Article Highlights
3D Printing and Medical Electronics: A Disruptive Beneficial Technology
12/11/2018 | Dan Feinberg, Technology Editor, I-Connect007
What is ESD and Why Should We Worry About It?
12/10/2018 | Pete Starkey, I-Connect007
Greg Vance on SMTA Ohio Chapter Updates
12/05/2018 | I-Connect007 Editorial Team
Electrolube on Managing Thermal Interfaces and Conformal Coatings
12/03/2018 | Pete Starkey, I-Connect007
Understanding the Benefits of CFX
11/30/2018 | Stephen Las Marias, I-Connect007

Latest Articles

Due Diligence Verification: The Results

XRF technology is handheld, portable, and non-destructive to electronic components and systems. This methodology replicates the expected mode of RoHS-compliance verification used in the European Union (EU).

Test Goes Lean with Boundary Scan

The arrival of first-prototype hardware on the development engineer’s bench presents the dual challenge of debugging both the board and the design.

Due Diligence Verification: The Results

XRF technology is handheld, portable, and non-destructive to electronic components and systems. This methodology replicates the expected mode of RoHS-compliance verification used in the European Union (EU).

APEX Product Highlights

Following is a preview of some products that will be spotlighted at the IPC Printed Circuits Expo, APEX, and the Designers Summit, February 20-22, 2007, in Los Angeles. Look for more APEX reviews in the February issue of SMT, and comprehensive coverage online and in upcoming e-newsletters.

The Evolution of Environmentally Conscious Material Management

By Marjory Craw-Ivanco and Andrew Dreyer, Celestica - - Now that the July 1, 2006, EU RoHS deadline has come and gone, the electronics industry is left looking back — trying to determine the impact that this legislation has had on our industry. At one EMS provider*, through work with a diverse global customer base, it has been noted that this legislation has affected not only OEMs that place product onto the market, but many other companies as well.

APEX Preview

Following are some of the products to be presented at IPC Printed Circuits Expo/APEX/Designers Summit, February 18 – 22, 2007, in Los Angeles. Look for more product information in our APEX Product section in the February issue, and online leading up to the show.

IPC Plans APEX Events

In planning your agenda for IPC Printed Circuits Expo/APEX/Designers Summit, February 18 – 22 in Los Angeles, consider attending some of these highlighted programs. Look for more APEX news online leading up to the conference.

ERP and PLM: Addressing Differing Manufacturing Needs

By Chuck Cimalore, Omnify Software - - There is some confusion in the industry as to what role ERP and PLM systems play in a company's business process. Clarification of the key features of ERP and PLM, where they fit in the product development and manufacturing process, and how integrating these environments can deliver positive results is important for manufacturers to understand why each is critical to success and gain the most from their investment.

The Inside Line

The IPC Printed Circuits Expo/APEX/Designers Summit, February 18-22 in L.A., follows the motto "It's Your Show!," offering targeted meetings, technical sessions, and a touch of celebrity.

Acoustic Imaging of Embedded ICs

Embedding active components within the layers of a printed wiring board (PWB) can deliver significant advantages, but developing successful embedding processes requires precise data about the embedded structures.

Shock Reliability of BGAs Using Underfill

SAC BGA packages are known to be more brittle than tin/lead BGAs at high stress levels such as drop testing.

Lead-free: China RoHS Requirements

China RoHS is very different from the EU’s RoHS. With the March 1st China RoHS deadline looming, the directive offers a new set of risks and opportunities.

Growing Repair Complexities

OEMs with low- to medium-volume installed user bases may find limited options for repair support.

STEP 1: Board Design

High-speed PCB design used to be the exception, rather than the rule. Advances in serial/deserializer (serdes) technology further fuel the demand for high-speed PCB designs, while low-voltage differential signaling (LVDS) propels the importance of serdes technology.

Assembly Tools & Equipment

DepanelizerThe B300 depanelizer tool breaks carrier strips away from edge strips or PCBs with overhanging components, without excess stress on the PCB.

Avoid Electro-chemical Failure Using SIR

High-reliability electronic assemblies are used in applications where failure could result in a catastrophe. Manufacturers of high-reliability electronics take their responsibilities seriously.

From the Editor

I made the mistake of going to the local mall this past Saturday. Traffic was horrible, and parking wasn't easy. I had to take the "stalker" approach — follow a man or woman with bags in hand to his or her car; wait until they pull out, then pull my car into that spot before anyone else. We've all been there. Once I got into the mall, it didn't seem too bad. This made me wonder about consumer spending this season, and whether or not it would be a "record year."

Taiwan Maneuvers in the Outsourcing Game

By Meredith Courtemanche, assistant editor - - "Outsourcing" has become a term intrinsically linked with China, but with several expansions, collaborations, and acquisitions, Taiwan is emerging as a diverse, lucrative region for contract manufacturing. What are Taiwanese companies doing? Outsourcing to China, of course.

Recollection: Thoughts on the EMS Industry

This recollection by Brian Throneberry is excerpted from the upcoming book, "From Vacuum Tubes to Nanotubes: An Amazing Half Century — The Emergence of Electronic Circuit Technology 1957-2007," published by IPC and released in conjunction with the IPC's 50th Anniversary, which will be celebrated at APEX 2007 February 18 – 22 in Los Angeles.

Route SMT

SMT Magazine hit the scenic highways of New England - visiting Distron Corp. of Attleboro Falls, Mass., and Proxy Manufacturing in Methuen, Mass.

2007 Industry Vision Forecast

Predictions for 2007 are optimistic to say the least. We asked two questions from every SMT expert we could find: What is happening at your company and your market in 2007, and What challenges do you foresee in the coming year? Out of all respondents, we received only a few negative forecasts for the year ahead.

Screen Printing in the Dawn of Fuel Cells

The world is ready for fuel cell technologies - more people are concerned with environmental damage from burning fossil fuels.

Supply-chain Management: Asset Recovery & Disposition

Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Amherst professor Joseph Ellis, in commenting about his book Founding Brothers, made the following observation: If Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were to be resurrected, they would surely be impressed with our scientific and technological advances. But, they would likely be more impressed with the sheer quantity of material goods that we have.

Lead-free: Upgrading Thermoplastics for RoHS

When re-engineering to accommodate electronics and board components that can withstand the higher heat of lead-free soldering, one electronics manufacturer* met a new challenge - upgrading thermoplastic resins for connectors from a moderately heat-resistant one to a high-heat-resistant formulation.

2006 Product Review


Highlights from Implementing Lead-free: A Hands-on Workshop

By Michelle M. Boisvert, managing editor - - Will the industry still have questions about lead-free process implementation after the July 1st deadline? When planning Implementing Lead-free: A Hands-on Workshop, in conjunction with Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), we asked industry experts, who noted that the industry was not ready for RoHS; and likely would not be fully compliant after July 1st. Following are some highlights of the workshop.

Industry Certifications and Accreditations

Several companies — from equipment manufacturers to factory-management providers — have announced recent accreditations from partner companies or standards organizations. Following is the news from Asymtek, PEER Group, and Transene Company.

Understanding Your Soldering Choices

By Ray Prasad, Prasad Consultancy Group - - There are various soldering methods such as hand soldering, wave soldering, reflow soldering (vapor phase, convection reflow), and selective soldering that are used to join two similar or dissimilar metals or alloys at different temperatures. Some of these processes have been around for many years, while others were introduced more recently. This article outlines some things to consider when selecting the most appropriate soldering solution.

