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

New Products

AdVantis XS combines semiconductor and standard surface mount assembly in one system using proprietary variable reluctance motor (VRM) linear technology for accuracy and repeatability of ±9 µm at ±3 sigma.

Thermal Management for Hot Products

(February 8, 2005) Everyone wants to know what will be the next "hot" semiconductor product. On February 16, 2005, MEPTEC, the Microelectronics Packaging and Test Engineering Council, will hold The Heat Is On: Thermal Management Issues in Semiconductor Packaging, in San Jose, Calif., to discuss how to manage the heat generated by high-watt devices.

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.

ECI Expands Facility in Response to Rapid Growth

(December 18, 2001) East Rutherford, N.J. -- In response to explosive growth in chemical monitoring systems for use in the copper electrodeposition process, ECI Technology has expanded its facilities approximately 40 percent. The expanded facility officially opened in November 2001.

VJ Electronix Expands New York Facility

(August 14, 2001) Bohemia, N.Y. -- VJ Electronix, manufacturer of automated x-ray inspection (AXI) systems, has expanded their Bohemia, N.Y., facility by 6,000 square feet. The facility will house a new customer training center for conducting sessions on X-ray analysis, and an expanded advanced technology research and support division.

Audible Signal Devices

The Mallory Sonalert II surface mount audible signals are said to have extremely small dimensions and reportedly are ideal for compact electronic products and systems such as pagers, portable telephones, scanners, computers and computer peripherals, hand-held instruments, and radar detectors. All offer high sound pressure levels (SPL) for such small units. The family consists of eight different models. Two include built-in drive circuitry, and the remaining six are transducer-only units intended

Insights behind Foxconn/Hon Hai Employee Suicides: Recommendations for Electronics Companies

Pamela J. Gordon and Fanny Lee, TFI, investigate the electronics industry’s role in the Foxconn suicide problem, and offer advice for OEMs considering implementing or changing their multi-national outsourcing strategy. Can electronics be manufactured at an effective cost and worker-satisfaction rate? Ultimately, it depends on both the customer and the manufacturer.

Collaborate: Design to Manufacture

Software-based collaborations can help improve design for manufacturing (DfM) and the move to production.

Improve Solder Scavenging of Large Area-array Sites

When an area array component is removed for repair, there typically is an excess of solder remaining on the board, which must be removed.

High-speed Stamp Soldering

This article examines stamp soldering, a solution that produces consistent high quality by repeatedly applying accurate amounts of molten solder onto a PCB using static volumetric solder stamps.

Raw Materials and E-Commerce: Feat or Failure?

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

Contract Manufacturer in Motion

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Sanmina reportedly has become North America's largest high-end printed circuit board (PCB) fabrication service provider.

Miniature DC/DC Converters

The NMV series of single- and dual-output 1 W DC/DC converters will reportedly save PCB space, reduce component count, and minimize switching noise in new and existing industrial distributed power architectures. The converters offer board-mounted footprints as low as 1.17 cm2 and are said to allow designers to achieve significant PCB space savings by delivering full-specification performance from -40° to 85°C without a heat sink.

Reflow Standard Development in China

IPC strives to involve global electronics manufacturing communities in standards development.

Integrated Test and Inspection: Inspection Strategies and X-ray Techniques for Identifying Manufacturing Defects

By David Bernard, Ph.D., Dage Precision Industries, a Nordson Company With PCB assemblies increasing in complexity, test access for ICT and functional test is reduced. Along with AOI, 2D and 3D X-ray is moving beyond hidden-joint inspection into the high-density PCBA inspection area, including ASICs, memory, thru-hole joints, and more. X-ray inspection needs vary with each application, but a combination approach with 2D and 3D systems provides comprehensive coverage.

STEP 7: Flux Chemistry for Lead-free SMT

SAC alloys have a higher melting point and exhibit poor wettability compared to tin/lead eutectic alloys.

SPECIAL FEATURE: Choosing the Proper Workbench or Workstation

On the surface, you might think that purchasing a workbench or workstation is a relatively simple proposition. Your employees have work to do, and they need an efficient, comfortable, and practical place in which to do it. But before you can be sure that you are getting the correct workbench, you need to perform some upfront work yourself. There are, in fact, many variables to consider. - By James Anderson and Ron Santoro, product managers, Lista International

Quay Chooses GenRad X-ray System as Complement to Set of Testing Tools

(October 11, 2001) Westford, Mass. -- Eatontown, N.J.-based Quay Corp. has purchased multiple GR XStation 3DTM X-ray systems from GenRad Inc. to round out their set of test tools.

The Paperless Factory Comes of Age

An evolution in CIM software fulfills its promise: An advance well beyond simple document viewing that combines the benefits of effective data preparation, electronic revision control and automatic engineering change dissemination.

Tuning Fork Crystals

The TMX-11 SMD tuning fork crystals can be used for wireless telephone handset, watch/clock, audio/video and home appliance applications. The device`s dimensions are 7.3 x 4.1 x 2.0 mm - said to be ideal for applications that require a small footprint and the need to be surface mountable. It is available in the standard tuning fork frequency of 32.768 kHz and offers a ±20 ppm tolerance, a temperature range of -40° to 85°C, and a thermoplastic package that is heat resistant for ref

No Waste: Beyond PCBs in Reflow Profiling

In many situations, EMS providers cannot waste a PCB for thermal profiling.

3D Stacked Packages: Which Way to Go?

Presented by gail flower and meredith courtemancheSMT will host a panel on 3D stacked packages on August 20 in the Cancun Room at SMTA International in Orlando, Fla.

APEX Product Highlights: From the Show

Following is a select preview of products on display at IPC Printed Circuits Expo/APEX/Designers Summit. The exhibit opens tomorrow, April1, in Las Vegas, and will host new products and technologies through April 3.

STEP 2: Process Control

The development of a controlled and robust reflow process exerts a significant effect on joint formation, and ultimately, board quality.

Design for Compliance: The Impact of RoHS

By John Isaac - A new criterion has entered the fray of design-for-compliance constraints placed on designers. Regional restrictions on hazardous materials in electronics products increase the need for a holistic set of criteria that can be accessed throughout the design process.

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

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

Teradyne, GenRad to Come Together

(August 14, 2001) Boston and Westford, Mass. -- Teradyne Inc., which bills itself as the world's largest supplier of automatic test equipment, has signed a definitive agreement to purchase GenRad Inc., a manufacturer of electronic automatic test equipment and related software.

High-frequency Fundamental Crystals

These high-frequency fundamental (HFF) thickness shear-mode AT quartz crystal resonators have a frequency range of 200 MHz. The CC1F (ceramic lid) crystal series reportedly is designed for the latest in high-speed communication systems that require high-frequency references, such as fiber optic telecommunications, gigabit Ethernet, 10Base-T and frame relay applications. Low power dissipation, stability over temperature range, high shock and vibration resistance, and a large pulling range are rep

New Products: Connectors, Programming Scripts, Pastes, and More

Following are recently introduced products from power semiconductor lead-free solder paste to flex-to-PCB connectors, to hot bar or pulse soldering systems, and more.

SMTAI 2008 Products

The Agilent Medalist sj5000 AOI solution for post- and pre-reflow and 2D paste inspection uses a linear gantry developed with Anorad, a division of Rockwell Automation.

Bridging the Macro to Micro Gap

By Arthur Chait, EoPlex Technologies Inc. - - Nanotechnology promises to revolutionize everything — someday. A Google search on "nanotechnology" returns over 12 million citations. While nano gets all the attention, the rest of us have to design and manufacture miniature devices using current technology. One solution is a high-volume forming method derived from print layering, using specialized sets of proprietary materials.

Nu Visions to Expand, Launch New Web Site

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

Ask and Answer -- October 16, 2002

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

Programmable Plastic SMD Oscillator

Housed in a 9.8 x 14.0 x 4.7 mm plastic surface mount J-lead package, the EP1400SJ and EP1500SJ feature custom or standard frequencies ranging from 1 to 125 MHz. Options include tri-state or power-down functions, ±50 or ±100 ppm frequency stability, and CMOS or TTL output. The former is a 5.0 V device, and the latter offers 3.3 V for low-voltage applications. The series is also available in a 14 or 8-pin hermetically sealed package and a ceramic SMD package.

PCB Designer's Notebook
Planning for Very-fine-pitch and High IO Flip Chip: Part I of III

In this three-part series, Vern Solberg will review flip chip packaging, the increased applications for flip chip in product design, and substrate and PCB design challenges for fine-pitch array-configured flip-chip applications. Part I explains how flip chips are created and how to work with these devices, small and large.

