Article Highlights
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Test Solutions Your EMS Partner Should Offer
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Joining Forces: SMTA and the SMART Group in Europe
10/19/2017 | Patty Goldman, I-Connect007
Counterfeit: A Quality Conundrum
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Rework and Reball Challenges for Wafer Level Packages
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Latest Articles

Optical Manufacturing Services

In today's changing marketplace, decreasing time-to-production and market are critical for OEMs to stay competitive — and outsourcing remains a valuable tool for navigating through hiccups in the supply chain.

Optoelectronic Components: A Brighter Glow

While the electronics and semiconductor industries remain weighed down by global recession, the optoelectronic component market is showing growth. The optoelectronics industry is involved in developing components and technologies for data transfer using ultra-fast optical fiber systems.

Step 6: Component Placement

Challenges surrounding component placement include asset utilization, production yield, changeover times, floor space constraints, total cost of operation, and new and emerging technologies. This article explores some of the characteristics of various equipment sets that affect component placement.

The Inside Line

Movement Toward Lead-free


Compiled By SMT Staff

New Products


Speaking of this Week — May 30, 2003

It's been a short week for many of us due to the Memorial Day holiday, but there's no shortage of news topics, including progress, partnerships and mergers between companies, financial and personnel news, tradeshow announcements, and information about the industry present and future.

Speaking of this Week — May 23, 2003

We're progressing towards summer, what with the long holiday weekend upon us, and the electronics assembly industry is moving ahead as well. We've got an important personnel announcement from right inside SMT, as well as partnership and (good) financial news. There's even a prediction thrown in for good measure.

Speaking of this Week — May 16, 2003

It's so heartening to see all the progress news this week — everywhere you turn, there's more good news. There's also financial news, which also is generally looking up, as well as tradeshow events, partnerships, personnel and a prediction.

Online Case Study: In-Die Components Allow Heat Sinks Thermal Conductivity, Electrical Isolation

Through a proprietary system of in-die component insertion, a contract metal stamper has helped one customer achieve thermal conductive and electrically isolated conditions on a 5052 aluminum heat sink assembly for an automotive powertrain control module.

Speaking of this Week — May 9, 2003

Progress is the name of the game this week, and companies earning patents earned a large place in this news. There's also tons of progress (always good to see), followed by huge tradeshow news, personnel and financial news, and a slew of predictions.

Speaking of this Week — May 2, 2003

There's so much going on this week, it's hard to keep track of it all. Case in point: The bellwether IPC Book-to-Bill Ratio hit the street this week, and there is some personnel news — even here on SMT. We've got the requisite progress news, as well as tradeshow happenings, companies coming together, bits of financial and legislative news, and some looks at the industry, past and future. It's all making my head spin!

The Inside Line

Plastic Stencil Frames: A New Solution to Industry Issues


Teradyne Expands Chinese Presence

SMT's 2002 VISION Awards

At APEX, innovation was seen at several successful conferences, programs, sessions and more; however, it took center stage at SMT Magazine's 2002 VISION Awards ceremony, held in conjunction with APEX on Monday, March 31, 2003.

New Products

MicroStage 46 linear stage is manufactured from aluminum, the lightness of which reportedly reduces the system's mass dramatically.

Capability Performance Improves Productivity

SMT manufacturing equipment performance can be optimized through machine capability measurements with a significant impact on manufacturing profitability.

Reworking Plastic and Other Heat-sensitive Components

Notice how inexpensive hand-held hot-air soldering rework tools have all but disappeared from the assembly workbench? If the reason why is recognized, one might just avoid purchasing the tools that soon may be obsolete.

Laser-assisted Fluxless Soldering

Debuting in precision optoelectronic assembly, laser-assisted fluxless soldering provides performance and cost advantages when compared to traditional laser welding and soldering techniques.

MEMS Impact on Electronics

MEMS is expected to revolutionize the sensors industry as well as industrial and consumer products by combining low-cost silicon-based microelectronics with micromachining technology.

Step 5: Adhesives, Epoxies and Dispensing

As manufacturers design more functionality into circuit board assemblies, the number of components per unit area increases. On mixed technology double-sided assemblies, surface mount adhesives (SMA) are used to adhere components to the bottom side of the assembly prior to wave soldering.

Speaking of this Week -- April 25, 2003

The news this week is as varied as the flowers finally coming up around my mailbox. We've got lots of companies coming together; tradeshow, progress and personnel news; and more sketches of the industry past and future than I've seen in a long time through predictions and forecasts

ORIGINAL ARTICLE -- Automated Depaneling System Cuts Scrap, Boosts Board Output

(April 21, 2003) Printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturers are feeling the pressures of a new century. These pressures come from different sources -- higher density assemblies, narrowing profit margins and tougher international competition, to name a few. But they are all pushing manufacturers in the same direction: toward more automated PCB production.

Speaking of this Week -- April 18, 2003

Diversity abounds this week, with progress news dominating, followed by collaborations, tradeshow and financial news, personnel announcements, and a prediction.

Speaking of this Week -- April 11, 2003

Personnel news has moved to the forefront this week, followed by tradeshow news, progress and companies coming together in mergers and alliances.

Speaking of this Week -- April 4, 2003

As we "progress" towards spring (while it snows here in New England), progress news takes up a lot of the radar screen. There's also tradeshow news, agreements and partnerships, personnel news, and a bit of financial news.

EMS News

Sanmina-SCI Achieves Certification Milestones

New-generation Equipment to Restore Growth?

An unprecedented drop in demand in 2001 led to widespread restructuring, including major company shutdowns, as well as continued consolidation of both equipment producers and suppliers.

The New Era of Wave Soldering

While the scientific need for lead-free soldering is debatable, consumer and legislative demand for its products is not.

Volume Assembly Qualification for 0201 Packages

By means of a number of experiments on pad-design identification, pick-and-place machine evaluation and assembly process investigation, understandings for 0201 assembly can be summarized as follows.1,2

Financial Analysis Reveals Lost Production Time

Solder paste volume consistency is widely accepted as crucial to high post-reflow yields.

Step 4: Printing

The printer sets the pulse rate of the SMT line. Often considered the bottleneck due to ever-increasing placement rates, the printer has evolved through experience and development to match or exceed requirements of high-throughput manufacturing.

The Inside Line

Cookson's China Strategy


U.K. Survey Determines Lead-free Readiness

SMT Announces Winners of the 2002 VISION Awards

Anaheim, Calif. -- At a ceremony during IPC SMEMA Council's APEX on Monday, March 31, SMT Magazine announced the winners of the 2002 VISION Awards.

Speaking of this Week -- March 28, 2003

What a week! IPC's book-to-bill ratio is through the roof, APEX is next week (despite the war), there's tons of progress news, and financial, personnel and alliance news poked its head up this week. We've also got a prediction.

Speaking of this Week -- March 21, 2003

Progress moves to the forefront this week, and word of partnerships and acquisitions is not far behind. We've also got tradeshow and personnel news, as well as industry analysis and even some legislative progress.

Speaking of this Week -- March 14, 2003

We're making progress towards spring, slowly but surely, and the electronics assembly industry is making great strides as well. There's tons of news this week in a myriad of categories: alliances, personnel news, new certifications, tradeshow news, a financial announcement and a prediction.

Speaking of this Week -- March 7, 2003

They say March comes in like a lion, and we've got the news to prove it this week. The bellwether IPC book-to-bill ratio hit the streets, showing strong (but mixed) signs of life, and progress news abounded. We've also got personnel announcements, news of alliances, tradeshow news and a prediction.

APEX Show Guide 2003

"We're showing new products at APEX" seemed to be the mantra for the embattled electronics assembly industry in 2002. Entering its fourth year, APEX 2003, sponsored by IPC — Association Connecting Electronics Industries, has changed times and location, now moved to the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Calif. from San Diego and taking place March 31 through April 2 instead of the traditional January.

Integrating Complex Technologies into Today's SMT Environment

Taking a look at the topics covered by any of the numerous conferences occurring in the United States annually, one can identify the latest technologies appearing in electronic products.