Hand-soldering System for Lead-free

The compact, PS-800E high-power production soldering system suits repetitive manual soldering and precision touch-up tasks, for reportedly reliable and repeatable lead-free hand soldering.

X-ray Inspection System

The Jewelbox 90T — a microfocus, high-magnification, real-time X-ray inspection system — performs advanced laboratory R&D tasks. Auto-BGA image-processing software analyzes void percentages, roundness size, and bridging.

Letters to the Editor

SMT Webcast Explores Lead-free Rework

NASHUA, N.H. — With boards becoming more complex and lead-free pastes melting at higher temperatures, rework-and-repair operations have become a necessity. SMT hosted a Webcast to hear different perspectives on the tools for lead-free rework.

new products

The AML0603E series multilayer chip inductors are said to reduce high-frequency loss by 20-30% over the past generation.

Selective Soldering: The New Wave

The future of mixed technology is about smaller circuit boards with more complicated packaging.

A New Approach to Vapor Phase Reflow Soldering

The introduction of lead-free soldering processes has generated renewed interest in vapor phase reflow soldering for thermally challenging PCBAs.

Selective Soldering in Lead-free Assemblies

Most people are familiar with selective soldering, but may not completely understand its benefits.

Vertically Integrated Service Providers

Growing numbers of OEMs are placing greater emphasis on their core competencies.

STEP 10: Rework and Repair

Quality, efficient rework influences BGA implementation success. With lead-free processes, the quality of rework becomes crucial as temperatures rise.


U.S. Weighs In on Domestic RoHs

Lead-free Wave Solder System

The NU/ERA 16MP lead-free, computer-controlled, dual-wave soldering system includes a lead-free-compatible titanium solder pot that rolls out on a motorized drive. The pot can be swapped with other pots containing different lead-free alloy compositions.

Post-wave Conveyors

Featuring a static-dissipative, snap-link belt with full-surface ribs to increase cooling, the Hump-back conveyor system transports PCBs exiting a wave solder machine.

Selective Soldering System

The Rhythm selective soldering system from Tyco Electronics presents solder from the underside of the board without additional tooling or accessories. This system is said to provide an effective entry point to solder thru-hole and odd-form components into surface mount and mixed-technology PCBs.

Process Verification: Cleaning Inspection

By Tom Forsythe, Kyzen Corporation - - Process cleaning inspection is an inherent part of the electronic assembly verification process. The importance of inspection amplifies as new lead-free designs gain global market acceptance. Gaining an understanding of inspection options, and the information each provides, gives technicians knowledge of how these inspection techniques build on each other to enable statistical process control (SPC). This article reviews common techniques.

Software Suite

The SigmaSure software suite aids in conversion, compliance, and due diligence records for OEMs following the European Union's (E.U.'s) RoHS Directive. Products that have revised components, lead-free solder, or other RoHS-compliant changes can be monitored for quality and consistency.

Solder Spheres

Kester specifically engineered Ultra-Sphere solder spheres to resist surface-darkening induced by transit tumbling and ball-placement systems, to allow more accuracy with vision systems. Surface-darkening can lead to false missing-ball readings with detection devices.

Lead Detector Kit

A lead detector kit indicates the presence of lead on assemblies, workbenches, tools, machinery, and storage areas by displaying a pink to red color. Color intensity reveals the level of lead concentration. The detector wipes and swaps then can be sent to a lab for quantitative analysis of lead content.

ATExpo Product Wrap-up

(October 11, 2006) ROSEMONT, Ill. — The Assembly Technology Expo, held in conjunction with SMTA International (SMTAI) at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center this September, hosted companies involved in every aspect of SMT manufacturing. Following are a few of the products introduced and demonstrated at the show.

Stencil Printer Option

The Accela stencil printer has been optimized with SpeedVision, a high-speed inspection option, that can perform 2-D substrate and stencil inspection during the printing process.

Software for Solder Inspection

The remote teaching system (RTS) reportedly enables users to program off-line, without shutting down the system during programming.

Realizing the Expectations of AOI

By Matthew Holzmann, Christopher Associates - - With the resurgence of the electronics interconnect manufacturing industry there is renewed emphasis on AOI. Long-time users are in the market for new and improved technology, while other companies are ready to implement AOI on a wider scale. Price competition has thinned profit margins for both users and vendors, and yet AOI has still not achieved its original performance goals.

No-clean Solder Paste

An improved no-clean solder paste formulated for SAC 305 leaves a shiny, aesthetically-pleasing finish on solder joints. The clear flux residue does not interfere with inspection, and the paste is said to improve wetting capabilities.

Route SMT

SMT Magazine visited The Morey Corporation (Woodridge, Ill.), and Nexlogic, a San Jose, Calif.

New Products

Ultra PP dispense tips have flexible polypropylene shafts for reaching hard-to-access areas. The PP tips, which are compatible with air-powered benchtop dispensers or automated dispense valves, apply adhesives, lubricants, and other assembly fluids.

Embedded Passives - Stuck in the Chasm?

Every so often, new technologies promising to revolutionize PCB design enter the scene, and possibly the technology-adoption life cycle.

Feeder Flexibility in Placement Machines

Flexibility, adaptability, and cost savings are catch phrases in today’s electronics assembly industry.

Accelerated Testing Raises the Bar

Highly accelerated life testing (HALT) and highly accelerated stress screening (HASS) are being noticed in the boardroom and on the manufacturing floor as a way to aid profitability across a range of industries.

Managing the Heat in Medical Electronics

A review of the trends driving growth and innovation in the medical electronics industry highlights several key requirements for next-generation assembly materials.

Improving Lead-free Joint Quality with Nitrogen

Nitrogen inerting can reduce defects in lead-free reflow soldering. However, it is claimed that many solder pastes either do not need nitrogen, or work equally well in air.

STEP 9: Test & Inspection

From an inspection point of view, there are two types of solder joints in PCB assembly: visible and hidden.

ATExpo Brings Industry Together

As I walked the floor at ATExpo on opening day at the Donald Stephens Convention Center, I watched forklifts bringing boxes of large capital equipment onto the floor. There was the smell of exhaust fumes and smoke, the beeping of trucks in reverse. It felt like a rock concert about to happen.

Product Review: ATExpo

Following is a highlight of products to be featured at the 2006 Assembly Technology Expo, co-located with SMTA International in Rosemont, Ill., September 26 – 28. Check out SMT's September issue for more products, and look for more previews on our Website, leading up to the show.

More ATExpo Product Highlights

Following is a highlight of products to be featured at the 2006 Assembly Technology Expo, co-located with SMTA International in Rosemont, Ill., September 26 – 28. Check out SMT's September issue for more products, and look for more previews on our Website, leading up to the show.

SMTA ToolBox
Lead-free Is Here. Where Are You?

By Peter Biocca - - The European Union's (EU's) RoHS Directive is here, and the Chinese version is coming soon — bringing with it another deadline, more confusion, and additional changes. RoHS has been the main topic at conferences in the last four years. Where do we stand today?

Joe Fjelstad Releases Flexible Circuit Technology, 3rd Edition

The third edition of Flexible Circuit Technology features new technologies and applications that have developed over the eight years since the second edition was published. This updated version on interconnection technology will be available from BR Publishing of Seaside, Ore., as a full-color PDF e-book, or in a traditional printed format.

