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Catching up With Niche Electronics
10/09/2019 | Dan Beaulieu, D.B. Management Group
Real Time with... SMTAI 2019 Video Interviews
10/09/2019 | Real Time with...SMTAI
SMTAI 2019: Happy Holden’s On-the-Scene Report
10/03/2019 | Happy Holden, I-Connect007
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Combating ESD: The Silent Assassin in Electronics Manufacturing
09/20/2019 | Neil Sharp, JJS Manufacturing

Latest Articles

PCB Stacking Component

The Solderball Pin is a discrete surface mount component comprising high-performance conductive copper interconnect and a solder-ball interface. The mother-to-daughter PCB connector provides additional solder for final assembly interconnects and allows the sub-assembly to drop and align with the host PCB during reflow, compensating for up to 0.020" co-planarity variance.

Industry Certifications and Accreditations

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

Line Buffering and Productivity Gains

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

Strain Gage Testing: Predicting and Preventing Brittle Fracture of BGAs

Brittle fracture of components on printed circuit boards (PCB) during assembly, test or shipping operations has been a problem in the industry for some time.

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.

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.

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.

NEMI Launches New Optoelectronics Projects

(June 17, 2002) Herndon, Va. -- The National Electronics Manufacturing Initiative (NEMI) has launched three new optoelectronics projects and a special optoelectronics study group.


The Hydrojet in-line cleaner cleans and dries at more than twice the speed and in one-half the footprint of existing cleaning technology. The system uses patent-pending flow-dynamics technology instead of conventional air knives and spray nozzles. In drying, this new technology outperforms air knives up to 10:1 and delivers up to a 5:1 increase in energy efficiency, air usage and conveyor length, without the use of IR heating. It is available in three drying models (Mach I, II and III) offering

ESD Simulator

The Model 930D "gun-style" ESD simulator is designed for use in a variety of applications, including electronic, automotive, military and medical. Its design is said to allow for quick change of resistor and capacitor networks, polarity modules, probe tip configuration and firing requirements. Designed for both air and contact discharges, the unit incorporates auto and manual modes and reportedly is adjustable from ±500 to ±26 kV.

New Products

PCB Magazine - The 700 Series PCB magazine incorporates a belt-driven precision spindle system that reportedly allows for quick and easy setup to PCB width as well as parallelism of the side panels. The color-coding and consecutive numbering system on the side panels, along with the width scale, are said to help facilitate width adjustment. A transport safety lock keeps the PCBs from sliding out of the magazine during transport and can be automatically unlocked in a loading station. The

A Shift in the Perception of Reflow Profiling

Paul Austen, ECD, explains why information gathering and reflow profile characterization can be wasted practices without the verification step to maintain proper oven operation. Reflow oven profiles can be out of spec due to flux residue build up, belt speed changes, and other small changes that deliver significant alterations to the assembly being processed.

REACH Exposed: Stressing Environmental Compliance

This article provides an update on REACH toxicity legislation to date. One of the stark contrasts between REACH and RoHS is the number of substances that must be tracked and evaluated.

RoHS Testing: Lead-free Is Not Trouble-free

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

Productronica '05 Granted Trade Fair Certification

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

Protection of Intellectual Property in China

This first article in the SMTa Toolbox series discusses legal issues surrounding doing business in China.

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.

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.

New Products


Powell Joins Applied Engineering Products Distributor Network

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


The Capillary Action Enhanced Surface Mount Header consists of square posts press-fit into round plated through-holes (PTH) on a header PCB. The assembly uses controlled capillary action to pull solder through the cavities between the pin and PTH. The resultant solder ring around the pin on the top side of the header indicates that the right amount of solder paste was used and the header is in the right position on the board. Placement tolerances are more forgiving because capillary action force

Component Protection

Partfolio is a portable kitting system designed to securely store a range of small parts and protect sensitive components against damage from ESD at all stages of production. It is designed as an alternative to the "plastic bags in tote boxes" parts management approach still in common use. Advantages are said to include portability, quick setup and parts migration prevention when closed. Other advantages reportedly include improved quality control, increased productivity and decreased costs. To

Combating Component Obsolescence — A Visit to Rochester Electronics

"In a perfect world." This is a phrase uttered by many a project leader or product designer compiling a bill of materials (BOM) for a new product or modified design. In the real world, something like 70% of the components specified for a long-design-cycle assembly will be obsolesced by the time the assembly hits the manufacturing floor. We visited one components supplier, Rochester Electronics, to see how they keep phased-out components at the ready in an imperfect world.

STEP 5: Advanced Underfill Technology

Developed to compensate for the coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) inconsistencies between the PCB and silicon devices, underfill technology has expanded to deliver shock, drop, and vibration protection for today’s advanced devices.

Vitronics Soltec Appoints Saxton President

(February 14, 2007) STRATHAM, N.H. — Mass soldering equipment manufacturer Vitronics Soltec named Aaron Saxton president, effective March 19. Saxton will work out of the company's Stratham, N.H. facility.

STEP 7: Soldering

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

SPECIAL FEATURE: Remote Diagnostics Offer Benefits Without IP Loss

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

16-bit Imaging Chain Captures Hi-res Images

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

Lead Free Series: Changing the Factory to Lead-free

With all preparation work accomplished, it becomes time to implement lead-free in the factory. This article is intended to point out the most important practices and issues critical to the success of lead-free implementation.

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.

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.


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

New Products

Automated Robotic Soldering from Automation Unlimited Inc., a Division of MRSI Group Co., Woburn, Mass; Product-controlled Manufacturing from Siemens AG, Nuremberg, Germany; Microfocus X-ray from phoenix|x-ray Systems + Services, Camarillo, Calif....

contract services

From manufacturing to materials and design to fulfillment, EMI allows OEMs to achieve greater return on investment and higher customer value. Strict adherence to quality control and procedures is achieved by the company`s quality control team. The company conducts continual internal evaluations to further enhance its services, technologies and personnel qualifications. Inspectors undergo training and continual education in evolving inspection standards, and test personnel are trained on customer

ESD-compliant Lighting

The Imagelite Model 20 quartz-halogen fiber optic illuminator is an ESD-compliant product developed to provide shadow-free, glare-free, cold illumination for use in industrial and electronics manufacturing. Designed to meet the increasingly stringent demands of static-sensitive applications such as magneto-resistive head assembly and inspection in the semiconductor industry, the illuminator is also designed to work in virtually all microscopy, industrial and machine vision system applications.

Design, Fabrication, Assembly — What Changes for Harsh-environment Electronics?

By Zulki Khan, NexLogic Technologies Inc. - Manufacturing harsh environment electronics takes into consideration a number of key aspects dealing with PCB design layout, fabrication, and assembly. The EMS provider that goes beyond an OEM's minimum engineering requirements and implements additional safety ensures that the board and end product maintain high performance and optimum reliability, regardless of environment, terrain, or temperature conditions.

SMTA Toolbox: Knowledgeable Green Transition Management

The successful conversion of electronics products to comply with green regulations such as RoHS provides a great opportunity for process improvement and efficient and environmentally friendly design and manufacturing.

A Successful Transition to Lead-free

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

Step 6: Component Placement

Cost savings is the primary reason for the growing interest in through-hole reflow (THR) technology.

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.

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.

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.

Anvik LPI System Installed at Rockwell Collins

(August 29, 2001) Hawthorne, N.Y. - Anvik Corp., with the financial support of the Army, DARPA and the PWB Manufacturing Technology Center (PMTEC), has installed its HexScan 2100 SPE laser projection imaging (LPI) system at Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Will Slowdown In Computer Industry Hamper EMS Growth?

The electronics manufacturing services (EMS) industry provides service at minimal cost. To remain strong in the low-profit margin computer market, however, large EMS providers should pursue scale economies, while smaller providers must closely define their niche.

dispensing equipment

The Dual Chamber Linear Positive Displacement Pump is the most critical element of the MRSI-175 Encore automated dispense system. This design allows simultaneous dispensing and recharging of the encapsulant. The pump technology, combined with dual substrate conveyors, offers parallel processing capability (preheat and dispense). It delivers throughput more than 50 percent greater than conventional dispense pump technologies. With closed-loop, high-resolution encoder feedback, true volumetric dis

ESD-compliant Bar-code Scanner

The IR-2000 ESD 2D scans 1-D and 2-D symbologies and is available in standard or high-density versions. It is rated and tested to discharge less than 20 V maximum, the average discharge time from 1,000 to less than 20 V does not exceed 15 seconds, and it has a surface resistivity greater than or equal to 105 W2 to less than 107 W2.

