Article Highlights
The Year of IoT Digitalization
12/15/2017 | Michael Ford, Aegis Software Corp.
Solder Printing Process Inputs Impacting Distribution of Paste Volume
12/14/2017 | Marco Lajoie and Alain Breton, C-MAC Microelectronics
Tips & Tricks: Generating Stencil Tooling
12/13/2017 | Ken Horky, Peterson Manufacturing
Improving Solder Paste Printing
12/12/2017 | Stephen Las Marias, I-Connect007
Insights from productronica
12/07/2017 | Dieter G. Weiss, Weiss Engineering

Latest Articles

Real Time with… SMTAI: Making Your Shop Floor More Intelligent

Mitch DeCaire, channel sales manager at Cogiscan, speaks with I-Connect007’s Andy Shaughnessy about how real-time data collection from the factory floor can help customers improve their quality and overall productivity.

Real Time with… SMTAI: Merger Puts Libra Industries in Driver's Seat

W. Scott Fillebrown, CTO of EMS firm Libra Industries, talks with I-Connect007’s Andy Shaughnessy about Libra’s acquisition of ACD last year, their migration to common platforms and systems, and how their latest equipment installations have helped improved efficiency and throughput in their manufacturing lines.

Real Time with... SMTAI: Gary Tanel on His Founder's Award, SMTA Benefits

Gary Tanel, vice president of business development at McDonald Technologies and president of the SMTA Dallas Chapter, speaks with I-Connect007’s Andy Shaughnessy about his SMTA Founder's Award—the highest honor given by SMTA.

10 Meaningless Statistics EMS Providers List on their Websites

In an attempt to stand out from other EMS providers, we include a range of statistics on our websites. We assume OEMs find these helpful and use them to make decisions on whether or not we could be the right partner to outsource to. But are they really the key important statistics to feature?

Real Time with... SMTAI: Mirtec’s Brian D’Amico Discusses Benefits of 3D Inspection Technologies

Brian D'Amico, president of Mirtec, discusses with I-Connect007’s Andy Shaughnessy why more and more manufacturers are adopting 3D inspection technologies, such as 3D AOI and 3D SPI systems. He also mentions the increasing use of very small components—such as the 0201s and 01005s—and the advent of the 03015s.

Real Time with… SMTAI: Alpha's Strategies to Ensure Reliability of Assemblies

I-Connect007’s Judy Warner and Robert Wallace, regional marketing manager and channel partner manager for the Americas for Alpha Assembly Solutions, discuss how Alpha helps ensure reliability of their customers’ assemblies by providing soldering material set combinations that had been fully tested together for the J-STD-004B.

Real Time with… SMTAI: Metcal Updates Scavenging with the Scarab

Paul Wood, applications manager at Metcal, discusses with I-Connect007’s Andy Shaughnessy how their standalone, contactless Scarab site cleaning system is helping manufacturers optimize their pad cleaning process.

Real Time with... SMTAI: AIM’s Tim O'Neill on Soldering Challenges and Innovation

Tim O’Neill, technical marketing manager for AIM Solder, speaks with I-Connect007’s Andy Shaughnessy about the biggest problems related to solder paste printing in a typical manufacturing process—and how their M8 no-clean solder paste is helping address these issues.

Real Time with... SMTAI: KYZEN Pushes Cleaning Data to the Cloud

At the recent SMTA International exhibition, Tom Forsythe, executive vice president of Kyzen, discusses with I-Connect007’s Andy Shaughnessy their latest system that helps customers have a better handle on their cleaning process.

Saline Lectronics Invests in the Millennial Generation

You're heard all the knocks against millennials: they're flaky job-hoppers and they're tough to motivate. But Saline Lectronics has a larger presence of these younger employees, and they find quite a few advantages to hiring staff who are far from retirement age. Saline's Jason Sciberra explains how he manages and motivates these young people.


Mitigation of Pure Tin Risk by Tin-Lead SMT Reflow – Results of an Industry Round-Robin

The risk associated with whisker growth from pure tin solderable terminations is fully mitigated when all of the pure tin is dissolved into tin-lead solder during SMT reflow. This article details a round robin study that has been performed by IPC Task group 8-81f, to guide high-reliability end-users on the applicability and limitations of this mitigation strategy.

IPC Certification Program's 'Space Hardware Addendums' Training and Certification

In this article, Sharon Montana-Beard of Blackfox discusses the IPC Certification Program's Space Hardware Addendums training and certification, the topics covered in the training course, and the benefits of the program.

Ionics EMS Talks Industry 4.0, Mil/Aero Opportunities, and Supply Chain

In an interview with SMT Magazine, Dr. Jay Sabido, president and COO of Ionics EMS Inc., discusses a wide range of topics, including Industry 4.0, automation, and the challenges in the military and aerospace industry, including lead-free, counterfeit components, and traceability.

IPC-1782 Standard for Traceability Supporting Counterfeit Components

Traceability has grown from being a specialized need for certain safety critical segments of the industry, to now being a recognized value-add tool for the industry as a whole. This article discusses the IPC-1782 project, which aims to create a single flexible data structure that can be adopted for all levels of traceability that are required across the industry.

Recycling Substrates and Components in Mil/Aero Assemblies: Secure Metals Recovery

In this article, Mitch Holtzer of Alpha Assembly Solutions writes about reworking defective military and aerospace electronics assemblies, and recovering the value of the substrate and components without compromising the top secret design of the circuit.

The Theory Behind Tin Whisker Phenomena, Part 4

In this fourth installment of the series on the theory behind tin whiskers, Dr. Jennie S. Hwang continues on her discussion of the likely key processes engaged in tin whisker growth—lattice vs. grain boundary diffusion, and reaction and dynamic of intermetallic compounds.

Asteelflash on Mil/Aero Challenges, ITAR, and Opportunities

In an interview with SMT Magazine, Albert Yanez, corporate executive VP and president of Asteelflash, Americas, discusses the challenges in the military and aerospace industries, ITAR compliance, and the opportunities in these sectors.

The Blackfox Advanced Manufacturing Program for Military Veterans

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

How to Specify a Custom Machine

Let’s say you have an unusual product configuration, a unique space requirement, an unorthodox handling system, or an application totally unrelated to the PCB or SMT assembly business, and you can’t find a standard machine provider that can handle your requirements. What then? This article highlights key points to consider when going the custom machine way for your project.

Is Your Electronics Manufacturing Factory 'Smart'?

Despite the amount of content being produced around big data, Industry 4.0, digital manufacturing, mass customization and various other subjects, a large number of electronics manufacturing companies still don't fully understand this question. This article looks to provide guidance on how you can assess your manufacturing facility without investing huge amounts of time and money upfront.


Being More than a Manufacturer’s Rep

Matt Bonweg, process support specialist at manufacturers' rep firm Murray Percival Company, speaks with I-Connect007's Patty Goldman during the recent SMTA Ohio Expo about the company's history and philosophy, as well as their strategies for success in this industry.

Naprotek: Building a Successful EMS in Silicon Valley with a Woman's Touch

I-Connect007's Judy Warner recently visited Naprotek Inc., an EMS provider in the heart of Silicon Valley. She speaks with CEO Najat Badriyeh and two of her team members – VP of Marketing Liz Davidson, and Director of Business Development Mike Brown – about their company and their plans for the future.

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

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

Digital X-Ray—For More Than Inspection

At the recent SMTA Ohio Expo, Sheri Martin, sales manager at YXLON, spoke with I-Connect007's Patty Goldman about her company, their digital X-ray system, and the value of joining such trade events, and the benefits of using X-ray when it comes to failure analysis.

Real Time with NEPCON South China: Mentor Graphics Discusses Control on the Shop Floor

Ofer Lavi Ben David, director of shop floor manufacturing solutions at Mentor Graphics Valor Division, talks with I-Connect007’s Stephen Las Marias about how the smart factory should look, their Open Manufacturing Language, and their solution to provide end-to-end visibility and control in the shop floor.

Geek-A-Palooza: 'Who Says Doing Business Can't Be Fun?'

Geek-a-Palooza, now in its fourth year, is the new kind of business event that combines networking with fun. With a relaxed environment approach, the event is catching on and continues to grow. Dan Beaulieu catches up with Tara Dunn about the upcoming Boston and Minneapolis events…and beyond.

SMTA Reaching Out to Locals and Students

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

Real Time with NEPCON South China: BTU Talks Voiding in Automotive Electronics, Industry 4.0 Strategies

At NEPCON South China 2016, Bob Bouchard of BTU International Inc. discusses with I-Connect007’s Stephen Las Marias the challenges and opportunities in the China market, how BTU is helping address voiding issues in automotive electronics assemblies, and their Industry 4.0 strategies.

Real Time with NEPCON South China: WKK on Automation, China Outlook, Challenges and Opportunities

Victor J.S. Chang, director and general manager of WKK Distribution Ltd, discusses with I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias the increasing automation trend in the region; the efforts of the Chinese government to support the growth of advanced manufacturing; and the latest initiatives at WKK.

Real Time with NEPCON South China: Rehm Thermal Systems Highlights Industry 4.0 Benefits

In Shenzhen, China, Ralf Wagenfuehr, plant manager for Rehm Thermal Systems, speaks with I-Connect007’s Stephen Las Marias about Industry 4.0 and the benefits of this automation trend.


Real Time with NEPCON South China: P. Kay Metal Discusses New Markets for MS2

James Goyne, the newly appointed global business development director at P. Kay Metal Inc., speaks with I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias about what he aims to achieve in his new role, as well as the new markets and opportunities for their MS2 solder dross eliminator.

The Authors of the Printed Circuits Handbook 'Speak'

The seventh edition of the Printed Circuits Handbook was published this spring, which was also the 50th anniversary of the first edition. For this issue—“Voices”—we asked the many authors of the handbook for their thoughts—their voices. We asked a few questions to get them started; though not everyone spoke strictly about the handbook, we found their comments interesting and thought-provoking, and we hope you do as well.

Will The “Internet of Manufacturing” Really Impact Business?

Supporting legacy, new, and future automated processes, as well as the vast number of manual processes in use today, is the key to being able to successfully introduce the Internet of Manufacturing into SMT production.

I-Connect Survey: A Look at the Mil/Aero Industry

I-Connect007 recently conducted a survey on the military/defense and aerospace markets. Respondents were asked about the greatest challenges when it comes to PCB design, fabrication, and assembly; their customers’ demands; whether lead-free components are still an issue; and compliance challenges.

4 Benefits of Industrial Automation in Electronics Manufacturing

In a nutshell, industrial automation is a step beyond mechanization; it is about using control systems and technology to replace human physical and mental labor in the manufacturing and engineering sector. This article talks about four of the resulting benefits of automation for electronics manufacturers.

Standardizing Platforms from Characterization to Production

Over the past decade, the intense focus to reduce the cost of testing has produced a significant shift from using turnkey automated test equipment to building in-house and cost-optimized testers based on off-the-shelf instrumentation. This shift to a custom tester approach has been a large factor in the success of modular instrumentation platforms in the electronics manufacturing industry. This article explains why.