Outsourcing Practices and Ethics Scrutinized

By Meredith Courtemanche, assistant editor - - Outsourcing is commonly perceived as a de-facto practice among consumer electronics manufacturers. Despite this, there is actually no de-facto standard across the various electronics manufacturing markets. In "Apples to Pomegranates, Outsourcing Across the Mobile Phone and PC Industries," Jeffrey Wu found that the two sectors do not behave similarly in the outsourcing realm.

ATExpo Product Highlight

Following are a few of the products to be featured at the 2006 Assembly Technology Expo, co-located with SMTA International in Rosemont, Ill., September 26 – 28. Check out the September issue of SMT for more ATExpo products.

Control and Stability in Lead-free Reflow

As the reflow process window closes, a number of enabling technologies are opening doors in a brave new lead-free world.

ATExpo Product Review

Following are a variety of products from a few companies exhibiting at the Assembly Technology Expo (ATExpo), September 26-28, 2006.

High-speed Placement of Wafer-level Devices

Advanced chip packages leverage the design advantages of bare die. Suppliers and manufacturers facing the challenge of placing more die at higher speeds, eliminating intermediate packaging, and feeding flip-chip devices at high speeds from wafer format, will meet the demands by combining SMT and semiconductor placement processes into one high-speed workflow.

ESD Susceptibility of Precision-film Resistors

The electronics industry has some misconceptions regarding the electrostatic discharge (ESD) susceptibility of certain reeled resistors thought to be invulnerable to damage.

Lead-free: Electrical Influence on Tin Whisker Growth

This article presents results of an eight-month assessment of whisker growth on matte-tin-plated copper in the presence of a constant electrical current.

Optimizing Test Operations to Cut Costs

Contract manufacturers (CMs) operate on razor-thin margins, where cutting excess costs is a way of life.

STEP 8: Cleaning By Michael Konrad

One must first decide whether or not to clean. Is the flux left on the board after reflow inert? Will reliability be an issue? This article focuses on batch-format cleaning technology and its use to deflux high-reliability applications.

AIM Opens Shenzhen Campus

SHENZHEN, China - Responding to an expanding customer base throughout China, AIM has opened a campus, including manufacturing and office buildings, two warehouses, and a dormitory, in Shenzhen, China, for its full range of tin/lead and lead-free solder pastes, bar and wire solders, and liquid fluxes.

Benchtop Robots – Making Their Mark on the Assembly Line

By Deepa Mathew, Frost & Sullivan analyst - - Benchtop robots for low-volume, high-mix production are becoming more important to European and North American assemblers. Mathew argues that a shift of high-volume, low-mix manufacturing from these regions to China — and other regions offering low wages and large raw material sources — has prompted more NPIs/R&D to be done in low-volume, high-mix regions. For traceablity, robots detect missing, skewed, or mismatched components.

SMTAI — Investing in Training

By David Raby - - As a valued industry colleague, you will be interested in the details of our 2006 SMTA International conference program. Your colleagues on the SMTAI Technical Committee have built on this success as they developed the comprehensive program of tutorials, paper sessions, and symposiums being offered this fall.

Developing ATExpo's EASi Line

Around January each year, Rick James of Electronics Manufacturing Solutions, Inc. starts to think about the assembly line. But he's not thinking of ways to make the line at his Mooresville, Ind.-based contract manufacturing facility leaner, faster, or more productive. He's thinking simple and inexpensive — and to September. James coordinates the Electronics Assembly Line (EASi Line), located in the Electronics Assembly Pavilion of the ATExpo, September 26-28, 2006, in Rosemont, Ill.

EKRA Notes Revenue Highs, 500th Shipment

EKRA America posted its largest six-month and rolling 12-month revenues with the close of the first half of 2006. The company also announced the shipment of its 500th machine to the American market in June.

Shea Keynote Looks Ahead

NASHUA, N.H. — Attentive to the electronics industry's burgeoning environmental responsibility, and the challenges associated with multiple, global legislative initiatives, Dan Shea, chief technology officer (CTO), Celestica, will offer knowledge and insight in his keynote address "Cradle to Rebirth — The Electronics Industry Goes Green," on October 17, 2006, at Implementing Lead-free: A Hands-on Workshop.

Conductive Inks Rework the Board

By Meredith Courtemanche, assistant editor - - Electrically-conductive inks challenge traditional etched or plated copper traces in circuit boards. Fast-drying and highly stable at room temperature, inks enable high-speed assembly with reduced product waste. Additional concerns, such as hazardous waste management and restrictions, as well as thermal management and cure time, determine the viability of conductive inks vs. copper traces on boards.

Celestica's Dan Shea Keynotes Implementing Lead-free: A Hands-on Workshop

NASHUA, N.H. — Sharing his extensive knowledge of the electronics industry's shift toward environmental responsibility, Dan Shea, chief technology officer (CTO), Celestica, will present the keynote address "Cradle to Rebirth — The Electronics Industry Goes Green," on October 17, 2006, at Implementing Lead-free: A Hands-on Workshop, at the Rochester Institute of Technology's (RIT) Center for Manufacturing and Assembly (CEMA) in Rochester, N.Y.

Route SMT

SMT Magazine is getting out of the office and hitting the highways to visit you - our readers within the surface mount industry.

New Products

The VIGON A 201 removes a number of flux residues with short contact times.

Assembly: Where Speed and Flexibility Meet

In any conversation concerning SMT assembly, achieving speed and flexibility simultaneously will almost always be cited.

Quality Control Software

The key to true quality control (QC) is prevention, rather than detection. Electronics-manufacturing operations demand quality management software that monitors and controls processes prior to and beyond inspection.

Economic Assembly of Small SMT Batch Sizes

For SMD prototyping or small-batch production, equipment requirements are different compared to those of mass production.

Line Buffering and Productivity Gains

Henry Ford implemented an assembly line more than 90 years ago. Productivity gains of more efficient manufacturing processes occur in small steps of continuous improvement.

RoHS Testing: Lead-free Is Not Trouble-free

PCB suppliers have focused on removing lead from their products to conform to RoHS requirements.

STEP 7: Soldering

Based on volumes of research, test data, and at the recommendation of industry associations, most companies have chosen one of the SAC alloys for lead-free processes.

A Successful Transition to Lead-free

Several factors drive electronics companies to switch to less-hazardous materials, including regulatory and market drivers.

PennWell's SMT Magazine and the Rochester Institute of Technology Center for Electronics Manufacturing and Assembly Announce Implementing Lead-free: A Hands-on Workshop

Nashua, NH?PennWell Corporation's SMT Magazine and Rochester Institute of Technology's (RIT) Center for Electronics Manufacturing and Assembly (CEMA) together announce Implementing Lead-free: A Hands-on Workshop, October 16-19, 2006, at the RIT campus in Rochester, N.Y.

PCB Designer's Notebook: Improving Industry-developed Standards

By Vern Solberg - - There are a number of standards that have been developed within our industry domestically and internationally. Some standards are created as guidance documents, while others specify materials, product requirements, and qualification criteria. Keeping these standards current and up-to-date is a daunting challenge; we often are asked to comply with a document that is several years old.

7/1/2006: Gone But Not Forgotten

By Meredith Courtemanche, assistant editor - - With the scramble to the RoHS deadline past, many companies must now look further down the road to determine their long-term viability. The July 1st implementation date represented a milestone for conversion to lead-free, but the future for businesses interested in the world marketplace will require meticulous record keeping for every product sold. Audits can be anticipated for any company exporting to the EU.