Laser Marking Enhances Assembly Traceability

Labels, direct inkjet and stencil-based etch marking (dry and chemical) techniques currently are facing difficulties in the application of substantially more data on ever-shrinking printed circuit board (PCB) real estate.

Soldering Techniques for OptoElectronics

Soldering is the typical method of preference to join and connect many components of hermetically sealed optoelectronic packages. Most solders tend to require a reducing atmosphere and surface preparation, or a flux to aid adhesion but a flux is not acceptable within optical systems where trace amounts of organic on the optical train can absorb the infrared (IR) laser radiation.

X-Ray Inspection: A User's Point of View

With area-array packages, primarily ball grid arrays (BGA, Figure 1), assuming a larger role as product components, it is vital to validate their interconnection integrity and reliability.

Unlocking the Power of AOI

Today, inspection speed is a more relevant parameter at the high-volume facilities of the Far East. Serving them are a limited number of automated optical inspection (AOI) companies having the necessary core technology and infrastructure with sufficient critical mass to support a global industry in a declining market.

Inspection Equipment Product Selector

OptiCon basic line AOI system reportedly uses an intelligent recognition algorithm that takes into account not only the shape of a component, but its gray values, dark and bright edges, and other information more confidently evaluate each component. The system's neural network also can be fine-tuned to detect even small failures, which is said to result in thorough inspections with low false fail rates.

Emerging Opportunities for Large-board Manufacturing

Even in the wake of the "dot com" bust, Internet usage continues to grow 20 to 30 percent annually. As a result, the need for printed circuit boards (PCB) for routers, servers and other telecom equipment will remain strong.

Future EMS Opportunity

Contact manufacturing (CM) has become an integral part of electronics manufacturing. In the last four years, CM has grown multifolds, from $62.4 billion in 1999 to $95.1 billion in 2000.

Solder Materials

Any viable lead-free solders used in lieu of Sn/Pb eutectic or near-eutectic compositions could not escape from the Sn-based system (i.e., a minimum of 60 wt percent of tin). This was concluded based on both fundamental materials science and practical applications.

Eagle-Eyed One Has Testing, Certification in Sights

In any economic condition, getting the most out of surface mount machines in an assembly line is critical. In a downturn, companies want to optimize their machines and increase productivity.

SMT Magazine Reacts to Chinese Electronics Assembly Market Growth

Published in Chinese, SMT China will be the first magazine in China focused specifically on the major technologies and products used in PCB assembly. The magazine will be circulated to 10,000 engineers and decision-making managers at key OEM and EMS providers throughout China.

Speaking of this Week -- February 28, 2003

Spring is coming, and so are the news releases! We've got many diverse types of news this week, including more partnerships and mergers, progress and trade show news, legislative updates, financial news, a new hire, and even news of a product price increase. Whew!

Photonics Assembly in an EMS Environment

This article appeared in two parts in the January and February issues of SMT. It is presented here in its entirety.

Speaking of this Week -- February 21, 2003

It was a short week for most of us, and for those of us in the Northeast, a snowy one. These factors didn't staunch the flow of news this week, which ranged from progress to word of companies working together to trade show news, as well as financial and personnel news.

Speaking of this Week -- February 14, 2003

Love is in the air, and so is a buzz of activity in the industry. Personnel news moves to the forefront this week, with some major announcements being made. There's also the requisite partnership and acquisition news, as well as news of progress, financial results and tradeshow announcements.

Speaking of this Week -- February 7, 2003

Punxsutawney Phil the groundhog saw his shadow, which means six more weeks of winter. What cheers me up is the flood of news that's come across my desk as of late. We've got tons of progress news, mergers and alliances, lots of information on upcoming trade shows, an update on standards, a bit of personnel news, and a few predictions.

Horizontal Convection 'across the board'

Forced-air convection, being the preferred technology for solder reflowing surface mount assemblies, .....

Virtual Sample "Analyzing the Shipped Component"

This technology permits examination and reconstruction of features neglected or unfocused upon before the part was used in the field.

Photonics Assembly in an EMS Environment, Series in Optoelectronics, Part II:

There is considerable effort in module miniaturization taking place to facilitate the on-board incorporation of modules into optoelectronic board designs and as a means to lower costs for what traditionally has been a high-cost device.

Integrating Semiconductor Manufacturing Efficiency

OEM innovations are emerging continually, as is the list of their product ranges.

Step 2: Process Control

The current industry focus is on how factories can run more efficiently.

New Products

EMI Shielding Gaskets

GES Helps Electronics Firms Manage Risk

On April 25, 2002, GES Commercial Equipment Financing (CEF) acquired the majority of assets from what was the Comdisco Electronics Portfolio.

Speaking of this Week -- January 31, 2003

What a week! Everywhere you look, there's huge news. The bellwether IPC IMS/PCB Book-to-Bill Ratio and Business Report came out this week, and some big appointments and promotions also came down. We've also got year-end financial results, progress news, tradeshow news, acquisitions and a prediction.

Speaking of this Week -- January 24, 2003

As cold as it is outside, I'm warmed by all the progress and personnel news I see as of late. Companies also continue to come together, and there's some financial news. Finally, some news on the educational front, and predictions.

Speaking of this Week -- January 17, 2003

With the holidays shrinking in the rear view mirror and everyone's mind back at work, progress moves to the forefront, followed by some huge personnel news. There are some interesting and informative events coming up within the industry, and companies continue to team up as their financial news improves. Finally, some predictions.

Speaking of this Week -- January 3, 2003

This week was cut in half by New Year's Day, and in typical holiday style, has been somewhat short on news. At the same time, what's there covers a range of subjects, from companies coming together to progress to tradeshow and personnel news to financial news. There's a piece of bad news thrown in as well.

NEMI Report: A Single Lead-free Alloy Is Recommended

There has been substantial discussion worldwide in the electronics assembly industry on the "ideal" composition for the primary lead-free solder alloy as a replacement for eutectic tin/lead (Sn/Pb):

In-field Assembly Failures — Expensive and Avoidable?

More and more assemblies are being subjected to climatic stresses of increasing severity.

Technology Convergence: Changing the Assembly Scene

Assembly technology no longer can be classified neatly as component, board and final assembly.

Part I:Photonics Assembly in an EMS Environment

The Internet has become a key means of doing business in both our professional and personal lives.

Step 1: Design for Manufacture

The DFM document is the heart of another concept called Design for Excellence (DFX), which encompasses all processes from product inception through production release.

PCB Market Trends

The North American printed circuit board (PCB) market is a diverse market.


EMS Leadership Training

Pillared Approach to Lead-free Wafer Bumping

The APS approach uses a rigid, non-reflowable bump to support the reflowable lead-free solder wetting tip.

Industry Experts voice differing opinions on Lead vs. Lead-free Electronics


PEMSTAR, Fluke Extend Partnership for Award-Winning Products

(May 31, 2002) Amelo, The Netherlands -- PEMSTAR BV, a wholly owned subsidiary of Rochester, Minn.-based PEMSTAR Inc., and Fluke Nederland BV, a wholly owned subsidiary of Everett, Wash.-based Fluke Corp., have extended their engineering and manufacturing agreement for an additional three years.

ZESTRON Appoints New Executive President and CEO

(June 5, 2002) Ashburn, Va. -- ZESTRON Corp. has appointed Harold Wack, Ph.D. as its executive vice president and CEO.

SEC Converts to Lean Manufacturing, Shortens Product Delivery Time by 80 Percent

(June 7, 2002) Moorpark, Calif. -- Semiconductor Equipment Corp. (SEC) has converted all of the company's production lines to lean manufacturing operations, and has seen an improvement in product delivery time in the process.

Profit-Driven Manufacturing: A Window to Hidden Profits

(May 29, 2002) Fremont, Calif. -- It's safe to say the technology crash of 2001 was intensified by the obvious overbuild of electronics manufacturing infrastructure. Why was there such a gross excess of capacity when orders began to decline? A portion of this was avoidable. If 7,000 domestic SMT assembly lines could have produced the same amount of output as 10,000, would the bubble have grown so large, or deflated so fast?

Ask and Answer - May 29, 2002

Ask and Answer is a forum where SMT professionals with questions can meet up with those with the answers.