Matrix Maintenance in PXI with Relay Self-Test

Matrix switches connect test equipment to the UUT in many different ways, enabling access to different parts of the UUT during the test process. The switching system is one of the most likely parts of the system to fail, not because the switching system is unreliable, but because it is in such a vulnerable position. The matrix can be subjected to abuse or accidents during development and in use due to programming errors in development, wiring errors, or unexpected UUT faults. David Owen and Bob Stasonis, Pickering Interfaces, explore the reasons for concern and a way that one test system manufacturer has found to diagnose these problems.

New Manufacturing Relationships to Form as Economy Rebounds

As the economy rebounds and electronic-product companies' (OEMs') requests for manufacturing-outsourcing proposals increase once again, some supplier-customer matches will be made haphazardly. This is a concern of executives at small and large contract-manufacturing companies, as well as at the OEM customers. Pamela Gordon, president, Technology Forecasters Inc., discusses the actions of small and large EMS providers, as well as OEMs, as the economy rebounds, in her TFI blog.

IPC Insights
We Need to Talk. And So Do Our Machines

By Dieter Bergman, IPC - IPC is an organization that serves the electronics industry in many ways, but when people think of IPC, one word probably comes to mind: standards. The work of developing standards involves thousands of people, and only a few of them are IPC staff members. Most of the work is done by engineers and managers from the approximately 2,700 member companies, people who offer their time and expertise to enable the industry to function more efficiently and effectively.

Part 8: Lead-free Reliability for Harsh Environment Electronics

By Jennie S. Hwang, Ph.D. - - Over the last two years, I have offered a series of seven parts to cover the important aspects of lead-free reliability and its testing and assessment. This article is the eighth part to continue this series with the theme: "Lead-free Reliability for Harsh Environment Electronics" is the ultimate manifestation of back to basics.

Collaboration with Offshore Companies

To cope with an economic downturn, small printed circuit board (PCB) suppliers and contract manufacturers should analyze what is happening in the marketplace, giving OEMs what they require.

Optimizing Reflow

Successful reflow soldering is key to productivity and profitability.

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.

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.

Industry Experts voice differing opinions on Golden board vs. Parametric

The AOI Revolution:Where does it Really Matter?

Newly Revised Standard for Electronic Solder

(August 29, 2001) Northbrook, Ill. - IPC-Association Connecting Electronics Industries, in conjunction with the Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA), has revised a standard outlining requirements for electronic-grade solder alloys.

Accepting the PCB Test and Inspection Challenge

The past couple years have witnessed a surge of interest in infrared (IR) technology as a mechanism for testing printed circuit boards (PCB) and assemblies. OEM and contract manufacturers (CM) are experimenting with innovative IR tests at various phases of the PCB production process.


X-ray inspection has established itself as the state-of-the-art for nondestructive in-line and off-line inspection of hidden solder joints, particularly for BGAs, CSPs and flip chips. While revealing many defects (e.g., bridges, misalignment and voids), other critical defects are more difficult or impossible to detect, such as excess flux residue, surface structure and micro-cracking. The ERSASCOPE offers a cross-sectional, nondestructive visual image of hidden solder joints by looking under the

Heel Grounder

The MG-7010 series heel grounders are based on the company`s D-ring design. Features of the heel grounders reportedly include: a two-part heel cut with smudge-free interior, tab design ensuring effective contact, elastic relief band, and 1 or 2 MW value resistors.

From the Editor: IPC Midwest Covers Package to Board

A tradeshow like IPC Midwest conference & exhibition at the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel in Schaumburg, Ill., is a wonderful excuse to eat hot dogs with celery salt and wear a Cubbies cap with pride. Beyond the location, this year really means much more to me. For one thing, we set up the A-Line to view SMT assembly in action, and I'll chair "Emerging Advanced Packages: Stacked, 3D, CSP, Embedded — Surviving the Board Assembly Process."

Association News

The SMTA China hosted its annual dinner at Nepcon China in Shanghai, with sponsorship from Kyzen and VJ Electronix; in Raleigh, N.C., SMTA hosted a symposium on advanced packaging technologies; and APICS — Association for Operations Management held a professional development meeting with EMS provider Inovar, also announcing a change in headquarters.

Saying Goodbye: An eWaste Story, Part II

Welcome back to the saga of recycling electronics, following the path of my broken laptop to a new computer without, hopefully, generating electronics waste — PCBs, batteries, components, and displays that end up in landfills — in the process. Today, I'm trolling the depths of OEM-centric electronics recycling, and sharing a few tips that came in from readers last week.

Limitations of ESD Gloves and Finger Cots

By Roger Peirce, Simco and Craig Zufelt, Xerox Corporation - - Personnel in electronics and semiconductor manufacturing environments use ESD-safe gloves, finger cots, and other types of hand coverings to prevent contamination on ESD-sensitive devices. While these provide benefits in the battle against ESD damage, severe risks still exist.

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

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

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.

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.

Productronica 2001: A Quick, Clip and Save Guide

(October 29, 2001) Munich, Germany -- Productronica 2001, the 14th International Trade Fair for Electronics Production, will take place for the first time in two years next week. The fair bills itself as the only event of its kind in the world to depict the entire range of electronics manufacturing solutions.

CM News

Solectron Acquires Facility, Adds Management; MSL Adds Facility, Names Marketing VP; Visteon Develops Electronic Module...


The Meridian Series consists of seven fully compatible SMT assembler models that offer a cost-effective chip and IC placement solution. It provides high quality and productivity, low setup and operating costs, and effective line optimization and operation monitoring tools. With placement rates exceeding 28,000 CPH, the series addresses a wide variety of production requirements for throughput and accuracy. The product line`s specifications are among the first expressed using the definitions and v

Dual Continuous Monitor

Model 41137 monitors the ground integrity of two operators and a work surface with an RTT of less than 5 x 108. Red and green LEDs indicate grounding status. It monitors industry standard single-wire wrist straps. Other features include a data output signal, an audio alarm timeout, a mounting bracket, power supply and two remote jacks.

ESD 101: Protecting Parts and Profits

Walk across the carpet, reach for the doorknob and a spark is created. That phenomenon is known as electrostatic discharge (ESD). An amount of static far below a human`s level of feeling can kill many of today`s sensitive electronic parts. It is crucial that anyone who handles electronic parts and assemblies has a serious awareness of these potential problems, and is taught proper techniques to avoid costly losses of hardware and reputation. ESD training is guaranteed to give a high return on in

Choosing Carrier and Cover Tape for Tape-and-Reel

SMT Hosts EMS Panel at IPC Midwest

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. — SMT managing editor Meredith Courtemanche will host a panel Wednesday, September 24, at IPC Midwest in Schaumburg, Ill. The panel, "A-Line and EMS Trends," tracks the journey of electronic products from product development, through project launch, manufacturing, and customer service with program management.

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.

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.

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.

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.

American Physical Society Presents Joseph F. Keithley Award for Advances in Measurement Sciences

(June 12, 2002) Cleveland -- The American Physical Society (APS) named Robert J. Soulen Jr. of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory as the 2002 winner of the Joseph F. Keithley Award.

OEM Print Engines

New is the Zebra PAX3 family of OEM print engines.


The Infinity`s ProFlow DirEKt Imaging increases print speed six-fold and supports advanced packaging applications. On-the-fly vision technology captures fiducial data 5X faster than previous versions. The 2Di stencil and post-print inspection package provides a five-fold increase in speed, while the Vortex under-screen cleaning system executes wet/dry/vacuum cleaning in a single cycle. The printer operates continuously at documented 2.0 Cpk levels. Its Common User Interface Hardware Module (CUIH

Moisture-barrier Bags

The 3300 Moisture-barrier Bag was reportedly designed to meet the moisture-protection needs of the electronics market. It is said to offer long-term protection from moisture, high-frequency protection and static shielding to protect sensitive electronic components or parts. The bag is constructed of a multilayer 0.0036" film that provides puncture- and tear-resistance. The clean, opaque barrier film reportedly meets the requirements of EIA-583 Class I and contains no amines, amides or N-Octanoic

Distribution Supply Chain Management

Suppliers continue to forge strong links in the value chain by adding new functions and processes. Many of these companies believe that their efforts at efficiency have tapped all the distribution value that the supply chain has to offer. They could not be further from the truth.

Pre-show Preview: IPC APEX Expo

These new and legacy products include modular pick-and-place systems, factory-level software, PCB handling trays, and more tooling, equipment, and materials for electronics assembly that will be displayed at the IPC APEX Expo, March 31 through April 2 in Las Vegas.

From the Editor:
Inovar Expands Business Through Customer Partnerships

Inovar Inc. held an open house to announce its expansion. Inovar's success is based on its ability to provide a full range of services, included materials procurement, thru-hole and SMT PCB assembly, test, and system builds. The company has experienced 1000% growth in the past five years.