More Productronica Highlights

Marantz, Juki, Pickering Interfaces, DKN Research, Aegis, Palomar, BTU Europe, Asymtek, Ovation, Kester, Lloyd Doyle, Inovaxe, BPM, EVS, KIC, VJ Electronix, Kyzen, RMD, and Balver Zinn will launch products from aqueous cleaning chemistries to AOI systems, components, XRF analyzers, solder pastes, programmers, and more at Productronica, November 13–16 in Munich, Germany.

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.

Switching Regulator Ics

The S-8321, S-8322, S-8323, S-8324, S-8327 and S-8328 Series CMOS switching regulator ICs measure 2.8 x 2.9 x 1.3 mm in SOT-23 packaging. They have an internal oscillation frequency of 30 to 100 kHz, with a high oscillation frequency of 250 kHz available. The regulators are available with an internal or external switching transistor with either pulse frequency modulation (PFM), pulse width modulation (PWM), or both PFM and PWM controls.

US Electronics Industry is in Real Trouble

A major crisis faces the electronics industry as companies struggle to meet European requirements for lead-free electronic products in 2006. An extensive report Lead-Free Electronic Solder,Why?, attacks the political motives behind this effort and makes a strong environmental case against lead-free; the key driver behind this effort.

Productronica Product Preview

Following are products and services debuting or being demonstrated at Productronica, November 13–16 in Munich, Germany. AOI systems, reflow ovens, probe testers, cleaning solutions, placement systems, and other tools will be introduced by Mydata, Agilent, CyberOptics, Europlacer, Viscom, Essemtec, YESTech, atg Luther & Maelzer, High-Tech Conversions, Smart Sonic, Electrolube, and Finetech.

Predicted Cleanliness Defluxing for High-yield Applications

By Michael Konrad, Aqueous Technologies - - The overused phrase, "How clean is clean?" most frequently refers to cleanliness in the past tense. Literally, it would be more accurate to ask "How clean was clean?" In the world of surface mount assembly, cleanliness normally is determined after the cleaning process has been completed. Like many things, we exert effort, hope for the best, then, when the work is complete, we validate the process.

SMT Magazine Honors 2005 VISION Awards Winners

ANAHEIM, Calif. — SMT Magazine announced recipients of its 2005 VISION Awards during the 14th Annual VISION Awards ceremony and celebration, held February 8, 2006, at the Marriott Hotel in Anaheim, Calif. Nearly 300 people attended the awards ceremony and celebration.

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 -- February 7, 2003

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

Low-defect Printing for Large PCBs

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

Conference Breakdown

The APEX conference program is divided into six categories: SMT and Electronics Assembly, Assembly Equipment, Materials, Management & Business Issues, Quality and Process Control, and Advanced Technology. There are 30 sessions and more than 100 presentations, as well as three free keynotes and nine free forums. Highlights include a focus on lead-free alternatives, electronic data interchange (EDI) issues, design vs. manufacturability trade-offs for advanced packages, developments in wafer techno

Silicon Chip

The QRC 1284X2 chip is said to be the single-chip solution to IEEE 1284 parallel-port line filtering and termination. The 28-pin QSOP package uses thin film (tantalum nitride) on silicon technology. In each chip, there are reportedly 17 capacitors, 17 pull-up resistors and nine termination resistors; for each of the 17 signal lines, a diode structure provides 8 kV of ESD protection.

DB Control Joins HEICO Electronic Technologies Group

DB Control, a high-power microwave amplifier, radar transmitter and power supply manufacturer, has joined the Electronic Technologies Group of HEICO Corporation (NYSE: HEI and HEI.A). Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Mastering Mixed Assembly Processing

Surface mount has been the prevalent assembly technology for the last 10 to 15 years.

IPC APEX Product Preview

The IPC Printed Circuits Expo/APEX/Designers Summit will take place April 1–3 in Las Vegas. Following are more product previews for the event, including dispense system, squeegee tooling, fluxers, test systems, rework tools, machine updates, microscopes, cleaners, and other materials, equipment, and software for the electronics assembly market.

STEP 2: Process Control

The development of a controlled and robust reflow process exerts a significant effect on joint formation, and ultimately, board quality.

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

EXFO, ATS Form Alliance to Bring Together Strengths

(December 14, 2001) Cambridge and Quebec City, Canada -- ATS Automation Tooling Systems Inc. and EXFO Electro-Optical Engineering Inc. have formed a strategic agreement to bring together their respective positions in the industry.

Ask and Answer - October 10, 2001

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

APEX 2001 pre-show coverage

If you're in electronics manufacturing, you gotta see this show!" is the mantra heard worldwide regarding January's APEX tradeshow.


APEX is offering more than 50 tutorials and workshops that will answer questions on SMT and related assembly technology, including advanced component packaging, assembly equipment, materials and processes, and quality assurance and process control.

Surface Mount Oscillators

Designed for applications requiring extremely small size, the S3883-32.768 kHz series surface mount oscillator is only 2 mm in height. This single device is said to replace up to four common but hard-to-match devices used by most companies building their own 32.768 kHz oscillator out of separate components. Available for 5.0 V operation with power consumption of 10 µA typical, 3.3 V operation with power consumption of 8 µA typical, and 2.7 V operation with power consumption of 7 µ

What Is Halide-free and What Does It Mean to Me?

With halogen-containing substances possible additions to the list of substances banned from electronics, many manufacturers are asking how this materials restriction will affect them and their processes. John Vivari, Nordson EFD, explains what halogens and halides are and why they matter, as well as where these elements appear in the electronics manufacturing bill of materials.

The Ins and Outs of BGA Reballing

By Zulki Khan, NexLogic Technologies - When high-speed/high-performance BGAs are damaged during assembly, replacement costs can exceed reballing costs. The rework steps associated with BGA reballing are straightforward, yet highly complex.

Double-sided Lead-free Rework

Reworking lead-free assemblies requires care to prevent higher temperatures from damaging components and solder joints around the site, including the underside of the board.

From the Editor:
Innovation Still Alive and Well in the U.S.

They say that innovation has dwindled down in the U.S., that technology and manufacturing drifted off to lower-cost providers in distant underdeveloped countries. This undeniably has happened in the contract assembly of surface mounted PCBs. It's almost as if the U.S. needs a challenge at times to get us started along another route. For instance, consider the approach we have taken to the standard 63/37 tin/lead solder paste, eutectic at 183°C, and a known entity that works well.

Speaking of this Week - December 14, 2001

Speaking of this Week reflects on events in the electronics assembly industry every Friday. With the year coming to an end and companies -- and their employees -- getting into the holidays, the flow of information is starting to do its annual dwindle until the new year. Still, there was lots of association news, with more good news and much less bad news all around.

1999 VISION Awards

For the eighth consecutive year, SMT Magazine rewards 14 worthy companies with its 1999 VISION Awards. This year marks a change in venue for the ceremony, as it takes place at APEX. Awards are presented 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.

J-lead Terminal Configuration

This J-lead terminal configuration has been added to the Series 219 surface mount SPST DIP switch line. Ongoing miniaturization of electronic equipment and associated internal PCBs have necessitated that manufacturers further miniaturize components used on PCBs to allow for compact placement. Unlike conventional gull-wing surface mount terminal configurations, where the terminals extend away from the body of the DIP switch, the J-lead construction forms the terminal alongside and under the produ

New Products in SMT Electronics Assembly

Following are the newly released prototyping lines, LXI interfaces, solar cell production tools, feeder/component storage, epoxy materials, XRF testing tools, component handling accessories, and PCB-mount components from around the SMT supply chain.

Speaking of this Week - March 1, 2002

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

SMT Adhesive Deposition: The Line to Success

Miniaturization is driving the design of new devices that use SMT components on both the bottom- and top-sides of printed circuit boards (PCB). Additionally, industry requirements for increased board reliability and faster throughput are stimulating demand for more robust board assembly processes, resulting in new manufacturing line configurations.

IPC EMS Management Council Meeting

This meeting focuses on trends that critically affect the contract manufacturing (CM) business, including:

Compact TCXOs

The CFPT-120 series of compact surface mount TCXOs offers frequency stability down to ±2 ppm over an operating temperature range from -10° to 60°C. Housed in a 10-pad package measuring 7.0 x 5.0 x 2.0 mm, the series is aimed at both high- and low-volume applications in the mobile communications industry. It is available in a range of frequencies between 12.6 and 19.8 MHz. For error correction in the incoming signal, a voltage control facility allows the end user to trim the freque

With Electronics, You Can Never Be Too Thin

By Craig Hunter, Vishay Intertechnology - Communications, entertainment, and lighting are being revolutionized by low-profile, surface mount components that retain performance characteristics with a reduced package size. Antennas, LEDs, IPDs, and other components prove that SMT can replace more of the through-hole products in the market.

