Article Highlights
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
Real Time with… SMTAI 2019 Slideshow
10/02/2019 | Real Time with...SMTAI
Combating ESD: The Silent Assassin in Electronics Manufacturing
09/20/2019 | Neil Sharp, JJS Manufacturing

Latest Articles

Managing the Environmental Life Cycle of Electronics

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

Round Up: Test and Inspection

This article is based on responses received to a questionnaire sent to test and inspection equipment suppliers.

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!

Fiber Optics Dispensing Sees the Future Through Automation

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

Speaking of this Week -- October 25, 2002

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

Assembling Optoelectronic PWBs with a Standard SMT Assembly Line

In spite of recent setbacks in the optical communications industry, there remains considerable interest in this long-distance, high data rate technology, allowing optoelectronic PWB assembly with current SMT lines.

SMT Plus' Web-based Training Offers New Way to Learn

(October 22, 2001) Scotts Valley, Calif. -- Learning in a class means sitting in a classroom and paying attention to a lecturer, right? Not at SMT Plus Inc.

ERI Courses to Focus on EMC, Climatic Testing

(August 22, 2001) Santa Barbara, Calif. - The Equipment Reliability Institute (ERI) will offer two new courses in the coming months on climatic testing and EMC, respectively.


More than 6,000 people showed up for the APEX Gala, held Wednesday, March 15, at the indoor/ outdoor Terrace Plaza Mall near the Long Beach Convention Center. The gala featured magicians, jugglers, acrobats and mimes roaming through the crowd, as well as a variety of food stands featuring entrees ranging from local favorites to ethnic classics. Also present at the gala was the rock group WAR, which performed live later in the evening.

Solder Paste Inspection

The SE 300 high-speed, high-resolution, 3-D solder paste inspection system is said to be capable of performing 100 percent inspection at production line speeds. It automatically measures height, volume, area and bridging, and notifies the operator if any parameters begin trending outside the user-specified limits. There is a choice of two operating modes: high-speed mode, designed for fine-pitch QFPs and other traditional components, reportedly inspects 4 sq. inches per second; high-resolution m

Evaluating Cleaning System Performance

IN SUMMARYThough quantitative tools to assess the performance of electronics assembly equipment and processes abound, the industry lacks a reasonable means for evaluating cleaning systems’ performance.

Inline Vapor-phase Reflow

The RD52 inline vapor-phase reflow oven targets higher-volume production environments with adjustable-pin chain conveyors, a four-zone preheat section, and horizontal reflow position. Product flows left-to-right.

new products

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


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

STEP 3: Solder Materials

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

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.

Best Paper Awards

Two papers presented at APEX were recognized with Best Paper awards by the IPC. Dr. Shelgon Yee from Solectron, Milpitas, Calif., received the award for best U.S. technical paper for authoring "Optimization of Design and Process Parameters for CSP Solder Joints." The award for best international technical paper went to Caroline Beelen-Hendrix and Martin Veguld from Philips Center for Manufacturing Technology, Netherlands, for "Trends in Assembly Processes for Miniaturized Consumer Electronics."

Electronic Commerce and the Electronics Industry

Hyper-competition has shifted business models across virtually all markets, but perhaps none as dramatically as the electronics industry. A decade ago, product innovation itself was enough to support sustainable competitive advantage. But innovation creates opportunity, which spawns competition, forcing companies to either keep pace or wither on the vine.

Duplicate Exact from the Stencil Perspective

Duplicate exact can help address issues encountered when transferring an assembly from prototype to high-volume manufacturing or from one manufacturing facility to another. Duplicate exact can apply to equipment, materials, tools, and processes in SMT assembly. William E. Coleman, Ph.D, Photo Stencil, examines the stencil tool, though it is easy to see how the concept also transfers throughout the manufacturing operation.

RoHS Wins Converts Despite Exemptions

In SummaryMedical devices currently are exempt from RoHS. Yet, many medical device manufacturers are requesting RoHS conversion from their EMS providers due to concerns about long-term component availability and reliability.

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.

Selective Soldering: The New Wave

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

New Products

Thermal Profiler

Contract Manufacturing: Efficient Line Changeover

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

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.

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.

The Inside Line

Plastic Stencil Frames: A New Solution to Industry Issues

Speaking of this Week -- February 21, 2003

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


The 8th annual SMT Magazine VISION Awards were presented at APEX on March 13, 2000, at the Hyatt adjacent to the Long Beach Convention Center. Fourteen companies received awards for innovation in the following categories: Adhesives/Coatings/Encapsulants, Assembly Tools, Cleaning, Components, Contract Services, Dispensing Equipment, Inspection, Pick-and-Place, Printing, Rework & Repair, Software, Soldering Equipment, Soldering Materials, and Testing. For a complete list of winners and more inform

High-strength and High-fatigue-resistant Lead-free Solder

Sn/Cu/In/Ga proves to be an interesting solution for high-strength and high-fatigue-resistant electronics applications.

Intrusive Reflow of Lead-free Solder Paste, Part II

In SummaryIntrusive reflow describes the process of stencil printing solder paste in and around a thru-hole, placing SMT and thru-hole devices, then reflowing the entire assembly as part of the SMT process.

A New Approach to Vapor Phase Reflow Soldering

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

Trends in the Stencil Printing Process

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

Dartmouth and SMT Unite for Six Sigma Program

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


Teradyne Expands Chinese Presence

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

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

2001 Already?

At the end of this year`s show, the IPC announced the dates for next year`s APEX - January 14 through 18, 2001, at the San Diego Convention Center. Papers are being sought in all areas dealing with: advanced packaging, assembly processes, factory equipment and automation, material developments, component technology, environmental concerns, electronic manufacturing services, test and quality, industry standards, and business issues.

DFM: Is the Industry There Yet?

Because DFM is still a relatively new concept, assemblers, designers and fabricators are often working on a different page when it comes to putting DFM to use.

Mixed-system RF Design: Problems and Solutions

By Per Viklund, Mentor Graphics and How-SiangYap, Agilent - RF design used to be performed on a specialized RF design system with loose integration to design tools for other technologies. In recent years, we have seen a trend shift in system design towards advanced multi-technology systems having an extreme function-to-area ratio. RF, analog, and ultra-high-speed digital share board space as a single integrated system.

Traceability on the Line

Traceability means many things to different facets of the electronics assembly market.

Selective Soldering in Lead-free Assemblies

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

Analyzing the Debate of Clean vs. No-clean

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

Thermal Materials Improve Automotive Laminate Reliability

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

New Products

BGA Rework Station


Compiled By SMT Staff

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.

NEPCON East/Electro Show Preview

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

SEMICON Southwest Returns to Austin in October

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

Lead-Free Electronics Full Steam Ahead

Quite a bit has happened in the past year, as U.S. electronics manufacturers try to untie the lead-free knot laid before them. This comes after fighting so hard in the early 1990s for exemption from U.S. legislation calling for the elimination of lead from electronics assemblies.

