Article Highlights
IoT: Driving Change in Manufacturing
10/15/2018 | Stephen Las Marias, I-Connect007
How CIM and IoT Can Make Your Factory Smart
10/12/2018 | Zac Elliott, Mentor, A Siemens Business
Tips to Improve Soldering Tip Life and Reduce Cost
10/10/2018 | Thermaltronics
The Smart Robot Revolution is Here
10/10/2018 | Pratik Kirve, Allied Analytics
Indium on Voiding and Auto Electronics Test Standard
10/09/2018 | Stephen Las Marias, I-Connect007

Latest Articles

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.

NEPCON Shenzhen 2015 Puts Spotlight on China's EMS Industry

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

Selecting a Reflow Oven, Part 1

Finding out the size of oven you need is related to the number of zones you can afford. There will be tradeoffs between cost and capabilities, and more zones will always give you better flexibility and more control over your profile—but at a cost. Therefore, decision has to be qualified primarily on your anticipated throughput; that is, how many boards you process in a day or a week.

Supply Chain Risk Mitigation Applications for the Grey Market

It's 2015, and it's time that your supply chain became educated on how to effectively incorporate the benefits that independent distributors and brokers can offer your supply chain, while reducing your risk. If your supply chain still looks down on brokers or independent distributors, you are likely missing opportunities to reduce liability and cost, and increase readiness.

Mechatronics Innovations and Applications

In an interview with I-Connect007, Edward Neff, President of SMAC Moving Coil Actuators, discusses some of the latest mechatronics innovations happening in his company, and how these developments are being applied in different industries including electronics assembly and robotics.

A Greener, Money-saving Approach to Dealing with Waste

EMS firm Sanmina has a high technology manufacturing facility in Huntsville, Alabama, where it produces state of the art PCBAs on several advanced SMT lines, for some of the world’s leading medical and defense companies. Here's how the company was able to manage its hazardous waste disposal and be certified by ADEM, one of the strictest state regulatory agencies in the country.

SMT Magazine August Issue Tackles War on Process Failure

Based on our survey, there are four major issues when it comes to quality and process failure: poor process control, poor training of employees around quality, inability to quickly identify where and how waste is being created, and poor technical support from suppliers. The August issue of SMT Magazine features several though-provoking articles tackling the war on process failure in manufacturing electronics assemblies.

Understanding Parylene Deposition

Parylene's deposition process is unique among conformal coatings. Unlike others that start as a liquid, get deposited and dry, it starts as a solid, turned into a vapor, and then deposited onto the substrate. This article explains this unique method as well as its real advantages.

Fairlight: An Iconic Name in Digital Audio

Fairlight Instruments became one of the biggest names in the recording industry with its digital sampling technology in 1975. Forty years later, the company is still leading with a full line of products that their technologists design, engineer in house, and produce with a network of EMS companies. In this interview with I-Connect007's Barry Matties, Fairlight's Emilijo Mihatov shares insights and strategies for succeeding by thinking differently.

Connector Cleanliness and Flux Entrapment

Plated through hole connectors can present special challenges when it comes to assembly cleanliness and reliability. Cleanliness of the raw part, processing parameters and chemistry selection can all negatively affect the reliability and robustness of the interconnect system. This article will discuss some common issues and how to resolve them.


Localized Contamination Can Cause Big Problems

In today's electronics manufacturing environment, assemblers continue to overlook areas of localized contamination that are capable of causing product failures. By neglecting to examine especially sensitive, critical, or tightly packed areas on an assembly, opportunities for electrochemical failures loom. This article talks about a case study involving a visible white residue and dendritic growth in a connector area, and the analysis done to determine its cause and implications.

ROSE – What Does the Data Mean and When Is It Useful?

Profound changes in the processes and materials used in the electronic assembly industry have a significant impact on the usefulness of ROSE testing. This article will discuss what ROSE test results really mean and when they are—and more importantly, are not—useful.

Meeting High-Speed Demand with Optical Circuits

In an interview with I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties, Felix Betschon of vario-optics discusses the advancements in optical circuit boards, and explains the core advantage of this technology and what circuit designers must do to add optical circuits into their design disciplines. He also talks about the opportunities for this new technology, and what's driving customers to consider adopting it.

