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NEMI Signs Three New Members

Step 3: Solder Materials

Lead-free implementation is moving into high gear, but the level of progress varies from region to region. Some manufacturers have completely converted without incurring systemic changes, specifically in process temperature, components and printed circuit board (PCB) materials.

Speaking of APEX — March 1, 2004

With more than 500 exhibitors in one place last week at the co-located APEX/IPC Printed Circuits Expo show, you know there had to be lots of good stuff happening. One of the biggest was the attendance. While IPC — Association Connecting Electronics Industries won't release official numbers for a while, almost every exhibitor I spoke to was happy with the number and quality of attendees that often kept them so busy at their booths that they had no time to even eat.

Speaking of APEX — March 1, 2004

With more than 500 exhibitors in one place last week at the co-located APEX/IPC Printed Circuits Expo show, you know there had to be lots of good stuff happening. One of the biggest was the attendance. While IPC — Association Connecting Electronics Industries won't release official numbers for a while, almost every exhibitor I spoke to was happy with the number and quality of attendees that often kept them so busy at their booths that they had no time to even eat.

Special Speaking of this Week to Appear Monday, March 1

Looking for Speaking of this Week? You'll find it on Monday, March 1, in a special APEX/IPC Printed Circuits Expo wrapup edition. Stay tuned.

SMT Magazine Presents the 2003 VISION Awards

At a ceremony at the Anaheim Hilton on February 24, 2004, during the APEX/IPC Printed Circuits Expo shows, SMT Magazine presented the 2003 VISION Awards in 15 categories. Click here to find out who won.

Speaking of this Week — February 20, 2004

With one of the biggest electronics assembly shows of the year, APEX, right around the corner, the news this short week, appropriately enough, focuses on upcoming trade shows. There's also progress news, partnerships and acquisitions, personnel news, and a look at R&D this year.

Speaking of this Week — February 20, 2004

With one of the biggest electronics assembly shows of the year, APEX, right around the corner, the news this short week, appropriately enough, focuses on upcoming trade shows. There's also progress news, partnerships and acquisitions, personnel news, and a look at R&D this year.

Speaking of this Week — February 13, 2004

There's a lot to love this week, what with partnership news, word of progress, financial announcements and results, looks at upcoming shows, two personnel announcements, and some looks at the industry. Take a break from finding something for your sweetie for tomorrow and read on.

Speaking of this Week — February 13, 2004

There's a lot to love this week, what with partnership news, word of progress, financial announcements and results, looks at upcoming shows, two personnel announcements, and some looks at the industry. Take a break from finding something for your sweetie for tomorrow and read on.


Speaking of this Week — February 6, 2004

The word "expand" was used a lot this week in regards to facilities, partnerships and financial results. News of trade shows also is in the mix, as are personnel announcements.

Speaking of this Week — February 6, 2004

The word "expand" was used a lot this week in regards to facilities, partnerships and financial results. News of trade shows also is in the mix, as are personnel announcements.

Show Information

APEX, IPC Printed Circuits Expo and the IPC Designers Summit will come together for the first time at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Calif. to offer the "Perfect Blend" for the electronics industry.

Product preview

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.

Equipment Sets vs. Operational Strategies

Form follows function in the world of lean PCB assembly. Manufacturers typically purchase SMT placement equipment for one of three reasons.

Slump and Tackiness Testing Using Rheometry

Increased use of solder paste calls for serious consideration of its importance within the context of quality management systems such as TQM, ISO 9001 and QS 9001.

Selective Soldering — Options and Opportunities

Due to increasing pressure to improve product quality and shorten cycle times in many electronics manufacturing processes, it is becoming more advantageous to integrate selective soldering techniques such as miniwave, laser or hot gas systems.

Environmental Impact of Pb-free Manufacturing

There has been no definitive experiment indicating that lead in electronics creates a measurable threat to the environment or people after electronic products are disposed of, and lead in electronics contributes less than 1 percent of the total lead introduced into the environment.