Case Study: Flex Smart Factory at Fuyong

This paper discusses Flex's experience with their current project called Smart Factory, which is being implemented at their Fuyong facility in Shenzhen, China. It also highlights some of the benefits they have achieved, including traceability, improved productivity and quality, and minimized defects through process predictability.

The Industry Speaks

In the latest issue of SMT Magazine, we take a pause from covering the latest technology trends, challenges, and solutions in the electronics manufacturing and assembly industry. Instead, we are focusing on our readers—to give a voice to their thoughts on the industry, companies, jobs, interests, and even pain points when it comes to their respective specialties.

Integrated Manufacturing Solutions: an EMS, ODM, CM, and OEM!

Robbin Thompson, VP Business Development at San Diego-based contract manufacturer Integrated Manufacturing Solutions (IMS), speaks with I-Connect007's Barry Matties and Judy Warner about her company's expansion, production capabilities and product lineup, as well as the culture at IMS.

Local SMTA Expos Are Where It’s Happening!

At the recent SMTA chapter expos, Greg Vance with Rockwell Automation and Brett Crane with Bird Electronic Corporation speak with I-Connect007's Patty Goldman about the event, and the trends happening in the electronics manufacturing industry.


The Benefits of 3D Printing within Contract Electronics Manufacturing

The buzz around 3D printing, or additive manufacturing as it also known, continues to grow day-by-day, and it is regularly hailed as a revolutionary "new" process. This article discusses the basics of 3D printing and the different types of printing processes that exist, along with the benefits these bring to contract electronics manufacturers and the customers they serve.

IMS and STEM: Building a Stronger Future

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

Nondestructive Inspection of Underfill Layers Stacked up in Ceramics-Organics-Ceramics Packages with SAT

Ceramics packages are being used in the electronics industry to operate the devices in harsh environments. This article reports a study on acoustic imaging technology for nondestructively inspecting underfill layers connecting organic interposers sandwiched between two ceramics substrates.

Event Review: 7th Electronic Materials and Processes for Space Workshop

This year's Electronic Materials and Processes for Space Workshop discussed a wide range of technology issues and developments when it comes to PCB fabrication and assembly for space applications. From addressing reliability issues to dealing with cracks that may form during thermal cycling, to REACH regulations and their impact on space hardware, and tin whisker growths. Barrie Dunn provides the highlights.

3 Common Fears About Outsourcing Your Outbound Logistics

If you are still responsible for shipping finished product to your end users, you may be facing difficulties that are distracting you from your core activities. This article explains how you can overcome the common fears about outsourcing your outbound logistics to an EMS provider.

Moving Beyond Paideia: Learning for Earning

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

Investing in the Future Voices of our Industries

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

Bumping of QFNs/LGAs and Other Leadless Devices for More Consistent Rework

Among the greatest challenges leadless devices present are the solder voiding primarily on the ground plane, the inability to clean underneath the devices post rework, and the difficulty in getting similar standoff heights on both the IO and center ground. This article talks about the type of rework methods available to address these issues.

Selecting a Selective Soldering System, Part 5

For the conclusion of his series on selective soldering discussion, Robert Voigt does a quick wrap-up to remind potential buyers about some important considerations that affect the purchase decisions they make.

How to Prevent Solder Bridges During Printed Circuit Board Assembly

Solder bridges occur when solder unintentionally connects one electronic component lead to another. Thankfully, a large number of solder bridges can be easily prevented. And while preventive measures may cost you a small amount of additional time and money, the long term payback can be significant.


Milwaukee Electronics: Screaming-Fast in Pursuit of 'Perfect Products'

Jered Stoehr, VP of sales and marketing at Milwaukee Electronics, discusses with I-Connect007's Judy Warner the innovative ways their company is meeting the needs of today's OEMs. He also talks about the challenges and opportunities they are seeing in their markets.

The STEM Trap

Post-secondary schools have not been responsive to the changing landscape of the modern electronic product assembly operation—they really can’t, considering the lack of real-world experience of most of the faculty. In this article, Tom Borkes explains why.

Condensation Testing—A New Approach

While the characterization of coating performance under high humidity conditions is detailed in well accepted IPC and IEC standards, the performance and testing under condensing conditions is not so well developed. This article talks about a new approach that has been developed where the test board is mounted on a substrate whose temperature can be independently controlled without changing the ambient condition.

Divergence in Test Results Using IPC Standard SIR and Ionic Contamination Measurements

This study will compare the results from testing two solder pastes using the IPC-J-STD-004B IPC TM-650 2.6.3.7 surface insulation resistance test and IPC TM-650 2.3.25 in an attempt to investigate the correlation of ROSE methods as predictors of electronic assembly electrical reliability.

Perfect Placement of Connectors and Pins: 3D Measurement of Swash Circumference and Embedment Depth

Manufacturers are faced with steadily increasing miniaturization and higher packing density in PCB assemblies. Packing densities, in particular, repeatedly create challenges in terms of testability, especially when high components such as connectors are fitted in close proximity to other components. This article looks at different handling and testing requirements for connectors.

Why Flexibility is Crucial to the Success of Your Outbound Logistics

When it comes to outbound logistics, the ability to adapt in order to reach new markets and meet ever-changing customer demands, is vital. This article explores how partnering with an electronics manufacturing services (EMS) provider will help to ensure you are fully equipped for change in a fast-paced global environment.

Material Effects of Laser Energy When Processing Circuit Board Substrates During Depaneling

Using modern laser systems for the depanelization of circuit boards can create some challenges for the production engineer when it is compared to traditional mechanical singulation methods. Understanding the effects of the laser energy to the substrate material properly is essential in order to take advantage of the technology without creating unintended side effects.

Industry 4.0: Making the First Move

Many companies now have active Industry 4.0, Internet of Manufacturing, or smart factory projects. In each case, different approaches were taken that appeared to best fit the project requirements and that would deliver the intended benefits versus the cost and effort investment needed. However, there is no best solution. This article explains why.

Package-on-Package Warpage Characteristics and Requirements

iNEMI organized the Warpage Characteristics of Organic Packages Project to identify primary factors that can contribute to the warpage performance of selected components during typical SMT processes, to better understand package warpage characteristics across different package types and attributes. This article focuses on the work related to package-on-package.

EPC’s Michael de Rooij Discusses Strategic Partnership with Wurth Electronik

Michael de Rooij, PhD, of Efficient Power Conversion Corp. (EPC) talks to I-Connect007 guest editor Kim Sauer about their strategic alliance with Wurth Electronik, how their cooperation works, and how the technology solution they are co-developing can address the wireless power challenge as a whole.


Understanding How EMS Companies View Capital Investment Decisions

One of the great benefits of outsourcing your manufacturing is that it can largely remove the need to continually invest in expensive capital equipment. But when selecting an EMS partner, it is important to take a realistic view of their equipment list. This article explains why.

A New Dispensing Solder Paste for Laser Soldering Technology

A new solder paste of alloy composition of Sn-3.0Ag-0.5Cu in a dispensing way is developed for the automatic laser soldering processes. This paper presents the results of soldering BGA spheres on circuit boards with minimal voiding and no splash or solder balling issues.

How to Overcome Medical Electronics Manufacturing Challenges

There are a lot of things to consider when choosing a medical EMS provider to work with and it is worth taking time to make sure the partner fits your needs. To help you make comparisons between suppliers, this article lists a set of questions to ask to help ensure that the manufacturer you work with has the right experience and expertise for you.

The Pasternack Story

John Farley, director of marketing for Pasternack Enterprises, speaks with I-Connect007's Judy Warner during the recent International Microwave Symposium event about their experience at this year's show. John also discusses the multiple layers of Pasternack's RF products and services and the unique way they do business.

Addressing New Testing & Inspection Challenges

NK Chari, marketing director for manufacturing technologies at the Electronic Industrial Solutions Group of Keysight Technologies, talked about the challenges in PCBA testing and inspection, tougher requirements for testing, and the need for functional testing. He also mentioned some best practices to consider to improve the PCBA testing and inspection process.

Case Study: Achieving Near-Perfect Reads of Data Matrix Codes in PCB Assemblies

The range of Data Matrix marking techniques and PCB materials means that the appearance of marks in PCB assemblies can vary dramatically from one situation to the next. In this case study, each PCB needs to be read at the time of solder inspection so the inspection results can be stored in a database. An integrated solution was developed to reduce the downtime required for opening the inspection machine and manually entering the labels of the PCB assemblies.

I-Connect Survey: Automation or Reducing Process Steps?

In our recent survey, we asked what is more important: automating a process or eliminating process steps. Interestingly, the results are 50-50: half of our respondents say automating a process is more important, while the remaining 50 percent consider eliminating a process step a key strategy.

ITRI’s Wang Talks Future of Soldering and Paste Printing

In an interview with SMT Magazine, Wang Chao, technology manager at UK-based ITRI Ltd, discusses the biggest challenges in solder paste printing, how the solder paste material impacts the process, and the future for soldering and paste printing.

5 Myths About Electronics Manufacturing Outsourcing

OEMs have been outsourcing their electronics manufacturing and test for decades, yet a number of myths relating to outsourcing still remain today. In this article, Neil Sharp tackles some of these myths head on so that anyone considering outsourcing to an EMS provider can base their decision on facts and not fiction.

Selecting a Selective Soldering System, Part 4

In the previous three chapters on selective soldering, Robert Voigt covered the different applications well-suited to this technology, the various types of fluxing and soldering methods available, and nitrogen inerting. In this chapter, he discusses programming software, and how you can figure out the best sequence to optimize production speed.


An Integrated PCB Producer’s Approach to the Market

NCAB Group is one of the biggest PCB suppliers in the world. Barry Matties and Stephen Las Marias recently met with Andy Liu of NCAB to discuss an integrated producer’s approach to the market, new design tools, the current state of the Chinese market, and the future of 3D printed electronics.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0): Intelligent Manufacturing

The last industrial revolution was driven by striking advances in electronics and information technology having achieved enormous economic prosperity and manufacturing automation. So what is the fourth industrial revolution and what does it encompass? This article talks about the genesis of the term and the vision for Industry 4.0.

Improving Test and Inspection

In our recent survey on PCBA test and inspection challenges, respondents consider the following to be among their biggest problems: probing to narrower traces and pads; testing boards with smaller and finer features and sizes; dry solder and other solder-related issues; finding sublayer defects; dealing with flat, no-lead components; and testing cycle time. This month, we look into different PCBA test and inspection strategies that address the key challenges in today’s electronics manufacturing and assembly environment.

Conversations with STI Electronics' Dave Raby at IPC IMPACT Washington, D.C.

Dave Raby, president and CEO of EMS firm STI Electronics and an eager participant at this year’s IMPACT Washington, D.C. event, speaks with I-Connect007’s Patty Goldman about his expectations at this year’s conference.

Zentech’s Matt Turpin on IMPACT Washington, D.C.’s Benefits

At the recent IMPACT Washington, D.C. 2016 event in Capitol Hill, Matt Turpin, CEO of EMS firm Zentech discusses with I-Connect007's Patty Goldman his expectations on the event, its importance, and how, so far, it has helped the electronics manufacturing industry in the United States.

