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Latest Articles

Roadmap to BGA Standards

At a 1994 meeting of the Surface Mount Council (SMC), the subject of SMT standards was at the top of the agenda. Emerging technologies forced a discussion as to what was becoming standard protocol. The meeting revealed there was no definitive standard for the new technologies.

Surface Mount Buzzers

The Kingstate KSS Series ultra-miniature surface mount buzzers are available in various sizes, operating voltages and resonant frequencies. While reportedly designed primarily for use as ringers and alerts in wireless and cellular phone uses, these units are suitable for a variety of telecommunication and portable test equipment applications. Size choices range from 8.5 x 8.5 x 3.2 mm to 10.0 x 10.0 x 4.0 mm, with operating voltage ratings from 1.5 to 5.0 VDC at resonant frequencies of 2,700 to

The Complexity Factor

Traditional test strategies can no longer meet the demands of newer, more complex board design; looking at the test/inspection process from a new perspective may help address these issues.

Taking Cue from CES, Window-shop Your Work

With Macworld and CES generating a modest amount of excitement in the midst of depressing economic indicators, sorting through the new product releases has become a mixture of electronics news and online shopping. Interesting products all make good use of LEDs, flex circuits, advanced electro-mechanical design, etc. The most hyped new products are the thinnest, most mobile PCs and Macs. And while we're talking hype, let's take a lot at the new crop of green electronics.

Intrusive Reflow of Lead-free Solder Paste

There is renewed interest in intrusive reflow of thru-hole components with the advent of lead-free solder processes.

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.

The Best and Brightest

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

Speaking of this Week — February 13, 2004

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

Speaking of this Week -- April 18, 2003

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

Integrating Semiconductor Manufacturing Efficiency

OEM innovations are emerging continually, as is the list of their product ranges.

Solectron's Nishimura Keynotes SMTA Annual Meeting

(October 3, 2001) Chicago -- The changes in the economy, the state of the supply chain and how his company will prepare for the upturn were topics Solectron Corp. president, CEO and chairman of the board Koichi Nishimura, Ph.D., touched on during his keynote speech at the Surface Mount Technology Association (SMTA) Annual Meeting/Awards Luncheon.

Deep Recess Penetration

Conformal coatings are commonly used for mechanical and electrical isolation of electronic circuit assemblies, sensors and transducers, automotive components, medical devices, and various other industrial products.

SMT Connector

Featuring a distance of 4 to 5 mm between boards, the FX10 Series of parallel board-to-board surface mounted connectors are said to allow increased and improved transmission speeds. This reportedly is achieved, in part, through ground plenums on both mating assemblies. Ground stability is achieved with direct connection of the ground plenums to the board. Signal contacts are on 0.5 mm spacing, with ground plenum contact every 10 contact positions. Additional stability is provided with board sold

The 10 Most Dreaded Questions For CMs

Electronics outsourcing continues to grow at about 25 percent per year; this trend is expected to continue into the foreseeable future. Traditional manufacturers recognize the prohibitive costs of electronics technology, capital and other resources. Many have set strategies in place to allow their companies to focus on particular core competencies, such as engineering or marketing, vs. hands-on manufacturing. They have recognized that this function can be best served by an outsourcing partnershi

Adhesive Deposition

When choosing whether to dispense adhesives with high-speed dispensing equipment or a stencil printer, a number of factors must be taken into consideration.

EMS Contracts in the U.S.: Focused Equipment Strategies for Jobs and Profits

By Greg Biesiadecki, Alpha Electronics International Inc. - U.S.-based EMS providers can win back OEM business from overseas with higher quality and lower costs. Automated manufacturing and inspection equipment, along with a solid OEM relationship strategy, can bring business to U.S. firms. This article covers AOI, selective soldering, and business strategy.

X-ray Choice for SMT Manufacturing:

In an X-ray inspection system purchase, as part of a test-functionality strategy within SMT manufacturing processes, different types of equipment are available from a range of manufacturers.

End-of-Life Leaching of Lead and Other Elements

There is much concern about what will happen when consumer electronics being stored in basements, garages, and attics reach municipal landfills.

2003 SMT VISION Award Winners

Adhesives/Coatings/ Encapsulants

Step 2: Process Control

The current industry focus is on how factories can run more efficiently.

Ask and Answer - February 27, 2002

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

Plug and Sockets

The Firewire IEEE 1394 plug and sockets are now available for high-speed and wide bandwidth applications. These connectors are said to be suitable for devices from digital video, digital cameras and DVD players to cable modems, LAN connections and consumer-AV devices. The jacks are surface mount and feature snap-in PC tails to hold the connector in position. Also available are a horizontal through-hole mount and an upright through-hole mount. They reportedly are designed to withstand greater tha

Flexible Test Strategy Improves Efficiency

In the contract manufacturing sector, a pay-per-use test strategy is a proven testing solution for generating high-quality manufacturing services at low cost.

Web-based ATE Adapts to Test Future Technology

Easy access to test data and a broad range of tools for test program development are employed via Web-based technology.

Lead-free for High-reliability, High-temperature Applications

By Hector Steen, Ph.D. and Brian Toleno, Ph.D., Henkel Corporation - Though the electronics industry is nearing RoHS's three-year anniversary, several challenges remain with lead-free materials. Automotive and military/aerospace products require a lead-free material that can withstand under-the-hood conditions, offer vibration resistance not commonly associated with traditional SAC alloys, and deliver high-temperature thermal cycling reliability levels beyond those currently available.

Dispensing Solder Paste at High Speed with Piezoelectric Drive Technology

March Product Highlights

Following are the new product releases from National, AVX, CIT, Adchem, Ansoft, Creative Materials, Zuken, and Devcon. Featuring DC/DC converter components, surface mount switches, polyester film bonding tape, design software, adhesives, and more.

STEP 9: Test and Inspection

Shipping high-quality products that are free of defects is a challenge that will not disappear.

VISION Products


Flexibility in SMT Assembly

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

New Products

EMI Shielding Gaskets

Publisher's Executive Council Interview

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 ...

Leadless Packages

These standard and custom leadless Cirpak packages for RFIC applications are said to feature plated and bonded copper (PBC) on alumina ceramic for electrical and thermal conductivity. This leadless design reportedly has been tested up to 6 GHz with excellent RF test results. Packages can be customized and are available with plated through-vias or edge metallization. Ceramic lids, with or without epoxy preform, also are available.

Flextronics Continues to Acquire

ROCHESTER, N.H. and SAN JOSE, Calif. - Cabletron Systems and Flextronics International announced they have entered into a definitive agreement in which Cabletron will divest manufacturing and repair services operations in Rochester, N.H. and Limerick, Ireland, to Flextronics. Under terms of the agreement, Flextronics will acquire manufacturing-related assets and inventories, and will also hire Cabletron`s worldwide manufacturing workforce of approximately 1,000.

Industry Prospects:
Will Printed Electronics Be Sustainable?

In many ways the end product is only as good as the equipment used to produce it, and market penetration is only as good as the manufacturing infrastructure that supports it. With printed electronics, success will be measured in the precision and throughput achieved by printing equipment. NanoMarkets analysts report that manufacturing capacity at present is negligible, and the standby screen printer will lose market share to high-volume printing methods over the next five years.

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).

Pb-free Design and Process Optimization for PIH

This article examines results of the board design and process optimization for paste-in-hole (PIH) using lead-free solder.

Yield Enhancement Solutions with AOI

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

Lead-free Wave Soldering: A Cost-effective Alternative

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

GES Helps Electronics Firms Manage Risk

On April 25, 2002, GES Commercial Equipment Financing (CEF) acquired the majority of assets from what was the Comdisco Electronics Portfolio.

Ask and Answer - May 1, 2002

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

Speaking of this Week - December 7, 2001

Speaking of this Week reflects on events in the electronics assembly industry every Friday. Glimmers of hope. They shine through the releases I'm getting, the conversations I'm having and the overall feel of the electronics assembly industry. While the economy at large has officially entered a recession, a light at the end of the tunnel seems to be in sight.

Filter Array

The 0612 low pass filter array is said to provide four equivalent RCR T-filters with a dual common ground, reportedly resulting in the equivalent of eight resistors and four capacitors in one chip. Primary applications are in signal filtering, EMI suppression, and mobile or cordless systems. It is said to feature the ability to filter four circuits with one package, providing distributed capacitance and shielded resistance. The integrated package also is said to have lower parasitic capacitance

Celestica Expands Relationship with IBM

TORONTO and ARMONK, N.Y. - Celestica Inc. entered into an agreement to significantly expand its existing relationship with IBM, specifically the Enterprise Systems Group and Microelectronics Div. The agreement provides for the sale and transfer of operations and assets in Rochester, Minn., and Vimercate and Santa Palomba, Italy.

Conversion Cost Update

When conversion cost is measured on a per lead basis, the evidence clearly indicates that the cost of transformation is declining.

Electronics Industry Association News

IMEC and Qualcomm collaborate on 3D packaging technologies; IPC meets internationally to discuss urgent trends; iNEMI releases recommendations for lead-free alloy alternatives.