Step 2: Process Control

Software always has been instrumental in the implementation of process control methods in manufacturing.

Fighting Back: U.S. EMS Providers Are Winning Against China

The transfer of North American electronics manufacturing to Asia presents a challenge to domestic electronics manufacturing services (EMS) providers.


The Inside Line

FocalSpot Opens New Headquarters

Speaking of this Week — January 30, 2004

We've got a snapshot of the whole of 2003 with the release of the December book-to-bill ratio by IPC, and it's generally positive. Progress news continues to abound, and companies and associations are looking ahead to trade shows in 2004. Finally, there's personnel, alliance and financial news this week.

Speaking of this Week — January 30, 2004

We've got a snapshot of the whole of 2003 with the release of the December book-to-bill ratio by IPC, and it's generally positive. Progress news continues to abound, and companies and associations are looking ahead to trade shows in 2004. Finally, there's personnel, alliance and financial news this week.

Speaking of this Week — January 23, 2004

This week, progress just keeps on progressing. We've also got financial results, trade show and personnel news, companies coming together, and industry analysis.

Speaking of this Week — January 23, 2004

This week, progress just keeps on progressing. We've also got financial results, trade show and personnel news, companies coming together, and industry analysis.

Speaking of this Week — January 16, 2004

Here in New England, it hasn't been this cold in 100 years. How cold is it? Rumor has it that the beer at last week's Patriots game froze in its mug, and there's word that the commuter boats in Boston Harbor can't pass because of severe icing. But there's plenty to stay warm and fuzzy about this week in the news, what with all the progress, partnerships, personnel, trade show financial happenings, as well as an industry benchmark that spells positive things for 2004.

Speaking of this Week — January 16, 2004

Here in New England, it hasn't been this cold in 100 years. How cold is it? Rumor has it that the beer at last week's Patriots game froze in its mug, and there's word that the commuter boats in Boston Harbor can't pass because of severe icing. But there's plenty to stay warm and fuzzy about this week in the news, what with all the progress, partnerships, personnel, trade show financial happenings, as well as an industry benchmark that spells positive things for 2004.

Speaking of this Week — January 9, 2004

As much as I enjoy the holidays, isn't it nice to get back to normal? News is picking up again, as it always does after the year-end holidays, with progress and financial news taking the lead. We've also got personnel, merger and acquisition, and tradeshow news, as well as a look at the future from the consumer electronics standpoint.

Speaking of this Week — January 9, 2004

As much as I enjoy the holidays, isn't it nice to get back to normal? News is picking up again, as it always does after the year-end holidays, with progress and financial news taking the lead. We've also got personnel, merger and acquisition, and tradeshow news, as well as a look at the future from the consumer electronics standpoint.

Keeping Pace with Device Programming

At Productronica last November, Bill White, CEO and president of Houston-based BP Microsystems talked about his company's approach to device programming.


News

Speedline is Sold, Reorganizes

Cleaning Underneath 4 Mil Standoffs

The miniaturization process has not reached its physical limits in the electronics industry. The increase in component complexity results in a continuous decrease in standoff spacing between the components and the substrate's surface (currently 0.002 to 0.004", or 2 to 4 mil). This article looks at mechanical agitation cleaning systems for best cleaning results.

Current Trends in Lead-free Solder

The Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive will ban the use of lead in electronics assemblies in Europe effective July 1, 2006. Electronic and electrical waste is the fastest growing category in the municipal waste stream, and legislators are concerned that lead may leach from these disposed devices into ground water.

Step 1: Design for Manufacture

Electronic computer-aided design (ECAD) geometry creation primarily has been a manual process.

Q & A: World-class manufacturing

As the manufacturing sector continues to recover and orders continue to grow, I hear a lot of claims about world-class manufacturing.