Hand Soldering: The Move Toward Automation

At the recent NEPCON event in Shanghai, JBC's Domingo Taberner discussed with I-Connect007's Barry Matties the hand soldering market in China, the move towards automation, the greatest challenges their customers have in soldering, and what to know about choosing the right temperature and tip.

A First-Timer's Perspective on IMPACT Washington, D.C. 2016

I-Connect007 editor Patty Goldman speaks with Faisal Pandit, president of Panasonic Factory Solutions Company, during the recent IMPACT Washington D.C. 2016 event. They discuss his experience as a first-time attendee, and his reasons for attending the event this year.

Solder Paste Dispensing: Breaking the Limits of Printing

In an interview with SMT Magazine, Eric Gu, application manager at Nordson Asymtek China, talks about the greatest challenges and innovations in solder paste dispensing, and factors to consider when using solder paste dispensers.

The Reliability Factor in Solder Paste Printing

In an interview with SMT Magazine, Knoll Evangelista of EMS firm EMS Components Assembly Inc. speaks about the solder paste printing challenge, what factors impact the process, and best practices to consider.

To Clean or No Clean?

The addition of a cleaning process to your manufacturing line will amount to an added 5–6 cents per board produced. Mike Konrad of Aqueous Technologies believes that is a small price to pay for the added value, testing, and reduced liability and insurance that a cleaning solution can provide; however, he admits cleaning isn’t for everyone.


Solder Paste Printing: A User’s Perspective

Integrated Micro-Electronics' Joemar Apolinario, Aurelio Bantigue, and Rodney Bebe, discuss the challenges and key considerations to make when dealing with tighter tolerances and finer pitches in line with the continuing miniaturization trend in the electronics manufacturing industry. They also talked about the impact of solder pastes in the printing process, and the criteria for their selection and qualification.

SPI Parameter Considerations for Tighter Tolerances

In an interview with SMT Magazine, Vi Technology’s Jean-Marc Peallat and Chong Choon Hee speak about the solder paste inspection challenges when it comes to tighter tolerances and finer lines and pitches in board assemblies, and the latest innovations happening in the SPI space to help customers address these issues.

IPC President John Mitchell Discusses IPC's Footprint in China

At the Capital Club in Beijing, IPC’s president John Mitchell met with I-Connect007’s Edy Yu to discuss the current activites of IPC China. Some of the topics covered included the growing China membership, training, trade shows and IPC China’s standards development effort.

Jumping Off the Bandwagon: The Production Engineering Student as Customer

Production, industrial, process, manufacturing engineering, to name a few fields of engineering study, will never be successfully taught on-line. In his latest article, Tom Borkes explains why.

Creation Technologies on IMPACT Washington, D.C. 2016

Bhawnesh Mathur, president and CEO of contract electronics manufacturer Creation Technologies, shares his thoughts with I-Connect007's Patty Goldman on the benefits of the recent IMPACT Washington D.C. event.

Solder Jet Printing: Keeping Up with the Challenges

In an interview with SMT Magazine, Thomas Bredin, area sales manager at Mycronic, discusses solder paste printing, and how the jet printers are getting up to speed with the challenges such as tighter tolerances and finer lines and pitches. He also talks about key factors to consider when selecting a solder paste printer, and what Mycronic 4.0 is all about.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: ACE's Alan Cable Discusses Benefits of Selective Soldering, and Need for Lead Tinning

Alan Cable, president of ACE Production Technologies, talks to I-Connect007 guest editor Mark Thompson about selective soldering and how it helps electronics assemblers overcome the high cost of labor.

Selecting a Selective Soldering System, Part 3

The previous two articles on selective soldering covered the different applications well-suited to this technology, and the various types of fluxing methods available. In this article, Robert Voigt discusses the common types of soldering technologies available, as well as nitrogen inerting systems.

Pad Defined vs. Mask Defined: Which Method is Optimal?

It seems that there is no universal consensus on a seemingly simple choice used in designing electronic circuits. Should the pads on the PCB be defined by the edge of the solder mask opening (mask defined), or should the solder mask opening fall short of the circuit board interconnect (pad or non-solder mask defined)? In this article, SMT Magazine columnist Mitch Holtzer discusses which among the two methods is optimal.

Improving the Solder Paste Printing Cycle Times

At the recent NEPCON China show in Shanghai, I interviewed Adam Sim, senior sales manager at Speedline ITW EAE, about the challenges in solder stencil printing, how printing cycle times may be improved, and the key factors to consider when selecting a solder paste printing solution.


To Bake or Not to Bake (in Rework)—That is the Question

When performing rework on printed circuit boards, the issue of the moisture having to be baked out of the PCB is often debated. Whether it is localized mini-wave rework, hand-soldering or convection rework, the board, as well as neighboring components, needs to be taken into account in terms of moisture protection during the reflow cycle. This article details the baking requirements during PCB rework.

Bright Future/Bright Plan: Photostencil

Photostencil is looking at a multitude of new developments right now, not least of which is the opening of a “new from the ground up” factory that will allow them to address their customer’s greatest needs, including the growing challenge of miniaturization. Photostencil’s VP of Global Sales, Rachel Short, talks to Guest Editor Kelly Dack about the new factory, the positive outlook the company’s customers are exhibiting for 2015 and 2016, and customer reports of projected growth of 3–7%. Short also discusses the new nickel-cobalt electroform stencil, which is more durable and helps alleviate stretch.​

Solder Paste Printing: Challenges and Best Practices

In an interview with SMT Magazine, Watson Tseng, General Manager of Shenmao America Inc., talks about the challenges in solder paste printing, key parameters and best practices to consider, and variables involved when it comes to selecting the appropriate solder paste for the printing process.

The Solder Paste Factor in Printing

Mitch Holtzer, Alpha Assembly Solutions’ global director of customer technical support, and expert columnist at SMT Magazine, talks about the challenges that customers face when it comes to solder paste printing, the impact of solder pastes on the printing process, and the variables involved when selecting the type of solder to use for specific applications.

3D Solder Joint Reconstruction on SMD Based on 2D Images

Solder joint inspection has been a critical issue for quality control, mainly due to their specular reflections. AOI systems have been faced with the same difficulty for solder inspection. This paper presents an algorithm for 3D solder joint reconstruction, which gives 3D analysis capability to the traditional 2D AOI equipment, practically without increasing the financial cost and with no cycle time impact, bringing 2D AOI equipment back into the game of SMT technology.

Solder Paste Exploration

From the manufacturers of solder pastes, to equipment makers, all the way to the solder paste inspection guys, and the electronics assemblers who are using their products, I talked to the supply chain to find out what’s going on in the solder paste printing process, what factors impact the process, the challenges, and the best practices to consider to be able to address those challenges and improve efficiencies and yield in the SMT line.

Flexible Circuit Component Assembly… and a Math Lesson

Flexible circuits are often sold in multiple-up panels or arrays to facilitate the assembly of SMT components. Coordination between the desires of the assembly supplier and the fabricator can have a significant effect on costs based on material/panel utilization.

The Henry Ford Division of Labor Production Model

We are all aware of what the price of assembling a product is based upon: material cost, number of labor hours needed for the product assembly and test, and labor sell rate in dollars per hour. In this article, Tom Borkes writes why the disparity in labor sell rates is still daunting.

Selecting a Selective Soldering System, Part 2

In Part 1, Robert Voigt began a discussion of selective soldering, including how it works, some pros and cons, and several fluxing and soldering options to choose from. This chapter dives a little deeper into the mechanics of fluxing systems.

What’s in a Name? ICAPE Group’s Glenn Colescott Explains

Glenn Colescott, director of ICAPE USA, speaks with I-Connect007's Patty Goldman about his company, their expansion plans, why they attend regional shows like the SMTA West Penn Chapter Expo & Tech Forum, and how they make customers get over the phobia over a trading company.


SMTA West Penn Chapter Plans Manufacturing Boot Camp in August

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

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

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

Electrolube: We Like Problems (Chinese Style)

In a follow-up interview, Ron Jakeman, group managing director of Electrolube, discusses with I-Connect007's Pete Starkey his company's strategy in China and the opportunities they are seeing in the region. They also discussed the company's two new products that will complement their European range.

China, Trump, and the Future

At NEPCON China, Hamed El-Abd of WKK and I-Connect007's Barry Matties discussed China’s fluctuating economy, the impact of the U.S. presidential election, the current state of electronics manufacturing in the region, and the overall craziness of doing business in modern day China.

Making Systems Smarter to Gain Visibility, Traceability, and Reduce Handling Errors

At the recent IPC APEX EXPO event in Las Vegas, Bjorn Dahle, president of KIC, talks about his views on automation, the technology improvements being made in reflow ovens, and some of the strategies to reduce handling errors in assembly lines.

A Preview of the 2016 International Microwave Symposium

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

Reducing Setup Time to Provide More Uptime in Production

In an interview with I-Connect007 at the recent IPC APEX EXPO event in Las Vegas, Bob Bouchard, corporate marketing manager at BTU, talks about the latest developments in their products, how their technology is helping users reduce their setup times, and the impact of Industry 4.0 in the electronics assembly industry.

How Far Does It Make Sense to Automate?

There are often many advantages to automating the final assembly process, but how far does it make sense to automate? Is a fully automated process better than a semi-automated, or partially manual process? This article tells you more about the challenges and advantages of automation, and the right approach to adopt based on your operations.

EMS Rules of Automation & ROI

Are smaller EMS companies effectively dependent on manual labor and excluded from the innovation that automation and the computerization of the factory operation can bring? The answer is no because IoT is coming to the rescue. This article explains the cost of automation, how much to invest in automation, and the latest technology developments that will provide you manufacturing flexibility.

Strategies to Reduce Handling Errors in Your Rework Process

In this interview during the recent IPC APEX EXPO in Las Vegas, Donald Naugler, president and general manager of VJ Electronix, discusses rework challenges and strategies to help customers reduce handling errors in their processes. He also talks about automation, and the impact of Industry 4.0 in the electronics assembly industry.


Working Smarter Through a Proprietary Systems Strategy

From an IT perspective, EMS companies have two choices: select off-the-shelf systems and deal with support gaps if the systems don’t provide all the tools needed to manage the business, or buy an off-the-shelf core system and create highly customized solutions to address any support gaps. This article talks about the benefits of having the latter approach.

The Importance of Being Earnest (Educated)

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

To Outsource or Not to Outsource PCB Rework

There is a case to be made that outsourcing certain rework projects makes a lot of sense, especially in large, complex or highly time-sensitive rework projects. However, careful review of the suppliers' knowledge of standards and adherence to processes needs to be taken in to consideration prior to making the outsourcing call.

Cost vs. Cause: What is More Critical to EMS Profitability?

The reality of the market is that each major global EMS player will ask solder paste manufacturers to reduce price, rather than improving first pass yield. But the economics of this market trend are unsustainable. This article explains why achieving first pass yield can be a tremendous driver for maximizing the profitability of an EMS provider.

Best-Practice Process Preparation for PCB Assembly

In this high-pressure environment, process preparation systems need to be able to cope with every aspect and production, all machines and processes, without mistakes and without confusion, to scale the flexibility and responsiveness of the production operation in line with customer and market expectations.