Following the Money

IPC plans to head to Washington, D.C. for its 8th Annual Capitol Hill Day to garner support for the Printed Circuit Investment Act.

New Products: PCBs, Connectors, and Components

These connectors, ESD protection components, new pulse resistor technologies, capacitors, and other bill of materials (BOM) elements are new from Tyco, Cornell Dubilier, Molex, Hirose, Spectrum Control, Electronic Interconnect, Murata, Phoenix Contact, Printed Circuits Inc., and The Würth Elektronik Group.

Vertically Integrated Service Providers

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

Identifying Stencils for Lead-free Solder Paste

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

Lead-free Stencil and Misprint Cleaning

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

New Products

Precision Rework System

New Products

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

Ask and Answer -- October 23, 2002

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

Web-based Management of Product Changes Vital to Supply Chain Efficiency

(October 19, 2001) Sunnyvale, Calif. -- To succeed in the Internet-driven global economy, electronics manufacturers and assemblers have to efficiently roll out first-to-market products one after the other to gain market share and drive revenues.

Are You Ready for Lead free Reflow ?

New reflow profiles and oven configurations must be explored to meet the needs of lead-free solder paste.

Lead-free Solder Alloy

The TAC 5 solder alloy (95.5Sn/4.0Ag/ 0.5Cu) has been incorporated into pastes, bars, wire and spheres. For surface mount assembly, it can work with existing equipment to produce solder joints with stability said to be equal to or greater than lead-bearing solder joints. In hybrid circuits, the alloy reportedly enhances thermal fatigue resistance. The company`s lead-free line also includes a no-clean flux that reportedly minimizes defects and improves wetting.

IPC Midwest: Exhibits Preview II

IPC Midwest begins next week in Schaumburg, IL, with the exhibit hall open September 23 and 24. Following are many new and highlighted products from a sampling of this year’s exhibitors, including ICT systems from Agilent and Digitaltest; cleaning products from Ascentech, Aqueous, Kyzen, and Zeston, pick-and-place machines from Essemtech, Europlacer, and Juki; and other products like XRF inspection tools and 0% halogen solder pastes.

STI Electronics Inc. Opens AL Facility

MADISON, AL – STI Electronics Inc. experienced 32% growth in 2008, expanding into a 54,000-sq.ft. facility with more than half ISO-9000-certified manufacturing space and an expanded laboratory.

SMT Analyst Reports and News

eKNOWtion acquired the "Quarterly Forum for Electronics Manufacturing Outsourcing and Supply Chain" from TFI; Research and Markets put out its "Rigid PCBs and Laminates Report;" Electronic Trend Publications reports on the global EMS market.

From the Editor:
VISION for the Future

This year's APEX was an intelligent blend of education, business, and entertainment. The VISION celebration was a chance to gather for drinks with the people we work with day in and day out. The business purpose of the VISION Awards is to scrutinize the current electronics assembly market and determine what products will best serve it in the near- and long-term future.

SMT Presents the 15th Annual VISION Awards

On February 19, 2007, at the Wilshire Grand Hotel during the APEX/IPC Printed Circuits Expo, SMT toasted the winners of the 15th Annual VISION Awards.

STEP 10: Rework and Repair

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

Matte-finish Solder Joints after Lead-free Wave Soldering

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

Process Control Methods for Conformal Coating

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

SMT Congratulates Recipients of This Year's VISION Awards

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

Speaking of this Year - December 28, 2001

Speaking of this Week reflects on events in the electronics assembly industry every Friday. It appears in a special edition this week to reflect on the events of 2001 as a whole.

NEPCON Production & Support Exhibition and Conference and EtroniX Show Guide

This year, NEPCON Production & Support Exhibition and Conference (formerly NEPCON West) will be joined by five key industry events to form EtroniX. A new six-shows-under-one-roof event, EtroniX will provide solutions for the entire electronics supply chain — from design, advanced packaging and components, to supply chain management, test and production.

Designing with CBGAs

An Experimental Approach for commercial and industrial electronics, PBGAs generally perform reliably over a -40° to 85°C temperature range. For aerospace and military assemblies demanding reliable operation over a wider temperature range, it is necessary to use CBGAs.

Ultrasonic Cleaner

The newest addition to the CYBERCLEAN line, the Series 4000 Model 24U ultrasonic cleaning system, is intended to clean hard-to-remove soils, such as baked-on fluxes from production fixturing, in a batch cleaning format. All systems in the line are PLC controlled, and all operations - cleaning, rinsing and drying - are said to be automatic. This specific model has a standard envelope of 16 × 24 × 20" and is configured to process five 18 × 24" fixtures per cycle. Customized baskets

Applied Research within Universities for SMT Industry Competitiveness

S. Manian Ramkumar, Ph.D., Center for Electronics Manufacturing and Assembly, Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), discusses recent industry-university collaborative research on PoP, QFN, and mixed lead-free alloy SMT processing.


For MSDs, the adsorption drying process dries components at speeds competitive with traditional methods, without oxidation problems.

Website Upgrades

Whether adding features, streamlining search, or making online ordering available, companies supplying EMS providers and OEMs are updating and upgrading their Websites.

April Product Highlights

Following are new components, dry cabinets, dispensers, conductive materials, stencil cleaners, PCB routers, and more products from Creative Materials, Totech, FDK, Corelis, Dage, Pickering Interfaces, and other suppliers.

VISION Awards Winners


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.

Due Diligence Verification - Ensuring RoHS Compliance

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

Attaining Lead-free Solder Joint Reliability

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

Machine Capability Measurement on SMT Equipment

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

Snapshot of the Chipset Testing Market

(August 20, 2001) -- In today's PC market, speed is the ultimate competitive edge and communication bandwidth within PC subsystems is a major bottleneck. This drives technology changes: e.g. in accelerating memory access.

From Roadblock to Routine Placement Assembly

While often thought of as a fairly recent development, the printed circuit board (PCB) assembly process known as SMT has been available since the early 1950s. Since then, the need for increasingly smaller, lighter and faster electronics has been driving component, PCB and assembly equipment technologies in the direction of SMT.

Soldering with Diode Lasers

Two trends have lifted laser soldering into new prominence: the replacement of wave soldering with reflow soldering, and the emergence of diode lasers with increased power output and high service life.

Modular Chip Mounter

The CM201/202-D modular chip mounters reportedly offer unlimited expansion capabilities, flexibility and high productivity for component placement. Productivity is said to be enhanced with a 208-feeder capacity using double feeders and throughput that reportedly ranges from 13,850 to 27,700 chips per hour. The units handle component sizes from 0201 to 24 mm.

Thermal and Process Sensitivity Beyond ICs

Semiconductor components that go through reflow can be damaged by heat.