New Products

Semiautomatic Screen Printers

Solder Paste Printing Inspection: An Inside Look

Industry cost control pressures and technology drivers demand more powerful 3-D AOI machines for control of solder paste printing. This article looks at the factors users of these systems should take into consideration.

Detecting and Preventing Programmable IC Defects Prior to Placement

Testing of programmable integrated circuits (IC) does not occur until in-circuit test (ICT) in many cases. If a device is defective, it is already soldered on the board, which must be reworked or scrapped. If these functional defects can be detected prior to placement, yield and profits will go up.

Optimizing Reflow

Successful reflow soldering is key to productivity and profitability.

Speaking of this Year — 2003

When trying to sum up a whole year, it's best to start with the indicators, such as IPC — Association Connecting Electronics Industries' book-to-bill ratio. While we only have numbers through November right now, the graph of the year shows a good trend.


Speaking of this Year — 2003

When trying to sum up a whole year, it's best to start with the indicators, such as IPC — Association Connecting Electronics Industries' book-to-bill ratio. While we only have numbers through November right now, the graph of the year shows a good trend.

Speaking of this Week — December 19, 2003

With the end of the year and the big year-end holidays staring us right in the face, you'd think news would disappear faster than the holiday cookies on the counter in the office. You'd be wrong. We've got tons of progress news, some acquisition news, financial reports, personnel announcements and looks at tradeshows past and future.

Speaking of this Week — December 19, 2003

With the end of the year and the big year-end holidays staring us right in the face, you'd think news would disappear faster than the holiday cookies on the counter in the office. You'd be wrong. We've got tons of progress news, some acquisition news, financial reports, personnel announcements and looks at tradeshows past and future.

Speaking of this Week — December 12, 2003

More progress news comes to light as the year grows shorter. Can you believe there's only 19 days left of 2003? There's also personnel, tradeshow news, acquisitions and looks at the industry, present and future.

Speaking of this Week — December 12, 2003

More progress news comes to light as the year grows shorter. Can you believe there's only 19 days left of 2003? There's also personnel, tradeshow news, acquisitions and looks at the industry, present and future.

Speaking of this Week — December 5, 2003

In this first cold, windy week of December (at least it is here in New England), as we progress toward Christmas and the end of the year, progress news continues to dominate, followed by companies coming together in the many ways they do, tradeshow and personnel news, and a look at the industry with an analytical eye.

Speaking of this Week — December 5, 2003

In this first cold, windy week of December (at least it is here in New England), as we progress toward Christmas and the end of the year, progress news continues to dominate, followed by companies coming together in the many ways they do, tradeshow and personnel news, and a look at the industry with an analytical eye.

Flexibility in SMT Assembly

Flexible production is key in meeting the challenges of SMT assembly. The full meaning and implications of flexible production and its impact on manufacturing must be understood and specifically defined.

Lead-free Wave Soldering: A Cost-effective Alternative

Much emphasis has been placed on converting the reflow soldering process to lead-free, due to the dominance of SM components. Wave soldering must also be changed to lead-free to avoid mixing of lead-bearing and non-lead-bearing alloys on the same assembly.

The Inside Line

Where Mexican EMS Wins


News

Compiled By SMT Staff

Product Review 2003

EQUIPMENT

Speaking of this Week — November 26, 2003

For some reason I can't explain, short weeks seem to create the most interesting news. To wit, we've got the continued ascension of the IPC book-to-bill ratio, as well some high profile progress news, partnerships, personnel and event news.

Speaking of this Week — November 26, 2003

For some reason I can't explain, short weeks seem to create the most interesting news. To wit, we've got the continued ascension of the IPC book-to-bill ratio, as well some high profile progress news, partnerships, personnel and event news.

Speaking of this Week — November 21, 2003

There's lots to give thanks for this week. Progress continues to reign supreme, and good financial news comes to the fore as well. Companies continue to come together, present at tradeshows, and hire new personnel. There's also some insight into the volatile optoelectronics market.