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.

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.

Squeegee Blades/Holders

Owners of deHaart Technologies screen and stencil printing machines can obtain squeegee blades and holders from this company. These blades and holders are said to meet or exceed the company`s OEM specifications and are "drop-in" replacements. The OEM squeegee blade line includes polyurethane blades, flat metal blades, adjustable angle metal blades and squeegee blade holders for deHaart as well as other industry manufacturers, including DEK, Fuji, MPM, Panasonic and SMTech. The polyurethane squee

Aerosol Coating

Staticide ESD is a permanent ESD acrylic coating that can reportedly be applied to most any insulative material or surface. It comes in a 16 oz aerosol spray can containing 12 oz of ESD coating. It is said to use a mixed-metal-oxide semiconductor as the static-dissipative agent in a clear acrylic-polymer coating. It does not contain carbon black, which can slough and leave black marks when rubbed. It also does not contain amines, quaternary ammonium salts or organic acid salt anti-stats. The pro

New Player in CM Market

NORMAN, Okla. - Hitachi Computer Products (America) Inc. announced it has established a contract manufacturing group to fabricate electronic components for small- to mid-range businesses. The Hitachi OMD CM group will operate in the company`s state-of-the-art production facility in Norman, Okla.

Monetizing the Investment in Your Company

By Gary A. Tanel, Associate Equity - For the private business owner, selling the business represents that single most significant wealth accumulation transaction of their life. Take the time to do it right. One of the critical elements in assessing value is comprehending the direction of the industry. Understand the significance of the unique characteristics of your business.

Understanding Your Soldering Choices

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

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.

ElectroniCast Announces Fourth Annual OADM & Advance Photonic Communication Networks Conference

(June 13, 2002) San Mateo, Calif. -- ElectroniCast will be hosting the The Fourth Annual OADM & Advance Photonic Communication Networks Conference on November 12 and 13, 2002, at the Villa Hotel in San Mateo, Calif.

3-D Virtual Factory

Production PILOT reportedly gives engineers and designers the ability to conceive, analyze and verify assembly processes. Its 3-D virtual factory environment allows engineers to begin process planning earlier while simultaneously finding and correcting problems before investing in capital equipment or fabricating parts. The system`s three modules - PILOT Cell, PILOT Line and PILOT Yield - are said to give engineers flexibility to analyze various automated and manual assembly scenarios for feasib

Static-dissipative Vinyl Upholstery

Microcon white is a static-dissipative vinyl for the company`s chair models. With this vinyl seating upholstery, the chairs are said to offer critical environments (including cleanrooms) static-dissipative protection in three colors: white, blue and black. Average component resistance to the ground is 1.2 x 107 W. The surface resistivity is 5.3 x 106 to 108 W per square surface at 500 V. Reportedly, the decay time from 5,000 V to technical zero is 0.44 seconds.

CMs Continue Strong Growth in 1999

NORTHBROOK, Ill. - The U.S. contract manufacturing (CM) market increased 21.5 percent in 1999, to $27.4 billion, according to a report from the IPC - Association Connecting Electronics Industries. The report included 66 companies with combined sales of $11.3 billion - 41 percent of the total estimated CM market. Computers and communications continue to be the largest markets for CMs, accounting for 53.4 and 26.8 percent of total 1999 sales, respectively.

New Products in SMT

Following are the upgrades, replacement parts, new cleaning materials, thermal interface products, board handling systems, sockets, assembly lines, and other next-generation products from Manncorp, Aries, Essemtec, Zestron, Novatec, and more.

Hand-soldering System for Lead-free

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

Process Considerations for Optimizing a Reflow Profile

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

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.

ICT Program

Used to test PCBs, GC-ICT 4.1.4 creates ICT programs, prepares requests for quotes, analyzes board testability, processes legacy data and translates Gerber files. It is said to prepare boards accurately and quickly for ICT by integrating Gerber data, drill and BOM files giving new capabilities in data preparation. The program generates Testability Scout, a professional report that reportedly organizes key elements in an HTML, MS Word or plain text format. It states accessible and inaccessible te

ESD Protection

New is this 11-member family of electrostatic discharge (ESD) protection devices, also known as transient voltage suppressors, which includes SOT, TSSOP, QSOP and MSOP packages. This family is said to bring three different approaches-low-capacitance diodes, zener diodes and a combination diode/zener-to the market, covering a range of configurations and surface mount packages. The products also reportedly meet and exceed ESD requirements of the International Standard IEC 61000-4-2. They provide p

CM Entrepreneur Wins Award

NEW YORK - Allen J. Berning, founder of Rochester, Minn.-based PEMSTAR Inc., was named the 1999 National Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in the Emerging Entrepreneur category. In five years, PEMSTAR has grown from a startup, into a $165 million company focused on high-precision electromechanical engineering and contract manufacturing, with facilities in six countries.

APEX Product Showcase

Following are more new products to debut at APEX, as well as upgraded and updated equipment and materials that will be displayed at the IPC APEX Expo, March 31 to April 2 in Las Vegas.

RoHS Material Controls and Visual Management

By Scott Mazur, Benchmark Electronics - - With the industry transitioning materials to RoHS compliance, a mixture of leaded and lead-free components, assemblies, and systems prevails in many manufacturing facilities. This reality requires diligence, control, and visual management throughout the manufacturing process. Failure to deploy controls can result in an EU RoHS misconduct. Cross contamination can result from a company running both RoHS and non-RoHS manufacturing lines.

X-ray Inspection System

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

Strain Gage Testing: Standardization

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

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.

Flip Chip Calculator

The Flip Chip Calculator is a software application that is available at no cost on the company`s Web site. It reportedly offers a way to determine the volume of underfill necessary to optimize flip chip-in-package and flip COB dispensing processes. Users input parameters including die proportions, fillet width and solder-bump profiles, then select a specific underfill material from the range of industry-standard fluids included in the program. The materials list can be edited to accommodate addi

Scaleable Test Solutions

The GR Versa Automotive Test (AT) is part of a family of scaleable functional test solutions based on the PXI standard. It reportedly is designed to meet the global manufacturing requirements of the automotive industry. The system combines the GPX621 (a 21 slot PXI/CompactPCI chassis) with PXIScan switching architecture that is said to enable virtually any instrument or resource to be routed to any test point on the unit under test (UUT). It also combines the TestStand multi-threaded test engine

Flash Named to Prestigious List

FREMONT, Calif. - Flash Electronics Inc. was named to the IWGC 25 List for 1999. To be eligible for the list, which honors the 25 most successful small manufacturing firms in the United States, companies must have fewer than 500 employees, been in business for at least three years, be independent and have headquarters in the United States.

Troubleshooting BGAs

Solder-bump-array technology, as on BGAs and CSPs, offers many advantages (and some disadvantages) that must be understood to prevent serious problems.

Process Control and Visual Management for Lead-free Hand and Wave Soldering

By Scott Mazur, Benchmark Electronics - Manufacturing facilities continue to produce leaded and lead-free assemblies, given the various RoHS exemptions. Facilities that manufacture a variety of products using both alloys require controls and identification of specific lead-free processes and equipment. These are critical, given the past use of leaded solders in every electronics manufacturing facility and the potential legal and financial consequences of shipping noncompliant material.

Nepcon East Product Showcase

Nepcon East, April 30 through May 1 in Boston, is a regional show with a national feel, thanks in part to the lively show floor, conference sessions and training, and the co-location with OEM New England, Assembly New England, and two related shows. Suppliers will provide technical staff and product demos.

APEX Special Events

Visitors to this year's IPC Printed Circuits Expo/APEX/Designers Summit will join the organization in celebrating its 50th anniversary. Attendees also can preview highlights of the iNEMI roadmap for 2007, participate in free forums, attend various paper presentations, and join others in the industry at the SMT VISION Awards celebration. Following are details of APEX events.

Parallel Processing: Build It Right the First Time

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

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.

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.

Speaking of this Week - October 26, 2001

(October 26, 2001) Welcome to a new column that will appear every Friday. Speaking of this Week will reflect on the week's events in the electronics assembly industry.

Software Library

MVTools CE is said to be the first and only set of C/C++-based machine vision software tools based on Microsoft Windows CE, the new industry-standard operating system for embedded control applications. The software reportedly is designed to offer OEMs and systems integrators a library of vision development tools that combines sub-pixel accuracy with ease of use. It is suitable for automated manufacturing applications that require capabilities such as integrated vision and motion control. It has

14-slot Chassis

Reportedly the only 14-slot PXI chassis available, the PX2000-514 is a 19" rack-mountable unit that complies with the PXI and Compact PCI standards. All slots are said to have full PXI functionality. Separate forced-air cooling is provided for the power supply and PXI slots. Fan noise is said to be minimized by varying fan speed according to system temperature. Optional features include temperature and PSU monitoring, auxiliary I/O and user power supplies.