Protecting Brand Reputation

By Carsten Barth, Elcoteq - At this time of economic downturn and with reduced consumer confidence, the equity of a brand can be one critical factor in ensuring that sales and margins are maintained while lesser brands get squeezed. Brand equity can be a function of many things — image, price, innovation, tradition. At the end of the day, they all boil down to reputation.

From the Editor
Back to Business

For me, returning from a long Thanksgiving weekend means plugging back in to the world's news and events. I think we need these little breaks to come back into the hustle-and-bustle world with a refreshed perspective and renewed interest in business, economies, politics, and global happenings. Midway through the week and firmly back in the swing of things, we've grabbed a few headlines from these areas that really caught our attention as electronics-minded editors.

Transfer Efficiencies in Stencil Printing

The goal of stencil printing is to deposit the proper amount of solder paste in the proper location.

RoHS in Four Steps

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

STEP 3: Solder Materials

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

Lead-free: PCB Test and Inspection

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

The Inside Line

Tyco and Remploy Provide Jobs for the Disabled

Mexitronica Sparks Up Electronics Tradeshows

(October 18, 2001) Guadalajara, Mexico -- After the tragedy of September 11, many of the ensuing electronics tradeshows in the United States seemed slow and without many new product introductions and press conferences. However, Mexitronica, the conference and exposition for electronics in Mexico held October 10 to 12, fairly sizzled with activity.

Next-generation Reflow Technology

Worldwide lead-free solder paste implementation figures to quicken as components become more diverse, ranging from large ball grid arrays (BGA) to ever finer-pitched parts, and requiring the new reflow ovens to provide more precisely controlled thermal transfer.

SMT Tab Receptacles Ensure Solder Joint Strength

A new development in SMT interconnection technology is tab receptacles with board-retention force equivalent to through-hole counterparts (roughly 30 to 35 lb). With solder joint strength ensured, the inherent advantages of SMT components put this new receptacle in a position to supplant the through-hole version even in environments such as automotive and appliance applications.

Stencil Inspection Workstation

Designed to increase verification speed and accuracy, ScanSTENCIL is a fully integrated, off-line stencil inspection workstation that combines a Windows-based software package with a high-resolution calibrated flatbed scanner to produce verification files for laser- or chemical-etched stencils. Using its calibrated scanner, the unit inputs stencils or screens and compares them to a known perfect Gerber file for accuracy and blockage.

TFI Calls Manufacturing Downturn Catalyst to Manufacturing Strategy

Pamela Wiseman, TFI senior operations and supply-chain consultant, writes about the manufacturing out- and in-sourcing strategies that are controversial and lively topics these days. Whirlpool will move a portion of its manufacturing from Indiana to Mexico, and that Nokia , NCR, and LeCroy have all decided to reverse their outsourcing trends to bring some manufacturing back in house. The economic downturn has been a catalyst for change and adaptation, prompting executives to reassess and reposition manufacturing strategies.

The Environmental Impact of Pick-and-place Machines

EMS companies committing to environmental standards have to report and try to minimize their effects.

The BGA/QFN Repair Process

By William E. Coleman, Ph.D., Photo Stencil - - Repairing a PCB with a defective BGA, micro-BGA, or QFN often is a challenging and tedious task. The conventional method is to remove the defective device, clean the pads on the PCB, then print solder paste on the pads with a mini-stencil. The stencil footprint must be small enough to fit into the area of the removed part. An alternative repair method is to print solder paste directly onto the QFN pads or BGA solder balls.

How to Publish in SMT

As an engineering- and manufacturing-focused publication centered on surface mount technology, SMT strives to bring to light important R&D and case studies, materials and equipment advances, and trends and business news in electronics manufacturing. We publish original articles, news releases, product launches, opinion pieces, and event itineraries, and want to give you the chance to participate in our monthly print issues and weekly e-newsletters.

Successful Jetting in SMT

Jetting is the process in which fluid is ejected rapidly through a nozzle, using the fluid momentum to break free from the nozzle.

STEP 10: Rework and Repair

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


Compiled By SMT Staff

Capability Performance Improves Productivity

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

Ask and Answer - May 15, 2002

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

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

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

Basic Metallurgy and Wavesoldering Trends

For wave soldering to be fully accepted in the electronics industry, metallurgists, industry and governing agencies must work together and extensive research must be conducted.

BOM Software

CheckPoint BOM Manager is designed for processing data at the front end of the PCB assembly process. It imports, parses, analyzes, and archives BOMs and approved vendor lists under electronic revision control. The software reportedly imports customer BOM data from a variety of sources, such as collimated ASCII files, CIM project files, Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and ODBC databases. It operates on Access or SQL Server to provide enterprise-wide PCB information control.

Is Cleaning Critical to PoP Assemblies?

Cleaning is a critical process in the electronics manufacturing industry. Effective cleaning improves product reliability by ensuring optimal surface resistance and preventing current leakage that can lead to PCB failure. This paper addresses the cleanliness level of PoP assemblies, including underneath PoP components and in between packages.

The Future of Cleaning OA Fluxes

Many companies are shifting away from cleaning with pure de-ionized (DI) water to chemistry-assisted processes. Numerous reasons can be cited supporting the recent trend toward cleaning with chemistry. Results from this experiment, presented by Harald Wack, Ph.D., Zestron, support the hypothesis that cleaning temperature and cleaning chemistry concentration can be manipulated to meet cost and cleanliness requirements for the majority of solder pastes.

SMT Hosts Packaging Panel at SMTAI

ORLANDO, Fla. — SMT Magazine will host a panel on 3D stacked packages, August 20, 2008, during SMTA International (SMTAI) in Orlando. The panel, "3D Stacked Packages: Which Way to Go?" will debate the drivers pushing innovative, small, cost-effective 3D IC concepts with through-silicon via (TSV) interconnects. Panelists from the industry, academia, and analyst firms will present and field questions on the topic.

Precision Engineering & Medtech EMS

After shifting focus away from low-cost manufacturing, Singapore’s electronics and precision-engineering supply base moved to offer high levels of responsiveness, industry specialization, and technical support, combined with access to satellite manufacturing facilities in lower-cost regions.

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.


U.S. Weighs In on Domestic RoHs

PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT: Automated High-volume Rework

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

New Products


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.

Speaking of this Week - January 4, 2002

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

Automating the Dispensing Process

Manual, time/pressure and automated dispensing systems all have their appropriate places within the manufacturing support spectrum; the evolution of one system to the other follows a logical progression.

