection, specifically around the company’s X-ray technologies and current state-of-the-art conformal coating inspection. About pain points for customers, Ed says, "It depends on the product line, whether its solder paste inspection, optical inspection, or X-ray inspection; a new recent trend would be conformal coating inspection. We are doing quite a bit of work in conformal coating inspection, which is being driven by the auto manufacturers requiring that those who are doing conformal coating are collecting data, not just visually inspecting, using a black light, and determining that it’s good."

IPC-J-STD-001: The State of the Standard

In 2015, it was recognized that the long-standing cleanliness provisions of J-STD-001 Section 8 were no longer adequate for modern electronics and that a new approach was needed. A group of cleaning subject matter experts (SMEs), dubbed the Rhino team, were assembled to create the new protocol. This group of SMEs was led by Doug Pauls of Collins Aerospace, a long-time leader in cleaning materials and processes in the IPC. He said “tiger” was overused and he always had a fondness for the rhino, a particular animal of the Serengeti.

Market Changes Require Re-evaluating Your Testing Processes

Nolan Johnson dives into test and inspection with Bob Neves of Microtek Laboratories China. From his perspective running a test lab, Neves shares his view on the current issues for contract manufacturers regarding test and inspection. Over the course of this conversation, Neves discusses the effect of the current supply chain on testing practices, factory automation, the collection an analysis of data, and more. For all the automation and data collection possible, Neves points out, it still comes back to the people.

Explore the Depths of Your Dispensing Process

Past missions to the “final frontier” might have been more successful if the coating on the electronic assemblies had been measured using our novel inspection technology for the dispensing process. While this is just a hypothetical statement, it is highly likely that in a harsh environment like outer space, some effects such as crystal growth and surface contamination can occur. As such, sealing the electronics assembly from environmental contaminants is particularly important because any debris or moisture can form the breeding ground for crystal dendrite growth.

Perfecting the Application of Conformal Coatings Without a Capital Investment

Research chemist Michael Szwarc isolated the parylene polymer series in the late 1940s at the University of Manchester, England. He discovered the polymer as one of the thermal decomposition products of a common solvent, p-xylene, at a temperature between 700 and 900°C. Union Carbide scientist William Gorham later developed a deposition process to apply the film. He deposited parylene films by the thermal decomposition of di-p-xylylene at 550°C and in vacuum below 1 Torr, a process that did not require a solvent and resulted in chemically resistant films free from pinholes. In 1965, Union Carbide commercialized the material and the chemical vapor deposition (CVD) process that is unique among conformal coatings.


Maximizing ROI and Usage of Test Equipment

With so many variables to consider, making informed acquisition decisions around modern electronic test and measurement equipment can be challenging. While this article focuses on electronic test and measurement equipment, the basic principles of asset optimization can be applied to almost any hard asset. In the context of test equipment, asset optimization represents total equipment life cycle management to reduce costs and improve efficiency and productivity.

SMTAI Pre-Show Interview: Dan Hart of MacDermid Alpha Electronics Solutions

Nolan talks to Dan Hart, Application Development Manager, about the paper his team will be presenting at SMTAI in early November, the work that went into the research, and why his team took on this research.

CapEx Planning With Summit Interconnect

The I-Connect007 Editorial Team recently spoke with John Vaughan, Greg Halvorson, and Brett McCoy of Summit Interconnect about their capital expenditure (CapEx) strategies. They discuss the challenges they face when planning CapEx after acquiring fabricators with different capabilities, and the need to have dedicated funds ready for expenditures each year.

Naprotek: Knowing Your Value and Maximizing It

Nolan Johnson talks with new Naprotek CEO Daniel Everitt about Naprotek’s value-add for customers, the market dynamics, factory automation, and more.

Increase Production Yield by Investing in Leading-Edge Equipment

Let us consider automated optical inspection (AOI). AOI technology has been available for decades, but only since the introduction and industry adoption of real 3D measurement has it emerged as a major area of focus to prevent defects and improve production yields in post pre-reflow and post-reflow positions. Yet, many manufacturers are using antiquated 2D or quasi-3D systems that increase false calls and escapes.

Driving Lean Manufacturing with Digitalization

Reducing waste in the manufacturing process is always a challenge, especially when it comes to new product introductions (NPI). It is a key pain point for manufacturers, as waste leads to delays, unexpected costs, quality issues, and lost profit. Waste isn’t always about material that must be discarded—it can also include idle workers and equipment, unused material, and inefficient planning processes.

Fane Friberg on Capital Expenditure Project Planning

In a recent survey, about 75% of SMT007 readers indicated that their organization uses a capital expenditure plan; about 25% do not have a planning process in place. Based on this information, the I-Connect007 Editorial Team reached out to Fane Friberg to discuss capital expenditure planning and execution.

The Bill Comes Due: BOMs and the Digital Twin

The I-Connect007 Editorial Team recently discussed the subject of bill of material (BOM) with Michael Ford of Aegis Software. The conversation explored the current state of BOM creation, maintenance, and transfer, as well as the role BOMs play in product development and product life cycle. Naturally, attention also turned to the importance of the BOM within the digital twin.

BOM: The Path to Managing Parts

In the magazine this month, we start with some higher-level discussion about BOMs in the 21st century manufacturing world. We look at questions like “Who owns the BOM?” and “What makes up a BOM?” The reality is that BOMs are often oversimplified down to the component parts list when, in fact, a full-fledged BOM includes information on how to put the pieces together in a finished product as well.

Siemens Global Webinar: Data-Driven Manufacturing in the Electronics Industry

I had the opportunity to attend the second in the series of Siemens global webinars on data-driven manufacturing in the electronics industry, this time focused on data acquisition and analysis, discussing challenges and methodologies and detailing hardware and software solutions, exemplified by real-world illustrations of successful implementation.


A Multi-Tenant PLM Software Solution

To better understand how bill of materials and business operations software can interact, we reached out to George Lewis, vice president of corporate strategy for Arena, a PTC Business.

Review: Emerging Opportunities for Additive Electronics

The special feature at SMTA’s virtual Additive Electronics TechXchange 2021 was a presentation by Dr. Matthew Dyson, senior technology analyst at IDTechEx, entitled "Emerging Opportunities for Additive Electronics."

Reducing the Cost of Solder Alloys Used in Wave and Selective Soldering Assembly Applications

The continued devaluation of the U.S. dollar and the industrial supply-demand balance between silver has increased the price of silver used in solder alloys. MacDermid Alpha Electronics Solutions has developed a number of low- and no-silver solder alloys to offset this continued trend in the increase in global silver cost. These alloys are appropriate for most applications, but not all.