Q&A with a Turnkey EMS Provider

EPE Corporation is a 110-person turnkey EMS provider in Manchester, N.H. They specialize in domestic solutions, with high-mix and low- to medium-volume production runs. In addition to SMT, thru-hole, and BGA placement, the company performs conformal coating and UV inspection, and can incorporate custom parts. Their facility is ISO 9001-2000 certified and IPC-verified for lead-free and leaded processes. SMT spoke with Heather L. Steck-Yeaton, business development manager.

From the Editor
Local and Niche Conferences Still Draw Crowds

NEPCON East, October 30–31, 2007, at the Boston Convention & Exhibit Center happened at an unlikely time. Exhibitors were beginning to complain about toting around large pieces of equipment and extending their tradeshow budgets. Even worse, the first day of the show occurred just as the Boston Red Sox celebrated their World Series victory. And yet, NEPCON East still drew crowds to the large convention center.

Optical Inspection Station

The SPM ProberStation 150 combines 3-D inspection and modern optical microscopy in a vision inspection system for atomic force microscopy (AFM) and scanning probe microscopy (SPM) studies. Travel area across the motorized stage accommodates samples up to 150 × 250 mm; measurements are said to be highly repeatable at ±200 nm for measuring surface roughness and features.

Route SMT

SMT Magazine recently visited SenDEC, an EMS provider in Fairport, N.Y.

Software Suite

The SigmaSure software suite aids in conversion, compliance, and due diligence records for OEMs following the European Union's (E.U.'s) RoHS Directive. Products that have revised components, lead-free solder, or other RoHS-compliant changes can be monitored for quality and consistency.

Preventing Contamination-caused Assembly Failure

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

Publisher's Executive Council Interview

SMT Magazine's Publisher's Executive Council consists of 38 electronics industry executives hand-picked by publisher Jim Collins. They share their expertise and insights with our editorial staff and act as a sounding board for new editorial concepts and projects.

IPC SMEMA Management Council Meeting

The inaugural meeting of the IPC SMEMA Management Council promises to make as big a splash as APEX itself. For the first time, presidents, owners and senior officers of companies that supply the electronics assembly industry will work together to solve supply issues.

Tantalum Chip Capacitors

The TCM Series of molded chip tantalum capacitors are designed for use in thick-film hybrid circuits. They are also reportedly suitable for direct mounting on PCBs. These chip capacitors are said to offer good resistance to mechanical stress and moisture because of their fully molded construction. The TCR Series offers resistance against rush current. These capacitors are reported to have failure rates of 0.5 percent or less per 1,000 hours, even in low-impedance circuits. Capacitance can be as

Combining Tin/Lead and Lead-free: A 5 Step Hybrid Manufacturing Process

Scott Mazur, Benchmark Electronics - The RoHS transition has impacted the entire electronics industry. Supply chain management is challenging, with only RoHS-compliant parts being offered and new classification for PCBAs. Hybrid printed circuit assemblies (PCAs) use tin/lead solder and contain lead-free plastic BGAs or other lead-free components. Maximum reflow temperatures for the leaded and lead-free components often require reflow profile controls.

Vision Sensors for High-speed Lines

The In-Sight 5600 product line includes standard 640 × 480 resolution and two-megapixel (1600 × 1200) models for high-speed applications. The vision sensors offer ruggedized design and performance with twice the processing speed and memory of the previous generation.

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.

Fiber Optics Dispensing Sees the Future through Automation

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

IPC Standards Development Meetings

One of the reasons APEX exists is to support standards development activities. IPC standards development and committee meetings are among the most important and unique activities taking place at APEX. What could be more important than seeing how decisions are made that affect the specifications customers and suppliers use? What could be more beneficial than having an impact on that process? Connect with the industry leaders who are writing these standards.

Integrated Circuit

This CMOS IC is included in a series of VCXOs and TCXOs. The 2GIC features CMOS and TTL-compatible output waveforms, frequency capability ranging up to 100 MHz, integrated Automatic Gain Control (AGC) ensuring oscillator startup through many conditions, and an available supply of both 3.3 or 5.0 V.

The State of the EMS Industry

By Sharon Starr, IPC - A recently published study, 2007–2008 Analysis & Forecast for the EMS Industry, from IPC shows that the market for EMS continues to grow, although growth rates are slowing with the current economic downturn. EMS continues to outpace other segments of the electronics industry due to expanded outsourcing.

New Components and Related Products

Lumex launched SMT LEDs with thru-hole features and capabilities; FDK expanded its Sensei isolated DC/DC converters with eighth brick converters; Mill-Max added mini USB receptacles; Virtual Industries released a small-parts tip to handle components as small as 100 µm; AVX Corporation developed a series of secure lock ZIF connectors; Pickering Interfaces added to its range of PXI switch solutions with the SPST power relay module; Crystek Corporation released a 500-MHz VCSO.

Lead-free Paste Can Improve Hole Fill

SACX, formulated with ingredients designed to improve wetting performance and hole fill in lead-free processing, targets performance parameters comparable to a tin/lead solder. The alloy is said to generate low levels of dross and produce reliable lead-free solder joints. Good drainage characteristics reportedly reduce bridging.

APEX Product Preview

The 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.

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.

IMAPS Symposium Speaker Discusses IST Testing Process

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

Step 3: Soldering Materials

By Jennie S. Hwang, Ph.D.

Ask and Answer -- December 31, 2002

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


August 16, 2001 - Featuring SMT Materials

Free Forums

Make the most of your time at APEX 2000. All APEX attendees are invited to free forums. These educational sessions offer timely information in a relaxed and open environment. Because there are no written proceedings, panelists are often more candid in their remarks. Hear from expert panelists on a number of critical topics at no charge.

Modular Connector System

The COMPODRE System consists of a shroud with internal pods that accept any combination of Mini-Fit and Micro-Fit connectors. The connector is designed to save space by consolidating multiple connector requirements into one package and is said to be a cost-effective way to customize interconnects. Its modular design reportedly requires no tools for assembly. The latch system on the shroud produces an audible click to indicate proper connection and also helps prevent accidental unmating and subse

Dual Preheater Rework Prevents Damage to Dense Lead-free Assemblies

Advances in PCB and component technology have created higher demands on the equipment used to repair and rework array components. It is no longer possible for the operator to simply increase the reflow temperature and expect safe and controlled component removal. These uncontrolled operators can damage the latest lead-free assemblies by utilizing older and less-capable rework systems. Ed Zamborsky and Paul Wood, OK International, explain the new machine technologies for safe BGA rework.

PCB News

Hereaus launched a line of fast-setting, one-component conductive adhesives for component attachment on flex circuits; CMK will manufacture build-up circuit boards in Thailand; and IPC released the June book-to-bill ratios for North American flex and rigid PCB production.

Conferences Abound — But One Stands Out

By Gene Weiner - Fall and spring used to be known as the meeting and show seasons. Now with the addition of many new shows around the globe, Webinars and the "flattened world," we have an overload of oft-repeated data and technology. Much is old news, yet there are a few gems still out there.

Automating Odd-form Component Assembly

With continued use of thru-hole components in mixed-technology assemblies, the challenge remains how to automate the assembly of odd-form components effectively.

Speaking of this Week - May 3, 2002

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

Machine Vision Placement Considerations

Machine vision's critical role in surface mount device (SMD) placement begins by locating printed circuit board (PCB) fiducial marks, assuring device alignment, and performing tolerance checking or inspection.

Power Management

The family of SmartOR power management products includes the CMPWR025, CMPWR100, CMPWR120 and CMPWR150. These single-chip solutions are said to be designed for solving the various power management challenges inherent in many of today`s PC and peripheral designs such as network interface cards, modems and power supplies. The line reportedly offers high current ratings as a standard feature and exclusive features that are said to provide the flexibility and simplicity required when adding an insta

Special Events

Kick-off reception. Enjoy a free reception on the show floor Tuesday, March 14. Meet with colleagues and suppliers to review APEX`s opening day and to make plans to make the most of your time at APEX.

Publishers Executive Council Interview

SMT Magazine`s Publisher`s Executive Council consists of 38 electronic industry executives hand-picked by group publisher Marsha Robertson. They share their expertise and insights with our editorial staff and act

ESD in 201x: What Will the Decade Bring?

Jeremy Smallwood, Ph.D., Electrostatic Solutions Ltd.; Charvaka Duvvury, Ph.D., Texas Instruments; and Harald Gossner, Ph.D., Infineon, discuss electrostatic discharge (ESD) control and packaging changes in the next decade. As we enter 2010, ESD control in electronics manufacture may seem like a mature and little-changing area. However, driven by advances in technology and process needs, ESD control practice and standardization will continue evolving throughout the coming decade.