EchoStar: The Future of Supply Chain Management Done Right

EchoStar isn’t your typical OEM—they take supply chain management to a whole new level. Barry Matties was able to visit Echostar's EMS partner in Shanghai, DD & TT Electronic Enterprise, to take a look at what they are doing, and find out about Echostar's supply chain management strategies.

Cutting Cost, Not Price

In any supply chain survey, the issue of cost comes up repeatedly. This article explores the downside of focussing on price and suggests some of the practical ways you can reduce costs without having a negative impact on your product.

EMI-caused EOS Sources in Automated Equipment

Electrical overstress causes damage to sensitive components, including latent damage. A significant source of EOS is high-frequency noise in automated manufacturing equipment. This article analyses sources of such noise, how it affects components and how to mitigate this problem.

Pad Cratering Susceptibility Testing with Acoustic Emission

Pad cratering is difficult to detect by monitoring electric resistance since it initiates before an electrical failure occurs. This article presents the results of pad cratering susceptibility of laminates using the acoustic emission method under four-point bend and compares the AE results to the pad-solder level testing results.

Masking for Parylene Deposition

Parylene conformal coating does an incomparable job of protecting product substrates from harsh, unpredictable operating environments. But inappropriately applied parylene can have an adverse effect on the functionality and performance of an assembly or component. Ensuring proper implementation of masking can help address this.

Residues Can Cause Low Voltage Electronics to Ignite

This article dispels the myth that low-power devices such as remote controls have insufficient energy to be a source of ignition. It also discusses why leakage current, even in low voltage/low power applications, can be sufficient to eventually ignite proximate fuel and lead to sustained fire in PCBA surfaces.

Benefits of Soldering with Vacuum Profiles, Part 2

Part 1 of this article series explained the continuously increasing requirements for void-free solder joints in electronics manufacturing, amid the relentless introduction of new variants of bottom-terminated components. This article takes a closer look at the soldering process with a focus on vacuum profiles, as well as an evaluation project and the obtained soldering results.


China Electronics Manufacturing Industry Welcomes New Era

NEPCON South China 2015 will connect upstream and downstream players in the electronics manufacturing equipment and automation technologies industries, and provide the best possible platform to showcase industry progress, conduct exchange and advance trade.

A Rework Dilemma: PCB Shields

RF shields minimize radio frequency noise to prevent it from affecting the sensitive and critical electronic components beneath the shield, as well as from interfering with neighboring devices or other systems in the vicinity. This article talks about the challenges associated with reworking RF shields on wireless device PCBs.

A Look at the High-Reliability Interconnect Market

In an interview with I-Connect007, Mark Cormier of Miraco Inc. discusses his company's activities and capabilities, the latest trends and drivers in the high-reliability segment, and their strategies when it comes to managing their assembly work as well as their audit processes to find EMS providers.

The Theory Behind Tin Whisker Phenomena, Part 2

In the second part of this article series, Dr. Jennie Hwang writes that a plausible theory of tin whisker growth can be postulated through deliberating the combination and confluence of several key metallurgical processes.

Industry 4.0: Who Benefits?

After many cycles of ROI justification have occurred already in most PCB assembly manufacturing companies, people are realizing that innovation and investment in new systems may affect them in ways that are less than optimum, resulting in certain groups within the organization resisting pretty much every major innovation. Along comes Industry 4.0, which could certainly trigger a significant amount of “automated” objection from the shop floor.

Things to Consider when Choosing a Parylene Coating Service Provider

Choosing parylene gets you half way to protecting your company's products with the best possible conformal coating. To close the circle, unless you have invested in the proper equipment and training, you also need to choose the right service to apply the coating. This article lists some of the attributes that you should look for when seek your Parylene coating service provider.

I-Connect007 Survey Finds Lowering Cost, Automation among Key Supply Chain Concerns

To really provide relevant discussions and insights on one of the most important aspects of a company’s business—the supply chain—I-Connect007 did a survey to find out our readers' top supply chain challenges, and what they would like to learn about supply chain management.