From DesignCon: Neoconix Reacts Favorably to Higher-Density Market

During my visit to DesignCon, I stopped in to chat with Woody Maynard of Neoconix, a San Jose company making unique custom connectors. In this interview, Woody explains the technology, how they work with their customers, and where he sees the market headed.

BOM Connector: A Ready-Built Solution

Kevin Decker-Weiss of CircuitByte and Mark Laing of Siemens explain how a tool called BOM Connector can improve quoting and manufacturing flow. Mark and Kevin are openly enthusiastic about this topic; this conversation launched immediately into a technical discussion.

Whizz is Da BOM

In this interview with the I-Connect007 Editorial Team, Whizz President Muhammad Irfan shares his 20-plus years of experience by breaking down the bill of materials process in today’s challenging environment. Irfan describes what that means for his team and suppliers, and how we move forward in a post-pandemic climate.

A Conversation with Javad EMS

Nolan Johnson speaks with Gary Walker, vice president and co-founder of Javad EMS, about who they are as a company, where they came from, and where they’re going.

Luminovo Cuts BOM Waste, Improves OEM/EMS Communication

Luminovo founder Sebastian Schaal says his company is using its experience as an AI provider to help implement LumiQuote, a new EMS RFQ software tool. Sebastian explains how LumiQuote helps cut down the waste in the BOM process and friction between OEM and EMS providers, and gives designers the EMS data they need earlier in the design process so they can make more informed decisions.

Nolan's Notes: The Designer to EMS Communication Process

CAD tool developers have been working toward “system design” for most of the history of the sector. Early in my career when I wrote code at an EDA startup that now is recognized as a major player in the market, we were working on the idea of system design. The compute power and wide area network resources necessary to realize the vision of full mechatronic system design just weren’t available then, but we were working on it.

How To Get Started With IIoT

Every company will have to decide just how much IIoT technology they want to bring into their environment, and how fast. In this article, we will offer some general advice and suggestions for those who want to experiment with a few IIoT devices before committing to a larger IIoT project.


I-Connect007 Editor’s Picks: Five Must-Reads for the Week

I’m at DesignCon as I start pen this week’s must-reads. It’s good to be back in the convention centers, I have to say. In my last installment, I expressed the anticipation; I can now confirm that taking the pulse of our industry is so much easier when one is nearer the heartbeat.

A Deep Dive into Digital Twin

The I-Connect007 Editorial Team spoke with Aegis' Michael Ford to explore his vision and reality of the digital twin as a communication mechanism.

Factors Affecting Quality of Solder Joints in Multi-Busbar Interconnection

Tabbing and stringing is the dominant method in the market for making crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar cell modules. Soldering ribbons are used as an interconnection medium in this process on the four or five busbars of the front- and back-side metallization.

SMTA Membership Voting Results

SMTA Vice President of Membership Rob Boguski speaks to Nolan Johnson about the recent annual voting amongst SMTA membership. Besides filling four SMTA Leadership seats, SMTA put a proposed membership restructuring up for approval. Boguski shares the results of that voting and what it means for the SMTA going forward.

EMS/Designer Relationships: Building Communication

In this interview with contract manufacturing expert John Vaughan and design expert Kelly Dack, they discuss the EMS/designer relationship and the communication that must take place for that to be successful.

Catching Up with the Latest at Datest

Nolan Johnson chats with Datest's Rob Boguski about the latest happenings at the Fremont, California testing and inspection service provider.

Ductility is Your Greatest 'Alloy': Avoiding Drop Shock Failures

The drop shock reliability of solder joints has become a major issue for the electronic industry not only because of the ever-increasing popularity of portable electronics and the widespread use of lead-free solders, but also in ensuring high first-pass yield during handling in a production environment.

Knowledge Continuity in Manufacturing

“Why do we do it that way?” “Because we always have.” Those can be some of the most dreaded words on the manufacturing floor. It means that someone decided at one point to do things a certain way, and you don’t know whether it’s a critical aspect of the assembly process, or just another roadblock to improvement.

Get Your Industry 4.0 Here! IPC-CFX Momentum Builds

Those of us who have been actively involved in the development of IPC-CFX and IPC-2591 from the beginning always knew the standard would be a breath of fresh air for industry. It was just a matter of time. That time is definitely upon us, and IPC is prepared to meet the challenge to ensure any company’s successful implementation of IPC-CFX.

The Meaning of (PCB) Life

New products, new designs, but still the age-old question persists, “How long will it live and what will its quality of life be?” Assembled printed circuit boards (PCBAs) are a complex system of materials, components, and interconnections that all need to work as intended for the product to reliably operate during its expected life. All it takes is one piece of that complex system to fail and the product’s life span will disappoint.


How to Troubleshoot Your Testing Processes

There are a multitude of electronic circuit assembly manufacturers, high-volume/low-product mix to low-volume/high-product mix. Only you will know where you are in that definition.

SMTA Offers New Membership Structure

SMTA membership is being revamped for Jan 1 2022. This interview detals those changes with SMTA President Martin Anselm and Membership Vice President Rob Boguski.

IPC-WP-019: The How-to Behind the Cleanliness Requirements in IPC J-STD-001G

IPC-WP-019, “An Overview on Global Change in Ionic Cleanliness Requirements,” was initially released in August 2017. Eleven months after the release of the original IPC-WP-019, a revision of the white paper was released that aligned to the new cleanliness requirements forming the basis of IPC J-STD-001G Amendment 1.

Cleanliness Behind Many Assembly Challenges

Eric Camden says nobody knows your board like you do, so it’s time for assemblers to start doing their own cleanliness testing and due diligence, and stop relying on outside organizations to determine how clean their boards need to be.

State of the Coating Industry

Several trends have really stood out as the first half of 2021 comes to a close. First, 150°C appears to have become the “new normal” for the maximum required operating temperature of conformal coatings for automotive use. This is an increase from 85°C or 120°C on the last generation of products.

A Framework for Large-Scale AI-Assisted Quality Inspection Implementation in Manufacturing Using Edge Computing

This paper discusses in detail the challenges in large-scale deployment of AI models for quality inspection operation and introduces a framework for large-scale AI-assisted quality inspection in manufacturing environment using edge computing architecture. The framework focuses on IT architectural decisions to fulfill the OT requirement, including user experience in the quality inspection ecosystem.

Excerpt: The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to... SMT Inspection: Today, Tomorrow, and Beyond, Chapter 5

Reliable AOI methods have become powerful, economical complements to traditional test strategies. AOI can be used successfully as a process monitoring tool for measuring printing, placement, and reflow performance. Yet, a single inspection system has limitations, especially when there is limited or no communication with the balance of the line. In this setup, it simply cannot optimize a printed circuit board assembly process. Equipment suppliers must cooperate to achieve communication for a zero-defect future.