Tracking the Flow of Solder Defects

By Zulki Khan, Nexlogic Technologies - - Soldering defects can occur from reflow, wave, or hand soldering. However, the most prone to defects is reflow soldering for SMT. Reflow soldering is more complex compared to other forms of soldering. Reflow soldering requires the development and use of a correct thermal profile.

Predicting Brittle Fracture Failures

With expanded use of printed circuit board assemblies (PCBAs) containing lead-free BGA components, the challenge remains: how to predict and detect brittle fracture failures.

Transport Developments Support Fast Changeovers in High-Volume SMT Production

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

The Inside Line

Where Mexican EMS Wins

The Inside Line

Improving Communication Between PCB Designers and Manufacturers


The tiny shielded inductors in the DS1608BL Series are said to be engineered for backlighting applications. They reportedly feature high breakdown voltage and efficiency with DC resistance 10 to 60 percent lower than currently available inductors. These magnetically shielded parts are designed with a flat top for pick-and-place operations. The heat-resistant materials are said to ensure trouble-free assembly and reflow soldering.

Placement Equipment

Featuring unique centering and vision systems, modular designs and high throughput rates, today`s automated pick-and-place equipment is a far cry from the manual placement and handling machines of the past. Both fine-pitch and odd-form components can be placed on a PCB at the push of a button with some advanced machines. Other desirable options include small footprints, computer-compatibility and quick changeover times. SMT presents the following placement equipment selector roundup to highlight

Sustaining a Robust Fine-feature Print Process

The introduction of 01005 chip components and 0.3-mm-pitch CSP devices is pushing surface mount technology (SMT) to its process limits. Miniaturization is driving the smallest and tightest-pitch components, but how far can this go before solder paste is no longer viable? How small a feature can be printed with solder paste, and can this be implemented into a production environment? George Babka, Assembléon America; David Sbiroli and Chris Anglin, Indium Corporation; and Richard Brooks, Kyzen define an experiment and guidelines.

STEP 1: Correct-by-Construction Approach for HDI Designs with High-speed Interfaces

By Hemant Shah, Cadence Design Systems Inc. - This article covers how HDI manufacturing rules should be integrated with any PCB design system to enable a correct-by-construction methodology without giving up on high-speed constraints that ensure the board will work with few or no physical prototype iterations.

WEEE Registration Logistics

WEEE should have been adopted in the EU by August 2005; however, the UK, France, Italy, Poland, Estonia, Finland, Greece, and Malta have yet to enforce the legislation.

Lead-free Conversion Issues in Component and PWB Surface Finishes

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

Speaking of this Week — February 13, 2004

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


Compiled By SMT Staff


Compiled By SMT Staff

January Board Games - The Answers

Stumped on a crossword answer? Want to make sure you're right? Here are the answers to January SMT Board Games.

SMD Film Capacitors

These smaller series GMW and SMW surface mount film capacitors use a "naked" construction, and are said to offer sizes down to 1812 for applications where stability or self-healing are required. This series is said to be less susceptible to moisture than other types and cannot delaminate. They are offered in higher voltages than were commonly available in the past. The capacitance range is 1,000 pF to 1 µF in voltages up to 630 VDC.

CM Agreement Reached

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Sanmina Corp. and Harris Corp. signed a three-year strategic manufacturing agreement. Under its terms, Harris will outsource its commercial PCB assembly manufacturing to Sanmina. In addition, Sanmina is acquiring Harris` PCB assembly manufacturing assets and inventory and will lease the company`s ISO 9002-certified, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in San Antonio.

High-volume Placement

The FCM, with speeds of up to 96,000 cph, has a footprint of 50 sq. ft. The slow movements of up to 16 independent placement modules, along with stationary feeders and boards, reportedly allow the unit to achieve a defect rate of less than 25 ppm, placing components as small as 0201. Vision modules allow placement of components down to 0.020" pitch.

Overcoming Bead Probe Contact Challenges
Part II: Enhancing First Pass Yield With Better Spring Probe Tip Geometries

By Michael Farrell Sr., Agilent Technologies and Brian Crisp and Ken Snyder, Everett Charles Technologies - Part I of this two-part article discussed the use of bead probe technology and factors that impact probing, such as spring force and biasing. This section covers contact integrity, from the importance of probe head design to probe materials.

Solder Dross Recycling: A Case Study

By Simon Norman, EVS International - The world price of solder is at an all-time high, so reducing solder consumption — therefore reducing incurred costs — should be at the top of every electronics manufacturer's priorities list. On average, EMS companies throw away 75% of their solder as dross. One company worked with their equipment supplier to automate the solder dross recovery process in-house.

TechTips Toolbox

When we consider the transition to lead-free soldering, with all of its metallurgical complexities, it’s easy to understand how people might forget the basics.

Step 5: Adhesives/Epoxies & Dispensing

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

Product Review 2003


New Products

Placement Technology

Speaking of this Week -- October 4, 2002

It's hard to get excited about reporting the IPC-Book-to-Bill when it remains fairly flat -- but, of course, that means it didn't fall. Trade show news continues to dominate this week (we are in heavy tradeshow season, after all), followed by the three Ps of progress, partnership and personnel. There's a bit of bad financial news, but some interesting surveys appeared this week about the industry.

SGS Sets Dates for SMT Process Engineer Certification Program

July 20, 2001 - Speedline Global Services' four-part training program provides SMT process engineers with in-depth training and hands-on learning for the entire electronics manufacturing process.

Miniature Trimmer Capacitors

The company is extending the range of its A1 series miniature trimmer capacitors to 12 pF. With 13 turns of adjustment and positive stops, the A1_12 is said to be suitable for tuning applications in amplifiers, filters and oscillators. It is offered in PCB and SMT mountings, and high-voltage and nonmagnetic versions are available. Qs reportedly are greater than 1,000 at 200 MHz, and self-resonance is 1.2 GHz at 12 pF.

Florida Facility Acquired

HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. - Boundless Manufacturing Services Inc. (BMS) acquired Boca Research Inc.`s 70,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility in Boca Raton, Fla. BMS will assume manufacturing services, leasing and other support services, and also plans to staff the facility from Boca Research`s current team of manufacturing and supply chain associates.

Rotary Head

The SI-E1000 compact chip mounting machine features the Planet Head. Reportedly, this compact rotary head achieves precise, high-speed placement by controlling its planet gears with a fully closed rotary servo. Bidirectional head rotation is said to support optimal head control and reduce operating cycle time. The head features reflective and transmission part recognition.

Selection Criteria for SMT Placement Equipment

By Ray Prasad, Ray Prasad Consultancy Group - Typically, surface mount pick and place equipment, including a full complement of feeders, constitute about 50% of the total capital investment required for a medium-volume surface mount manufacturing line. Since no one type of placement equipment is best for all applications, the effort required in selecting equipment with an appropriate feeder system should constitute a major part of the effort spent in selecting capital equipment.

EMS Product Roundup

PROMATION released a sorting system for AOI, and also developed a thermal probe conveyor for electronics assemblers; NOVACAP launched a series of component arrays combining multiple ceramic components into an SMD; YESTech announced an advanced automated inspection for various defects detection.

Stencil Printer Option

The Accela stencil printer has been optimized with SpeedVision, a high-speed inspection option, that can perform 2-D substrate and stencil inspection during the printing process.


Compiled by SMT Staff

5S Provides Competitive Lean Foundation

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


Industry Experts voice differing opinions on ultrasonic vs. spray cleaning

Miniaturized Inductors

Five new families of surface mount, high-current components in the 1813, 2218, 3020, 3114 and 3722 packages were added to the company`s selection of inductors. With footprint diameters ranging from 4.5 to 9.5 mm and height profiles as low as 3.2 mm, the inductors are said to be suitable for notebook computers, cell phones, pagers and other end products where space is at a premium. Typical applications include buck and boost DC/DC conversion and power line filtering circuits.

CM Team to Serve Northeastern U.S.

MILFORD, N.H. - Citronics Corp., a New Hampshire-based CM, linked its resources with Sparton Corp. to develop joint business opportunities for Northeastern United States and international markets. With the addition of Citronics as its sixth alliance partner, Sparton is expanding its regional market coverage to 15 facilities throughout North America and Europe.

Touchless Centering Placement Heads

The PlacePro Model 7100 employs six touchless centering placement heads mounted on a single gantry. It can reportedly place a wide range of component package types at rates up to 18,180 cph. A high-speed scan camera mounted on the gantry below the head assembly provides on-the-fly vision alignment of components as the gantry moves from the pick point to the placement position. Touchless component centering is performed using the high-speed vision processing system and either the scan camera or o

From the Editor:
Tradeshow Participation Anticipation

Time seems to be speeding up lately, as I can't help but spend a lot of time looking ahead. What's down the road? SEMICON West is just around the bend, then SMTA International next month, and IPC Midwest in September. We at the magazine have unique opportunities to participate in each of these major shows.