Color Logical Analysis Approach for LED Testing in Manufacturing

The complexity of test development for LED test and long LED test execution times in production are big challenges faced by the PCB manufacturing industry. This paper introduces a color logical analysis methodology to achieve zero additional test development and no extra test execution time.

Reliability Study of Bottom Terminated Components (Part 2)

In the finale of this two-part article series, the authors discussed their thermal cycle tests, as well as the impact of solder voids in the thermal pad of the BTC. They also touched on BTC thermal modeling, as well as determined the acceptable amount of solder voiding in a thermal pad for devices with power dissipation greater than 3W.

Reliability Study of Bottom Terminated Components (Part 1)

This article series discusses bottom terminated components (BTC), and the stress and strain on these components when it comes to solder joints. In Part 1, the authors look at the impact of large voids at the thermal pads of BTC components and their impact on solder joint reliability.


Parylene and Wearable Devices

The life of a wearable device is harder than it might seem. It could be exposed to summer in Phoenix or winter in Minneapolis. It also gets exposed to corrosive spray when it is taken to the beach or on a boat. Considering such challenges, this article talks about why Parylene is the most appropriate choice for conformal coating compounds when it comes to protecting wearable devices.

Beating the Supply Chain Challenge

SMTC’s Seth Choi, vice president of global supply chain management and procurement—who is also responsible for strategic sourcing, pricing, assurance of quality, speed-to-market, and the continuity of supply in order to support global SMTC procurement strategies—discusses how the supply chain has evolved over the past few years; the role of a supply chain manager in an EMS company; how SMTC is lowering their procurement costs; and what strategies they’ve set up in place to ensure the integrity and security of their manufacturing value chain.

Characterization of Solder Defects in Package-on-Package with AXI Systems for Inspection Quality Improvement (Part 2)

In Part 2 of this two-part article series, the authors discuss the highlights of AXI with planar computer tomography (pCT), as well as present the results of their experiments on AXI 5.

Characterization of Solder Defects in Package-on-Package with AXI Systems for Inspection Quality Improvement (Part 1)

As solder joints in a PoP device cannot be inspected by optical means, X-ray inspection mostly is the only way to assure their quality nondestructively. The first installation of this two-part article series describes a series of studies on automated X-ray inspection (AXI) technology to quantify solder defects in a three-level Package-on-Package (PoP) device.

A Review of the Opportunities and Processes for Printed Electronics (Part 5): The Future of PE

In the final part of this article series, Happy Holden writes that whether one of the technologies mentioned or technologies yet to be developed will dominate the future of printed electronics is an open question. What is a bit more certain is that flexible base materials printed using printed electronics solutions and processed in roll-to-roll fashion will be an element of successful future technologies.

A Review of the Opportunities and Processes for Printed Electronics (Part 4): Applications

In Part 4 of this five-part article series, Happy Holden talks about the market applications for printed electronics. He writes that while there are several areas for application of PE solutions, such as in sensing, identification and security, and power, it is the display segment that is considered to be the most interesting potential application.

A Review of the Opportunities and Processes for Printed Electronics (Part 2): Printing Technologies

In Part 2 of this article series, Happy Holden explains that the selection of printing method to use is determined by requirements concerning printed layers and properties of printed materials, as well as economic and technical considerations for printed products.

A Review of the Opportunities and Processes for Printed Electronics (Part 3): Materials, Process Developments

In Part 3 of this article series, Happy Holden highlights the different material and process developments for printed electronics. He also notes how some suppliers have addressed the conductivity problems by using new binder formulations for the ink.

A Review of the Opportunities and Processes for Printed Electronics (Part 1)

As microsystems continue to move towards higher speed and microminiaturization, the demands for interconnection are opening up new opportunities for "innovative" interconnects. In the first part of this five-part article series, Happy Holden gives a brief background on printed electronics, as well as presents key technologies that are being employed for PE production.