RoHS in Four Steps

By Duane Benson - - In many darkened hallways just outside of development labs — two weeks prior to design-freeze — a product manager will ask, "It meets RoHS, right?" If the answer contains any hesitation, then this article is for you.

Electropac Goes Flexible

Electropac Co., Inc., offers rigid flex and flexible products from single- and double-sided flex circuits to 4-10-layer rigid flex.

Choosing a Stencil

Is a stencil a commodity or a precision tool? A commodity is something that can be purchased from many suppliers, with the expectation that the performance will be the same.

Programming ISP Devices

Once seen mainly on complex, high-cost circuit boards, programmable logic has made its way into nearly every circuit board built.

A Proposed Remedy for Ball-in-Socket Defects

Ball-in-socket defects often occur randomly on BGA components without any obvious root cause.

Snap, Print, & Flip: Paste Printing for QFN Rework

As the industry looks to implement smaller components, MLFs such as QFNs that enable higher PCB component densities, are being incorporated into space-constrained products.

Maximize Your Investment: Re-qualify for Lead-free

A massive re-qualification process is underway to identify, test, certify, and learn to use new materials and processes for RoHS.

Solving the Mystery of Failed Components

Two keys to success in today’s electronics industry are being data-informed and customer-driven.

New Products

AdVantis XS combines semiconductor and standard surface mount assembly in one system using proprietary variable reluctance motor (VRM) linear technology for accuracy and repeatability of ±9 µm at ±3 sigma.

Design for Compliance: The Impact of RoHS

By John Isaac - A new criterion has entered the fray of design-for-compliance constraints placed on designers. Regional restrictions on hazardous materials in electronics products increase the need for a holistic set of criteria that can be accessed throughout the design process.

NEPCON NEC -- SMT Across the Pond

By Michelle M. Boisvert, Managing Editor - With 415 exhibiting companies and 3,340 visitors, NEPCON NEC, May 9-11, 2006, in Birmingham, U.K. was a productive show for those involved — generating several qualified leads and interest.

Technological Aspects of the RoHS Directive

Exempt Industries: RoHS-5 Compliance and Mixed Technology - By Lev Shapiro - It is well known that the European Union's (EU's) RoHS Directive, which takes effect on July 1, 2006, limits the use of six materials, of which the removal of lead is causing the heaviest burden on the electronics industry — forcing a number of process, raw materials, components, PCB, and equipment changes.

STEP 6: Component Placement

With a focus on 01005 components, a discussion of placing 0201s may seem outdated at first.

New Products

The DR354-1-2-3-4 series surface mount wirewound chip inductors protect against electromagnetic interference (EMI) for small devices in high-frequency filtering applications.

Challenges and Laws of Lead-free Cleaning

Lead-free soldering implementation is closing in on the July 1, 2006 deadline. Characteristics of lead-free alloys are higher reflow temperatures and poor wetting compared to eutectic tin/lead soldering.

Cost of Ownership for Dispensing Equipment

It’s not news that electronics manufacturers are looking to reduce manufacturing costs.

History of Inner-layer Testing

With the advent of high-speed flying probe testers, prototype PCB manufacturers are finding that with electrically testing inner layers, something old is new again.

Mitigating Whisker Growth on Electroplated Tin Finishes

The potential risk for whisker growth is one of the concerns when using a pure-tin lead finish.

Accuracy Measurements for Modern Dispensing

Modern PCBs require more miniaturization and previously unattainable component densities.

Lead-free: Reduce Joint Cracks in Automotive Electronics

The RoHS Directive comes into force in one month, and many manufacturers have adopted SAC solder alloys for lead-free consumer appliance production.

Post-print Verification Technology

HawkEye post-print verification technology isolates errors through a good/bad verification set against user-defined, pre-set thresholds. Streamed images are analyzed and any defective boards are identified and removed in real time. Throughput and end-of-line yield reportedly increase with 100% post-print verification at the line beat rate.

Digital X-ray Inspection

The XD7500 digital X-ray inspection system features a manipulator design that provides oblique angle views up to 70° for any position 360° around any point of the 18 × 16" inspection area, allowing inspection of all interconnections on PCBs containing ball-grid arrays (BGAs) and chip scale packages (CSPs).

Defluxing System

The SMT1000-LD defluxing system targets SMT and thru-hole defluxing applications, including lead-free flux removal. It provides impact pressure of 15.4 oz. per in.2, enhanced statistical process control (SPC) data recording, programmable maintenance-reminding software, and an automatic chemical management system.

Selective Soldering

The KISS 101 and 102 selective soldering systems feature lead-free-compatible solder pots for assembly, prototyping, rework, post-reflow offline assembly, and other selective soldering applications such as odd-form devices. Both systems are bench-top models with optional carriages for standalone use.

X-ray Inspection

The X1550 enables X-ray inspection for boards up to 18 × 24" with automated motion control, measurement, and analysis, as well as advanced solid-state detector-based inspection for lead-free assembly. The system offers a choice of Image Intensifier and complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS)-based high-resolution detectors, and a 130-kV X-ray source with a continuously variable field of view (FOV) up to 1.8" with zoom.

Rework System

The Fineplacer CRS 10 compact rework system suits fixed configuration needs, small- to medium-scale series assembly, or highly precise rework of soldered components on medium- to large-size surface mount device (SMD) boards. A plug-and-work design eliminates the need for time-consuming cabling.

Placement Machine

The FLX2010-LCV flexible pick-and-place system for high-mix production is said to offer changeover without downtime. It starts at 5,000 components per hour (cph) with 150 inline feeders, with the option to expand to 310 feeders.

Using Underfill to Enhance Lead-free Drop Test Reliability

With the RoHS deadline just two months away, there are still questions remaining regarding the reliability of Sn/Ag/Cu (SAC) alloys, as compared to tin/lead alloys.

Process Optimization of an 01005

The ever-increasing demand for lighter weight, increasing functionality, and portability has led to size reductions of many component types.

Assessing Tin Whisker Risk in Electronic Products

In response to legislation mandating the manufacture of lead-free electronics, part manufacturers have adopted pure-tin and high-tin lead-free alloy finishes.

Lead-free Process Control Management

In past pursuits of RoHS compliance, manufacturers focused on process changes, solder chemistries, and equipment.

Handset Manufacturing: Not a Simple Endeavor

Convergence in handsets has caused greater product stratification. Along with this comes a new set of design, sourcing, manufacturing, and life-cycle requirements.

STEP 5: Adhesives/Epoxies and Dispensing

Surface mount adhesives (SMAs) can be deposited with high X/Y accuracy, and in finely metered volumes, using dispensing or screen printing equipment and processes.

SMT Celebrates VISION Awards on a Grand Scale

It was a time for black tuxes, laser lights, and glittery gowns when SMT celebrated the VISION Awards on February 8, 2006, at the Anaheim Marriott during the APEX/IPC Printed Circuits Expo.



Cost of Ownership Considerations

As the SMT industry matures, containing several well-established vendors, it becomes increasingly difficult to differentiate offerings.

Printing Process Replaces Emulsion Screens

A method for component and ink printing industries, including multilayer chip capacitor (MLCC) or low-temperature co-fired ceramic (LTCC) manufacturers, was developed by Stork Veco, a Netherlands-based electroforming and photoetching company.