Speaking of this Week — November 21, 2003

There's lots to give thanks for this week. Progress continues to reign supreme, and good financial news comes to the fore as well. Companies continue to come together, present at tradeshows, and hire new personnel. There's also some insight into the volatile optoelectronics market.

Speaking of this Week — November 14, 2003

This week was dominated by progress news, such as moves to new facilities, new business, awards and certifications. Some important companies continue to come together, and high-level appointments and hires also were made. Finally, looking toward 2004, there's some tradeshow news.

Speaking of this Week — November 14, 2003

This week was dominated by progress news, such as moves to new facilities, new business, awards and certifications. Some important companies continue to come together, and high-level appointments and hires also were made. Finally, looking toward 2004, there's some tradeshow news.

X-Ray Inspection in the Third Dimension with Oblique Viewing Technology

For such "hidden" interconnects, X-ray microscopy has been a successful inspection and analysis tool. Until recently, microfocus X-ray systems have been limited to two predominant approaches.

NEMI Recommends Standard Test Methods to Assess Propensity for Tin Whisker Growth

While Sn-based finishes provide good corrosion protection and a solderable surface, they also have the potential for whisker growth. Now that Sn and its alloys with low content of the alloying element are being considered to replace SnPb, standard test methods will help the industry move more quickly in evaluation and development of Sn-based Pb-free finishes.


Controlling MSD for Double-sided Reflow Applications

Moisture-sensitive components begin absorbing moisture immediately when their protective moisture barrier bag is opened; the moisture accumulates at the critical interfaces between the die, lead frame and molding compound.

Electronics Recycling and EOL Management

The EU Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (RoHS) legislation deals with hazardous substances such as lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, PBB and PBDE.

Step 10: Rework & Repair

In the quest for size reduction, smaller components will become more widespread. With each generation of smaller, more powerful products, new challenges arise when reworking or repairing assemblies.

The Inside Line

Cookson Explains Price Hikes

News

Compiled By SMT Staff

New Products

ESD-safe Turntables

Speaking of this Week — October 31, 2003

Nothing scary here: The September Book-to-Bill from IPC was revealed this week, showing continuing growth and recovery. Meanwhile, with 2004 closer than ever, the industry is looking toward tradeshows and events for next year, as well as wrapping up those taking place in 2003. There's also progress, partnership and financial news, as always, and some legislative news thrown in for good measure.

Speaking of this Week — October 31, 2003

Nothing scary here: The September Book-to-Bill from IPC was revealed this week, showing continuing growth and recovery. Meanwhile, with 2004 closer than ever, the industry is looking toward tradeshows and events for next year, as well as wrapping up those taking place in 2003. There's also progress, partnership and financial news, as always, and some legislative news thrown in for good measure.

Speaking of this Week — October 24, 2003

Alliances and mergers steal the spotlight this week, and are followed by progress news. There's also an abundance of tradeshow news, as well as personnel announcements and a quarterly financial release.

Speaking of this Week — October 24, 2003

Alliances and mergers steal the spotlight this week, and are followed by progress news. There's also an abundance of tradeshow news, as well as personnel announcements and a quarterly financial release.


Speaking of this Week — October 17, 2003

News of awards dominates progress news this week, and progress news itself is found all over the place. Companies are also looking ahead to big shows like Productronica and IPC's APEX/Printed Circuits Expo, as well as their own personnel situations with new hires and promotions. We've also got companies coming together, as well as looks at the industry present and future.

Speaking of this Week — October 17, 2003

News of awards dominates progress news this week, and progress news itself is found all over the place. Companies are also looking ahead to big shows like Productronica and IPC's APEX/Printed Circuits Expo, as well as their own personnel situations with new hires and promotions. We've also got companies coming together, as well as looks at the industry present and future.

Speaking of this Week — October 10, 2003

Lots of refreshing progress news this week, as well as partnerships galore. Encouraging personnel announcements, as well as tradeshow announcements and a prediction, made an appearance this week, too.