Inspection: The Last Line of Defense

Traditionally a non-value-added step, inspection is still the best, last line of defense against defects and a bad reputation. In this interview by I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties, Viscom’s Guido Bornemann discusses the true value of inspection and how to best use the tools to prevent defects, including head-in-pillow, from being shipped to customers.


In-Circuit Pin Testing: An Excellent Potential Source of Value Creation

In-circuit pin testing (ICT) is a common method of inspecting electronic assemblies to measure the effectiveness of the assembly process and to predict electrical functionality. In this article, Mitch Holtzer talks about ICT and how its accuracy can bring significant competitive advantage to assemblers. He also provides an example of doing ICT in an assembly.

Acoustic Surface Flatness of Components and Boards

Plastic packaged ICs, including BGAs, may experience warping as a result of processing. This article talks about using acoustic micro-imaging tools to measure and map the flatness of the top surface of a BGA package where warping may occur.

Taking the Human Out of Hand Soldering: Is it a Must?

At the recent NEPCON Show in Shanghai, I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties stopped by the WKK booth where Japan Unix (represented by WKK in China) was displaying its new robotic soldering technology. In this interview, General Manager Hirofumi Kono explains why this new technology makes so much sense.

American Standard Circuits’ Unique Offerings Contribute to Long-term Success

At the recent IMS RF and microwave show in Phoenix, Arizona, Anaya Vardya, CEO of American Standard Circuits, sat down with I-Connect007's Barry Matties to discuss the current market trends, the company's recent equipment investments, and where American Standard Circuits' growth will likely come from.

In-line Solder Penetration Testing with 3D X-ray Inspection

Although through-hole technology can be considered the oldest assembly technology in the field of PCB manufacturing, it still has its place even in this modern age of surface-mounted technology. To this end, through-hole components were devised for automatic assembly and for high thermal loads in the furnace, which led to the birth of through-hole reflow.

Test Match: Partnering Specialist Boundary-Scan with ICT

Devices like BGAs with inaccessible pins restrict the coverage possible using ordinary flying probe testing. Augmenting flying probe with boundary-scan can help overcome this problem, as well as deliver additional valuable benefits.

In 3D Inspection, Can 'Length = Height' Mean No Escapes?

During the recent NEPCON China show in Shanghai, I interviewed Kobi Ventura of ALeader Europe, an Israeli-Chinese joint venture with ALeader Vision Technology Ltd., which focuses on SPI and AOI inspection equipment. All of the machines are built in a state-of-the-art factory in Guangdong, China. Utilizing a unique length-equals-height modeling approach to inspection, Kobi states that they offer 100% escape-free technology, and it comes with a guarantee.

High-Density Interconnect and Embedded Board Test

Consumers’ insatiable demand for feature-packed, thin, lightweight, and energy-efficient devices is spurring the need for HDI technology. With new electronic functions constantly being integrated into a SoC encapsulated in a less than 0.5 mm pitch array package, the future looks bright for embedded board test (EBT).

Selecting an Automatic Pick-and-Place Machine, Pt. 3

In this month’s installment in this series of columns aimed at helping buyers analyze and select SMT equipment for printed circuit board assembly, Robert Voigt talks about the features that affect decisions on the selection and purchase of an appropriate automatic pick-and-place machine.

Enclosed Media Printing as an Alternative to Metal Blades

The evolution of PCBs in terms of the miniaturization of assemblies, components, and ever-finer feature print patterns has not slowed, and as a result continues to present ever-increasing challenges to the makers of assembly equipment and solder paste printing technology, narrowing the process window. In this article, Michael L. Martel discusses how enclosed media print head technology has kept up to these challenges.


Solder Paste Printing: Quality Assurance Methodology

In this article, Lars Bruno and Tord Johnson describes a method to ensure quality secured data from both solder paste printers and inspection machines in electronic assembly manufacturing.

iNEMI Managing Director: New, Disruptive Technology on the Horizon

Dr. Haley Fu, managing director of Asia Pacific for iNEMI, and Publisher Barry Matties spoke recently. Fu gave her overview of the last eight years with iNEMI along with her opinion of what the most significant changes have been, globally and for the Asia market in particular. She predicts that in the future, the PCB will probably adopt optical architectures instead of copper, because using copper for the trace means that the land space and the property will not satisfy the future high-speed data transport rate.