Speaking of this Week - May 24, 2002

Progress keeps on comin', and the flow of news picked up toward the end of the week. Companies continue to come together in all the many ways they do, and personnel news has moved back into the spotlight, as quarterly financial news takes a back seat.

EDS 2002 Lights up Vegas Again

(May 23, 2002) Las Vegas -- This year's EDS, the big event for manufacturers and distributors of components, instruments and production products, as well as the representatives who create the interface between the two, provided an entertaining place to do some serious business.

SMTA Boston Speaker Discusses Importance of DFX

(May 22, 2002) Woburn, Mass. -- With time-to-market becoming increasingly important and design complexity increasing, design for "x" (DFX) is becoming crucial to manufacturing and the bottom line, according to Dale Lee, product marketing manager for Yavne, Israel-based Valor Computerized Systems Ltd.

Ask and Answer - May 22, 2002

Ask and Answer is a forum where SMT professionals with questions can meet up with those with the answers.

Speaking of this Week - May 17, 2002

Here in New England, spring is here in full force -- one day it rains, the next it's sunny and gorgeous. In the electronics assembly industry, progress is here in full force as well, but financial results mirror the ups and downs of the weather. Also like the weather, the numbers are slowly improving. We've got some personnel news, as well as some state of the industry information and a prediction.

NEPCON East/Electro Show Preview

Held from June 10 through 12, 2002 at the Bayside Expo & Conference Center in Boston, NEPCON East is an opportunity to get up close and personal with design, packaging, fabrication, assembly and test solutions, while Electro gives the showgoer the chance to source components, packaging and supplies. SMTA Boston is co-located with the show.

Ask and Answer - May 15, 2002

Ask and Answer is a forum where SMT professionals with questions can meet up with those with the answers.

Speaking of this Week - May 10, 2002

More financial news rained down this week, as well as association news and the requisite partnerships and agreements. There was substantial personnel news this week as well, a good sign, as well as good news.

Ask and Answer - May 8, 2002

Ask and Answer is a forum where SMT professionals with questions can meet up with those with the answers.

Automated Selective Soldering of Mixed Technology PCBs

(May 8, 2002) In the electronics industry over the past years, there has been a steady growth trend in reflow soldering technology. This does not mean that wave soldering has disappeared in the electronic production process; however, wave soldering clearly has lost ground. This poses a problem because not all components are available as solder-mount devices (SMDs), yet they may be much more expensive than leaded components.

Raw Materials and E-Commerce: Feat or Failure?

(May 7, 2002) The million-dollar question that everyone, everywhere is trying to answer seems to be: What makes an e-commerce site successful? Companies that ventured into online initiatives in the past 18 months are not only looking for how to succeed, but ways to stay alive in a flailing global economy that is particularly harsh for virtual "one-stop shops." And it is possible.

IMAPS Symposium Speaker Discusses IST Testing Process

(May 3, 2002) Boxborough, Mass. -- At the IMAPS New England 29th Annual Symposium and Exhibition here on May 1, Bill Birch came down from Ottawa, Canada to talk about interconnect stress test (IST) technology, his company's patented test method.

Speaking of this Week - May 3, 2002

April showers bring May flowers, or so the old expression goes. Here, it continues to rain outside into May, but I've gotten a flood of a different sort this week -- tons of news, on everything from the ever-present industry hookups to more financial results to news of the upcoming tradeshow season. More progress this week, and a prediction, came down as well.

The Case for Upgrading the Reflow Process

Automating and using readily available and affordable solutions can yield significant gains in quality and productivity.

Applying Adhesives Accurately and Efficiently

As modern placement systems begin to process 60 to 80,000 components an hour, it is important to rethink other SMT assembly processes — especially the bottleneck of dispensing adhesives.

Wireless Data Transfer

While wireless technology exists, there are many transfer issues to be addressed and incompatible standards to be regulated.

Step 5: Adhesives, Epoxies and Dispensing

A modern surface mount adhesive (SMA) must satisfy numerous performance criteria to ensure production process suitability, effectiveness and low board defect yield. The focus here is on one key parameter: " open time," or the period the uncured material can remain at room conditions after dispensing.

CM News

Sanmina-SCI to Acquire Three Alcatel Locations SAN JOSE, Calif. and PARIS Sanmina-SCI Corp. purchased the assets of Alcatel's manufacturing facilities in Cherbourg, France; Gunzenhausen, Germany; and Toledo, Spain.

Growth Opportunities for Rework and Repair Equipment

According to several market trends, the SMT rework and repair market is on track to continue growing through 2007.

Small Contract Shops Speak Up

Reports of the demise of smaller contract manufacturers (CM) are exaggerated. In fact, while most not only report no downturn, some actually are experiencing steady growth that has continued without a hitch throughout the financial "crisis."

New Products

Ask and Answer - May 1, 2002

Ask and Answer is a forum where SMT professionals with questions can meet up with those with the answers.

BTU Looks to the Future

(April 30, 2002) North Billerica, Mass. -- BTU International has managed the economic downturn like many large capital equipment manufacturers. Their approach is to adjust to the reversal in market demands, and then plan for the future with new products that fit future needs.

EDS 2002 at a Glance

(April 29, 2002) Las Vegas -- Held May 14 through 16, 2002, at the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel, the Electronic Distribution Show & Conference (EDS) 2002 is home to almost 500 exhibitors, comprising manufacturers who sell through electronic distributors, suppliers who sell to electronic distributors, and master distributors authorized to sell to other distributors.

Speaking of this Week - April 26, 2002

Progress -- awards, certifications, expansion -- is in the air, as well as the ching-ching of financial results as companies announce their progress in the first quarter. And companies continue to double, and sometimes triple, up by forming partnerships and buying one another. At the same time, the road to recovery isn't always a straight uphill climb, as evidenced by the IPC Book-to-Bill Ratio for March.

Ask and Answer - April 24, 2002

Ask and Answer is a forum where SMT professionals with questions can meet up with those with the answers.

Samsung Forges into U.S., SMD Placer Market

(April 22, 2002) Horsham, Pa. -- After breaking into the U.S. market two years ago, Samsung Techwin is now eyeing a spot in the top five major players in the global SMD placer market, including upper middle/medium high volume.

Speaking of this Week - April 19, 2002

We've had record heat in this part of the country this week. This fire has spread to the electronics assembly industry, which exploded with news of companies coming together in the many ways they do, ever-more progress, and some financial news. In addition, more news is coming in relation to the busy tradeshow season looming dead ahead.

Contract X-ray Inspection Services - Insights Without Buying a Machine

(April 19, 2002) Those involved in today's electronics industry know it is an incredibly shrinking world. Components and circuit boards grow smaller and denser every year, while the number of products using them expands, making possible faster computing, communications and entertainment goods. Pin counts are increasing, and when the escalating use of flip chips, BGAs and microBGAs is added, the importance of efficient, effective inspection methods grows.

Ask and Answer - April 17, 2002

Ask and Answer is a forum where SMT professionals with questions can meet up with those with the answers.

March Board Games - The Answers

Stumped on a crossword answer? Want to make sure you're right? Here are the answers to March SMT Board Games.

Lead-free Workshop Reveals Progress

(April 12, 2002) North Andover, Mass. -- At a meeting hosted by Schneider Electric here the other day, both the Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) and the National Electronics Manufacturing Initiative (NEMI) revealed their progress toward investigating lead-free solder paste in U.S. electronics manufacturing.

Speaking of this Week - April 12, 2002

Spring is in the air, and while men's fancy turns to thoughts of romance, companies are thinking about partnerships of a different form. The news I received this week overwhelmingly has to do with alliances, naming of sales agents, and specifying of products. It's still a tough world out there, and there's safety in numbers. Meanwhile, the progress train keeps chugging along, and companies seem to be hiring to a limited extent.

Ask and Answer - April 10, 2002

Ask and Answer is a forum where SMT professionals with questions can meet up with those with the answers.

Seho Shows Off Selective Soldering at Boston SMTA Meeting

(April 10, 2002) Boxborough, Mass. -- At the SMTA Boston Chapter meeting here the other night, Germany-based Seho GmbH displayed its knowledge of selective soldering -- and its machine that performs the activity.