Benefits of Improving Reflow and Screen Printing Processes

With a level playing field in terms of access to talent, technology, knowhow, infrastructure, and financial resources, how can an EMS company build a successful business year after year, decade after decade? Read this article to find out how one EMS player—through process improvements—manages to remain strong in this industry.

The Launch of a Lifetime: Catching up with Barry Lee Cohen

Dan Beaulieu catches up with industry veteran Barry Lee Cohen to talk about the new company he launched last month—Launch Communications; his vision; and why he took the chance in striking it out on his own.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Introbotix Highlights HF Tech for Nondestructive Testing

Brian Butler, president and CEO of Introbotix, speaks with I-Connect007 guest editor Bob Neves about using high-frequency test technology for insertion loss testing. He also talks about the HDP User Group and its current activities and initiatives.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Mentor Graphics Takes Manufacturing Operations to the Next Level

Dan Hoz, general manager of Mentor Graphics Valor Division, discusses with I-Connect007's Andy Shaughnessy how they are helping electronics manufacturers take their operations to the next level through their Valor IoT Manufacturing solutions. He talks about the OML and the Valor IoT Device, and how these solutions will help the electronics manufacturing industry to move to Industry 4.0.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Metcal on the Benefits of Customer Collaboration

Robert Roush, product support engineer at Metcal, discusses with I-Connect007 editor Andy Shaughnessy the importance of working together with customers, and how this approach can drive innovations in every market. They also explore the benefits of having digital solder feeders compared to traditional analog versions.


Selective Soldering: Design, Process Challenges and Practical Solutions

A SMART Group workshop at the Bromsgrove, UK, premises of equipment and process materials distributor APP Electronics, set out to provide the answers, with a programme combining technical presentations, live demonstrations and hands-on sessions, introduced and moderated by Nigel Burtt, senior electronics manufacturing engineer at Renishaw and SMART Technical Committee Chairman.

Supplier Spotlight: Transition Automation

In an interview with I-Connect007, Alden Lewis, vice president of sales at Transition Automation, discusses how they are tackling solder paste printing problems with squeegee technologies.

Selecting a Selective Soldering System, Part 1

So far in this series, we’ve covered stencil printers, pick and place machines, reflow ovens and multiple types of through-hole soldering. In this and the next couple of chapters, we’ll discuss selective soldering machines. It’s useful to start by understanding why and when selective soldering is used.

The Buyer’s Guide to Automation

Back in the 1990s when high-volume production was still enjoyed by most operations, the idea of replacing remaining manual operations with automated processes seemed like a great idea, but the technology at the time did not quite deliver on expectations. Today, the same goals for automation are once again in play; but this time, although technical capabilities have vastly improved, little high-volume is left.

Super Dry Discusses Tower System Developments

Rich Heimsch, director of the Americas for Super Dry-Totech, sits with I-Connect007's Andy Shaughnessy during the recent IPC APEX EXPO in Las Vegas to discuss the latest product developments at his company, as well as opportunities they are looking at.

Enabling Process Innovation through Test and Measurement Solutions

In an interview with I-Connect007, National Instruments Managing Director Matej Kranjc discussed how their platforms are enabling the development of intelligent systems of systems that help users make smarter business decisions, and how big data analysis is enabling process innovation in the electronics assembly line.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Rehm Discusses Advantages of Moving Heat Technology

Rehm Thermal Systems general manager Paul Handler speaks with I-Connect007 guest editor Steve Williams about the advantages of the moving heat chamber compared to traditional technology in the market today, and why their systems are all Industry 4.0-ready.

In a Culture of Continuous Improvement, Processes Continually Improve

In an interview with SMT Magazine, Etratech’s Mike Renneboog, manufacturing manager, and Robert Clarke, process manufacturing engineer, discussed their most significant challenge to improving SMT line productivity and quality, and the lessons they learned along the way.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Saline Lectronics Discusses How Industry 4.0 Can Give CMs the Edge

Jason Sciberras and Davina McDonnell of Saline Lectronics speak with I-Connect007 guest editor Steve Williams about how they embraced Industry 4.0 in their manufacturing line.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Kurtz Ersa Talks Latest Innovations

Ernie Grice of Kurtz Ersa North America speaks with I-Connect007 guest editor Mark Thompson about their latest innovations, including voidless reflow machines, selective soldering machines and rework systems, as well as a new paste printer that incorporates a 3D inspection system.


RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Indium Tackles Solder Voiding

Glen Thomas, product manager for solder pastes at Indium Corp., discusses with I-Connect007 Guest Editor Dick Crowe the primary problem in SMT lines today—solder voiding—and how they are helping their customers address this issue.

Taking the Gremlins Out of Your Process

Every step in your assembly line is supposed to be designed to perform optimally for you to have an efficient, reliable, robust and reproducible process. However, and as isolated as they may seem, "gremlins" sometimes appear and mess up the results of a batch. The latest issue of SMT Magazine features strategies that can help you address these issues.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Mentor Graphics Makes Internet of Manufacturing Affordable

Michael Ford, marketing development manager at Mentor Graphics, and I-Connect007 editor Andy Shaughnessy discuss the Open Manufacturing Language (OML), the challenges in supporting the hundreds of thousands of machines that are out there at shopfloors already, and how Mentor is making the Internet of Manufacturing affordable for everyone in the PCB assembly supply chain.

IPC APEX EXPO: Zentech's Matt Turpin Talks Strategies for Success in CM Industry

Zentech's Matt Turpin, named as one the electronics industry's Rising Stars by the IPC, speaks with I-Connect007 guest editor Dan Beaulieu on how to become successful in the electronics contract manufacturing space.

IPC APEX EXPO: Mirtec's D'Amico Speaks on How 3D AOI Tackles SMT Inspection Challenges

Brian D'Amico, president of Mirtec, speaks with I-Connect007 guest editor Bob Neves about the inspection challenges in the SMT industry amid the continuing trend towards smaller devices and components, and how 3D AOI is helping manufacturers address these issues.

IPC APEX EXPO: EPTAC Updates on Soldering Committee Developments

Leo Lambert, vice president and technical director at EPTAC Corp., provides I-Connect007 guest editor Joe Fjelstad an update on some of the standard developments at IPC's soldering and assembly committee.

Standard of Excellence: Tips for Finding a Great PCB R&D Partner

This new column, Standard of Excellence, represents a cooperative writing effort by a team of experts at American Standard Circuits. This month, we begin with CEO Anaya Vardya, who focuses on R&D. In his piece, he provides his insights on what characteristics to look for in a good R&D PCB fabrication vendor partner, and a few things that are expected of them to do for you.

IPC APEX EXPO: Foresite Discusses Cleaning Challenges

I-Connect007 guest editor Michael Konrad sits with Eric Camden, lead investigator with Foresite, to talk about cleaning and why it is now back in the spotlight in electronics assembly.

IPC APEX EXPO: Improving Assembly Line Efficiencies with Material Handling Solutions

Ben Khoshnood, president of Inovaxe, discusses with I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias how EMS and OEM firms can utilize material handling solutions to increase the efficiencies of their assembly lines and reduce operator errors. He also highlights the latest technology developments in their material handling systems.

IPC APEX EXPO: Cogiscan Explains Benefits of Having Real-Time Factory Intelligence

Francois Monette, VP of sales and marketing at Cogiscan, speaks to I-Connect007 guest editor Mark Thompson about modern factory intelligence, and the the benefits of having this capability in assembly lines.


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

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

IPC APEX EXPO: Alpha Explains Approach to Address Miniaturization Challenges

Jason Fullerton of Alpha Assembly Solutions discusses with Dr. Jennie Hwang the company's approach to helping customers address product reliability issues amid the continuing miniaturization trend in electronics.

IPC APEX EXPO: Technica USA and ASM Americas Highlight Expanded Partnership

In this interview with I-Connect007’s Andy Shaughnessy, Jeff Timms, Managing Director, ASM Assembly Systems Americas, and Frank Medina, president of Technica, discuss their expanded cooperation.

IPC APEX EXPO: Acromag Discusses Newly Launched Electronic Contract Manufacturing Division

Acromag’s David Wolfe and Stacy Moore talk with I-Connect007’s Andy Shaughnessy about the company’s newly launched electronic contract manufacturing division, and the services it will offer to industries including telematics, military, aerospace, and automotive.

IPC APEX EXPO: Manncorp Talks 50 Years in Business

Henry Mann, founder and CEO of Manncorp, discusses with I-Connect007’s Stephen Las Marias the highlights of their 50 years in this industry, and the changes he had seen over the past five decades. He also provides his outlook on where the industry is headed.

IPC APEX EXPO: Rethink Robotics Provides a Glimpse into the Future of Electronics Assembly Industry

Carl Palme, applications product manager at Rethink Robotics, discusses with I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias the impact of robotics, and its future, in the electronics assembly industry.

IPC APEX EXPO: IPC's Fern Abrams Provides Updates on RoHS, REACH Directives

Fern Abrams, director of regulatory affairs and government relations at IPC, discusses with I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias the latest updates on the changes happening in the RoHS and REACH directives this year, as well as IPC's new initiatives and advocacies.

IPC APEX EXPO: AIM's O'Neill Highlights M8 Solder Paste

Timothy O'Neill, technical marketing manager at AIM Solder, updates I-Connect007 Guest Editor Mark Thompson about the company's M8 solder paste, which they launched at last year's APEX. O'Neill discusses how the product improves print quality and reduces voiding on bottom-terminated devices.

IPC APEX EXPO: Kyzen, Dell Discuss Latest HDP User Group Research and Activities

Kyzen's Mike Bixenman and Dell's Wallace Ables discuss the latest projects and activities of the HDP Users Group. In particular, they talked about a research project that aims to develop a test process and procedure to identify the risk of pitting and crevice corrosion from the no-clean fluxes on assembled products.

Finding the Perfect Partner

Whether you’re making screen printers or producing solder paste, whether you’re part of a multinational conglomerate or you’ve spotted a niche and you’ve launched a startup company, one day you’ll need someone to find you new business, sell your stuff and keep your customers happy.


Design for Test in the U.S. Market

With most high-volume printed circuit assembly being sent outside the United States, we have a unique challenge for testing the lower volume/high turnover assemblies domestically. However, with a little planning and the right contract manufacturer (CM), test does not need to be an issue.

IPC APEX EXPO: Kimball Electronics Sees Strong Growth in Automotive Electronics Sector

Kimball Electronics' Chris Thyen discusses with I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias the company's growth and first year as an independent, public company after its spin off from Kimball International, as well as its new facility in Romania.

Reflow Oven Changeover in a World of Short Production Runs

When drilling down to the individual machines, you may find that the biggest drag on your productivity is the reflow oven. The use of more effective production planning and scheduling as well as modern data mining software to identify one or a few oven recipes may provide dramatic improvements to line changeover time and, consequently, profits.

3 Ways to Ensure Your EMS Provider's Supply Chain is Excellent

As an original equipment manufacturer, once you’ve outsourced your manufacturing to an electronics manufacturing services provider, you will have very little hands-on involvement with your materials supply chain. And that’s a good thing because it means you have more time to focus on your core competencies (i.e., designing and selling your products).

