Article Highlights
Combating ESD: The Silent Assassin in Electronics Manufacturing
09/20/2019 | Neil Sharp, JJS Manufacturing
Meet Chris Ellis, SMT007 Columnist
09/18/2019 | I-Connect007
The Long Road to a New Standard
09/17/2019 | Barry Matties, I-Connect007
The Convergence: IPC Merging CFX With IPC-2581
09/16/2019 | Andy Shaughnessy, I-Connect007
SigmaTron Reports Q1 Financial Results for Fiscal 2020
09/12/2019 | Globe Newswire

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NEPCON West (co-located with Assembly West & FIBEROPTIC Automation Expo)

Process Sciences Launches New Web Site

VIA Unveils 0.13 Micron Processor

June 6, 2001 - New VIA C3 introduced at Computex Taipei 2001 claims to be first 0.13 µm processor to go into volume production.

EOL Automation: Pushing Profitability Forward

The advantages of EOL combine to generate an ROI that is more favorable than current automation processes.


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


The push toward lead-free electronics assemblies is a main focus of APEX. At the center of the IPC`s efforts to educate the industry about the lead-free issue is the development of the IPC Roadmap for Lead-free Electronics Assemblies. Begun at IPCWorks, the roadmap provides guidelines for implementing lead-free soldering processes. Industry representatives will have an opportunity to provide input during APEX at a roadmap meeting taking place March 16.

Speaking of this Week — August 29, 2003

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

Rework Process for MicroBGA and CSP

As electronic assemblies become smaller, fine-pitch micro ball grid arrays (microBGA) and chip scale packages (CSP) meet the requirements for smaller, faster and higher performance electronic products. These low-cost packages can be found in many products such as laptop computers, cell phones and other portable devices.

Vision Alignment System

The DEKalign 4 manual vision alignment system is for use on the company`s 248 and 260 surface mount screen printers. Operators can work interactively with this product to align substrates to the stencil before printing. This system reportedly maintains the tight tolerances in stencil-to-board positional accuracy required for fine-pitch devices and is configured for the Windows NT operator interface. On-screen prompts guide the operator through the process.


Of the more than 50 workshops and tutorials taking place at APEX, nearly 25 are being offered by the IPC for the first time. Every aspect of electronics assembly processes is to be covered by these workshops. "Given its importance in the industry, process control measures and quality assurance are two topics highly represented in this program," said IPC vice president of professional development John Riley.

New Products: Placement Systems, Feeders, and Carriers

Following are the new pick-and-place machines, substrate handlers, components, and feeders for SMT and through hole component placement from Juki, Bliss Industries, Leader Tech, Assembleon, Panasonic Factory Solutions of America, Siemens, and MYDATA.

Speaking of this Week — August 29, 2003

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

Speaking of this Week — June 13, 2003

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

BGA Solder Joint Vibration Fatigue

When soldered to a substrate or PCB, BGAs can reduce substrate interconnection area, complexity and cost, as well as facilitate assembly automation. However, because of a general lack of compliance in BGA solder joints, their failure in a military vibration environment becomes a serious design concern.

3-D Virtual Factory

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

Telecom Technology Challenges Manufacturers

The intense growth of high-tech industries such as telecommunications has forced many equipment manufacturers to rethink their business strategies to meet the increased demands placed upon them by rapidly changing technology.

Customer Input Drives Selective Soldering Process Efficiency Improvements

Selective soldering equipment was originally developed to do what neither hand nor wave soldering could do — automate the soldering process for individual through hole (T/H) components or groups of components without disturbing nearby SMT components or groups of components. Thus, selective soldering emerged to fill this need, and the technology continues to develop with the advice and valuable input from users engaged in day-to-day production soldering operations. Alan Cable, ACE Production Technologies Inc., shares some of these technician's tips, and how they improved selective soldering.

DAC Showcase

Following are the highlights, new products, and special events taking place at the Design Automation Conference (DAC), June 8 to 13 in Anaheim, Calif. The 45th DAC event hosts design of electronic circuits and systems, EDA, and silicon solutions presentations, along with 250 exhibitors.

Lead-Free WEEE and RoHS Issues to Consider

There are many unresolved issues associated with the WEEE and RoHs Directives. Companies throughout the EEE supply chain must understand their obligations under these Directives and develop a strategic action plan for compliance to ensure long-term market competitiveness and business success in the EU and the global economy.

Continuous Improvement Approaches for Wave Soldering

If an effective process control system can be implemented with the appropriate preparation and support, most of the problems that arise in the wavesoldering process can be eliminated or at least minimized to an acceptable level.

ICT Program

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

Fume-purification System

The company has added a vacuum control capability to its Purex 8000 series fume extraction systems. By automatically keeping airflow constant, this reportedly allows accurate temperature profiles to be

No-clean Solder Paste Innovations

In the past few years, several innovations in the performance of no-clean solder pastes have been introduced.

New Soldering Equipment, Software, and Services

These soldering systems include selective, wave, and reflow ovens and accessories such as nitrogen generators and solder pot service carts. Additional products include reflow profilers and calibration services, as well as a solder paste analyzer and analysis services.

SMT Components Toughen Up for Rugged Applications

By Craig Hunter, Vishay Intertechnology - It's not surprising that surface mount technology is continually branching out into new applications. Even a few years ago, however, not everyone could have anticipated the extent to which SMT components have penetrated some of the more rugged applications for electronics. Manufacturers are using novel approaches to upgrade device capability and provide higher performance and higher reliability for these more demanding environments.

American Competitiveness Institute — Technology Sharing

By Michelle M. Boisvert, managing editor - - PHILADELPHIA — The American Competitiveness Institute may be one of the "best-kept secrets" in the surface mount assembly industry — so secret that even some military agencies don't know all that it has to offer. The ACI is a research corporation for the Department of Defense and industry. What many people do not know is its full extent of offerings for CMs and EMS providers, as well as capital equipment manufacturers.

Ask and Answer - February 6, 2002

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

Vitronics Soltec Appoints InterLatin Inc. Sales, Service Rep for Mexico

(July 10, 2002) Stratham, N.H. -- Vitronics Soltec has appointed InterLatin Inc. its sales representative for Mexico, excluding Sonora and the Baja California areas.

APEX Standards Development Meetings Review Standards

(September 20, 2001) Northbrook, Ill -- The IPC standards development meetings, held from Saturday, Jan. 19 through Thursday, Jan. 24, 2002, include information on IPC, JEDEC and NEMI standards. These meetings are free for all attendees, and the committee awards luncheon will take place Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (registration required).

An Industry First

June 5, 2001 - Visteon, in partnership with Alpha Metals, is the first automotive manufacturer to use a lead-free solder alloy in their manufacturing process.

Flip Chip Calculator

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

Air-sampling Units

The Model 2000B and 2100B air samplers allow quality engineers to simultaneously and independently sample air and monitor environmental conditions around their fabrication facilities at one to four separate locations for a specified time period automatically. The products are capable of providing four different samples, simultaneously, that can be analyzed for trace inorganic and

Stencil Printer Optimization Study

Reducing the variation in the pad areas, the Six Sigma philosophies can be brought to bear on the stencil printing process.