Stopping ESD

Staticide #2500, an electrostatic-dissipative clear coating, combines acrylic polymers with a semiconductor technology to provide permanent static dissipation, reportedly even under zero-humidity conditions. The semi-transparent coating is said to be usable on all nonporous insulated surfaces such as keyboards, computers, mice, oscilloscopes and workstations. In an aerosol spray can, it is suitable for cleanroom use and dries to the touch in minutes. It also meets Federal Standard E209 for zero

Creating the Intelligent Factory

In a typical high-mix environment, lean thinking cannot be applied only to the material flow, but also has to include the information flow throughout the factory.

From the Show: SMTAI News

Exhibits opened today at SMTA International (SMTAI) in Orlando, Fla. While the dubious weather dominated a lot of the booth chatter, many attendees braved the storms to absorbed rich technical content in the sessions and at the exhibit hall. Following is a gathering of news and impressions from materials suppliers, distributors, equipment manufacturers, and the Association itself.

Eutectic & Lead-free Defluxing in One Process

The examination of the cleaning process for lead-free has raised a critical question: Can an existing chemistry-based cleaning process be used to clean both eutectic and lead-free alloys in the same equipment?

The State of Stencil Technology

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

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.

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.

Step 2 — Process Control

The path to defect prevention starts with a good process quality plan. Process quality determines product quality, whose main goal is to limit and reduce variations toward creation of a healthy process. This plan should outline the methods used to monitor products and processes.

Printing and Inspection Machines

The Ultraprint 1500 can be configured with options that address demands of flexbility or performance, or both. It is capable of printing boards up to 22 × 20", and includes standard features such as automatic board-to-stencil alignment, a self-leveling dual- squeegee print head and programmable hard board stops. The Ultraprint 3000 Ultraflex is designed for double-sided products and can reportedly handle fine-pitch and µBGA technologies. It includes synchronized motion control, automat

Flying Probe Testers Lower PCBA Costs

With traditional bed of nails testers (ICT and MDA), loss of nodal access and high fixturing costs can be prohibitive. AOI and AXI cannot verify component values or operation.

Producing through the Downturn

There is no one sweeping technology trend for the EMS sector. EMS companies can leverage several technologies and trends to deal with present challenges while preparing for the future.

Shrink the iPhone: Miniaturizing Passive Packages

By Jim Stratigos, Jacket Micro Devices - Apple's recently introduced 3G iPhone is a marvel of engineering from just about any perspective; compact, feature rich, cool touch screen, and a plethora of wireless functions. It's also an indication of how far the electronics industry has yet to achieve in terms of miniaturization of complex analog circuits.

STEP 5: Adhesives/Epoxies & Dispensing

Several materials are dispensed in electronics production including SMAs, solder paste, underfills, encapsulants, conformal coatings, and pottings.

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.

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.

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.

IPC Sets Dates for APEX 2002

NORTHBROOK, IL - IPC SMEMA Council's APEX 2002 will take place January 20-24, 2002 in San Diego.

Selective Soldering and Rework

The LS-100 is designed for selective soldering and rework of all types of components, from µBGAs to large QFPs and odd-shaped and hybrid devices. It is said to be ideal for soldering and desoldering RF shielding and various paste-in-hole and solder-paste-on-through-hole applications. This semiautomatic off-line rework system reportedly prevents overheating and thermal stress of components, the board and adjacent components, while enabling the programming of precise reflow profiles. It also

Rework on Small, Leadless Devices

A rework process was developed to simplify rework of leadless devices, which will soon be taking over leaded as well as area-array devices.

SMTAI Product Preview

Following are the new product demonstrations and happenings that will be taking place at SMTAI, August 17 to 21, 2008, in Orlando, Fla. Equipment and material suppliers will be showcasing screen printers, lead-free solder pastes, soldering systems, test-and-inspection equipment, pick-and-place systems and chip shooters, adhesives, and more.

From the Editor:
APEX in a Nutshell

For those of you who didn't make the trip to Last Vegas this year to attend APEX (March 29 through April 3), you really missed out on an important event. Here's what happened during APEX, in a nutshell.

Nano Golf Balls Straighten Drives

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

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.

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.

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 - March 8, 2002

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

SMT Announces VISION Award Winners

SAN DIEGO, CA - SMT Magazine recognizes outstanding innovations in new products and services for the electronics manufacturing industry at VISION Awards ceremony.

Thermal Profiling Software

The Navigator is a high-speed enhancement for the company`s Auto-Predict software option. It reportedly identifies the optimal reflow profile for lead-bearing or lead-free solder paste automatically. The software draws on a built-in database to determine the process window automatically, once the solder paste is selected. It is said to function as an expert system, eliminating the need for operator decision-making.

Parallel Processes: Simultaneous Lead and Lead-free Soldering with a Single Reflow System

With many electronics manufacturers still running leaded and lead-free assembly jobs, reflow ovens are tasked to run both solder-type profiles. Hans Bell, Ph.D., of Rehm Thermal Systems, shows how implementing both processes simultaneously with a single reflow soldering system can be approached with leaded and lead-free reflow profiles set up next to each other within a thermal system with two conveyor lanes.

Cooling Needs to Start at the Chip Level

By Paul Magill, Ph.D., Nextreme Thermal Solutions - Energy consumption is rampant in the U.S., and theories vary on curtailing its impact. Electronics thermal management can cool electronics from the first level, exponentially improving operating temperatures throughout the server farm.


Compiled by SMT Staff

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.

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.

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

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

Ask and Answer - October 17, 2001

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

440-R SMT Detergent Nominated for EPA Award

440-R SMT Detergent used in the Smart Sonic Stencil Cleaning Process nominated to receive EPA's Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award.

Flip Chip Bonding Service

To complement its turnkey electronics manufacturing, this company introduced a flip chip bonding service, featuring a fully automated Fuji flip chip bonder with a bonding force of up to 50 kg. The system`s high placement accuracy and units per hour are said to create an initial capacity of 200,000 pieces per month with a two-shift, five-day work week operation. This capacity can be expanded to 300,000 pieces per month by adding a third shift and additional equipment. As many flip chip substrates

Cleaning No-clean Solder and Flux

Are no-clean soldering processes really more cost-effective or reliable enough for a given application?

Selective Soldering:
Cost-effective Replacement for Production Hand Soldering

By Alan Cable, A.C.E. Production Technologies - Selective soldering is an automated, robust method of soldering individual components that could not be hand soldered, and a way to automate individual component soldering processes that could not be wave soldered properly in pallets or assembled with solder fountains. Selective soldering has become an integral part of most PCB assembly lines.

New Products

Stencil Cleaner

Stencils as Problem Solvers

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

Ask and Answer - December 26, 2001

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

3-D Solder Paste Inspection

As the geometry of surface mountable advanced packages decreases while product packaging density increases, solder paste-related problems continue to top many manufacturers' lists as the leading source of defects and is compounded by the fact that the new devices are more difficult and expensive to rework.