Product Compliance Requires Supply Chain Transparency

Changes to the RoHS, REACH, and conflict minerals regulations make the need for supply chain transparency more crucial than ever. In line with this, full material declaration (FMD) is quickly becoming the "gold standard" data requirement for an OEM to accurately assess the risk of restricted materials in a product.

Mentor Graphics’ Oren Manor Explains Exactly What Industry 4.0 Brings to Manufacturing

Oren Manor of Mentor Graphics talks about what Industry 4.0 is really about, and how it benefits electronics manufacturers. He also discusses their design to manufacture solution, and how it helps OEMs large and small make the transition to Industry 4.0 without a complete factory overhaul.

The Benefits of a Vertically Integrated Approach to EMS

The combination of vertical integration and investments made in workforce and systems offers a responsive, cost competitive and scalable business model that will help electronics assemblers improve customer satisfaction, improve their margins, and increase their profitability.

Filtration Technology: A Critical Influence on the Removal of Airborne Pollutants

Occupational health and safety protection in electronics manufacturing companies as well as in laboratories has gained importance in recent decades, because the impact of airborne pollutants on employees, machines and products has a critical influence on production and profitability.

A Practical Guide to Managing Material Cost Impact

More SMT lines, faster machines, or new ERP software are not the only, or even the best, answers to achieve business goals in the electronics manufacturing and assembly industry. To win the race for survival, growth and profitability, companies must give the highest priority to the material operation and material handling tools.

Remove Your Shop Floor by Using a CEM

Once OEMs embark on an outsourcing strategy, a number of "shop floor" activities are transferred over to their CEM's manufacturing facility. In this article, Neil Sharp discusses the different areas that OEMs need to relinquish to their CEM in order to be in a position to remove their shop floor completely, so that they can focus on the areas of their business that matter the most.


An Onboarding Process Can Build a Strong Organizational Culture

Designing an onboarding process that aims to make employees feel valued by the company will deliver leading metrics that include compound annual revenue growth rate >50%, gross margin >21%, on-time delivery over 99.6%, and inventory turns between 12–14.

Ensuring Profitability

According to our recent survey, the key challenges impacting profitablility of electronics manufacturers and assemblers are cost, process improvement, changing customer demand, design, training, and Lean manufacturing. The March 2016 issue of SMT Magazine highlights strategies that will help electronics manufacturers address those issues and achieve profitability in their operations.

Reliability Study of Low Silver Alloy Solder Pastes

This article presents the reliability study of lead-free solder joints reflowed using various lead-free alloy solder pastes, such as low and no silver solder pastes and a low temperature SnBiAg solder pastes, after thermal cycling tests.

Changing Role of the Medical Device Contract Manufacturer

The biggest impact that the medical market has had on the electronics manufacturing industry is quality systems due to the regulations of medical devices. In this article, Jay Wimer of Valtronic writes about the challenges in medical electronics manufacturing, innovation drivers, and navigating the regulatory issues for compliance.

3D Assembly Processes: A Look at Today and Tomorrow

One of the ways to increase density of a product is to utilize more of the three-dimensional spaces available. This article explores the evolution of 3D assembly techniques, and takes a glimpse into the future, based on technologies available now, to examine potential assembly methods on the horizon for 3D assemblies.

Evaluating the Tripod as an Alternative Cross-Sectioning Method

One alternative method for cross-sectioning SMT and PCB-related architectures is using a tripod fixture. In this article, Steve Ring of Foresite Inc.discusses the advantages of using this method in analyzing SMT and PCB sections.

Overview Miniaturization on Large Form Factor PCBA

Many of the miniaturization technologies were developed for the consumer market, targeted mainly at the smart phone. Many designers in other areas such as medical and telecom are looking at ways to miniaturize the product or increase the functional density. This article explores some of the common miniaturization technologies and their application to larger form factor boards.

3 Areas for Improvement in the Medical Device Industry in 2016

With advancements in research and innovation, the medical device industry continues to push the envelope, saving lives and improving the quality of living for people across the globe. But even with all of the game-changing products that have been recently introduced, there are still many barriers and process inefficiencies that are detrimental to innovation.

Rapid Prototyping is a Fiscal Game Changer

When done right, rapid prototyping can increase an OEM's top-line revenue and extend their product lifecycles by ensuring that their product features at launch are actually the features their customers need.

New Paradigms

While the latest technology innovations bode well for the electronics industry, they also offer many challenges in terms of the way products are being manufactured. The latest issue of SMT Magazine features "what's new" in the electronics assembly industry, and discusses how they are addressing current manufacturing challenges.


Magnetically Aligned Novel ACA Revolutionizes 3D Chip Stacking

The use of anisotropic conductive adhesive (ACA) is not new within the electronics industry; however, drop-in replacements don't exist for lead-based and lead-free solder assemblies. Also, current ACAs require pressure and sequential assembly of components. In this article, Rochester Institute of Technology's Dr. S. Manian Ramkumar writes about a novel ACA that will help revolutionize the packaging industry.

Greener Cleaning

While other electronic assembly processes measure performance in "more" – more feeders, more zones, more magnification, more capacity – cleaning equipment and chemicals measure progress in "less" – less water, less chemicals, less VOCs, less discharge, and less contamination. In this article, Aqueous Technologies' Mike Konrad writes why less is more in the cleaning world.

Rework Site Printing using Mini Stencils—Plastic Adhesive vs. Metal

Bob Wettermann of Best Inc. provides some details about a soon-to-be-published study that compares the older miniature metal stencil printing process to the more modern plastic film with adhesive approach, and quantifies the differences in performance for the first time.

Challenges and Opportunities for Smaller EMS for Onshoring

The onshoring trend has been speculated and talked about for a few years now, and is certainly a reality with greater opportunities and challenges. In this article, McDonald Technologies' Gary Tanel, who is also a member of SMT Magazine's Editorial Advisory Board, writes about the trends driving companies to increasingly consider onshoring.

EMS: Quo Vadis? (Where are You Going?)

In an industry that is constantly changing, EMS providers have reinvented themselves to stay relevant and fuel profitable growth. In this article, Integrated Micro-Electronics Inc.'s Frederick Blancas talks about five of the many transformation trends happening in the EMS industry, and how they are pushing the industry to continue to evolve, progress and advance.

The Jefferson Project, Part 2: Automation as a Counterweight to Low Labor-Rate Assembly

In Part 1 of this interview, Tom Borkes, founder of The Jefferson Project and the forthcoming Jefferson Institute of Technology, provided his well-researched plan to introduce students to tech manufacturing, as well as discussed the paper he presented at SMTAI. In Part 2, Tom expands on the example set forth in his SMTAI paper, and describes another important tool in reducing labor cost through the reduction of labor content: designing for automation.

Electrolube: We Like Problems!

I-Connect007 Technical Editor Pete Starkey toured Electrolube's UK headquarters in the historic Leicestershire town of Ashby-de-la-Zouch, where he learned more about the company's mission to exceed their customers' satisfaction and meet the highest possible levels of customer service.

Efficiency, Energy and Convenience: Driving New Solutions and Markets

Craig Hunter, senior director for global marketing communications at Vishay Intertechnology and a member of the SMT Magazine Editorial Advisory Board, discusses significant changes in the electronics manufacturing industry during the past decade, persistent challenges, and new technologies that will provide opportunities and growth.

Two-Print Stencil Solutions for Flip Chip/SMT Assembly

Mixed technology packages that have both flip chip and surface mount devices on the same substrate are now being assembled in a normal SMT assembly process. In this article, William Coleman of Photo Stencil describes a new process—requires a “two-print stencil” printing procedure and requires two inline stencil printing machines—for mixed technology packages.

New Year Outlook: Electronics Hardware

Industry veteran Dr. Jennie S. Hwang writes about how "smartness," mobility, connectivity and wearability will drive innovation in end markets and electronics manufacturing process and technologies this year. She also mentions new developments that will make footprints on the advanced technology map.


High-Reliability Interconnects for High-Power LED Assembly

New super-high and ultra-high-power LED package designs provide high lumen density that can enable significant system cost reductions through fewer LEDs, smaller PCBs, and smaller heat sink size requirements. This, however, puts significant performance demands on interconnects (solder joints in particular). This article talks about the role of high-reliability interconnects and where they fit in the LED lighting supply chain.

Selecting a Wave Soldering System, Part 3

In my last column, we discussed the attributes of the various types of wave solder systems, the most common through-hole assembly system for small- to mid-volume operations. In this chapter, we will dive a little deeper and address board handling techniques; in particular, the three common methods of running boards in wave soldering.

The Road Less Traveled (Part 2): Why Equipment Matters

In Part 1 of this article series, Zentech's Judy Warner shared the first of three legitimate differentiators to consider when selecting a contract manufacturing partner: the differentiating power of certifications and training. In Part 2, she writes about the importance of continually investing in the best equipment.

The Road Less Traveled (Part 1): Contract Manufacturing Differentiators

The word "differentiator" is tossed around a lot these days in the electronics industry—especially within the contract manufacturing (CM) community. When evaluating a new potential CM partner, decision makers frequently ask: "What would you say differentiates your organization from other contract manufacturers?" This article talks about three powerful and very real difference-makers that would set a CM apart from the competition.

Medical Electronics: Risks and Opportunities for Electronics Manufacturers

Brian Morrison, director for value engineering & technology at SMTC Corp., discusses the manufacturing challenges facing electronics manufacturing service providers when it comes to medical electronics, the impact that the medical market had on the electronics manufacturing industry, and the increasing need for risk management, design control and traceability in the sector.

Doug Pauls Explains Ion Chromatography

Doug Pauls, principal materials and process engineer at Rockwell Collins and chair of the IPC Cleaning and Coating Committee, drew upon his 25 years' experience in the use of ion chromatography for electronics assembly improvement to discuss ROSE techniques, how ion chromatography can be used to determine electronic cleanliness, what specifications exist and how they were derived, and how ion chromatography can be used for process troubleshooting and optimization.

New Year Outlook: China’s Five Year Plan

In this article, Dr. Jennie Hwang writes about the latest developments in the current global economic landscape, as well as mega-technological trends, which include: the highlights of macro-economy outlook, China factor, oil dynamics, cyber security, and grand challenges in technology and the path forward.

K&S and Assembléon: A Perfect Marriage of Technology and Services

Jeroen de Groot and Chan Pin Chong of Kulicke & Soffa talk about the company's acquisition of Assembléon and its benefits to their customers. They also discuss the latest innovations happening at the company's product lines and key trends driving their product development strategies.

Vapor Phase Technology is a Viable Solution, but Carries a Learning Curve

Vapor phase reflow solder technology is a technology that has come of age in an era where its efficiency in reflowing densely packed printed circuit board assemblies is highly valued, since the vapor blanket immersion process ensures perfect wetting and void-free, high-quality solder joints. The challenge is properly sizing the machine to likely workloads and optimizing the necessary profiles. The end result is improved quality, better line flexibility and lower energy consumption.

The Jefferson Project: Educating the Next Generation in Applied Manufacturing Sciences (Pt. 1)

Tom Borkes, founder of The Jefferson Project and the forthcoming Jefferson Institute of Technology, sat down with I-Connect007's Patty Goldman during the recent SMTAI and provided his well-researched plan to bring manufacturing to engineering undergraduate students by bringing students to manufacturing, through a hands-on, real world learning experience.