Tailoring Flux Formulations to Enhance Solder Paste Performance

Kevin Gaugler, solder group research and development manager, EFD Inc., a Nordson Company, discusses how component miniaturization, the emergence of complex assembly methods, finer-pitch connections, changes in plating methods, nanometer-scale materials, and the requirements of new electrical generation and distribution technologies, along with environmental directives, have shaped solders and flux formulations. Slight changes to alloy compositions can tailor a soldering process to specific needs.

EMS Business Update

By Susan Mucha, Powell-Mucha Consulting Inc. - Any time the words "global economic downturn" become headlines, the EMS industry will be impacted. Assessing that impact can be difficult, because the EMS industry is a collection of subgroups that cluster around revenue, geographic focus, OEM industry niches, technologies, and services. This article focuses on economic; political-legal; technology; and behavior trends.

E-waste Management: Coping with End-of-life

By Meredith Courtemanche - Over the coming months, your personal electronic devices — i-This and i-That — will come to the end of their product life cycles and go from i- to e-. E-waste, e-pollution, e-scrap and e-recycling are the buzz words of the electronics industry and international communities looking to reduce impact on the earth at end-of-life. SMT surveyed companies and associations to sort out preparing for an assembly's life after end-of-life.

Route SMT

SMT Magazine recently visited SenDEC, an EMS provider in Fairport, N.Y.

Solectron, Raven Beta Test IPC RoHS Lead-free Certification Program

When the IPC approached technical content experts with the idea of developing a lead-free process certification program, all were eager to join, said John D. Kania, director of government relations/industry programs.

AXI Conquers Hidden Joint Defects

Lamniographic automated X-ray inspection (AXI) allows for solder-joint inspection, including those hidden under area array packages.

Lead-free Processing: Thermal Effect on Components

A major concern in the switch to lead-free solders is the impact higher reflow temperatures will have on surface mount components. Although numerous lead-free alloys have been proposed as replacements for conventional Sn/Pb, the feasible replacements mostly are Sn/Ag/Cu alloys.


The company is extending its line of surface mount T1/E1 to include the industrial temperature range. This family of products is said to address high-port-density telecom applications, including WAN, internetworking interfaces, ISP servers, multiplexers, digital access and cross connect systems, channel banks, and cellular base stations. These applications may be in environments not suitable for standard temperature performers. The transformer family includes part numbers T1103 to T1114.

Wall Street Speaks on the CM Industry

A decade ago there was a handful of publicly traded CMs; today there are more than 20 publicly traded CM company stocks. Wall Street`s view and understanding of the CM industry have a profound effect on all companies. This free Wednesday morning keynote features three veteran analysts sharing their views on the dramatic changes occurring in the CM industry: Keith Dunne, managing director, BancBoston Robertson Stephens; Bill Cage, partner, J.C. Bradford and Co.; and David Enzer, managing director

CM Capabilities

GET Manufacturing offers: full-systems turnkey manufacturing through box build (PCBA-level through system build, integration, test and pack-out); low- to medium-volume short runs, engineering builds and prototypes; concurrent engineering of new OEM products using DFM, DFT and DRC; PTH and SMT (sub-0.4 mm pitch, 0402 packages, BGA/microBGA assembly, repair and failure analysis); IPC-610 certified personnel; product fulfillment and OEM worldwide sales order distribution; product repair and refurbi

Solderability Testing Aids Selective Soldering Process Development

Greg Goodell, process development technician, A.C.E. Production Technologies, recounts tests done in the company's Selective Soldering Applications Lab. A component had oxidized leads. During process development, the operator found that no matter which flux was selected, or which profile was used, the solder would not wet to the part. Process development for the application was stalled by the solder dewetting. Solderability tests were performed to analyze the wetting curve and determine the cause of wetting failure.

Consistent PCB Traceability with Data Matrix Symbols

By Laura Hoffman, Microscan - To improve quality control, traceability, and throughput on their test adapters, an electronic components and modules manufacturer implemented miniature data readers inside inspection systems. These vision systems have to read barcodes and cope with challenges posed by shiny PCB materials, limited space, and zero-defect/high-reliability end-product standards.


The American Association of Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA) certified E-Certa laboratory of Bloomington, Ind., for X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analysis and ISO17025. XRF accreditation was based on ISO3497 and ASTM B568 methods. E-Certa’s laboratory performs component conversions, changing leaded to lead-free and vice versa. XRF testing is performed to ensure compliance with RoHS and related directives.

AOI Systems Target Low-cost/High-volume Markets

Landrex debuted the cost-effective Optima II 7301 Express and high-speed Optima II 7310 Extreme at booth 1201 at APEX.

Reliability Effects of Unfilled Underfill Encapsulants

This article explores the effect of an underfill encapsulant that contains no filler on board-level reliability of area array packages.

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.

IPC Annual Meeting Introduces First-Ever Meeting for PCB Suppliers

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

Rethinking the Use of Commercial Components

By their sheer volume, the commercial industries have influenced the buying power of the military. Regardless of how critical a project, the parts needed to complete a design may not be an option. The same vendor who fulfilled critical specifications years ago is no longer interested in low-volume, poor yield, labor-intensive design-to-specification.

Power Converter

The QMT-100 is a "quarter-brick" DC/DC power converter that is said to have a full 30 A current capacity. It was developed for the continued demand in the telecommunications and industrial arenas for smaller, more robust electronic devices with lower voltage and higher current requirements. The new quarter-brick reportedly is replacing the half-brick for many applications that have size limitations but require high power. The product weighs 75 g and its dimensions are 1.45 x 2.28 x 0.50".

Free Environmental Forums

Lead-free Solders: Implementation Issues. The adoption of lead-free solders by the electronics industry will not be a simple matter. It affects all parts of the supply chain from the component and board manufacturers, to the solder materials and soldering equipment suppliers, to the assemblers and their customers. This panel forum will discuss which technology options are being pursued and their implications. It is also a chance to ask questions of some of the leading experts in the field.

Prototype Stress Screening

Screening Systems manufactures a wide range of environmental stress screening (ESS) products for highly accelerated life test (HALT) and highly accelerated stress screening (HASS) applications. The company offers HALT and HASS testing services on prototypes and early pro- duction units to empirically determine the products` operational limits. These services are said to be particularly valuable when a developer desires rapid results on a prototype.

Featured Products

WACKER SILICONES introduced UV-active silicones; Virtual Industries Inc. released the TV-1000 vacuum tweezer; Tyco Electronics launched the high-performance interconnect (HPI) connector with locking feature; and Creative Materials announced a series of single-component epoxy die-attach adhesives.

APEX Product Showcase

Following are some of the many hot, new products that can be seen this month at the IPC, Printed Circuits Expo, APEX, and the Designers Summit in Los Angeles, Calif.

Materials Science Program Addresses Reliability Concerns

When speaking with electronics assemblers, Indium Corporation of America discovered there are many challenges to overcome, including thermal management issues resulting from increased power demands and component miniaturization. Solder joint reliability was the #1 concern for assemblers, said Ross Berntson, director of solder products. In response, Indium Corporation developed its Materials Science Program for Reliability.

Detachable Tape-and-Reel

Low-volume/high-mix manufacturers face an increase in tape-and-reel splitting. In LVHM, it is estimated that 20 to 30% of these reels need to be split into two or more reels.

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 -- October 11, 2002

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

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

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

Agilent Technologies Markets Three New Products for PCB Test and Repair

(October 8, 2001) Palo Alto, Calif. -- Agilent Technologies' latest in-circuit test system enables electronics manufactures to cut time-to-market and reduce test costs. The 3070 Outsource Series bundles and tunes feature sets of targeted test for the production environment.

USB Connectors

This line of USB connectors, which includes both A and B series receptacles and cable assemblies, is designed to meet the demand for smaller, more reliable I/O interconnects while providing shielding and board-locking features. The Series A receptacles are available in the following configurations and styles: vertical and horizontal stack; through-hole and SMT; horizontal and upright; and standard and flanged-out shells. The Series B offerings include right-angle and vertical PC mount receptacle

Modular Placement

With its SP2 placement system and three different placement modes, the KE-2030 SMT placement machine is said to offer a high degree of flexibility and speed in a modular machine. The machine reportedly features a placement rate of more than 20,000 components per hour. Two multi-nozzle laser heads with eight nozzles can pick and place components as small as 0201s and as large as 26.5 × 11 mm and 20 mm2. Three placement modes are possible. In parallel placement mode, the machine places up to

Small Prototypes to Mass Needs

Committed to serving and supporting companies with small prototype runs to mass production needs, Surface Mount Assemblies LLC offers: PCB assembly; through-hole; mixed-technology; test and burn-in; conformal coating/potting; turnkey capability; redesign of through-hole to surface mount or mixed-technology; wave solder; subassemblies; and quick-turn service. Engineering capabilities include design to specifications, product reengineering and board layout. In-circuit and functional testing are su

Survey: Soldering Equipment and Materials Updates, Part II

Gail Flower, editor-at-large, SMT, surveyed soldering equipment manufacturers and solder material suppliers to learn more about the latest practices and requirements. In Part II, equipment suppliers explain what customers ask for on new machines and solder suppliers talk about environmental legislation and its effect on solder alloys.