NEPCON Shanghai Sees High Attendance

Held April 4–7, 2006, in Shanghai's Everbright Exhibition and Convention Center, and jointly organized by Reed Exhibitions and the CCPIT — Electronics Sub-Council, NEPCON/EMT China 2006 saw 16,363 attendees convened to network and discover the latest technologies from 650 industry players spanning 22 countries.

Standardizing Material Declarations Globally

The RoHS regulations deadline is no longer simply inching up on the electronics assembly industry.


Compiled by SMT Staff


Bob Solomon joined StratEdge (San Diego) as senior account manager. Solomon brings with him engineering, design and development, and sales knowledge in the semiconductor, telecom, medical, aerospace, and defense industries. He will be in charge of the company’s DC to 50+ GHz packages and assembly and test services.

New Products

Shape Memory Tooling

Lead-free Solder and the Rework Process

In three months, the electronics industry will shift from a proven, highly reliable, lead-containing solder alloy to a variety of lead-free alloys - creating extra work and raising concerns regarding long-term reliability.

AOI: A Strategy for Closing the Loop

AOI has been a process-monitoring tool within the SMT industry for several years.

Hand Soldering in a Mixed-alloy Environment

With the RoHS Directive date approaching, the big concern for many companies is compliance.

Using Stencil: Design to Reduce SMT Defects

Solder paste printing is known as the root cause behind assembly defects. Because yield accounts for much of the margin, the greatest opportunity to improve profits can be gleaned by eradicating solder defects.

Open vs. Sealed Tubes in X-ray Inspection

A topic often discussed when assessing X-ray equipment capability is the configuration of an X-ray source characterized by open vs. sealed tube.

Keeping Lead Away from Lead-free During Cleaning

While the deadline for conversion is fast approaching, it does not mean that everyone will become lead-free all at once.

STEP 4: Printing

Consumer need for electronic devices is driving the industry to products that are smarter, more portable, highly functional, and cost-effective.

EMA Targets RoHS Compliance in Design Process

(March 29, 2006) ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Adding to its recent RoHS/WEEE compliance technologies, EMA Design Automation integrated Omnify software, a data management system, into its engineering data management (EDM) solution. After having used Omnify's software internally to manage RoHS data for customers, EMA Design Automation realized it could also benefit their customers, giving them the ability to design-in RoHS complexities and issues from the beginning.

Conference Focuses on Green Manufacturing, Recycling

(March 29, 2006) MINNEAPOLIS — Some believe that China may be nearly five years ahead of the U.S. in WEEE/RoHS compliance. With the China RoHS law slated to go into effect March 1, 2007, the Third International Conference and Exhibition on Green Manufacturing, May 13-14, 2006, in Tianjin, China, may offer attendees additional compliance information.

SPECIAL FEATURE: Remote Diagnostics Offer Benefits Without IP Loss

This article focuses on a twist to remote-diagnostic maintenance technology, and the unyielding push to comfort PCB makers who have historically been concerned that sharing maintenance data with suppliers using Internet portals drilled into their fab will expose precious trade secrets. By Chakrapani "Chuck" Vallurupalli

Analyzing the Debate of Clean vs. No-clean

Most consumer-based products have adapted a true no-clean strategy, primarily due to rapid technological changes within the market.

Identifying Stencils for Lead-free Solder Paste

July 1, 2006 marks the era of lead-free electronics in Europe. The influence of RoHS and WEEE will result in better environmental quality, protection of human health, and more rational use of natural resources.

Matte-finish Solder Joints after Lead-free Wave Soldering

Most joints soldered using lead-free alloys exhibit a dull or frosty appearance, which differs from the smooth, bright, shiny surfaces of tin/lead solders.

Due Diligence Verification - Ensuring RoHS Compliance

ROHS compliance will require manufacturers to incorporate measures to ensure all electronic components meet the EU’s directive.

STEP 3: Solder Materials

Greater than 60% of end-of-line defects in SMT assembly can be traced to solder paste and the printing process.

Nano Golf Balls Straighten Drives

Get ready for nanotechnology to move from the lab to the marketplace. Though there is still too much hype surrounding nanotechnology, a few practical products from sportswear, to sensors, and even golf balls are available now.


Compiled by SMT Staff

New Products

Stencil Cleaner

Traceability Data Integrity - Challenges and Solutions

The electronics manufacturing industry is seeing increased demands for material traceability.

Jetting: Dispense Technology of Choice for Adhesives

Many manufacturers choose jetting technology to meet the demands of automated adhesive application processes.

SPECIAL FEATURE: Choosing the Proper Workbench or Workstation

On the surface, you might think that purchasing a workbench or workstation is a relatively simple proposition. Your employees have work to do, and they need an efficient, comfortable, and practical place in which to do it. But before you can be sure that you are getting the correct workbench, you need to perform some upfront work yourself. There are, in fact, many variables to consider. - By James Anderson and Ron Santoro, product managers, Lista International

SMT Magazine Honors 2005 VISION Awards Winners

ANAHEIM, Calif. — SMT Magazine announced recipients of its 2005 VISION Awards during the 14th Annual VISION Awards ceremony and celebration, held February 8, 2006, at the Marriott Hotel in Anaheim, Calif. Nearly 300 people attended the awards ceremony and celebration.

Solectron, Raven Beta Test IPC RoHS Lead-free Certification Program

When the IPC approached technical content experts with the idea of developing a lead-free process certification program, all were eager to join, said John D. Kania, director of government relations/industry programs.

AOI Systems Target Low-cost/High-volume Markets

Landrex debuted the cost-effective Optima II 7301 Express and high-speed Optima II 7310 Extreme at booth 1201 at APEX.

Materials Science Program Addresses Reliability Concerns

When speaking with electronics assemblers, Indium Corporation of America discovered there are many challenges to overcome, including thermal management issues resulting from increased power demands and component miniaturization. Solder joint reliability was the #1 concern for assemblers, said Ross Berntson, director of solder products. In response, Indium Corporation developed its Materials Science Program for Reliability.

Lead-free, No-clean Solder Paste Boosts Wetting

Heraeus' newly formed Contact Materials Division (CMD) announced the F640 series of lead-free, no-clean solder paste to promote wetting and minimize defects with tin/silver/copper alloy soldering.

Sola Notes Customer-centric Model Key to Survival

By Michelle M. Boisvert - Listening to your customer was just one of the strategies that keynote speaker Jure Sola, CEO and chairman of the board at Sanmina-SCI, shared with attendees on Wednesday, February 8. Sola noted that the customer-focused strategy is one way to compete in the global world of electronics manufacturing.

SMT Awards Celebrate VISION

During an awards ceremony at the Anaheim Marriott on Wednesday, February 8, 2006, SMT Magazine honored winners of the 2005 VISION Awards, recognizing innovative and visionary products and services within the surface mount industry.

MS2 Eliminates Dross in Wave Soldering

Dross build up in wave solder pots can contribute to additional soldering costs, reduced efficiency, and defects. On a recent visit with Los Angeles-based P. Kay Metal (Booth 2635), president Larry Kay introduced us to the MS2 100 dross elimination surfactant for lead-based wave solder pots, and the MS2 200 LF for dross removal in lead-free solder wave solder pots.

Cogiscan Demos Smart Feeder Cart System

The RFID Smart Feeder Cart expands the concept of intelligent feeders from SMT placement machines and feeder banks to storage carts.