What You Need to Know About Dispensing

In an interview with I-Connect007, Garrett Wong, technical product manager at Nordson ASYMTEK, discusses the latest innovations in dispensing technology as well as important considerations when it comes to reliability, quality and speed.

Medical EMS: Opportunities Abound

Megatrends such as the increasingly ageing population and growing demand in emerging economies worldwide bode well for the medical electronics assembly industry. However, challenges such as margin pressures, compliance costs and risks, supply chain instability, and new product introduction headaches are hindering a more aggressive prognosis of the industry. But, with innovation, medical manufacturers can churn out more.

Lost in the System: How Traceability can Solve the Problem of Counterfeit Materials

The word "counterfeit" encompasses a wide range of activities that are happening continuously in an "underground” SMT supply chain. In this article, Michael Ford of Mentor Graphics Valor Division investigates why this is so, and highlights how the SMT industry can eliminate counterfeit components in the supply chain.

Valtronic Highlights Vital Components in Medical Electronics Manufacturing

Jay Wimer, executive vice president of the Valtronic Group, and president and CEO of Valtronic USA, discusses the impact of the medical market on the electronics manufacturing industry, the challenges facing medical electronics manufacturers and technology providers, and how the trends happening in the medical electronics segment are driving innovation in electronics manufacturing.

Top 10 Factors to Consider When Selecting a Medical EMS Company

Once the decision has been made to use an EMS company, selecting the right one involves several steps. Although most EMS companies perform the same basic services, every EMS company is different. In this article, Mo Ohady and David Estes of Digicom Electronics write the 10 key factors to consider when selecting your medical EMS company.

Why Medtech Manufacturers Should Automate Fluid Dispensing Operations

The fluids used to manufacture medical devices applications must be dispensed according to scientific principles—especially as devices shrink, parts are closer together, and substrates become more fragile and more prone to contamination. This article discusses how fluids can be dispensed most precisely, reliably, and repeatedly to help manufacturers save materials, time, labor, and resources.

Medical Electronics: Manufacturing Vitals

With the rapidly growing aging population, rising healthcare costs and increasing health awareness, opportunities abound in consumer medical devices, diagnostics, imaging, and instrumentation. However, the medical electronics industry is not without its own set of challenges. The January 2016 issue of SMT Magazine highlights the manufacturing challenges and opportunities in this growing sector.

Nordson EFD Discusses Dispensing Technologies, Solder Reliability and Innovation

Philippe Mysson, business development manager for solder paste at Nordson EFD, discusses a host of solder-related issues, including reliability, the benefits of solder paste dispensing systems, challenges facing their customers and how Nordson EFD is helping to address those issues, and finally, latest trends driving innovation in solder alloys.

Selecting a Wave Soldering System, Part 2

In his last column, Robert Voigt introduced the various types of through-hole soldering techniques, which include: manual, dip, drag, wave, and selective. In the continuation of his new article series, he talks about wave soldering—the most common and efficient form of through-hole soldering available—and the steps in selecting a wave system depending on your needs.

No Time for a Board Spin? Selective Solder Mask Removal

Outside of re-spinning the board and starting over, there are several processes that can selectively remove solder mask in a controlled and consistent fashion. Some are better controlled than others and include mechanical abrasion, chemical etching, and micro and laser ablation. This article discusses different methods for solder mask removal and their benefits and drawbacks.


OEM Applications: MacDermid’s OEM Director Embraces Renewed Focus

Lenora Toscano, OEM director for MacDermid’s electronics solutions division, discusses the needs of the end-user market of PCBs, her own role at the company, which involves much interaction with OEMs, and the benefits that both she and MacDermid bring to SMTA and IPC meetings.

EMS Providers: Maintaining Competitiveness and Seeking Significance

The EMS industry faces myriad difficulties. A new report by analyst firm New Venture Research notes that the global EMS industry is anticipated to grow a mere 6.4% CAGR from US$336 billion in 2014 to US$458 billion in 2019. In this article, Frederick Blancas writes about how EMS firms can maintain their competitiveness and find opportunities in the current economic environment.

2015’s Most Read SMT Articles

Every year, we like to take a look back at the most popular SMT news and articles. These are the top 10 most-read SMT articles from the past year. Check them out.

Industry 4.0: Creating a Standard

Mentor Graphics Valor Division's Dan Hoz, general manager, and Ofer Lavi Ben David, product line director, discuss where Industry 4.0 is taking the industry, and the changes it will bring to both large and small companies, customers, and the supply chain, including how Mentor connects different machines on the shop floor to provide universal Industry 4.0 visibility.

2015's Most Read SMT Interviews

For 2015, we have interviewed a lot of industry experts and technologists to get their insights on the SMT, PCB assembly and EMS industries. In these interviews, they've talked about the latest developments happening in the industry—from a technology, manufacturing process, or business standpoints. Before we close this year, here's a look at the top 10 most-read interviews on SMT007.

VDMA Productronics: Pushing Forward the German Electronics Manufacturing Industry

VDMA Electronics, Micro and Nano Technologies is one of the 40 Sector Associations within VDMA. Its sector group Productronics covers the whole semiconductor front and backend processes, packaging, all the way to PCB manufacturing and assembly. Dr. Eric Maiser, managing director of Productronics, discusses the group, its activities, member services, and the electronics manufacturing industry.

A Closer Look at SMTA

Tanya Martin, director of operations at SMTA, responded to our I-Connect007 questionnaire recently, which focused on the association’s mission, membership statistics, and how SMTA best serves its members. She also talks about how SMTA satisfies its members' need for technical information, and some of SMTA's success stories in the industry.

Pete’s Top Ten SMT Articles for 2015

Every year, our technical editor and industry veteran Pete Starkey picks his choose of the 10 best SMT technical articles for the year. Check them out.

iNEMI: Leading the Way to Successful Electronics Manufacturing

iNEMI CEO Bill Bader talks about the consortium’s goals and mission, its collaborative projects, as well as its roadmap for the electronics manufacturing industry. Bader also highlights iNEMI’s milestones in line with the major trends that have happened in the electronics industry, including the transition to lead-free, addressing tin whisker growth, and the move towards HFR-free PCB materials.

IPC: Connecting Electronics Industries

John Mitchell, president and CEO of IPC—Association Connecting Electronics Industries, provides the basic overview of the association—its goals and basic mission, activities, and how it best serves its membership. He also provides a snapshot of how IPC promotes technology development in the industry through standardization.


Kester Highlights Strategies to Address High-Reliability Issues

Lynnette Colby, global product manager at Kester, discusses the biggest challenge their customers are facing—high reliability—and how using materials other than halogen can help address this issue. She also talks about how a complete solder solution—including the paste, flux and wire—help ensure the reliability of the electronics assembly.

Alpha Talks Challenges of Solder Recycling

Jason Fullerton, customer technical support engineer with Alpha, talked with I-Connect007's Patty Goldman about his presentation on recycling solder and why doing this in-house is not a good idea. He also discussed about the new, smaller particle solder pastes and about Alpha’s recycling program that is really beneficial to their customers.

Mentor Graphics: The Past, Present and Future of Analytics

Farid Anani, consulting manager with Mentor Graphics' Valor Division, discusses with I-Connect007's Andy Shaughnessy a paper he presented at SMTAI that focused on analytics and how it can be used to increase business revenue. He also talks about how far analytics has come in the last 20 years and where it may be headed in the future.

Innovative New Uses for Ceramic Column Grid Arrays from TopLine

TopLine President and CEO Martin Hart discusses his paper on ceramic column grid arrays (CCGA) at the recent SMTA International show in Chicago. Hart explains the relationship between CCGA and ball grid arrays (BGA), and TopLine's drive to find new uses for CCGA.

The Key to Understanding Industry 4.0: Show, Don’t Tell!

At the recent productronica event in Germany, Mentor Graphics set up a racecar track in their booth. In an interview with I-Connect007, Michael Ford, senior marketing development manager at Mentor's Valor Division, explains why it's a perfect analogy for understanding Industry 4.0.

Saki Takes 3D Inspection to the Next Level

Eddie Ichiyama, general manager of Saki Europe GmbH and Saki Prague, discusses Saki's new 3D AOI and X-ray inspection equipment, the global inspection marketplace, and the move to reduce or eliminate the human interface. He also talked about their R&D center in the Czech Republic and its activities in the region.

SMART Group: The Guiding Influence in the Electronics Industry

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

Honeywell Paper Investigates Avionics Vibration Durability

Dr. Joseph Juarez, principal mechanical engineer at Honeywell International, discusses with I-Connect007's Andy Shaughnessy his SMTA paper, which addresses avionics vibration durability between tin-lead and lead-free solder, the years of testing he conducted, the importance of doing a good soldering job, and some of the surprising findings of his research.

SMTA: Working Hard for the Global Industry

SMTA President Bill Barthel, who is currently serving his second term to this elected position, and who also happens to be the quality solutions manager at Plexus, discusses with I-Connect007's Patty Goldman the role of SMTA, its conference's offerings, the pending departure of longtime SMTA Executive Administrator JoAnn Stromberg, and various opportunities for members of the association.

Alpha's Morgana Ribas on Advances in Lead-Free, High-Reliability Alloys

Morgana Ribas, manager of Alpha's Metals Technology Group in India, presented a paper at the recent SMTA International show in Chicago. She sat down with I-Connect007's Andy Shaughnessy to discuss the paper's focus on high thermal reliability, and some of the new high-reliability lead-free alloys hitting the market.


Digitalization on the Horizon

In the evolution towards the smart manufacturing paradigm, end-user requirements are set to evolve and become more complex than ever before. But the current scenario will also provide the biggest opportunity to realign one's existing business approach and forge alliances and partnerships with market participants. As manufacturers look to the future, they need to examine how advanced information and communication technologies can boost their value creation.

Low-Temperature Thick Film Pastes Permit Lead-Free Soldering

There has been an increased interest in low-temperature polymer thick film products that perform at the same level as their high-temperature counterparts, including high reliability, strong adhesion, and solderability with lead-free solders. This article talks about a new, easy-to-process polymer thick film paste compatible with a variety of substrates, features low temperature curing, and offers excellent solderability with SAC305 solder.

AIM Solder Talks Innovations to Address Assembly, Reliability Issues

David Suraski, executive vice president at AIM Solder's assembly materials division, sat down with us at productronica 2015 to discuss the latest industry trends and customer challenges facing the solder industry, and innovations that are helping customers address their issues. Suraski also talked about reliability issues, and how the company is addressing them.

Saki America Wants to Dominate the Inspection Marketplace

At SMTAI, I-Connect007's Andy Shaughnessy spoke with Quintin Armstrong, general manager for North American sales and service with Saki America. Quintin discussed Saki’s 3D and X-ray inspection equipment and the company’s expansion around the globe, as well as the inspection challenges his customers face every day.

Making Connections with Associations

To provide our readers more information about their associations, this month's issue of SMT Magazine features articles and interviews with SMTA, IPC, iNEMI, SMART Group, and VDMA Productronics, to help understand more their activities, goals, and missions, and how they are helping push forward the electronics manufacturing industry.