Printed Electronics in Next-Gen Mobile Phones

By Peter Harrop, Ph.D., IDTechEx - Printed electronics are an emerging $300 billion business of transistors, memory, displays, solar cells, batteries, sensors, lasers, and more printable or potentially printable electronics. End products manufactured in this manner will be foldable, conformal, wide area, low cost, edible, rollable, transparent, and biodegradable, as needed. The printed electronics industry will be pivotal to the future of mobile phones.

Software for Solder Inspection

The remote teaching system (RTS) reportedly enables users to program off-line, without shutting down the system during programming.

iNEMI Heads Hi-Rel RoHS Task Force

The International Electronics Manufacturing Initiative (iNEMI) created the High-Reliability (Hi-Rel) RoHS Task Force and announced publication of recommendations to protect the dependability of high-reliability products as the supply chain moves to lead-free components.

the Inside line

NWA Works to Connect the Dots of Information

Speaking of this Week — November 26, 2003

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

Speaking of this Week — September 12, 2003

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

MicroTel Subsidiary XET Secures Third Contract for Custom Avionics Communications Subassemblies

(July 29, 2002) Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. -- MicroTel International Inc.'s XET Corp. subsidiary has secured a third contract this year from a major U.S. military prime contractor for custom avionics communications subassemblies.

Virtual Chip Exchange Hits 5,000 Member Milestone

(December 6, 2001) Hauppauge, N.Y. -- Virtual Chip Exchange's B2B electronic components exchange has signed up 5,000 member companies in time for its fourth anniversary -- against a landscape of dot-bombs.

New Products

Circuit Assembly Materials from Thermoset, Lord Chemical Products, Indianapolis, Ind.; Film Adhesives from APS TechFilm, Peabody, Mass.; X-ray Inspection from Glenbrook Technologies Inc., Randolph, N.J.; Tray Handling from Pro Automation Inc., Garden Grove, CA. ...

Trimmer Potentiometers

The company expanded its product line of single- and multiturn 3, 4 and 5 mm SMD trimmer potentiometers for high-density, high-performance applications. They are said to have cermet resistive elements rated from 10W to 2 MW. Environmental and performance testing to MIL-STD-202 and MIL-R-22097 is said to ensure reliability, and operating temperature range is -55o to 125oC. Applications include computer peripherals, power supplies, test/measurement equipment, and a variety of entertainment and tel

Two Sypris Subsidiaries Active in the Market

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Sypris Solutions Inc. announced that its subsidiary, Group Technologies Inc., signed a subcontract with Raytheon Command Control & Communications Segment for the production of circuit card assemblies valued at $7.0 million. Initial funding of $4.7 million has been issued to begin the first year of this potentially multi-year program. Raytheon will use the delivered assemblies in support of the Navy`s cooperative engagement capabilities.

Fine-pitch Vision and Dispenser

Two new features for the CLM 9000 SMD pick-and-place system include a dual-camera Cognex vision system and an Archimedian screw valve dispenser. The vision system provides accurate placement of fine-pitch components down to 0.016", BGAs or special components. The dispenser allows precise dispensing of solder paste for prototyping without the need for stencil printing. The placement system can have up to 190 feeder inputs (100 inputs with in-line conveyor). Standard equipment includes a universal

Part 11: Lead-free System Reliability - Power of Metallurgy Continued

The performance of lead-free solders strictly follows solder metallurgy. Here, we look at the core values at play for two common lead-free solder alloys: tin/silver/copper (Sn/Ag/Cu – SAC) and tin/copper (Sn/Cu).

Realizing the Expectations of AOI

By Matthew Holzmann, Christopher Associates - - With the resurgence of the electronics interconnect manufacturing industry there is renewed emphasis on AOI. Long-time users are in the market for new and improved technology, while other companies are ready to implement AOI on a wider scale. Price competition has thinned profit margins for both users and vendors, and yet AOI has still not achieved its original performance goals.

Productronica Products

The following is a variety of products offered from just a few of the exhibiting companies slated to be at Productronica 2005, November 15-18, in Munich, Germany.

ATS Receives $11.4 Million in Repeat Automation Systems Orders

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


Kester Sold to American Capital

Speaking of this Week — November 26, 2003

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

Metal-oxide Semiconductor Devices

The company introduced a range of eight new HDMOS devices. The 20 and 30 V P-channel MOSFETs are said to offer performance for low-voltage load switching applications, reportedly helping to increase battery life in portable equipment. Minimum threshold voltage is 0.7 or 1 V, which enables the devices to provide performance from a low-voltage source.

Canadian CM Expands Facilities

EDMONTON, Alberta, Canada - Mitronix Inc. announced the completion of the most recent expansion of the company`s facilities. Reportedly done because of a large increase in customer orders in 1999, the company expanded its facility to 13,000 sq. ft. and acquired additional assembly machines.

Laser-aligned System

The KE 760 is an automatic, high-precision system for flexible surface mount assembly. The laser-aligned system can populate PCBs as large as 16 x 14" and incorporates a vision recognition system to detect missing or abnormal bumps on BGA packages. With a rated tact time of 0.32 seconds, the system reportedly achieves placement accuracy of ±0.002" for chips and ±0.001" for QFPs up to 2 x 2".

The Environmental Cost of Green

By Michael Konrad, Aqueous Technologies Corporation - Being involved in the electronics assembly industry for more than 23 years, specifically in the field of defluxing and cleanliness testing, I have seen my share of environmental regulations. Today, governments have focused their attention on effluent discharge, a byproduct of defluxing.

No-clean Solder Paste

An improved no-clean solder paste formulated for SAC 305 leaves a shiny, aesthetically-pleasing finish on solder joints. The clear flux residue does not interfere with inspection, and the paste is said to improve wetting capabilities.

Solutions for Advanced Rework Challenges

The electronic world is getting smaller, more crowded and vertically integrated.

Crystal Oscillators

These new VCXOs are said to provide stable frequency sources for the telecommunications and instrumentation industries. They are suitable for use in phase-locked loops, clock recovery, reference signal tracking, synthesizers and frequency modulation/demodulation applications. The VCSAT (5.0 V) and VCSAXT (3.3 V) VCXOs reportedly have stabilities from ±25 to ±100 ppm. Pullability ranges from ±50 to ±100 ppm, and temperature ranges from -10o to 70oC or from -40o to 85oC.

Resource-constrained CM Acquired

NORWALK, Ohio - EPIC Technologies Inc. was acquired by TMW Enterprises and Crawford-Greene LLC. EPIC will join an affiliate network of regional CMs, with approximately 900 employees in the United States and Europe and targeted sales in the $130 million range for 1999.

Chips and Large Parts

The GSM platform with FlexJet technology allows high-speed placement of both chips and large parts on a single platform. The platform reportedly reduces machine downtime related to changeover because it handles both chips and ICs. Lines consisting of multiple machines with this platform and technology are said to achieve high machine utilization because of the range of components that can be handled.

TFI Blog: Personalities of EMS companies

By Pamela J. Gordon, Technology Forecasters Inc. - What is it about EMS companies that has inspired investors to clamor over them despite the industry's consistent, remarkably low profit margins? How did the "board-stuffing" suppliers transform themselves into multibillion dollar international players with star-power executives? I believe that it's the personalities of the companies that have won them fame.

Halogen-free Guidelines, Databases, and Future Projects

By Scott O'Connell, Ruben Bergman, and Marshall Andrews, HDPUG - The High Density Packaging User Group International (HDPUG) has been evaluating halogen-free material properties and the feasibility of using them in electronic products since information about the first halogen-free materials was introduced some 12 years ago. HDPUG recognized the market need for halogen-free materials in electronic equipment and developed programs to assistant in this transition.


Buried Capacitance Method Decouples Components

Protecting Board Integrity in Harsh Environments

Conducting failure test analysis and quality control evaluations of circuits that have been protected with conformal coatings can be difficult.

Speaking of this Week -- January 31, 2003

What a week! Everywhere you look, there's huge news. The bellwether IPC IMS/PCB Book-to-Bill Ratio and Business Report came out this week, and some big appointments and promotions also came down. We've also got year-end financial results, progress news, tradeshow news, acquisitions and a prediction.

Ask and Answer -- December 18, 2002

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

Surface Mount Package

This three-terminal version of the company`s Powermite surface mount product line is designed to replace larger and higher profile D-PAK and TO-220 packages used for semiconductor devices. The devices are said to be less than 1.1 mm high and require 5.3 x 4.8 mm on a PCB. The product also reportedly has a rugged construction and provides thermal impedance and resistance characteristics.

Solectron Is in the Zhone

MILPITAS, Calif. - Zhone Technologies Inc. and Solectron Corp. announced the signing of a letter of intent for Solectron to become Zhone`s virtual supply-chain partner. The proposed transaction is designed to allow Zhone to focus resources on the design and development of new products by having Solectron provide product life cycle and supply chain management.

Windows Operating Environment

The Meridian Series SMT placement systems offer high ROI, low setup and operating costs, and effective line optimization and operation monitoring tools, with maximum placement rates exceeding 28,000 cph. All models are said to accurately place both chip and IC components. Features include a Windows NT operating environment and three-stage, soft-stop conveyors.