Speaking of this Week — October 3, 2003

This week, it's back to normal from being at Assembly Technology Expo and SMTA International in Chicago last week, and more evidence of a return to profitability. The IPC Book-to-Bill skyrocketed for August, and there's tons of progress, good financial news, partnerships, new high-level personnel announcements, and news of two industry events later this month.

Speaking of this Week — October 3, 2003

This week, it's back to normal from being at Assembly Technology Expo and SMTA International in Chicago last week, and more evidence of a return to profitability. The IPC Book-to-Bill skyrocketed for August, and there's tons of progress, good financial news, partnerships, new high-level personnel announcements, and news of two industry events later this month.

Step 9: Test & Inspection

During the last 25 years, in-circuit test (ICT) has been the workhorse in finding manufacturing defects in assembled PCBs. Today, most PCBs have less than 100 percent probe access, challenging this proven test strategy. Higher densities, double-sided boards, advanced SMT packaging and higher frequencies are forcing engineers to remove test pads on many nets or nodes, limiting ICT effectiveness.

News

Compiled By SMT Staff

New Products

Precision Rework System

Liquid Encapsulation Application Considerations

The liquid encapsulant can be applied manually or using an X-Y computer-driven automated dispense system. One of the fundamental advantages of the liquid encapsulation process is its simplicity and flexibility.

Account of a Cleaning Systems Changeover

Changes in cleaning methods at Raytheon's Electronic and Missile Systems products facility at Air Force Plant 44 in Tucson, Ariz. have resulted in improved environmental performance, more effective cleaning and substantial production cost reductions.


Lead-free Solder X-ray Inspection Implications

The most important consideration when X-raying a sample with lead-free solders is that radiation absorption increases with atomic number and density of the material present. Lead has a Z value (atomic number) of 82, compared with 50 for tin, 47 for silver and 29 for copper.

Flexible Circuit Market Trends

Flex circuits feature a three-dimensional shape, which saves a substantial amount of board space. The circuits also bend during installation and maintenance, making the rework and repair process easier.

Speaking of this Week — September 12, 2003

Wow! Progress news, including expansion, investments and milestones, completely dominates the news this week. Of course, we've also got alliances, personnel and financial news, as well as an industry metric.

Speaking of this Week — September 12, 2003

Wow! Progress news, including expansion, investments and milestones, completely dominates the news this week. Of course, we've also got alliances, personnel and financial news, as well as an industry metric.

Speaking of this Week — September 5, 2003

This short week was sluggish on the news front, but there was some progress, partnership/alliance and financial news, as well as bits of personnel and tradeshow news. Still, enough to keep us on our toes.

Speaking of this Week — September 5, 2003

This short week was sluggish on the news front, but there was some progress, partnership/alliance and financial news, as well as bits of personnel and tradeshow news. Still, enough to keep us on our toes.

SMTA International 2003 Show Preview

SMTA International will be held September 21 through 25, 2003, at the Donald Stephens Conventional Center in Rosemont, Ill., in conjunction with Assembly Technology Expo (ATExpo).

SMTA International 2003 Products

Following is a variety of products offered from just a few of the exhibiting companies slated to attend SMTA International. Be sure to visit each exhibiting company for more complete product offerings.

Automated AMI Analysis of Components Prior to Board Assembly

Anomalies related to chip design, lithography or materials often are revealed by various types of electrical testing before assembly. Packaging-related failures, however, may be caused by a packaging anomaly that remains undetected until it leads to an electrical failure.

Reflow Profile Optimization

In surface mount assembly, a key step in producing finished assemblies is reflowing deposited solder paste. Solder paste commonly is reflowed in a convection IR oven, which heats the circuit board in stages. The time and temperature graph while the board is in the oven is referred to as the reflow profile.


New Geometries Drive Search for Flexible Manufacturing

Feature sizes in electronics assembly and packaging continue to decrease. Traces, spacings, bond pads and other geometries are a tenth the size they were a decade ago. Additionally, increasing production volumes must accommodate more frequent change orders, shorter marketing windows and materials flexibility.