Mentor Graphics Completes Bid for IKOS Systems

(April 8, 2002) Wilsonville, Ore. -- Mentor Graphics Corp. has grabbed control of San Jose, Calif.-based IKOS Systems Inc. over Mountain View, Calif.-based Synopsys Inc., who bid for the company in July 2001, with an unsolicited offer.

Stencil Printers for Small and Mid-size Production Batches

(April 5, 2002) Technical and economical decision factors are important for a planned investment in a screen/stencil printer for small or mid-size batches. For the technical evaluation, the product specifications can be compared easily; however, for making the economical decision, well-proven estimations of the expected costs are necessary.

Speaking of this Week - April 5, 2002

Being proactive equals progress, and the trend continues this week, with plenty of encouraging news coming from companies in the electronics assembly industry. The biggest coup of the week was Mentor Graphics (finally) completing its tender offer for IKOS Systems. (Keep your eyes peeled for in-depth coverage of the deal on SMT Online soon.) In the meantime, alliances continue, with financial news on the back burner for now.

Maximizing Uptime Efficiency

(April 4, 2002) Research shows that uptime efficiency of placement machines ranks higher than outright speed on the wants list of electronics manufacturers looking to gain the competitive advantage from lowest cost per placement.

Ask and Answer - April 3, 2002

Ask and Answer is a forum where SMT professionals with questions can meet up with those with the answers.

New Products

The next generation of "smart heads"

Most machine designers now are counting on distributed motion control (DMC) architectures for assembly of new products for persuasive reasons: increased reliability, lower cost and reduced time to repair.

Fiber Optic Interconnect Overview

Optical fibers guide most Internet and long distance communication. The fibers link optoelectronic modules comprising light sources, detectors, optical components, integrated circuits, SMT passives, substrates, alignment aids, housings, adhesives, solders and thermal management elements.

Step 4: Printing

A variety of designs are available for printed circuit board (PCB) applications requiring step stencils, polymer-application stencils and mixed-component technology stencils — surface mount, through-hole and flip chip.

Publisher's Executive Council Interview

This month's Publisher's Executive Council Interview features one of the industry's leading innovators: Joe Vilella from Vectron Inc.

When Will the SMT Equipment Market Rebound?

While 2002 is not expected to be the rebound year, it is a good time to target markets that will experience growth in 2003 through 2005.

CM News

Flextronics Awards Supplier Commitment SINGAPORE Flextronics Corp. awarded Morrisville, N.C.-based Juki Automation Systems a Supplier Commitment Award for its commitment to customer service. The award recognizes Juki's fulfillment of a pledge to serve Flextronics while its operations were transferred from Austin, Texas to its Richardson, Texas location. Juki supplied complete surface mount assembly (SMA) lines including feeders, programs, feeder carts, capacity analysis, spare parts and manpower…

Speaking of this Week - March 29, 2002

In the words of an old song, you've got to keep on pushin', and that's what companies in the electronics assembly industry are doing, with plenty of news of new developments, certifications and initiatives hitting the wires. Meanwhile, the IPC Book-to-Bill for February appeared this week, backing up IPC's prediction -- and that of others -- of flat growth for 2002.

The Benefits of a Supply Chain Manager in the Outsourced Manufacturing Model

(March 28, 2002) Outsourcing in the electronics manufacturing industry arose out of a financial model that pleased Wall Street. As manufacturing became more capital-intensive with the advent of SMT, OEMs shed their high-cost, low-volume manufacturing facilities to EMS industry providers that could aggregate customers and leverage economies of scale and specialization.

Ask and Answer - March 27, 2002

Ask and Answer is a forum where SMT professionals with questions can meet up with those with the answers.

Strategies In Optical Manufacturing Provides Insight on Optoelectronics, Photonics

(March 26, 2002) Held April 23 through 24, 2002, at the Doubletree Hotel in San Jose, Calif., Strategies in Optical Manufacturing is the first event anywhere in the world to focus specifically on the strategic manufacturing issues facing commercial producers of optoelectronic and photonic components and systems.

Soldering BGAs: Assuring the No-defect Joint

(March 25, 2002) This project examined how soldering results with ball grid array (BGA) packages are influenced by solder paste volume, placement errors and other variables; optimal manufacturing procedures are suggested.

Speaking of this Week - March 22, 2002

Lots of companies seem to be shaking off the difficult year that was 2001 and forging ahead with new developments, whether they be expansion into new areas or development of new programs. Meanwhile, the passage of the long-promised Job Creation and Worker Assistance Act has trade associations IPC and AeA cheering about the accelerated depreciation benefit, which will directly benefit the electronics assembly industry. Finally, some personnel announcements and good news.

Different Dispensers for Different Materials: DCA, Flip Chip Underfill and SMA

(March 21, 2002) Underfill dispensing is becoming a standard operation and, though not yet well understood, can be integrated easily into the process if the right tools are used.

Ask and Answer - March 20, 2002

Ask and Answer is a forum where SMT professionals with questions can meet up with those with the answers.

SMTA Boston Chapter Meeting Showcases Orbotech

(March 8, 2002) Billerica, Mass -- At the SMTA Boston chapter meeting here the other night, Yavne, Israel-based Orbotech Inc. opened the doors of its North American headquarters wide to SMTA members.

Speaking of this Week - March 15, 2002

Speaking of this Week reflects on events in the electronics assembly industry every Friday. Financial news has tapered off this week, replaced by that of alliances and from trade associations, as well as the soap opera of Mentor Graphics-IKOS-Synopsys seemingly coming to an end with the termination of the Synopsys-IKOS merger agreement and the signing of a Mentor-IKOS one. There's only a few bits of personnel news this week, but even more good news.

A Coating that Conforms

(March 18, 2002) Despite cost concerns, tighter spacing and smaller components in electronics products make it worthwhile to consider conformal coating from the beginning of the PCA design process.

Ask and Answer - March 13, 2002

Ask and Answer is a forum where SMT professionals with questions can meet up with those with the answers.

Fiber Optics Dispensing Sees the Future Through Automation

(March 12, 2002) There are many dispensing applications involved in fiber optics component manufacturing that greatly benefit from automation. The benefits realized include reduced labor, lower adhesive usage, less scrap and rework, and increased production efficiency.

Moore's Law: Will It Still Be the Law for the 21st Century?

(March 13, 2002) Are we still going to be able to maintain Moore's Law in the face of the technical limitations that the microchip fab industry is starting to reach? If the technology becomes available to keep Moore's Law in effect, will it be used? If one limits Moore's Law to the equivalent of transistors that one can put on a chip, the answer is "no." However, we may be able to keep Moore's Law in effect if we make one small change: make it three-dimensional.

Machine Capability Measurement on SMT Equipment

(March 11, 2002) The increasing need for control of every process during SMT manufacturing can be attributed to the miniaturization of components such as 0201, CSP, FC and the stride toward increasing capacity and throughput. With the emergence of the automotive industry standard (QS9000/TS16949) in electronics manufacturing, the need for a common language for machine characterization (IPC-9850) and verification of machine compliance with manufacturers' specifications is apparent.

Speaking of this Week - March 8, 2002

Speaking of this Week reflects on events in the electronics assembly industry every Friday. When it rains, it pours: News is coming down in droves, and more and more of it is good. Alliances and personnel news seem to dominate what I'm hearing lately, indicating companies may be hiring again but still banding together cautiously for strength.

Web-based Coordinated Execution Is Key in Today's Economy

(March 7, 2002) Coordinated execution can provide electronics manufacturers with a crucial cutting edge in today's lean manufacturing market.

Ask and Answer - March 6, 2002

Ask and Answer is a forum where SMT professionals with questions can meet up with those with the answers.

IPC Book-to-Bill Rises, But Growth Projected to be Flat in 2002

(March 4, 2002) Northbrook, Ill. -- IPC-Association Connecting Electronics Industries(r) has released the Book-to-Bill ratio for January 2002, showing the ratio rising over 1 at 1.01 for the first time since August 2000.

