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The Inside Line

December SMT Cover Wins Award

News

Frost & Sullivan Report Evaluates Prospects of Lead-free Electronics Assemblies

Newsmakers

Companies

New Products

ASSEMBLY TOOLS & EQUIPMENT

ATS Receives $11.4 Million in Repeat Automation Systems Orders

(September 28, 2004) Cambridge, Ontario — ATS Automation Tooling Systems Inc. announced it has received an additional follow-on automation systems order valued at US $11.4 million (CDN $14.8 million) from a leading manufacturer of self-use medical diagnostic products.

Speaking of this Week — September 24, 2004

News this week is split pretty evenly between progress and personnel news. There are also announcements regarding upcoming shows and financial news.

Speaking of this Week — September 24, 2004

News this week is split pretty evenly between progress and personnel news. There are also announcements regarding upcoming shows and financial news.

Speaking of this Week — September 17, 2004

Progress dominates the news this week, with news of upcoming trade shows (including more about SMTA International/ATE) following close behind. There's also more teamwork, a bit of financial news and a personnel announcement.

Speaking of this Week — September 17, 2004

Progress dominates the news this week, with news of upcoming trade shows (including more about SMTA International/ATE) following close behind. There's also more teamwork, a bit of financial news and a personnel announcement.

Speaking of this Week — September 10, 2004

In this short week, the amount of news exploded. With Assembly Technology Expo (ATE) coming up at the end of the month in Rosemont, Ill., it seemed everyone wanted to tell us that they'd be there and what they would be exhibiting. There's also news of other trade shows, progress, alliances, personnel and financial news, and some good overall news for August.


Speaking of this Week — September 10, 2004

In this short week, the amount of news exploded. With Assembly Technology Expo (ATE) coming up at the end of the month in Rosemont, Ill., it seemed everyone wanted to tell us that they'd be there and what they would be exhibiting. There's also news of other trade shows, progress, alliances, personnel and financial news, and some good overall news for August.

Speaking of this Week — September 3, 2004

There's a lot going on this week before Labor Day. IPC released its new book-to-bill ratio, and there's tons of positive progress news. Trade show news past and present, as well as personnel and financial news, was on the radar as well. Finally, there's a look at the oft-neglected ESD market.

Speaking of this Week — September 3, 2004

There's a lot going on this week before Labor Day. IPC released its new book-to-bill ratio, and there's tons of positive progress news. Trade show news past and present, as well as personnel and financial news, was on the radar as well. Finally, there's a look at the oft-neglected ESD market.

SMTA International 2004 Show Preview

Co-located with Assembly Technology Expo (ATExpo), SMTA International is organized by the Surface Mount Technology Association (SMTA), and features more than 120 technical papers, 32 tutorials and workshops, an Emerging Technologies Summit, and special symposiums on contract manufacturing and lead-free soldering technology.

SMTA International 2004 Products

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

Auto Teaching for Component Programming

As component technology and surface mount equipment have advanced, the challenge remains: how to handle the latest and most complex components quickly and effectively

Minimizing Effects of Lead-free SMT Assembly on Connector Housing Resins

Many connector suppliers are eliminating, or have already eliminated, lead from their contact plating process. The next phase will be lead-free solder compliance for board assembly.

RMS Enable Modular Manufacture

Reconfigurable manufacturing solutions (RMS) are more than a concept or collection of modules and machines; however, because the reconfigurable manufacturing solution for any assembly or manufacturing challenge will be unique, the concept can be difficult to convey and understand.

Diode Laser Soldering Technology: The Next Generation in Non-Contact Soldering

With development of newer reduced cost, high-power diode lasers, selective soldering with laser now is gaining wider acceptance for production of miniaturized interconnects.

Lead-Free Reflow Process Control

The changeover to lead-free solders due to environmental concerns and legislation presents new challenges for the solder reflow process.


Step 8: Cleaning

Printed circuit board (PCB) cleaning ? the value-added process of removing surface contaminants that have accumulated during various manufacturing processes and handling ? is critical on several fronts.

Impact of Lead-free on the SMT Soldering Equipment Market

This article will evaluate trends in the SMT soldering equipment market, as well as the impact of lead-free.

Speaking of this Week — August 27, 2004

As summer prepares to join with fall, it's the week of alliances. Trade show news follows close behind, and there are also personnel and progress news, financial announcements, and a look at a consumer electronics end market growing in importance.