In-line Functional PCB Tester

The Fas-Test in-line functional tester is designed to handle high-rate production requirements and serve as a quick, efficient PCB tester. Features include a buffer before and after the test procedure, a compression weight of up to 1,000 lb during the testing process, fixture changeout of less than three minutes, direct connect to a variety of fixtures, and a software package designed to optimize and monitor production flow lines. The standard cycle time for each board application is six seconds

What Can Good Thermal Management Achieve?

Heat must be removed from electronic devices quickly and efficiently to ensure optimal performance, and to prevent premature component failure.

Building High-volume Electronics in High-labor-cost Regions, For Less

By Gary A. Tanel - Automation is the key to domestic high-volume manufacturing. For many years, we have accepted that high-volume manufacturing is built in low-labor-cost regions of the world and low-volume assembly is performed close to the design center and end user. This seems ironic in that low-volume assembly has higher labor hours per unit than automated high-volume. The difference is in logistics.

Traceability Data Integrity - Challenges and Solutions

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

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


NEMI Signs Three New Members

SMA Dispensing Trends

Each leading technique for SMA dispensing is outlined and explored as relating to modern SMT production environments, including a review of the fundamental tradeoffs between different SMA dispensing methods to achieve optimal SMT production results.

Copper-protective Coating

The ENTEK CU-77 copper-protective coating system is an alternative to HASL and other metallic PCB finishes. It is designed for coating single-sided PCBs that require one soldering step (glue cure followed by wave soldering). The material delivers a thin coating (200 to 400 Å) and reportedly provides improved storage and handling capabilities compared to anti-tarnishes. PCBs coated with this are said to have up to a 12-month shelf life. The aqueous-based system is composed of a pre-clean cyc

Control the Print Process; Safeguard Productivity

To achieve suitable throughputs and yields, solder paste printing must be tightly controlled, from the machine and materials to process parameters.

Material Compatibility Worldwide

By Harald Wack, Ph.D., ZESTRON - For decades, despite research and trials, chemicals have continued interacting with the cleaned surfaces in question. Cleaning materials are researched and changed based on the root cause of the observed problem. Are there issues with all cleaned parts or only with selected ones? The answer will give you an idea whether the problem is related to chemistry or not.

Jetting: Dispense Technology of Choice for Adhesives

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

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.

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 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.

Automation Addresses Odd-form Assembly

It is no longer a question of whether capable handling equipment is available. Rather, are the technology and equipment properly matched to the task?

Depanelization Router

The 105DP is an in-line, fully automated depanelization router for populated PCBs that is said to provide hands-off operation. The system receives a populated PCB panel, places it on the worktable, depanelizes the individual PCB assemblies, then transfers them to standard or customized output conveyor systems. The head can rotate 90° or 180° for off-loading routed circuits, reportedly in any orientation. The system is designed to interface with conveyors and is said to provide a stable

Very-fine-pitch and High I/O Flip Chip: Part II of III

In Part I, in the Design center on, Solberg covers how flip chips are created and how to work with these devices, small and large.

Optical Interconnects for Silicon Circuit Boards

By Daniel Stevenson, siXis - A silicon circuit board (SiCB) is designed for components interconnection, targeting a higher degree of integration than is practical with current VLSI technology. SiCBs are manufactured using standard silicon electronics fabrication methods. In contrast to traditional PCBs, they use unpackaged integrated circuits (ICs) extensively and feature the finer-pitch signal trace geometries available with photolithographic fabrication.

New SMT Assembly Products

AVX launched a fused tantalum capacitor; XDry introduced a line of dry cabinets; Cookson released a package-on-package (PoP) solder paste; Techspray debuted an acrylic conformal coating; FocalSpot launched a desktop AOI system; and FCT announced a new water-soluble solder paste.

From the Editor
Productronica: Worldwide Electronics Conference Reflects Market

Productronica, the conference that happens only every other year, by all measurements, was an overwhelming success. Approximately 40,000 visitors from around the world travelled to the Neue Messe, a former airport that has served as home to this important meeting for electronics production for many years. After a so-so 2007, 2008 seems to reflect a future that is bright with growing demand. According to most predictions from the show, we can expect healthy growth for electronics production.

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.

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.

New Advances in AOI Technologies

A useful supplement to in-circuit test (ICT), automated optical inspection (AOI) accurately identifies and recognizes component variability on printed circuit boards (PCB), thereby improving overall system performance.

Flip Chip Wafer Bumper

This low-alpha-count flip chip bumping process is for both eutectic (Sn63/Pb37) and high-lead (Sn5/Pb95) solder bumps. The solder is processed with a measured alpha emission rate of 0.01 alphas per hour per cm2, said to be the lowest offered in the industry by a merchant wafer bumping provider. The process reportedly minimizes the potential for "soft errors" in ASIC and other microprocessor ICs with small gate dimensions (0.18 µm and below).

Change the Solder Alloys and Laminate

The Scottish government has announced plans to invest $66.6 million toward creating a unique semiconductor business cluster that would make Silicon Glen a worldwide technology hotspot.

Part 12: Lead-free Reliability - Enticing and Intriguing Status

It is correct that there is not an element on earth that can single-handedly replace lead.

Photovoltaics in the Realm of Energy

By Jennie S. Hwang, Ph.D. - This first of ten parts column on photovoltaics explores the big picture of this renewable energy source, and particularly how these energy areas are connected closely to the electronics industry and SMT manufacturing.

From the Editor
Investing for the Times: Modules Featured at APEX

Suppliers to the EMS/OEM market understand better than most industries how to innovate in ways that best serve their customers. Electronics assemblers are purchasing equipment based on what their needs are today, and what their needs will be in the foreseeable future. Exhibitors at APEX responded to this investment strategy, bringing to market more modular solutions and upgrade options for 2008, spanning the breadth of flying probe testers to pick-and-place systems to printing machines.

QA: More than Meets the Eye

By Jacob Rubin, Proventus Technologies Ltd. - - To the main challenges that the electronics manufacturing industry is facing today belongs the question: how can the industry's conversion-cost roadmap be reduced in the cost per I/O of each assembly over time? An important factor in minimizing this conversion cost is assuring higher quality, thereby delivering higher utilization, shorter product cycle times and reduced cost of test, and lowered instances of repair and scrap.

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.

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.

Ask and Answer - January 2, 2002

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

Six-vision System

The CP45FV uses a "six-head, six-vision" system that incorporates an on-the-fly vertical imaging system for component recognition. Using vertical imaging, the system aligns components using features on the bottom of the part without traveling to an optical centering station. This concept reportedly allows the machine to place components at speeds down to 0.19 seconds per placement. Components from 0201 to more than 2" square QFPs with 0.019" pitch, as well as CSPs, can be placed on the same plat

Investment in AOI Pays Off

An AOI machine with color highlight and zoom capability helped one CM improve its yield for critical-use end customers.

APEX 2010: What Does Post-Recession Look Like?