Nu Visions to Expand, Launch New Web Site

(March 1, 2002) Springfield, Mass. -- Nu Visions Manufacturing, LLC has seen tremendous sales growth over the past few years, and now it is time for the company to grow internally.

Speaking of this Week - March 1, 2002

Speaking of this Week reflects on events in the electronics assembly industry every Friday. As February fades into March, the week brought encouraging news from IPC regarding the bellwether Book-to-Bill Ratio for January. And the hiring floodgates seem to be opening, as a stream of personnel releases came in this week. One company is noticeably absent this week: Mentor Graphics, and the proposed acquisition of Synopsys.

Preventing Contamination-caused Assembly Failure

Suitable cleaning methods with effective monitoring of all processes can stem the tide of residue-induced board malfunctions.

Fiber Optics Dispensing Sees the Future through Automation

Many dispensing applications involved in fiber optics component manufacturing benefit from automation. Benefits include reduced labor, lower adhesive usage, less scrap and rework, and increased production efficiency.

Step 3: Soldering Materials

By Jennie S. Hwang, Ph.D.

APEX Review: The 2001 VISION Awards

New Products

Combining AOI and AXI: The Best of Both Worlds

AOI and AXI in a combined test platform ultimately will offer a faster return on investment (ROI) and improved yields.

Ask and Answer - February 27, 2002

Ask and Answer is a forum where SMT professionals with questions can meet up with those with the answers.

January Board Games - The Answers

Stumped on a crossword answer? Want to make sure you're right? Here are the answers to January SMT Board Games.

Speaking of this Week - February 22, 2002

Speaking of this Week reflects on events in the electronics assembly industry every Friday. This short week brought a continuation of last week's trends -- lots o' trade shows in the works from trade organizations that have news of their own, and financial news that continues to cautiously point in a positive direction. In the meantime, the triangle of Mentor's bid to buy IKOS in cash over Synopsys' offer continues.

Lead-free Issues Differ in Scope, Time Frame Around the World

(February 21, 2002) The response to the topical and controversial subject of lead-free solder in electronics assembly differs around the world.

Ask and Answer - February 20, 2002

Ask and Answer is a forum where SMT professionals with questions can meet up with those with the answers.

Agilent, Cadence Form Alliance With Potential Implications for Electronics Assemblers

(February 19, 2002) San Jose and Palo Alto, Calif. -- Cadence Design Systems Inc. and Agilent Technologies Inc. have formed a multi-year technology alliance that may have future implications for electronic assembly companies.

Speaking of this Week - February 15, 2002

Speaking of this Week reflects on events in the electronics assembly industry every Friday. The month may be half over, but the year seems to be getting into full swing. Companies are releasing a slew of financial results, and preparations for the tradeshow season are in high gear. There also seems to be a trend of expansion into Asia, particularly China, made possible by the country's recent entry into the WTO. Finally, two major mergers are hitting snags along the way.

NVIDIA Selects Agilent 93000 SOC Series Test System

(February 13, 2002) Santa Clara and Palo Alto, Calif. -- Continuing a relationship that has existed for several years, NVIDIA Corp. has selected Agilent Technologies Inc.'s 93000 SOC Series test system to test processors and chipsets used in graphics and communications.

Ask and Answer - February 13, 2002

Ask and Answer is a forum where SMT professionals with questions can meet up with those with the answers.

APEX 2002 in Review

(February 11, 2002) This year's APEX, held January 22-24 in San Diego, Calif., attracted more than 5,200 attendees. Even though this was a recessionary period with lower numbers in attendance than last year's record, the excitement of new product introductions, alliances and conference offerings held the attention of all.

Speaking of this Week - February 8, 2002

Speaking of this Week reflects on events in the electronics assembly industry every Friday. It may not feel like spring in the air now, but many a trade organization is gearing up for that busy trade show season. I got a slew of calls for papers, as well as wrap-ups of trade shows that have already taken place -- namely APEX. And earnings releases continue to pour in, illustrating steady improvement in the industry. At the same time, companies continue to band together to weather the storm.

Ask and Answer - February 6, 2002

Ask and Answer is a forum where SMT professionals with questions can meet up with those with the answers.

Nihon Superior Develops Lead-free Alloy

(February 5, 2002) San Diego -- While controversial discussion of options for lead-free soldering heats up, Nihon Superior has quietly gotten on with the job of developing a patented SN100C stabilized tin-copper eutectic alloy for commercial applications.

The Alliance Chooses Aegis Software

(February 4, 2002) Philadelphia -- The Alliance, a long-term sales, marketing and service partnership formed recently by Speedline Technologies and Assembleon, announced at APEX that it has named Aegis Industrial Software Corp. as a preferred provider to the strategic partnership.

Speaking of this Week - February 1, 2002

Speaking of this Week reflects on events in the electronics assembly industry every Friday. The trickle of earnings releases and other financial news that started last week became a flood this week. But as always, there's also news of alliances, certifications and the requisite bad news. And IPC released its Book-to-Bill ratio for December, providing insight to the year at a glance.

The High-speed High-mix Production Environment Emerges

Whereas high-volume, low-mix assembly once was the primary activity, it increasingly is relegated to prototype development and high-mix, low-volume products.

Advances in AOI and AXI Result in Increased Quality and Speed

Vast improvements in both automated optical (AOI) and X-ray inspection (AXI) result in simultaneous speed and depth of inspection, and a combined system can improve yields and lower defects.

X-ray Evolution From Microfocus to Nanofocus

X-ray technology continues to evolve because sharper images can better determine the core causes of product failure.

Automating the Optoelectronic Assembly Process

Automating optoelectronics component manufacturing can lead to enormous cost savings due to increased yield and decreases in labor, materials and operation complexity.

Step 2: Process Control

By Phil Zarrow and W. James Hall

Assembly Conversion Cost Revisited

While the average cost per lead has decreased by roughly 10 percent since the mid-1990s, there are challenges associated with the declining prices.

Inspection Equipment

With the miniaturization of components, advances in assembly technology and the increase in board throughput, visual examination of printed circuit boards (PCB) is a critical and necessary step in ensuring quality. Inspection equipment includes tools for manual inspection, automated optical inspection (AOI), X-ray and more. SMT presents the following Inspection Equipment Selector Roundup, spotlighting an assortment of available products.

New Products

Ask and Answer - January 30, 2002

Ask and Answer is a forum where SMT professionals with questions can meet up with those with the answers.

SMT Magazine Presents the 2001 VISION Awards

(January 28, 2002) On Tuesday, January 22 at 6:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency San Diego during APEX, held January 22 through 24, the culmination of a process to find the finest examples of creative advancement in technology was realized. SMT Magazine recognized the innovations of supplier companies and their people for the introduction of new products and services for the electronics manufacturing industry at the 2001 VISION Awards program.

Speaking of this Week - January 25, 2002

Speaking of this Week reflects on events in the electronics assembly industry every Friday. The shadow of APEX, held January 22 through 24 in San Diego, hung over this week, occupying companies' minds and stanching the flow of other news. But amid the quiet came a huge announcement from a major conglomerate, as well as (of course) news from APEX exhibitors.

Ask and Answer - January 23, 2002

Ask and Answer is a forum where SMT professionals with questions can meet up with those with the answers.

A Conversation with Chris Israel

(January 23, 2002) This is the fourth in a series of articles about APEX, held January 22-24 in San Diego. Chris Israel is the APEX keynote speaker for the second day of the show.

A Conversation with NASA Mars Team Leader Donna Shirley

(January 22, 2002) This is the second in a series of articles about APEX, held January 22-24 in San Diego. Donna Shirley is the APEX keynote speaker for the first day of the show.

IPC--Conquering Chaos with Standards

(January 21, 2002) This is the first in a series of articles about APEX, held January 22-24 in San Diego. IPC Standards Development Meetings are being held January 19 through 24th.

Speaking of this Week - January 18, 2002

Speaking of this Week reflects on events in the electronics assembly industry every Friday. Along with the flurries of snow some of us are getting come a flurry of news releases about quarterly earnings. Some are dark and gritty, like slush, while others shows the lightness of the newly fallen snow. There's more hope, mostly in the way of new hires, upcoming trade shows (such as APEX next week), and certifications, as well as predictions.