Speaking of this Week — August 27, 2004

As summer prepares to join with fall, it's the week of alliances. Trade show news follows close behind, and there are also personnel and progress news, financial announcements, and a look at a consumer electronics end market growing in importance.

Speaking of this Week — August 20, 2004

With the fall trade show season drawing closer, it's no surprise that news of upcoming shows and events (many of them having to do with lead-free) dominated the news this week. There's also some progress news, alliances and sales, personnel and financial news, and some looks at the future of two different segments of the industry.

Speaking of this Week — August 20, 2004

With the fall trade show season drawing closer, it's no surprise that news of upcoming shows and events (many of them having to do with lead-free) dominated the news this week. There's also some progress news, alliances and sales, personnel and financial news, and some looks at the future of two different segments of the industry.

Speaking of this Week — August 13, 2004

Progress news, especially having to do with the industry hot topic right now, lead-free, was in wide abundance this week. We've also got news on trade shows to come as we look toward the busy fall show season. And just for good measure, quarterly financial news, partnerships, legislative news and a look at the components market are thrown in as well.

Speaking of this Week — August 13, 2004

Progress news, especially having to do with the industry hot topic right now, lead-free, was in wide abundance this week. We've also got news on trade shows to come as we look toward the busy fall show season. And just for good measure, quarterly financial news, partnerships, legislative news and a look at the components market are thrown in as well.

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.

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 — 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.

The Inside Line

Tyco and Remploy Provide Jobs for the Disabled

News

Compiled By SMT Staff

New Products

ASSEMBLY TOOLS & EQUIPMENT

Through-hole Assembly Options for Mixed-Technology Boards

This article describes three methods currently used for through-hole connector attachment on double-sided SMT PCBs: selective wave solder, pin-in-paste (PIP) reflow and solder preforms. A case study illustrates how the last method is an alternative when PIP provides insufficient solder

Aspects of Microdispensing

Microdispensing has become the primary focus of liquid dispensing research and development (R&D) over the last few years, with the prime motivator the pursuit of small deposits.

Video Microscopes Meet Inspection Requirements

Acquiring information from video images is a common phenomenon. It is a natural progression to extend video imaging to magnification of small objects, such as electronic components on a printed circuit board (PCB) with video microscopes that display images on monitors or flat panel displays.

What Can Go Wrong with Lead-free Soldering

With worldwide lead-free legislation such as the Restriction of Certain Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive on the horizon, much research has been conducted to identify the best alternative to tin-lead (SnPb) solder.

Step 7: Soldering

With lead-free compliance becoming a reality in the electronics manufacturing industry, lead-free solder processing has been a major topic of discussion, and is the cause of some apprehension in the industry.

Electronic Component Market Trends

Growth in the world electronic components and packaging market depends on the growth of end-user industries, such as computers, telecommunications, consumer electronics and automotive markets.


Speaking of this Week — July 30, 2004

What a week! IPC released its new book-to-bill format for June's numbers, which splits rigid and flexible PCBs into two segments. High-profile progress news came to light, as did personnel news, financial results, partnerships and acquisitions, a trade show tidbit, and a look at the worldwide handheld device market.

Speaking of this Week — July 30, 2004

What a week! IPC released its new book-to-bill format for June's numbers, which splits rigid and flexible PCBs into two segments. High-profile progress news came to light, as did personnel news, financial results, partnerships and acquisitions, a trade show tidbit, and a look at the worldwide handheld device market.

Speaking of this Week — July 23, 2004

This week, progress news, especially that of awards given and received, dominates the news. There's also lots of (good) financial news, huge personnel announcements, important agreements and partnerships between companies, tradeshow news, and looks at the industry.

Speaking of this Week — July 23, 2004

This week, progress news, especially that of awards given and received, dominates the news. There's also lots of (good) financial news, huge personnel announcements, important agreements and partnerships between companies, tradeshow news, and looks at the industry.

Speaking of this Week — July 16, 2004

This week was a bit slow, with everyone off at the two halves of SEMICON West in California. But there's still plenty of progress and personnel news, as well as financial results and expectations, partnerships, and trade show news.

Speaking of this Week — July 16, 2004

This week was a bit slow, with everyone off at the two halves of SEMICON West in California. But there's still plenty of progress and personnel news, as well as financial results and expectations, partnerships, and trade show news.