Moore’s Law governing chip density is just one of the curves defining the ongoing miniaturization of electronic products.


The American Association of Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA) certified E-Certa laboratory of Bloomington, Ind., for X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analysis and ISO17025. XRF accreditation was based on ISO3497 and ASTM B568 methods. E-Certa’s laboratory performs component conversions, changing leaded to lead-free and vice versa. XRF testing is performed to ensure compliance with RoHS and related directives.

Lead-free, No-clean Solder Paste Boosts Wetting

Heraeus' newly formed Contact Materials Division (CMD) announced the F640 series of lead-free, no-clean solder paste to promote wetting and minimize defects with tin/silver/copper alloy soldering.

Solder Selection for Photonic Packaging

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

NEMI to Drum Up Support for Initiatives at APEX 2002 Free Forums

(December 13, 2001) Herndon, Va. -- The National Electronics Manufacturing Initiative (NEMI) will bring several of its initiatives to light at APEX 2002's Free Forums to build industry support for them.

Distribution Agreements Aplenty

Vishay Intertechnology Inc. and Avnet Inc. signed a worldwide distribution agreement that covers Vishay`s full line of electronic components. The agreement extends the existing relationship between Vishay, a designer, manufacturer and marketer of passive electronic components, discrete semiconductors and integrated circuits (IC), and Avnet, one of the largest distributors of semiconductors, interconnects, passive and electromechanical components, and computer products.

Dispensing Equipment

The Continuous-Flow piston pump for encapsulation materials is a high-throughput, positive-displacement pump with a repeatability said to be less than 1 percent. Its multi-piston design continuously feeds material with no recharge time. The Xyflex consists of four independently programmable heads that can reportedly dispense up to 140,000 dots per hour, depending on the application. This surface mount system dispenses solder paste, adhesives and conductive epoxies. The Pulse-Jet non-contact pump


This 100 W, diode-pumped, Q-switched laser is called Scimitar. It is suitable for micromachining, semiconductor processing, welding, drilling, surface modification, cutting, trimming, soldering, texturing, percussion drilling, ablating/cladding, scintering, marking, engraving, rapid prototyping and laser forming. Standard units are available operating in CW mode or equipped with acousto-optic Q-switches providing operation from 1 to 50 kHz.

New Year, New Headquarters

In 2009, several electronics manufacturers and supplier to the EMS industry will move into expanded facilities and relocated headquarters. Following are the announcements from Dynatech Technology, Adept Technology, KIC, and STI Electronics.

From the Editor:
Valuable Insights

As editors focus on the industry at-large, we often rely on analysts, filtering information down to specifics relating to how readers conduct business and plan for the future. After all, information only becomes a tool when it is packaged in useful and useable formats. Some analysts present a narrow focus; others have a wider scope. Like the youngest bear in Goldie Locks, editors package together analyses to provide the "just right" amount of detail and macro view. Here's what you need to know.

When 2-D X-ray Isn’t Enough

In the few cases where non-destructive 2-D X-ray inspection is not sufficient enough to detect defects, the standard practice has been to cut out the part of interest, encase it in a plastic cylinder, and grind it down slowly to see the interior using standard optical microscopy.

APEX Product Showcase

Following are some of the many hot, new products that can be seen this month at the IPC, Printed Circuits Expo, APEX, and the Designers Summit in Los Angeles, Calif.

Eliminate Lead-free Wave Soldering

The advent of lead-free soldering presents many manufacturers with the need to wave solder using lead-free alloys.

How Surface Finish and Solder Paste Affect Lead-free Conversions

The Massachusetts Lead-free Consortium wanted to create a database of lead-free conversion knowledge through separate and limited scope projects.

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 — 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 Year -- 2002

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

Step 7: Soldering

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

New Conformal Coatings Combine Protection with Environmental Safety

Providing Excellent dielectric resistance, these coatings feature insulative protection and resistance to various solvents and harsh environments.


PanaPRO/PanaCIM software reportedly provides the unique ability of component-to-panel traceability. In addition to providing complete setup verification, this software/bar-code scanner package records and verifies use of all components and PCBs. Defective parts can reportedly be quickly traced back to the assembler and part number.

Electronic Label

The iButton is an electronic label with a memory chip. It is similar to a bar code because it has a unique (never-duplicated) 64-bit serial number that can be used for tracking purposes. Data can be written into the product and stored with the object on which it is attached. It allows the data (up to 8 KB) to be changed with just a touch. This product is suitable for applications where the data is required locally and changes relatively frequently, such as when tracking vehicles, trailers, shipp

Exhibitors at Nepcon South China in Shenzhen

Nepcon South China, August 26–28 at the Shenzhen Conference & Exhibition Center in Shenzhen, China, will co-locate with EMT South China, Finetech South China, ATE China, and AE South China. The show promises a glimpse at the economic recovery in electronics manufacturing. Here are the highlights of exhibitors at Nepcon Shenzhen.

Defluxing Déjà vu

By Michael Konrad, Aqueous Technologies Corporation - In the face of cutbacks, the cleaning industry, specifically post-reflow defluxing and cleanliness testing equipment, experienced a surge of new business in 2008. The reason lies between two electrical components mounted on a circuit board. It is a small metal crystal called a dendrite.

From the Editor:
Looking for Hope at SEMICON

In a slowing economy, everyone looks for signs of hope for a strong future. Funding for R&D often takes a backseat to the basic needs of a company to conduct commerce and basically stay in business by doing the same things in the same way. The real threat is that fear itself will force us into stagnation. And status quo is the true enemy. This was my message at the Advanced Packaging Awards (APAs), presented to innovators in the packaging market at SEMICON West.

Changing BGA Solder Ball Metallurgy

In portable devices, such as cell phones, PDAs, DVDs, and MP3 players, stress can cause intermetallic failures, as can impacts common to shipping-and-handling. According to one component manufacturer, customers have received BGA packages with missing solder balls because they had fallen off the BGAs during shipping.

Advances in Ionic Testing

The need to test for residual ionic contamination has been around since the inception of the PCB. Ionic contamination can lead to corrosion and dendrite growth.

Solder Spheres

Kester specifically engineered Ultra-Sphere solder spheres to resist surface-darkening induced by transit tumbling and ball-placement systems, to allow more accuracy with vision systems. Surface-darkening can lead to false missing-ball readings with detection devices.

AlSiC Microprocessor Lids Handle the Heat

Microprocessor clock speeds operate at 2 GHz with power levels up to 130 W. This calls for materials, heatsinks and lids that can dissipate heat and reduce thermally induced stresses.

Evolving Profile Requirements

Reflow soldering process developments for lead-free assembly will be more challenging and more time consuming than that for tin/lead.

The Relationship between Reflow Soldering Processes and Power Consumption

Differences in the melting point of lead-free alloys compared to that of eutectic tin-lead typically result in soldering processes characterized by changes in the operating temperature of the forced convection oven's heating zones.

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 — 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.

APEX Review: The 2001 VISION Awards

The Key to Process Control

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

Minimizing Solder Spatter Impact

Following reflow, memory-module gold connector fingers may exhibit solder spatter contamination, which could mean both a quality and a reliability issue for the product and manufacturing process problems.

Upgraded AOI Systems

The AIMS G5 AOI system has received a new board-handling system that can handle very thin boards and employs full rail-board holding. It is said to employ a custom-engineered telecentric optic for inspection of 0201- and 0.012"-pitch components. The G4 system has been redesigned to improve ergonomics, sustainability and repeatability. Both systems reportedly received a new, patent-pending illumination system.

Printer Applicators

Designed for the challenges presented by small product-identification requirements, chipboard cartons, small packages and similar applications, ValuePro 3240 is said to offer print and apply capability for labels as small as 0.5 x 0.5" (12.5 x 12.5 mm), with speeds up to 30 labels per minute. Its plug-and-play approach to automation reportedly allows installation on the line or use as a stand-alone system. When installed on-line, startup occurs by plugging in a photo eye to the external port or

Electronics Industry Reports Publications released "Worldwide PC Market: 1Q08 Review;" IDTechEx detailed the printed electronics market; and Frost & Sullivan examines the role medical device manufacturing plays in EMS product portfolios.