FeinFocus USA, Siemens Dematic Announce Technology Alliance Related to Advanced SMT Process Development and Control

(January 17, 2002) Stamford, Conn. and Norcross, Ga. -- FeinFocus USA and Siemens Dematic have formed a joint technology alliance working to develop and control advanced SMT manufacturing processes using off-line Microfocus X-ray technology.

BAE Systems Full of Energy in Time of Slowdown

(January 16, 2002) Nashua, N.H. -- The economy is in slowdown mode and companies are still reeling from a difficult 2001. But you wouldn't know it to walk through BAE Systems North America's facility here.

Ask and Answer - January 16, 2002

Ask and Answer is a forum where SMT professionals with questions can meet up with those with the answers.

LTVPTM -- A New Way to Dry Components and Materials

(January 14, 2002) As products and components shrink in size and grow in complexity, damage from excess moisture has become a critical concern. The defects caused by excess moisture range from component fractures to delamination, "measles," "blisters" and more.

Speaking of this Week - January 11, 2002

Speaking of this Week reflects on events in the electronics assembly industry every Friday. As the first full week of the new year unfolded, companies emerged from their holiday season slumber slightly, making announcements about mergers, acquisitions and alliances, as well as new personnel. There's some new year's belt tightening going on as well.

Ask and Answer - January 9, 2002

Ask and Answer is a forum where SMT professionals with questions can meet up with those with the answers.

Speaking of this Week - January 4, 2002

Speaking of this Week reflects on events in the electronics assembly industry every Friday. Happy new year! After these words are spoken, the ball drops and the champagne is all gone comes a general slowdown in industry. Many companies go on shutdown as festive December turns into lifeless January. But this week, I've seen a flurry of earnings releases, as well as news of mergers, acquisitions and alliances.

Ask and Answer - January 2, 2002

Ask and Answer is a forum where SMT professionals with questions can meet up with those with the answers.

Thermal Imaging Looks at Laser Rework and Repair

Thermal imaging can be combined with laser rework to enable precise, noncontact solder joint heating and to develop and test process specifications for rework.

A Selective Wavesoldering Alternative

This new technology provides an alternative to the current, limited options in the area of selective wave soldering.

Optoelectronic Interconnect Trending to Surface Mount

Miniaturization and speed, two major considerations in today's fiber component design, are being met by surface mount, which reduces board space and assembly cost.

Step 1: Design for Manufacture

Manufacturability is not just about printed circuit board (PCB) fabrication and assembly, but also cost-effective board testing and assembly, and fundamentally this comes down to the quality, performance and capabilities of the design tool.

APEX 2002 Products

Chip ShooterAchieving 20,000 cph, Topaz X/Xi-II is a chip shooter said to have the ability of placing components from a range of 0201s to 0.015" QFPs. Because the shooter reportedly features a combination of high-speed and a large component range, the option of using the machine as a standalone or as an effective line balancer is available. Assembléon, Alpharetta, Ga.

New Priorities in Purchasing Automated Assembly Equipment

By Gary Burroughs

Implementing Total In-line Solder Paste Inspection

One EMS company found converting from sampled solder paste inspection to high-resolution, 100 percent inspection helped meet the challenge of high-density fiber optic panel assembly.

New Products

Low-defect Printing for Large PCBs

New process methods that can provide high yields on today's largest ever PCBs are discussed.

Ask and Answer -- December 31, 2002

Ask and Answer is a forum where SMT professionals with questions can meet up with those with the answers.

Speaking of this Year -- 2002

At the beginning of 2002, the monthly press release I receive from Northbrook, Ill.-based IPC -- Association Connecting Electronics Industries chronicling the gyrations of the book-to-bill ratio (and newly launched for 2002 PCB Business Report) stated that the book-to-bill stood at 1.01, besting all of 2001. Hope!

SMT Magazine Reacts to Rapid Growth in China's Electronic Assembly Market

Nashua, N.H. -- PennWell Corp. has launched SMT China. The magazine will be published bi-monthly by PennWell in partnership with China Electronic Appliance Corp. (CEAC), located in Beijing.

Speaking of this Week -- December 20, 2002

There's plenty going on at this time of year to make you feel all warm and fuzzy, and the news this week in the electronics assembly industry is no exception. We've got a sleighfull of progress news, as well as lots of engineers getting new positions for Christmas. More acquisition and collaboration news can be found, too. Finally, there's some standards and regulatory news thrown in as well.

Ask and Answer -- December 18, 2002

Ask and Answer is a forum where SMT professionals with questions can meet up with those with the answers.

Speaking of this Week -- December 13, 2002

Usually, news dries up this time of year as people look ahead to stockings hung by the chimney with care and companies prepare to go on shutdown for the holidays. But we've had a deluge this year, especially those all-important joint ventures, agreements, acquisitions, alliances and general companies coming together. We've also got progress and personnel news, especially in high places. There's some tradeshow news thrown in, as well as a prediction for an important piece of the market.

Ask and Answer -- December 11, 2002

Ask and Answer is a forum where SMT professionals with questions can meet up with those with the answers.

Speaking of this Week -- December 6, 2002

The news is as scattered this first week of December as the snowflakes many of us are starting to see outside our windows. We've got everything from progress news to tradeshow developments, ranging to alliances and partnerships, personnel news, finance, legislative, and some out-and-out bad news. We also have the requisite studies and forecasts.

Ask and Answer -- December 4, 2002

Ask and Answer is a forum where SMT professionals with questions can meet up with those with the answers.

Improving Yields Through Software

Photon Dynamics has gradually expanded its products to improve yields in the board inspection area.

Juki Automation Announces New President

Nomoto comes to Juki after 23 years with Juki Corp. in Tokyo, Japan.

2003 Industry Vision Forcast

As 2003 quickly approaches, the surface mount process has, in many ways, come full circle.

Placement Machine and Process Control Optimization

Process control is playing a central role in quality-improvement efforts.

Product Review



NEPCON West (co-located with Assembly West & FIBEROPTIC Automation Expo)

Ask and Answer -- November 27, 2002

Ask and Answer is a forum where SMT professionals with questions can meet up with those with the answers.

Ask and Answer -- November 20, 2002

Ask and Answer is a forum where SMT professionals with questions can meet up with those with the answers.

Speaking of this Week -- November 15, 2002

The industry is engaging in a lot of self-congratulation, what with the slew of awards this week. Companies continue to come together, and there's tradeshow, personnel and financial news as well. Finally, a prediction about the MEMS market, which is positioned to grow in the next few years.

Ask and Answer -- November 13, 2002

Ask and Answer is a forum where SMT professionals with questions can meet up with those with the answers.

Speaking of this Week -- November 8, 2002

Some major alliances and acquisitions came to be this week, which should mean some developments in the electronics assembly industry down the road. Progress keeps happening as well, with several big awards handed out this week. We've also got financial, trade show and personnel news.

Ask and Answer -- November 6, 2002

Ask and Answer is a forum where SMT professionals with questions can meet up with those with the answers.

GSPK Circuits Ltd. Promotes Lean Manufacturing with Profitable Results

(November 6, 2002) Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, England -- A full-service EMS provider incorporates lean manufacturing across all departments for increased effectiveness and efficiency.

Electronica 2002 Show Guide

Munich, Germany -- Electronica 2002 bills itself as the largest international trade show for electronics, and with good reason. Held from November 12 through 15 here at the New Munich Trade Fair Centre, more than 3,000 exhibitors will be on hand, and more than 85,000 international visitors from 80 countries are expected to attend.

Advances in Lead-free Soldering and Automatic Inspection

A color-highlight technology offers new solutions for inspecting lead-free solder joints using existing automatic equipment.

Part II: Series in Optoelectronics, Optical Assembly Manufacturing Evolution

Will Adding automation to the fusion splicing process contribute to lower costs and increased quality levels.

Step 10: Rework/Repair

BGAs and CSPs require particular care and attention if post-assembly rework is required, namely alternate handling and process control because of small size and high density, while their hiddenjoints demand a different approachto profiling and inspection.

