Latest Articles

Addressing Quality and Manufacturability Challenges of Mission-Critical Products

Mission-critical military and aerospace PCBAs are based on 100% SMT and optimized for manufacturability from day one of design. But the reality is that many of these products utilize mixed technology. In many cases, these mixed technology designs often violate industry-standard design guidelines, creating manufacturability issues.

Declaring War on Failure in Electronics

Failure, in electronics, while not necessarily desired by either manufacturer or consumer, is expected. This is not to say that the industry has not attempted to improve reliability. In this article, Verdant Electronics' Joseph Fjelstad writes that much is being done in an effort to improve reliability with new solder alloys, new fluxes, new materials, new equipment and process parameters.

Stencils: Why They Still Matter

Eric Weissmann, president and CEO of Photo Stencil, discusses with I-Connect007's Barry Matties some important points about the venerable stencil, the latest in stencil innovation, and the impact stencils, blades, and cleanliness can have on product quality.

Reducing Risks to Employees’ Health with Extraction and Filtration Technology

Occupational health and safety in manufacturing companies have become increasingly important in recent years. As manufacturing processes gain in complexity, the resulting pollutants have become smaller and particularly more exotic. These factors lead to a rising demand for extraction and filtration technology, which reliably protects equipment and employee health, and furthermore, takes account of changing process parameters.

The War on Soldering Defects under Area Array Packages: Head-in-Pillow and Non-Wet Open

The most difficult aspect of any soldering defect on an area array package is the inability to observe the defect easily. This article explains the characteristics of soldering defects to help identify the proper action to take to mitigate the defects in a soldering process. One particular defect in focus is the head-in-pillow (HiP), which are soldering defects on area array packages characterized by a lack of coalescence between the solder paste deposit and the package solder bump.

Acceptance Testing Of Low-Ag Reflow Solder Alloys (Part 2)

In Part 2 of this two-part article series, the authors discussed the test results for low-silver alloys using these solder paste alloy assessment protocols for BGAs and leaded components, and the impact of the alloys on printed circuit assembly process windows.

Acceptance Testing Of Low-Ag Reflow Solder Alloys (Part 1)

The electronics industry has seen an expansion of available low-silver Pb-free alloys for wave soldering, miniwave rework, BGA and CSP solder balls, and, more recently, solder pastes for mass reflow. In Part 1 of this two-part article series, the authors discussed test protocols that can be used for assessing new Sn-Ag-Cu(SAC), Sn-Ag, and Sn-Cu alloys for general use in electronics.

NEPCON Shenzhen 2015 Puts Spotlight on China's EMS Industry

From ODM and OEM to EMS, the Chinese electronics manufacturing industry is transforming from single, passive processing to active, intelligent manufacturing—in line with the "Made in China 2025" plan, as well as the latest trends happening in the electronics industry.

Selecting a Reflow Oven, Part 1

Finding out the size of oven you need is related to the number of zones you can afford. There will be tradeoffs between cost and capabilities, and more zones will always give you better flexibility and more control over your profile—but at a cost. Therefore, decision has to be qualified primarily on your anticipated throughput; that is, how many boards you process in a day or a week.

Supply Chain Risk Mitigation Applications for the Grey Market

It's 2015, and it's time that your supply chain became educated on how to effectively incorporate the benefits that independent distributors and brokers can offer your supply chain, while reducing your risk. If your supply chain still looks down on brokers or independent distributors, you are likely missing opportunities to reduce liability and cost, and increase readiness.

Mechatronics Innovations and Applications

In an interview with I-Connect007, Edward Neff, President of SMAC Moving Coil Actuators, discusses some of the latest mechatronics innovations happening in his company, and how these developments are being applied in different industries including electronics assembly and robotics.

A Greener, Money-saving Approach to Dealing with Waste

EMS firm Sanmina has a high technology manufacturing facility in Huntsville, Alabama, where it produces state of the art PCBAs on several advanced SMT lines, for some of the world’s leading medical and defense companies. Here's how the company was able to manage its hazardous waste disposal and be certified by ADEM, one of the strictest state regulatory agencies in the country.

SMT Magazine August Issue Tackles War on Process Failure

Based on our survey, there are four major issues when it comes to quality and process failure: poor process control, poor training of employees around quality, inability to quickly identify where and how waste is being created, and poor technical support from suppliers. The August issue of SMT Magazine features several though-provoking articles tackling the war on process failure in manufacturing electronics assemblies.

Understanding Parylene Deposition

Parylene's deposition process is unique among conformal coatings. Unlike others that start as a liquid, get deposited and dry, it starts as a solid, turned into a vapor, and then deposited onto the substrate. This article explains this unique method as well as its real advantages.

Fairlight: An Iconic Name in Digital Audio

Fairlight Instruments became one of the biggest names in the recording industry with its digital sampling technology in 1975. Forty years later, the company is still leading with a full line of products that their technologists design, engineer in house, and produce with a network of EMS companies. In this interview with I-Connect007's Barry Matties, Fairlight's Emilijo Mihatov shares insights and strategies for succeeding by thinking differently.

Connector Cleanliness and Flux Entrapment

Plated through hole connectors can present special challenges when it comes to assembly cleanliness and reliability. Cleanliness of the raw part, processing parameters and chemistry selection can all negatively affect the reliability and robustness of the interconnect system. This article will discuss some common issues and how to resolve them.

Localized Contamination Can Cause Big Problems

In today's electronics manufacturing environment, assemblers continue to overlook areas of localized contamination that are capable of causing product failures. By neglecting to examine especially sensitive, critical, or tightly packed areas on an assembly, opportunities for electrochemical failures loom. This article talks about a case study involving a visible white residue and dendritic growth in a connector area, and the analysis done to determine its cause and implications.

ROSE – What Does the Data Mean and When Is It Useful?

Profound changes in the processes and materials used in the electronic assembly industry have a significant impact on the usefulness of ROSE testing. This article will discuss what ROSE test results really mean and when they are—and more importantly, are not—useful.

Meeting High-Speed Demand with Optical Circuits

In an interview with I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties, Felix Betschon of vario-optics discusses the advancements in optical circuit boards, and explains the core advantage of this technology and what circuit designers must do to add optical circuits into their design disciplines. He also talks about the opportunities for this new technology, and what's driving customers to consider adopting it.

EchoStar: The Future of Supply Chain Management Done Right

EchoStar isn’t your typical OEM—they take supply chain management to a whole new level. Barry Matties was able to visit Echostar's EMS partner in Shanghai, DD & TT Electronic Enterprise, to take a look at what they are doing, and find out about Echostar's supply chain management strategies.

Cutting Cost, Not Price

In any supply chain survey, the issue of cost comes up repeatedly. This article explores the downside of focussing on price and suggests some of the practical ways you can reduce costs without having a negative impact on your product.

EMI-caused EOS Sources in Automated Equipment

Electrical overstress causes damage to sensitive components, including latent damage. A significant source of EOS is high-frequency noise in automated manufacturing equipment. This article analyses sources of such noise, how it affects components and how to mitigate this problem.

Pad Cratering Susceptibility Testing with Acoustic Emission

Pad cratering is difficult to detect by monitoring electric resistance since it initiates before an electrical failure occurs. This article presents the results of pad cratering susceptibility of laminates using the acoustic emission method under four-point bend and compares the AE results to the pad-solder level testing results.

Masking for Parylene Deposition

Parylene conformal coating does an incomparable job of protecting product substrates from harsh, unpredictable operating environments. But inappropriately applied parylene can have an adverse effect on the functionality and performance of an assembly or component. Ensuring proper implementation of masking can help address this.

Residues Can Cause Low Voltage Electronics to Ignite

This article dispels the myth that low-power devices such as remote controls have insufficient energy to be a source of ignition. It also discusses why leakage current, even in low voltage/low power applications, can be sufficient to eventually ignite proximate fuel and lead to sustained fire in PCBA surfaces.

Benefits of Soldering with Vacuum Profiles, Part 2

Part 1 of this article series explained the continuously increasing requirements for void-free solder joints in electronics manufacturing, amid the relentless introduction of new variants of bottom-terminated components. This article takes a closer look at the soldering process with a focus on vacuum profiles, as well as an evaluation project and the obtained soldering results.

China Electronics Manufacturing Industry Welcomes New Era

NEPCON South China 2015 will connect upstream and downstream players in the electronics manufacturing equipment and automation technologies industries, and provide the best possible platform to showcase industry progress, conduct exchange and advance trade.

A Rework Dilemma: PCB Shields

RF shields minimize radio frequency noise to prevent it from affecting the sensitive and critical electronic components beneath the shield, as well as from interfering with neighboring devices or other systems in the vicinity. This article talks about the challenges associated with reworking RF shields on wireless device PCBs.

A Look at the High-Reliability Interconnect Market

In an interview with I-Connect007, Mark Cormier of Miraco Inc. discusses his company's activities and capabilities, the latest trends and drivers in the high-reliability segment, and their strategies when it comes to managing their assembly work as well as their audit processes to find EMS providers.