ICAPE Group Offers Boots on the Ground Support in Asia

Nolan Johnson speaks with Roger Harts about some of the current complications around manufacturing electronics in China and how ICAPE Group works as a vital supplier partner to OEMs and companies hoping to manufacture in Asia.

The Role of 3,000 Committee Members

I believe the committee structure really shines as we are constantly striving to produce the best possible version of the standard and ensure consensus for best practices in each review cycle—currently every three years—for the industry. During the review cycle, users of the standard can submit comments on the document content which are then debated by the committee. The committee has A-Teams and Working Groups that the leaders can delegate to; these groups have members with relevant expertise to review particular areas of the document or individual comments. This gives us a two-fold bonus of having knowledgeable participants provide feedback and frequently passing on information to someone who may not know as much in that area.

Surface Prep vs. Cleaning

Nolan Johnson learns the differences between surface prep and cleaning in a discussion with cleaning expert Tom Forsythe of KYZEN, who says the two are not exactly one and the same with technical jargon around the topic varying from industry to industry.


Cleaning and Inspection

Today’s non-negotiable requirement is to produce objective evidence. As can be seen from Figure 1, the two tools that have been proven to be up to the task, are SIR followed by PICT. What can also be seen is the plethora of issues that must be addressed.

TIM: Thermal Interface Material in Power Electronics

The omnipresent trend in power electronics for higher performance in smaller spaces requires a quick, effective, and cost-efficient heat transfer, within and out of, highly compact power modules. A well-designed, heat management concept from the beginning of a new design guarantees a longer lifetime of the electronic components and, by that, higher quality of the whole electronic power module.

Excerpt: The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to… Smart Data

IoT applications are gathering huge amounts of real-time, shop-floor data constantly but collecting data simply is not enough—it needs to be used intelligently. Analytics is the application of statistics and other mathematical tools to business data to assess and improve practices.

Medical, Defense Face Shortage of Multilayer Ceramic Capacitors

Industrial, medical, and military demand for high-quality, high-voltage multilayer ceramic capacitors (MLCCs) has been hit hard by a shift in production by the world’s largest MLCC manufacturers who are focusing on a seemingly insatiable demand for smaller, lower voltage—and in some way—lower-performance MLCCs.

Joe D’Ambrisi Discusses MacDermid Alpha's Acquisition of HK Wentworth

Element Solutions’ Executive Vice President Joe D’Ambrisi speaks with Nolan Johnson about MacDermid Alpha's recent acquisition of HK Wentworth. Joe shares some details on the transaction and outlines the expected benefits that come from bringing these two companies together.

Get Involved with IPC’s EHS-Related Committees

Did you know that IPC members have several opportunities to learn about and get involved in policy debates about environment, health, and safety (EHS) issues? As a member-driven organization, IPC’s Government Relations (GR) team relies on the input of experts from member companies to ensure IPC’s advocacy activities reflect the industry’s priorities.

Excerpt—The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to... SMT Inspection: Today, Tomorrow, and Beyond, Chapter 4

Using the right 3D measurement technology will deliver accurate measurement data to help manufacturers streamline the SMT line and realize a zero defect production environment. The ability to generate reliable measurement data has given rise to the creation of measurement-based analysis and optimization solutions. With quality control capabilities and a full lineup of integrated inspection systems, the ideal software suite should tie everything together: SPI, AOI and other production machines, all supported by AI-powered analysis for fully automated control that boosts productivity and minimizes costs.

IPC Technical Staff Liaisons—Your ‘Shepherds’ in the IPC Standards Development Process

If you have ever attended an IPC standards development meeting, whether it be in person or through a web meeting, then you’ve seen or heard us—that collection of IPC staff members within the IPC Technical Department that schedule the myriad face-to-face or online standards meetings taking place at annual IPC events or throughout the year. We’re the ones you hear from when IPC circulates a new standard working draft, promotes it to Final Draft for Industry Review (FDIR) for broader industry input, or notifies you that the document is ready for balloting towards release.

Excerpt: The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to… Smart Data, Chapter 3

There are many different and valid perspectives on the performance of a factory. For instance, the fact that the factory is on shutdown may be significant to a planner who is concerned with overall factory capacity. However, the shutdown is less significant to the production manager, who simply wants to know if the machines will run efficiently when they are scheduled to run.

Process Control in Solder and Reflow

Nolan Johnson speaks with KIC’s Miles Moreau to get his perspective on topics such as wave process inspection (WPI), wave solder, and vacuum reflow, and how they will fit into Industry 4.0 and smart factories.


Nolan’s Notes: Driving Cost Out of the Supply Chain

Supply chain issues have become mainstream news as virtually all supply chains were affected in some manner by the pandemic lockdowns. The interactions of supply, demand, and distribution became a topic of scrutiny even for my 80-something parents; we all became experts at understanding supply chain when we had to explain exactly why toilet paper was peculiarly absent from store shelves, while there was plenty of liquor still available. The vagaries of the distribution chain for all sorts of daily necessities suddenly became our concern; we no longer could take the supply chain for granted.

Catching Up With Nova Engineering

When searching for companies to interview, I always look for something unique and that makes the company special. Truth be told, I am a collector of stories about good, well-run, unique companies that we can learn something from. Nova Engineering is one of those companies.

Hans-Peter Tranitz: Dieter Bergman IPC Fellowship Award Recipient

In this wide-ranging interview, Patty Goldman speaks with Continental Automotive’s Peter Tranitz about his IPC involvement with press-fit and other automotive standards which have earned him the coveted Dieter Bergman IPC Fellowship Award.

Excerpt—The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to... SMT Inspection: Today, Tomorrow, and Beyond, Chapter 3

Initiatives like the IPC Connected Factory Exchange (CFX) and IPC-Hermes-9852 underpin efforts within the industry to develop standards and help create a smart factory. These M2M communication standards, guided in part by Industry 4.0, are altering the manufacturing process by improving metrics such as first pass yield and throughput by applying autonomous process adjustments.

Excerpt: The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to… Smart Data, Chapter 2

Companies have been collecting data in large volumes. Highly varied data from manufacturing operations comes in quickly that needs to be validated, and its value prioritized so that it can be turned into something useful—transformed from big data to smart data. The amount of data available has grown exponentially into big data. Twenty years ago, a PCB work order resulted in 100 data records, megabytes of data; today, it is 10 billion records, terabytes of data. The investment in collecting this data and storing it is high. However, without a way to analyze the data, without analytics, it will not result in ROI.