Sanctions Against Sn/Pb Solder Paste

Solder paste using tin/lead, popularly known as Sn/Pb has been the most important element of solder paste until global agencies threatened its popularity in favor of lead-free solder paste and other environmentally friendly alternatives.

Step 8: Cleaning

Forces driving SMT cleaning are centered around cleaning product performance for the specific soil; air, water and solid waste environmental concerns; health and safety; residue left from low-residue soldering elevating end user reliability concerns; cost of ownership; and the conversion to lead-free alloys.

The Inside Line

Siemens Dematic Covers Breadth of Automation Systems

News

Compiled by SMT Staff

Point/Counterpoint

Depaneling Analysis

Speaking of this Week — August 29, 2003

The news this week is as crisp as the turning-to-fall air. The IPC Book-to-Bill Ratio and other progress news appeared in this sleepy end-of-summer week, along with news of partnerships, tradeshows, mixed financial news and forecasts.

Speaking of this Week — August 29, 2003

The news this week is as crisp as the turning-to-fall air. The IPC Book-to-Bill Ratio and other progress news appeared in this sleepy end-of-summer week, along with news of partnerships, tradeshows, mixed financial news and forecasts.

Speaking of this Week — August 22, 2003

Most encouraging is that progress news continues to dominate what comes over the transom, followed by improving financial news, some personnel announcements and promotions, and looks at the future. From this vantage point, I think we're in for a good rise in the fall.

Speaking of this Week — August 22, 2003

Most encouraging is that progress news continues to dominate what comes over the transom, followed by improving financial news, some personnel announcements and promotions, and looks at the future. From this vantage point, I think we're in for a good rise in the fall.


Speaking of this Week — August 15, 2003

The focus this week is on people, with personnel news, including some from within SMT, from a multitude of companies. Also appearing this week is companies coming together, tradeshow news, progress and an industry metric.

Speaking of this Week — August 15, 2003

The focus this week is on people, with personnel news, including some from within SMT, from a multitude of companies. Also appearing this week is companies coming together, tradeshow news, progress and an industry metric.

2003 SMT VISION Awards

SMT Magazine invites you to enter your products and/or services into the 12th annual SMT VISION Awards. We are seeking the finest examples of creative advancement in technology in 15 critical areas. Click here for rules and an official entry form. Don't wait...the deadline has been extended to November 7!

Speaking of this Week — August 8, 2003

This week, the progress news just kept coming, and it's good to see. With the tradeshow season right around the corner, news of upcoming shows abounded as well. We've also got financial news, partnerships and a personnel announcement.

Step 7: Soldering

After SMT component placement, boards are typically wave soldered to permanently and securely affix the components to the board surface.

News

Compiled By SMT Staff

New Products

Lead-free Capable Reflow Oven

Preventing Contamination with Process Optimization

Reliability problems stemming from ionic and non-ionic printed circuit board (PCB) contamination traditionally were only problems in the high-reliability, safety-critical sector.

Divide and Conquer: The New Team Design Methodology

In the early to mid-1990s, printed circuit board (PCB) designers heralded design reuse and variant tools that improved productivity. But their biggest challenge today is trying to incorporate new methodologies with existing processes.

Technology for Next-generation Assembly Equipment

The next generation of assembly equipment must be able to handle, in real time, positioning relative to pads, as well as pick-up relative to packet/tape.


EMS Providers and OEMs in China

The Chinese domestic market for consumer electronics has grown to more than one-fourth of the total market.

The Inside Line

Industry, Academia Look to Lead-free

Speaking of this Week — August 1, 2003

For a time of the year that's typically the doldrums of summer, this week has been chock-full of important announcements. IPC's Book-to-Bill ratio for June showed the industry is bouncing back, while some major, mixed progress announcements gave more evidence as to where the industry is heading as well. Companies continue to woo, court and sometimes even marry one another, and financial news is showing a mixed picture. There's also personnel and trade show news, as well as some study results.