New Products in Electronics Manufacturing: January 2009

Following are the new components, factory automation elements, screen printing tools, thermoelectric power generation kits, dispensing systems, product data management software, test boards, ESD control products, soldering systems, and other products for design, assembly, and test of PCBs released recently.

Route SMT

SMT Magazine visits New Brunswick Industries, Inc. (NBI), a contract manufacturer in El Cajon, Calif.

RoHS: Y2K for OEMs?

Determining RoHS-compliance preparedness and redesigning products to satisfy the Directive is the main discussion topic between EMS providers and OEMs.

BTU Looks to the Future

(April 30, 2002) North Billerica, Mass. -- BTU International has managed the economic downturn like many large capital equipment manufacturers. Their approach is to adjust to the reversal in market demands, and then plan for the future with new products that fit future needs.

Ask and Answer - December 5, 2001

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

Test and Inspection

For the engineer or manager who must examine test and inspection for the first time, figuring out how and when to use the different methodologies may seem daunting at first.

Component Specifier

High-voltage MOSFET from Fairchild Semiconductor, Acton, Mass.; Temperature Sensing from International Rectifier, El Segundo, Calif.; Power Supply from BIAS Power Technology, Roanoke, Va.; Dual Transformers from Bel Fuse Inc., Jersey City, N.J. ...

Express Manufacturing Inc., Santa Ana, Calif., installed CR Technologys CRX-2000 automated X-ray inspection system to inspect BGAs and microBGAs on PCBs.

Express Manufacturing Inc., Santa Ana, Calif., installed CR Technology`s CRX-2000 automated X-ray inspection system to inspect BGAs and microBGAs on PCBs. The system will reportedly increase time-to-market requirements of the company`s customers by enhancing its inspection capabilities for higher end packaging techniques.

Low- to Medium-volume Placement

Designed for low- to medium-volume SMD placement, the P40`s capabilities include a variety of applications ranging from 0402 discrete components to 0.020" fine-pitch to BGAs, with a maximum feeder capability of 120 8 mm stick feeders (80 8 mm tape feeders). The units reportedly were designed for facilities where quick setup, ease of operation and high reliability are paramount. Component placement rates of up to 2,500 cph are typical.

Further Testing of Hi-rel/Hi-temp Lead-Free Alloy Supports Wide Implementation

A year has passed since Hector Steen, Ph.D., Henkel Corporation and a colleague reported on the development of a novel, patented lead-free solder alloy to meet the high-temperature, high-reliability requirements of automotive applications. Since then, additional testing results for the alloy (SnAg3.8Cu0.7 [SAC387] with Bi, Sb, and Ni additions) have confirmed its robust performance and reliability for high-operating-temperature applications. Steen reports the latest information from additional testing.

So, You Need to Clean? A Defluxing Process Roadmap, Part II

By Michael Konrad, Aqueous Technologies - Our roadmap consists of several key factors: type of flux, type of assembly, product flow, volume, staff competency, facility restrictions, environmental restrictions, and budget. In Part II, I discuss volume, staff competency, facility restrictions, environmental restrictions, and budget.

Double-sided Flying Probe Solves PCB Test Challenges

By Ray Rattey, Texmac Inc. - Flying probe technology has been used to verify bare-board opens and short and as an alternative to in-circuit test (ICT) on populated PCBs for more than 20 years. Test issues caused by complex, dense, or otherwise challenging PCB designs are resolved by double-sided test probe system technology.

New Products


Lead-free: Making the Adjustments

The EU’s RoHS Directive, as well as similar global legislation, is fostering change in the fabrication and assembly of PCBs.

Speaking of this Week — September 12, 2003

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

The Flexibility Factor

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

Indium Corp. Introduces 'Solder Online' E-Commerce Site

(July 26, 2002) Utica, N.Y. -- Solder fluxes, pastes, wire, spheres, performs and more from The Indium Corp. of America (ICA) are now no more than a mouse-click away with ICA's "Solder Online" e-commerce service.

IMAPS/SMTA Holiday Meeting Honors IMAPS Members

(December 5, 2001) Boxboro, Mass. -- Among the good cheer, good food and lively music of the IMAPS New England and SMTA Boston Chapter holiday meeting/party and annual awards dinner held here on Tuesday, IMAPS took the time to honor two of its members.

Component Specifier

As SMT matures and its end products continue to shrink in size but grow in capability, manufacturers are constantly in need of components that satisfy demanding footprint, reliability and placement requirements.

CM News

IBM VP Moves to Solectron; New President & CEO for GroupTech; Irish Manufacturing Commences; Organizational Overhaul ...

Flux and Cleaning

The selection of flux and cleaning processes plays a critical role in the manufacturing yield and product reliability of electronic assemblies. The subjects of flux and cleaning are interrelated - one cannot be discussed without the other. The function of flux is to remove oxides and other nonmetallic impurities from the soldering surface and prepare a clean surface for joining. After soldering, cleaning may be required to remove flux residues.

Low-volume, High-mix

The MP1260`s single feeder change on-the-fly, multiple on-line placement programs, and complete inventory on one machine reportedly make it suitable for low-volume and high-mix assemblies. It is available with up to 10 placement heads and 328 feeder locations. The unit may also be configured with a mechanical gripper head and a dispenser in addition to the vacuum placement heads. Components placed range from 0201 chips to large (55 mm2) parts. The system can also dispense adhesives and solder pa

Automating Nondestructive Analysis of Underfill in Flip Chips

By Tom Adams, Sonoscan Inc. - Flip chip failure under operating conditions often stems from a root cause in the solder bumps or underfill materials supporting the bumps. Voids, delaminations, and cracks can lead to failures. Individual flip chip inspection can be difficult at production speeds without specialized software tools.

How Does Cleaning Affect Conformal Coating?

By Sini Aleksic Ph.D.; Helmut Schweigart, Ph.D.; and Harald Wack, Ph.D., Zestron - Providing electronic assemblies with protective coatings is an important and necessary measure to ensure their reliability. To ensure optimum adhesion of the protective coating, it is important to provide the highest cleanliness of the assemblies before coating. Perform analysis beyond traditional cleanliness tests.

EMS Success: Moving Forward in Tier I

With the success of its equipment distribution business in the Asia market, WKK expanded into the electronics manufacturing service (EMS) sector in 1986.

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

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

Speaking of this Week - February 22, 2002

Speaking of this Week reflects on events in the electronics assembly industry every Friday. This short week brought a continuation of last week's trends -- lots o' trade shows in the works from trade organizations that have news of their own, and financial news that continues to cautiously point in a positive direction. In the meantime, the triangle of Mentor's bid to buy IKOS in cash over Synopsys' offer continues.

CM News

Jabil Expands Services - ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Jabil Circuit Inc. further expanded Jabil Technology Services by establishing three new design centers, located in Bergamo, Italy; Penang, Malaysia; and Raleigh, N.C.

PCBs Challenge Test & Inspection

Printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturers continually are faced with test and inspection challenges. Increased board density is challenging traditional bed-of-nails in-circuit test (ICT) as well as visual inspection by human operators.

Six-nozzle Revolver Head

The SIPLACE 80 F5 handles standard and odd-shaped components via a traditional pick-and-place head, as well as advanced components, including bare die, CSPs, µBGAs and flip chips, by using a special six-nozzle revolver head. This head is capable of placing components ranging from 0603 to 32 x 32 mm, at a rate of 8,000 cph with an accuracy of 70 µm at 4 sigma. To place larger parts (up to 55 mm), the system uses a second head for pick-and-place at a rate of 1,800 cph with an accuracy of

July Featured Products

Following are the new components, software packages, thermal interface materials, and production accessories for electronics manufacturing from Blue Thunder, Laird, AVX, Aegis, and more.

Adding AXI to a PCBA Test Process

More PCB manufacturers are considering automated X-ray inspection (AXI) to solve inspection problems.

STEP 6: Component Placement

With a focus on 01005 components, a discussion of placing 0201s may seem outdated at first.

IPC Roadmap Notes Changes, Challenges

The industry is changing, and the IPC’s 2004-2005 International Technology Roadmap for Electronic Connections also has changed.

Dispensing for Optoelectronics

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

Ask and Answer -- October 2, 2002

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

Mistake-proof Manufacturing =Quality Manufacturing

An alternative to the "training and punishment" approach to error avoidance, mistake proofing devices provide prevention vs. costly "after the fact" detection.

EMS Market for the North American Communications Industry

Telecommunication (telecom) and datacommunication (datacom) OEMs accept outsourcing as a viable business model because electronics manufacturing services (EMS) organizations are furthering their service expertise swiftly.

Short Production Runs

MY9, the smallest footprint of the MY-Series machines, can handle up to 112 8 mm feeders, 105 SOIC tubes, or 80 8 mm tapes and 32 JEDEC trays with the optional tray exchanger. With this option and the new dual vision system, the machine is capable of placing components, QFPs, BGAs, and more advanced package technologies like flip chip, BGA and CSPs with pitch down to 0.16 mm.