Smart Is Not A Binary Concept

“Smart” is not simply an “on” or “off” state. Just like people, some solutions are “smarter” than others; as we see from the various ways of measuring intelligence within humans, there are many kinds of “smarts.” When looking to invest in a smart manufacturing strategy, the playing field is more complex than it may appear. We should first understand and define what “smart” means, to what extent it exists, and the other requirements and dependencies that are needed to get the best value from investment.

Driving Down Cost in the Supply Chain

Driving cost out of the supply chain goes beyond reduction of raw material cost. Though many of the manufacturers today concentrate on negotiation with their raw material supplier(s) the hidden cost of internal supply chain goes undetected. To address the cost of the entire supply chain we should not only look at direct material cost but also the cost of internal supply chain. At Epoch we looked at four areas in particular which include: planning/tracking, storage/delivery, inventory management, and supplier relationships.

Excerpt: The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to... SMT Inspection: Today, Tomorrow, and Beyond, Chapter 1

Today, optical inspection systems are the preferred solution for in-line quality control in the SMT industry. Systems such as solder paste inspection (SPI) or automated optical inspection (AOI) systems for pre- and post-reflow are almost standard in every production facility.

Excerpt: The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to… Smart Data

Whenever we discuss data, keep in mind that people have been collecting data, verifying it, and translating it into reports for a long time. And if data is collected and processes are changed automatically, people still will be interpreting and verifying the accuracy of the data, creating reports, making recommendations, solving problems, tweaking, improving, and innovating. Whatever data collection system is used, any effort to digitalize needs to engage and empower the production team at the factory. Their role is to attend to the manufacturing process but also to act as the front line of communications and control.

What Makes a Great Supply Chain Manager?

Building a competitive and reliable supply chain is a critical success factor for any manufacturing business. This is especially true today, where we face constant volatility and disruption across global supply chains. In this environment, effective supply chain leadership is more critical than ever. So, what makes a great supply chain manager?


10 Ways to Identify Counterfeit ICs

How about a little refresher on some of the most effective techniques for component inspection using X-ray? While other visual inspection techniques provide important insight into component quality and authenticity, nothing exceeds X-ray inspection for fast, accurate, non-destructive evaluation. The following are 10 ways to identify a fake IC using X-ray.

KIC Adds Wave Process Inspection to Product Line

Miles Moreau, general manager for EMEA, Americas & Australia at KIC, shares some details on the new Wave Process Inspection (WPI) solution that KIC is currently rolling out. This solution brings real-time process control capabilities to wave soldering equipment, adding and extending capabilities.

BTU Discusses Time-Saving New Technologies

Nolan Johnson and BTU's Rob DiMatteo drill down into the company's new capabilities in vacuum reflow and new technology for flux management, a system that greatly reduces downtime for cleaning and maintenance, among other benefits.

NovaCentrix Expands Solder Capabilities

Stan Farnsworth of NovaCentrix discusses how the company has expanded into electronics manufacturing in the past year with its photonic curing and soldering tools.

Advanced Inspection Solutions and Intelligent Factory Automation

Effective inspection is the key to advancing the quality of the manufacturing operation. With the benefit of AI to spot the early signs, any trends away from optimum can be resolved before they become problems. MIRTEC President Brian D’Amico explains.

Expanded Suite for Component Storage Needs

Super Dry’s Richard Heimsch will be showcasing the expanded suite of storage management controls as well as some long-term storage solutions at this year's event.

Lessons Learned During Pandemic Fuel KYZEN's Customer Support, Growth

Tom Forsythe shares how KYZEN applied pandemic experiences to their delivery of customer support. The company's R&D has continued, including AquaNox product line formulations for water soluble organic acids, where cleaning has historically not been necessary but now is increasingly required.

Real Time with...IPC APEX EXPO 2021: Optimizing Pin Inspection In Automotive With True3D Tech

Guest Editor Michael Ford and Gustavo Jimenez, Koh Young's sales manager for Northern Mexico, discuss some of the company's newest technologies, including True3D™ technology for pin inspection, which has proven popular with the automotive segment.

What Makes a Good Process Engineer?

Nolan Johnson recently spoke with Tuan Tran, director of customer solutions at Green Circuits, about what makes a successful process engineer. They also discuss a typical day in the life of a process engineer—from pre-manufacturing through post-DFM, for process improvement. As Tuan points out, there are a variety of paths to becoming a great process engineer.

Coming Out Ahead With Smart Processes

During a recent interview with Dr. Tim Rodgers that focused on supply chain management, the conversation also touched on smart factories. We’ve included Tim’s insights on smart processes here.


EIPC Technical Snapshot: Cleanliness

John Ling’s invitation to the fifth in EIPC’s series of Technical Snapshots was as droll as we have come to expect: “In these confined days of lockdown, and exhortations to stay at home and only go out for exercise, this only exercises the natural inclination to hop on a ‘plane to some sunshine.’ Although not the same as Factor 20, one of our webinars gives a high degree of protection from harmful ignorance, and you do not have to go out in the cold.”

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

We’re seeing an increase in optimism as more people are vaccinated and states under lockdown begin flipping open their shutters. This positive outlook is spreading, albeit slowly.

Building A Better, Brighter LED Headlamp with Top-Side Alignment Process (TAP)

An emerging trend in the automotive industry is the adoption of advanced LED headlamp lighting systems. These systems drive challenging placement requirements for LED packages. In this paper, we will review these unique challenges and discuss a novel approach to high-accuracy placement of LED packages enabling a scalable production solution.

Implementing Digital Twin Best Practices From Design Through Manufacturing Webinar Review

I-007e recently released a highly informative series of short webinars called Implementing Digital Twin Best Practices from Design Through Manufacturing presented by industry expert Jay Gorajia, the Director of Siemens Global Digital Manufacturing Services. The webinar is an excellent overview how data that is generated using a digital twin model can be effectively utilized to improve business execution using the Siemens tool suite.

Tech 2 Tech: KYZEN’s Short Technical Sessions a Big Hit

Nolan Johnson gets an update from Tom Forsythe on KYZEN’s Tech 2 Tech sessions. These brief 15-minute sessions were set up during the pandemic by KYZEN for customers, prospects, and new engineers around cleaning, and have since found traction with their manufacturers, reps and distributors.

2021: The Year of X = Xc – 1

Throughout 2021, I-Connect007 will focus on our theme, “X = Xc – 1,” in which we will explore continuous improvement in a practical way. Get talking about continuous improvement as a business method and the conversation often hinges around large programs and grand transformations. “Company culture” and “corporate transformation” are terms that often appear in these conversations. Often, it seems, continuous improvement is simply a huge undertaking.