Registration for IPC APEX EXPO 2010, the flagship tradeshow of IPC ? Association Connecting Electronics Industries in North America, is reaching pre-recession levels, with about 1000 companies pre-registering by mid-February for the show April 6?9 in Las Vegas.

Improve Time to Market with Freeze Gate Development

By James Scholler, MEC - In compressed product development cycles, traditional checks and balances become insurmountable constraints, driving non-value-added activity. A "freeze gate" lean concept leverages existing resources to meet a tight schedule without adding risk or impairing quality.

Indium Promotes Technical Engineers and Manager

Indium Corporation promoted three individuals at its headquarters in Clinton, N.Y. Eric Bastow and Mario Scalzo will be senior technical support engineers for the solder materials supplier; Tom Pearson will take the inside sales manager position.

SMT Lauds 16th Annual VISION Award Winners

During a ceremony at APEX in Las Vegas, April 2nd, SMT Magazine celebrated winning products in the 16th annual VISION Awards, recognizing innovation and leadership across the electronics assembly supply chain, including advanced materials, sophisticated software, and complex equipment that advance the industry of PCB manufacturing. Winners and finalists were recognized for their contributions to the industry in each award category.

Lead-free Wave Solder System

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

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.

Thermal Imaging Looks at Laser Rework and Repair

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

Speaking of this Week - December 21, 2001

Speaking of this Week reflects on events in the electronics assembly industry every Friday. The holiday spirit is in the air. Can you feel it? Not just from the holiday songs playing ad nauseum at the mall or the parties at work; companies are releasing a slew of good cheer in the form of announcements.

IPC Concludes Needs Assessment Survey

(October 16, 2001) Northbrook, Ill. -- IPC-Association Connecting Electronics Industries recently concluded a needs assessment and satisfaction survey.

Aqueous Cleaning System

The CBW-218 OmniJet aqueous cleaning system features all stainless-steel (polished) construction, sustained high-solution heat capability, and a high-volume spray bar said to have great GPM concentration per sq. inch to clean even highly dense PCBs. A convection dryer features adjustable blow-off knives that produce high-velocity water-strip action.

Growth Must Be Managed

SAN ANTONIO - The prodigious growth in the contract manufacturing industry has led to stability difficulties for CMs. According to a recent report from Frost & Sullivan, managing growth is essential for CMs to maintain control of operations.

NBS Adds SMT Assembly Line

September 4, 2009) SANTA CLARA, CA — EMS provider NBS installed an additional SMT line at its headquarters facility in Santa Clara, bringing in its fourth fully automated line there.

February New Products: Soldering Materials, Processes, and Equipment

Following are the selective and wave soldering equipments and tools, new high-reliability lead-free solder alloys and fluxes, and vapor phase reflow technology. Companies presenting new products and processes include Manncorp, Rehm Thermal Systems, Vitronics Soltec, Cookson Electronics, and Nihon Superior.

Nepcon Shanghai News

The doors of the Everbright Convention and Exhibition Center in Shanghai opened on Tuesday, April 24, 2007, for Nepcon Shanghai 2007 and EMT China 2007, bringing together more than 650 exhibitors from 22 countries within the surface mount industry. Throughout the four-day event, several key companies will showcase new products and services geared specifically to the Asian electronics manufacturing market. Following are some product highlights from the show.

Post-wave Conveyors

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

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 -- February 14, 2003

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

A Selective Wavesoldering Alternative

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

Wafer-bump Reflow System

This multi-belt, continuous-conduction, wafer-bump reflow system reportedly provides highly controlled and repeatable reflow profiles. The wafers are heated by conduction from a conveyor belt in the heating zones, with subsequent transfer to an independent cool belt in the cooling zones. Its low-particulate environment reportedly maintains an atmosphere at less than 5 ppm O2.

Do Mergers and Acquisitions Make Everyone Happy?

ALAMEDA, Calif. - More than 100 mergers, acquisitions and strategic alliances between CMs and other companies were concluded during 1999, according to a new report from Technology Forecasters Inc.

SMTAI Products Preview I

The SMTA will celebrate its 25th anniversary at SMTA International (SMTAI) this year, October 4–8 in San Diego. The exhibition will include more than 80 companies. This product preview includes X-ray inspection from Dage; rework from Finetech; reflow inspection from KIC; cleaning from Kyzen; automation tools from PROMATION; and pick-and-place from Manncorp and Juki. SMT will cover SMTAI news and products throughout September and October.

Selective Soldering System

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

Speaking of this Week - May 10, 2002

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

Optoelectronic Interconnect Trending to Surface Mount

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

The Total Cost of Ownership Equation

Automated selective conformal coating systems can increase production throughput and reduce wasted materials, which are factors that need to be considered when determining total cost of ownership.

Flip Chip is Production-ready

AUSTIN, Texas - XeTel Corp. announced that it has achieved production-ready status for board assemblies using 0.4 mm-pitch flip chip packages. Flip chip technology will reportedly enable smaller, thinner, and lighter products in the communications, computer and other electronics industries.

iNEMI Roadmap: R&D in Printing, Dispense

Given the challenges facing board assembly technology, the iNEMI Roadmap identifies R&D priorities for the application and deposition of interconnect materials (primarily solder paste), as part of the SMT process.

Computed Tomography (CT) for Reverse Engineering

By Jon Dupree, YXLON International - Reverse engineering is a powerful tool for generating a CAD model from the data of a physical part that lacks documentation or has changed from the original design. The range of uses includes analyzing a sample to determine how it works, identifying potential patent infringement, etc. The non-destructive reverse engineering process involves measuring an object without taking it apart and then reconstructing it as a 3D model.

Components & Pick-and-Place Equipment

MYDATA, BPM, Assembléon, Practical Components, Universal Instruments, Manncorp, and WKK China are demonstrating innovations in pick-and-place and components at Nepcon Shanghai. High-mix and high-speed are key features.

Isothermal Aging of Lead-free Joints

In the age of lead-free, many assemblers have chosen one of the SAC alloys recommended for lead-free soldering.

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.

Step 1: Design for Manufacture

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

Speaking of this Week -- October 18, 2002

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

Global Trends in Assembly Equipment Strategy

With CMs acquiring more and more OEM facilities, there is a plethora of two- to four-year-old equipment on the global market that is available for leasing.

Two Facilities Acquired

ANDOVER, Mass. and PORTLAND, Ore. - Celestica Inc. completed its acquisition of Hewlett-Packard (HP) Co.`s surface mount center in Andover, Mass. The acquisition expands Celestica`s service offerings and brings its New England presence to more than 700 employees. The Andover operation will provide additional PCB assembly capabilities to the company`s service offerings in the Northeast United States, which currently includes systems integration, embedded systems design, logistics management and m

SMTAI Product Showcase

STEP 4: Printing Flexible Substrates

In fast-paced manufacturing, continuous flexible substrates help meet complex challenges of sub-miniature assemblies.