The Theory Behind Tin Whisker Phenomena, Part 2

In the second part of this article series, Dr. Jennie Hwang writes that a plausible theory of tin whisker growth can be postulated through deliberating the combination and confluence of several key metallurgical processes.

Industry 4.0: Who Benefits?

After many cycles of ROI justification have occurred already in most PCB assembly manufacturing companies, people are realizing that innovation and investment in new systems may affect them in ways that are less than optimum, resulting in certain groups within the organization resisting pretty much every major innovation. Along comes Industry 4.0, which could certainly trigger a significant amount of “automated” objection from the shop floor.

Things to Consider when Choosing a Parylene Coating Service Provider

Choosing parylene gets you half way to protecting your company's products with the best possible conformal coating. To close the circle, unless you have invested in the proper equipment and training, you also need to choose the right service to apply the coating. This article lists some of the attributes that you should look for when seek your Parylene coating service provider.

I-Connect007 Survey Finds Lowering Cost, Automation among Key Supply Chain Concerns

To really provide relevant discussions and insights on one of the most important aspects of a company’s business—the supply chain—I-Connect007 did a survey to find out our readers' top supply chain challenges, and what they would like to learn about supply chain management.

Color Logical Analysis Approach for LED Testing in Manufacturing

The complexity of test development for LED test and long LED test execution times in production are big challenges faced by the PCB manufacturing industry. This paper introduces a color logical analysis methodology to achieve zero additional test development and no extra test execution time.

Reliability Study of Bottom Terminated Components (Part 2)

In the finale of this two-part article series, the authors discussed their thermal cycle tests, as well as the impact of solder voids in the thermal pad of the BTC. They also touched on BTC thermal modeling, as well as determined the acceptable amount of solder voiding in a thermal pad for devices with power dissipation greater than 3W.

Reliability Study of Bottom Terminated Components (Part 1)

This article series discusses bottom terminated components (BTC), and the stress and strain on these components when it comes to solder joints. In Part 1, the authors look at the impact of large voids at the thermal pads of BTC components and their impact on solder joint reliability.

Parylene and Wearable Devices

The life of a wearable device is harder than it might seem. It could be exposed to summer in Phoenix or winter in Minneapolis. It also gets exposed to corrosive spray when it is taken to the beach or on a boat. Considering such challenges, this article talks about why Parylene is the most appropriate choice for conformal coating compounds when it comes to protecting wearable devices.

Beating the Supply Chain Challenge

SMTC’s Seth Choi, vice president of global supply chain management and procurement—who is also responsible for strategic sourcing, pricing, assurance of quality, speed-to-market, and the continuity of supply in order to support global SMTC procurement strategies—discusses how the supply chain has evolved over the past few years; the role of a supply chain manager in an EMS company; how SMTC is lowering their procurement costs; and what strategies they’ve set up in place to ensure the integrity and security of their manufacturing value chain.

Characterization of Solder Defects in Package-on-Package with AXI Systems for Inspection Quality Improvement (Part 2)

In Part 2 of this two-part article series, the authors discuss the highlights of AXI with planar computer tomography (pCT), as well as present the results of their experiments on AXI 5.

Characterization of Solder Defects in Package-on-Package with AXI Systems for Inspection Quality Improvement (Part 1)

As solder joints in a PoP device cannot be inspected by optical means, X-ray inspection mostly is the only way to assure their quality nondestructively. The first installation of this two-part article series describes a series of studies on automated X-ray inspection (AXI) technology to quantify solder defects in a three-level Package-on-Package (PoP) device.

A Review of the Opportunities and Processes for Printed Electronics (Part 5): The Future of PE

In the final part of this article series, Happy Holden writes that whether one of the technologies mentioned or technologies yet to be developed will dominate the future of printed electronics is an open question. What is a bit more certain is that flexible base materials printed using printed electronics solutions and processed in roll-to-roll fashion will be an element of successful future technologies.

A Review of the Opportunities and Processes for Printed Electronics (Part 4): Applications

In Part 4 of this five-part article series, Happy Holden talks about the market applications for printed electronics. He writes that while there are several areas for application of PE solutions, such as in sensing, identification and security, and power, it is the display segment that is considered to be the most interesting potential application.

A Review of the Opportunities and Processes for Printed Electronics (Part 2): Printing Technologies

In Part 2 of this article series, Happy Holden explains that the selection of printing method to use is determined by requirements concerning printed layers and properties of printed materials, as well as economic and technical considerations for printed products.

A Review of the Opportunities and Processes for Printed Electronics (Part 3): Materials, Process Developments

In Part 3 of this article series, Happy Holden highlights the different material and process developments for printed electronics. He also notes how some suppliers have addressed the conductivity problems by using new binder formulations for the ink.

A Review of the Opportunities and Processes for Printed Electronics (Part 1)

As microsystems continue to move towards higher speed and microminiaturization, the demands for interconnection are opening up new opportunities for "innovative" interconnects. In the first part of this five-part article series, Happy Holden gives a brief background on printed electronics, as well as presents key technologies that are being employed for PE production.

Inspection: The Last Line of Defense

Traditionally a non-value-added step, inspection is still the best, last line of defense against defects and a bad reputation. In this interview by I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties, Viscom’s Guido Bornemann discusses the true value of inspection and how to best use the tools to prevent defects, including head-in-pillow, from being shipped to customers.

In-Circuit Pin Testing: An Excellent Potential Source of Value Creation

In-circuit pin testing (ICT) is a common method of inspecting electronic assemblies to measure the effectiveness of the assembly process and to predict electrical functionality. In this article, Mitch Holtzer talks about ICT and how its accuracy can bring significant competitive advantage to assemblers. He also provides an example of doing ICT in an assembly.

Acoustic Surface Flatness of Components and Boards

Plastic packaged ICs, including BGAs, may experience warping as a result of processing. This article talks about using acoustic micro-imaging tools to measure and map the flatness of the top surface of a BGA package where warping may occur.

Taking the Human Out of Hand Soldering: Is it a Must?

At the recent NEPCON Show in Shanghai, I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties stopped by the WKK booth where Japan Unix (represented by WKK in China) was displaying its new robotic soldering technology. In this interview, General Manager Hirofumi Kono explains why this new technology makes so much sense.

American Standard Circuits’ Unique Offerings Contribute to Long-term Success

At the recent IMS RF and microwave show in Phoenix, Arizona, Anaya Vardya, CEO of American Standard Circuits, sat down with I-Connect007's Barry Matties to discuss the current market trends, the company's recent equipment investments, and where American Standard Circuits' growth will likely come from.

In-line Solder Penetration Testing with 3D X-ray Inspection

Although through-hole technology can be considered the oldest assembly technology in the field of PCB manufacturing, it still has its place even in this modern age of surface-mounted technology. To this end, through-hole components were devised for automatic assembly and for high thermal loads in the furnace, which led to the birth of through-hole reflow.

Test Match: Partnering Specialist Boundary-Scan with ICT

Devices like BGAs with inaccessible pins restrict the coverage possible using ordinary flying probe testing. Augmenting flying probe with boundary-scan can help overcome this problem, as well as deliver additional valuable benefits.

In 3D Inspection, Can 'Length = Height' Mean No Escapes?

During the recent NEPCON China show in Shanghai, I interviewed Kobi Ventura of ALeader Europe, an Israeli-Chinese joint venture with ALeader Vision Technology Ltd., which focuses on SPI and AOI inspection equipment. All of the machines are built in a state-of-the-art factory in Guangdong, China. Utilizing a unique length-equals-height modeling approach to inspection, Kobi states that they offer 100% escape-free technology, and it comes with a guarantee.

High-Density Interconnect and Embedded Board Test

Consumers’ insatiable demand for feature-packed, thin, lightweight, and energy-efficient devices is spurring the need for HDI technology. With new electronic functions constantly being integrated into a SoC encapsulated in a less than 0.5 mm pitch array package, the future looks bright for embedded board test (EBT).

Selecting an Automatic Pick-and-Place Machine, Pt. 3

In this month’s installment in this series of columns aimed at helping buyers analyze and select SMT equipment for printed circuit board assembly, Robert Voigt talks about the features that affect decisions on the selection and purchase of an appropriate automatic pick-and-place machine.

Enclosed Media Printing as an Alternative to Metal Blades

The evolution of PCBs in terms of the miniaturization of assemblies, components, and ever-finer feature print patterns has not slowed, and as a result continues to present ever-increasing challenges to the makers of assembly equipment and solder paste printing technology, narrowing the process window. In this article, Michael L. Martel discusses how enclosed media print head technology has kept up to these challenges.

Solder Paste Printing: Quality Assurance Methodology

In this article, Lars Bruno and Tord Johnson describes a method to ensure quality secured data from both solder paste printers and inspection machines in electronic assembly manufacturing.

iNEMI Managing Director: New, Disruptive Technology on the Horizon

Dr. Haley Fu, managing director of Asia Pacific for iNEMI, and Publisher Barry Matties spoke recently. Fu gave her overview of the last eight years with iNEMI along with her opinion of what the most significant changes have been, globally and for the Asia market in particular. She predicts that in the future, the PCB will probably adopt optical architectures instead of copper, because using copper for the trace means that the land space and the property will not satisfy the future high-speed data transport rate.