Reports: China, Screen Printer, and Flex Circuit Markets

Henderson Ventures studies inflation and electronics production in China; Research and Markets reviews demand for screen printers globally, and the analyst firm also reports on the global flexible circuit market.

From the Editor:
Reaching for Balance

Yesterday, I left N.H. snow squalls behind eagerly, headed out for sunny Atlanta, where cherry and magnolia blossoms welcomed spring, and the grass was halfway green already — not a bit of snow. Ah, sweet change. On top of increasing temperatures, we were visiting old friends in the industry at Siemens, Viscom, and Assembléon to talk about their plans for the future, see new products, and meet new personnel. What could be better than that?

Reliability of Mixed-alloy Solder Joints

Completely mixing tin/lead solder with the SAC ball is critical to form uniform and homogenous microstructures.

New Products

The DR354-1-2-3-4 series surface mount wirewound chip inductors protect against electromagnetic interference (EMI) for small devices in high-frequency filtering applications.


Compiled by SMT Staff

SMT Analysis of the Medical Industry

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

Beta Test: Can Software Create a Self-profiling Reflow Oven?

If effective, results from this test could reduce production setup time, increase overall process accuracy and eliminate the need for daily product-profiling delays.

New Products

Depaneling Systems from MJ automec USA Inc., Grand Prairie, Texas; Stencil Printer from Automated Production Systems Inc., Huntingdon Valley, Pa; Profiling Equipment from Saunders Technology Inc., Hollis, N.H.; Four-head Placement from Manncorp, Huntingdon Valley, Pa ...

Speed Enhancements

The 3Z is the latest version in the Contact 3 Series of SMT placement machines. Several speed enhancements reportedly have increased the maximum placement rate by more than 60 percent (13,000 cph). Faster motors with non-contact linear encoders are said to have increased head speed by 167 percent and table speed by 52 percent. Servo-driven Z axes increase cycle speed while improving placement force control. The unit retains its split-axis design with independent dual heads, 100 percent vision ce

Practical Guidelines for Handling Moisture Sensitive Devices and PWBs

Mumtaz Y. Bora, Peregrine Semiconductor, defines MSDs, relevant standards, and where the industry is headed in the handling of moisture sensitive components and circuit boards. The IPC D-35 committee is working to release a standard for moisture sensitivity control guidelines for PWBs.

From the Editor
A School for Ants?

There's no doubt in anyone's mind that the majority of electronic products are shooting for higher density, more miniaturization, and smaller form factors. In the midst of all this scaling down, the human factor bungles things up. If problems arise, manual rework may be required on such delicate and miniaturized components that they may better fit into a doll's electronics, or, as Ben Stiller ineptly exclaims in the movie Zoolander, in "a school for ants."

Face-off: Destructive vs. Non-destructive Testing

Industry experts face off on destructive vs. non-destructive testing for RoHS compliance.

Speed Enhancements for Screen Printing

Upgrading capital equipment to accelerate assembly processes is a cost-down technique, particularly in the EMS sector.

Speaking of this Week -- April 11, 2003

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

EDS 2002 at a Glance

(April 29, 2002) Las Vegas -- Held May 14 through 16, 2002, at the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel, the Electronic Distribution Show & Conference (EDS) 2002 is home to almost 500 exhibitors, comprising manufacturers who sell through electronic distributors, suppliers who sell to electronic distributors, and master distributors authorized to sell to other distributors.

New Products

Stencil Inspection System - StencilScan is a stencil and screen inspection system designed for SMT assembly. It reportedly is a fully integrated, off-line inspection workstation using a PC Windows-based software package integrated with a high-resolution, calibrated, A3 flatbed scanner. This combination allows inspection of both stencils and screens for accuracy and blockage after cleaning or after fabrication, and the ability to inspect 100 percent for absence/presence and correct size

Soldering Equipment & Materials

Soldering is a critical step in the SMT process. Because high reliability and throughput rates rely on defect-free soldering, it is important that soldering equipment and materials meet the needs of the assembler.

Nepcon West

NEPCON West 2000, February 29 through March 2, at the Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim, Calif., boasted a full conference schedule, the Technology Advancement Center (TAC), pick-and-place evaluation center, special industry events, and product introductions and news. The show hosted a myriad of companies, representing electronics design through test equipment, from the United States and around the world.

4-axis Robot

The SR-424HSP robot has a total arm length of 420 mm. It can work within an area the size of a pallet. With four axes, multitasking capability, 32-bit control, arm height of 479 mm and weighing 21 kg, the robot can be used for pick-and-place applications. It reportedly has rotational speeds of up to 480° per second and repeatability accuracy to within ±0.02 mm. The robot controller is capable of simultaneously processing input and output signals during robot motion. The 32-bit controll

Low-volume/High-mix: EMS Jobs in North America

By John Buckley, Zurvahn - OEMs creating mid- to low-volume products and new product introductions (NPI) require flexibility, design skills, and cost-effective manufacturing from their EMS providers. Lower inventory requirements and time-to-market priorities also come into play. Modern high-mix production requires a balance of development in North America and volume production available in low-labor-cost regions, with seamless transitions.

Driving Changes with Lean Manufacturing

Results of a competitive threat, poor financial performance, labor unrest, loss of a major contract, or a senior leadership team that wants the business to be its best typically drive the need for change in a manufacturing facility.

Route SMT

SMT Magazine visited The Morey Corporation (Woodridge, Ill.), and Nexlogic, a San Jose, Calif.

Pastes, Stencils, and Process Control

Concern for process defects is one reason for the growth in SMT. Paste and the printing process account for most process defects.

SMT Printer

PrinTEK Model 5000-APS is reported to be the largest SMT printer for batch-style, fine-pitch production. It is said to be suitable for large PCBs such as those used for backplane and motherboard production. The printer reportedly is designed to eliminate many challenges associated with assembling large SMT boards with two features: its tooling system and the stencil loading area.

Optical Inspection

The GS•1 is an in-line system for automatic optical inspection of the SMT component placement process. It also provides measurements of positions in X, Y and theta (Q) of all components after placement. The system also offers inspection of polarity indicators, SPC software and programming by CAD data.

Implementation Challenges for Halogen-free Solder

Concerns about halogen toxicity have brought on reduction/elimination campaigns across the electronics industry, including the soldering materials sector.

IDTechEx Provides FPO Update

IDTechEx analyst Peter Harrop examines the printed electronics industry, including flexible electronics, organic and inorganic materials, and production focus in "Printed Electronics Focuses in Dresden." Harrop argues that the printed electronics industry is most well funded, sophisticated, and in demand in Germany, with Dresden being a "magnet" for academic and industry advances. IDTechEx cites these as reasons for bringing its Printed Electronics Europe tradeshow to the city April 8–9.

STEP 4: Printing

This article examines new tools and techniques that are emerging in the printing market to meet requirements for enhanced accuracy and repeatability.

New Products

Ultra PP dispense tips have flexible polypropylene shafts for reaching hard-to-access areas. The PP tips, which are compatible with air-powered benchtop dispensers or automated dispense valves, apply adhesives, lubricants, and other assembly fluids.

Managing Engineering Information: The PLM Landscape

Product lifecycle management is a broad concept that encompasses the management of product-related information from inception through end-of-life.

Speaking of this Week — July 9, 2004

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

Speaking of this Week - April 26, 2002

Progress -- awards, certifications, expansion -- is in the air, as well as the ching-ching of financial results as companies announce their progress in the first quarter. And companies continue to double, and sometimes triple, up by forming partnerships and buying one another. At the same time, the road to recovery isn't always a straight uphill climb, as evidenced by the IPC Book-to-Bill Ratio for March.

Lead-free Issues Differ in Scope, Time Frame Around the World

(February 21, 2002) The response to the topical and controversial subject of lead-free solder in electronics assembly differs around the world.


Designed to meet the high-density packaging needs of the Intel Mobile Pentium III processor, the ultra-low-profile Micro PGA socket reportedly accepts various Intel mobile processors with speeds up to 650 MHz. With an overall height of 2.0 mm, these ZIF SMT sockets reportedly meet the low-profile and high-density needs of thin and light notebook PCs. The 495-circuit socket is based on a 1.27 mm grid array that is said to provide almost double the pin density in a third the size of traditional th

3-D Inspection and Taping

For use on the MP Series of machines, the MP200-3D provides a 3-D vision inspection and taping solution for two-sided components, including MSOPs and TSOPs fed from plastic tubes. The system reportedly features on-the-fly 3-D vision, fast changeover and low overall cost of ownership. The unit reportedly achieves throughputs of up to 6,500 parts per hour and is quickly changed to handle other part types. The system accepts tubes from 170 to 560 mm long to a stack height of 20 cm and accommodates

PCB Fab in a Recession: Lean, Web-based Ops

By Pratish Patel, Electronic Interconnect (EI) - PCB fabrication is a competitive and price-driven business with slim margins. One U.S.-based supplier has a lean methodology to thrive and grow even in tough times. This article covers the fabricator's approach to business and the marketplace with the application of lean manufacturing principles and modern communications.