This Month in SMT007 Magazine: The Skilled Worker

Why do we train and educate our employees? Here, I will share my perspective based on what is happening in facilities trying to outsource their products, as I see that many companies are losing the tribal knowledge of how things are manufactured and the basic skills necessary to physically build a product.

This Month in SMT007 Magazine—Continuous Improvement: As Simple as X = Xc – 1

X=Xc – 1 is a conceptual equation for continuous improvement. You define X and work to reduce it by a factor of 1. This could be one work hour, one process step, one day less in a cycle, and so on. We recently met with Dr. Ron Lasky to discuss the concept of X=Xc – 1 and get his advice on generating enthusiasm among readers and the next generation about continuous improvement. As this discussion illustrates, many process improvements are small in scale, not yearlong, major efforts.

Chapter 1 Excerpt: The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to Process Validation

The original principle underlying the IPC’s ionic cleanliness requirement was that the mobility of surface ions, detectable from SIR measurements, would correlate to a maximum value of detectable ionic elements permissible on the circuit surface. The industry required a test that was both fast and accurate for process control. Thus, a simplified ion chromatograph that was able to detect ionic elements without differentiation was created.

Book Excerpt: The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to Smart Data, Chapter 1

Accurate data is required to adjust processes and to ensure quality over time. This is difficult because not all data is in the same format, and not all sensors perform the same over time. How do you know what the best data to collect is and how to filter out the junk data from useful or smart data? This is not an easy task when the interfaces to data collection sources are complex, and they do not speak the same language, often requiring the vendor’s help to get data out of the machine and then spending time normalizing the data to turn it into something useful. This is a challenge for companies trying to set up a custom data collection system themselves.


Happy’s Essential Skills: Recruiting and Interviewing

Printed circuit manufacturing was not one of the jobs that electrical engineers in HP wanted to do. EEs were also not the best choice for printed circuit manufacturing because chemical engineers, chemists, and mechanical engineers had more skills useful to support the PCB manufacturing process. Therefore, I was authorized to recruit external hires. To recruit chemical engineers, we went to those universities noted for their focus on industries like electronics, process control, and environmental...

EIPC Technical Snapshot: PCB Surface Finishes

For the third in a series of Technical Snapshot webinars, EIPC chose to focus on PCB surface finishes, comparing specific properties, examining corrosion behaviour and discussing selection criteria for low-loss, high frequency applications.

Book Excerpt: The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to Process Validation

It is assumed that readers are familiar with manufacturing electronic circuit assemblies in accordance with IPC-J-STD-001 or IEC 61189-1; both are titled “Requirements for Soldered Electrical and Electronic Assemblies.” In October 2018, IPC-J-STD-001 Revision G was amended and released with a new Section 8 of the document titled “Cleaning.” The change was primarily the removal of a “cleanliness” level of 1.56 mg/square cm of NaCl equivalence. This small change has great significance in relation to how companies ensure the electrochemical reliability of their products.

Book Excerpt: The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to Smart Data

Whenever we discuss data, keep in mind that people have been collecting data, verifying it, and translating it into reports for a long time. And if data is collected and processes are changed automatically, people still will be interpreting and verifying the accuracy of the data, creating reports, making recommendations, solving problems, tweaking, improving, and innovating. Whatever data collection system is used, any effort to digitalize needs to engage and empower the production team at the factory. Their role is to attend to the manufacturing process but also to act as the front line of communications and control.

SMTA Europe Solder Finish Webinar Addresses Defects Causes and Cures

“What is your most common PCB problem?” A survey conducted by Bob Willis had revealed finish solderability to be the predominant contender, and it was clear that the choice of solderable finish applied to surface mount boards could have a significant effect on the assembly yield and cost of the final circuit. SMTA Europe organised an informative and enlightening webinar this month entitled “Guide to PCB Solder Finishes—Process Defects Causes and Cures,” with soldering specialist Bob Willis as presenter.

Training Is Hard, But It’s Also Soft

There is a disconnect in many manufacturing companies. This article is not about that disconnect, but rather a topic that gets clouded and the objectives made more difficult by that prevalent disconnect. Business owners, vice presidents, and operational executives are expected to have a vision for the company strategy. But what is not always fully known is the broad strokes of how to get there.

Lorain County Community College’s Successful MEMS Program

The I-Connect007 editorial team had the pleasure of an extended and detailed conversation with Johnny Vanderford and Courtney Tenhover from Lorain County Community College (LCCC). Vanderford and Tenhover are at the heart of the microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) program at LCCC that is emerging as a model for a successful technical higher-education program. This conversation was lively, and the enthusiasm at LCCC is infectious, as it should be; their results are impressive.

Siemens and Computrol: Achieving Operational Excellence in Electronics Manufacturing

I-Connect007’s Happy Holden and Nolan Johnson speak with Zac Elliott, technical marketing engineer at Siemens Digital Industries Software, and Farid Anani, VP of operations at Computrol, about how to achieve operational excellence in electronics manufacturing. They start by discussing the dynamic wherein automation projects may initially create islands of automation and the need to eventually connect those islands to achieve even greater operational efficiencies. The discussion then moves to how to make the data smarter and more useful for analysis and optimization.

Catching up With VRI’s Sérgio Rosendal Ribeiro

Dan Beaulieu speaks with Sérgio Rosendal Ribeiro of VRI, a Brazilian PCBA company entering the North American market, who is about to open up a location in Florida. They also discuss the overall business climate in South America.

Catching up With QCMS General Manager Rick McAnally

Founded in 2007, QCMS is one of the more interesting EMS companies on the East Coast. They are actually a sister company to Niche Electronics located in Pennsylvania. Dan Beaulieu interviews QCMS General Manager Rick McAnally.


KYZEN’s Popular Cleaning Series Continues

Wondering what to look for in a PCB cleaning agent? In just 10 minutes, you will learn from Jack Reinke what impacts your waste stream as part of the latest installment of KYZEN’s Tech2Tech series. This special webinar is held live at two times: 7:18 a.m. and 5:33 p.m. PST December 3, 2020.

The Heterogeneous Integration Roadmap for Aerospace and Defense

Most people in the semiconductor industry are familiar with the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS), which provided guidance for the industry starting in 1991 (as the National Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors). As the benefits of Moore’s Law became more difficult and more expensive to achieve, the organization decided to publish a final version in 2016. The baton was handed to the Heterogeneous Integration Roadmap (HIR), with the realization that heterogeneous integration—assembling different types of devices rather than monolithic fabrication—is an important enabler for continued progress in the semiconductor industry.