Four OEMs Choose Siemens

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - Omnipoint Corp., Panja, Wegener Communications Inc. and Woodward Automotive Products selected the Electronics Manufacturing Center (EMC) of Siemens Energy & Automation Inc. to provide printed circuit board assemblies (PCBA) and associated services. For Omnipoint, the EMC will provide PCBAs on a turnkey basis for the company`s Redhawk and Eagle wireless data modules. As part of the agreement, Siemens will also build, test and ship final product to Omnipoint`s worldwide custo

The Fundamental Reality of an AOI Seal

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

Speaking of this Week — May 28, 2004

With the long holiday weekend (and the beginning of summer!) staring us in the face, progress dominates this week's electronics assembly news. There's also high-profile people news, as well as partnerships and acquisitions; trade show, financial and legislative news; and a look at the metals industry.

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.

Duraswitch Announces Patent for Simple Alternative for Large Pushbuttons

(June 14, 2002) Phoenix -- Duraswitch has received U.S. Patent No. 6,392,515, covering a magnetically coupled pushbutton switch for large and wide key applications.

Socket Modules

The company has announced that with the software release 3.43A comes eight new socket modules and support for 12,678 devices from 100 semiconductor manufacturers. The new software release reportedly adds 252 new devices and eight new socket modules, three of which are Actel socket modules. New device support is released simultaneously for both engineering and production programmers reportedly to make the transition from design to manufacturing as easy as possible.

Burn-in Test Sockets

This family of burn-in test sockets for Direct Rambus (DR) memory devices will enable DRAM manufacturers to test devices that incorporate the memory management architecture developed by Rambus Inc., ensuring that they are fully tested and burned-in. The test sockets provide DR DRAM manufacturers a way to identify functional defects in singulated packages before assembly. They feature an open-top design for ease of use and are designed to accommodate the most popular IC package formats, including

Personnel Moves at Manufacturers Services

CONCORD, Mass. - Manufacturers` Services Ltd. announced three personnel moves. Eugene Bullis was named CFO and executive vice president; Manuel Ruiz is now vice president of program management; and John MacInnes was appointed vice president and treasurer.

SMTAI Booth Preview

SMTA International (SMTAI) will take place next week, October 4–8 in San Diego, CA. This exhibitor preview includes products from Austin American Technology, Juki, ACE Production Technologies, Production Solutions Inc., Mirtec, Smart Sonic Corporation, RMD Instruments, Nihon Superior, and Aqueous Technologies Corp.

Military and Aerospace XRF Verification: Keep the Lead In?

By Scott Mazur, Benchmark Electronics Inc. - Various industries such as military and aerospace sectors continue to be exempt or not covered by RoHS. These industries require leaded assembly, given the risk of growth of tin whiskers and lack of field reliability data for lead-free components and subassemblies. Military and aerospace companies are searching the supply chain for COTS leaded components. Tin whiskers can grow unpredictably, and are mitigated by leaded materials.

Intelligent GPS on the Autobahn

By Bjorn Dahle, KIC - Last year, I prepared myself thoroughly for driving in Germany. Everything worked beautifully until I was stuck on the Autobahn due to roadwork. This year, the GPS system in my rental car was receiving real-time traffic updates constantly, enabling it to navigate around congested areas. This is the perfect analogy for a modern thermal profiler and real-time process management system.

Lead-free: Controlling Tombstoning Behavior

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

Download your 2004 SMT VISION Awards Call for Entry Form Today!

The 2004 SMT VISION Awards recognize the people and products within the surface mount industry that serve as benchmarks of excellence. Download your official Call for Entry Form here. The deadline is November 3, 2004. The awards, presented in 15 critical areas, will be awarded at the co-located IPC Printed Circuits Expo/APEX show in Anaheim, Calif., February 22, 2005.

Assembly Cell Software

Release 4.1 of the Model 3500 Automatic Component Assembly Cell Software includes enhancements that are said to be designed to increase accuracy, provide the operator with a greater choice of features and operations, and increase ease-of-use. Updates include lookup camera referencing, dynamic axis correction and a touch-based wafer punch-up routine. Wafer programming is said to be simplified, a tool-purge parameter has been added and jog options have been expanded. This version is designed for f

Functional Tester

The Fas-Test in-line functional tester is said to include a buffer before and after the test procedure, a compression weight of up to 1,000 lb during the testing process, fixture change-out of less than three minutes, direct connect to a variety of fixtures, and System Monitor software designed to optimize and monitor production flow. The standard cycle time for each board application is reportedly 6 seconds plus the test time. A bar-code scanner works in conjunction with the test system to ensu

Solectron Forms Alliance, Acquires Canadian Repair Facility

MILPITAS, Calif. - Solectron Corp. has made a number of announcements in recent months. First, the company signed a definitive agreement with Acer Inc. to form a strategic alliance to provide global design, manufacturing and service solutions for OEM-branded PCs, servers and workstations. As a result of the alliance, customers will be able to access the extensive technology, motherboard and system-level design services, as well as global supply-base, manufacturing, distribution, logistics and Gl

From the Editor: Celebrating U.S. Labor

Labor Day is one of those strange holidays that evolved without a concrete birthday or significant historical event as a kick-off point, and even the U.S. Department of Labor is unsure about exactly who started the holiday. The celebration of the strength and capabilities of American labor began in New York City in 1882. Now, 126 years after that first demonstration, we should have a look at how the American electronics manufacturer is faring.

Traceability on the Line

Compiled by SMT - - This article looks at ways in which traceability is implemented and maintained during the electronics assembly process from the perspectives of pick-and-place, reflow equipment, and screen printer manufacturers; as well as barcode scanner and software companies.

Industry Takes Pulse on Lead-free Medical Electronics

By Meredith Courtemanche, assistant editor - - As exemptions to the EU RoHS approach expiration, and China RoHS legislation is set to take effect in March with no exemptions offered for high-reliability electronics, the electronics assembly industry is taking measures to ensure that lead-free medical equipment meets reliability, cost, and market requirements. The responsibilities of OEMs and design firms, suppliers, and EMS providers vary.

Industry Ethics - Live by Example

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

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!

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.

Agilent 93000 SOC Platform Selected by VIA

(August 27, 2001) Palo Alto, Calif. -Agilent Technologies' 93000 SOC Series has been chosen by Taipei, Taiwan-based VIA Technologies, a fabless supplier of PC core logic chipsets, to test its current and next-generation chipset and MPU product line.

EMI Analysis

Sonnet Lite is a free 3-D planar electromagnetic (EM) analysis software suite. Based on the company`s full Sonnet em Suite EM analysis product line, this no-cost package is suitable for microstrip, stripline and two-layer circuits, including interlayer vias and vias to ground planes. Users can enter circuit layouts in a drawing editor, perform EM analyses, plot and print output results, export output data (S, Y, Z parameters) to other high-frequency simulators, as well as display and animate cir

PCB Index Cycle Time Technology

This new technology reportedly allows the company to reduce by more than 50 percent the PCB index cycle time of the TCIL test handler used in the company`s automated in-line systems for ICT and functional testing. The technology makes use of a servo-driven PCB pusher mechanism in the TCIL that is equipped with extend-retract fingers for gripping the board for downstream movement after test completion. At the same time, it introduces the next board on the system`s DC motor-driven conveyor belt in

Calibration Services Acquired

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Sypris Solutions Inc. announced that its subsidiary, Bell Technologies Inc., signed a contract to purchase the Calibration and Repair Service business of Lucent Technologies. This purchase, expected to close by the end of last year, will combine the mobile calibration service operations of Lucent with the calibration and repair operations of Bell. The Lucent organization services its customers from field offices in Union, N.J., and Franklin, Tenn., as well as from 15 mobile cal

New Installations: ACI Adds Selective Soldering, USR Implements Factory Traceability, and More

EMS providers, centers of excellence, OEMs, and others are adding equipment, materials, and software to improve their operations. The American Competitiveness Institute installed an RPS selective soldering system; Ascentech sold solderability testing equipment to Continental Automotive; USR Electronic Systems implemented Valor's vCheck quality management system; Sennheiser New Mexico LLC added a barcode labeling system from PROMATION; Nortec Group approved Zestron's cleaning materials.

Review: BGA Breakouts & Routing

BGA Breakouts & Routing, Effective Design Methods for Very Large BGAs, by Charles Pfeil, engineering director of Mentor Graphics’ Systems Design Division, tackles demonstrating design technology on a written page with abundant illustrations.