Solder Paste Basics: A Round-up

This article asks major suppliers some of the basic questions that every user wants to ask about solder paste.

Selective Laser Soldering: DfM Rules

By Ray Prasad, Ray Prasad Consultancy Group - - All soldering processes have specific DfM requirements. For example, via-in-pad is not desired in reflow to prevent insufficient solder, and the right gap between pads of chip components is necessary. For wave soldering of surface mount components glued to the bottom of the board, it is necessary to align them parallel to the wave. Laser soldering is an option for selectively soldering thru-hole components in a mixed assembly.

A Look at an Engineering-focused EMS Provider

SMT Magazine spoke with Sean O'Neil and Scott Penin of Design Solutions, Inc. (Santa Barbara, Calif.), to learn about how the company assembles products based on an engineering and NPI mindset. DSI provides communication between design and fabrication aspects of the industry, with 2/3 of the staff in engineering and 1/3 in manufacturing. Customers are pushing for tighter tolerances and greater accuracy in dispensing equipment, O'Neil says, and they see reliability as a given.

Embedded Passives - Stuck in the Chasm?

Every so often, new technologies promising to revolutionize PCB design enter the scene, and possibly the technology-adoption life cycle.

Tin/lead vs. Lead-free: A Question of Print Accuracy

The entire supply industry is feeling the impact of WEEE and RoHS regulations. While much progress has been made in preparation for this transition, one question lingers: Does the lead-free solder paste printing process need to be more accurate than the tin/lead process? This article aims to answer that question.

Speaking of Contract Manufacturing: Virtual Resources Play a Role in EMS

Internal EMS resources have been stretched in the U.S. domestic market. Competitive pricing pressures and low profit margins in our industry have placed a strain on people by reducing the depth of in-house resources EMS companies can afford to retain on a permanent basis. We are finding ways to leverage the capabilities of related companies in this industry as we offer the customer a single point of contact in providing manufacturing services.

Speaking of this Week — April 30, 2004

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

Contract Manufacturing

The ongoing worldwide economic slowdown, combined with shifting global dynamics, has created an unprecedented level of uncertainty for manufacturers.

Soldering Tips

Long-life soldering tips, reportedly designed to meet the demands of high-production users, are said to deliver up to 3X the life of conventional tips. Manufactured from oxygen-free copper and iron, the tips have a polished, consistent finish. A selection of 22 tips is available for the PS-80 soldering iron, which reportedly allows the production user to solder virtually any through-hole or surface mount assembly.

Three Heads, Double Vision

The CP-40CV fine-pitch placer combines CyberOptics laser sensors on its three heads and 256-level gray-scale bottomside vision. This lead-screw driven machine places components from 0402s up to 40 mm square QFPs with pitches down to 0.3 mm. It holds 104 tape feeders as well as standard and belt-driven stick feeders and waffle-pack trays. Software provides real-time machine operation, auto-optimization and on-screen error display. The system includes a three-stage conveyor and can handle PCBs up

Industry View: Medical Electronics OEMs: Prepare for Lead-free

The old saying, “It’s never too late,” applies to some Johnny-come-lately medical electronics OEMs that aren’t ready to comply with the EU’s upcoming new RoHS directives.

VJ Electronix Hosts Educational Open House

The theme of VJ Electronix’s open house in Littleton, Mass., was the power of knowledge.

NEPCON East Product Preview

Assembly New England/NEPCON East, October 30–31 at the Boston Convention & Exhibit Center in Boston, will host various local and national exhibitors. Following is a spotlight of products and services Juki, Lightspeed, Digitaltest, High-Tech Conversions, Ovation, Aqueous, and more companies will exhibit.

Feeder Flexibility in Placement Machines

Flexibility, adaptability, and cost savings are catch phrases in today’s electronics assembly industry.

Lead-free Rework: Are You Ready?

Adoption of lead-free will have a major effect on rework and repair. Operators will encounter new component and board finishes with soldering characteristics unlike those of typical tin/lead finishes.

Speaking of this Week — September 24, 2004

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

Speaking of this Week — June 27, 2003

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

Speaking of this Week -- December 13, 2002

Usually, news dries up this time of year as people look ahead to stockings hung by the chimney with care and companies prepare to go on shutdown for the holidays. But we've had a deluge this year, especially those all-important joint ventures, agreements, acquisitions, alliances and general companies coming together. We've also got progress and personnel news, especially in high places. There's some tradeshow news thrown in, as well as a prediction for an important piece of the market.

Step 9: Cleaning By Steve Stach

Defining and implementing a successful cleaning process involves a five-step process, regardless of the product. The technology can range from simple to sophisticated; however, the step-by-step procedure remains the same. Additionally, volume does not affect the steps — one item or a thousand, each must follow the same process.

Thickness Measurement

The company is said to offer a line of nondestructive coating-thickness-measurement instruments for use by the PCB, electronics, jewelry and metal-finishing industries. Using the CMI 900, measurement of plating/coating thickness, material composition analysis and assay of precious metals reportedly is possible. Measurements of extremely thin immersion coatings and thin films also can be performed. Designed for ease of use, the equipment is said to provide the user with high inspection productivi

BGA Scope

The PS-1000 is a video microscope designed to give users a side view of solder bumps beneath BGAs, CSPs or QFPs. A special prism directs the illumination ray to the object through a mirror at the edge and reflects the image. The scope is hand-held, and said to be compact and lightweight. Solder joints of QFPs or J-leads are also able to be monitored at approximately 100X if the prism is removed. With a CCD camera, images can be seen on a monitor, and reports can be made or printed out using a pe

Intelligent Autorouting Solution

Moving away from settings–based autorouting, the Dragon Routing Platform combines intelligence and a methodology–driven approach.

Accelerated Testing Raises the Bar

Highly accelerated life testing (HALT) and highly accelerated stress screening (HASS) are being noticed in the boardroom and on the manufacturing floor as a way to aid profitability across a range of industries.

Lead-free: VOC-free Flux Deposition Reduces Defects

As the global push toward lead-free manufacturing gains momentum, much attention has been focused on its effect on assembly processes.

Speaking of this Week — September 24, 2004

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

New Products

Optical Micrometer

Dispense Valve

DJ-2200 DispenseJet valve for flux applications is a non-contact dispense valve reportedly designed to offer a high-performance alternative to traditional methods such as dipping, screen printing and ultrasonic spray. Designed for use with the company`s Century Series automated dispensing platforms, the valve reportedly can apply flux for a range of assembly operations, including flip chip, CSP, BGA, MCM and ball attach. The product`s non-contact jet dispensing is said to eliminate the need for

Carrier Tape for Thin Parts

Snappax is an interlocking cover and embossed carrier tape design that can be used to package very thin parts, such as metal stampings and flex circuits, while reportedly protecting their integrity and coplanarity in the package. The design uses tabs in the cover tape that "snap" into and are retained by corresponding receiver pockets in the carrier. Vertical movement of the part in the pocket is said to be controlled, preventing thin parts from bouncing and shingling between pockets, as well as

Advancements in Solder Paste Dispensing

Traditional technologies for solder paste dispensing have limitations that can impact throughput and yield.

Managing the Heat in Medical Electronics

A review of the trends driving growth and innovation in the medical electronics industry highlights several key requirements for next-generation assembly materials.

Challenges and Laws of Lead-free Cleaning

Lead-free soldering implementation is closing in on the July 1, 2006 deadline. Characteristics of lead-free alloys are higher reflow temperatures and poor wetting compared to eutectic tin/lead soldering.

EMS Providers: The Design Partners

A trend among OEM providers is the desire for more help in the design area; and they’re looking for this on a number of different fronts.

Speaking of this Week — April 30, 2004

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

Quality Contract Manufacturing Selects Applied Systems' eValue Software

(December 3, 2001) Atlanta and Roswell, Ga. -- Quality Contract Manufacturing, LLC has become Applied Systems Intelligence Inc.'s eValue(r) supply chain management software's first customer.


Teradyne Acquires GenRad - WESTFORD, Mass. — Teradyne Inc.'s acquisition of GenRad, a manufacturer of electronics automatic test equipment and related software, is expected to expand Teradyne's presence in the circuit board test and inspection market significantly. The proposed acquisition that is expected to close in this quarter, stipulates that each outstanding share of GenRad common stock be converted into 0.1733 shares of Teradyne com

Image Processor

The Advanced Image Processor (AIP II) is an upgraded software package for failure analysis, component inspection, assembly verification and quality control of components and boards. Features include: a library of measurements including ball diameter, moment ratio (melting of solder), elliptical pattern, solder density ranges, threshold library, and auto-void count; semiconductor device analysis including die-attach voiding and wire sweep; and colorized 3-D plots representing solder contour for e

Marking Head

The FH Series marking head is a component-level, galvo-based scanning head featuring digital fiber optic technology, as well as marking speeds reportedly up to 180 characters per second. The head is designed to work with CO2 lasers from 10 to 125 W, which are used in the surface mount industry for marking chips and PCBs. Its Windows-based laser marking software, WinMark Pro, is said to allow users to import numerous file formats, mark directly from a database, and set up automated processes such

Designing Wave Flux Chemistries

Lead– and silver–free solder alloys with additives are finding increased acceptance globally and hold promise as a mainstream solution.