A Tale of Two Shows

By Michael L. Martel - - I went out to Assembly Tech Expo and IPC Midwest to see what was going on in the industry. After all, I have somewhat of a vested interest in what's happening; after twenty years in this electronics manufacturing business, it's a lot like being on a sand-spit in the bay with the tide rising. At first it seems like a big place, but after a while the rising water creates a shrinking piece of dry ground; what, if anything, will be left once the tide reaches flood?

Ronald C. Lasky, Ph.D., P.E., Joins SMT Magazine's Advisory Board

(September 20, 2002) Nashua, N.H. -- Ronald C. Lasky has been appointed as the newest Advisory Board Member of SMT.

Productronica: Bustles with Activity During Economic Slowdown

(November 20, 2001) Munich, Germany -- Most attendees and exhibitors at Productronica this November agreed that European electronics assembly has slowed down by at least 25 percent. But in the midst of economic challenges, creativity abounded.

APEX Free Forums Offer Candid Insights, Wealth of Information

(September 19, 2001) Northbrook, Ill. -- Held from Tuesday, Jan. 22 through Thursday, Jan. 24, 2002, the APEX FREE forums offer inside info on the hot topics of today. From new business issues to the latest on new markets, forum panelists are prepared to discuss the latest developments. Since there are no written proceedings, attendees will be privy to exclusive insights offered with candor.

ESD Association Awards Research Grants

June 4, 2001 - Grants to fund research in ESD on the subjects of bipolar device behavior and transmission line pulse testing.

Software Library

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


The company`s improved standard gooseneck design reportedly does not sag or sway for environments requiring a vibration-free light source. The gooseneck is covered by a PVC sleeving that is said to resist damage and wear. This new design is said to free operators of the strain and stress of having to physically adjust to their equipment. The lamps are ergonomically designed for ease-of-use and engineered for heavy production schedules.

Increased Yield and Reliability of the Flip Chip Process

There are a number of process parameters that affect yield and reliability for flip chip assemblies. This article examines some of these parameters and discusses how examination of each parameter's role in the process, followed by necessary adjustments, can increase yield and reliability.*

An Image Library of SMT Defects Section 1: BGA PCB Defects, Plating

Images in this section include damaged PCBs, double plating, mouse bites, missing pads, domes, and other defects.

IPC Midwest Review

Since I originate from the Midwest, I packed in a visit to relatives and friends on my way to the IPC Midwest Conference and Exhibition, September 22–28. So, with a copy of the Michigan Yooper DVD "Escanaba in da Moonlight" in my briefcase and gifts of fancy jewelry and hand-tied fishing flies tucked in my suitcase, I took the Amtrak train to Union Station and began the business side of things.

Thermosetting, Polymer/silver Conductive Adhesives

The PC 3000 series of one-component, solvent-free conductive adhesives are designed to connect SMDs, LEDs, bare die, and other components to LTCC, flexible and ceramic substrates, and leadframes. Isotropic and lead-free, the products suit dispensing, screen printing, and stencil printing processes.

Ask and Answer -- November 27, 2002

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

Socket Modules

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

Photoetched Shielding Components

The company uses photoetching for cost savings to manufacture board-level shielding components, such as custom fences with removable covers. This process is said to improve design flexibility, shorten lead times and eliminate hard tooling costs. Photoetching also reportedly allows the fabrication of board-level shielding components with close tolerances that cannot be duplicated by other methods. Fences, covers and mounting pins can be designed in any configuration, as can through holes and slot


With the continuing evolution toward smaller components, higher board densities and more diverse mixes, process equipment is stressed to the limits of its capabilities.

When EMS Companies Put Customers in the Driver's Seat, Get Out of the Way

Pamela Wiseman, sr. operations/supply chain consultant, Technology Forecasters Inc. (TFI), says that it’s typical during challenging economic times for corporate executives to focus internally — especially on costs and cash. She argues that the best survival strategy is to put the customer at the forefront instead, with increased attention on retaining and catering to customers.

From the Show: IMAPS 2008

Conferences abound in the electronics industry. After a while, attendees have to choose between local shows where drayage and employee travel times do not require hotel stays and the larger shows where travel and coverage prove costly. Fortunately, IMAPS 2008 had great international participation, good attendance, and excellent presentations. From keynoters to the technologically educational papers, the show was sound. And it was close to home for SMT editors.

BiTS 2008 Workshop Approaches

By Frederick Taber, BiTS Workshop - - MESA, Ariz. — The ninth annual Burn-in and Test Socket Workshop (BiTS 2008) is just around the corner, March 9–12, in Mesa. BiTS is dedicated to providing a forum for burn-in and test socketing, and related fields to participants from around the world. These participants represent end users and suppliers of sockets, boards, burn-in systems, handlers, packages, and other related equipment, materials, and services.

ATExpo in Review: Product Spotlight

ATExpo, September 25–27 in Rosemont, Ill., highlighted production equipment and materials, with products from Electrolube, FlexLink Systems, Zierick, IDENTCO, KUKA, and Unovis, among other exhibitors.

Non-conductive Paste Underfill

A non-conductive paste (NCP) underfill and encapsulant, Hysol FP5110 adheres flip-chip image sensor modules to two- and three-layer flexible printed circuits. The paste bonds to polyimide and epoxy adhesive materials. The product can be dispensed automatically, uses a 10-second cure at 180°C, and can be stored at -15°C.

Emerging Technologies Summit

June 1, 2001 - SMTA International sessions to address MEMS/MOEMS, photonics, system on a package and Bluetooth.

Assembly Cell Software

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

Pressure-formed Housing

These pressure-formed housings, which are designed to protect PCBs, reportedly are manufactured from a pliable, heavy-gauge plastic called 0.060" Kydex. Each housing is pressure-formed from roll stock, hole punched and routed for air ventilation holes, line-bent to ensure a 360∞ enclosure, fitted with "canoe-clip" fasteners and final packed in a custom package.

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 require-ments. Modern manufacturing techniques are useless if a board's components are out of date, perform poorly or fail to satisfy end-user requirements. To assist manufacturers in this search, SMT Magazine presents Component Specifier, a new product section designed to spotlight state-of-the-a

Adhesives Bond to Thermoplastic Substrates

The ARALDITE series of high-strength epoxy and polyurethane adhesives encapsulate, insulate, and bond electronic components and PCBs. The products suit encapsulation and assembly of electronic automotive components, bonding of miniature high-speed telecom circuitry, bonding PCBs for medical devices, and other applications.

Control and Stability in Lead-free Reflow

As the reflow process window closes, a number of enabling technologies are opening doors in a brave new lead-free world.

Cleaning Guidelines for Fine-pitch Stencil Applications

Recent advances in fine-pitch technology have presented many new printing-related challenges.

EMI Analysis

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

LGA Socket

The cLGA socket system reportedly enables solderless chip-to-board and board-to-board interconnection. This solderless system is said to allow the user to avoid the termination and reliability problems caused by thermal expansion in high-pin-count devices. The socket uses a conventional BeCu contact with 30 µin Au over Ni plating. This low-profile connector design yields a 0.94 nH inductance. When fully mated, it has a total deflection of 0.012" with an average of 50 g normal force per cont

Upcoming Tradeshows: Attend, Present, Network

SMTAI, IPC Midwest, APEX 2010, and Pan Pac will host exciting technical conferences as well as special events. SMTAI celebrates the 25th anniversary of the SMTA; IPC Midwest is expanding its free forums, and APEX and Pan Pac 2010 are recruiting presenters.