SMTA Europe Webinar: What Is a Good Solder Joint, and How Can Solder Joints Be Tested?

What is a good solder joint? And how can they be tested not only for purposes of process characterisation, optimisation, monitoring, and control but also for ensuring their long-term reliability? Pete Starkey details a webinar organised by the Europe Chapter of SMTA that was presented by Bob Willis, an expert in soldering, assembly technologies, and failure analysis.

Part 11 of Siemens’ Digital Twin Webinar Series: Data-Driven Manufacturing

I-007e Micro Webinars recently released a free, on-demand series titled “Implementing Digital Twin Best Practices From Design Through Manufacturing” with Siemens' Jay Gorajia. In Part 11, Gorajia discusses, “Data-Driven Manufacturing: Making Big Data Into Smart Data.”

Part 10 of Siemens’ Digital Twin Webinar Series: Inventory Management

I-007e Micro Webinars recently released a free, on-demand series titled “Implementing Digital Twin Best Practices From Design Through Manufacturing” with Siemens' Jay Gorajia. In Part 10, Gorajia looks at “Inventory Management in the Warehouse and on the Shop Floor.” Material accounts for 80% of PCB assembly costs. If not managed correctly, margins can be cut even further.

Part 9 of Siemens’ Digital Twin Webinar Series: Intelligent Data Acquisition and Normalization

I-007e Micro Webinars recently released a free, on-demand series titled “Implementing Digital Twin Best Practices From Design Through Manufacturing” with Siemens' Jay Gorajia. In Part 9, Gorajia’s topic is “Intelligent Data Acquisition and Normalization.” He asks, “With the considerable investment in automation of the PCB assembly process, why is it a challenge to get data from the production line?”

This Month in SMT007 Magazine: Test and Measurement in a Smart Factory

Nolan Johnson spoke with MIRTEC President Brian D’Amico about how the role of test and measurement equipment is changing in the smart factory and how shops can adjust to make use of the new technology. D’Amico shares this insight: “While approximately 90% of U.S. electronics manufacturers recognize the potential of Industry 4.0 to improve productivity, many are slow to adopt smart factory solutions within the manufacturing process.”

Real Time with… AltiumLive 2020: Vince Mazur Previews New Design Rule Features

Altium Technical Marketing Manager Vince Mazur discusses his presentation at the recent AltiumLive, which focused on updates to Altium Designer's approach to creating design rules and constraints. Vince explains that these features will be more intuitive for the user, and the update, which is currently in beta, will be released in the future. The company is shifting from “rule-centric” design rules features to capabilities that are more “design-centric,” with applicable rules for each object available at one click.

Reducing Flux Splatter in Sensors and Camera Modules

With the increased use of electronics in new technology areas, flux formulations are being developed to address the new and existing requirements. For sensors and camera modules used for Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) and internet of things (IoT) applications, there is a demand for no-clean flux formulations in lead-free solder paste, which can reduce flux splattering during reflow.

IPC Standards Development: Business Challenges and an Inside View

With increasing frequency, standardising the standards, such as ISO 9201, imposes certain rules that must be met to ensure “fair play” amongst the supply chain. There will be those familiar with hearing about “false positives/negatives” and “never trust the salesman,” so mitigating these is no easy task. However, there is the chance for each 5-30 Task Group to review industry requirements and set out the work program for the ensuing period. With that in mind, much of what follows is based on comments we learn about from our industry around the world, many of whom are not yet IPC members. Yes, this is a membership recruitment drive, unashamedly, as well as a search for volunteers willing to help create the standards of tomorrow.


Part 8 of Siemens’ Digital Twin Webinar Series: On-Demand Machine Part Data

I-007e Micro Webinars recently released a free, on-demand series titled “Implementing Digital Twin Best Practices From Design Through Manufacturing” with Siemens' Jay Gorajia. In Part 8, Gorajia addresses, “On-Demand Machine Part Data for PCB Assembly Equipment.”

How to Benefit From Robotic Soldering Processes

Webinars are in vogue! But in Pete Starkey's experience, the master of the technical webinar with many years’ experience of delivering first-rate events is Bob Willis—electronics assembly specialist, soldering expert, and provider of training and consultancy in electronics manufacture. Here, Pete recaps Bob’s presentation on the upcoming robotic soldering experience.

Just Ask Greg: Advice on Purchasing SMT Stencils

We asked you to send in your questions for Happy Holden, Joe Fjelstad, Eric Camden, and John Mitchell in our “Just Ask” series. Now, Greg Smith, an SMT007 columnist, gets a chance to answer a question.

Part 7 of Siemens’ Digital Twin Webinar Series: Optimizing Inspection and Test Engineering

Have you ever wondered what digital twin is, how it's used, and its benefits? Are you interested in learning ways to optimize and streamline how data flows from design, production planning, process engineering, and manufacturing? Then this micro webinar series is for you! Throughout this 12-part series, Jay Gorajia from Siemens Industries Software describes how to leverage the digital twin concept—from design to production planning and process engineering—through manufacturing execution and supply chain. The goal of the series is to define a blueprint for organizations seeking to digitalize and optimize their design to manufacturing processes and manufacturing operations.

Real Time with… SMTAI 2020: Women’s Leadership Program Cruises Through Important Topics

The virtual environment didn’t stop a large gathering of women (and men) from learning, sharing, and enjoying the Women’s Leadership Program during SMTAI 2020. Michelle Te shares her experience.

Virtual SMTAI 2020 Offers a Primer for Trade Show Managers

I really must hand it to Tanya Martin and Ryan Flaherty for pulling off something as audacious as a virtual version of SMTA International, which took place in cyberspace on September 28–30. SMTA did it in record time. A few months ago, SMTAI was still slated to be a live event in metro Chicago. When COVID-19 travel restrictions made a live event impossible, they stopped on a dime, switched to a virtual event, and never looked back.

Part 5 of Siemens’ Digital Twin Webinar Series: Managing the Digital Thread

I-007e Micro Webinars recently released a free, on-demand series titled “Implementing Digital Twin Best Practices From Design Through Manufacturing” with Siemens' Jay Gorajia. In part 5, Gorajia discusses “Managing the Digital Thread From Design to PCB Assembly Engineering.”

Real Time with… SMTAI 2020: Full List of Interviews With Industry Leaders

The virtual SMTA International Electronics Exhibition took place on September 28–30, and I-Connect007 is here to provide you with comprehensive coverage of the event. We’ve assembled the full list of show-related interviews from before, during, and after SMTAI 2020 with the industry’s top executives, engineers, and managers—all without leaving your office. Visit Real Time with… SMTAI 2020 to view our video series, photo gallery, and more.