ESD Ionizers

By Jay Skolnik, Skolnik Technical Training - - With an impetus on meeting RoHS requirements, companies should not forget another hazardous phenomenon — electrostatic discharge (ESD). Electronic parts are becoming smaller, silicon layer geometry is shrinking, pin pitches are reducing, and speeds are increasing, making ESD problems more prevalent than ever. ESD findings vary widely in deficiencies; however, ionizers are, by and large, the culprit of confusion.

PCB Designer's Notebook: Improving Industry-developed Standards

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


Compiled by SMT Staff

Speaking of this Week — May 28, 2004

With the long holiday weekend (and the beginning of summer!) staring us in the face, progress dominates this week's electronics assembly news. There's also high-profile people news, as well as partnerships and acquisitions; trade show, financial and legislative news; and a look at the metals industry. Let's get going:

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.

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.

SMTA Announces Pan Pacific Symposium Call for Participation

(June 14, 2002) Minneapolis -- The Eighth Annual Pan Pacific Microelectronics Symposium, taking place February 18 through 20, 2003, Orchid Hotel, Kohala Coast, Island of Hawaii, promotes international technical interchange and provides a networking forum among microelectronics professionals and business leaders throughout the Pacific Basin.

AeA Classic Financial Conference to Draw High-Tech Companies of All Stripes

(October 25, 2001) San Diego -- The AeA Classic, a financial conference for technology companies to meet up with investors, is entering its 31st year -- and expecting high attendance despite the economic downturn and recent world events.

Handling Moisture-sensitive Devices

Moisture/reflow sensitivity of plastic encapsulated components is a critical manufacturing issue that cannot be dismissed with "easy-to-follow" assembly procedures.

Programmed Dispensing

The company has introduced PathMaster version 2.1 for use with its automatic dispensers and selective conformal coating systems. This latest version of the Windows-based programming software is said to offer all of the same features found in version 2.0, with the added multimedia help library and the Fast-Mask feature for conformal coating applications. It uses a multimedia help tutorial section to help users complete new or unfamiliar tasks, create or edit commands, download projects, and more.


The KIC Recorder is a portable, self-contained thermal recorder with an internal memory for datalogging. The system can be connected to any PC or laptop for real-time profiling. It is designed for use in rework stations, high-temperature furnaces and similar applications in which the electronics cannot or need not be directly exposed to process temperatures. The recorder is said to provide a computerized display, high-capacity data storage and analysis capabilities. It is compatible with the com

Flextronics Expands Hungarian Facility

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Flextronics International Ltd. is expanding its European manufacturing facilities in Tab, Hungary. This state-of-the-art facility is expanding to support the company`s growing customer base in Central and Eastern Europe, as well as to meet the needs of current customers.

How Testable Are Your Circuit Board Designs?

In today's electronic design and manufacturing climate, there is increasing emphasis on improved product yield through better quality and streamlined manufacturing processes. The ability to systematically verify that board designs have been developed with adequate design for test (DfT) helps determine a product's overall testability and define the optimum test strategy for maximum fault coverage. DfT also means that design and test people can work more efficiently, as all designs are analyzed in the same manner, using industry-standard and company-specific DfT guidelines. Peter Collins, Aster Technologies, explains.

Annual Pick-and-Place Round-up

Each year, SMT surveys vendors and users of pick-and-place equipment to understand where the market is headed and what innovations to expect in the near future.

From the Show: Nepcon Shanghai

The Most Important Platform for China's Electronics Manufacturing Community - By Simon Lian, editor-in-chief, SMT China - - With China becoming the world's most important electronic manufacturing locale, Nepcon Shanghai 2007/EMT China 2007 has become the most important marketing platform for China's electronics manufacturing industry. Covering the full spectrum, over 35% of the exhibitors showcased their newest products and technologies at this edition.

Letters to the Editor

7/1/2006: Gone But Not Forgotten

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

New Products


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.

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 - June 5, 2002

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

Download the 2001 VISION Award Entry Form

The SMT VISION Awards recognize the people and products within the surface mount industry that serve as benchmarks of excellence. The awards will be presented at the APEX Electronics Assembly Process Exhibition and Conference, Jan. 22 through 24, 2002. Download the 2001 VISION Award Entry Form here to get your company entered. The deadline for submission is Nov. 30, 2001.

Test Boards Simplify Flip Chip Underfill Processing

Used with nondestructive micro-imaging, test boards can cut costs and complexity by rendering results acoustically visible.

Calibration Software

This product is a new release of the Calibration Manager software. Designed to meet ISO 9000, QS 9000 and other standards, this software combines a database and report writing capabilities to assist users in maintaining the full cycle of calibration management. The latest release, Version 3.0, is said to offer many new features, including electronic-signature tracking, auto-reminder, satellite module, Crystal Reports 7.0, easier to use select/sort capabilities, tag ID system and more.

Prototype Board/Parallel Port Interface

The PROTOPort parallel port interface is designed for use with the company`s prototype boards, which were designed for testing a user`s application circuits. In addition to the prototype boards, the new interface will work with any of the company`s application boards (such as the eight-channel 8/12 bit A/D or D/A boards, the six-channel counter-timer board or the 48-channel digital I/O board), and can be stacked one on top of the other (mezzanine up to 16 boards per addresses).

New Dispensing Equipment

These needles, valves, tips, and related dispensing equipments are available for specialty needs, such as UV block and highly adhesive materials, and for other requirements such as high speed or high precision. Products come from Tridak, MIXPAC, I&J Fisnar, and Techcon.

New Distributors for Industry Products

Multiple distribution contracts have been signed recently, leading to better service and expanded service ranges for electronics assembly materials and equipment. Following are the new distributors and their territories, serving KIC, L3 Electrodynamics, Taiyo America, RPS Selective Soldering Systems, Indium Corporation, SMH Technologies, and Austin American Technology.

Manage Multiple Signals with HDI

New circuit board designs require signal paths that can handle multi-GHz signals and dense wiring due to high I/O count, as well as wide lines for RF or high-speed digital signals and narrower lines for digital signals.

Saying Goodbye: An eWaste Story

On a recent cross-country trip, my laptop came to the proverbial "end of product life cycle" with an irreparable broken screen. We've been spending quite a bit of time lately on electronics recycling in SMT, and with a non-functioning portable consumer electronic device on my hands, I've decided to "put up or shut up," and navigate the various outlets of electronics recycling available.

The Inside Line

Source Electronics Standardizes Global Facilities

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.

Step 6: Component Placement

Board assemblies are changing the face of placement technology. Extremely small passive components, CSPs, QFPs and microBGAs with tight pitches often are packaged with large odd-form components.

Step 3 — Solder Materials

This overview of both leaded and lead-free solder materials focuses on the properties and characteristics important to applications in electronics packaging and assembly.

Placement Conversion

SMS Linecontrol is an industry-approved software package that is tailored for SMT manufacturers seeking stable CAD-conversion software for SMT placement files. It reportedly is designed to enable operators to communicate freely with individual placement machines, minimize programming time and eliminate downloading complexities. The software also is said to offer seamless communication across different brands of equipment and is an integrated, multitasking product.

Solder Materials

The need for lead-free solders has reached critical mass, leading to global commitment to implementing lead-free solders. This is after a decade of concerted efforts in research in search of lead-free alloys that are suitable for electronics/microelectronics applications. Today, the industry has a menu of choices; however, there are still a wide range of opinions and emotions on the lead-free issue. In this article, the "design rules" and the technology behind lead-free solder development are ex

APEX Booth Preview

Following are new and flagship products on display at IPC APEX Expo, March 31 to April 2 in Las Vegas. New solder paste inspection (SPI) systems to factory-floor software to flex circuit coverlay will be demonstrated at the show.

Intelligent Feeders = Innovative Setups

Fast and precisely functioning feeders enable modern SMT manufacturers to handle tremendous throughput.

How Small is Small?
Looking at Nanoelectronics

By Laura J. Turbini, Ph.D. - - Today, we hear a lot about nanotechnology. What exactly does this mean? One way of looking at "nano" is to consider our size as human beings relative to Planet Earth, which has an equatorial circumference of 40,000 km. Nanotechnology is the science and technology of building devices, such as electronic circuits, from single atoms and molecules. In general, nanomaterials have feature sizes in the range of 1–100 nm in at least one dimension.

IPC Video Programs: The History of Training an Industry

By Michael Martel - - As a young kid growing up in the 1960s, I vaguely remember what was involved in making home movies. I remember the unwieldy light bar, the bulky camera loaded with reels of film that had to be processed later, the disappointment when something went wrong. Still, home movies were all the rage, but required a substantial investment in equipment, and the willingness to accept the fact that, quite often, the results would be poor quality.