Miniaturization with the Help of Reduced Component-to-Component Spacing

Miniaturization and the integration of a growing number of functions in portable electronic devices require an extremely high packaging density for the active and passive components. This article touches on the assembly technologies that can be incorporated in a more or less standard surface mount assembly line with minimal equipment and material upgrades.

Final Test Solution of WLCSP Devices

The common back-end process flow for mobile WLCSP devices is a single- or dual-insertion test at wafer probe. Since there is no final test prior to tape and reel, this equipment typically needs to provide a 5-side device inspection to identify potential device damage from sawing. The inspection efforts are quite demanding, with defect recognition requirements in the range of only 10 to only 20 microns, resulting in frequent time and cost intense human interaction and support requirements.

BGA or CGA: When Is It Right for You?

In this interview with TopLine President and Founder Martin Hart, I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties focuses on column grid array (CGA) and how CGA can solve delamination problems. CGAs, also known as CCGA, are not necessarily new but are making a strong comeback in the high reliability market.

A Look at Saki’s Approach to 2D, 3D and X-ray Technology

At NEPCON 2015, I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties sat down with Nori Koike, COO of Saki Japan, to discuss the latest demands for 3D and their approach to inspection. With more than 20 years of experience, they have built a line-up of tools that covers the inspection spectrum. Koike also stresses the importance of using inspection data as a tool to improve and automate the process.

Advanced Business Intelligence Systems are Not a Luxury

Manufacturing companies are experts in conducting ROI analyses when it comes to production equipment, but most of the analysts and executives who prepare and review ROI analyses do not approach the purchase of software solutions with the same rigor.

Advances in Electronics Assembly Technology - SMART Group Seminar Preview

In a preview webinar to introduce the upcoming SMART Group seminar where the latest advances in assembly technology and reliability will be discussed by industry and subject experts, SMART Group Technical Committee members Charles Cawthorne from MBDA and Ian Fox from Controls and Data Services summarized the papers to be presented.

A Look at the Latest Demands for Flying Probe Testing

Publisher Barry Matties sat down with Seica GM Barbara Duval at the recent NEPCON China show to discuss Seica’s approach to the flying probe markets. Duval also shared some of the latest customer demands on test companies and the test market outlook in Europe and North America, in addition to China, which looks like it will see growth in 2016.

CyberOptics: Honing in on the High-Reliability Market with 3D AOI and SPI Platforms

I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties and CyberOptics’ Sean Langbridge spent time together in China recently, where they discussed, among other things, the company’s newest product launch, a 3D AOI and SPI platform. Langbridge also discusses the latest requirements for inspection.

Reducing SMT Print Cycle Time: The Effects on Assembly Cost and Quality

Models have been available for over 10 years showing how reduced stencil wiping frequency can lower print cycle time. More recently, solder paste formulations have been widely adapted that offer higher transfer efficiencies at small area ratios when subjected to higher sheer forces associated with faster squeegee speed and pressure over the stencil. This article shows how these two cycle time reducers increase throughput when the print step is the rate controller in an SMT process.

Exact Science Implemented at Kester for Increased Reliablity

Kester's Bruno Tolla and Dr. Yanrong Shi discuss with Guest Editor Steve Williams the importance of fully understanding their many solder formulations with respect to solderability and reliability, as related to customer needs and applications. With their fully equipped lab Kester's team can delve deeply into understanding the interactions of the chemistry involved, all of which can affect solderability performance.

Debunking the Myth: Polyimide Tape is Not the Only Answer During Rework

The electronics manufacturing industry has its own myth in polyimide tape being the most effective way to shield neighboring components from heat exposure. Legend has it that this thin, adhesive-backed “protector” will shield components from damage.

Solder Jet Printing: Is It the Right Time?

Publisher Barry Matties gets an update from Nico Coenen, sales director for Mycronic, on their solder jet printing system. Mycronic has been developing and pioneering this technology for 10 years and they believe now is the time for it to gain real traction. One thing is certain; solder jet printing certainly has advanced and could make a big difference in process and quality.

Jetting Strategies for mBGAs: A Question of Give and Take

Among the alternatives for the deposition of solder paste and other fluids on a PCB is jetting, which offers advantages concerning precise volume repeatability, software control and local volume control. The goal of this study is to examine the effect of piezo actuation profile on deposit quality with respect to positioning, shape and satellite levels in order to achieve adequate deposition quality for applications such as 0.4 mm BGA.

0.3% Humidity, That's Super Dry!

Sitting down with Guest Editor Mark Thompson, Super Dry's Richard Heimsch describes their powerful new dry unit which is capable of 0.3 % relative humidity. Recovery after doors have been opened is lowered super fast in the storage cabinet, able to reach the "safe zone" within three minutes.

Position Accuracy Machines for Selective Soldering of Fine-Pitch Components

Selective soldering is a reliable soldering process for THT connectors and offers a wide process window for designers. But selective soldering is a different process. Compared to wave soldering, there are additional process parameters that are affected by the higher temperatures.

Reliability Assessment of No-clean and Water-soluble Solder Pastes, Part II

Twenty-five years ago, solder paste residues had to be cleaned after reflow due to their corrosive nature: two ways of cleaning were available, either with solvent or by using water, with or without detergent. Now, the assembly world is mainly no-clean: paste formulation is safer in terms of chemical reliability and process costs are reduced without cleaning.

Solving Inspection Problems with True 3D in AOI, AXI and SPI Systems

SAKI America's family of true-3D inspection systems cover the whole spectrum of SPI, AOI and AXI tasks. Quintin Armstrong explains how the unique resolution capability of their AXI achieves 100% detection of head-in-pillow defects.

Reflow Profiling on the Electrical Reliability of No-Clean Solder Paste Flux Residues

Optimization of a reflow profile often focuses on mitigating defects such as voiding, tombstoning, graping, and slumping/bridging. But little thought is given to the reflow profile’s effect on the electrical reliability of the no-clean flux residue. Because of the wide variation in size and thermal density of SMT components and PCBs, achieving a reflow profile that equally heats the entire assembly can be challenging and often impossible.

Enhancements in Consolidating Data Prep

Valor's principle of consolidating data once then using it in multiple areas downstream, for example stencil design, pick and place programming and test machine programming, has now been extended to include X-ray inspection programming. Mark Laing explains how.

Solder Paste Stencil Design for Optimal QFN Yield and Reliability

Over the past 15 years, the implementation of the QFN/BTC package has garnered a great amount of attention due to the assembly and inspection process challenges associated with the package. The difference in solder application parameters between the center pad and the perimeter pads complicates stencil design, and must be given special attention to balance the dissimilar requirements.

SJIT, Solder Joint Integrity Test, To Find Latent Defects in Printed Wiring Board Assembly

Capacitance method and IEEE 1149.1 or boundary scan method are often used to find opens between component leads and pads on a printed wiring board. These methods, however, can find complete opens or complete shorts only; and latent defects that can be complete defect after several years have not been found by the conversational method. This article talks about a method to find such latent defects by using 4-wire small resistance measurement technique.

Zentech: Expanding EMS Solutions and Supporting Innovation

Zentech CEO and President Matt Turpin sat down with I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties recently for a wide-ranging discussion of the state of both domestic and global manufacturing, and Zentech’s recent acquisition that will significantly expand the company’s capabilities. They also focused on supply chain issues, automation, regulations, and the importance of STEM education in the U.S.

Open Failure Analysis Lab Assessment Service Available

Bhanu Sood describes the services offered by the Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering, and explains how physics-of-failure techniques are applied as a means of gaining a scientific understanding of reliability.

Software and Hardware Solutions

Jim Dickerson discusses software that goes beyond the SMT line to manage the whole process flow of the factory. Shawn Robinson describes award-winning placement systems with multi-recognition camera technology.

Universal Instruments Talks Challenges in China's Electronics Manufacturing Industry

Glenn Farris, Vice President of Marketing at Universal Instruments Corp., discusses with I-Connect007 Guest Editor Jessie Jiang at RealTimeWith...NEPCON China 2015 the key challenges facing China's electronics manufacturing industry.

NEPCON China Showcases Latest Manufacturing Tech in Asia

Considered Asia's biggest, most influential SMT and electronics manufacturing event, NEPCON China 2015 attracted over 450 leading brands from 22 countries, who are showcasing this week the latest electronics manufacturing technologies and products across an exhibition area of 25,000 sqm. I-Connect007 is on hand again this year covering this event with exclusive interviews and photos from the show floor.

How to Select an Automatic Pick-and-Place Machine

This is the third in a series of articles designed to help buyers analyze and select SMT equipment for PCB assembly, and examines automatic pick-and-place machines, the most complex component in a circuit assembly operation. This article will focus on features and capabilities and include some cautions regarding reliability of low-cost machines.

Are the Robots Taking Over?