February Featured Products

Following are the latest releases in thermal profiling, solders and fluxes, thermal management, components, digital microscopy, lead-free, and more from SEHO and KIC; IMS; Cobar BV, FCT Solder, and Nihon Superior; MIS; Master Bond; Koki and Christopher Associates; Qtek; and AVX.

Improving SMT Yield with AOI and AXI

By An Qi Zhao; Xin Yong Yu; Li Ming Gong; Zhen (Jane) Feng, Ph.D.; Mark Evans; and Murad Kurwa, Flextronics International Inc. - - As PCB assembly (PCBA) becomes more complex, AOI and AXI systems are more widely used in electronics manufacturing. AXI has good defect detection capabilities, but its TaKT time becomes a concern when compared to other machines on the SMT line. How can these two testing machines be used effectively to test production?

ATExpo Product Review

Following are a variety of products from a few companies exhibiting at the Assembly Technology Expo (ATExpo), September 26-28, 2006.

Nihon Superior Develops Lead-free Alloy

(February 5, 2002) San Diego -- While controversial discussion of options for lead-free soldering heats up, Nihon Superior has quietly gotten on with the job of developing a patented SN100C stabilized tin-copper eutectic alloy for commercial applications.

Polymer Stencils for Wafer Bumping

UV lasers have proven to be useful tools In numerous processing areas. Now, state-of-the-art polymer stencils for fine-pitch applications offer a new field for the use of UV lasers.


SEMICON West 2000, San Jose, Calif., SEMI, (650) 964-5111; Fax: (650) 967-5375; E-mail:; Web site: ...

Programmed Dispensing

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

Surface Mount Adapters

The company now offers several new sizes of the PolyPod surface mount adapters for QFP packages. The QFP surface mount base can be soldered to a PCB and connected to emulators or logic analyzers, and can be used as a socket. The surface mount base reportedly has options for receptacles that can be used to interconnect to any test system, or the receptacles can be used to add height to extend the test equipment off the board. A socket cover also is available.

New Products Online

We're featuring the debuts of next-generation sockets, dry boxes, thermal profiling software, laser inspection systems, cleanroom wipes, a 10 Gbit/sec. assembly, pick-and-place systems, vacuum tables, and soldering machines.

Q&A with Brian Duffey, MYDATA

Gail Flower, editor-in-chief, speaks with MYDATA's Brian Duffey about modern pick-and-place, including carts, feeders, and customer needs. Duffey explains the development of high-mix assembly, and what constant changeovers neccessitate from a pick-and-place perspective.

Where Are All the Engineers?

By Gary A. Tanel - - Following my May 2007 column,1 I received many calls confirming the direction of the EMS industry and voicing additional concerns on other trends. Another common theme is the concern regarding manufacturing technology skills being lost in the U.S. This takes the shape of American students losing interest in technical fields and the increased interest by hard-working students in emerging Asian countries.

High-speed Placement of Wafer-level Devices

Advanced chip packages leverage the design advantages of bare die. Suppliers and manufacturers facing the challenge of placing more die at higher speeds, eliminating intermediate packaging, and feeding flip-chip devices at high speeds from wafer format, will meet the demands by combining SMT and semiconductor placement processes into one high-speed workflow.

Teradyne Establishes Peter Hashem Memorial Scholarship

(September 18, 2002) Boston -- Teradyne Inc. has established the Peter Hashem Memorial Scholarship, named in honor of Peter Hashem, a Teradyne employee who was a victim of the terrorist attacks last September.

Outlook for APEX Sunny, IPC Says

(November 19, 2001) Northbrook, Ill. -- With APEX, which will be held January 22-24, 2002 in San Diego, almost two months away, IPC-Association Connecting Electronics Industries(r) is confident the show will be the biggest one yet.

Ask and Answer - September 19, 2001

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

Step 6 — Component Placement

The concept of pick-and-place itself is very simple — it is the process of taking the components used to build a product from the reel, stick or tray and placing them in the correct place on the board in the correct direction.

New Products

Optical Inspection from Teradyne Inc.; Code Reader from Microscan Systems Inc.; Inspection Camera from Viscom USA; Solder Paste Inspection from CyberOptics Corp; Thermally Conductive Epoxy from Loctite Corp....

Spot UV Light Source

The Model PK101 spot UV curing system features a high-intensity light source with a flexible light guide that is said to transmit energy and give users control for precision UV-curing (even in hard-to-reach areas). The unit`s internal shutter, which controls the curing exposure time, can be controlled by a manual foot pedal or a push button timer located on the face of the unit. The control of curing time and distance from the light guide to the work piece allows for rapid cures of UV materials

Reflow Process Control

Profile Wizard is designed to simplify process control by recording optimized thermal processing profiles, then comparing them minutes, hours or days later to oven performance. Its array of three dual sensors is width adjustable from 3 to 26" to match the board width. The product rides on a belt or edge-rail conveyor to profile the edges and center of the oven, providing a complete thermal picture. Features include repeatable, reliable temperature sensors that reportedly will not degrade with ti

ESD Risks and Management in SMT Manufacturing: Part II

ESD Susceptibility of Precision-film Resistors

The electronics industry has some misconceptions regarding the electrostatic discharge (ESD) susceptibility of certain reeled resistors thought to be invulnerable to damage.

Using Underfill to Enhance Lead-free Drop Test Reliability

With the RoHS deadline just two months away, there are still questions remaining regarding the reliability of Sn/Ag/Cu (SAC) alloys, as compared to tin/lead alloys.

Speaking of this Week — April 9, 2004

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

Printing Equipment & Stencils

In SMT assembly, the screen/stencil printing step is critical.

EMS News

Chinese Facility to be Developed; 'Mini-warehouse' Added to Service Offerings; Viasystems Completes Acquisition, Chooses Software; East Coast EMS Provider Expands; Qualcon Wins Award ...

Reflow Ovens

The first in a series of high-performance reflow ovens designed for the semiconductor market is the Bravo, which is said to feature several new design innovations that provide the performance required for high-production manufacturing environments. The system reportedly provides operators with full control over the reflow system through a user-friendly operator interface. A new convection heating technology preheats air at the intake of the blower reportedly to provide stable thermal energy for

Reflow Ovens

The first in a series of high-performance reflow ovens designed for the semiconductor market is the Bravo, which is said to feature several new design innovations that provide the performance required for high-production manufacturing environments. The system reportedly provides operators with full control over the reflow system through a user-friendly operator interface, and it is the air-only version of this series of reflow ovens. A new convection heating technology preheats air at the intake

New Surface Mount Assembly Materials

These new products include thermal interface materials (TIM), potting compounds, epoxy adhesives, and other materials. They can be applied to assemblies using manual or automated placement and dispensing methods.

Overcoming Bead Probe Contact Challenges
Part I: Bead Probe Compression

By Michael Farrell Sr., Agilent Technologies and Brian Crisp and Ken Snyder, Everett Charles Technologies - Test access on modern PCB assemblies is a major challenge. Bead probe technology resolves many of the issues test engineers face. This two-part article provides best practice recommendations for bead probe implementation, PCB design for test (DfT), and product selection.