Compiled By SMT Staff

Speaking of this Week — August 6, 2004

Partnership, merger and acquisition news came to the forefront again this week. Lots of progress news in a variety of categories, financial news of all stripes, as well as trade show and personnel news appeared as well.

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.


October 30, 2002 -- Featuring Assembly Tools & Equipment

Will Cleaning Remain an Important Process?

No-clean solder paste is projected to limit the use of cleaning equipment in the SMT industry. However, increased demand for the advanced packages necessary in high-reliability applications is expected to sustain its presence in the electronics industry.

New Products

Machine Vision Board; PC-based Field Solver; Wavelength Sensor and Circuit; Dam-and-fill Products ...

Solder Wires

The W300, W400 and W500 series of cored, high-purity solder wires include no-clean, water-soluble and rosin-based wires for use in rework and attachment of thermally sensitive components. The W300 Series no-clean wires consist of a blend of rosins designed for user flexibility and a high level of protection against corrosion. The W500 Series water-soluble wires are reportedly designed for a high level of wetting and ease of cleaning. The W400 Series is available with a rosin-based flux core.

About the Site

SMT, the magazine for electronics assembly, is the only industry publication whose editorial is devoted exclusively to surface mount assembly of printed circuit boards. This focus allows SMT to cover in depth the technology developments and applications engineers are looking for.

Thermal Profiling: A Practical Approach to Reflow Profiling

By Liyakathali Koorithodi, Indium Corporation - In the lead-free era, thermal profiling has a critical role. We discuss profiling, tools, practical issues, and inspection methods. As the process window narrows, profiling equipment and/or thermocouple errors must be taken into consideration. In addition, the accuracy and method of TC attach will impact critical assemblies.

STEP 8: Fluid Flow Mechanics

This study was designed to investigate the impact of mechanical versus chemical energy contributions during the removal of contamination under 1- to 2-mil-standoff components.

Speedline Today

By Gail Flower, editor-in-chief - - FRANKLIN, Mass. — Well noted in the SMT arena for wave soldering and reflow, cleaning, stencil printing, and dispensing, Speedline Technologies is in full production of new products, as well as legacy lines that just keep ticking. The company produces its MPM and Camalot machines at its Franklin, Mass., headquarters.

New Products

Hand Cleaning System

Speaking of this Week — August 6, 2004

Partnership, merger and acquisition news came to the forefront again this week. Lots of progress news in a variety of categories, financial news of all stripes, as well as trade show and personnel news appeared as well.

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.

Lean Manufacturing Comes to the Flash Memory Supply Chain

Using lean manufacturing principles in flash memory device production can provide a crucial advantage in today's time and cost-sensitive market.

APEX 2001 Review

More than 6,900 attendees gathered at the second Electronics Assembly Process Exhibition and Conference (APEX), which was held from January 14 to 18, 2001 at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, Calif.

Colorless Residue Paste

A no-clean, colorless residue solder paste, DSP 691 reportedly supports print speeds of 1 to 8" per second. It has a 24-hour stencil life, up to 48-hour tack time and 72-hour open time. The paste is said to be 100 percent ICT pin probable and leave clear, minimal post-solder residue. It will reflow with or without nitrogen, and is said to be tested and approved for the DEK ProFlow cassette package.

Multi-lane Belt Feeder

Designed to meet the needs of low-volume, high-mix applications, this multi-lane belt feeder for SMDs provides for a large number of components while reportedly using the smallest amount of feeder space possible. The refresh time is said to be less than 0.5 seconds for most components. Any pressure on the components at the pickup point is relieved as soon as the belts stop running. The feeders service various Fuji, Panasonic, Siemens, Universal and Quad placement machine models.

Contract SMT and Microelectronics Assembly in One

Modern manufacturers have to deal with both SMT and Micro-E services because assemblies require mixed interconnect technologies.

Packaging Passives

By Craig Hunter, AVX Corporation - - Many innovations in passives can be traced back to the need for smaller, lighter devices. For capacitors, that has resulted in shrinking case sizes from 1210 down to 0201, and even to 01005s. The need to make passive components thinner, as witnessed by increased sales of newer, thinner MP3 players, adds to this. For passive component manufacturers, this means meeting the requirements of the smallest semiconductor package available.

ICT Discussion Probes Future Technology

By Meredith Courtemanche, assistant editor - - BOSTON — The SMTA Boston chapter presentation on in-circuit testing (ICT), from John Bonsante of Everett Charles Technologies, covered lead-free choices and testing variations, PCB trends, and spring probe requirements through house- and beta-test results and analysis. ECT's findings on higher preloads, working forces, and the range of spring choices revolved around lower test costs, longer spring life, and pointing accuracy.


Executive Briefings Focus on Interconnects

New Products

Ask and Answer - October 24, 2001

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

The 2000 VISION Awards

Innovation took center stage at SMT's 2000 VISION Awards ceremony, held in conjunction with the IPC/SMEMA Assembly Process Exhibition and Conference (APEX) in San Diego on January 16, 2001.

Static Control

The Minimeg is designed for accurate measurement of surface resistivity and surface-to-ground resistance of work surfaces. The unit is reportedly suitable for spot-checking dissipative and conductive surfaces. It operates on a 9 V battery and measures surface resistivity up to less than 1010 W/square or surface-to-ground resistance up to less than 109 W. Both NIST and non-NIST models are available.

Dual-beam Gantry Placement

A compact and flexible placement machine, the C7d reportedly handles a full range of components at a projected placement rate of 20,000 cph. Features include dual-beam-gantry design with three spindles per head, "fly by" vision centering on every component, 120 8 mm feeder capacity, a 3,000 lb quartz composite base for vibration dampening, linear motors and non-contact linear encoders, and independent servo-controlled theta on each spindle.

Step 3: Solder Materials
Melting and Freezing Characteristics of Common Lead-free Alloys

By Ranjit Pandher, Cookson Electronics Assembly Materials - Much work has been reported on the melting and freezing behavior of SAC alloys. Knowing melting and freezing points is only part of the information. A slight change in composition may result in a significant difference in solder performance.

The A-Line: A Standard Day

The IPC Midwest A-Line live production line will feature a jet printer, a pick-and-place machine, and a reflow oven.

From the Editor:
Earth Day Everyday

Yesterday, I rambled out of bed to look out a back window at the porch below. A Christmas-red cardinal perched on the bird feeder surveying the trees and taking his time during breakfast. "Happy Earth Day to you," I thought, then carried the Earth Day theme with me into work. My hybrid car didn't consume too much gas, but I did carry my lunch in a plastic container inside a plastic bag. I stopped by Starbucks — more plastic. How far have we come with environmental issues?, I wonder.

SMT Webcast Explores Lead-free Rework

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

Lean Manufacturing with Six Sigma Implementation

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

New Products

Two-pair Connector

The Status and Future for Electronic Manufacturing Service Providers

(August 22, 2001) The electronics industry is alive with rhetoric about new materials, new components, new high-density interconnecting structures, new assembly techniques, and new performance requirements for complex electronic modules and assemblies.

GOEPEL Doubles Speed of AOI System

(August 24, 2001) Jena, Germany - GOEPEL electronic, a supplier of intelligent optical inspection systems, has doubled the speed of its OptiCon SpeedLine AOI system through integration of a new camera module.

Survival in the SMT Soldering Equipment Market

Survival in the SMT Soldering Equipment Market Trends and strategies to help SMT soldering equipment manufacturers stay successful in the constantly changing market are detailed.

ESD Simulator

The Model 930D "gun-style" ESD simulator is designed for use in a variety of applications, including electronic, automotive, military and medical. Its design is said to allow for quick change of resistor and capacitor networks, polarity modules, probe tip configuration and firing requirements. Designed for both air and contact discharges, the unit incorporates auto and manual modes and reportedly is adjustable from ±500 to ±26 kV.

Off-line/in-circuit Programming

The BP-6500 machine picks, programs and places devices, reportedly combining the benefits of off-line and in-circuit programming. It is said to reduce cost and simplify SMT production lines by eliminating the need for programming during test. The machine allows programming and testing of almost all device types, as well as programming of different patterns simultaneously. Production line changeovers are said to be completed in minutes.

Part 10: Lead-free System Reliability — Power of Metallurgy

By Jennie S. Hwang, Ph.D. - On this global lead-free electronics manufacturing's tenth anniversary (plus and minus a year or so), it is timely to reflect what have progressed and what is on the horizon. If I have to mention one thing that stands out, that is the power of metallurgy. How so?