Speaking of this Week — July 9, 2004

In this short week, the news is all over the place. Progress dominates, with awards being handed out willy-nilly and orders on the rise. Coming industry events stretch into the fall, while personnel and partnership news is on the radar screen as well. Finally, one tooling system company reported markedly improved results for the second quarter.

Speaking of this Week — July 9, 2004

In this short week, the news is all over the place. Progress dominates, with awards being handed out willy-nilly and orders on the rise. Coming industry events stretch into the fall, while personnel and partnership news is on the radar screen as well. Finally, one tooling system company reported markedly improved results for the second quarter.

Speaking of this Week — July 2, 2004

Even though this was a relatively quiet week, what with everyone's mind on the red, white and blue, some pretty big news came our way. IPC announced its book-to-bill ratio for May, showing a leveling off in growth. There's also lots of big-name progress news, alliances and acquisitions, personnel moving and shaking, and financial announcements. The MEMS marketplace also got a good, hard look.

Speaking of this Week — July 2, 2004

Even though this was a relatively quiet week, what with everyone's mind on the red, white and blue, some pretty big news came our way. IPC announced its book-to-bill ratio for May, showing a leveling off in growth. There's also lots of big-name progress news, alliances and acquisitions, personnel moving and shaking, and financial announcements. The MEMS marketplace also got a good, hard look.


Intelligent Fastening for Automotive Electronics

Automotive OEMs and suppliers share a drive to enhance assembly efficiency and productivity, reduce time-to-market, produce higher-quality products at competitive prices, and meet regulatory standards for mileage, safety and the environment.

Streamlining SMT Production Through an Open Interface

To streamline production, modern manufacturing must move toward total integration of every key process in the enterprise.

X-ray Inspection of Lead-free Solder Joints

As lead-free solder increasingly becomes a reality, inspecting lead-free solder joints must be investigated.

Process Benefits of Underfill Encapsulants for CSPs and BGAs

Underfill encapsulants were originally developed to encapsulate flip chip ICs. A silicon flip chip has a much lower coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) than the substrate it is assembled on.

Lead-Free Series: Considerations for Printing Lead-free Solder Pastes

SMT printing will require reexamination and process adjustment when lead-free soldering is implemented. If a high quality solder paste is used and standard rules for SMT printing are followed, consistent stencil life, aperture release, print definition, high-speed print capabilities and print repeatability may be expected.

Growth Potential in the SMT Screen Printer Market

During fourth quarter 2003, SMT equipment vendors began to see positive signs of growth after a few tough years in the market. The question still remains: What type of growth is expected to take place over the next five years in the SMT industry? This article takes a snapshot of the screen printer market.

The Inside Line

Indium President Reflects on 23 Years in Solder

News

Asia Key to Assembléon Business Strategy

New Products

Reworkable Underfill Encapsulant

Speaking of this Week — June 25, 2004

More big trade show news this week — this time focusing largely on Assembly Technology Expo and SMTA International in the fall. Progress news of various kinds came to the surface this week as well, as did personnel announcements and partnerships. Finally, an EMS giant released encouraging financial news.


Speaking of this Week — June 25, 2004

More big trade show news this week — this time focusing largely on Assembly Technology Expo and SMTA International in the fall. Progress news of various kinds came to the surface this week as well, as did personnel announcements and partnerships. Finally, an EMS giant released encouraging financial news.

Speaking of this Week — June 18, 2004

There's so much going on this week that I can barely keep up with it all. Progress news came fast and furious, and with some important industry events right around the corner, the organizations sponsoring them want everyone to know more about them. Companies and associations continue to cross geographical lines and come together, and there's personnel and financial news, too.

Speaking of this Week — June 18, 2004

There's so much going on this week that I can barely keep up with it all. Progress news came fast and furious, and with some important industry events right around the corner, the organizations sponsoring them want everyone to know more about them. Companies and associations continue to cross geographical lines and come together, and there's personnel and financial news, too.

Speaking of this Week — June 11, 2004

The tradeshow season is in full swing, and there's plenty of news about it this week. There's also lots of heartening progress news, as well as that of personnel and partnerships, a bit of financial news, and a look at the components portion of the industry.

Speaking of this Week — June 11, 2004

The tradeshow season is in full swing, and there's plenty of news about it this week. There's also lots of heartening progress news, as well as that of personnel and partnerships, a bit of financial news, and a look at the components portion of the industry.