Some have a fear that robots are taking over, but the founders of Universal Robots have a different view. They have focused on producing a versatile robotic arm that frees humans from doing the repetitive tasks. Their journey has not been an easy one. From a startup with just a couple of employees their future was questionable at best, but they never gave up.

Benefits of Soldering with Vacuum Profiles

Requirements for void-free solder joints are continuously increasing in the field of electronics manufacturing, bringing new challenges that are evolving on a daily basis due to the relentless introduction of new variants of so-called bottom-terminated components (BTCs). Connector geometries alone are not decisive—numerous pitfalls are of greater significance.

High Reliability Thanks to Adhesives

Protecting electronic components from thermal, mechanical and chemical stress is becoming increasingly important in many industries. DELO Industrial Adhesives’ product specialist Kevin Balben explains the correct uses of today’s encapsulants and compounds and clarifies the myths that surround them.

Time to Ditch Heavy Metal for Soft Rock?

Yash Sutariya and Thomas S. Tarter shine a light on the often overlooked topic when it comes to PCBs for LEDs: reliability. They wrote that composite materials can provide both a thermal management solution and a dimensional stability solution that has not yet been presented through conventional materials.

Insitu: Moving Mountains in a Mountain Community

Nearly 800 employees build and support Insitu’s UAS line of ScanEagles, Integrators and ground stations. Boeing’s cameras captured the first images inside of Insitu’s new production facility, Eagle Point. Watch the video for a peek inside and learn more about where high-tech meets mountain height.

Developments with Metallic Thermal Interface Materials

Tim Jensen and Dave Saums write about the critical role of the thermal interface material in improving the efficiency of heat transfer between a semiconductor device and the surface to which it is attached.

The Importance of Solder Process Expertise

Alpha's Marketing Manager for the Americas Robert Wallace talks with Guest Editor Kelly Dack about the company's new products such as solder preforms shaped like passive components and low temperature solder alloy pastes, as well as other innovations that the company is doing.

How to Streamline PCB Thermal Design

Thermal issues with a PCB design are mostly determined during the component selection and layout phases. After this point, only remedial actions are possible if components are found to run too hot. John Parry discusses how addressing thermal issues early in PCB design, starting at the system or enclosure level, can help streamline the entire process.

Doing Business in India and China

Electrolube Managing Director Ron Jakeman spoke to I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties at CPCA 2015 in Shanghai. The company, more than 70 years old, has evolved over the decades, from producing contact lubricants, to manufacturing globally, with subsidiaries worldwide, including Beijing, China. In this interview, manufacturing, state of the global markets, and even Indian cuisine are discussed.

Product Line Philosophy: Start Small...End Big

Ralph Savage, CEO of EasyBraid, talks to Kelly Dack about his company started their business, as well as some of the activites and technologies they are doing now, such as desoldering, stencil cleaning and a soldering technology based on the Curie principle. He also discussed the company's strategy in bringing world-class technology into the United States.

How to Select a Pick-and-Place Machine, Part I

In this article, Robert Voigt writes about manual and semiautomatic pick and place machines, for users interested in going from a couple boards a day to much higher production volumes.

Electrolube Expands Their Coverage

Phil Kinner talks coatings and encapsulants with Kelly Dack and explains how thin coatings give environmental protection whereas thick opaque encapsulants provide IP protection and high reliability.

Direct Marketing Strategy Paying Off

Approaching 50 years in the business of supplying assembly equipment to the small-to-medium user, with an emphasis on understanding the needs of the customer and providing the best in value and service, Manncorp's Henry Mann and Ed Stone believe in direct marketing with readily accessible information.

Neutral Cleaning and Latest Developments in Closed-Loop Control

Cleaning processes that are pH-neutral have become a trend-setter in semiconductor and power-electronics applications, and concentration management is simplified by full closed-loop control. Harald Wack and Todd Scheerer explain the technical and environmental benefits.

Japan’s Thermosetting Plastics Association Represents at IPC APEX EXPO 2015

At the International Reception, held opening night of IPC APEX EXPO 2015, I-Connect Technical Editor Pete Starkey made the rounds and found some visitors from Japan, namely, Kazutaka Masaoka, from Thermosetting Plastics Association (JTPIA). In this brief interview conducted amongst the reception attendees, Masaoka-san and Starkey discuss Japanese vs. North American circuit board quality and business trends.

Role of Plasma in Reliability of Conformal Coating

Besides its established applications in PCB fabrication, plasma is increasingly used in preparing assenblies for conformal coating, rendering surfaces hydrophilic and so promoting wettability and coating adhesion for increased reliability.

Tin Whisker Risk Assessment of a Tin Surface Finished Connector

Rockwell Collins initially investigated and qualified Samtec’s SEARAY solder charge connector technology with a focus on solder joint integrity. However, the connector in question was found to have a potential risk of tin whiskers due to a small region of the connector that was not protected by either solder poisoning or the connector’s mechanical configuration.

High-end Assembly Requirements for Precision Dispensing

Dispensing is the cost-effective solution for repeatably placing precise amounts of underfills, encapsulants and sealants in otherwise inaccessible areas as packaging complexity inceases, particularly in the third dimension. Brian Chung of Nordson Asymtek sees mobile and wearable electronics as the drivers of the leading edge of precision dispensing technology.

The Unpredictability of Tin Whiskers Endures

Into decade number two of the European Union’s RoHS and REACH restrictions for the use of lead in electronic components, the risk of tin whiskers in critical circuitry continues. This article will explore a tin whisker mitigation process for surface mount electronic components applicable to both passive and active components.

Ready to Hire! Blackfox Provides IPC Class 3 Training to Veterans

I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties caught up with Al Dill, president and CEO of Blackfox Training Institute, for an in-depth discussion on Blackfox's expansion plans for North America (Tempe, Arizona and Guadalajara, Mexico) and Malaysia (Penang). Dill also describes the highly successful veteran’s training program, which is being spearheaded at the Blackfox headquarters in Longmont, Colorado.

Tin Whisker Growth on the Surface of Tin-Rich Lead-Free Alloys

This article presents the results of energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) studies showing the relationship between tin whisker formation and copper and oxygen surface content in whisker neighborhood.

Tin Whiskers: Why Testing Temperature Can Change the Outcome

Tin whisker phenomena have been observed and its potential mishaps have been recognized for more than six decades in electronic, electrical and industrial applications. In this article, Dr. Jennie Hwang discusses why temperature is one of the key variables that drive the tin whisker phenomenon, mechanism and how the underlying science operates.

Advanced Printing for Microelectronic Packaging

The concept of dispensing a wide range of materials in three dimensions presents a potential change in electronic packaging. This article will cover the concept of combining dispensing technologies on a single platform to build integrated and monolithic electronic structural circuits.

Risk and Mitigation for Tin Whiskers and Tin Pest

In this article, Dr. Ronald C. Lasky provides a semi-quantitative analysis of the effect of these risk and mitigation strategies on tin pest and tin whisker risk.

Minimizing the Risk of Tin Whisker Formation in Lead-Free Assemblies

Although tin whiskers are very small crystalline fibers, they have reportedly caused multiple NASA satellites to become inoperable, automotive accelerator pedals to become unusable and a nuclear reactor to malfunction. The risk, however, can be minimized by specifying material sets that are less likely to produce tin whiskers.

Proposed EU Legislation Receives Industry Support

Given the wide variety of opinions and proposed amendments on the conflict minerals legislation, it is hard to predict what will be included in the final legislation or when it will be passed into law. IPC will continue to stay involved, advocate for our members and keep you informed.

Enhancing Thermal Performance in Embedded Computing for Ruggedized Military and Avionics Applications

Embedded computing systems used in many military and avionics applications are trending toward higher heat fluxes, and as a result performance is being hindered by thermal limitations. This article outlines a series of passive thermal improvements that are easily integrated into legacy systems and can provide a 3-4x increase in dissipated power.

Essemtec Features Paraquda at Automaticon

At the upcoming AUTOMATICON 2015 exhibition, taking place March 17 - 20 in Warsaw, Essemtec, the Swiss manufacturer of production systems for electronic assembly and packaging, will highlight its award-winning Paraquda in booth B28, hall 1.

California Congressman Mike Honda Discusses American Manufacturing

Barry Matties, Publisher of I-Connect007, sat down with Congressman Honda, who represents District 17 in the Silicon Valley, and talked with him about American manufacturing, infrastructure, education and some of the current thinking in America. According to Honda, "The policies we pass and the things we do in D.C. that negatively impact our economy...a lot of those guys who don’t support some of the positive things we want to see happen don’t really understand that it impacts their districts, their social services, health and business."

JOT Automates Final Testing of Smart Wearables

JOT Automation automates the final testing of smart wearables for an enriched end-user experience and shortens the time-to-market in the highly competitive market. JOT G3, known as an all-in-one final tester for smartphones, also enables fully automatic tests on wearables like smartwatches in a repeatable and reliable environment.

Risk and Mitigation for Tin Whiskers and Tin Pest

There is considerable and justifiable concern over the risks of tin whiskers. However, the same concern is not apparent regarding the dangers of tin pest. This paper will present an overview of both of these reliability concerns by reviewing what is known about the mechanisms and the occurrence of both phenomena.