Benchtop AOI Offers Low-cost Solution

The B2 Benchtop automated inspection system (AOI) for post-reflow PCBs from YESTech offers faster throughput and improved board handling. While visiting the company's San Clemente, Calif., facility, Don Miller, YESTech president, explained how the company's adaptive and flexible approach to inspection has disrupted the North American market.

IPC Roadmap Notes Changes, Challenges

The industry is changing, and the IPC’s 2004-2005 International Technology Roadmap for Electronic Connections also has changed.


Compiled by SMT Staff

Speed Enhancements for Screen Printing

Upgrading capital equipment to accelerate assembly processes is a cost-down technique, particularly in the EMS sector.

Pastes, Stencils, and Process Control

Concern for process defects is one reason for the growth in SMT. Paste and the printing process account for most process defects.

Managing Engineering Information: The PLM Landscape

Product lifecycle management is a broad concept that encompasses the management of product-related information from inception through end-of-life.

Tin/lead vs. Lead-free: A Question of Print Accuracy

The entire supply industry is feeling the impact of WEEE and RoHS regulations. While much progress has been made in preparation for this transition, one question lingers: Does the lead-free solder paste printing process need to be more accurate than the tin/lead process? This article aims to answer that question.

Lead-free Rework: Are You Ready?

Adoption of lead-free will have a major effect on rework and repair. Operators will encounter new component and board finishes with soldering characteristics unlike those of typical tin/lead finishes.

Lead-free: VOC-free Flux Deposition Reduces Defects

As the global push toward lead-free manufacturing gains momentum, much attention has been focused on its effect on assembly processes.

EMS Providers: The Design Partners

A trend among OEM providers is the desire for more help in the design area; and they’re looking for this on a number of different fronts.

APEX Product Showcase

Following are just some of the many innovative products to be showcased this month at IPC Printed Circuits Expo, APEX, and the Designers Summit in Anaheim, Calif.

STEP 2: Process Control

Cost and quality optimization in surface mount device (SMD) production requires a holistic manufacturing approach.

Non-contact Surface Profiling Improves Board Quality

Confocal 3-D profiling systems can be used at any step in the fabrication or assembly process to inspect and analyze visible features on outer layers of PCBs. Unlike inline machines dedicated to post-solder and post-component placement inspection, these systems feature versatile 3-D measurement, visualization, and analysis tools used for off-line quality control and defect diagnosis. - By Ciaran Murphy, Taylor Hobson Ltd.

Register Now for the Lead-free Success Stories Webcast

NASHUA, N.H. — SMT, in collaboration with Advanced Packaging and Connector Specifier Magazines, will host a "Lead-free Success Stories" Webcast on February 15, 2006, at 1:00 p.m. EST.


Compiled by SMT Staff

CEMA Offers Industry Trainings, Lead-free Resources

The Center for Electronics Manufacturing and Assembly (CEMA) at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) is an academic research lab offering the Electronics Packaging industry research services, failure analysis, process training and development, consulting, and laboratory rental.

Expanding Role of Machine Capability Analysis

When considering the purchase of an expensive piece of manufacturing equipment, it is important to know that the equipment will perform to spec.

Flip-chip Assembly Using Ultra-fine-pitch Solder Pastes

In electronics manufacturing, keeping pace with technology is not enough to ensure long-term viability.

View of Chip Placement Head Technologies

Modern manufacturers, regardless of location or business model, have always valued the ability to reconfigure platform-type machines quickly during changeovers - optimizing placement capabilities for the incoming product.

To Void or Not to Void?

During its three-year, multi-million-dollar reliability study on lead-free solder, the IPC Solder Products Value Council (SPVC) found that solder voiding has no impact on solder joint reliability.

Lead-free: AOI in High-volume Production Assemblies

In accordance with the EU Guideline 2002/95/EG, PCB assemblies must comply with a lead-free process beginning July 1, 2006.

STEP 1: Board Design

Programmable device manufacturers often tout the ability to program a device after it has been mounted onto the board.

APEX Product Preview


2006 Industry Vision Forecast

Overall, 2005 has been a profitable year for surface mount technology. Judging by the experts quoted in this forecast, continued and more robust growth is predicted for companies in 2006.

PCBs Constrained? Try Flexing Your Circuits

Consumers demand smaller and faster products that deliver more bang for the buck while still expecting reliability and long battery life.

Integrating New Business with an EMS Provider

Starting a new customer with an EMS provider has always been challenging for both parties.

Lead-free: Screen Printing - Where to from Here?

The deadline for lead-free electronic assembly is less than 12 months away. Time is running out to get “production-wise.

2005 Product Review

ASSEMBLY TOOLS & EQUIPMENTProcess Development Tool

Siemens Establishes Singapore Hub for Asia Manufacturing

In September 2005, I had a chance to observe Siemens Electronics Assembly Systems’ first high-speed Siplace placement machine, which was produced at the company’s SMT manufacturing plant in Singapore.


Compiled by SMT Staff


Gary Shi was promoted to technical manager of research and development of Liquid Epoxy products at the electronics group of Henkel, reporting directly to Henkel’s global director of research, Development and Engineering for Semiconductor Materials, Larry Crane.

New Products

Thermal Profiler

Trends in the Stencil Printing Process

What trends will drive solder paste printing process technology over the next several years? This article examines two major trends to influence and drive the stencil printing process - lead-free and component miniaturization.

Thermal Materials Improve Automotive Laminate Reliability

You only have to look as far as the local dealership showroom to know that sleek, small and fast are the trends in the automotive industry.

Lead-free Stencil and Misprint Cleaning

The emergence of lead-free products in the North American market and more innovative cleaning technologies have contributed to the growing attention toward stencil and misprinted circuit board cleaning.

Process Control Methods for Conformal Coating

Conformal coating applications present a range of challenges to contract manufacturers and OEMs.

Attaining Lead-free Solder Joint Reliability

With the lead-free deadline approaching, EMS providers must offer OEMs transitional know-how to resolve several impending lead-free concerns, such as lead-free solder joint reliability.

Lead-free: PCB Test and Inspection

Much has been written regarding the Effects of lead-free solder on the assembly process.

STEP 10: Rework and Repair

The higher temperatures required for lead-free manufacturing pose challenges for electronic assemblies.

Conferences Abound — But One Stands Out

By Gene Weiner - Fall and spring used to be known as the meeting and show seasons. Now with the addition of many new shows around the globe, Webinars and the "flattened world," we have an overload of oft-repeated data and technology. Much is old news, yet there are a few gems still out there.

End-of-Life Leaching of Lead and Other Elements

There is much concern about what will happen when consumer electronics being stored in basements, garages, and attics reach municipal landfills.

STEP 9: Test and Inspection

Shipping high-quality products that are free of defects is a challenge that will not disappear.

Pb-free Design and Process Optimization for PIH

This article examines results of the board design and process optimization for paste-in-hole (PIH) using lead-free solder.

Predicting Brittle Fracture Failures

With expanded use of printed circuit board assemblies (PCBAs) containing lead-free BGA components, the challenge remains: how to predict and detect brittle fracture failures.

WEEE Registration Logistics

WEEE should have been adopted in the EU by August 2005; however, the UK, France, Italy, Poland, Estonia, Finland, Greece, and Malta have yet to enforce the legislation.

TechTips Toolbox

When we consider the transition to lead-free soldering, with all of its metallurgical complexities, it’s easy to understand how people might forget the basics.