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 — 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.

APEX 2002 Products

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

Inspection Methodology

Frankly, I dislike the term inspection because it is a constant reminder that my assembly process still has too much variation. However, until my manufacturing process is capable of consistently producing zero defects, some form of inspection or monitoring is necessary to ensure the desired quality level. Surface mount assembly is a very complex sequence of events with a large number of individual activities. The trick is creating a balanced inspection and monitoring strategy without performing

Largest Combination in the Industry Announced

SAN JOSE, Calif. and NIWOT, Colo. - Flextronics International Ltd. and the Dii Group Inc., which had combined sales of more than $3.8 billion in the last 12 months, signed a definitive merger agreement for a tax-free, stock-for-stock merger. The combined company will operate under the Flextronics International name, and will reportedly be the fourth largest provider of electronics manufacturing services, with strengths in telecommunications, consumer electronics, printed circuit board (PCB) fabr

A Cautionary Tale: Outsourcing and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner

The Boeing Dreamliner is years behind schedule, and the company replaced the head of its passenger plane business, naming Jim Albaugh, from Boeing's defense unit, as CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. To save money and minimize its financial risk, Boeing outsourced not just Dreamliner production, but aerospace design and engineering in ways it had never done before, reports NPR's Wendy Kaufman.

Summer Reading: Hedy Lamarr's CDMA Story

August is recognized internationally as a month to relax and appreciate summer. For a great combination of electronics industry history and entertainment, pick up Spread Spectrum: Hedy Lamarr and the Mobile Phone, chronicling movie star Hedy Lamarr and musician George Antheil's collaboration on a 1942 patent for mobile communications in naval weaponry. The technology became the basis of a computer chip synchronization technology, "frequency hopping," or CDMA.

Working with Large, Thick PCBs

The process challenges of lead-free wave soldering for thick, large, and thermally challenging PCBs are discussed, with recommendations.

Cleaning Materials & Equipment

Products from Aqueous Technologies and Kyzen Corporation at Nepcon Shanghai demonstrate cleaning of flux, rosin, SMT adhesives, and all solder-paste types. The products include wash systems and cleaning materials. Tom Forsythe of Kyzen presented a paper on advanced cleaning fluids at the SMTA China East conference, in conjunction with Nepcon.

Electropac Goes Flexible

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

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 — 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.

New Priorities in Purchasing Automated Assembly Equipment

By Gary Burroughs

Rick Rowe was appointed chief executive officer of MCMS Inc., Nampa, Idaho.

Rick Rowe was appointed chief executive officer of MCMS Inc., Nampa, Idaho. Prior to joining the company, Rowe was general manager of Honeywell-Measurex global system business, headquartered in Cupertino, Calif., with operations in Ireland, Germany, Finland, Japan, Asia-Pacific and Latin America, along with six North American operations.

Micro SMT Connector Combines Old and New Technology

By Mark Leach and Ann Cibelli, Advanced Interconnections Corp. - In this case study, a 1.0-mm-pitch SMT connector is replaced by a new connector with the same footprint that surpassed shock/vibration, thermal shock, cyclic humidity, high-temperature life, and MFG tests. The connector had to be low-profile and lead-free for a telecom application.

Simply Modern Aqueous Cleaning

The reason aqueous cleaning has been the technology of choice for the past 10 to 12 years is quite simple: it works.

Factory Solutions

From materials for all steps in the SMT process to software that manages and documents factory activity, products from Electrolube, Cogiscan and Fuji, and Europlacer highlight improved efficiency and facility management. SMTA China co-sponsored the "China State Education Project for High-demand IT Talent — SMT Technical Training Program," for technicians in the SMT industry.

Choosing a Stencil

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

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.

Implementing Total In-line Solder Paste Inspection

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

Lead-free Solder

Tin/lead solder is the most commonly used solder for electronics assembly. How-ever, in the last year, there has been an industry-wide push to convert to lead-free solders. The reason behind the push is the increased awareness concerning lead use and its adverse effects on human health.

New Products: Cleaning Materials, Equipment, Tests, and Processes

Following are the new cleaning products introduced by MicroCare, Aqueous Technologies, Rehm Thermal Systems, and Practical Components. The products range from cleaners to a flux residue management system within reflow ovens to cleanliness and residue evaluation testers, and a stencil cleaning system.

Test & Inspection at Nepcon Shanghai

Following are the test-and-inspection products highlighted by Teradyne, YESTech, Innov-X, the X-tek Group, Agilent, RMD Instruments, and Checksum at Nepcon Shanghai. RoHS screening and increased defect detection are key at this year's show.

Programming ISP Devices

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

Ask and Answer - May 8, 2002

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

Ask and Answer - March 6, 2002

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

New Products

MEMS Gaining Momentum in Optical Networking, Study Says

(October 12, 2001) Scottsdale, Ariz. -- Micro-electrical-mechanical systems (MEMS) continue to show growth, even against the backdrop of an economic slowdown, according to a recent Cahners In-Stat Group report.

Kycom Announces New Distributor in the Southeast

(August 15, 2001) Orlando, Fla. - Manufacturer of interconnect solutions Kycon Inc. has appointed Hammond Electronics as distributor for its full line of connectors. Headquartered in Orlando, Fla., Hammond Electronics has sales offices in Alabama, Florida, North Carolina, Georgia and Texas, and will cover the southeast and south central markets. Hammond has been a leading distributor of interconnect products for more than 50 years.

IRC Commits to MIL-Spec Market

Resistor manufacturer, IRC, has strengthened its commitment to the military market by ensuring that its lines of resistive products are qualified for military specification (MIL-Spec). Specializing in products for rugged and demanding applications, IRC offers one of the largest lines of military-approved electronic components for military, radar and aerospace.

August Product Preview

Following are the new software systems, reflow technologies, epoxy-cure ovens, handlers, components, and other products launched by Cimmetry Systems, International Manufacturing Services Inc. (IMS), BPM Microsystems, Vitronics Soltec and KIC, Manncorp, Ultrasonic Systems Inc. (USI), OK International, Grieve Corporation, and PROMATION.

Soldering Materials & Equipment

KIC, Indium, FINETECH, VJ Electronix, EVS International, and Kester are exhibiting various products from lead-free solders to reflow process controls and rework, to reduce waste and costs and increase reliability. Indium's Ning-Cheng Lee, Ph.D., is teaching a lead-free reliability course.

A Proposed Remedy for Ball-in-Socket Defects

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

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.

Automated Selective Soldering of Mixed Technology PCBs

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

SunSil Names to Represent Shibuya Kogyo

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

First-pass Success Soars with New Design Method

Touting successful first-pass functional silicon rates of 90 percent and higher, American Microsystems Inc. introduced its MS-Master design methodology for submicron mixed-signal ASICs. The methodology is enabled by behavioral models that are generated from SPICE simulations and verified to produce working silicon on the first pass, drastically shortening design simulation time and helping customers get products to market faster.