Lead-free: Electrical Influence on Tin Whisker Growth

This article presents results of an eight-month assessment of whisker growth on matte-tin-plated copper in the presence of a constant electrical current.

Process Optimization of an 01005

The ever-increasing demand for lighter weight, increasing functionality, and portability has led to size reductions of many component types.

Speaking of this Week — September 3, 2004

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

Relyent Offers Quick-turn Prototyping; Legacy Electronics Adds SMT Equipment, Production Line, Personnel; Dage Adds X-ray Inspection

Relyent Offers Quick-turn Prototyping - HILLSBORO, Ore. — Relyent Inc., a new custom assembly services provider, is offering a unique service: quick-turn prototyping and low-volume PCB assembly and modification.

Bridge OEM/CM Barriers with the Internet

Contract manufacturers (CM) can use the Internet to communicate through the entire business cycle, from order entry to post-fulfillment service. Quality, work in process (WIP) and other production-related information also can be shared. This level of communication brings the CM and its customers into a closer relationship, even if separated by oceans and continents.

Reflow Solder/Curing Furnace

The Falcon 8000 Series reflow solder/curing furnaces reportedly feature the company`s Conduction + Convection heating and cooling technology, use of power and gas, throughput, small equipment footprint and repeatable profiles enabling high-volume production. Parts are transported through the furnace by sweeperbars that can operate continuously or in a timed-delay mode that is designed to produce temperature uniformity in the reflow/curing profile. The Series includes 8100 (10 heat zones) and the

Squeegee Blades/Holders

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

New Paste Printing Equipment and Tools

Assembleon introduced the MCP screen printer platform with on-board inspection; DEK's new printer-tool modules include a line-speed SPI system and new substrate clamping technology for higher print quality.

Problems and Promises of BTCs: Bottom Termination Components

Ray Prasad, Ray Prasad Consultancy Group - What are bottom termination components (BTCs)? You may not know the term BTC, but expect to hear about them. IPC coined the term BTC for industry-descriptive package names such as QFN, DFN, SON, LGA, MLP, etc. They are similar to BGAs, which also have hidden terminations. Differences abound, as they do not have balls but just metalized terminations or pads under the package.

Names in News

Following are the outreach initiatives, industry recognitions, new hires and promotions, and more announcements from suppliers like Zestron America, Cognex, Allied, Kraydenmex, Fine Line Stencil, The Morey Corp., DEK Solar, Electronic Interconnect Technology, IPC, Balver Zinn, iNEMI, and Seica.

The Inside Line

The IPC Printed Circuits Expo/APEX/Designers Summit, February 18-22 in L.A., follows the motto "It's Your Show!," offering targeted meetings, technical sessions, and a touch of celebrity.

Optimizing Test Operations to Cut Costs

Contract manufacturers (CMs) operate on razor-thin margins, where cutting excess costs is a way of life.

Assessing Tin Whisker Risk in Electronic Products

In response to legislation mandating the manufacture of lead-free electronics, part manufacturers have adopted pure-tin and high-tin lead-free alloy finishes.

Speaking of this Week — September 3, 2004

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

Speaking of this Week — June 25, 2004

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

Ask and Answer - April 10, 2002

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

SOLDERTEC to Present at 3rd International Conference on Connectors in France

(September 19, 2002) UK -- The 3rd International Conference on Connectors will be held at the Centre Athena in La Ferte-Bernard, near Le Mans in France on September 25 and 26, 2002. Leading experts from academia, manufacturers and users involved in connector technologies will share their expertise on products, processes, reliability and durability of connectors.

Real-time SPC with AOI

While automated optical inspection (AOI) has been integrated successfully into many production lines, much additional useful data for the inspection process remains to be used. How? Enter statistical process control (SPC) . . . and a "catalyst."

Stencil Design for Mixed-technology Placement & Reflow

Reviewing stencil design requirements for mixed-technology boards is essential because full implementation allows through-hole components and surface mount devices (SMD) placement and the subsequent reflow of both simultaneously. This eliminates the need to wave or hand solder through-hole components. Material type, pin type, lead l

Reflow Process Control

Profile Wizard is designed to simplify process control by recording optimized thermal processing profiles, then comparing them minutes, hours or days later to oven performance. Its array of three dual sensors is adjustable from 3 to 26" to match the board width. The product rides on a belt or edge/rail conveyor to profile the edges and center of the oven, providing a complete thermal picture. Features include repeatable, reliable temperature sensors that reportedly will not degrade with time or

Mini Fume Extractor

The Miniarm FX-32 is a small fume extractor arm that is said to have a reach of more than 3`. It features a flexible, self-articulating plastic tube with a built-in damper and swivel function. The product can be mounted to the wall, ceiling or directly to the workbench for a variety of applications in the workspace or laboratory. Various fume hoods and nozzles reportedly make this arm a solution for a workspace that has problems with smokes, fumes or chemicals. Also available is a light package

Interview with a Mixed-assembly EMS Provider

Specializing in automated SMT assembly and mixed-technology PCBAs, Innovative Circuits (Corinth, Miss.), performs a range of manufacturing and engineering services. Production varies from small- through medium- and high-volume runs. With two SMT lines and thru-hole capability, Innovative Circuits performs consignment and turnkey manufacturing. SMT spoke with Jim Usery about the EMS provider's operations and screen printing equipment and stencils, fine-pitch, and PCB design.

Acoustic Imaging of Embedded ICs

Embedding active components within the layers of a printed wiring board (PWB) can deliver significant advantages, but developing successful embedding processes requires precise data about the embedded structures.

STEP 8: Cleaning By Michael Konrad

One must first decide whether or not to clean. Is the flux left on the board after reflow inert? Will reliability be an issue? This article focuses on batch-format cleaning technology and its use to deflux high-reliability applications.

Lead-free Process Control Management

In past pursuits of RoHS compliance, manufacturers focused on process changes, solder chemistries, and equipment.

Halide- and VOC-free Wave Solder Flux Introduced

(December 29, 2004) CLINTON, N.Y. — 1072 wave solder flux from Indium Corporation of America is a rosin flux that contains a unique formulation, making it both halide- and VOC-free. This new advancement in chemistry combines the benefits of rosin with the environmental friendliness of a water-based product.

Speaking of this Week — June 25, 2004

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

Seho Shows Off Selective Soldering at Boston SMTA Meeting

(April 10, 2002) Boxborough, Mass. -- At the SMTA Boston Chapter meeting here the other night, Germany-based Seho GmbH displayed its knowledge of selective soldering -- and its machine that performs the activity.

The Alliance Chooses Aegis Software

(February 4, 2002) Philadelphia -- The Alliance, a long-term sales, marketing and service partnership formed recently by Speedline Technologies and Assembleon, announced at APEX that it has named Aegis Industrial Software Corp. as a preferred provider to the strategic partnership.

Publisher's Executive Council Interview

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

MicroBGA Rework

This micro-stencil and nozzle are designed specifically for the rework of Tessera`s microBGA component. The stencil reportedly fits the pattern and is the same size as the part. Because the stencil is viewed with a camera by a prism that views both the stencil and PCB pad pattern simultaneously, the operator is said to be able to align the stencil perfectly to the PCB. The stencil is trapezoidal etched, and can be lowered multiple times if solder paste is not 100 percent deposited in all holes.