Miniaturization with the Help of Reduced Component-to-Component Spacing

Miniaturization and the integration of a growing number of functions in portable electronic devices require an extremely high packaging density for the active and passive components. This article touches on the assembly technologies that can be incorporated in a more or less standard surface mount assembly line with minimal equipment and material upgrades.

Final Test Solution of WLCSP Devices

The common back-end process flow for mobile WLCSP devices is a single- or dual-insertion test at wafer probe. Since there is no final test prior to tape and reel, this equipment typically needs to provide a 5-side device inspection to identify potential device damage from sawing. The inspection efforts are quite demanding, with defect recognition requirements in the range of only 10 to only 20 microns, resulting in frequent time and cost intense human interaction and support requirements.

BGA or CGA: When Is It Right for You?

In this interview with TopLine President and Founder Martin Hart, I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties focuses on column grid array (CGA) and how CGA can solve delamination problems. CGAs, also known as CCGA, are not necessarily new but are making a strong comeback in the high reliability market.

A Look at Saki’s Approach to 2D, 3D and X-ray Technology

At NEPCON 2015, I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties sat down with Nori Koike, COO of Saki Japan, to discuss the latest demands for 3D and their approach to inspection. With more than 20 years of experience, they have built a line-up of tools that covers the inspection spectrum. Koike also stresses the importance of using inspection data as a tool to improve and automate the process.

Advanced Business Intelligence Systems are Not a Luxury

Manufacturing companies are experts in conducting ROI analyses when it comes to production equipment, but most of the analysts and executives who prepare and review ROI analyses do not approach the purchase of software solutions with the same rigor.

Advances in Electronics Assembly Technology - SMART Group Seminar Preview

In a preview webinar to introduce the upcoming SMART Group seminar where the latest advances in assembly technology and reliability will be discussed by industry and subject experts, SMART Group Technical Committee members Charles Cawthorne from MBDA and Ian Fox from Controls and Data Services summarized the papers to be presented.

A Look at the Latest Demands for Flying Probe Testing

Publisher Barry Matties sat down with Seica GM Barbara Duval at the recent NEPCON China show to discuss Seica’s approach to the flying probe markets. Duval also shared some of the latest customer demands on test companies and the test market outlook in Europe and North America, in addition to China, which looks like it will see growth in 2016.

CyberOptics: Honing in on the High-Reliability Market with 3D AOI and SPI Platforms

I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties and CyberOptics’ Sean Langbridge spent time together in China recently, where they discussed, among other things, the company’s newest product launch, a 3D AOI and SPI platform. Langbridge also discusses the latest requirements for inspection.


Reducing SMT Print Cycle Time: The Effects on Assembly Cost and Quality

Models have been available for over 10 years showing how reduced stencil wiping frequency can lower print cycle time. More recently, solder paste formulations have been widely adapted that offer higher transfer efficiencies at small area ratios when subjected to higher sheer forces associated with faster squeegee speed and pressure over the stencil. This article shows how these two cycle time reducers increase throughput when the print step is the rate controller in an SMT process.

Exact Science Implemented at Kester for Increased Reliablity

Kester's Bruno Tolla and Dr. Yanrong Shi discuss with Guest Editor Steve Williams the importance of fully understanding their many solder formulations with respect to solderability and reliability, as related to customer needs and applications. With their fully equipped lab Kester's team can delve deeply into understanding the interactions of the chemistry involved, all of which can affect solderability performance.

Debunking the Myth: Polyimide Tape is Not the Only Answer During Rework

The electronics manufacturing industry has its own myth in polyimide tape being the most effective way to shield neighboring components from heat exposure. Legend has it that this thin, adhesive-backed “protector” will shield components from damage.

Solder Jet Printing: Is It the Right Time?

Publisher Barry Matties gets an update from Nico Coenen, sales director for Mycronic, on their solder jet printing system. Mycronic has been developing and pioneering this technology for 10 years and they believe now is the time for it to gain real traction. One thing is certain; solder jet printing certainly has advanced and could make a big difference in process and quality.