An Image Library of SMT Defects Section 4: BGA PCB Defects, Dimensions, Poke-thru

These images of SMT defects and attributes were compiled by consultant Tom Clifford. In Section 4, we showcase copper splash, over-etched and thin traces, solder on copper, and other defects. Some of these can cause electrical shorts.

Review: Find It. Book It. Grow It.

In Find It. Book It. Grow It.: A Robust Process for Account Acquisition in Electronics Manufacturing Services, Susan Mucha explores the account acquisition process of companies in the EMS industry.

RoHS: Eighteen Months Later

By Ronald Lasky, Ph.D. - - Eighteen months ago, RoHS went into effect with predictions of imminent economic, logistic, and end-product-reliability disasters hanging in the air. I think it is now insightful to reflect on what has actually occurred.

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

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

Ask and Answer - December 19, 2001

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

2-D PSDs

The S5990-01 and S5991-01 surface mount 2-D position-sensitive detectors (PSD) reportedly provide detection over a large active area. Their pin-cushion-type detectors are said to be ideal for use in pointing devices such as computer mice and track balls, as well as for position measurement. Active area is 4 x 4 mm for the S5990-01 and 9 x 9 mm for the S5991-01. Position detection errors are reportedly held to ±70 µm for the former and ±150 µm for the latter.

IPC-A-610D for AOI: Integrated Verification Enables IPC-compliant PCB Inspection

IPC-A-610 is the universally accepted standard for electronics assembly defects. In this article Peter Krippner, Viscom AG, describes how IPC-A-610D is incorporated into post-reflow AOI systems to improve defect detection, reduce false calls, and eliminate missed defects during SMT assembly.

Step-by-Step: Process Control — Eco Lifecycle Assessment and Improvement

By Jim Dills, Green EcoSystems Group In the new green business climate, global manufacturing companies must continually assess and improve their products and processes to retain customers; gain competitive advantage; and comply with environmental legislation like RoHS, REACH, WEEE, and EuP. Eco lifecycle assessment and improvement processes are required for the management of the critical environmental aspects and impacts of product toxicity, waste stream management, and energy use.

Rework Challenges, Rework Solutions

By William E. Coleman, Ph.D., Photo Stencil - Although the goal of every process is zero defects, the reality is that rework-and-repair is necessary sometimes, especially given the cost of scrapping high-dollar assemblies. A variety of tools and methods are available for reworking defective PCBAs, even those with dense layouts and fine-pitch components.

Fine-pitch Sockets

Centurian high-performance, ultra-fine-pitch sockets are designed for both through-via and Tessera μPILR packages.

From the Editor

San Jose is a city that respects and, more importantly, loves technology and electronics. This was evident from the moment I stepped off the plane, with "San Jose Welcomes IMAPS 2007" signs along the baggage claim and taxi bays. The Tech, Museum of Innovation was bustling with people of all ages. In this tech-friendly atmosphere, I was in the right mood to study harsh-environment medical electronics during "Biomedical Materials, Devices, and Packaging."

Maximize Your Investment: Re-qualify for Lead-free

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

Synchronous FETKY

Designated the IRF7807D1 and IRF7807D2, these low-voltage 30 V FETKYs are said to enable circuit designers to reduce the required footprint of the synchronous MOSFET solution, thereby increasing power density while providing the same efficiency and performance of an equivalent discrete solution. The D1 is in an SO-8 package and reportedly provides RDS(on) of 17 mΩ typical at Vgs = 4.5 V for on-state conditions. The D2 offers the same on-state performance, but integrates a 3 A-rated Schottky

SMT Preventive Maintenance: Stop 5 Major Problems with Pick-and-place Nozzles

Quality nozzles and feeders are the core of pick-and-place. In this article, Zachery Shook, Count On Tools, describes five major issues associated with improper nozzle maintenance and/or the use of poor quality nozzles in the pick-and-place process.

Reflow Soldering Under Vacuum: A New Method

With PCBs becoming increasingly complex, unexpected assembly issues are inhibiting quality. Adding vacuum and nitrogen to reflow — whether in a new reflow oven or integrated onto an existing SMT line — offers benefits like higher quality with an economical cost and continuous operation. Raimund Faber, GM, sales & marketing, SMT Maschinen- und Vertriebs GmbH discusses the causes of voids and how these defects affect quality, and one method to eliminate them during reflow without sacrificing oven flexibility or throughput.

Pick-and-Place Round up

Often, challenging macroeconomic conditions, such as those faced by the electronics industry in the past year, bring about creative innovations in both vendor products and engineers using automated assembly equipment.

Counterfeit Detection

As electronic devices and components become more expensive and obsolete, it is an unfortunate reality that users are ripe for exploitation by unscrupulous dealers in counterfeit components.

Understanding Conduction Soldering

Manual soldering has been used for electronics assembly processes for over seven decades.

Solving the Mystery of Failed Components

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

Dartmouth and SMT Unite in Six Sigma Effort

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

Qualcon Awarded ANSI/ESD S20.20 Certification

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

N-channel HDMOS

This family of MOSFETs reportedly offers a combination of low on-resistance and low gate charge, and is said to provide optimum performance and high efficiency for switching applications such as DC/DC conversion. The HDMOS range includes eight N-channel devices. With drain source voltages up to 30 V, they are suited for low-voltage switching applications. On-resistance ranges from 40 up to 180 mΩ maximum. On-state losses are minimized, and they are said to improve efficiency in low-frequenc

Trust but Verify. Why Take the Risk? Detection of Counterfeit Components by K-Shell XRF Technique

Steve Glass, RMD Instruments, warns that counterfeit electronic components discovered by the defense industry has doubled since 2008. He busts a few myths about counterfeiting, such as “all counterfeit components come from China” and “counterfeits are so crude they can easily be detected.”

Design for Manufacturing Requires Strong Collaboration

Matt Wuensch, Mentor Graphics, promotes collaboration across PCB design, prototype development, and electronics assembly. The more this collaboration transpires between teams, the more potential for cost savings and less potential for problems in new product introduction (NPI).

Lean Manufacturing Principles for EMS Success

Lean manufacturing is based on cutting waste and improving quality.

Innovation – Design Focus Redefined

The introduction of a new device can turn the industry on its head. That device technology shift has arrived in the form of programmable devices such as high-capacity FPGAs.

JTAG Brings on Inherent Testability

Advancing boundary scan test techniques, coupled with sophisticated system monitoring capability being built into FPGAs, point to a future of inherently testable assemblies where physical access to specific devices on a board will no longer be required.

Process Verification: Cleaning Inspection

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

Copyright © 2019 I-Connect007. All rights reserved.