Real Time with… SMTAI 2020: Reflections on the Technical Conference

This year’s SMTA International Conference and Exposition went virtual! Pete Starkey explains how the SMTA team did a fine job in difficult circumstances to present an interactive show and technical conference. Here, he highlights four of the papers that particularly caught his interest.

Real Time with...SMTAI 2020: Creative Electron Moves Toward Autonomous Systems

Andy Shaughnessy recently spoke with Dr. Bill Cardoso, CEO of Creative Electron, a provider of advanced X-ray inspection systems. Bill discusses some of the new technologies the company will demonstrate in their virtual booth at SMTAI, including a next-generation X-ray parts counter and a new software platform that offers better automation than ever. He also explains the company’s plan to migrate from automation to autonomous systems by using AI to help remove humans from the process.


Real Time With… SMTAI 2020: Mixing It Up in the Virtual Marketplace

SMTAI 2020 wrapped up on September 30, 2020, completing its three-day run on a virtual platform. This format was uncharted territory for SMTA, exhibitors, presenters, and attendees alike. It is remarkable—and a credit to the organization in the face of a pandemic—that SMTA chose to jump to a virtual format when it could have been so very easy to simply cancel the event altogether. SMTA showed its commitment to the technical conference participants by ensuring their research would publish as intended, as well as to the sponsors and exhibitors who support the event through underwriting and participation.

Manufacturing Test Strategy Tools: Part 4 of Siemens’ Digital Twin Webinar Series

I-007e Micro Webinars recently released a free, on-demand series titled “Implementing Digital Twin Best Practices From Design Through Manufacturing” with Siemens' Jay Gorajia. In Part 4, Gorajia discusses “Manufacturing Test Strategy Tools in the Hands of Designers.”

Manufacturing Test Strategy Tools: Part 4 of Siemens’ Digital Twin Webinar Series

I-007e Micro Webinars recently released a free, on-demand series titled “Implementing Digital Twin Best Practices From Design Through Manufacturing.” Each of the 12 segments can be viewed in about five minutes. In Part 4, Jay Gorajia discusses “Manufacturing Test Strategy Tools in the Hands of Designers.”

Real Time with...SMTAI 2020: STI Electronics Brings Training to the Show

Nolan Johnson talks training with David Raby, president and CEO of STI Electronics. David walks Nolan through STI’s role as a provider of training and EMS services, and the two talk about the strategic need for training and skilled staff in manufacturing. Dave outlines what visitors can find in the company’s virtual booth, and the two conclude by discussing hot topics in training.

Real Time with… SMTAI 2020: First-Time SMTAI Exhibitor Datest

Nolan Johnson speaks with Robert Boguski, president of first-time SMTAI exhibitor Datest. Rob brings Nolan up to speed on the company’s suite of services as a contract test facility and outlines the information that will be available in the Datest virtual booth at SMTAI.

Real Time with... SMTAI 2020: First-Day Wrap-Up

SMTA International 2020 kicked off on Monday morning with attendees and exhibitors mingling and chatting about the latest SMT products and services—virtually, of course. Debbie Carboni, former SMTA VP of Expos, reported that there were “only a few hiccups,” which were addressed quickly and effectively. “This is much better than any other virtual event I have participated in,” she said.

Real Time with...SMTAI 2020: The Test Connection Celebrates 40 Years

Andy Shaughnessy spoke with Bert Horner, VP of engineering support for The Test Connection, about the company’s plans for the upcoming SMTAI virtual show. Bert explains that The Test Connection will address their core competency, engineering, and test services, as well as design tools, such as ASTER Technologies’ DFT analyzer TestWay and the SMH FlashRunner test programmer. He also notes a few of the positive things that the company learned during the COVID-19 lockdown and how the family firm celebrated its 40th anniversary this year.

Virtual SMTA International 2020 Opens Today

SMTA International 2020 kicks off today, and I-Connect007 will bring you complete coverage of this brand-new, virtual event through Real Time with… SMTAI 2020. The virtual SMTAI Electronics Exhibition runs through September 30. Throughout the week, we’ll be capturing and featuring video interviews with the industry’s top executives, engineers, and managers. Stay up to date with the latest developments in the SMT community—all without leaving your office.

Real Time with...SMTAI 2020: How to Network Virtually at the Show

Nolan Johnson networks with SMTA’s Tamara Shephard, membership engagement manager, and Karlie Severinson, events and administrative manager. Shephard and Severinson share how SMTAI has built multiple platforms to bring attendees, exhibitors, and presenters together. SMTAI will host networking opportunities on the virtual show floor to connect to exhibitors, multiple servers on Discord to connect technical program participants, live social events hosted on Zoom, and general social media outreach using the hashtag #SMTAI2020.

Real Time with...SMTAI 2020: The Latest in Test and Inspection From MIRTEC

Brian D’Amico, president of MIRTEC, shares an SMTAI 2020 update with Nolan Johnson. They discuss what visitors can expect to find at MIRTEC’s virtual booth, the current business environment for test and inspection equipment, and how the company has adapted their demonstration and evaluation processes to fit in inside current COVID-19 business protocols.


Real Time with...SMTAI 2020: SelecTech - Flooring Solutions That Won’t Give You Static

Tom Ricciardelli, president and CEO of SelecTech, talks about technical flooring solutions with Nolan Johnson. Ricciardelli discusses some of the challenges to keeping a grounding floor working in a facility and brings Johnson up to speed on how the company’s flooring systems can be installed without factory downtime.

Real Time with… SMTAI 2020: Cimetrix’s Universal Translator—Sapience for Industry 4.0

Ranjan Chatterjee—vice president of smart factory solutions for Cimetrix—and Nolan Johnson discuss new developments in the Sapience product. Chatterjee teases some of the new features in Sapience for Industry 4.0 and shares that smart factory implementation is becoming increasingly quick and straightforward with Cimetrix’s approach to automation. Chatterjee also outlines what exhibit visitors can expect to find in the company’s booth.

Optimize Your PCB DFM Processes: Part 3 of Siemens’ Digital Twin Webinar Series

I-007e Micro Webinars recently released a free, on-demand series titled “Implementing Digital Twin Best Practices From Design Through Manufacturing.” Each of the 12 segments can be viewed in about five minutes.

Real Time with...SMTAI 2020: Aegis' Ontology Drives Digital Twin Process

Andy Shaughnessy speaks with Michael Ford, senior director of emerging industry strategy for Aegis Software, about its newest concept—Ontology—which the company will discuss during SMTAI. He also explains how Ontology relates to the company’s existing MES products, as well as how it dovetails with the digital twin process.