Dynasolve 2000 Plus is a solvent designed for the removal of photoresist used during photolithography. It removes the photoresist and hinders the redeposition of the material. It is suitable for use in the production of ICs, semiconductor components, PCBs and other electronic components. This product is said to be safer than many currently used.

New Products for Cleaning Stencils, PCBs, and Labs

These are the new cleaning materials, wipes, and equipment used to remove flux residues from reflowed boards, solder paste from stencils, contaminants from the manufacturing area, and other unwanted materials from electronics assemblies and associated tooling.

Halogen: The Latest Green Initiative

By Laura J. Turbini, Ph.D., Research in Motion - This January, I attended the Intel/IPC Halogen Free Symposium. The meeting drew 240 people representing 140 companies and 13 countries. I had expected that the focus would be on halogen-free laminates, and that I could learn about the latest materials. I was surprised at the breadth of components this "halogen-free initiative" covered.


Following are products from some companies exhibiting at Productronica, November 13-16, 2007, Munich, Germany.

Shock Reliability of BGAs Using Underfill

SAC BGA packages are known to be more brittle than tin/lead BGAs at high stress levels such as drop testing.

AIM Opens Shenzhen Campus

SHENZHEN, China - Responding to an expanding customer base throughout China, AIM has opened a campus, including manufacturing and office buildings, two warehouses, and a dormitory, in Shenzhen, China, for its full range of tin/lead and lead-free solder pastes, bar and wire solders, and liquid fluxes.

Handset Manufacturing: Not a Simple Endeavor

Convergence in handsets has caused greater product stratification. Along with this comes a new set of design, sourcing, manufacturing, and life-cycle requirements.

Power-shielded Inductors Offer Small Footprint Package

(December 29, 2004) SAN DIEGO, Calif. — Pulse has introduced a series of power-shielded surface-mount inductors with a small, 6.2 x 6.2 x 2-mm maximum footprint package for DC/DC applications in consumer electronics products such as MP3 players, digital cameras, gaming consoles and in local, low-power DC/DC conversion applications. All parts are RoHS-compliant.

Speaking of this Week - November 16, 2001

Speaking of this Week reflects on the week's events in the electronics assembly industry every Friday. The good news continued to outnumber the bad this week.

APEX Gala Reception Features Pink Flamingos, a Chance to Network

(September 18, 2001) Northbrook, Ill. -- For those looking for a little fun and a chance to network during APEX 2002, set to take place Jan. 22 through 24, 2002, at the San Diego Conference Center, look no further than the Gala Reception on Wednesday, Jan. 23, from 6 to 9 p.m.

New Products

Aqueous Circuit Board Cleaner; Turret-based Chip Shooters; Solder Machines

Rework Stations

The Summit 2100 Series is designed to increase the speed and accuracy of rework, and handles BGAs, µBGAs and flip chips on boards up to 18 x 22" with 2" vertical clearance. Featuring Auto Profile Software, the series is said to automatically set and maintain proper reflow temperature for any board/component combination. A user-friendly, menu-driven interface allows the user to program the complete rework sequence. The series automates the entire rework process, including component removal,

Digital Microscope

Micro-COMBICON ultra-high-density pluggable PCB terminal blocks use a spring-cage connection for fast and reliable termination with a 2.5 mm (0.098") pin spacing. The header, which mounts to the PCB, is available in a horizontal (MC 0.5/...-G-2.5) or vertical (0.5/...-G-2.5) configuration. The plug has front-entry terminations with individual test probes. The blocks are polarized and keyable to ensure a proper connection. The series accepts a #20 AWG wire and is available from 2 to 12 positions.


Specific tools such as statistical quality control (SQC), inspection, repair and test are not only needed, they should be in place to ensure that products are built to meet required quality levels on a consistent basis.

Our Relationship with the Environment

SMT Editorial Advisory Board member Laura J. Turbini, Ph.D., Research in Motion, explores the path of human impact on the environment, and the environmental legislation issues it has created for the electronics production industry.

DfM Navigation Tools for PCB Success

By Nolan Johnson, Sunstone Circuits - Of the key decisions that can improve design for manufacture (DfM) and design for yield (DfY), 75% of the impact of those decisions will be made before the design leaves the CAD tool environment. With the realization that designers influence ultimate yield, it makes sense to give designers as much useable information as possible to improve the assembly. The role of DfM/DfY is to provide a feedback loop for the engineering and design team.

Using Design for Six Sigma to Develop Surface Mount Materials

By Michael Skrzat, Heraeus Incorporated - While most of the solder paste industry has recently been focused on lead-free products, a unique opportunity arose for a joint development project to create an improved no-clean tin/lead eutectic solder paste with a large automotive manufacturer.

Lead-free: China RoHS Requirements

China RoHS is very different from the EU’s RoHS. With the March 1st China RoHS deadline looming, the directive offers a new set of risks and opportunities.

STEP 5: Adhesives/Epoxies and Dispensing

Surface mount adhesives (SMAs) can be deposited with high X/Y accuracy, and in finely metered volumes, using dispensing or screen printing equipment and processes.

Speedline to Present Papers, Programs and Seminars at APEX 2005

(December 29, 2004) FRANKLIN, Mass. — Speedline Technologies will present several important technical papers and training programs, as well as host a series of informative seminars at APEX 2005, to be held February 22-24, 2005, in Anaheim, Calif.

APEX Keynote Speakers Announced

(September 17, 2001) Northbrook, Ill. -- IPC-Association Connecting Electronics Industries has announced the keynote sessions for APEX 2002, set to take place Jan. 22 through 24, 2002 at the San Diego Convention Center.

Practical ideas on Large-board Printing

Tips for production printing of the latest large-panel PCBs are provided, including handling, tooling, processing, vision and understencil alignment, and accessib

Electronic Loads

The company has launched its MML series of modular medium-power programmable DC electronic loads for engineering and manufacturing test applications. The loads are said to be suitable for testing AC/DC converters, DC/DC converters, power-storage devices and electronic components. Available in power levels from 100 to 600 W, these modules can be mounted in either a benchtop or 19" rack-mount chassis 7" (4 U) high.

Process Control

Continuous quality improvement is a process control system that utilizes in-line inspection to help lower PCB assembly costs.

Technology & Business Report

Each month, SMT Magazine's SMT Trends section polls industry leaders on topics at the heart of the surface mount industry. This month, we ask industry leaders for their opinions on the state of the industry and possible directions it will take in the future. Of key interest were topics related to global expansion and time-to-market.

Present at a Major 2010 Electronics Tradeshow Conference

IPC APEX EXPO (April 6–9 in Las Vegas) and SMTA International (October 24–28 in Orlando, FL) are accepting abstracts for the technical conference programs.

The Importance of Global Technical Support

Harald Wack, Ph.D., ZESTRON America - Numerous companies have shifted their main production facilities from service-driven economies to lower wage, developing countries. It is clear that to take advantage of technological advancements, we must continue to use our competitive, educational edge. Customers expect a global mindset with excellent service.