Sustainable Product Design and Supplier Material Disclosure

One of the biggest challenges for companies in addressing product sustainability initiatives is getting accurate and complete data from their supply chain. This article discusses how manufacturers can automate the process of gathering and managing supplier disclosure data to address current sustainability challenges, gain a competitive edge, and produce innovative and compliant products.

Quality is Key

Johnny Ho, vice president and plant manager at Sanmina Kunshan, discusses winning a Diamond Award from Echostar, and their QA challenges, process improvements, and success. He also talks about having a tight inspection and testing process to improve quality, and the importance of working closely with the customer to achieve a common goal.

Electrolube Discusses Conformal Coating Innovations

At productronica 2015, SMT007 editor, Stephen Las Marias, interviewed Phil Kinner, technical director of Electrolube's Coatings Division, about the latest conformal coating challenges being faced by their customers, and how they are addressing these issues. He also talked about the trends driving product innovation strategies at Electrolube, and some of the new solutions they are offering the market.

Mentor’s Michael Ford on Lean for Surface Mount Processes

Michael Ford, senior marketing development manager with Mentor Graphics, Valor Division, discusses with I-Connect007's Andy Shaughnessy his paper presentation on lean systems in surface mount processes. He also talks about how the industry is now starting to look at Industry 4.0, and why the industry should stop focusing on the endless optimization processes, which are still important, but consider the optimization from the point of view of the product.

Echostar Talks Impact of Quality Process Collaboration with Partners

Ron Meier, senior quality assurance and manufacturing engineering manager at Echostar, discusses with I-Connect007's Edy Yu the importance of working closely with your OEM partner and the impact of having the same process and quality goals.


Printed Circuit Board Failures – Causes and Cures

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

Considering Temperature Control as a Cleaning Method

A proper thermal profile more effectively complexes no-clean flux residues, mitigating a potential product reliability issue. This article discusses variables impacting solder joint quality, and how accurately controlling the thermal profile of the solder reflow can improve the cleanliness of the electronics assemblies.

Tremol SMD Talks EMS Trends and Industry Outlook

At the recent productronica 2015 event in Munich, Germany, I interviewed Kiril Yanneff, CEO of Bulgaria-based EMS firm Tremol SMD about the electronics manufacturing landscape in east Europe and his outlook for the industry. He also spoke about the significance of automating production lines.

Managing Big Data from an Analog World

In the age of big data, hardware is evidently no longer the limiting factor in acquisition applications. How do we store and make sense of data? How do we keep them secured? How do we future proof them? These questions become compounded when systems evolve to become more complex, and the amount of data required to describe those systems grow beyond comprehension. More advanced tools will be essential to managing this explosion of data and help engineers make informed decisions faster.

Connecting the Enterprise

The growing Industrial IoT trend is going to further fuel the explosion of data as more devices and systems on the factory floor get connected. To bring this manufacturing data into the enterprise where it can be used to generate value, investments in technology and equipment and a mindset shift are necessary.

Streamlining PCB Assembly and Test NPI with Shared Component Libraries

PCB assembly designs become more complex year-on-year, yet early-stage form/fit compliance verification of all designed-in components to the intended manufacturing processes remains a challenge. This article discusses two engineering processes specifically designed to enable a high degree of production-portability between a product’s design organization and multiple manufacturing facilities and processes.

Improving Production Efficiencies with Better Data Strategies

Is your manufacturing company wasting significant time and energy struggling to collect and analyze its own data? I sat down with Bill Moradkhan, the founder, president and CEO of Portus, to discuss the benefits of upgrading your data intelligence to help transform that data into actionable business intelligence and improve your business.

productronica 2015: Transition Automation Talks about Improving Paste Print Quality for New Markets

Mark Curtin, president of Transition Automation explains the finer points of metal squeegee blades to I-Connect007’s Stephen Las Marias. The improved print quality has proved significant to meet the reliability challenges of high power electronics as well as the increased precision required for newer automotive electronics requirements.

The SMT Internet of Things— Back to Basics

Different people have different understandings and expectations about what the Internet of Things (IoT) actually is, especially with respect to how it could work and what it could bring to the SMT assembly industry. There are a lot of expectations to fulfil as principles behind innovations such as Industry 4.0 take hold.

Made in USA and Total Cost: Six Ways U.S. Sourcing Saves Money

There is no question that manufacturing in countries known for lower labor costs can save money on some projects. In cases of highvolume production, selecting low-cost labor regions close to end markets can generate significant savings and in some cases, fulfill the local content requirements necessary for entry into those markets.


Industry 4.0: Implications for the Asia Pacific Manufacturing Industry

Industry 4.0 refers to a new level of organization and control of the entire value chain, across the life cycle of products. Seen as the fourth industrial revolution, Industry 4.0 seeks to merge physical and virtual worlds. This marks a significant change in the level of complexity from the third industrial revolution, where electronics and information technology were used to automate production.

Super Dry Technology Helps Expand Market Share

Rich Heimsch, director of the Americas for Super Dry-Totech, discusses with I-Connect007's Andy Shaughnessy the specialized moisture management technology that Super Dry has developed, as well as how both the European and American markets are evolving with regard to use of the technology.

A Look at the Theory Behind Tin Whisker Phenomena, Part 3

The third installation in Jennie Hwang's five-part series on tin whisker phenomena continues the discussion on key processes engaged in tin whisker growth. She discusses the energy of free surface, recrystallization, and the impact of solubility and external temperature on grain growth.

Selecting a Through-Hole Soldering System, Part 1

This new article series discusses through-hole assembly, and why it is still a viable and important technique that requires an understanding of the various soldering systems available. Part 1 outlines the available methods and provides a brief overview of their strengths and weaknesses.

The New Industrial Era

Key transformative technologies such as big data, analytics, and IoT are ushering in a new industrial era, where new technology forces and innovations are changing the dynamics, risks, and success factors for global manufacturing companies. To be successful in this environment, a mindset shift is required when it comes to deciding what to do and how to take your manufacturing operations to the next level.

Inspection Innovations to Reduce Cycle Time

Viscom's Guido Bornemann discusses with I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias the impact of AOI on cycle time, as well as the latest technologies in AOI—such as combining different types of inspection, as well as having integrated communications between different inspection points in a line—that can help customers reduce their inspection time.

Is Automation the Answer to Cycle Time Reduction?

George Liu, sales manager of Finland-based Cencorp Automation, sat for an interview with I-Connect007 to discuss the benefits of automating the backend process to the overall manufacturing line, and why manufacturers need automated solutions now more than ever.

Process Improvements for Cycle Time Reduction

In an interview with I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias, industry veteran Randall Williams, a mechanical automation engineer at B&P Automation, explains the importance of reducing cycle time, key metrics to look for when planning for improvement processes in assembly lines, best practices to consider, and how automation can help electronics manufacturers improve their production.

Cycle Time Reduction with WORK, Part I

Lean, theory of constraints, quick response manufacturing, cross training, and SPC are powerful, tried and true methodologies for process improvement--but they are rooted in high-volume manufacturing environments and don't always play nice in a high-mix, low-volume operation. This article talks about the new WORK manufacturing strategy specifically developed to overcome these shortcomings while capitalizing on their strengths.

Rehm's Handler Discusses Latest Conformal Coating Machine

Paul Handler, general manager of Rehm Thermal Systems, discusses with I-Connect007's Andy Shaughnessy their latest conformal coating machine, which complements their IR or UV curing ovens. He also talks about the activities being done by the SMTA to provide technical knowledge and information to the industry as a whole.


Reducing Cycle Times with Innovative Bonding Solutions

In an interview with I-Connect007, Gudrun Weigel, head of engineering and a member of the board at Delo, discusses the importance of cycle time reduction, and how the company is helping its customers address this issue through its innovative bonding solutions.

Reducing Print Cycle Time

Of the several steps in the SMT process, an effective method of increasing throughput is to reduce the cycle time of the rate-controlling process step. This article will discuss two simple experiments that may lead to increased throughput and increased profitability.

Technologies to Enable Quick-Turn PCB Assemblies

Multi-day lead times for PCB assembly are a thing of the past as a few advanced thinking assemblers have worked hard to remove the time-related road blocks, enabling quick prototype assembly. This article highlights the latest technologies and innovations in PCB assembly that help electronics manufacturers continue their rapid development of new products and get to the market faster.

Gold Embrittlement Mitigation: Understanding the New J-STD-001 Requirements

With the advent of more information from studies on the behavior of how much gold can impact the mechanical structure of the solder joint, the "washing away" of gold has become more important. This article discusses the significant changes made in the J-STD-001 specification, and their impact in the EMS and OEM industries.

Choosing the Right Component to Reduce Cycle Times

SMAC Moving Coil Actuators president Edward Neff talks with I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias about the strategies they implement in their production lines to reduce cycle times and go to market faster. He also talks about how using proven components can help manufacturers ensure the uptime of their equipment and processes.

Cycle Time Reduction in the Eye of AOI

In our survey for this month’s topic for SMT Magazine—cycle time reduction—inspection was identified as one of the key issues highlighted by respondents as a bottleneck in their manufacturing process when it comes to cycle times. I spoke with Norihiko Koike, COO of Saki Co. Ltd, to get his insights on this, and how his company is helping their customers address the issue. He also talked about the future technology developments that we can expect in the AOI industry.

Value Stream Mapping: Operationalizing Lean Manufacturing

By applying value stream mapping (VSM), EMS providers can have a clearer picture of multiple processes involved in a work flow, identify waste and its sources, identify where change is required, standardize the process, and identify potential problems that could be encountered in the future state. It can also be used as a tool for planning as well as for managing changes.

Selecting a Reflow Oven, Part 3

In this conclusion of a three-part series on selecting and evaluating a basic reflow oven configuration for a circuit board assembly environment, methods of control and profiling techniques--such as on-board and PC-based control, and on-board, PC-driven and third-party profiling--are discussed and evaluated.

Soldering Process for Molded Interconnect Devices in Three Dimensions

MID (molded interconnect device) technology is used in particular where significant miniaturization, freedom of design with regard to geometry, and a reduced number of components for the electronics assembly is required. This article takes a closer look at vapor distribution to improve the three-dimensional soldering process for a MID application.

Surface Mount Technology Association—a New Milestone

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


BTU Talks Challenges and Trends Driving Product Development Strategies

Coco Zhang, product manager at BTU Ltd, discusses with I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias some of the technology trends and customer challenges and requirements that are driving innovations in their reflow ovens. She talks about energy efficiency, the challenges of complex boards used in the telecom and server industry, and the advanced technology requirements from the semiconductor packaging industry.

Zestron Highlights Benefits of pH-neutral Cleaning Solutions

I-Connect007's Andy Shaughnessy talks with Zestron's Sal Sparacino, marketing and product manager, and Umut Tosun, application technology manager, about the benefits of the company's pH-neutral cleaning agents for defluxing applications, and their advantages over alkaline-based cleaning solutions.