Review: Printed Circuits Handbook

The sixth edition of the Printed Circuits Handbook maintains editorial continuity with the five preceding issues, with editor-in-chief Clyde F. Coombs, Jr., continuing to determine content.

Improving Lead-free Joint Quality with Nitrogen

Nitrogen inerting can reduce defects in lead-free reflow soldering. However, it is claimed that many solder pastes either do not need nitrogen, or work equally well in air.

Cost of Ownership for Dispensing Equipment

It’s not news that electronics manufacturers are looking to reduce manufacturing costs.

APEX Product Showcase

Following are just some of the many innovative products to be showcased this month at IPC Printed Circuits Expo, APEX, and the Designers Summit in Anaheim, Calif.

Teradyne, Molex Launch Joint Web Site for VHDM-HSD Connectors

(July 24, 2002) Nashua, N.H. and Lisle, Ill. -- Teradyne Inc. Connection Systems Division (TCS) and Molex Inc. have launched a Web site they co-developed to give customers access to in-depth information about the VHDM-HSD family of connectors.


David H. Ormerod was appointed director of technical service, Enthone PWB Chemistry for Polycad Technologies, a Cookson Electrönics Co., Londonderry, N.H. Ormerod will be responsible for directing and leading the U.S. technical service organization.

Modular AOI System

The VPS 6053 is a modular, fully automated PCB inspection system that reportedly delivers high-speed AOI with full-depth, high-resolution inspection. A variety of camera types can be used to boost throughput. It incorporates an overhead gantry drive system with synchronous linear motors, and offers dual-vision/X-ray technologies. Windows NT drives the positioning system, which can be integrated with a computer network or LAN.

AOI Inspection

The Vi-3000 AOI system is said to be capable of 100 percent inspection of PCBs at speeds up to 150,000 components per hour. It reportedly employs a digital camera with 1,300 x 1,000 pixel resolution and a 48 x 37 mm field of view. The system`s image analysis software can be programmed using Gerber, CAD or ASCII/Centroid supplied data, and incorporates SPC software tools and a synthetic component library. Operators can reportedly select any combination of axial or pyramidal light sources and ambe

BBC: Smartphones Drive Mobile Markets

By Mark Ward, technology correspondent, BBC - There is no doubt that 2008 was the year of the smartphone. The last 12 months saw the launch of iconic devices such as the iPhone 3G, Google G1, Blackberry Storm, and Nokia N97. It also saw the emergence of the electronic ecosystems needed to get the most out of such handsets. The popularity of these devices has brought to light several problems that look set to become acute in 2009.

STEP 6: Component Placement

For military and aerospace users in particular, there are attractive benefits in embedding.

APEX Product Preview

The 2008 IPC Printed Circuits Expo/APEX/Designers Summit promises close to 450 exhibitors focused on every aspect of PCB assembly — from designing boards to final test and inspection, rework, and beyond.

DfT Yields Bottom-line Returns

By Mark Laing, Mentor Graphics Corporation - With advances in modern PCB technology, it has become more challenging to optimize test-and-inspection strategies. Reduced bed-of-nails accessibility places more emphasis on DfT and use of complementary process verification techniques. All PCB manufacturers create defects in their processes; with intelligent implementation of DfT practices, these defects can be caught and addressed in a timely manner.

The Pulse of SMT in North America

By Gail Flower and Michelle M. Boisvert, SMT - - To plan your destination, you must first assess where you are. Therefore, SMT has gathered data on where the surface mount equipment, materials, and EMS/ODM markets are, and where they are headed. High-volume board production is occurring outside of North America. The migration of electronics assembly to areas of low-cost labor continues. North America boasts low-volume/high-mix electronics assembly.

APEX Product Highlights

Following is a preview of some products that will be spotlighted at the IPC Printed Circuits Expo, APEX, and the Designers Summit, February 20-22, 2007, in Los Angeles. Look for more APEX reviews in the February issue of SMT, and comprehensive coverage online and in upcoming e-newsletters.

STEP 9: Test & Inspection

From an inspection point of view, there are two types of solder joints in PCB assembly: visible and hidden.

History of Inner-layer Testing

With the advent of high-speed flying probe testers, prototype PCB manufacturers are finding that with electrically testing inner layers, something old is new again.

STEP 2: Process Control

Cost and quality optimization in surface mount device (SMD) production requires a holistic manufacturing approach.

Ask and Answer - February 20, 2002

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

Ask and Answer -- December 11, 2002

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

Association News

Burrus to Keynote IPC Annual Meeting - NORTHBROOK, Ill. — Daniel Burrus, founder and CEO of Burrus Research Associates Inc., will deliver the keynote presentation at the IPC Annual Meeting held October 8 to 13, 2001, at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando, Fla. The keynote presentation, which will focus on how the electronics industry can use technology to go beyond the competition by identifying the future impact of new technologies, is free to a

AIM Announces Lead-Free Consultation Services

July 2, 2001 - AIM demonstrates true ramifications and requirements of implementing a lead-free process and makes recommendations.

Self-contained Sensors

The 11 models in the AR600 series of line-scan camera laser displacement sensors reportedly have full-scale measurement spans from 0.125" with an accuracy of 0.00015" (4 µ), up to a full-scale span of 50" with accuracy of 0.05". The devices are said to be suitable for use in measurement systems and applications from 0.5 to 80" distance and operate at up to 1,250 samples per second. The sensors are self-contained and NEMA-4/IP-67 sealed for wet and dry environments.

Code Reader/Decoder

DMC200 software is now available for installation in VC Series industrial smart cameras. The software is said to allow users to create ECC200 Data Matrix readers/decoders. The readers are customizable to address a variety of applications through changes to their optics or illumination. For those who prefer a plug-and-play product, a fully integrated MAC 300 ECC200 Data Matrix Reader is available. With a VC65 smart camera, optics and illumination incorporated in a compact aluminum housing, the MA

Mentor Graphics CFD Software Enhances Product Design

With the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) fresh in our minds, product design is the focus of today’s SMT interview with Erich Buergel, GM, Mechanical Analysis Division, and John Isaacs, director of market development, Mentor Graphics. Once in SMT production, each PCB is something of a standalone product — printed, populated with components, reflowed, etc., with the goal of most closely matching set circuit board assembly specifications. However, in the design field, a PCB is one of many interacting elements in a complex environment, such as a high-power gaming system, a ruggedized cell phone, a server farm, a slim flatscreen TV, etc. Designing each PCB without reference to outside elements (enclosure, movement, operating environment) would fail endless prototypes and waste design time. By integrating package/PCB/system/building design, Mentor is hoping to encourage further inter-disciplinary collaboration and more product simulation pre-prototype. When Mentor Graphics acquired Flomerics late in 2008, they entered the thermal analysis market decisively. A little over a year into the acquisition, Mentor’s Mechanical Analysis Division offers FloTHERM for PCB design, FloVENT for buildings, and FloEFD — thermal analysis embedded into mechanical design. Each of these lines is based on computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis and each works together in a comprehensive design flow, preventing costly errors caused by over-the-wall electro/mechanical/thermal design.

Modern 2D X–ray Tackles BGA Defects

Effective test methods are needed to identify common BGA defects on double–sided PCB assemblies.

Completely Inspecting New Packages

This article addresses questions about the optimal inspection solutions for new packaging technologies.

Mitigating Whisker Growth on Electroplated Tin Finishes

The potential risk for whisker growth is one of the concerns when using a pure-tin lead finish.

Speaking of this Week — July 9, 2004

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

Speaking of this Week — February 6, 2004

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


AIM Opens New Office - AIM Inc. opened a sales and support office in the United Kingdom. AIM's European Business Manager, Andrew Clarke, who brings more than 21 years of experience in the electronics assembly industry, will manage the U.K. office. The office will market and provide technical support for the complete AIM line of electronic solders and chemicals throughout Europe and also will work in conjunction with AIM's European production facilities and distributors.

The Dawn of Micro Dispensing

State-of-the-art micro dispensing addresses the daunting task of depositing solder paste accurately on densely packed PCBs.

Is it Time to Change CM Business Models?

Do we need new contract manufacturing (CM) business models for the new millennium? Industry trends are forcing changes in CM operative paradigms because of an open-ended total available market (TAM), rapid growth, merger mania, supply-chain mutations, margin shrinkage and e-commerce ebullience.