APEX Preview: Focus on Solder

The conference at IPC Printed Circuits Expo/APEX/Designers Summit, March 30 to April 3 in Las Vegas, covers all aspects of electronics assembly: design, printing, placement, rework, etc. This year, several solder suppliers — including Indium Corporation and Cobar Europe BV — will expound upon a central topic of electronics assembly: solder materials and reflow.

Growing Repair Complexities

OEMs with low- to medium-volume installed user bases may find limited options for repair support.

SMT Celebrates VISION Awards on a Grand Scale

It was a time for black tuxes, laser lights, and glittery gowns when SMT celebrated the VISION Awards on February 8, 2006, at the Anaheim Marriott during the APEX/IPC Printed Circuits Expo.

DEK 2004 Stencil Shipments Approach 75,000

(December 29, 2004) FLEMINGTON, N.J. — DEK has reached a record number of stencil shipments for 2004, supplying nearly 75,000 stencil products to customers around the world with manufacturing sites throughout Europe, North America and Asia.

Achieving Long-term Stability in the SMD Placement Process

This article provides a short description of the MCT process, together with the essential fundamentals of placement accuracy. It then introduces a special calibration method which allows for placement accuracy testing to help meet today's pressing market demands.

Component Removal System

The Freedom HGR 2000 is a rework system for component placement, soldering and removal. It is suitable for BGA, µBGA, flip chip, and fine-pitch process development and prototype production. The system features Windows-based control software with one-touch cycle initiation. The topside heating system is said to apply precise quantities of forced convective heat directly to the component and has adjustable gas temperature, gas flow and nozzle height. A forced convective bottomside process hea

Publishers Executive Council Interview

SMT Magazine`s Publisher`s Executive Council consists of 38 electronic industry executives hand-picked by our publisher. They share their expertise and insights with our editorial staff and act as a sounding board for new ideas and concepts. These individuals also contribute much to the industry in general, working as leaders within their companies. This month`s Publisher`s Executive Council Interview features one of the industry`s leading innovators Surface Mount Equipment Manufacturers, Associ

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.

A Guide to Infrared (IR) Rework on BGAs

By Roger Gibbs, PDR - BGAs, now mainstream for manufacturers seeking better device functionality and quality, present some problems for rework-and-repair processes. Infrared soldering/desoldering technology is safer, more repeatable, and easier to operate than prior technologies for reworking BGAs.

APEX Preview: Rework Course

One of the most important areas of electronic assembly, under reuse, recycle, and recall pressures, and tight margins, is rework and repair. In the transition to RoHS compliance, most assemblers find lead-free rework to be the least feasible, most costly step. Moderated by R. Wayne Johnson, Auburn University and Advanced Packaging Editorial Advisory Board member, the "Repair and Rework" technical presentation at APEX, April 1, promises to provide insight into lead-free rework.

Examining Cost of Ownership Challenges

The most important consideration when purchasing equipment is to examine the challenges the electronics industry faces this year to understand how it affects cost of ownership (COO) decisions.

SAC Solder Paste

SAC3 XM5S is formulated with a synthetic base to withstand higher lead-free soldering temperatures and provide reportedly good wetting and void-free joints. The no-clean paste is designed for stencil printing; it is said to print with good definition and without smearing. The paste reduces the frequency of required stencil wiping.

STEP 1: Board Design

High-speed PCB design used to be the exception, rather than the rule. Advances in serial/deserializer (serdes) technology further fuel the demand for high-speed PCB designs, while low-voltage differential signaling (LVDS) propels the importance of serdes technology.

Benchtop Robots – Making Their Mark on the Assembly Line

By Deepa Mathew, Frost & Sullivan analyst - - Benchtop robots for low-volume, high-mix production are becoming more important to European and North American assemblers. Mathew argues that a shift of high-volume, low-mix manufacturing from these regions to China — and other regions offering low wages and large raw material sources — has prompted more NPIs/R&D to be done in low-volume, high-mix regions. For traceablity, robots detect missing, skewed, or mismatched components.



NPL Seeks Lead-free Reliability Project Partners

(December 28, 2004) MIDDLESEX, U.K.— The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) will begin a project to investigate the reliability of existing substrates manufactured using a lead-free process.

SMTA International 2004 Show Preview

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

Speaking of this Week — June 6, 2003

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

Oscilloscope Calibrator

The 5820A oscilloscope calibrator supports the calibration requirements of oscilloscopes with bandwidths up to 2.1 GHz. The calibrator can be equipped with a five-channel output option that facilitates hands-free automated calibration of multi-channel oscilloscopes. Other features reportedly include: 600 MHz leveled sine/300 ps edge is standard with the option to extend performance to 2.1 GHz leveled sine/150 ps edge; front panel current loop for calibrating current probes; DC voltage measuremen

Bonding System

The multi-use Model 860 Omni bonding system can be configured to bond flip chips as well as laser diodes and eutectic bonded die. The joystick-controlled system aligns and attaches die sizes from 0.006" square to 1" square at a throughput rate of up to 200 placements per hour with placement accuracy of ±5 µ. The basic platform is loaded with standard features such as an extend-retract cube beam splitter viewing system with illuminators and precision servo-motor- driven Z-motion with cl

Line Efficiency and Productivity Measures

Data from both OEM and CM SMT lines were collected and analyzed to determine line efficiency, nonproductive assembly time and other productivity measures.

EMS Industry Update: NBS, Sunburst, TT, and Jabil

NBS secured an $8.2 million credit facility from Silicon-Valley-based Bridge Bank, National Association; a subsidiary of Bridge Capital Holdings (NASDAQ: BBNK). TT electronics integrated manufacturing services (IMS) will begin providing electronics manufacturing services to the global rail industry. Sunburst EMS, a high mix, low- to medium-volume electronics manufacturing services provider, installed a Hawkeye print verification system on its DEK Horizon 03i automated printer. Jabil received the 2009 Market Leadership of the Year Award in the global medical electronics manufacturing services (EMS) industry by Frost & Sullivan.

Thermal Profiling: Sensitive Component Degradation

By Paul Austen, ECD - Solder joints that pass inspection can hide functional degradation of temperature-sensitive devices during the soldering process. From circuit design on, users must account for the thermal sensitivity of passive devices as well as active ones. When factored into the design, and thermal behavior characterized in the NPI phases of the project, the effort is simplified in manufacturing to verification that the thermal profile is met.

The Where and How Issues of SMT

Electronics assembly has caused a real stir in the news lately. Even the location of the plant is important. Nokia announced it would discontinue producing mobile devices in Germany and close its Bochum plant this year, laying off 2,300 employees. Nokia, acknowledged as number one in global phone shipments and market share, didn't find the location to be competitive enough. Previously, Motorola stopped manufacturing mobile phones in Germany.

Low-cost Optical Interconnects in SMT

The main challenge is inexpensively getting light signals on and off an IC chip, planar lightwave circuit (PLC) chip, or photonic integrated circuit (PIC).

Paste Volume Inspection Module

The VP3 paste inspection module offers in-line 3-D solder paste inspection, measuring and evaluating paste volume, height, shape, smears, and other characteristics. It incorporates isotropic polychromatic fringe projection technology to illuminate paste deposits and provide reportedly high accuracy at line speeds. The inspection system recognizes systematic and sporadic defects, optimizing printer use.