The Need for Speed

I was recently invited to judge the editor’s choice award at National Instrument’s 2015 NI Engineering Impact Awards—ASEAN Regional Contest, and there was one project that I found relevant to our topic for this month’s issue of SMT Magazine. Developed by Gatepacific Circuits Inc., the project improved the process of dispensing paste compared to the manual process done by human operators, and increased the throughput from 500 units to more than 1,000 units.

Tin Whisker Self-Mitigation in Surface Mount Components Attached with Leaded Solder Alloys

This article provides the findings of a lengthy project of soldering electronic components with pure tin finishes with lead-containing solder for the attachment. The object of the project was to determine the conditions under which sufficient alloying of the pure tin finish by lead in the solder is achieved for the purpose of whisker suppression.

Automotive Electronics Driving Innovations in Test

Boon Khim Tan, general manager of the Measurement Systems Division at Keysight Technologies, discusses with I-Connect007’s Stephen Las Marias the increasingly challenging test requirements in the automotive electronics space and the latest trends driving innovation in the sector.

Experience is Key

Sanmina's Bernd Enser, VP of Global Automotive, discusses with I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias the impact of the latest development trends in cars today on the automotive electronics assembly space, as well as the qualifications required of an EMS provider to get into an automaker's AVL. He also explains why experience is essential to becoming successful in the automotive electronics space, and offers his outlook for the industry.

Benefits of Paralyne Conformal Coatings in Automotive Applications

Automotive systems have been subjected to increasing computerization, applied to virtually all of the vehicle’s operational technology. Since these assemblies are increasingly situated in demanding end-use environments, selection of appropriate conformal coatings for automotive applications is essential to assure efficient performance.

Kyzen Discusses Cleaning On the Stencil Printer

Thomas Forsythe, executive vice president of Kyzen, talks with I-Connect007's Andy Shaughnessy about the latest trends happening at his company and their focus on green cleaning solutions. He also explained the technical paper they presented at the SMTAI 2015 conference, which tackles cleaning on the stencil printer.

Driving Innovation

Arthur Tan, president and CEO of IMI, discusses with I-Connect007’s Stephen Las Marias the latest developments in his company, some of the trends happening in the automotive electronics space, the challenges he is seeing in Asia, as well as the opportunities for growth. He also touches on some of the latest technologies that will help improve the assembly processes.

Addressing the Need for Reliable, Accurate Inspection Results

Nori Koike of Saki Corp. discusses with I-Connect007’s Stephen Las Marias how the latest trends in the automotive electronics space is driving the developments in AOI technology, and the biggest challenges when it comes to providing solutions targeted at the automotive electronics industry.


Rehm Thermal Systems Talks 25 Years of Technology and Trends

Ralf Wagenfuehr, plant manager at Rehm Thermal Systems, talked with I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias about the business and technology developments and evolution that have happened at the company as it celebrates its 25 years of success in this business.

The Demands on Automated Fluid Dispensing

In an interview with I-Connect007's Barry Matties, Brad Perkins of Nordson ASYMTEK discusses the current demands on dispensing equipment, and the benefits of investing in a high-end dispenser and coating system. He also talks about their strategies to reduce the process time and cycle time of their equipment.

DoD’s First Pass at Grey Market Regulation

The U.S. government gets a great deal of heat for many things, including fostering the introduction of counterfeit components into the supply chain. But when you really study how their procurement process is setup, when you break down the layers, it’s not hard to see how a counterfeit component or suspect material can find its way in.

ELCOSINT - The Future of High Temperature Interconnect

The increasing need for electronic assemblies to endure high-temperature operating conditions in aerospace, automotive, oil and gas drilling, power management and renewable energy applications, whether those conditions involve high ambient temperatures, high cycle temperatures or high junction temperatures, is driving the development of high temperature interconnection technologies.

Technica’s Annual Tech Forum a Success

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

Choosing the Right Conformal Coating

Phil Kinner, head of conformal coatings at Electrolube, talks to I-Connect007’s Stephen Las Marias about the impact of increasing electronics in cars on conformal coating requirements. He also highlights the best practices that help automotive electronics makers select the correct conformal coating solution for their applications.

Faster, More Precise Jet-dispensing in Microsystems Technology

As miniaturization advances relentlessly, the components that need to be connected are becoming ever smaller and more delicate. At the same time, quality standards and the functionality of the materials are increasing. This development requires joining processes that can reliably fix the smallest of components.

How Automotive Electronics are Driving AOI Developments

Jens Kokott, head of AOI systems at GOEPEL Electronic, discussed with I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias the increasing need for continuous development of testing technologies to cater to the innovations happening at breakneck speed in the automotive electronics industry.

A Case Study on Evaluating Manual and Automated Heat Sink Assembly using FEA and Testing

Proper assembly of components is critical in the manufacturing industry as it affects functionality and reliability. In a heat sink assembly, a detailed manual process is often utilized. This article will illustrate the use of strain gauge testing and finite element analysis (FEA) as a simulation tool to evaluate and optimize the heat sink assembly process by manual and automated methods.

Material Considerations for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems Assembly

Added complexity in material selection comes from the ever-increasing array of applications in automotive electronics, and one of the newer applications is the deployment of an array of vision and detection systems for driver assistance, collectively known as advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).


Mycronic Jet Printer Technology Addresses Board Challenges

Thomas Bredin, area manager and market support and sales for Mycronic, highlighted the unique characteristics of their jet printer, and how this technology helps customers in maintaining the volume distribution of the solder paste over the pad amid today's trends of high mix of small and big components on the same board.

Automotive EMS: Going Beyond Assembly

The trend toward outsourcing in the automotive industry continues as automotive manufacturers strive to capitalize on the technical expertise and cost effectiveness of the EMS providers. For their part, the automotive EMS players have expanded their role through vertical integration and venture into the realm of non-electronics manufacturing.

Saki Discusses AOI Innovations

Norihiko Koike, COO at Saki Co. Ltd, discussed with I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias some of the latest 3D AOI technologies at the company, and how these are providing their customers easier programming and more reliable inspection.

The New Face of Automotive Traceability

Depending on the level of detail, accuracy, and timeliness of data capture from areas such as quality management, manufacturing, engineering, and supply chain, traceability can become the ultimate quality-management tool, as well as bring enhanced productivity and reduced operating costs.

OK International Talks Trends Driving Product Innovation Strategies

Bryan Gass, vice president for global sales and marketing at OK International, discussed with I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias how trends such as automation, wearables, and Industry 4.0 are driving his company's product innovation strategies.

Selecting a Reflow Oven, Part 2

In this follow-up to Part 1, Robert Voigt writes about heating technologies such as vapor phase, infrared and convection--including their pros and cons; methods of board transportation such as belt conveyor and pin conveyor; and inerting systems.

What’s Driving Automotive Electronics?

Despite optimistic forecasts surrounding the automotive electronics industry, challenges remain, driven by the high level of complexity of devices and electronics being built into cars and the harsh operating conditions that these products are expected to operate in. Find out how equipment suppliers and automotive OEMs and EMS providers are addressing these issues in the September 2015 issue of SMT Magazine.

Don’t Allow Standards to Get the Better of You

In the electronics manufacturing industry, there are so many different so-called standards for everything ranging from operational rules and documentation, to quality and traceability, which are confusing, incomplete, and represent a major cost and waste to manufacturing. In the coming Internet of Manufacturing (IoM) age, where standardization of communication and storage of information will be critical, the current way in which we approach and adopt standards cannot prevail.

Collaboration between OEM and EMS to Combat Head-on-Pillowing Defects (Part 2)

There have been many publications, industry workshops, and symposia that describe process mitigation techniques for minimizing the occurrence of head-on-pillow defects during surface mount assembly. In this article, the authors address the root cause of the HoP defect—specifically the link between HoP defects and component warpage.

WKK Discusses Trends and Opportunities in China's Electronics Assembly Industry

WKK's Hamed El-Abd talked to I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias about his outlook for the electronics manufacturing assembly industry. He also provided his insights on the current business climate in China.


ELEDLights.com: Manncorp's Bright Future

Ed Stone, sales manager at Manncorp Inc., speaks with I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias about some of the trends he's seeing in the SMT equipment technology space that's driving demand for their ELEDLights.com business.

How Clean is Clean Enough to Achieve Reliable Electronic Hardware?

This article aims to develop an improved test method to measure the resistance on non-cleaned and cleaned test boards using low residue solder pastes under a series of bottom termination components. Testing the location, flux type, quantity and mobility may provide an improved risk assessment of reliability expectations.

Detecting Process Defects

In many cases, the same process problems in soldering, PCB manufacture, and component failures just go round and round and will return if the true cause of failure is not detected. The causes can be highly complex or very simple, but they are available if you care to search. In this article, Bob Willis talks about typical failures of boards and solder joints, process problems and their root causes, and their solutions.

Addressing Quality and Manufacturability Challenges of Mission-Critical Products

Mission-critical military and aerospace PCBAs are based on 100% SMT and optimized for manufacturability from day one of design. But the reality is that many of these products utilize mixed technology. In many cases, these mixed technology designs often violate industry-standard design guidelines, creating manufacturability issues.

Declaring War on Failure in Electronics

Failure, in electronics, while not necessarily desired by either manufacturer or consumer, is expected. This is not to say that the industry has not attempted to improve reliability. In this article, Verdant Electronics' Joseph Fjelstad writes that much is being done in an effort to improve reliability with new solder alloys, new fluxes, new materials, new equipment and process parameters.

Stencils: Why They Still Matter

Eric Weissmann, president and CEO of Photo Stencil, discusses with I-Connect007's Barry Matties some important points about the venerable stencil, the latest in stencil innovation, and the impact stencils, blades, and cleanliness can have on product quality.

Reducing Risks to Employees’ Health with Extraction and Filtration Technology

Occupational health and safety in manufacturing companies have become increasingly important in recent years. As manufacturing processes gain in complexity, the resulting pollutants have become smaller and particularly more exotic. These factors lead to a rising demand for extraction and filtration technology, which reliably protects equipment and employee health, and furthermore, takes account of changing process parameters.

The War on Soldering Defects under Area Array Packages: Head-in-Pillow and Non-Wet Open

The most difficult aspect of any soldering defect on an area array package is the inability to observe the defect easily. This article explains the characteristics of soldering defects to help identify the proper action to take to mitigate the defects in a soldering process. One particular defect in focus is the head-in-pillow (HiP), which are soldering defects on area array packages characterized by a lack of coalescence between the solder paste deposit and the package solder bump.

Acceptance Testing Of Low-Ag Reflow Solder Alloys (Part 2)

In Part 2 of this two-part article series, the authors discussed the test results for low-silver alloys using these solder paste alloy assessment protocols for BGAs and leaded components, and the impact of the alloys on printed circuit assembly process windows.

Acceptance Testing Of Low-Ag Reflow Solder Alloys (Part 1)

The electronics industry has seen an expansion of available low-silver Pb-free alloys for wave soldering, miniwave rework, BGA and CSP solder balls, and, more recently, solder pastes for mass reflow. In Part 1 of this two-part article series, the authors discussed test protocols that can be used for assessing new Sn-Ag-Cu(SAC), Sn-Ag, and Sn-Cu alloys for general use in electronics.


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