STEP 7: Soldering

The lead-free initiative continues to affect all areas of manufacturing - none more so than the reflow process.

Advances in Ionic Testing

The need to test for residual ionic contamination has been around since the inception of the PCB. Ionic contamination can lead to corrosion and dendrite growth.

Lead Detector Kit

A lead detector kit indicates the presence of lead on assemblies, workbenches, tools, machinery, and storage areas by displaying a pink to red color. Color intensity reveals the level of lead concentration. The detector wipes and swaps then can be sent to a lab for quantitative analysis of lead content.

Sola Notes Customer-centric Model Key to Survival

By Michelle M. Boisvert - Listening to your customer was just one of the strategies that keynote speaker Jure Sola, CEO and chairman of the board at Sanmina-SCI, shared with attendees on Wednesday, February 8. Sola noted that the customer-focused strategy is one way to compete in the global world of electronics manufacturing.

IP Addressable Device Programming

Recent changes in computing technology have provided much-needed capability for multi-site/multi-national companies to pursue the strategies of developing a global presence.

Optimizing Lead-free Reflow Processes

Lead-free SMT assembly can be achieved reliably, however, several variables should be taken into consideration.

IPC PDX Standards, RosettaNet PIPs Support Flexible Supply Chain Relationships

In today's distributed manufacturing environment, efficient exchange of product data — from design through manufacturing, and even end of life disposition — is increasingly important to a cost-effective supply chain.

New Products

A European Perspective of the Electronics Market

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

Non-contact Inspection Systems for Automated PCB Assembly

Vision inspection of printed circuit boards (PCB) is a straightforward process. A PCB is mechanically placed in the pick-and-place machine using the board`s edge or tooling holes as guides. There may be significant tolerance variations in the circuit`s pattern relative to the board edge and lesser variations with respect to the tooling holes. Also, there may be minute differences in the outside dimensions because device enclosures are generally not carefully controlled during manufacture. It is

Real-time X-ray Inspection

The Jewel Box provides real-time X-ray inspection with a high-resolution camera and 10 µm X-ray source for magnification up to 500X. The unit inspects PCBs with µBGAs, flip chips, ICs and other advanced packages. It reportedly allows the imaging of materials, such as aluminum, that conventional high-voltage systems cannot image. The patented X-ray camera technology is said to maintain void-size consistency in relation to solder bond area as voltage increases.

Engraving System

The Viper 1810 engraving system features pre-loaded lead screws and ball slides for machine tool-like performance and rigidity said to be suitable for any industrial envi- ronment. The system comes with a high-speed spindle along with a diamond-drag tool used for fine-line markings on coated or raw surfaces. The control system works in a Windows 98 environment and can import directly from more than 20 different file formats.

APEX Product Preview

Following are product highlights for IPC Printed Circuits Expo/APEX/Designers Summit, coming up April 1–3 in Las Vegas. SMT will provide continuous APEX coverage for readers in SMT WEEK e-newsletters and print issues leading up to, during, and following the show. These products include new packages, reflow oven controls, paste and glue dispensers, solder dross recovery systems, pick-and-place machines, RoHS screening services, and more.

Elusive BGA Intermittent Connections

By Zulki Khan, NexLogic Technologies, Inc. - - BGA intermittent connections (BICs) can originate from various root causes and produce periodic faulty operation involving BGAs. The worst characteristic about this problem, however, is its elusive nature, which can consume inordinate OEM engineering time and money and delay product launches. At this point, an OEM's top management is forced to intervene to determine causes of delays in its product introduction.

PCB Fab & the Paperless Office

SMT Magazine visits P.D. Circuits, a PCB supply-chain management firm in Hampstead, N.H.

First Article Inspection: Understanding the Problems

In electronics manufacturing, the first article is built by SMT lines and sent to the inspection department to check the product assembled against its bills of materials (BOM), ensuring that the programs contained in the pick-and-place machine are correct, and that parts are placed into the feeders in the correct locations.

Lead-Free Cleaning: Moving from Eutectic to Lead-free

As of July 1, 2006, the WEEE Directive will eliminate the use of lead in solder paste.

STEP 2: Process Control

This article discusses how lead-free material characteristics affect the process engineers responsible for implementing and optimizing the lead-free assembly process.

Improving Quality and Productivity: Insights Into Two Companies

Exact traceability is emerging as a mainstream demand for quality in volume manufacturing, and is expected to be a key element in manufacturing execution systems (MES) investment in the future. With increasing pressure from electronics companies further up in the supply chain, manufacturers will risk losing business if they do not comply.

Combining AOI and AXI: The Best of Both Worlds

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

GECI's Roadmap Transitions to Lead-free Electronics

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

Impressions of Assembly Tech Expo

(October 5, 2001) Chicago -- If three words could sum up the mood at this year's Assembly Technology Expo and Surface Mount Technology Association International (SMTAI) shows, co-located in the Rosemont Convention Center here, red, white and blue would be it.

Publisher's Executive Council Interview

SMT Magazine's Publisher's Executive Council consists of 38 electronics industry executives hand-picked by publisher Jim Collins.

The Benefits of a Ramp-to-Spike Reflow Profile

The pains often associated with profiling may be reduced greatly if certain guidelines are followed and if there is a strong understanding of the variables that can be encountered during the reflow process.

Reworkable Flip Chip Underfills

An epoxy-based liquid underfill, 3567 is compatible with polyimid-passivated flip chip, BGA and CSP assemblies. It is said to be the first commercially available reworkable underfill - it reportedly permits an area-array device to be replaced after testing determines it is defective, minimizing the discarding of entire boards. The epoxy-based liquid cures in five to 15 minutes when exposed to temperatures of 150° to 165°C and penetrates gaps as small as 0.001". Defective flip chip pack

Optimized BGA Inspection

The BGA II inspection package is an optimized version of the company`s machine vision hardware and software package for inspecting BGAs for missing, misplaced or improperly formed solder bumps. It reportedly combines the accuracy and reliability of the company`s original inspection package with MMX-accelerated inspection capability. The system is said to be able to inspect up to 10,000 solder bumps per second and offer support for large-format, high-resolution cameras. It also offers new softwar

Tailoring Flux Formulations to Enhance Solder Paste Performance

By Kevin Gaugler, EFD Inc., a Nordson Company - Continued component miniaturization, complex assembly methods, finer-pitch connections, changes in plating methods, nanometer-scale materials, and new electrical generation and distribution technologies now challenge the performance of soldering processes at every level. Environmental initiatives, such as RoHS, have also resulted in fundamental changes to both solder alloys and flux-based carrier systems.

Call for News from Nepcon Shanghai

SMT Magazine invites your company to be a part of our tradeshow coverage from NEPCON Shanghai, April 24–27. Send us your show news, complete with candid booth photos, product and press releases, and insights and opinions on this year's show.

Test Goes Lean with Boundary Scan

The arrival of first-prototype hardware on the development engineer’s bench presents the dual challenge of debugging both the board and the design.

STEP 6: Component Placement

Leaders in the design and manufacture of metal-dome switch contacts and complementary equipment for membrane switches and related mechanical-switch industries are seeing higher demand.

The Power of Partnership

How One CEM Met the Multi-vendor Challenge Head-on

Lead-free and Lead Contamination

Concerns exist about lead contamination in lead-free soldering. Although more components are available in a lead-free finish, some are not yet available or not easily obtained.

New Products

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

Ask and Answer - December 12, 2001

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

FIBEROPTIC Automation Expo Keynote Touches on Fiber Optic Trends, Forecast

(October 4, 2001) Chicago -- The life cycle for fiber-optic components is still in its early stages, and will continue its strong, steady growth for the next 25 years, according to FIBEROPTIC Automation Expo keynote speaker Jeff D. Montgomery, who spoke here yesterday.

Are You Ready for Lead-free Solder Paste?

Any lingering doubts about the global nature of the electronics assembly marketplace have been put to rest by the topic of lead-free processing. Although the United States currently has no restrictions on lead use in electronics assemblies, other markets are in the process of implementing them. As a result, manufacturers of both surface mount assemblies and hybrid circuits must meet the restrictions to remain competitive.

Internet-access Screen Printer

The 265 Infinity screen printer reportedly combines faster handling and printing with documented 2.0 Cpk levels. For high-throughput operation, the printer incorporates patented on-the-fly fiducial capture, a 2Di stencil and post-print inspection package, as well as ProFlow direct imaging. Networking capability supports machine-to-machine file transfer, network integration and remote Internet access, reportedly without interrupting production.

NEPCON West 2000 will be held February 29 through March 2, with conferences running from February 27 through March 2, 2000, at the Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim, Calif.