ZESTRON's Umut Tosun to Present at IPC APEX

In his presentation, ZESTRON's Umut Tosun will review the performance of pH neutral cleaning agents as compared to alkaline cleaning agents and DI-water for cleaning No Clean, RMA and OA flux residues.

Data I/O to Showcase PSV7000 at APEX

“The PSV7000 is our fastest ramping automated system and has become the preferred programming solution for leading automotive electronics manufacturers worldwide, with 8 of the top 9 automotive electronics companies purchasing at least one PSV7000 since its introduction.” states Anthony Ambrose, President and CEO of Data I/O Corporation.

RPS to Exhibit Multiple Systems at IPC APEX

RPS Automation LLC has made plans to display four systems from their Selective Soldering line at the upcoming IPC APEX EXPO in San Diego, February 24-26.

Indium's Jensen to Present Webtorials for PCB Assembly

Indium Corporation’s Tim Jensen, senior product manager for engineered solders, will share his expertise during two Surface Mount Technology Association (SMTA) Webtorials on March 18 and 25 from 1-2:30 p.m. EST.

Nordson EFD Demos Fluid Dispensing Systems at MD&M

Nordson EFD, a Nordson company, the world's leading precision fluid dispensing systems manufacturer, will demonstrate its new series of automated fluid dispensing systems at MD&M West in Anaheim, California on February 10-12, 2015 in booth #3335. Nordson EFD's new systems combine precise dispensing with fast and easy programming and are easily integrated into any manufacturing operation. These closed-loop systems ensure that the dispensing process stays in control. Customers will benefit fro…

Transition Automation Debuts Holder System for Ekra Serio

Transition Automation, Inc., announces the availability of Permalex Universal Holder and Blade Assemblies for installation on Ekra Serio printing systems.

Opportunities for 3D Printed Structural Electronics

Today's 3D printers have many limitations, but the boundaries are being pushed and exciting developments are continuously being made. One of the most promising recent developments in the world of 3D printing is multimaterial printing, which holds the key to the emergence of 3D printed electronics.

ZESTRON to Hold 5-part Cleaning Webinar Series

ZESTRON has announced the first installment in the 2015 5-Part Cleaning Webinar Series titled "Defluxing in a No-clean and OA world".

The Power of Counterfeit Component Detection, Prevention, and Mitigation Training

The counterfeit component landscape is changing, and there is a need to continuously improve and stay on top of current detection training techniques for the prevention and mitigation of counterfeit electronic components.

NATEL EMS:The Illusion of Extended Warranties

NATEL EMS has found that extending the life of products can be cheaper in the long run and sometimes even in the near term as well. Buying and using quality components creates a more reliable and less reworked finished product.

On the Border: Foxconn in Mexico

Foxconn, the biggest electronic manufacturer worldwide, has strong assembly operations in Ciudad Juarez, on the Mexico-US border. With an abundant migrant labor force, extreme social violence and multinational production are among the main factors that characterize this operation.

An Alternative Solvent with Low Global Warming Potential

In this article, we have described the characteristics of the new solvent 1233zd(E) or trans-1-chloro-,3,3-trifluro-1-propene, which showed excellent promise as a solvent for defluxing and other cleaning applications.

SMT Quick Tips: How to Select a Stencil Printer

Remember: The application of your solder paste is the start of your process. It has to be right because the rest of the process can’t make up for improper solder placement.

2015: Changes in Assembly and Acceptance Criteria Specs and Training Programs

The recent adoption of the newest versions of the JSTD-001 and the companion document IPC A 610 late in the summer of 2014 means that there are several changes ahead for those inspecting boards during assembly, accepting boards at incoming inspection, building boards and training associates on applying the revised standards.

The Rise of Structural Electronics

Structural electronics is one of the most important technological developments of this century. It forms a key part of the dream, first formulated 30 years ago, of computing disappearing into the fabric of society. It also addresses, in a particularly elegant manner, the dream of Edison in 1880 that electricity should be made where it is needed.

Enterprise Labeling: An Imperative for the Electronics Industry

The electronics industry is characterized by an ever-sprawling set of global supply chains, causing an increase in disparate labeling systems spread across the enterprise with an ever-increasing volume of duplicated label and redundant master data. This begs the question: How effective is labeling in the electronics industry today? Can labeling be more optimized for large corporations with thousands of printers around the world?

Using LinkedIn as a Vendor Database & Reference Check

If you're a vendor, go have a look at your--and your company's--presence on LinkedIn. When a potential customer comes to LinkedIn to check you out, will what they see help you or hurt you?

Outlook for 2015 and Beyond: A Supply Chain Perspective

In "The Terminator" movie series, an AI network known as Skynet nearly succeeds in wiping out all mankind, but from the ashes emerges the Resistance. The Resistance is made up of survivors who, despite their weakened condition, have the will to survive and fight for existence. This more or less describes the industry over the past 15 years--we are trying to survive in the face of relentless competition from China and other emerging markets.

Book Review: Amp Up Your Sales

"Andy Paul has it right: Things are different now and if you don't modify (and I mean drastically modify) your approach to sales you're going to lose out. Paul stresses it's not what you sell, but how you sell it. It's all about the how; it's all about the process you use to sell your product," writes Dan Beaulieu.

EMS Industry: No Relaxing Now

"Given that the EMS industry accounts for only 22% of the worldwide electronics assembly per New Venture Research, it has ample room for an even faster growth depending on its ability to convince OEMs to outsource more than what they do now. The EMS providers' persuasive power lies in its ability to satisfy the demanding and changing requirements of OEMs," comments author Frederick Blancas, IMI, Inc.

Focus on Training: IPC Continues Contributions in China

John Mitchell, IPC president and CEO, joins Guest Editor Bob Neves to discuss the association's continued focus on training and contributions in China. Mitchell also expresses his desire to draw more EMS suppliers and assembly companies to future HKPCA & IPC shows in the region.

Considering a Social Media Program? Five Fundametal Questions

You have a choice between the "big four" social media platforms--Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn--plus any number of smaller, new, and emerging social networks trying to gain traction. What should you do? Easy. Just ask your customers.

SMTA: Call for Papers for 2015 Events

SMTA announces abstracts are now being accepted for several events taking place in 2015. All submissions must be non-commercial in nature and focus on technology research rather than a company product.

10 Ways to Increase Your Company's Visibility Using LinkedIn

With 80% of professionals using LinkedIn on at least a weekly basis, the site is a tool that should be part of a company’s marketing kit. Companies and staff can use LinkedIn in many ways to both raise their visibility and establish credibility with prospective customers. Bruce Johnston offers 10 examples that don't cost a cent.

Rework Challenges for Smartphones and Tablets

The implementation of surface-mount devices is crucial for smartphone manufacturers, offering increased component density and improved performance. Mobile products generally use an epoxy underfill to adhere components to the PCB to meet the mechanical strength requirements of a drop test. Reworking glued components is the most difficult application in the electronics industry, and must be addressed as a process.

Rework Challenges for Smartphones and Tablets

The implementation of surface-mount devices is crucial for smartphone manufacturers, offering increased component density and improved performance. Mobile products generally use an epoxy underfill to adhere components to the PCB to meet the mechanical strength requirements of a drop test. Reworking glued components is the most difficult application, and must be addressed as a process.

New Placement Technology for Rework Systems

With the SMT process standardized and widely understood, some experts have started to look closer at the side processes, including touch-up and repair of assemblies. Moreover, the introduction of bottom-terminated components, such as BGAs, has created a push for improved rework and repair activities. Another driver was the RoHS lead-free directive enacted in Europe in 2006.

High-reliability, Pb-free, Halogen-free Solder

This paper from Ian Wilding and Gavin Jackson addresses the performance of a specifically designed lead-free solder alloy for increased reliability in high-temperature thermal cycling. It also documents the challenges and breakthroughs in developing halogen-free or zero-halogen solder fluxes compatible with the lead-free alloy specifically designed for higher reliability.

High-reliability, Pb-free, Halogen-free Solder

This paper from Ian Wilding and Gavin Jackson addresses the performance of a specifically designed lead-free solder alloy for increased reliability in high-temperature thermal cycling. It also documents the challenges and breakthroughs in developing halogen-free or zero-halogen solder fluxes compatible with the lead-free alloy specifically designed for higher reliability.

Enabling Technology is Focus of IMI

Arthur R. Tan, president and CEO of Integrated Micro-Electronics Inc. (IMI), joins Philip Stoten to discuss his company's growth in the past two years. Tan focuses on trends in the automotive market and the drive toward driverless vehicles connected to a "smart city" mesh technology network--one where cars "talk" to their drivers and each other to improve efficiency and control traffic congestion.

Social Media Marketing Works--Here's Proof

Most of my clients are manufacturers of one type or another. And while many of my clients have had their "Aha!" moment, for the most part, manufacturers just don't "get" social media.