Compiled by SMT Staff

iNEMI Heads Hi-Rel RoHS Task Force

The International Electronics Manufacturing Initiative (iNEMI) created the High-Reliability (Hi-Rel) RoHS Task Force and announced publication of recommendations to protect the dependability of high-reliability products as the supply chain moves to lead-free components.

Productronica Products

The following is a variety of products offered from just a few of the exhibiting companies slated to be at Productronica 2005, November 15-18, in Munich, Germany.

Solutions for Advanced Rework Challenges

The electronic world is getting smaller, more crowded and vertically integrated.

Protecting Board Integrity in Harsh Environments

Conducting failure test analysis and quality control evaluations of circuits that have been protected with conformal coatings can be difficult.

RoHS: Y2K for OEMs?

Determining RoHS-compliance preparedness and redesigning products to satisfy the Directive is the main discussion topic between EMS providers and OEMs.

Lead-free: Making the Adjustments

The EU’s RoHS Directive, as well as similar global legislation, is fostering change in the fabrication and assembly of PCBs.

Speaking of Contract Manufacturing: Virtual Resources Play a Role in EMS

Internal EMS resources have been stretched in the U.S. domestic market. Competitive pricing pressures and low profit margins in our industry have placed a strain on people by reducing the depth of in-house resources EMS companies can afford to retain on a permanent basis. We are finding ways to leverage the capabilities of related companies in this industry as we offer the customer a single point of contact in providing manufacturing services.

Inspex, Inc. Offers X-ray Inspection Services

(September 6, 2005) ORANGE, Calif. — Inspex, Inc. introduced quick-turn X-ray inspection services for PCB and semiconductor electronics packaging and assembly, including BGA, QFP and PLCC components on all types of assemblies, semiconductor components, active and passive devices, multiplayer PCBs, PCB fabrication and molded and encapsulated components.

IMS Names Rep in Canada

(September 2, 2005) PORTSMOUTH, R.I. — International Manufacturing Services (IMS) appointed Zully Alidina and Markham, Ontario-based RF Spectrum as its representative in Canada. RF Spectrum is an established representative in the Canadian wireless market.

Dispensing Adhesives and Epoxies: Trends and Developments

Surface mount adhesives (SMAs) have been around long enough that they are expected to perform consistently and reliably as part of the background process of electronics assembly.

AOI and AXI: One Powerful Combination

In the past, AOI has been pitted against AXI when a company implements automated inspection throughout its SMT line.

Aqueous Cleaning Today and Tomorrow

Much like the electronics industry as a whole, the PCB cleaning market continues to change.

Beyond AOI - SMT Quality Control

The automatic inspection machine in SMT came about in the early 1990s. Now there is a range of processes that AOI can accomplish in this field.

STEP 8 : Cleaning

What does low cost of ownership mean? Too many define it as outsourcing production to China.


SMTA International 2005 Packed with Opportunities

SMT China International Call for Papers

PennWell and China Electronics Appliance Corporation (CEAC) will sponsor the 2005 SMT China International Conference on “Emerging Technologies and Lead-free Challenges,” November 21-22, 2005.

2005 SMTA International Products

Following is a variety of products offered from just a few of the exhibiting companies slated to be at SMTA International/ATExpo.

Lead-free Wave Solder Alloy Selection: Reliability Is Key

The Eu’s RoHS Directive is driving major changes in the manufacture of electrical and electronics equipment.

SMT, SMT China Announce Call for Papers for Upcoming Conference

SHANGHAI — SMT, SMT China and China Electronics Appliance Corporation (CEAC) announce the Call for Papers for the 2005 SMT China International Conference on Emerging Technologies & Lead-free Challenges. Held annually, SMT and SMT China Magazines will focus on SMT, emerging technologies and hot topics for modern assembly methods.

The Inside LIne

SMT Nabs Best Cover Award for Second Year; SAC 305 Alloy of Choice in IPC Study


Fabrinet Named 2004’s Best Manufacturer

New Products

Photo-sensitive Epoxy Material

The SMT Assembly Process

The Electronic Assembly Suppliers’ Initiative (EASi) Line, featured at ATExpo, in conjunction with the SMTAI, September 26-29, 2005, at the Donald Stevens Convention Center in Rosemont, Ill., and coordinated by Electronics Manufacturing Solutions, Inc., demonstrates a fully functional manufacturing line from start to finish.

Enhancing the Imaging Chain in X-ray Inspection

To meet the challenge of inspecting smaller components, tougher-to-view interconnects and geometries measured in microns and sub-microns, X-ray image quality is becoming paramount in PCB assembly.

Placement Accuracy Management: Key to Better Profits

The importance of quality control in PCB assembly operations has never been greater than it is now due to shrinking component and assembly sizes.

Minimizing Tin Whiskers

The iNEMI Tin Whisker User Group was formed to minimize the risk of failures from tin whiskers.

BGA Socket Considerations: Prototype to Reality

BGA socketing systems are essential during the design, testing and production phases of products containing high-performance ICs.

STEP 7: Soldering

There are several important decisions to make when converting to lead-free wave soldering.

Understanding EMS Pricing Strategies

While pricing pressures continue to strain developers and manufacturers, the business model is in need of repair.

Productronica '05 Granted Trade Fair Certification

(July 6, 2005) CHICAGO — The U.S. Department of Commerce has granted Productronica 2005 Trade Fair Certification. The show is slated to take place November 15-18, 2005, in Munich, Germany.

16-bit Imaging Chain Captures Hi-res Images

(July 6, 2005) GARBSEN, Germany — The HDX-ray 16-bit Imaging Chain from FEINFOCUS is said to capture high-resolution images with qualities similar to film, in real time. HDX-ray provides digital images for inspecting applications requiring high magnifications, such as MEMS/MOEMS, semiconductor packages, high-density interconnects, hybrids and encapsulants.

Process Considerations for Optimizing a Reflow Profile

Implementing a lead-free reflow process with alloys that have higher melting points is challenging.

Strain Gage Testing: Standardization

As the electronics industry shifts toward finer-pitch BGA components, thinner PCBs and lead-free interconnects, the robustness of second-level interconnects (SLIs) may be affected adversely.

Parallel Processing: Build It Right the First Time

As the electronics industry moves to smaller and more complex components, and the transition to lead-free materials is evident, the requirement to build it right the first time will be even more crucial to help achieve company financial goals.

The Fundamental Reality of an AOI Seal

The trend toward smaller components in consumer and medical devices is creating a concern for accuracy and reliability.

Lead-free: Controlling Tombstoning Behavior

Tombstoning has plagued the surface mount assembly industry for decades. While the problem seemed under control, it has begun creeping in again due to the miniaturization of discretes such as 0402s and 0201s.

Industry Ethics - Live by Example

Imagine that you are walking down a sidewalk and see a quarter on the ground. Do you pick it up and keep it?


Compiled by SMT Staff

New Products


Lean Manufacturing with Six Sigma Implementation

To remain competitive in the electronics manufacturing arena, it is essential to implement a lean manufacturing mindset - reacting and conducting business from the top down.

PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT: Automated High-volume Rework

The Fineplacer Micro HVR system is designed to address the high-volume rework market, where hundreds of boards must be repaired due to high value, component scarcity or in situations where manual rework is illogical. This tool allows hands-free, automated sequencing of repair steps: component de-solder and discard, residual solder removal and component re-solder.

Eliminate Lead-free Wave Soldering

The advent of lead-free soldering presents many manufacturers with the need to wave solder using lead-free alloys.