A-Line Stencil-free Solder Printing

The MY500 jet printer will provide the A-Line with solder paste printing that involves a cassette rather than stencils, with several benefits.

Trends in Miniaturization

Product designers increasingly specify smaller components to achieve more board density and provide more product functionality. The upswing of 0201 component use offers a dramatic impact on PCB real estate and allows new investment opportunities for manufacturers previously unable to capitalize on miniaturization trends.

Component Protection

Partfolio is a portable kitting system designed to securely store a range of small parts and protect sensitive components against damage from ESD at all stages of production. It is designed as an alternative to the "plastic bags in tote boxes" parts management approach still in common use. Advantages are said to include portability, quick setup and parts migration prevention when closed. Other advantages reportedly include improved quality control, increased productivity and decreased costs. To

Fume Extraction/Purification

These filter units extract and purify fumes from hand soldering, wave soldering, reflow soldering and curing, soft-beam soldering, and laser applications. All units reportedly feature low noise levels, filter monitors and various filter options. The company also manufactures exhaust hoods, filter units and downdraft tables for the removal of dross dust during wavesoldering maintenance. Also available are explosion-rated filter units for filtration of flammable gases and a wide range of exhaust a

Have We Learned from the Economic Meltdown?

Recent economic events impact every aspect of the business world, and the outsourced electronics manufacturing industry is no exception. Some have claimed that what the world economy has experienced will change the game completely; things can never go back to the way they were, because the implications of what has occurred are so profound. If the meltdown was a game-changer, what is the new game, and who will play it most skillfully? Eric Miscoll, principal, Charlie Barnhart & Associates LLC, examines the industry.

Component Placement on A-Line

The FX-1R high-speed modular mounter suits the A-Line because it accurately and efficiently places a range of components, with specialized axes controls.

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.

EtroniX 2001: Six Shows in One

ANAHEIM, CA - EtroniX covers entire electronics supply chain -- from design, advanced packaging and components, to supply chain management, test, and production.

ESD-compliant Lighting

The Imagelite Model 20 quartz-halogen fiber optic illuminator is an ESD-compliant product developed to provide shadow-free, glare-free, cold illumination for use in industrial and electronics manufacturing. Designed to meet the increasingly stringent demands of static-sensitive applications such as magneto-resistive head assembly and inspection in the semiconductor industry, the illuminator is also designed to work in virtually all microscopy, industrial and machine vision system applications.

BGA/CSP Rework System

The Sniper II, an extension of the Sniper Split-vision BGA, CSP and QFP rework system, includes a multiple-profile storage system, said to be necessary for data-logging and automatic loading and storage of rework temperature profiles. Low-temperature convection rework technology is said to be enhanced with 16 multiple-segment profiles on the control system, which can be operated without a computer. Once connected to a Pentium processor, any number of profiles may be created and retrieved.

The EMS Quality Imperative: Surviving a Challenging Market and Emerging Stronger

The great recession has hit U.S.-based manufacturing companies hard. To stay in the game, EMS providers have cut costs and balanced production with customer demand. Even with all of these changes, quality assemblies must continue to come off the SMT line. Chris Murphy, The Morey Corporation, shares strategies for quality-centric assembly in new and long-term client relationships.

Consumer Confidence in Technology Rises in September, According to CEA-CNET Index

Consumer confidence in technology and consumer electronics jumped, while confidence in the overall economy fell slightly in September, according to the latest figures from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and CNET.

High-Performance Polymers for Environmentally Friendly Electronic Components

By Edson Ito, Ticona Engineering Polymers - The time is right for green electronics. With higher energy costs, consumer awareness of carbon consumption, e-waste laws, and plans to invest in renewable energy projects, computer and electronic gadget manufacturers are starting to leverage green credentials. Material suppliers are developing new materials to help manufacturers produce eco-friendly system components without hazardous chemicals such as antimony, beryllium, and phthalates.

A-Line Heats up Reflow

The Senju nitrogen reflow (SNR) series ovens use high-power, high-efficiency heating methods to minimize ΔT on the most complex board assemblies, while reducing the waste of expensive nitrogen.

iNEMI Studies New Initiatives at APEX Meetings

The International Electronics Manufacturing Initiative (iNEMI) worked on several industry challenges at APEX, preparing for launch in the spring. Among the new projects are: lead-free alloy alternatives, lead-free early failure, boundary scan adoption, and solder paste deposition.

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.


HERNDON, Va. - The National Electronics Manufacturing Initiative (NEMI) kicked off its Roadmap 2000 with a day-long working session immediately following the IPC SMEMA Council`s Electronics Assembly Process Exhibition and Conference (APEX) in Long Beach, Calif. An estimated 140 individuals representing more than 60 OEMs, contract manufacturers (CM), equipment vendors, suppliers, universities and government agencies participated in the meeting, which launches NEMI`s year-long activities to map th

High-speed Chip Mounter

The MSF-SuperFlex high-speed, multifunctional chip mounter reportedly provides accurate component mounting at speeds up to 0.09 seconds per piece using a two-head, 10-nozzle system. It can handle components from 0603 to 55 mm QFPs, CSPs, BGAs and semiconductor chips.

A-Line Coordination at IPC Midwest

There are some differences between coordinating a line of different machines from various suppliers, and running one’s own manufacturing line staffed by one’s own personnel.

Black Pad — And Then Some

By Duane Benson, Screaming Circuits - - Reflow-related problems are more common today, especially on larger BGAs. This article examines one less-common, but persistent BGA assembly issue — black pad.

Mass Imaging Performance with Lead-free Solder

Manufacturers face the rapid approach of the European Waste in Electrical Equipment (WEEE) Directive.

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 — 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.

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.

NIS, SRT Acquired

WESTFORD, Mass. - GenRad Inc. announced that it acquired San Diego-based Nicolet Imaging Systems (NIS) and its sister company, Sierra Research and Technology (SRT), Westford, Mass., from ThermoSpectra Corp., a subsidiary of Thermo Instrument Systems Inc. The acquisition expands the range of test solutions GenRad provides to electronics manufacturers to include manual and automatic X-ray inspection, as well as rework and repair.

Manufacturability/Testability Software

By automatically recovering board design data from CAD and BOMs, CIM Automation Software checks manufacturability and testability of the boards. The package then generates surface mount and through-hole placement equipment optimized programs, as well as in-circuit and flying-probe test data. Also generated are X-ray and optical-inspection system programs, paperless repair graphical displays, history and statistics, and shop-floor documentation.

Future Challenges of Lead-Free Rework: The Main Culprits Are High Thermal Mass and Product Miniaturization

Reworking components in a lead-free environment has posed challenges, mainly caused by the increased reflow temperatures demanded by lead-free solders. While processes have been optimized for low-/medium-complexity assemblies, Craig Hamilton, Celestica explains how the industry must now overcome the challenges of reworking high-thermal-mass PCBs with complex designs.

Laminates: New Products and Technologies

Rogers Corp. introduced a new laminate technology for high-frequency amplifier designs; the Wolfson School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, Loughborough University, presented “Glass as a Substrate for High Density Interconnects,” asserting a new packaging substrate opinion; and IPC — Association Connecting Electronics Industries released revision C of IPC-4101, “Specification for Base Materials for Rigid and Multilayer Printed Boards.”

Top Companies in Printed Electronics

Printed electronics change everything from medical end products to product packaging. Two recent reports from Publications and IDTechEx discuss the companies developing and commercializing printed electronics for consumer products, e-displays, solar cells, and other electronics.

Nepcon South China Product Preview

Nepcon South China, August 28–31 in Shenzhen, will showcase emerging and flagship products for the Asia assembly market. Following are the materials, inspection systems, production equipment, and additional tools being exhibited at the show.

Solid Shape Modeling — Working Toward 3-D AOI

With ever-increasing complexity and component density on circuit boards, automated inspection of printed circuit boards (PCB) during manufacturing becomes a critical step necessary for high quality and yield.

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.

New Book Discusses Lead-Free Issues

(October 23, 2001) Cleveland -- Lead-free electronics assembly is a hot topic at the moment, but SMT Editorial Advisory Board member Jennie Hwang, Ph.D., has been researching it for 11 years for her new book, Environment-Friendly Electronics: Lead-Free Technology.

Keithley Instruments Software Upgrade More Automated, Interactive

(August 23, 2001) Cleveland - Keithley Instruments Inc., a provider of electrical measurement products to the telecommunications, semiconductor, optoelectronics and other related parts of the electronics industry, has upgraded its Model 4200-SCS Semiconductor Characterization System to include features requested by engineers, including more interaction and automation.