Assembly and the Quest for Solder Alloy-Free Electronics (SAFE)

"As first brush, the title's suggestion that solder can be eliminated from the assembly process may appear absurd. Everyone related in any way to this industry knows solder is the universally accepted way of connecting components to printed circuits in electronic assemblies. Thus, the fact that many knowledgeable people in the industry might scoff at the notion solder can be eliminated comes both without surprise and a certain amount of resignation," writes Joe Fjelstad.

Networking Not Working? Here's Why

Some people invest a lot of time in social media and get little or no return. Usually it's because they've forgotten what networking means. They collect followers and connections, and share or broadcast content. But that's it. They forget their network is composed of individuals and they should be networking with those individuals on a one-to-one basis.

NAMICS Launches New Low-temperature Paste

Ken Araujo, area manager at NAMICS Corporation, joins Editor Ray Rasmussen to discuss his company's new low-temperature, sintering solder paste--a combination of both a silver sintered material and a resin system.

Flexible Manufacturing: An Interview with Jabil Circuit Inc.

John Dulchinos, Jabil Circuit's vice president of Global Automation, talks to I-Connect007 editor Richard Ayes about the electronics manufacturing landscape, the latest trends and developments, the EMS industry's need for manufacturing automation, and how the U.S. may become successful in its reshoring activities.

Panasonic: Removing Operators from the Assembly Process

Mark Ragard, general manager of North American Sales at Panasonic Factory Solutions, joins Editor Ray Rasmussen to discuss his company's focus on the mid-range market from a screen printing and placement machine perspective. The focus: How to take operator intervention out of the assembly process.

How Customers Find Vendors Via Social Media

Social media isn't a problem, it's an opportunity. Ninety percent of manufacturers are either uninvolved or just plain inept at using social media to help themselves. The 10% who do are laughing all the way to the bank.

Indium Celebrates 80 Years in Business

Rick Short, director of marketing at Indium, joins Editor Ray Rasmussen to discuss his company's 80 years in the industry. Indium has grown from one man in a garage to more than 800 employees with 14 facilities around the globe. Short also discusses the IPC Corporate Award the company received for its contributions to the industry.

Alternative Methodologies for High-temp Bonds

Tim Jensen, senior product manager at Indium Corporation, joins Guest Editor Bob Willis to discuss the challenges associated with finding suitable replacements for high-lead solders. He stresses the importance of getting these solders replaced and also finding low-temperature alternatives for rework and secondary operations.

Mirtec's D'Amico on Industry Trends and Staying Competitive

Brian D'Amico, president of Mirtec, joins Guest Editor Ryan Flaherty to discuss the continued drive for smaller, faster, and cheaper products. Industry advancements, and the shrinking of components, requires improved inspection technology, which lead to the development of the OMNI 2D/3D In-Line AOI Machine.

A Robot's Place in SMT

Today's robots can solve many manufacturing issues and are more cost effective than the ongoing costs of human labor. The purchase of a robot is a three- to five-year payoff, after which the expense is reduced to maintenance and utilities. A robot that matches the cycle time of the manual operation will most certainly surpass a human in efficiency over time.

SMT Engineers Declare Technica Tech Day a Success

Technica's recent technical seminar, "Void-free Soldering," was attended by some of the top electronics companies in the Silicon Valley. The feedback was positive, with several expressing a high level of interest in learning more about low-void and void-free solder connections. A live demonstration of void-free soldering was part of the day's agenda.

A Robot's Place in SMT

Today's robots can solve many manufacturing issues and are more cost effective than the ongoing costs of human labor. The purchase of a robot is a three- to five-year payoff, after which the expense is reduced to maintenance and utilities. A robot that matches the cycle time of the manual operation will most certainly surpass a human in efficiency over time.

Sanmina: Automation in Production Lines

With so much discussion about the increasing amount of automation in the world of electronics assembly Editor Richard Ayes asked Gelston Howell, senior VP at Sanmina, to provide perspective on the state of manufacturing automation. Howell discusses the current state of automated electronics assembly systems, the inherent risks and challenges, and the future of robotics in manufacturing.

Indium Introduces Two Specialty Solder Pastes

Glen Thomas, product manager for PCB solder paste at Indium, joins Guest Editor Martin Anselm to discuss his company's two new products: RMA-155 lead-free paste, for use with high-complexity boards with a variety of component sizes and Indium10.1, a lead-free, halogen-containing paste low voiding levels.

SMTA Seeks the Next Generation of Technologists

Matt Kelly, IBM senior technical staff and member of the SMTA Planning Committee Board of Directors, discusses ways to intice young engineers to join the industry. He says student-veteran interactions should start at the chapter level and expand the "family" atmosphere to eventually draw young professionals to trade shows and conferences.

Sanmina: Automation in Production Lines

With so much discussion about the increasing amount of automation in the world of electronics assembly Editor Richard Ayes asked Gelston Howell, senior VP at Sanmina, to provide perspective on the state of manufacturing automation. Howell discusses the current state of automated electronics assembly systems, the inherent risks and challenges, and the future of robotics in manufacturing.

Reducing Total Manufacturing Cost with Automation

The value of automation boils down to decreasing costs and increasing revenue. If implemented judiciously, automation will increase throughput, improve quality, increase repeatability, and reduce labor-related costs. Michael Hansson of Integrated Micro-Electronics takes a closer look--starting with costs.

SMTA President Highlights Technical Programs at SMTAI

SMTA President Bill Barthel joins Editor Ray Rasmussen to discuss the outstanding technical programs and standards committees offered during SMTA International--part of the partnership between SMTA and IPC. Barthel also previews upcoming association learning and training events.

Mentor Fine-tunes Consulting Operations

Jay Gorajia, director of consulting at Mentor Graphics, joins Editor Ray Rasmussen to discuss the creation of a consulting organization to help customers extract value from their existing assets. The organization's main goal is to help small- to medium sized companies--those who don't continually buy or expand capacity--make the best of what they already have.

Weibull Distribution Deconstructed

Indium, Dr. Ron Lasky, senior technologist at Indium Corporation, joins Guest Editor Susan Mucha to discuss the Weibull Distribution, an analytical tool for modeling the breaking strength of materials. Lasky points out the "curse of the early first fail" and the importance of long-term failure testing.

How to Save Money on Social Media Marketing

The first step to effective social media marketing is to treat it like any other aspect of a business. You need to figure out what your goals are. Social media marketing should fit with existing and planned sales and marketing programs, in the same way that a trade show would.

RTI's Anselm: Education, Training Focus for SMTA

Martin K. Anselm, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at Rochester Institute of Technology and SMTA Committee Chair for Training, discusses the launch of a training program--modules will include printing, reflow, pick and place--geared toward new and emerging engineers. The courses can be taken online and will prepare engineers for future certification and assist in career development.

Robotics in Manufacturing: A Primer

Robots move quickly in production departments of various sizes and within various applications, sometimes in large spaces, sometimes in very narrow areas. Yet the diffusion of robots is not at all similar to that of a commodity good, even though robots share many of the same characteristics. So why not robotize your departments for good?

Why What You're Doing Doesn't Work Anymore

If there's one thing I hear time and again it is this: What we are doing doesn't work anymore. One of the big reasons why this statement is true is that business-to-business customers have changed. They buy differently and social media is a big reason for it.

Congress Meets on NNMI; Highlights Activities of IMIs

The industry and institute panelists addressed the benefits and impacts of the NNMI, highlighted the activities of the four recently established IMIs, and expressed the need for the pending RAMI Act to be enacted into law.

IPC Study Examines Potential Areas for Global Expansion

"This is a comprehensive resource for executives who are doing long-range planning on their global footprint," said Sharon Starr, IPC's director of market research. "It has detailed information on many factors that are specific to the electronics industry that will help them make informed decisions."

Meeting Future Stencil Printing Challenges with Ultrafine Powder Solder Pastes

Solder pastes comprised of finer particle solder powders may help with stencil printing, but increased surface oxide associated with finer powders may also reduce the reflow process window. This paper provides a comparison of the transfer efficiency of different solder powder particle sizes and visually observes post-reflow results in both optimal and harsh conditions.

How to Use Social Media to Differentiate Your Company

People look on the Internet for information they can use to help them do their jobs better and make better decisions at work. This is an opportunity to be the one that provides that information--either through social media or on a website

NPL: High-temp Soldering Demo at SMTA International

NPL invites attendees at SMTAI 2014 to try hands-on soldering and de-soldering with polyimide boards produced from different laminates and see demonstrations of robotic soldering during the special feature organised by Bob Willis. The event is supported by many key suppliers to the industry, including, Indium, MTA Automation, SEHO, UIC, STI, ERSA, NAMICS, Peroferm, Inventec, Japan UNIX, Kyzen, and NPL.

The Essential Pioneer's Survival Guide: Reshoring Made Simple

Companies are realizing the pros of offshoring are no longer what once they were and that the cons are becoming more significant. Is reshoring really commercially viable? This reshoring opportunity, coordinated with the seemingly unstoppable current market trends, can either be taken advantage of now, or if delayed, could represent the final loss of onshore manufacturing opportunity.