Catching up With Cabletree’s Thomas Chang

Dan Beaulieu has always been interested in exploring the wire harness and cable areas business, so he jumped at the chance to talk with Thomas Chang, the president and owner of Cabletree. Here, they discuss the cable assembly segment and how Cabletree serves EMS companies.

Real Time with… SMTAI 2020: SCHUNK Brings New Router to SMTA International

Nolan Johnson connects with SCHUNK Electronic Solutions’ Tom Herndon, regional sales manager, to discuss the company’s upcoming exhibits at SMTAI. Tom shares what visitors to SCHUNK’s booth can expect to find, including a virtual walking tour of the company’s headquarters facility in Germany. Tom also previews SCHUNK’s newest router, ideal as an entry-level router for shops looking to upgrade or automate.

Real Time with… SMTAI 2020: Insituware Offers Handheld Process Controls for the Smart Factory

Nolan Johnson speaks with Insituware CEO and Chief Engineer Michael Frederickson. Insituware’s expertise in materials control and measurement brings some innovative new handheld measurement devices to the manufacturing floor. Mike and Nolan discuss how these new devices contribute to accuracy, compliance, and real-time process optimization—all key factors in the smart factory environment. Mike also teases what the company will demonstrate in their virtual booth at SMTAI.

Just Ask Eric: Nano-Coating on Stencils?

First, we asked you to send in your questions for Happy Holden and Joe Fjelstad in our “Just Ask” series. Now, it’s Eric Camden’s turn! A regular SMT007 columnist, Eric is a lead investigator at Foresite Inc., an analytical testing and consulting laboratory. As a reliability expert, Eric has worked with many large OEMs and contract manufacturing companies to optimize their manufacturing processes. Today's question involves the use of nano coatings on stencils.

Real Time with…SMTAI 2020: SMTA International Goes Virtual

Nolan Johnson connected with three SMTA principals—KYZEN’s Debbie Carboni, SMTA’s Ryan Flaherty, and Rockwell’s Greg Vance—to discuss the upcoming 2020 SMTA International (SMTAI) event, the first major electronics manufacturing conference and exhibition to go virtual this year. The panel gives an overview of exhibits, technical conference presentations, and professional networking in this new format. and provides some coaching on how to to get the most from this virtual event.

Real Time with…SMTAI 2020: Koh Young on New Products and the Role of AI

Nolan Johnson speaks with Joel Scutchfield, director of sales for the Americas, about Koh Young's exhibit at SMTAI. Scutchfield outlines all the new products being displayed in the virtual booth and discusses the increased role that the company sees for AI in their products and the smart factory flow.


Real Time with…SMTAI 2020: KYZEN on How Maximized Stencil Life Improves Yields

KYZEN Executive Vice President Tom Forsythe shares company updates on stencil cleaning with Nolan Johnson. KYZEN recently announced its newest stencil cleaning product—KYZEN E5631. Forsythe details how the product is best used, as well as the benefits it brings to maximizing stencil life and improving manufacturing yields.

What Is Digital Twin Technology, and Why Is It So Important?

Happy Holden describes how Siemens' 12-part webinar series, “Implementing Digital Twin Best Practices From Design Through Manufacturing,” is an excellent series designed to educate the electronic manufacturing engineer on the progress of using a digital thread to improve products and performance.

Improving Tech Support During a Pandemic

Koh Young’s Quintin Armstrong, senior manager of technical services and applications for the Americas, discusses the work that has been going on at the company around field support, including pre- and post-sales support training, and how those areas have been affected by COVID-19.

This Month in SMT007 Magazine: Robustness Is Not the Same as Reliability

Bob Neves discusses a disconnect he sees in reliability testing between what’s being tested and what happens out in the field, as well as why most reliability tests these days should instead be considered robustness tests.

Organizational and Team Management in Times of Change

Ross Berntson, president and COO of Indium Corporation, shares his perspective, thoughts, and lessons learned on managing his global organization as Indium Corporation responds to health issues, market demand shifts, and organizational change. This interview was conducted in May 2020.

An EMS Perspective on Inventory Management

Foad Ghalili of Epoch International discusses the inventory management practices the company has in place between its two facilities in Fremont, California, and Dalian, China; and how upgrading to an electronic management system made maintaining a much larger inventory possible.

Real Stories of Applied Advanced Analytics in the Electronics Manufacturing Smart Factory

The smart factory is starting to become a reality, as part of the overarching Industry 4.0 paradigm. With the technology enablers, such as industrial IoT (IIoT) and cloud computing, electronics manufacturing operational technology (OT) are on a converging course with traditional information technology (IT). Beyond the challenges of data acquisition and transformation, the true “proof in the pudding” is in the quick ROI from advanced analytics. We will share examples of successful, profitable implementation of applied machine learning (ML) in the electronics manufacturing line, where measurement science meets data science.

Just Ask Joe: The Occam Process

First, we asked you to send in your questions for Happy Holden. Now, it’s Joe Fjelstad’s turn! Inventor, columnist, instructor, and founder of Verdant Electronics, Joe has been involved with rigid PCBs and flexible circuits for decades, and he’s ready to share some of his knowledge with our readers. We hope you enjoy “Just Ask Joe.”

Increase Traceability, Prevent Counterfeiting

Michael Ford, senior director of emerging industry strategy for Aegis Software and I-Connect007 columnist, speaks about the increasing importance of traceability in manufacturing and throughout the supply chain, including how it affects such areas as counterfeit components and inventory management.

Just Ask Joe: The Land Warrior Project

First, we asked you to send in your questions for Happy Holden. Now, it’s Joe Fjelstad’s turn! Inventor, columnist, instructor, and founder of Verdant Electronics, Joe has been involved with rigid PCBs and flexible circuits for decades, and he’s ready to share some of his knowledge with our readers. We hope you enjoy “Just Ask Joe.”


8 Measures for Sales and Operations Planning in Turbulent Times, Part 5

In this series, CEPHAS principal Fane Friberg highlights the interdependent elements of an effective S&OP process for leaders of supply chain management. While some companies tend to fall back on the status quo, Freiberg highlights why it’s critical to actually increase the frequency of the S&OP rather than decrease the operations. He has reviewed the importance of staying committed, strategic imperatives, participation, and technology. Today, he discusses rough-cut capacity planning.

Handling Supply Chain Disruption in Silicon Valley

Nolan Johnson spoke with Najat Badriyeh, CEO and president of Naprotek, about the current state of the supply chain as a contract manufacturer in Silicon Valley, adjustments the company has made, and what she anticipates for the future.

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! 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.


NEXT
Copyright © 2022 I-Connect007. All rights reserved.