AlSiC Microprocessor Lids Handle the Heat

Microprocessor clock speeds operate at 2 GHz with power levels up to 130 W. This calls for materials, heatsinks and lids that can dissipate heat and reduce thermally induced stresses.

IP Addressable Device Programming

Recent changes in computing technology have provided much-needed capability for multi-site/multi-national companies to pursue the strategies of developing a global presence.

Lead-Free Cleaning: Moving from Eutectic to Lead-free

As of July 1, 2006, the WEEE Directive will eliminate the use of lead in solder paste.

STEP 6: Component Placement

Leaders in the design and manufacture of metal-dome switch contacts and complementary equipment for membrane switches and related mechanical-switch industries are seeing higher demand.

The Move to Lean: Inventory Management at the Foundation

Managing and maintaining accurate inventory levels is one of the most challenging, yet critical, aspects of an EMS/OEM relationship.

The Inside Line

SMTA 2006 Pan Pacific Call for Papers


Compiled by the SMT Staff

New Products


The Inside Line

Jay Regan Named Publisher of SMT, AP and CS Magazines

SMT Salutes the Visionaries

During APEX on February 22, 2005, in the Pulse Room of the Anaheim, Hilton, SMT magazine announced the winners of the 2004 VISION Awards.

2004 SMT Vision Products


On-site Capability Measurement

The use of fine-pitch components, accompanied by the transition to lead-free, will force PCB manufacturers to learn more about their pick-and-place machines’ capabilities.

Flip Chip Assembly on PCB

This article focuses on using different assembly options such as dip fluxing, flux jetting and reflow encapsulate for 200- to 250-µm pitch lead-free (SnAgCu) flip chips on FR-4 substrates.

Lead-free: Soldering at the End of the Line

The end of the line is where rework and repair technicians ply their trade. To prevent this hallowed area from becoming the “bitter end” during the lead-free transition, we should consider proactive tactics to prepare technicians to phase into the lead-free zone.

STEP 5: Adhesives/Epoxies and Dispensing

In recent years, three disciplines of fluid formulation: manual, semi-automatic and automatic benchtop dispensing systems, can be found in a range of applications that have converged in the electronics manufacturing industry.

Lean Manufacturing - A Case Study

Since its inception, Celestica has been building a commitment for lean manufacturing operations by raising the level of awareness surrounding its benefits.

IPC Capitol Hill Day - May 18

Software Control Extends Beyond the Line

This article focuses on the use of software to achieve factory wide automation. with new regulatory requirements and increasing cost and quality demands, manufacturers will benefit from a complete automation model, such as those used in semiconductor processing.

Passive Component Rework - Giving Small New Meaning

The prevalence of small passive components in electronic products creates a challenge when adapting rework systems for selective removal and replacement.

Cooling Rates in Lead-free and Tin/lead Reflow

The impact of a fully controlled and robust reflow process on solder-joint quality has been the topic of many studies, and is well understood for processes using eutectic tin/lead as the interconnect alloy.

Obtaining Fully Automated, High-volume Optoelectronics Assembly

Successfully automating the microelectronics assembly process reduced costs and optimized for high-volume manufacturing.

Understencil Wiping: An SMT Blind Spot

The complex stencil-printing process is at the heart of SMT production. With more than 39 variables to optimize in the printing process, it’s no surprise that 50-90% of all defects originate on the stencil printer.

Lead-free: Using Vapor Phase Reflow in Lead-free Processing

During lead-free processing, vapor phase reflow offers the option to eliminate the variable of higher temperature processing.

Step 4: Printing

The solder paste printing process is simple - place the correct amount of solder paste in the correct location at an acceptable rate.

De-fluxing Eases ‘Sticky Situations’

Using a contract assembler offers several benefits. However, when outsourcing a no-clean process, the challenge for contract assemblers lies with the multiple applications, processes, materials and expatiations that customers set.

IPC Revises IPC-A-610D and J-STD-001D Standards

Updating industry assembly standards often is a long process.


Celestica Helps Ease Strain of RoHS Compliance

New Products



Executive Briefings Focus on Interconnects

New Products

Two-pair Connector

Mass Imaging Advances for Next-generation Assemblies

High-accuracy mass imaging of electronics materials continues to advance in response to manufacturing challenges brought about by advanced packaging, next-generation SMT assembly and approaching lead-free deadlines.

Material Control for Lead-free Manufacturing

Managing the transition to lead-free electronics assembly requires a significant effort in many areas.

Boundary Scan Benefits Lead-free Assembly

OEMs and EMS providers are realizing the benefits of using boundary scan in the face of initiatives such as the move toward lead-free board assembly.

Lead-free: Component Compatibility Takes Center Stage

The role of a solder joint in the quality and reliability of electronics circuits has evolved.

Managing the Environmental Life Cycle of Electronics

Two years ago, I organized a panel discussion at APEX on “Electronics Recycling and End-of-Life Management.”

STEP 3: Solder Materials

While many solder material topics could be addressed, an overview of no-clean pastes deserves attention.

Contract Manufacturing: Efficient Line Changeover

Optimizing line-changeover efficiency is a necessity to implement lean manufacturing in high-mix, low-volume (HMLV) electronics assembly environments.

Dartmouth and SMT Unite for Six Sigma Program

When Sylvanus Thayer, often called “The Father of Technology in the U.S.” founded and endowed the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College in 1871, I doubt he imagined it would be held in such high esteem more than a century later.

SMT Congratulates Recipients of This Year's VISION Awards

NASHUA, N.H. — On the evening of February 22, 2005, SMT Magazine presented its 2004 VISION Awards at the Hilton Anaheim's Pulse Room. Held annually in conjunction with the APEX/IPC Printed Circuits Expo/Designers Summit show, in Anaheim, Calif., the awards were presented in 15 categories.

Dartmouth and SMT Unite in Six Sigma Effort

(February 8, 2005) NASHUA, N.H. — The Thayer School of Engineering was the first professional engineering institution in the U.S., when it opened its doors in 1871. Something new is afoot there in Hanover, N.H., that is another milestone in technical education. The Thayer School's Cook Engineering Design Center, working with SMT, has established what we believe is industry's most rigorous Six Sigma program. The Workshops are scheduled to start in June 2005.

Thermal Management for Hot Products

(February 8, 2005) Everyone wants to know what will be the next "hot" semiconductor product. On February 16, 2005, MEPTEC, the Microelectronics Packaging and Test Engineering Council, will hold The Heat Is On: Thermal Management Issues in Semiconductor Packaging, in San Jose, Calif., to discuss how to manage the heat generated by high-watt devices.

APEX Product Preview

The following are some of the many innovative new products that can be seen this month at the combined APEX/IPC Printed Circuits Expo conference and show in Anaheim, Calif.

Automating Odd-form Component Assembly

With continued use of thru-hole components in mixed-technology assemblies, the challenge remains how to automate the assembly of odd-form components effectively.

AXI Conquers Hidden Joint Defects

Lamniographic automated X-ray inspection (AXI) allows for solder-joint inspection, including those hidden under area array packages.

Reliability Effects of Unfilled Underfill Encapsulants

This article explores the effect of an underfill encapsulant that contains no filler on board-level reliability of area array packages.

Detachable Tape-and-Reel

Low-volume/high-mix manufacturers face an increase in tape-and-reel splitting. In LVHM, it is estimated that 20 to 30% of these reels need to be split into two or more reels.

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