Speaking of this Week — July 25, 2003

As usual, there's no shortage of news topics this week. More partnerships come to light, and there's progress made, tradeshow news, personnel and financial announcements, legislative updates, and a prediction. It's been one crazy summer.

Speaking of this Week — July 18, 2003

Financial news, both good and bad, rises to the top this week, followed by news of partnerships and acquisitions. There's also tons of progress, news of tradeshows this year and next, regulatory news, a personnel announcement, and a prediction.

Speaking of this Week — July 11, 2003

Lots of news this week as we all settle back in after the long holiday weekend. Progress news rises to the top again this week, partnerships are back on the radar screen and there's some high-profile personnel news, as well as tradeshow announcements, financial news and study results.

Speaking of this Week — July 3, 2003

This short week brought us lots of progress news, as well as earnings releases and other financial news. We've also got a personnel announcement and some predictions.

The Inside Line

Improving Communication Between PCB Designers and Manufacturers

News

Compiled By SMT Staff

New Products

Placement Technology


Point/Counterpoint

Industry Experts voice differing opinions on ultrasonic vs. spray cleaning

The Flexibility Factor

To meet fast-changing needs in the electronics market, many SMT manufacturers are moving into high-mix assembly. Their objective is to be more flexible and assemble a wider range of products, thereby bringing in more jobs.

Synthetic Solder Paste — A New Class of No-clean Chemistry

A new generation of no-clean solder paste delivers improved stability, lot-to-lot consistency, reduced scrap and rework, and higher hourly throughput.

Dispensing for Optoelectronics

The dispensing required for optoelectronic assembly is not too different from the dispensing for surface mount and solder paste applications.

SMT Analysis of the Medical Industry

In 2002, the U.S. medical devices market generated approximately $57.6 billion in revenues. The industry is forecast to be growing at a compound annual growth rate of approximately 8 percent.

Speaking of this Week — June 27, 2003

The news this week has been as all over the place as the weather here in New England. The IPC Book-to-Bill showed the industry perked up in May, much like the weather. There's also lots of progress and personnel news, info on tradeshows past and future, an alliance, financial news, and some looks at the state of the industry.

Speaking of this Week — June 20, 2003

Progress news continues to dominate this week — maybe it means we are progressing toward a recovery. I think all signs point to yes. We've also got companies continuing to come together, news on tradeshows taking place as early as this month and as late as November, a bit of personnel news, and some financial news.

Speaking of this Week — June 13, 2003

With summer staring us in the face and the weather getting warmer, tradeshow news rises to the top this week. There's also a surprising number of personnel announcements, with progress and partnership news, as well as looks at the industry present and future, in the mix as well.

Speaking of this Week — June 6, 2003

The trend of plenty of news in just as many categories continues this week. The IPC Book-to-Bill Ratio for April became available, proving that in this industry, it's two steps forward, one step back. Other stats reflected on various areas of the electronics assembly industry this week. We've also got alliances and purchases, progress and personnel news, and tradeshow happenings, as well as some financial news.

Increasing Competitiveness with Inline Programming

Common wisdom holds that American-based factories have trouble competing with offshore factories where operational costs are much lower — unless they outsource key parts of manufacturing to an EMS provider.


Profiling High-reliability Assembly

Key features of an automated-reflow management system are product traceability and process documentation. The means: continuous and automatic thermal process monitoring.

Reworking Lead-free Solder in PCB Assembly

While lead-free solder rework is more difficult because of the lack of wetting and wickability, successful rework and assembly methods have been developed with lead-free solders for all types of components.

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

News

Compiled By SMT Staff

New Products

ASSEMBLY TOOLS/EQUIPMENT

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

News

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

News

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 ..to 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.

Calendar

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

Lead-free?Yes!

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.


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