NEPCON West 2000 will be held February 29 through March 2, with conferences running from February 27 through March 2, 2000, at the Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim, Calif. Scheduled features include a lead-free Technology Advancement Center (TAC) line and Contract Manufacturing Demonstration Line, pick-and-place evaluation center, a broadened technical conference, special industry events and the latest equipment. The show will host more than 700 exhibiting companies, representing electronics d

Upcoming Event: Nepcon South China

Nepcon South China, August 26–28 at the Shenzhen Conference & Exhibition Center in Shenzhen, China, will co-locate with EMT South China, Finetech South China, ATE China, and AE South China. Nepcon South China promises to focus on prevailing trends in the electronics manufacturing industry, as well as showcase new innovations and technologies. The China EMS environment is reportedly experiencing the first stages of recovery from the global economic downturn.

First Article Inspection: Understanding the Problems

In electronics manufacturing, the first article is built by SMT lines and sent to the inspection department to check the product assembled against its bills of materials (BOM), ensuring that the programs contained in the pick-and-place machine are correct, and that parts are placed into the feeders in the correct locations.

SMT Awards Celebrate VISION

During an awards ceremony at the Anaheim Marriott on Wednesday, February 8, 2006, SMT Magazine honored winners of the 2005 VISION Awards, recognizing innovative and visionary products and services within the surface mount industry.

The Move to Lean: Inventory Management at the Foundation

Managing and maintaining accurate inventory levels is one of the most challenging, yet critical, aspects of an EMS/OEM relationship.

The Inside Line

European SMT Conference Answers Tough Questions

Step 9: Test & Inspection

As BGA usage increases on printed circuit board (PCB) assemblies, more contract manufacturers are implementing X-ray inspection into their test methodology. This inspection method can non-destructively check not only the quality of the optically hidden BGA solder joints, but also can be used to confirm overall production process quality, such as the level of voiding within solder joints.

Ask and Answer -- October 9, 2002

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

SMTAI Session Illustrates Different Methods for Soldering Mixed Boards

(October 4, 2001) Chicago -- At Alternative Mixed Technology Soldering Solutions, a Surface Mount Technology Association International (SMTAI) session held yesterday, speakers illustrated three different ways to solder mixed boards.

Combination X-ray/Vision Inspection

The XRV is an automated in-line PCB inspection unit that combines visual inspection with the advantages of X-ray. It uses CCD cameras to check for missing or wrong components, misplacement, polarity, and other visually evident defects. The integrated X-ray capability checks for BGA, µBGA, flip chip, J-leads and other hidden solder connections that cannot be seen by the naked eye. A typical PCB with 500 components is said to take less than 30 minutes to program. The system self-learns a PCB


This year`s TAC, organized by RRA Technical Services Inc., will include five newly designed and developed assembly lines showing state-of-the-art assembly technology. New processes that will be demonstrated in TAC 2000 include a lead-free operation and another line that uses a solder paste alternative process.

Solderability Testing Aids Selective Soldering Process Development

By Greg Goodell, A.C.E. Production Technologies - The Selective Soldering Applications Lab processed a group of samples for a customer; in the parts mix was a component that had oxidized leads. During process development, the operator found that no matter which flux or profile was selected, the solder would not wet to the part. Solderability tests were performed to analyze the wetting curve and determine the cause of wetting failure.

New Products in Electronics Assembly

Following are products designed to improve selective soldering, ESD control, kitting and box build, hand soldering, boundary scan tests, and other steps in the electronics assembly processes.

Due Diligence Verification: The Results

XRF technology is handheld, portable, and non-destructive to electronic components and systems. This methodology replicates the expected mode of RoHS-compliance verification used in the European Union (EU).

MS2 Eliminates Dross in Wave Soldering

Dross build up in wave solder pots can contribute to additional soldering costs, reduced efficiency, and defects. On a recent visit with Los Angeles-based P. Kay Metal (Booth 2635), president Larry Kay introduced us to the MS2 100 dross elimination surfactant for lead-based wave solder pots, and the MS2 200 LF for dross removal in lead-free solder wave solder pots.

The Inside Line

SMTA 2006 Pan Pacific Call for Papers


Industry experts voice differing opinions on wave soldering vs. laser diode soldering

Mexico vs. China: What Does the Future Hold?

This article will analyze electronics manufacturing trends in China and Mexico for North American-based electronics companies.

The Case for Upgrading the Reflow Process

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

Conformal Coating Optimization

An overview is provided of the protective process' most effective options providing "smooth" integration into existing production lines.

Laser-light Guidance Assembly

The Guidemaster is a complete in-line component-placement system designed to integrate into existing manual assembly lines. Equipped with an in-line motorized conveyor and laser-light guidance system, the assembler is said to provide seamless in-line board flow and facilitate accurate manual part insertion. It comes with a PCB positioning and clamp mechanism to secure the board in a repeatable location, a PC configured with Windows NT, an intuitive operator interface, and a foot switch to trigge

Pick-and-place Evaluation Center

A strategic approach to evaluating assembly pick-and-place equipment will be unveiled at the new Pick-and-place Evaluation Center. In the 2,000 sq. ft. facility, visitors can evaluate pick-and-place equipment from some of the industry`s major manufacturers. Four high-speed placement machines will be on display, set up side-by-side, with third-party tech- nical experts providing in-use feedback and interpretation of manufacturers` published machine specifications. The physical demonstration of th

Q&A with a BGA/Electronics Assembler

Lightspeed Manufacturing in Methuen, Mass., opened in 2003, surviving the thin years in electronics manufacturing by relying on BGA services to attract packaging customers as well. As EMS in the U.S. grows healthier, Lightspeed has been able to expand both its SMT and BGA services and capacity. SMT spoke with Rich Breault about the EMS niche developing in the U.S., lead-free and its effect on BGA and electronics assembly business, and how boards will look in the near future.

Test Goes Lean with Boundary Scan

The arrival of first-prototype hardware on the development engineer’s bench presents the dual challenge of debugging both the board and the design.

Cogiscan Demos Smart Feeder Cart System

The RFID Smart Feeder Cart expands the concept of intelligent feeders from SMT placement machines and feeder banks to storage carts.


Compiled by the SMT Staff


Grants Fund Chip Manufacturing Campus

The Inside Line

December SMT Cover Wins Award

Applying Adhesives Accurately and Efficiently

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

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

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

Emerging Flip Chip and WL-CSP Technologies

Flip chip and wafer-level chip scale packaging (WL-CSP) are defined clearly for the benefit of both customers and manufacturers.

Real-time Failure Analysis

The NXR-20HR real-time failure analysis system features an 8 µ microfocus X-ray source and 300X magnification for verification and inspection of SMT PCBs using BGAs, flip chips, µBGAs and other high-density packages. As a semiautomated system, it is designed to quickly and repeatedly identify hidden defects such as shorted or open solder joints, component misregistration, and voiding or unacceptable size variations in solder bumps. The system uses 5-axis sample manipulation (rotate and


The conference kicks off February 27 and includes more than 100 sessions in the following tracks: design, assembly, HDI, inspection, management, packaging, test and contract manufacturing. The conference also features sessions on lead-free solder, including: Lead-free Soldering Options; Lead-free Soldering: Status and Technology Review; and Impact of Lead-free Solder on Global Manufacturing.

Industry Forecasts for 2009

We asked industry suppliers and end users "How can PCB assemblers control costs in these economic times?" and "What will be the most impactful technological advances in 2009?" Following are responses from companies across the supply chain.

Benchtop AOI Offers Low-cost Solution

The B2 Benchtop automated inspection system (AOI) for post-reflow PCBs from YESTech offers faster throughput and improved board handling. While visiting the company's San Clemente, Calif., facility, Don Miller, YESTech president, explained how the company's adaptive and flexible approach to inspection has disrupted the North American market.

New Products



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

Wireless Data Transfer

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

Step 7 — Soldering

As the efficiency and automation of production have improved, major savings now are found in equipment costs and associated overhead.

2000 Vision Awards

Vision Award 2000 - It takes vision to anticipate how technology will change and how products and services must evolve to stay current. Today's best companies seek these future challenges and respond with creativity and innovation. Each year, SMT Magazine recognizes outstanding companies whose products or services in surface mount technology serve as the benchmarks of excellence ...