Speaking of this Week — June 4, 2004

In this short week, there's plenty of news, and it's overwhelmingly positive. The Book-to-Bill Ratio for April stayed over 1.00, there's plenty of partnership news, progress keeps on a-comin', and the industry continues to look ahead to some blockbuster trade events. There's even news of some promotions and hires.

Speaking of this Week — June 4, 2004

In this short week, there's plenty of news, and it's overwhelmingly positive. The Book-to-Bill Ratio for April stayed over 1.00, there's plenty of partnership news, progress keeps on a-comin', and the industry continues to look ahead to some blockbuster trade events. There's even news of some promotions and hires.

The Inside Line

Intel Inside Out

News

NEMI, IEEE CPMT Society Form Strategic Partnership

Newsmakers

People


New Products

Traceability Software Module

Comparing Digital and Analog X-ray Inspection for Component Analysis

Increasing use of BGAs and chip scale packages (CSP) within products, which provide increased functionality at the same or smaller size, has reinvigorated the need for X-ray inspection.

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.

Protection of Intellectual Property in China

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

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.

Step 6: Component Placement

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

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.

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.

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 — May 21, 2004

Trade show news continues to dominate this week, what with so many exciting shows coming up — and good news about past shows rolling in. We've also got the three Ps of progress, partnerships and personnel, plus a financial announcement and look at the components side of the industry as well.


Speaking of this Week — May 21, 2004

Trade show news continues to dominate this week, what with so many exciting shows coming up — and good news about past shows rolling in. We've also got the three Ps of progress, partnerships and personnel, plus a financial announcement and look at the components side of the industry as well.

Speaking of this Week — May 14, 2004

More progress news this week, as well as an increase in personnel news, lots of news on upcoming events ('tis the season), partnerships and financial news.

Speaking of this Week — May 14, 2004

More progress news this week, as well as an increase in personnel news, lots of news on upcoming events ('tis the season), partnerships and financial news.

Speaking of this Week — May 7, 2004

Sometimes, things are not as they seem, as evidenced by the March IPC Book-to-Bill Ratio. We've also got more personnel news than average, as well as progress, partnership and event news, some financial results, and some looks at various aspects of the industry.

Speaking of this Week — May 7, 2004

Sometimes, things are not as they seem, as evidenced by the March IPC Book-to-Bill Ratio. We've also got more personnel news than average, as well as progress, partnership and event news, some financial results, and some looks at various aspects of the industry.

The Best and Brightest

Each year, we at SMT recognize the best and brightest the industry has to offer with the VISION Awards.

2003 SMT VISION Award Winners

Adhesives/Coatings/ Encapsulants

VISION Products

ADHESIVES/COATINGS/ENCAPSULANTS

Yield Enhancement Solutions with AOI

With the move toward finer pitches and smaller component sizes, reliable visual inspection for correct assembly has become increasingly difficult. As a result, implementation of automated optical inspection (AOI) has become widely accepted as a key process.

Transport Developments Support Fast Changeovers in High-Volume SMT Production

For a decade, parallel placement has been the foremost technology for placing chips in the ultra-high-volume SMT manufacturing environment.


Lead-free Conversion Issues in Component and PWB Surface Finishes

The Massachusetts Lead-free Electronics Consortium, sponsored by the Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) and the University of Massachusetts Lowell, has been working for the last four years to quantify the conversion process to lead-free.

Step 5: Adhesives/Epoxies & Dispensing

Dispensing often is one of the least thought out areas to define process parameters; however, the combination of fluid selection, dispensing, curing and motion can impact the quality and yield of the end product. This step highlights various material, dispensing and automation considerations before choosing the best solution for the application.

5S Provides Competitive Lean Foundation

Product margins are continually shrinking, which ultimately drives the need for reduction in product manufacturing cost.

the Inside line

NWA Works to Connect the Dots of Information

News

Kester Sold to American Capital

Speaking of this Week — April 30, 2004

The news, like the weather, keeps getting better. Upcoming trade show news continues to flourish, while several important companies announced partnerships and merger news. Some progress, personnel and financial news, as well as looks at the industry, are in the mix as well.

Speaking of this Week — April 30, 2004

The news, like the weather, keeps getting better. Upcoming trade show news continues to flourish, while several important companies announced partnerships and merger news. Some progress, personnel and financial news, as well as looks at the industry, are in the mix as well.