Jetting Strategies for mBGAs: A Question of Give and Take

Among the alternatives for the deposition of solder paste and other fluids on a PCB is jetting, which offers advantages concerning precise volume repeatability, software control and local volume control. The goal of this study is to examine the effect of piezo actuation profile on deposit quality with respect to positioning, shape and satellite levels in order to achieve adequate deposition quality for applications such as 0.4 mm BGA.

0.3% Humidity, That's Super Dry!

Sitting down with Guest Editor Mark Thompson, Super Dry's Richard Heimsch describes their powerful new dry unit which is capable of 0.3 % relative humidity. Recovery after doors have been opened is lowered super fast in the storage cabinet, able to reach the "safe zone" within three minutes.

Position Accuracy Machines for Selective Soldering of Fine-Pitch Components

Selective soldering is a reliable soldering process for THT connectors and offers a wide process window for designers. But selective soldering is a different process. Compared to wave soldering, there are additional process parameters that are affected by the higher temperatures.

Reliability Assessment of No-clean and Water-soluble Solder Pastes, Part II

Twenty-five years ago, solder paste residues had to be cleaned after reflow due to their corrosive nature: two ways of cleaning were available, either with solvent or by using water, with or without detergent. Now, the assembly world is mainly no-clean: paste formulation is safer in terms of chemical reliability and process costs are reduced without cleaning.

Solving Inspection Problems with True 3D in AOI, AXI and SPI Systems

SAKI America's family of true-3D inspection systems cover the whole spectrum of SPI, AOI and AXI tasks. Quintin Armstrong explains how the unique resolution capability of their AXI achieves 100% detection of head-in-pillow defects.

Reflow Profiling on the Electrical Reliability of No-Clean Solder Paste Flux Residues

Optimization of a reflow profile often focuses on mitigating defects such as voiding, tombstoning, graping, and slumping/bridging. But little thought is given to the reflow profile’s effect on the electrical reliability of the no-clean flux residue. Because of the wide variation in size and thermal density of SMT components and PCBs, achieving a reflow profile that equally heats the entire assembly can be challenging and often impossible.


Enhancements in Consolidating Data Prep

Valor's principle of consolidating data once then using it in multiple areas downstream, for example stencil design, pick and place programming and test machine programming, has now been extended to include X-ray inspection programming. Mark Laing explains how.

Solder Paste Stencil Design for Optimal QFN Yield and Reliability

Over the past 15 years, the implementation of the QFN/BTC package has garnered a great amount of attention due to the assembly and inspection process challenges associated with the package. The difference in solder application parameters between the center pad and the perimeter pads complicates stencil design, and must be given special attention to balance the dissimilar requirements.

SJIT, Solder Joint Integrity Test, To Find Latent Defects in Printed Wiring Board Assembly

Capacitance method and IEEE 1149.1 or boundary scan method are often used to find opens between component leads and pads on a printed wiring board. These methods, however, can find complete opens or complete shorts only; and latent defects that can be complete defect after several years have not been found by the conversational method. This article talks about a method to find such latent defects by using 4-wire small resistance measurement technique.

Zentech: Expanding EMS Solutions and Supporting Innovation

Zentech CEO and President Matt Turpin sat down with I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties recently for a wide-ranging discussion of the state of both domestic and global manufacturing, and Zentech’s recent acquisition that will significantly expand the company’s capabilities. They also focused on supply chain issues, automation, regulations, and the importance of STEM education in the U.S.

Open Failure Analysis Lab Assessment Service Available

Bhanu Sood describes the services offered by the Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering, and explains how physics-of-failure techniques are applied as a means of gaining a scientific understanding of reliability.

Software and Hardware Solutions

Jim Dickerson discusses software that goes beyond the SMT line to manage the whole process flow of the factory. Shawn Robinson describes award-winning placement systems with multi-recognition camera technology.