Assembly Tools & Equipment

DepanelizerThe B300 depanelizer tool breaks carrier strips away from edge strips or PCBs with overhanging components, without excess stress on the PCB.

Caster and Leveler Combo Available

(December 26, 2004) NATICK, Mass. — An all-in-one leveler and caster solution from Sunnex, Inc. offers the flexibility of a caster and the leveling capability of a mount.

SMTA International 2004 Products

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

Speaking of this Week — August 22, 2003

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

Speaking of this Week - February 1, 2002

Speaking of this Week reflects on events in the electronics assembly industry every Friday. The trickle of earnings releases and other financial news that started last week became a flood this week. But as always, there's also news of alliances, certifications and the requisite bad news. And IPC released its Book-to-Bill ratio for December, providing insight to the year at a glance.

Ask and Answer - July 3, 2002

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

LCR Meter

The Z9216 LCR meter measures resistors, inductors and capacitors at a 20X per second rate, with 0.05 percent accuracy. Component Q values and dissipation factors are displayed via front-panel LCD readouts. For remote operation, this instrument is equipped with RS-232, GPIB and Handler Port Interfaces. The unit accepts optional SMD tweezers, BNC fixture adapters and Kelvin clips. The unit stores and recalls nine instrument setups and has five test frequencies from 100 Hz to 100 kHz. Measurement a

Coordinate Measuring System

The YP20 is a 3-D coordinate measuring machine for close-tolerance parts applications. The system combines non-contact, auto-focusing optical/laser sensing technology and PC-based numerical control to provide 3-D inspection, measurement and analysis of microscopic surface features on ICs, PCBs, computer hard disks and machined materials. Operation within a Z-axis measurement range of 20 mm, it uses a semiconductor laser with reflective-activated focusing techniques to read and measure the workpi

Manufacturing Partnerships into Y2K

As demands for products with increasingly smaller packages and enhanced performance grow, OEMs are looking for CMs that offer one-stop shopping.

Solder Preform Basics

Paul A. Socha, Indium Corporation, reviews the types of solder preforms and their uses. He offers 10 basic steps to determining if an assembly needs preforms. Solder preforms can be used on a mixed SMT and through-hole PCB or to fortify solder paste on a difficult joint. Most solder preforms can be flux coated. When incorporating preforms, be sure to consider possible effects on reflow, cleaning, and RoHS compliance.

ESD Risks and Management in SMT Manufacturing: Part I

By Vladimir Kraz, 3M - Sensitivity to electrostatic discharge (ESD) and electrical overstress (EOS) is becoming increasingly important in PCB assembly (PCBA) manufacturing. This first article in a two-part series discusses the occurrences of ESD exposure in the assembly process. These include PCB loading, component handling, soldering, and operator interventions.

November New Product Showcase

New products released to the SMT assembly market include pressure-indicating films for adhesive applications, components and off-the-shelf modules, MSD moisture-control cabinets, final assembly components, XRF systems, programming software for automated tools, soldering system controls, automated programmers, rework systems, and test analysis systems.

Distributor News

Distributors Sager Electronics and Digi-Key both picked up new product lines this week. Sager Electronics will add Harvatek components to its line card; Digi-Key signed a global distribution agreement for TriQuint Semiconductor.

Paper Substrates for RFID Tags

The first step to ultra-low-cost paper substrates for RFID tags is to demonstrate conductors on paper substrates from a processing standpoint, and characterize the electrical performance of paper substrates (up to 2 GHz) from a design standpoint.

Economical Lead-free Reflow

Targeting lead-free solder applications, the R-500 reflow oven offers 10 reinforced PID temperature controllers in each of its five upper and lower chambers, allowing precision in reflow profile parameters, along with three thermocouple inputs to monitor component and PCB temperatures.

Avoid Electro-chemical Failure Using SIR

High-reliability electronic assemblies are used in applications where failure could result in a catastrophe. Manufacturers of high-reliability electronics take their responsibilities seriously.


Compiled by SMT Staff

Right-angle Miniature Pushbutton

(December 22, 2004) HARWOOD HEIGHTS, Ill.— A low-cost right-angle miniature pushbutton switch for PCB mount is available from ITW Switches.

Auto Teaching for Component Programming

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

Speaking of this Week — April 9, 2004

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

SMTA Speaker Emphasizes Role of Materials, Joint Design in Fiber Optic Packaging, Assembly

(November 15, 2001) Woburn, Mass. -- The roles of materials, as well as the joint in design, are critical to fiber optic packaging and assembly, according to a speaker at the IMAPS New England and Boston SMTA Joint Technical Meeting here Tuesday night.

Ionic System

The SMD-3 Ionograph is an ionic test system for analyzing the cleanliness of completed, cleaned PCBAs prior to conformal coating. The system is ETL certified to UL Standard 3111-1, as well as NFPA 196 and NEC500/501. It is designed for use with a PC, includes software to automate the test and data capture process, and allows the user to test to all pertinent IPC standards. The system can provide characterization of residues from both no-clean and clean fluxes. It has 600 M( sensitivity.


The County counters and scales line counts all types of components. It is a microcomputer-based instrument that counts taped radial, axial and SMD components with added options. Accessories such as reel supports and handles are available. The S series is a motorized counter for taped SMD components. Motion control preset and memory functions can be operated by an interactive display while the system status is monitored by LEDs. The W series of electronic counting scales comes with digital displa

CM News

Eight New Contracts Won - NIWOT, Colo. — The Dii Group Inc. announced that Dovatron, its contract manufacturing subsidiary, recently signed eight new programs with seven new customers and one existing customer, amounting to more than $200 million of annualized revenue. Two of the programs are printed circuit board (PCB) assembly in China for Matrox Corp., and PCB assembly and box build for home networking products for Tut Systems. The remaining bu

EMS Outsourcing Strategy 2010: U.S. or China?

The electronics contract manufacturing business has grown tremendously in the past 10 years. Many U.S.-based companies have outsourced to EMS providers in China to reduce production costs. Some, on the other hand, have moved their production back to the U.S. Others are still pondering the best outsourcing strategy. John Koon, Express Manufacturing Inc., asks, are you looking into outsourcing? What criteria are used to develop a sound outsourcing strategy? and Does outsourcing to China guarantee lower production cost than building in the U.S.? He also shares useful criteria for creating a successful outsourcing strategy.

How to Use Machine Calibration Techniques

Information provided by CeTaQ - Machine calibration can increase the efficiency of a production line, reduce rework, improve manufacturing accuracy, and enable use of more advanced components and board designs. Knowing the many possibilities available for machine calibration is key to maximizing its benefits for your assembly and inspection lines.

STEP 9: Test & Inspection

Fast-evolving technology on circuit boards and quick-turn production requirements place new demands on circuit board test strategies and platforms.

Surface Mount on Flex Circuitry

For decades, most components populated on flexible circuitry have been thru-hole-mounted. Recently, however, there has been a shift toward surface mount components on rigid and flexible PCBs.

CEMA Offers Industry Trainings, Lead-free Resources

The Center for Electronics Manufacturing and Assembly (CEMA) at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) is an academic research lab offering the Electronics Packaging industry research services, failure analysis, process training and development, consulting, and laboratory rental.