Speaking of this Week — April 23, 2004

Like the daffodils springing to life in my yard, an air of change, possibility and hope is afoot. Nowhere is this more evident than in the crop of news this week, which reflects progress; agreements and acquisitions; and trade show, legislative, personnel and financial news.

Speaking of this Week — April 23, 2004

Like the daffodils springing to life in my yard, an air of change, possibility and hope is afoot. Nowhere is this more evident than in the crop of news this week, which reflects progress; agreements and acquisitions; and trade show, legislative, personnel and financial news.

Speaking of this Week — April 16, 2004

Like the seasons changing, progress keeps happening in the electronics assembly industry. We've also got companies coming together, personnel and trade show news, a financial announcement, and some really interesting predictions and looks at the industry.


Speaking of this Week — April 16, 2004

Like the seasons changing, progress keeps happening in the electronics assembly industry. We've also got companies coming together, personnel and trade show news, a financial announcement, and some really interesting predictions and looks at the industry.

Speaking of this Week — April 9, 2004

Ciao! I'm back from a week's vacation in Italy, refreshed and ready to tackle the electronics assembly topics of the week. First up is the IPC Book-to-Bill Ratio, which remained above water for February. We've also got an encouraging amount of progress news, partnerships and trade show news, as well as financial results and a prediction.

Speaking of this Week — April 9, 2004

Ciao! I'm back from a week's vacation in Italy, refreshed and ready to tackle the electronics assembly topics of the week. First up is the IPC Book-to-Bill Ratio, which remained above water for February. We've also got an encouraging amount of progress news, partnerships and trade show news, as well as financial results and a prediction.

Working Inside China

Kulicke & Soffa, a leading wire bonding equipment supplier, recently established a manufacturing facility in Suzhou, China. Oded Lendner, vice president of K&S operations worldwide, shared his views on this new move in a recent conversation with SMT editors.

News

SMTA Co-organizes NEPCON Shanghai Conference

New Products

Conformal Coating Applicator

Process Parameters for No-flow Underfills in Flip Chip Construction

Conventional flip chip assembly involves either dispensing a liquid flux on the substrate or dipping the bumps into a thin film of a paste flux before chip placement. The assembly then is reflowed and the die underfilled with an appropriate encapsulant.

Part 1: The French Rework Connection

Two companies join hands across the ocean to develop a universal method of verifying all types of rework equipment.

Requirements for Implementation of Lead-free Soldering

Implementing a lead-free process for electronic assembly will only be successful when certain challenges are addressed and overcome.

Step 4: Printing

Automatic stencil printers once enjoyed an advantage in speed over component placement systems in the typical SMT production line. Constant improvement in performance of chipshooters has all but erased that advantage in the past few years. As a result, end users have become more aware of throughput capability when considering the use of a new stencil printer. Stencil printer manufacturers recently have recognized this trend, and have begun to take serious interest in improving their cycle times.


Web Exclusive: Part II: The French Rework Connection

The continuation of the story of two companies that developed a universal method of verifying all types of rework equipment.

Managing the Engineering Process for Increased Profitability

Implementing a manufacturing process preparation system (MPPS) should result in improved process efficiency, lower overhead, reduced costs, increased quality and customer satisfaction, and increased profitability. Choosing the right MPPS therefore is crucial to business success and long-term growth.

Speaking of this Week — March 12, 2003

What many of us suspected was true: Attendance WAS up at the recent APEX/IPC Printed Circuits Expo show, as confirmed this week by IPC. We've got lots of other progress news, trade show happenings past and present, companies coming together, financial results, a bit of personnel news, and a look at the state of the industry.

Speaking of this Week — March 12, 2003

What many of us suspected was true: Attendance WAS up at the recent APEX/IPC Printed Circuits Expo show, as confirmed this week by IPC. We've got lots of other progress news, trade show happenings past and present, companies coming together, financial results, a bit of personnel news, and a look at the state of the industry.

New Products

BGA Rework Station

The State of Stencil Technology

In surface mount assembly, the stencil is the gateway to accurate, repeatable solder paste deposition.

Soldermask Registration Considerations for Fine-Pitch Area Array Package Assembly

Assemblies with fine-pitch ball grid array (BGA) or chip scale package (CSP) components can develop perplexing, undetectable shorts. Research indicates that adding relatively simple designs and procedures in the early stages of printed circuit board (PCB) design and fabrication can be a solution.