New Products



EMS Training IINovember 8-9New Orleans, La.Susan Eurich, (847) 790-5384; E-mail:, Web site:

Bumpy but Recovering

NEW ORLEANS — The Technology Market Research Council (TMRC), the marketing side of IPC — Association Connecting Electronics Industries, held their fall meeting November 5 through 6 in New Orleans during IPC's Annual Meeting.

Industry Experts voice differing opinions on Golden board vs. Parametric

The AOI Revolution:Where does it Really Matter?

Speaking of this Week -- November 1, 2002

The IPC Book-to-Bill hit the street this week, showing general flatness but a bit of a dip downward from the beginning of the year. Financial news moved in the spotlight, with less creepy feelings and more sunshine than in previous months. We've also got tradeshow, personnel, regulatory and progress news, with acquisition news moving to the back burner.


October 30, 2002 -- Featuring Assembly Tools & Equipment

Speaking of this Week -- October 25, 2002

Progress news leads the pack again this week, followed by companies coming together in the many ways they do. This week, however, announcements that two high-profile alliances had fallen apart made as much news as companies joining up. We've also got financial and personnel happenings, as well as the requisite trade show announcements and release of studies examining the industry.

Ask and Answer -- October 23, 2002

Ask and Answer is a forum where SMT professionals with questions can meet up with those with the answers.

Speaking of this Week -- October 18, 2002

Progress, progress, progress! It's so good to see. Financial results hit the street this week, showing a mixed picture of the industry's health, as always. In the meantime, there's only one alliance announcement, while a huge personnel announcement was made. Finally, there's the requisite trade show news, and the industry continues to contemplate its place in the world.

Ask and Answer -- October 16, 2002

Ask and Answer is a forum where SMT professionals with questions can meet up with those with the answers.

Speaking of this Week -- October 11, 2002

Alliances, and especially mergers, move back to the forefront this week. Meanwhile, companies are expanding their presence into new areas, and are promoting and hiring a bit more than in recent weeks. Tradeshow news moves to the back burner, but financial news has raised its head again. Finally, as many of us do in our personal lives, the industry is examining itself as things continue to be down overall.

Ask and Answer -- October 9, 2002

Ask and Answer is a forum where SMT professionals with questions can meet up with those with the answers.

Industry Insights at Mexitronica

(October 7, 2002) Mexitronica will take place October 8 through 10 in Guadalajara, Mexico, serving as a window onto the promising electronics assembly market of Mexico. SMT wanted to know what the pulse and feel of the electronics assembly industry is right now, so we went right to the source -- you in the industry.

Speaking of this Week -- October 4, 2002

It's hard to get excited about reporting the IPC-Book-to-Bill when it remains fairly flat -- but, of course, that means it didn't fall. Trade show news continues to dominate this week (we are in heavy tradeshow season, after all), followed by the three Ps of progress, partnership and personnel. There's a bit of bad financial news, but some interesting surveys appeared this week about the industry.

Ask and Answer -- October 2, 2002

Ask and Answer is a forum where SMT professionals with questions can meet up with those with the answers.

Contract Manufacturing

The ongoing worldwide economic slowdown, combined with shifting global dynamics, has created an unprecedented level of uncertainty for manufacturers.

Step 9: Cleaning By Steve Stach

Defining and implementing a successful cleaning process involves a five-step process, regardless of the product. The technology can range from simple to sophisticated; however, the step-by-step procedure remains the same. Additionally, volume does not affect the steps — one item or a thousand, each must follow the same process.

New Products

Optical Micrometer

Advances in AOI Camera Technology

Much can be gained from the use of digital imaging technology as applied to automated optical inspection (AOI) of circuit boards, e.g., more powerful sensors that will improve processing speeds.

Part I: Optical Assembly Manufacturing Evolution

With superior capacity, smaller size and immunity to external interference, optoelectronics technology provides enormous advantages over the copper alternative.


MexitrónicaOctober 8-10Guadalajara, MexicoROC Exhibitions Inc., (630) 271-8210; Fax: (630) 271-8234; E-mail:

Hybrid Integration with MOEMS

Xerox scientists are conducting advanced research to fabricate small optoelectromechanical devices that will offer a low-cost, accurate image registration. The technological advances are expected also to have

AOI Equipment Selector roundup

With the miniaturization of components, advances in assembly technology and the increase in board throughput, visual examination of printed circuit boards (PCB) is a critical and necessary step in ensuring quality. SMT presents the following automated optical inspection (AOI) Equipment Roundup, spotlighting an assortment of available products.

Speaking of this Week -- September 27, 2002

I spent this week at the Assembly Technology Expo tradeshow in Chicago, soaking up new ideas and innovations. The electronics assembly industry, similarly, is looking for new ideas and inspiration from a bevy of tradeshows right around the corner. We've got important alliance news this week as well, with progress, personnel and financial news thrown in for good measure.

Simmetrix Inc. Awarded $1.9 Million from NIST ATP to Develop the Next Generation Simulation Modeling Environment

(September 25, 2002) Clifton Park, N.Y. -- Simmetrix Inc. has been awarded $1.9 million from the Advanced Technology Program (ATP) of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to develop the next generation in tools and techniques for simulation-based design.

Ronald C. Lasky, Ph.D., P.E., Joins SMT Magazine's Advisory Board

(September 20, 2002) Nashua, N.H. -- Ronald C. Lasky has been appointed as the newest Advisory Board Member of SMT.

Teradyne Establishes Peter Hashem Memorial Scholarship

(September 18, 2002) Boston -- Teradyne Inc. has established the Peter Hashem Memorial Scholarship, named in honor of Peter Hashem, a Teradyne employee who was a victim of the terrorist attacks last September.

SOLDERTEC to Present at 3rd International Conference on Connectors in France

(September 19, 2002) UK -- The 3rd International Conference on Connectors will be held at the Centre Athena in La Ferte-Bernard, near Le Mans in France on September 25 and 26, 2002. Leading experts from academia, manufacturers and users involved in connector technologies will share their expertise on products, processes, reliability and durability of connectors.

Sabin Establishes Overseas Regional Offices, Wins IPMI Award

(September 16, 2002) East Hampton, N.Y. -- Sabin Metal Corp. has established two new foreign regional offices in Shanghai, China and Sao Paulo, Brazil, as part of the company's global expansion program.

Leo J. Smith Joins Tessera Technologies

(September 13, 2002) San Jose, Calif. -- Lee Smith has joined Tessera Technologies as director of business development.

Bombardier and Rockwell Collins Agree to Develop Cabin Electronics Solution for Global 5000

(September 11, 2002) Orlando, Fla. -- Bombardier Aerospace and Rockwell Collins have agreed to develop the integrated cabin electronics solution for the Global 5000 intercontinental business jet.

Arima Group Joins as First ODM Corporate Sponsor of Quarterly Forum

(September 6, 2002) Alameda, Calif. -- Arima Group has become a corporate sponsor of Technology Forecasters Inc.'s (TFI) Quarterly Forum for Electronics Manufacturing Outsourcing and Supply Chain program.

Speaking of this Week - September 6, 2002

Although it was a short week for many of us, there's a lot going on as summer begins its turn into fall. The heavy tradeshow season is right around the corner, and trade organizations are gearing up with their offerings. Personnel news was plentiful this week, while news of alliances and mergers, as well as that of progress, moved to the back burner. Finally, an important industry statistic was released this week.

Corrigent Systems Selects Sanmina-SCI for Contract Manufacturing

(September 4, 2002) San Jose, Calif. -- Corrigent Systems and Sanmina-SCI have aligned to support the commercial delivery of Corrigent's CM-100 metro transport product line.

Newport Expands Asia Presence, Appoints Nonoy Sornillo Sales Manager for Philippines

(September 4, 2002) Irvine, Calif. -- Newport Corp. has appointed Nonoy Sornillo to the position of sales manager for Newport's MRSI Advanced Packaging products in the Philippines.

DEK, K&S Team at SEMICON West

At SEMICON West, Flemington, N.J.-based DEK and Willow Grove, Pa.-based Kulicke & Soffa (K&S) came together, blending technologies to make the most of each other's strengths.