Image Sensor Sockets Protect in Board Assembly

(December 22, 2004) WEST WARWICK, R.I. — A line of image sensor sockets designed to cut costs by protecting against damage during board assembly and processing is available from Advanced Interconnections.

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

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

Nitrogen and Soldering: Reviewing the Issue of Inerting

While accepted in the wavesoldering process, nitrogen use in reflow ovens is frequently questioned despite a wealth of research.

Test Chambers

The SE-Series environmental test chambers incorporate larger compressors. By doubling compressor horsepower, these chambers are said to provide very rapid temperature-change rates. The chambers can improve screening effectiveness by imparting greater levels of thermal stress to products under test. The high-volume air distribution system reduces gradients. Each chambers has the 7800 programmer/controller. It can graph, datalog, edit and offer on-screen context sensitive help. It has a 3.5" disk

Convection Oven

The SMRO-0405 full-convection reflow system includes Windows 95/98 Oven Manager software to permit unlimited, real-time temperature profiling; continuous process status updates; historical overlay comparisons; program storage; and remote operations. The software also allows users to meet ISO 9000 and end-user documentation requirements. The oven has a 16" wide stainless-steel mesh belt, eight heating zones and dual cooling zones.

New Products

Chip Scale Test Contactor - The HP 95000 chip scale, auto-test contactor is designed for use with the HP 95000 tester. The contactor works with the tester to provide 1 GHz performance with less than 1 ns pulse widths for testing direct rambus DRAM. The contacts use 0.75 mm pitch, 1.3 to 1.6 nH self inductance, 0.02 to 0.09 capacitance and 9.3 GHz bandwidth at 1.0 dB for test results from -55 to 150°C with a typical life cycle of more than 100,000 insertions. OZ TEK, Hayward, Calif.

Optimizing a Standard Print Process Eases Mixed Technology Assembly

Consumers continue to expect increased functionality in ever smaller electronic products. However, this demand stretches the rules of design-for-manufacture (DfM) and leaves circuit assemblers to wrestle with the combination of decreasing feature sizes coexisting with larger components. Clive Ashmore, DEK, explains how print process control can increase productivity when large and small components coexist on a PCB.

The Evolution of Start-ups: Nextreme Meets Its Market

Start-ups face an uphill battle, with strong competition, limited access to resources, and a market that often isn't ready. We spoke with Nextreme's Paul Magill, Ph.D., about Voxtel's addition of Nextreme's thermoelectric cooler into its VDHAX APD receivers. This marks a new phase in our evolution, says Magill, asserting that the market is ready for their thermal management advances.

From the Editor:
Get Ready Because Here They Come: Stacked Packages

The more I travel to cover the latest technologies, the more interconnected each step becomes from the front to the back-end, board assembly, and box build. For instance, I recently attended The ConFab Conference in Lowes Lake, Las Vegas. The title of this high-level event was "Managing the New Economics of Chip Making." I went for the inside information on one of the sessions, "Economic Implications of 3D Circuitry & Advanced Packaging."


First introduced in 1986 by Takaya, fixtureless flying-probe testers have become a mainstay in most electronics manufacturing facilities.

Expanding Role of Machine Capability Analysis

When considering the purchase of an expensive piece of manufacturing equipment, it is important to know that the equipment will perform to spec.

Deal Delivers Manufacturing Execution and Management Solutions

(December 22, 2004) CHELMSFORD, Mass.— Brooks Software and AssurX announced a joint development agreement to deliver an integrated manufacturing execution and quality management solution targeting discrete manufacturers.

RMS Enable Modular Manufacture

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

Speaking of this Week — January 23, 2004

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

Mentor Graphics Completes Bid for IKOS Systems

(April 8, 2002) Wilsonville, Ore. -- Mentor Graphics Corp. has grabbed control of San Jose, Calif.-based IKOS Systems Inc. over Mountain View, Calif.-based Synopsys Inc., who bid for the company in July 2001, with an unsolicited offer.

Are You Ready for Lead-free Assembly?

The lead-free challenge lies in using technology that allows electronics assemblers to maintain optimal thermal processes in the reduced lead-free process window.

Four Tip Styles

Four tip styles are available for the FLUXBUSTERS Series of probes. The tip designs reportedly improve the ability of the probe to make reliable contact to contaminated or unique targets on PCBs. Each tip is a modification of a existing tip designs. Three of the four tips are designed to contact vias. For filled vias, all three tips have sharp edges to cut through contaminants around the edge of the via.

Gap-filler Pads

These conformable, high-heat-conducting gel pads are said to fit and adhere to most shapes and sizes of components, including protrusions and recessed areas. Thermal impedance of devices mounted on substrates or at heat-sink junctions is said to be eliminated, yielding higher temperature transfer gradients. Four series, each with a different construction, include a hardened-top surface or mesh reinforcement for demanding applications.

Flip-chip Assembly Using Ultra-fine-pitch Solder Pastes

In electronics manufacturing, keeping pace with technology is not enough to ensure long-term viability.

Aerosol Maintenance Cleaners Available

(December 20, 2004) NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A low VOC water-based aerosol maintenance cleaner that removes dirt, oil, grease, wax, flux, paste and other particles from copper, aluminum, iron, brass stainless, ceramic, cement, glass, plastic, rubber and cloth surfaces is available from Kyzen.

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

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

Speaking of this Week — January 23, 2004

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

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

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

Sabin Establishes Overseas Regional Offices, Wins IPMI Award

(September 16, 2002) East Hampton, N.Y. -- Sabin Metal Corp. has established two new foreign regional offices in Shanghai, China and Sao Paulo, Brazil, as part of the company's global expansion program.

Loctite Renamed Henkel Loctite

(July 3, 2002) Rocky Hill, Conn. -- The Loctite Corp. in the United States has officially changed its legal name to Henkel Loctite Corp., and in the near future, Loctite companies around the world will follow suit.

Drying Three Times Faster: Jet Manifolds vs. Air Knives

The physical removal of water on PCBs requires far less energy than evaporative removal. But unless air strikes with sufficient velocity to overcome the surface tension, physical removal does not occur.

Resistivity Meter

The Loresta GP is a microprocessor-based resistivity meter that contains in memory the data required to calculate the correction factors that affect resistivity measurements. It has selectable output for surface resistivity (W per square), volume resistivity (Wcm), resistance (W) or conductivity. The user can select manual or automatic measurement range from mW to MW (12-2 to 107). Options include an automated X-Y table, a printer and software for electronic transfer to a computer. A varied amou

Fluid Dispenser

Model 1500DV is an air-powered dispenser that reportedly combines precise, repeatable fluid deposits with a vacuum pickup pen that simplifies placement of small, hard-to-handle components. Adhesive, solder paste or other assembly fluid is contained in a disposable barrel that the operator holds like a pen. A "teach" function allows the size of the first deposit to be set. With shot size stored in memory, the operator places the dispensing tip in position and presses an electric foot pedal to mak

I-Connect007 Research: How Do You Think 5G Will Impact the Electronics Manufacturing Industry?

In a recent I-Connect007 survey on 5G, we asked the following question: How do you think 5G will impact the electronics manufacturing industry? Here are a few of the answers.
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