MIRTEC Unveils New 3D AOI Inspection System in China

Tai Chang, senior sales manager at Mirtec China, joins Philip Stoten to introduce his company's latest offerings at NEPCON South China, including the MV-6E In-Line AOI Series and MV-7 OMNI 2D/3D AOI Series. Chang also addresses the emerging demand for 3D AOI solutions in the region.

Kyzen's Forsythe on Cleaning Challenges in Asia

Philip Stoten caught up with Kyzen President Tom Forsythe at NEPCON South China to discuss new cleaning challenges bought about by current market developments in Asia and the new range of solutions being launched by his company to satisfy emerging needs. Forsythe also addresses advancements in stencil cleaning.

Introduction to Inline AXI Technology

Since the initial discovery of X-rays, the technology has become an important tool for inspection of internal structure in non-transparent objects. Among the many applications developed, the most common is simple transmission imaging, or radiography, which allows operators to view a shadow image of the inspected object's internal structure from various angles.

Whisker Growth in Tin Alloys on Glass-Epoxy Laminate

In this study, tin alloys soldered on glass-epoxy laminate (typically used for PCBs) are considered. Scanning ion microscopy with focused ion beam (FIB) system and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDXS) were used to determine correlations between spatial non-uniformities of the glass-epoxy laminate, the distribution of intermetallic compounds, and whisker growth.

Operational Energy Management at Rehm

Energy costs, energy transition, energy efficiency--these are just a small selection of keywords relating to increasingly important energy issues faced in the recent past. One company committed to sustainability and efficiency, with their "Save the Future" concept, is Rehm Thermal Systems GmbH in Blaubeuren near Ulm.

Your Experience + Content Marketing = Better Margins

"Unless a company gives a customer a reason to choose them over their competitors, the customer will decide on their own methodology...and that will be price," says Columnist Bruce Johnston.

NPL to Hold Webinar on Power & High-temp Manufacturing

National Physical Laboratory will host the "Power and High Temperature Manufacturing Webinar" September 10, 2014. The event, co-sponsored by SMT Magazine, features presenters Dr. Chris Hunt, NPL, and Bob Willis, NPL Defect Database coordinator and will address assembly processes for high-temperature PCBs; use of liquid solder and sintered pastes; process and design defects; and much more.

Tin Whiskers: Capsulization

Since lead-free implementation, concerns about tin whiskers have intensified. For the past 12 years, studies and research by various laboratories and organizations have delivered burgeoning reports and papers, and Dr. Hwang has devoted an entire series to this subject. This article aims to capsulize the important areas of the subject.

Regional Strategy Roadmap for Manufacturers Debuts

This study, conducted by BPA Consulting Ltd. exclusively for IPC, provides critical information on 30 countries and analysis of their relative advantages to electronics manufacturers, as well as the outlook for future development. It also identifies locations of major assembly company operations and the technological and market "hot spots" throughout the world.

Social Media Marketing for Companies With No Money

Why do people use social media marketing? Because the rewards outweigh the costs. There are no capital costs to using social media. You can put money into sponsored posts, advertising, and premium memberships, but they are not necessary to be successful.

IMI's 1H On-Year Profit Increases Fivefold

"We maintain our profitable growth trajectory, driven by increased demand from customers in the telecommunications infrastructure, automotive electronics, and storage device markets. More important, we have a healthy sales pipeline, especially for the automotive segment," says Arthur Tan, president and CEO.

White Paper Compares Lead-free Alloys

The proliferation of lead-free solder alloys gives users a wide range of features, but it can be difficult to figure out which of these alloys provides the best match for product requirements.

Assembly with Solder - An Unblinking Look at

While soldering holds many benefits in terms of offering a means of mass assembly of components to PCBs and is fundamentally simple, its application is much more complex and fraught with opportunity for defects to be generated, but it is also the demon we have elected to live with, for as the old saying suggests: "Better is the devil we know."

Assembly with Solder - An Unblinking Look at "The Devil We Know"

While soldering holds many benefits in terms of offering a means of mass assembly of components to PCBs and is fundamentally simple, its application is much more complex and fraught with opportunity for defects to be generated, but it is also the demon we have elected to live with, for as the old saying suggests: "Better is the devil we know."

Eight Ways to Generate Sales Opportunities Using LinkedIn

Columnist Bruce Johnston says LinkedIn is the best social network for companies in the B2B space because of the numerous ways it can be used to generate sales opportunities. Here, he gives eight examples.

How To Overcome The "You're All the Same" Objection

What if there was a way to show prospective customers that your company is an industry leader with the smarts, skill, technology, experience, and imagination that separates you from your competition? There is and it's called social media.

Key Tronic Expects Revenue Drop in Q4

"While the unanticipated revenue shortfall in the fourth quarter was disappointing, we expect to see a return to sequential growth in the first quarter of fiscal 2015 as our new programs continue to ramp up," said Craig Gates, president and CEO.

Exploring High-temperature Reliability Limits for Silicone Adhesives

The high-temperature performance of silicone adhesives and sealants has only moderately been investigated. This report from Carlos Montemayor documents the effects of very high-temperature exposures to electronics-grade silicone adhesives and sealants for such properties as tensile strength, elongation, tensile modulus, weight loss, shrinkage, durometer, and lap shear adhesion.

Optimization Project for Reflow Systems

The level of vertical integration in the tachograph manufacturing department is high. This of course places great demands on logistics and production. The old chart recorders had a total of roughly 130 electronic components, but today's strictly digital recorders include 850.

Six Ways to Lead Prospects to Your Website Via Social Media

If there's one thing every company wants more of, it is sales leads. Social media is the perfect place to find and funnel your prospects into your sales lead generation machine.

Google: The Company to Watch in Social Media

Google+ is the social network to watch this year. Seen for a long time as a poor cousin to Facebook, more marketers and salespeople are starting take a second look.

Baja Bid: A New Kind of Equipment Auction Company

Arlin Horsley, CEO of Baja Bid, joins Editor Andy Shaughnessy to discuss asset management in the electronics assembly industry. Horsley's company assists when a company has a plant closure or simply has assembly equipment to sell and manages online auctions or private sales to help maximize the sale price.

Fuji America Enjoys New Industry Opportunities

Fuji America's Executive Vice President Tom Zabkiewicz joins Editor Andy Shaughnessy to discuss an uptick in business due to retooling opportunities in the industry--all driven by new technologies that cater to miniaturization. He also says he sees growth in the Mexico market and in the automotive, mil/aero, and consumer electronics industries.

The Trouble with BGA Solder Joints

The increasing density of modern assemblies imposes new requirements on the packaging technology, especially BGA housings. However, the terminals of those components escape physical probing and visual inspection. This gives rise to the question: How can technologists ensure the quality of solder joints with extremely reduced access?

The Changing Economics of In-circuit Test

Author Alan Albee writes, "A new brand of ICT production test systems removes the traditional barriers associated with automating electrical test. Zero footprint and multisite design concepts are changing the economics of ICT in dramatic ways for manufacturers of high-volume printed circuit board assemblies."

PCBA Test: Enabling the Right Management Practice

The electronics manufacturing industry, though a very mature industry with robust SMT, is constantly evolving as the industry faces new challenges--both technology-driven and people- or process-related. These changes impact how test is done by each manufacturer. This article reviews the challenges and recommends key strategies for both OEMs and contract electronics manufacturers.

Mechanical Reliability: A New Method to Forecast Drop Shock Performance

This article aims to identify an accurate method to predict drop test behavior by understanding the surface tension of both the solder mask ink and the underfill material. This could become a significant advantage for improving the reliability of the entire electronic construct.

New Standard Automates RoHS Report Analysis

IPC-1753, Laboratory Declaration Standard, provides a standardized format that's machine readable so computers can determine whether incoming products comply with regulations or a more in-depth review of the report is necessary.

Eight B2B Buyer Statistics...and What They Mean to You

Today, columnist Bruce Johnston shares results from DemandGen's 2014 B2B Buyer Behavior Survey, and discusses how companies can take advantage of the findings.

Mentor's Ford Offers Supply Chain Management Update

Michael Ford, marketing development manager for the Valor Division of Mentor Graphics, joins Editor Andy Shaughnessy to discuss his recent presentation on supply chain management. He says ERP systems are quite outdated as manufacturing operations must be much more responsive to meet customer needs. Ford outlines the updates required to allow ERP to best serve the industry.

Head-in-pillow X-ray Inspection

Identifying product defects associated with the manufacturing process is a critical part of electronics manufacturing. In this project, the authors focus on how to use AXI to identify BGA head-in-pillow (HIP), which is challenging for AXI testing. The goal is to understand the capabilities of current AXI machines.

PCB Manufacturers Discuss Using Social Media, Part II

This is the second column of a two-part series in which PCB manufacturers discuss their use of social media. Columnist Bruce Johnston imparts the lessons that can be drawn from the use of social media by PCB manufacturers.

Indium President on 80 Years in the Industry

Gregory Evans, president of Indium Corporation, joins Guest Editor Ray Prasad to discuss 80 years of technology advancements at the company. Evans says mobile devices are pushing new developments in reliability, leading to new alloy development. He is also looking forward to the new materials, processes, and products coming in the near future.