Extending New Efficiencies to the EMS Environment

The introduction of efficiencies in electronics manufacturing services (EMS) has significant cost-saving implications. Faster, coordinated line operations; rapid logistical response from suppliers and distributors; and more accurate data are just a few examples of the ways electronic manufacturers have improved operations.

New Materials and Processes Enable Lead-free Solder

Joining components to circuit boards or microelectronic packages using lead-based solders is common practice in today's industry, but lead has obvious health and environmental drawbacks.

Stencils as Problem Solvers

Times have changed since Mike Ray began working at his father's firm, Lorry Photography, in the '60s.


News

NEMI Signs Three New Members

Step 3: Solder Materials

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

Speaking of APEX — March 1, 2004

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

Speaking of APEX — March 1, 2004

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

Special Speaking of this Week to Appear Monday, March 1

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

SMT Magazine Presents the 2003 VISION Awards

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

Speaking of this Week — February 20, 2004

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

Speaking of this Week — February 20, 2004

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

Speaking of this Week — February 13, 2004

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

Speaking of this Week — February 13, 2004

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


Speaking of this Week — February 6, 2004

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

Speaking of this Week — February 6, 2004

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

Show Information

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

Product preview

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

Equipment Sets vs. Operational Strategies

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

Slump and Tackiness Testing Using Rheometry

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

Selective Soldering — Options and Opportunities

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

Environmental Impact of Pb-free Manufacturing

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

Step 2: Process Control

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

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

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


The Inside Line

FocalSpot Opens New Headquarters

Speaking of this Week — January 30, 2004

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

Speaking of this Week — January 30, 2004

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

Speaking of this Week — January 23, 2004

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

Speaking of this Week — January 23, 2004

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

Speaking of this Week — January 16, 2004

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

Speaking of this Week — January 16, 2004

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

Speaking of this Week — January 9, 2004

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

Speaking of this Week — January 9, 2004

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

Keeping Pace with Device Programming

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


News

Speedline is Sold, Reorganizes

Cleaning Underneath 4 Mil Standoffs

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

Current Trends in Lead-free Solder

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

Step 1: Design for Manufacture

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

Q & A: World-class manufacturing

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

New Products

Semiautomatic Screen Printers

Solder Paste Printing Inspection: An Inside Look

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

Detecting and Preventing Programmable IC Defects Prior to Placement

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

Optimizing Reflow

Successful reflow soldering is key to productivity and profitability.