Water-soluble Solder Paste and No-clean Wire Solder

Delta Elite 788 is a halogen-free, water-soluble solder paste with a tack time longer than 12 hours. The formulation is non-hygroscopic (moisture resistant). A low-volatility solvent, the paste reportedly provides long stencil life and high tack force, making it suitable for high-speed component placement. NC-601 no-clean wire solder is said to promote excellent activity and wetting, leaving virtually no post-soldering residue. Bellcore compliant, it comes in all standard diameters and at 1.1 pe

Special Events and Technology Feature Areas

Numerous special events, many of which are free to attendees, include: the opening day keynote speech by John Madden, football legend and broadcaster; Industry Keynote Address given by Dr. Buzz Aldrin, Astronaut; Contract Manufacturing Symposium; Contract Manufacturing Executive Forum; Advanced Packaging Symposium; International Panel Discussion, "Technology and Processes - What Does the Future Hold for the Industry?"; Excellence Awards; Best In Test Awards; Service Excellence Awards; and ASTE T

Cleaning for High-reliability Applications

Military and other high-reliability PCBs are cleaned after reflow because of the crucial nature of electronics performance in the field. Why then, with reliability an expected trait of most electronics devices in consumer and commercial applications, does clean not automatically correlate to reliable outside of the military sector? The bigger question, according to Michael Konrad, Aqueous Technologies, is what happens if your product fails. Residues — flux, oils, trapped moisture —are more harmful than ever.

New Components, Modules, and Subassemblies: January 2009

Following are the new products, reports, and software tools in the component sector, including power splitters, capacitors, sensors, connectors, varistors, oscillators, and more. Products come from AVX, IMS, Molex, Fox Electronics, EPCOS, and other companies in the component manufacturing industry.

ATExpo Product Wrap-up

(October 11, 2006) ROSEMONT, Ill. — The Assembly Technology Expo, held in conjunction with SMTA International (SMTAI) at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center this September, hosted companies involved in every aspect of SMT manufacturing. Following are a few of the products introduced and demonstrated at the show.

NEPCON NEC -- SMT Across the Pond

By Michelle M. Boisvert, Managing Editor - With 415 exhibiting companies and 3,340 visitors, NEPCON NEC, May 9-11, 2006, in Birmingham, U.K. was a productive show for those involved — generating several qualified leads and interest.



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.

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.

Step 5: Adhesives, Epoxies and Dispensing

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

Component Placement Systems

There are seven models in the Meridian Series of SMT placement systems. All are said to offer high quality and productivity, low setup and operating costs, and effective line optimization and operation monitoring tools. The machines have a maximum placement rate of more than 28,000 cph, and can place chip and IC components. A Windows NT operating environment is used, and the machines feature a three-stage, soft-stop conveyor. They also reportedly meet the IPC-9850 standard.

Product Launches

In its 35-year history, NEPCON West has been the launching pad for many new electronics manufacturing products and technologies, and this year, organizers expect more exhibitor product launches at this show than in any show in the event`s history.

Growing Tin and Other Dangerous Whiskers

Tin (Sn) whiskers are extremely thin metal filaments, 1 to 3 µm in diameter, that grow from tin metal surfaces as straight, kinked, or even spiral single crystals of Sn. Field failures due to tin whisker growth have occurred in the highest reliability applications, as well as high-volume consumer ones. Lead-free solder and finer pitches are increasing the risk of failures caused by tin whiskers. Laura Turbini, Ph.D., provides updates on the latest whiskers studies.

iNEMI Roadmap Identifies R&D Priorities for Dispense

By Dongkai Shangguan, Flextronics and Ravi Bhatkal, Cookson Electronics - Component technology advances continue to provide challenges in the PCB assembly environment. Given the challenges facing board assembly technology, the iNEMI Roadmap identifies R&D priorities to develop and optimize jettable pastes and inks as well as jetting/dispensing technology.

TFI: Streamlining Supply Chain and Logistics

By Jonathan Gilbert, TFI logistics consultant - With all of the recent bad economic news, it's sometimes hard to think of positive effects from all the disruption we're seeing. Tough times bring challenges as well as opportunities. We need to be focused on what's coming up and prepare. For supply chain managers, the current worldwide slowdown presents some unique opportunities.

New Products


CM News

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

Mini Fume Extractor

The Miniarm FX-32 has a reach of more than 3 ft, and consists of flexible, self-articulating plastic tube with a built-in damper and swivel function. It can be mounted to a wall, ceiling or directly to the workbench. The extractor is available in three models: standard gray for soldering smoke or small chemical and fume extraction; black for the ESD requirements of the electronics industry; and the gray Hygienic Arm for applications where there are high demands for cleanliness. The latter is pro

iNEMI Roadmap Identifies R&D Priorities for Printing

By Dongkai Shangguan and Ravi Bhatkal - Component technology advances continue to challenge the PCB assembly environment. The iNEMI Roadmap identifies R&D priorities for the application and deposition of interconnect materials, as part of the SMT process. The first is to improve stencil printing technology to increase transfer efficiency with thicker stencils and smaller apertures. The second is to optimize jettable pastes and inks as well as jetting/dispensing technology.

From the Show: Happenings at SEMICON West

SEMICON West, taking place this week in San Francisco, gathers industry experts, analysts, suppliers across the industry, and semiconductor and packaging manufacturers together to discuss the state of the industry, future opportunities and challenges, and advances in technology.


Cobar, Balver Hope to Exploit MERGER BEnefits

Horizontal Convection 'across the board'

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

Growth Opportunities for Rework and Repair Equipment

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

Ask and Answer - October 3, 2001

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

Analyzing Lead-free Wavesoldering Defects

A European consortium and others have concluded that Pb-free soldering is technologically possible, but implementation issues first must be addressed, including the VOC-free flux technology and whether the process must be modified to accommodate required higher soldering temperatures.

Vertical Reflow Oven

TOWER is said to be the first vertical reflow oven capable of high-volume PCB production. It is capable of performing eight unique board profiles simultaneously, meaning multiple pick-and-place lines can be fed into a single unit for box-build assembly. Typical applications include reflow, curing, and other thermal processes associated with conveyorized reflow ovens. The oven reportedly delivers the board-production throughput of 20` ovens in 7` of linear floor space.

Odd-form Assembly

With increasing demands placed on component structure, finding methods to improve automated odd-form component placement is paramount.

Part 9: Lead-free System Reliability — Avoid Likely Failures

By Jennie S. Hwang, Ph.D. - In this ninth discourse on the subject of lead-free reliability, let's look at what it takes to maximize system reliability, achieving a product's ultimate performance and reliability. Ultimate reliability can only be achieved by planning for reliability at the outset, followed by sound design, material selection, parts selection, and executing manufacturing for reliability.

Non-Contact Streaming Technology Enhances Dispensing

The dispensing industry within electronics manufacturing represents a diverse marketplace; different materials can be applied in different ways.

Virtual Sample "Analyzing the Shipped Component"

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

Small Contract Shops Speak Up

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

Speaking of this Week -- December 20, 2002

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

Industry Insights at Mexitronica

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

Ask and Answer -- July 31, 2002

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


Components, Stencil Printing and Flip Chip Strategies are all featured in the September 2001 issue.

How Clean Is Clean Enough?

A common question that rings through our technical support line is, "What is IPC's standard on cleanliness?" This is a simple, straightforward question often asked by industry novices, so a simple, straightforward answer usually is what they want. However, in most cases, this is not specific enough for their individual needs.

Reflow Oven

The 1800EXL-SS oven is said to optimize reflow for boards with lead-bearing or lead-free solder paste. It is ISO 14000 certified for minimal environmental impact. The oven incorporates nine heating zones and two internal cooling zones within a 150" length, with throughput reportedly identical to conventional 183" ovens. An air-flux separation system is said to maintain the internal cleanliness of the oven chamber, extend maintenance intervals and minimize maintenance downtime.

Reflow Oven Flexibility

A flexible reflow oven is required to accommodate multiple SMT manufacturing processes, functions and applications. Manufacturers using high-performance reflow ovens achieve increased productivity, throughput and profits via decreased production downtime.


From printer manufacturers to EMS providers, distributors, and industry associations, the news includes promotions, awards, new contracts, and global expansion.

Software Improves Productivity and Quality for NPI

By Bruce Isbell, Valor Computerized Systems - - There is no disputing the fact that electronics manufacturing is a tough business, especially for EMS/NPI providers. NPI providers face an array of challenges based on the sheer numbers of new product datasets that must be handled, evaluated, and converted into process instructions, compounded by the relentless onslaught of ECNs. These dynamics can shake the operational infrastructure of even the best manufacturers to their core.

Minimizing Voids in Lead-free Array Packages

Voids in lead-free alloys and their effect on reliability, causes, and classification have been debated extensively.

Technological Aspects of the RoHS Directive

Exempt Industries: RoHS-5 Compliance and Mixed Technology - By Lev Shapiro - It is well known that the European Union's (EU's) RoHS Directive, which takes effect on July 1, 2006, limits the use of six materials, of which the removal of lead is causing the heaviest burden on the electronics industry — forcing a number of process, raw materials, components, PCB, and equipment changes.

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.

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

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

New Products

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

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

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