Hidden Solder Joint Inspection

The benchtop ERSASCOPE 3000 inspection system offers a cross-sectional, nondestructive visual image of hidden solder joints by looking under BGAs, microBGAs and flip chip components, as well as interior fillets of PQFP and PLCC components. Its cross-sectional scope (90° angle of view) is complemented by a look-down scope (0° angle of view) with up to 350X magnification. The stand is said to allow for quick change of scopes with rotational and angled views (180° stepless). The hold

Outlook Dreary for 2009

The outlook for the global electronic equipment industry is dreary, with most of the risk on the downside. The global financial system remains fragile, and is subject to further debilitating shocks. Based on Henderson Ventures' economic forecast, world electronic equipment production is forecast to fall by 2.2% during 2009 after an anemic 1.2% gain in 2008. Moreover, the recovery predicted for 2010 will be less than effervescent. Only a 6.7% increase is now forecast for that year.

Stencils and the Phonograph Stylus

Remember the phonograph? Back when phonographs were part of every stereo system, a simple rule applied: if the stylus wasn’t top–quality, the musical reproduction wouldn’t be either.

Flexible Circuits Market: Surging Ahead

The flex circuit market, which was worth $5.7 billion in 2005, is projected to increase to $11.4 billion in 2010, growing at a 13.6% compound annual growth rate (CAGR).

Accuracy Measurements for Modern Dispensing

Modern PCBs require more miniaturization and previously unattainable component densities.

Speaking of this Week — February 6, 2004

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


Compiled By SMT Staff

Navigating the Perfect Storm

By now, I'm sure everyone is familiar with the movie "The Perfect Storm," in which three forces of nature combine to create a weather event far greater and more powerful than any in recorded history.

Toward the Zero-defect Production Line

Automated optical inspection (AOI) has long been a key part of PCB production. New trends, however, are changing AOI and the role it plays in processing.

Communications Drives CM Industry

SAN ANTONIO - As dependence on communication electronics increases, end-user applications are expected to sustain dynamic growth in the CM industry. According to new strategic research from Frost & Sullivan, the market generated $11.83 billion in 1999, and a robust rate is forecasted through 2006.

Lead-free Adhesive

CE 3100 electrically conductive adhesive is a lead-free alternative to solder for SMD interconnection formation. It uses a proprietary oxide-reducing technology to reportedly provide electrical junction stability and reliability on common metal solderable surface finishes. The adhesive is said to cure completely in a typical solder eutectic reflow cycle; no post cure is needed. Because of this, it is compatible with existing SMT assembly processes. The adhesive`s low CTE results in good thermome

Most Popular Articles on

Each year, SMT publishes hundreds of tutorials, opinion columns, expert analyses, tech solutions, editorials, and other features on our homepage, in addition to the latest news and new products. Here is a collection, in no particular order, of the most read articles published on our Website in 2008, including solutions for rework, PCB design, tin whiskers, lead-free soldering, the current business environment, and many other challenges and emerging technologies of the SMT industry.

DfE Thrives on Competition

A competition of electronic design for the global environment, Live EDGE invited electronic engineers, students, academics, and others interested in electronic engineering to submit designs for innovative products that use electronic components.

Lead-free: Reduce Joint Cracks in Automotive Electronics

The RoHS Directive comes into force in one month, and many manufacturers have adopted SAC solder alloys for lead-free consumer appliance production.

Book-to-Bill Drops Slightly

NORTHBROOK, Ill. The IPC PCB book-to-bill ratio for September was 0.89, meaning $89 worth of orders for new boards were received for every $100 billed (shipped). The ratio decreased from the August level of 0.94. Sales billed (shipments) in September 2001 decreased 41.6 percent over September 2000, and orders booked decreased 56.1 percent over September 2000. Compared to 2000, PCB bookings are down 49.2 percent YTD, while PCB shipments are down 25.5 percent YTD.

Large Format Digital Color AOI
A Technical Overview

The advances inherent in these automated optical inspection (AOI) systems include environmental and imaging advantages together with the development of collection and processing strategies.

CSPs:Paving the Way to Electronic Hardware Miniaturization

>What's new with chip scale packages (CSP)? Quite a bit actually, if you follow reports and technical papers from the Surface MountCouncil (SMC), the National Electronics Manufacturing Initiative (NEMI) and APEX 2001.

Solectron Acquires Wireless Company

MILPITAS, Calif. - Solectron Corp. announced the signing of a letter of intent for the acquisition of AMERICOM Wireless Services, a privately held corporation specializing in wireless handset repair and refurbishment as well as outsourced technical customer support services. As part of the transaction, Solectron will gain specialized repair and testing equipment, and assume responsibility for AMERICOM`s business operations in Los Angeles; Louisville, Ky.; Baltimore; and Dallas.

Dual Lasers

The GS-600 is based on a dual-laser system that is said to accurately drill blind vias in all laminates, pre-pregs, dielectrics and copper foils. It is compatible with the IPC NC-349 drill file format, and features computer automation and fully integrated loading and unloading technology. After an operator initiates a production run by loading a part number and pressing the start button, the system accesses the LAN interface to select the appropriate drill file. It then activates the automatic l

Reduce the Cost of Cleaning Processes

By Harald Wack, Zestron - Cleaning processes bring upfront and hidden costs. The cleaning agent technology, vapor recovery, and bath monitoring are all elements of electronics assembly cleaning that can be optimized to keep costs low and performance high.

Standardizing Traceability Ratings

To validate and benchmark the entire manufacturing process, assemblers require solutions that provide physical materials and procedural guidelines for determining a factory’s traceability and control capability, and then rating the results in a formalized matrix.

Datron Celebrates Octoberfest in N.H.
with German Chef Smackdown

By Gail Flower, editor-in-chief - MILFORD, N.H. — Datron, a precision machining company providing tools for depth-controlled trace cutting and milling, tab routing, depanelization, and micro-hole drilling in PCBs, celebrated their "German Engineering" heritage by offering a battle of the German chefs — Bruno Meissner from Giessen and Dieter from Rhein-Main competed at Datron's Customer Appreciation Oktoberfest.

The Evolution of Environmentally Conscious Material Management

By Marjory Craw-Ivanco and Andrew Dreyer, Celestica - - Now that the July 1, 2006, EU RoHS deadline has come and gone, the electronics industry is left looking back — trying to determine the impact that this legislation has had on our industry. At one EMS provider*, through work with a diverse global customer base, it has been noted that this legislation has affected not only OEMs that place product onto the market, but many other companies as well.

ATExpo Brings Industry Together

As I walked the floor at ATExpo on opening day at the Donald Stephens Convention Center, I watched forklifts bringing boxes of large capital equipment onto the floor. There was the smell of exhaust fumes and smoke, the beeping of trucks in reverse. It felt like a rock concert about to happen.

Association News

IPC Works on OE StandardizationNORTHBROOK, Ill. IPC Association Connecting Electronics Industries announced that the Optoelectronics (OE) Standards Committee met at the IPC Annual Meeting, which took place October 9 through 13, 2001, in Orlando, Fla.

Ionization Technology and the PCB Assembly Environment

Printed circuit board (PCB) assembly processes involve semi- and non- conductive materials and electrically isolated conductors, which can generate and retain large electrostatic potential.

A Breakthrough in 0201 Component Inspection

A new high-resolution digital color system provides solid automated optical inspection (AOI) as well as a stable solution to the populated printed circuit board (PCB) inspection challenge.

High-speed PCBs Support Backplanes

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Sanmina Corp. announced the successful fabrication of high-speed PCBs to support Thomas & Betts MPI>SI backplane technology. This interconnect technology reportedly offers advantages in system speed, signal integrity, electrical performance and backplane density over conventional connector technology. It is expected to have applications in data communications and telecommunications equipment, including enterprise servers, workstations, routers, switches, and base stations.

O-ring Nozzles

This company specializes in the manufacture of special nozzles for critical fine-pitch placement. It offers O-ring enhanced nozzle tips and cups to improve the vacuum seal between components and pickup nozzles. This is said to reduce skewing and ensure increased placement accuracy without slowing machine speeds. O-ring nozzles are reportedly available in many sizes for a variety of chip and IC placement machines.

Vapor Phase vs. Convection Reflow in Package-on-Package Technology

By Ryan Wooten, EPIC Technologies - The trend toward smaller, more densely populated electronic assemblies is driving increased use of package-on-package (PoP) technology and electronics manufacturing services (EMS) providers are developing viable manufacturing solutions. Here, I review reliability laboratory analysis on the effectiveness of vapor phase (VP) and convection reflow processing of PoP technology.

PCB Designer's Notebook: Selecting Halogen-free (HF) Soldermask Materials

By Vern Solberg - There has been considerable discussion and public concern about flame retardants, halogenated flame retardants in particular. Fortunately for the electronics industry, an EU Risk Assessment concluded that brominated retardant TBBPA does not present a risk to human health or the environment when used in PWBs.

STEP 3: Holistic Lead-free Reliability

When product reliability is paramount, lead-free conversion must start with plan-for-reliability, which comprises design-, material-selection-, and manufacturing-for-reliability.

Speaking of this Week — November 21, 2003

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

Agilent, Cadence Form Alliance With Potential Implications for Electronics Assemblers

(February 19, 2002) San Jose and Palo Alto, Calif. -- Cadence Design Systems Inc. and Agilent Technologies Inc. have formed a multi-year technology alliance that may have future implications for electronic assembly companies.

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