News Briefs

Omron Corp. is expanding its business in China by upgrading its regional holding company Omron China Group Co. Ltd. in Hong Kong to the status of China Head Office.

Cookson Electronics Showcases Multiple Products at SEMICON West

At SEMICON West in July, the newly formed Cookson Electronics - Semiconductor Products business unit introduced several new products that address several manufacturing challenges faced by semiconductor package manufacturers and assemblers.

SMTA International Preview

SMTA International will be held September 22 through 26, 2002, at the Donald Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Ill., in conjunction with Assembly Technology Expo (ATExpo), held September 24 through 26.

SMTA INternational Preview Products

Following is a variety of products offered from just a few of the exhibiting companies slated to attend SMTA International.

Next-generation Optoelectronics Manufacturing

Reducing manufacturing costs for optical components is driving a trend towards adapting existing SMT and packaging design and manufacturing methodologies.

Today's SMT Placement Equipment Market

Several successful strategies for surviving and thriving in the current global market are presented.

Step 8: Test/Inspection

Many types of defects can be found on today's modern printed circuit boards (PCB).

IMAPS Announces Thermal Management for High-Performance Computing and Wireless Applications Workshop

(September 3, 2002) Washington, D.C. -- The International Microelectronics And Packaging Society (IMAPS) announces an Advanced Technology Workshop (ATW) on Thermal Management for High-Performance Computing and Wireless Applications, which will be held October 24 through 26, 2002, at the Sheraton Palo Alto Hotel in Palo Alto, Calif.

Zygo Receives Multi-Million Dollar Contract Award from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory for Optomechanical Assemblies

(August 30, 2002) Middlefield, Conn. -- Zygo Corp. has received a contract award for 192 vacuum relay telescopes from the University of California-managed Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL).

A Five-Step Approach to A Successful Cleaning Process

(August 28, 2002) Austin, Texas -- Defining and implementing a successful cleaning process, no matter what the product -- circuit assemblies, components, stencils or others -- involves a five-step process. The technology can range from a simple hand-cleaning system to a sophisticated high-ticket inline cleaning machine with multiple solvent systems, but the step-by-step procedure is the same for all. These steps are also applicable regardless of volume -- one item or a thousand.

Powell Joins Applied Engineering Products Distributor Network

(August 27, 2002) Philadelphia -- Powell Electronics Inc. has become an authorized distributor of Applied Engineering Products (AEP).

Vitronics Soltec Appoints Ursula Marquez to Engineering, Research Group

(August 26, 2002) Stratham, N.H. -- Vitronics Soltec has appointed Ursula Marquez to the position of process and research engineer.

Elcoteq to Sell Its Polish Plant

(August 22, 2002) Helsinki, Finland -- Elcoteq Network Corp. has entered into a preliminary agreement with a privately owned French company to sell its industrial site located in Wroclaw, Poland, to the French company's Polish subsidiary.

V.J. Electronix Names Paul Lukaniec as Sales Manager

(August 21, 2002) Bohemia, N.Y. -- V.J. Electronix, a division of V.J. Technologies Inc., has appointed Paul Lukaniec as manager of North American sales for their complete line of digital X-ray inspection systems.

Electronica 2002 Expands Focus on Embedded Systems

(August 21, 2002) Chicago -- electronica 2002, the world's largest electronics trade show, is expanding its focus on the growing embedded systems industry which is playing a big role in post-September 11 security devices in the U.S.

SEMICON Southwest Returns to Austin in October

(August 16, 2002) Austin, Texas -- SEMICON Southwest, the region's largest exposition dedicated to the technologies of semiconductor manufacturing, returns to the Austin Convention Center, October 15 through 16, 2002.

SME Awards John H. Lau the 2002 Total Excellence in Electronics Manufacturing Award

(August 15, 2002) Dearborn, Mich. -- The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) and its Association for Electronics Manufacturing (EM/SME) present the Total Excellence in Electronics Manufacturing (TEEM) Award annually to an individual in recognition of extraordinary dedication and innovation in setting new or higher levels of achievement in electronics manufacturing.

SunSil Names to Represent Shibuya Kogyo

(August 8, 2002) Kanazawa City, Japan and Alamo, Calif. -- Shibuya Kogyo Co. Ltd. has appointed SunSil Inc. to represent its line of solder ball mounting systems in North America.

Qualcon Awarded ANSI/ESD S20.20 Certification

(August 7, 2002) Flowery Branch, Ga. -- Qualcon has earned certification to the ANSI/ESD S20.20 standard.

IPC Annual Meeting Introduces First-Ever Meeting for PCB Suppliers

(August 2, 2002) Northbrook, Ill. -- IPC -- Association Connecting Electronics Industries(r) has created a leadership meeting targeted exclusively toward suppliers of the printed circuit board (PCB) industry.

Infrared (IR) verification can find PCB defects other detection methods often miss.

Screening printed circuit board (PCB) defects quickly and effectively on the production line is essential to minimizing manufacturing costs.

Solder Selection for Photonic Packaging

As the electronics and photonics worlds continue merging, contract electronics manufacturers (CEM) involved in traditional SMT assembly will be called upon to integrate optoelectronic component assembly into their operations.

Step 7: Soldering

Developing and monitoring the solder paste manufacture's profile requirements is essential to ensuring that proper wetting occurs.

The Key to Process Control

In the mid-1990s, the 6-sigma quality and defect-free initiative was in full force among the major high-tech manufacturers.

A European Perspective of the Electronics Market

According to his presentation, micro technology market growth is guaranteed for some time.

GECI's Roadmap Transitions to Lead-free Electronics

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - The Global Environmental Coordination Institute (GECI) formed a six-step roadmap to act as a timeline for the electronics industry to develop lead-free PCB technology, eventually leading to product introductions using lead-free solders.

New Products

AOI System - Vi-5000 AOI system reportedly offers 100 percent inspection of boards up to 457× 508 mm at speeds up to 250,000 cph.

Ask and Answer -- July 31, 2002

Ask and Answer is a forum where SMT professionals with questions can meet up with those with the answers.

Mexico's Largest Electronics Manufacturing Representative Signs Reseller Contract with Tecnomatix

(July 31, 2002) Nashua, N.H. -- Tecnomatix Technologies Ltd. announces that InterLatin has been named exclusive electronics representative for Tecnomatix Unicam in the Mexican and Costa Rican region.

MicroTel Subsidiary XET Secures Third Contract for Custom Avionics Communications Subassemblies

(July 29, 2002) Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. -- MicroTel International Inc.'s XET Corp. subsidiary has secured a third contract this year from a major U.S. military prime contractor for custom avionics communications subassemblies.

Indium Corp. Introduces 'Solder Online' E-Commerce Site

(July 26, 2002) Utica, N.Y. -- Solder fluxes, pastes, wire, spheres, performs and more from The Indium Corp. of America (ICA) are now no more than a mouse-click away with ICA's "Solder Online" e-commerce service.

Teradyne, Molex Launch Joint Web Site for VHDM-HSD Connectors

(July 24, 2002) Nashua, N.H. and Lisle, Ill. -- Teradyne Inc. Connection Systems Division (TCS) and Molex Inc. have launched a Web site they co-developed to give customers access to in-depth information about the VHDM-HSD family of connectors.

Renault to Standardize All Automobile Assembly Worldwide on eMPower Solutions From Tecnomatix

(July 19, 2002) Nashua, N.H. -- Leading French automotive manufacturer Renault has decided to fully standardize all of its assembly processes worldwide on Tecnomatix Technologies Ltd. eMPower solutions.

SMTA Announces the 2002 Hutchins Grant Award Recipient

(July 17, 2002) Minneapolis -- The Surface Mount Technology Association (SMTA) announces the recipient of the 2002 Charles Hutchins Educational Grant.

Reliability Analysis Laboratory Expands Component Analysis Service

(July 12, 2002) Lexington, Mass. -- Raytheon's Reliability Analysis Laboratory ( has expanded its electronic component analysis services to include more detailed investigations in the areas of materials characterization, non-destructive evaluation and test (NDE/NDT), and surface analysis of microprocessors, discrete components, and printed circuit boards and assemblies.

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