Speaking of this Year — 2003

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


Speaking of this Year — 2003

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

Speaking of this Week — December 19, 2003

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

Speaking of this Week — December 19, 2003

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

Speaking of this Week — December 12, 2003

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

Speaking of this Week — December 12, 2003

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

Speaking of this Week — December 5, 2003

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

Speaking of this Week — December 5, 2003

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

Flexibility in SMT Assembly

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

Lead-free Wave Soldering: A Cost-effective Alternative

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

The Inside Line

Where Mexican EMS Wins


News

Compiled By SMT Staff

Product Review 2003

EQUIPMENT

Speaking of this Week — November 26, 2003

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

Speaking of this Week — November 26, 2003

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

Speaking of this Week — November 21, 2003

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

Speaking of this Week — November 21, 2003

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

Speaking of this Week — November 14, 2003

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

Speaking of this Week — November 14, 2003

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

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

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

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

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


Controlling MSD for Double-sided Reflow Applications

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

Electronics Recycling and EOL Management

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

Step 10: Rework & Repair

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

The Inside Line

Cookson Explains Price Hikes

News

Compiled By SMT Staff

New Products

ESD-safe Turntables

Speaking of this Week — October 31, 2003

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

Speaking of this Week — October 31, 2003

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

Speaking of this Week — October 24, 2003

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

Speaking of this Week — October 24, 2003

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


Speaking of this Week — October 17, 2003

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

Speaking of this Week — October 17, 2003

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

Speaking of this Week — October 10, 2003

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

Speaking of this Week — October 3, 2003

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

Speaking of this Week — October 3, 2003

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

Step 9: Test & Inspection

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

News

Compiled By SMT Staff

New Products

Precision Rework System

Liquid Encapsulation Application Considerations

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

Account of a Cleaning Systems Changeover

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


Lead-free Solder X-ray Inspection Implications

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

Flexible Circuit Market Trends

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

Speaking of this Week — September 12, 2003

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

Speaking of this Week — September 12, 2003

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

Speaking of this Week — September 5, 2003

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

Speaking of this Week — September 5, 2003

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

SMTA International 2003 Show Preview

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

SMTA International 2003 Products

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

Automated AMI Analysis of Components Prior to Board Assembly

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

Reflow Profile Optimization

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


New Geometries Drive Search for Flexible Manufacturing

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

Sanctions Against Sn/Pb Solder Paste

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

Step 8: Cleaning

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

The Inside Line

Siemens Dematic Covers Breadth of Automation Systems

News

Compiled by SMT Staff

Point/Counterpoint

Depaneling Analysis

Speaking of this Week — August 29, 2003

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

Speaking of this Week — August 29, 2003

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

Speaking of this Week — August 22, 2003

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

Speaking of this Week — August 22, 2003

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


Speaking of this Week — August 15, 2003

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

Speaking of this Week — August 15, 2003

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

2003 SMT VISION Awards

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

Speaking of this Week — August 8, 2003

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

Step 7: Soldering

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

News

Compiled By SMT Staff

New Products

Lead-free Capable Reflow Oven

Preventing Contamination with Process Optimization

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

Divide and Conquer: The New Team Design Methodology

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

Technology for Next-generation Assembly Equipment

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


EMS Providers and OEMs in China

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

The Inside Line

Industry, Academia Look to Lead-free

Speaking of this Week — August 1, 2003

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

Speaking of this Week — July 25, 2003

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

Speaking of this Week — July 18, 2003

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

Speaking of this Week — July 11, 2003

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

Speaking of this Week — July 3, 2003

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

The Inside Line

Improving Communication Between PCB Designers and Manufacturers

News

Compiled By SMT Staff

New Products

Placement Technology


Point/Counterpoint

Industry Experts voice differing opinions on ultrasonic vs. spray cleaning

The Flexibility Factor

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

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

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

Dispensing for Optoelectronics

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

SMT Analysis of the Medical Industry

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

Speaking of this Week — June 27, 2003

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

Speaking of this Week — June 20, 2003

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

Speaking of this Week — June 13, 2003

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

Speaking of this Week — June 6, 2003

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

Increasing Competitiveness with Inline Programming

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


Profiling High-reliability Assembly

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

Reworking Lead-free Solder in PCB Assembly

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

Optical Manufacturing Services

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

Optoelectronic Components: A Brighter Glow

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

Step 6: Component Placement

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

The Inside Line

Movement Toward Lead-free

News

Compiled By SMT Staff

New Products

ASSEMBLY TOOLS/EQUIPMENT

Speaking of this Week — May 30, 2003

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

Speaking of this Week — May 23, 2003

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


Speaking of this Week — May 16, 2003

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

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

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

Speaking of this Week — May 9, 2003

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

Speaking of this Week — May 2, 2003

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

The Inside Line

Plastic Stencil Frames: A New Solution to Industry Issues

News

Teradyne Expands Chinese Presence

SMT's 2002 VISION Awards

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

New Products

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

Capability Performance Improves Productivity

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

Reworking Plastic and Other Heat-sensitive Components

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


Laser-assisted Fluxless Soldering

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

MEMS Impact on Electronics

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

Step 5: Adhesives, Epoxies and Dispensing

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

Speaking of this Week -- April 25, 2003

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

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

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

Speaking of this Week -- April 18, 2003

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

Speaking of this Week -- April 11, 2003

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

Speaking of this Week -- April 4, 2003

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

EMS News

Sanmina-SCI Achieves Certification Milestones

New-generation Equipment to Restore Growth?

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


The New Era of Wave Soldering

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

Volume Assembly Qualification for 0201 Packages

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

Financial Analysis Reveals Lost Production Time

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

Step 4: Printing

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

The Inside Line

Cookson's China Strategy

News

U.K. Survey Determines Lead-free Readiness

SMT Announces Winners of the 2002 VISION Awards

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

Speaking of this Week -- March 28, 2003

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

Speaking of this Week -- March 21, 2003

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

Speaking of this Week -- March 14, 2003

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


Speaking of this Week -- March 7, 2003

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

APEX Show Guide 2003

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

Integrating Complex Technologies into Today's SMT Environment

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

Laser Marking Enhances Assembly Traceability

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

Soldering Techniques for OptoElectronics

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

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

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

Unlocking the Power of AOI

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

Inspection Equipment Product Selector

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

Emerging Opportunities for Large-board Manufacturing

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

Future EMS Opportunity

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


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