CBAR Teams Up with SMTnet

PORTLAND, Maine - SMTnet and the Center for Board Assembly Research (CBAR) at the Georgia Institute of Technology announced a partnership to share resources and technical content over the Web. The agreement provides for the distribution of SMTnet`s Electronics Forum over the CBAR Web site, providing convenient access to SMTnet`s community of electronics manufacturing professionals and Georgia Tech`s faculty and students. In addition, Georgia Tech will publish technical papers in the SMTnet prof

Custom Material-handling Designs

This company recently opened a new, state-of-the-art facility in Lake Barrington, Ill., and also began operations in Europe with an Ireland office. At APEX, they will be demonstrating enhanced and new-generation machines, stressing the ability to provide flexible solutions to customers` material-handling requirements.

Certifications and Accreditations

Following are the announcements of internationally recognized certifications, government awards, and standards oversight in Europe, the U.S., and China from Elcoteq, P.D. Circuits, and GSPK Circuits.

Mass Imaging Advances for Next-generation Assemblies

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

Trends in the SMT Software Market

Increasing customers' preference toward integrating SMT software with the manufacturing execution systems (MES), enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and other factory automation systems is likely to be observed in the forecast period.

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.

Juki Expands in North America, Europe

MORRISVILLE, N.C. - With its acquisition of the Zevatech PCB assembly division now complete, Juki Automation Systems is expanding its North American and European presence by taking over the former`s facilities in North Carolina, California and Switzerland. This is intended to strengthen customer service for new Juki customers as well as existing Zevatech customers.

No-clean Paste

Easy Profile 256 is a no-clean, air or nitrogen reflowable solder paste designed to exhibit stable wetting behavior over a range of reflow profiles. The key characteristic of the paste is said to be its overall robustness and operator friendliness. It is reportedly suitable for CMs and other electronics assembly companies running low-volume, high-mix product lines requiring tolerance for various oven settings and board sizes.

Global Impact of Rising Metals Costs

Originally published by IPC - By Bruce S. Moloznik and Mitch Holtzer, Cookson Electronics; Stan Rothschild, Metallic Resources Inc.; Doug Dixon, Henkel Technologies; and Ross Berntson, Indium Corp. - - The IPC Solder Products Value Council is compelled to clearly articulate to the electronics industry the current costs situation regarding the global supply and demand of two crucial metallic elements to the electronics industry: tin and silver.

Material Control for Lead-free Manufacturing

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

The Invisible Enemy

Fumes and vapors released during hand soldering with lead-free solder may pose a greater risk to employees than ever before. Installing an effective fume filtration system is the way to lessen the risks.

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.

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.

Charting a DFT Course for Limited-access Boards

For many boards, losing access to critical nodes via an inadequate design for testability (DFT) can destroy fault coverage altogether.

Forecasting 2000 R&D Spending

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Total research and development (R&D) expenditures in the United States are expected to increase to more than $266 billion in 2000, according to the annual Battelle/R&D Magazine forecast. That total is almost 8 percent more than the $247 billion estimated to have been spent in 1999.

Vapor-phase Reflow Ovens

This company manufacturers vapor-phase reflow ovens. Applications for such ovens include SMT reflow, lead-free solder reflow, curing, drying, mechanical attachment and plastic package testing. The advantages offered by these ovens reportedly include uniform temperatures; low-oxygen environment; fast, even heat transfer regardless of product size; minimum liquidus times; absolute limits to maximum temperatures; ease of use; short setup times; and high repeatability. In-line, batch and custom oven

Medical Equipments: Flexible Circuits in Hearing Aids

By Thomas H. Stearns, Brander International Consultants - - Hearing aids were one of the first modern medical electronic devices worn on the patient. These externally mounted devices make use of flex and rigid circuits in highly miniaturized assemblies. Starkey Labs and Sonic Innovations weigh in on this report about flexible PCBs enabling medical advances.

People of Electronics Assembly

Following are the new hires, promotions, and personnel announcements from industry suppliers and PCB assemblers, from FINETECH, Indium, and Krayden to Endicott Interconnect, Prototron Circuits, Canadian Circuits, and others.


Productronica Caps 2007 Show Season in a Small Way

Vitronics Soltec Appoints Saxton President

(February 14, 2007) STRATHAM, N.H. — Mass soldering equipment manufacturer Vitronics Soltec named Aaron Saxton president, effective March 19. Saxton will work out of the company's Stratham, N.H. facility.

Boundary Scan Benefits Lead-free Assembly

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

Step 10: Rework and Repair

Given the higher temperature requirements for lead-free soldering and the more delicate nature of array package components, rework stations must now feature excellent profiling and tolerance, as well as offer easy calibration if optimum results are to be achieved and thermal damage avoided.

Special Processing Needs for Thermally-sensitive Designs

Insulated metal substrate is one answer to shrinking form-factor products that clash with increasing power requirements. Effective heat management then emerges as a make-or-break issue.

One Electronics Materials Company Acquires Another

ROCKY HILL, Conn. - Henkel KgaA, an international chemical company with 56,000 employees in 70 countries headquartered in Dusseldorf, Germany, assumed ownership of Multicore Solders and all of its global manufacturing and distribution sites. One of Henkel`s subsidiaries is Loctite. At the present time, it is expected that Loctite and Multicore will operate as distinct and separate companies, servicing their customers independently. Cooperation has already commenced in overlapping areas of produ

Probes for Test Sockets

The Micro Pitch Probe is for device testing of 1 mm pitch and below. It is said to offer excellent electrical properties, long cycle life and reliable contact geometry. The probe features a short signal path of 4.75 mm (0.187"), its self-inductance is reportedly less than 1 nH, and the contact resistance is less than 70 mW.

SMTAI Exhibitor Preview II

SMTA International will take place October 4–8 in San Diego, with the exhibit hall open October 6 and 7. Many companies are exhibiting new products introduced in 2009, as well as flagship products and those specific to the SMT market.


The Reel-to-Reel (R2R) printer targets precision printing onto continuous substrates, such as flex circuits; organic LED substrates; non-conductive materials; and other foils, papers, and composites.

Solder Paste Detection System

OPASS technology, designating offset placement after solder screen printing, addresses solder paste alignment errors during manufacturing. It detects and compensates for solder paste misalignment automatically, reducing the errors caused by forward expansion, scaling, contraction, and other process variables.

Siemens Establishes Singapore Hub for Asia Manufacturing

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

Lead-free: Component Compatibility Takes Center Stage

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

Contract Managing: Helping EMS Providers Stay Competitive

For EMS providers, global diversity of the end consumer drives the need for flexibility, speed, agility, visibility and regulatory compliance.

Part I: manufacturing with Increasingly Smaller Components

Despite the benefits inherent in 0201 components, their use can complicate the assembly process. Understanding smaller component spacing requirements can create flexible, cost-effective products.


General H. Norman Schwarzkopf delivered his keynote presentation to nearly 1,600 attendees. His speech, "Leadership: From the War Room to the Board Room," defined his principles for success in leading people. The General called upon his years of service as commander in chief, United States Central Command, and commander of operations for Desert Shield and Desert Storm in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. During his 35 years of service in the U.S. military, General Schwarzkopf was awarded many honors, i

Test Handler

The J411-03 test handler is designed for flexibility, reportedly allowing manufacturers to test several different products using the same platform. If integrated into the company`s robotic test handlers, PCBs and final products can be automatically loaded into the handler. It is said to be easily configured for various test systems, as well as handshaking with the controlling system using standard RS-232 protocol. The handler is CE-compliant and has a 9.8 x 31.1" footprint.

Products for SMT Assembly Traceability

Traceability in the electronics manufacturing facility generally requires extensive labeling and the associated readers to track components, PCBs, subassemblies, and other parts as they move from inventory to the factory floor and into other processes like final assembly and inspection. These new products from Microscan, Adhesive Applications, Keyence, Taiyo America, and Trumpf increase visibility and tracking at the manufacturer.

Studies and Associations Focus on Manufacturing Business Management

Prime Advantage released its first "Group CFO Survey," representing financial executives of U.S.-based manufacturers in more than 25 industries; AMT — The Association for Manufacturing Technology will pursue new leadership following the resignation of president Robert K. Simpson; and IBM's supply chain management study found that managing risk is now as important as faster, better, cheaper in regards to an effective supply chain strategy.


This article represents a collection of viewpoints from industry leaders. 2007 brought tighter economies, adjusting markets, buyers and sellers.

RoHS/Leaded Component Offerings

The IRC advanced film division of TT electronics (Corpus Christi, Texas) will offer RoHS-compliant and leaded versions of most of its products, a decision based on the number of customers still manufacturing non-RoHS-compliant assemblies. As long as demand for leaded components is sufficient, both versions will be available, noted the company.


Compiled by SMT Staff

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