Universal Instruments Talks Challenges in China's Electronics Manufacturing Industry

Glenn Farris, Vice President of Marketing at Universal Instruments Corp., discusses with I-Connect007 Guest Editor Jessie Jiang at RealTimeWith...NEPCON China 2015 the key challenges facing China's electronics manufacturing industry.

NEPCON China Showcases Latest Manufacturing Tech in Asia

Considered Asia's biggest, most influential SMT and electronics manufacturing event, NEPCON China 2015 attracted over 450 leading brands from 22 countries, who are showcasing this week the latest electronics manufacturing technologies and products across an exhibition area of 25,000 sqm. I-Connect007 is on hand again this year covering this event with exclusive interviews and photos from the show floor.

How to Select an Automatic Pick-and-Place Machine

This is the third in a series of articles designed to help buyers analyze and select SMT equipment for PCB assembly, and examines automatic pick-and-place machines, the most complex component in a circuit assembly operation. This article will focus on features and capabilities and include some cautions regarding reliability of low-cost machines.

Are the Robots Taking Over?

Some have a fear that robots are taking over, but the founders of Universal Robots have a different view. They have focused on producing a versatile robotic arm that frees humans from doing the repetitive tasks. Their journey has not been an easy one. From a startup with just a couple of employees their future was questionable at best, but they never gave up.


Benefits of Soldering with Vacuum Profiles

Requirements for void-free solder joints are continuously increasing in the field of electronics manufacturing, bringing new challenges that are evolving on a daily basis due to the relentless introduction of new variants of so-called bottom-terminated components (BTCs). Connector geometries alone are not decisive—numerous pitfalls are of greater significance.

High Reliability Thanks to Adhesives

Protecting electronic components from thermal, mechanical and chemical stress is becoming increasingly important in many industries. DELO Industrial Adhesives’ product specialist Kevin Balben explains the correct uses of today’s encapsulants and compounds and clarifies the myths that surround them.

Time to Ditch Heavy Metal for Soft Rock?

Yash Sutariya and Thomas S. Tarter shine a light on the often overlooked topic when it comes to PCBs for LEDs: reliability. They wrote that composite materials can provide both a thermal management solution and a dimensional stability solution that has not yet been presented through conventional materials.

Insitu: Moving Mountains in a Mountain Community

Nearly 800 employees build and support Insitu’s UAS line of ScanEagles, Integrators and ground stations. Boeing’s cameras captured the first images inside of Insitu’s new production facility, Eagle Point. Watch the video for a peek inside and learn more about where high-tech meets mountain height.

Developments with Metallic Thermal Interface Materials

Tim Jensen and Dave Saums write about the critical role of the thermal interface material in improving the efficiency of heat transfer between a semiconductor device and the surface to which it is attached.

The Importance of Solder Process Expertise

Alpha's Marketing Manager for the Americas Robert Wallace talks with Guest Editor Kelly Dack about the company's new products such as solder preforms shaped like passive components and low temperature solder alloy pastes, as well as other innovations that the company is doing.

How to Streamline PCB Thermal Design

Thermal issues with a PCB design are mostly determined during the component selection and layout phases. After this point, only remedial actions are possible if components are found to run too hot. John Parry discusses how addressing thermal issues early in PCB design, starting at the system or enclosure level, can help streamline the entire process.

Doing Business in India and China

Electrolube Managing Director Ron Jakeman spoke to I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties at CPCA 2015 in Shanghai. The company, more than 70 years old, has evolved over the decades, from producing contact lubricants, to manufacturing globally, with subsidiaries worldwide, including Beijing, China. In this interview, manufacturing, state of the global markets, and even Indian cuisine are discussed.

Product Line Philosophy: Start Small...End Big

Ralph Savage, CEO of EasyBraid, talks to Kelly Dack about his company started their business, as well as some of the activites and technologies they are doing now, such as desoldering, stencil cleaning and a soldering technology based on the Curie principle. He also discussed the company's strategy in bringing world-class technology into the United States.

How to Select a Pick-and-Place Machine, Part I

In this article, Robert Voigt writes about manual and semiautomatic pick and place machines, for users interested in going from a couple boards a day to much higher production volumes.


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