The Future of Test

In an interview with I-Connect007, Editor Richard Ayes and Steve Brown, VP of quality and engineering for SMTC Corporation, discuss the issues surrounding testing and inspection of electronics assemblies--from technologies and challenges, to cost--from the perspective of an EMS company. Brown also sounds off on the future of the EMS industry.

Signal Integrity in Test Fixtures

Stable and reliable test procedures are important to avoid unnecessary, and sometimes costly, delays in production. When these require some form of test fixture connecting a DUT to the ATE, poor signal integrity between the two can often make tests unreliable. Identifying and resolving such problems can be time consuming, but following simple guidelines can improve test stability.

Plasma Etch on a "Desmear" Campaign

Greg DeLarge, president and CEO of Plasma Etch, joins Guest Editor Kelly Dack to discuss the company's next-generation desmear etch back system, Magna. The technology, which requires no CF4 gas, provides faster etch times, lower operating cost, lower power usage, and process uniformity not achievable using existing MK-II type technologies.

PCB Manufacturers Discuss Using Social Media, Part I

This week and next, Columnist Bruce Johnston will share the opinions of PCB manufacturers using social media.

BEST, Inc.: Branching Out to Bare Board Rework

Bob Wetterman, president of BEST, Inc., joins Guest Editor Mark Thompson to discuss the company's move into reworking unpopulated boards, building products that facilitate faster rework and repair, and IPC certification and training.

Zentech: Tips for PCB Design

After countless hours of hard work, there's nothing more frustrating than discovering that your PCB design is flawed. A slight miscalculation can require you to backtrack as a result of sizing constraints.

Indium's Tim Jensen on Solder Fortification

Tim Jensen, senior product manager at Indium Corporation, joins Guest Editor Mark Thompson to discuss solder fortification--adding volume to solder joints using preforms rather than just solder paste. Typically, solder paste is printed onto a board, but it is limited by the thickness of the stencil. Adding a solder preform increases the volume of solder

One Step Closer to Zero Defects

Zero defects means never a defective product to a customer. Manufacturers of PCBs are doing abolutely everything in their power to make this happen--knowing full well that they cannot possibly achieve this 100%.

Viewpoint: A Strategy for Design-Through-Manufacturing

To remain competitive, customers realize the importance of adopting new methodologies that streamline processes. This is no easy task, and few software vendors can provide this level of detail, particularly with remote sites and the technical barriers between the worlds of PCB design and manufacturing.

Dr. Coleman on Two-print Stencil Process Applications

Dr. Bill Coleman, vice president of technology at Photo Stencil, joins Guest Editor Kelly Dack to talk about two-print stencil applications, a process that evolved due to a customer printing issue. Dr. Coleman also discusses solutions to problems arising from RF shields in cell phones due to coplanarity issues.

Prasad on IPC-7530, 7093, and 7095 Thermal Profiling

Ray Prasad, of the Ray Prasad Consulting Group, joins Guest Editor Kelly Dack to discuss progress being made on IPC 7530 Reflow Profiling document. As profiling is a key factor, the updates to the specification, along with 7093 and 7095, are of great importance.

Stencil Printing for Shrinking Component Sizes

Rachel Miller-Short, global vice president of sales at Photo Stencil, joins Guest Editor Kelly Dack to discuss stencil printing for rapidly shrinking components. Her company's new NiCut stencil technology delivers the advantages of an electroform stencil, but with faster turn-around time.

The Risks of Using LinkedIn

"In general, I write about the upside of using LinkedIn as a marketing, networking, and sales productivity tool. But there are certain realities of using LinkedIn that all users should keep in mind. Things can happen on LinkedIn, and if they happen to you, it can hurt," says Columnist Bruce Johnston.

IPC's Validation Services Program

IPC's Director of Validation Services Randy Cherry and IEC Electronic's VP of Advanced Technology Operations and Strategy Mark Northrup join Guest Editor Judy Warner to discuss IPC's programs to provide auditing and certification services to companies throughout the industry.

Heimsch on Making Things Dry

Super Dry Director Richard Heimsch joins Guest Editor Steve Williams to discuss problems associated with baking boards. To remove moisture, baking used to be the only answer--but the temperatures used often meant oxidation, inter-metallic build-up, and loss of solderability.

How PCB Manufacturers Use LinkedIn to Increase Sales

If the number of prospective customers going to a trade show tripled in three years, that would be a trade show to which vendors paid attention. LinkedIn requires that same attention.

Panel Discussion: What's New in Cleaning?

Moderator Barbara Kanegsberg, president of BFK Solutions LLC, joins panelists Robert Lee, North American Regional Manager, DuPont; Michael Konrad, president and CEO, Aqueous Technologies; and Keith Swan, general manager, Crystal Mark, Inc. for the Honeywell International-sponsored IPC APEX EXPO 2014 panel, "What's New in Cleaning?"

Technica's California DEMO Center Offers Training & Support

Frank Medina, president and CEO of Technica, joins Guest Editor Dick Crowe to discuss the opening of a demo and training center in San Jose, California. Medina says the center also offers continuing education, including hardware or software training, applications support, and small device placement education.

Why Salespeople Require a Big LinkedIn Network

"I am a big proponent of having more LinkedIn connections to increase my reach. But there's another good reason: The number of connections is the single most reliable indicator of someone who "gets" LinkedIn and the power of networking. These people will be more open to being approached by someone new," says Columnist Bruce Johnston.

Electrolube Debuts New Materials for Electronic Assembly

General Manager Randi Gates and Chicago Area Manager Monica Bartosi of UK-based Electrolube join Guest Editor Dick Crowe to discuss the company's new conformal coatings for the U.S. market. Low-viscosity USTFA facilitates and optimizes the selective coating process and provides greater adhesion on difficult substrates.

Indium: Eight Decades of Change

Rick Short, director of marketing communications at Indium Corporation, joins Guest Editor Dan Feinberg to discuss the longevity and history of the company. Short, who has been with Indium for 30 years, remembers introducing customers to surface-mount technology and then witnessing huge advancements in component and solder development.

Forensics Uncovers Elusive Defects & Saves PCB Designs

Products and their supporting PCBs and packages have shrunk so much that it is considerably challenging to detect extremely small problems. But a forensic approach can help you uncover defects that traditional methods may miss says NexLogic's Zulki Khan.

How Sharp PCB Manufacturers Use Blogging

A blog represents an opportunity for a company to differentiate itself, increase visibility, and establish credibility. Companies that blog can even establish themselves as industry leaders. And industry leaders don't compete on price.

DEK Deals with Automotive Device Miniaturization

Clive Ashmore, senior R&D engineer at DEK, discusses how his company is furthering innovation in the automotive industry. Of particular focus for DEK is the 0.4p CSP, a device prevalent in the mobile phone market for many years. Automotive manufacturers use these, but must mount them next to very large devices--what Ashmore calls "heterogeneous assembly."

Scanfil Continues Profitable Growth; Q1 Revenue Up 8%

"The year started on a positive note. We were able to continue our profitable growth. Turnover was up by 8% and operating profit by 26% from the previous year. We have been particularly happy to see that sales to telecommunication customers increased during the first quarter after a long declining trend," says Petteri Jokitalo, CEO.

EPTAC: A Leader in High-tech Training

Leo Lambert, VP and technical director of EPTAC, a training and consulting company in business for 25 years, joins Guest Editor Ray Prasad to discuss the myriad of programs EPTAC offers to the industry. As an official IPC training center, the company is proud to announce a new app which allows those interested to easily find a list of courses offered and the nearest training center.

Feasibility of Low/No Silver Alloy Solder Paste Materials

A significant increase in the number of alternative low/no silver lead-free solder alloys available has been witnessed in the industry recently. This article will present the performance and process capability of various low/no silver alloy solder pastes, along with a variety of benefits and challenges.

Miscoll Gives a Glimpse of the Future

Eric Miscoll, managing principal at Charlie Barnhart & Associates, joins Guest Editor Kelly Dack to discuss the uptick in reshoring happening in the industry right now. Miscoll also discusses recent case studies and industry data that helps his company forecast electronics manufacturing trends.

Sanmina Reports Q1 Revenue of $1.48 Billion

"I am pleased with our second quarter results. Our outlook for revenue growth in the second half of the year remains optimistic as new programs ramp and demand improves across a broad set of customers. We continue to invest in technology and business processes which offer a distinct advantage to our customers," stated Jure Sola, chairman and CEO.

Reliability Engineering "Jumps the Shark"

Improvement Manager Juniad Shafaat joins Guest Editor Kelly Dack to discuss working with low-tech wireless technologies used in animal tagging devices. His job is to ensure that the electronics inside the device can withstand years out in the field--in conditions including moisture, heat, intense pressure, cold, and more--to collect and return scientific data.

Neways to Acquire BuS Group

The intended acquisition fits Neways' strategy and significantly strengthens its footprint in the German EMS market. Neways intends to finance the acquisition with a combination of debt and equity. It is anticipated that the acquisition will be completed in the next few months and will contribute at deal closure to earnings per share.

Court: Disclosure of Conflict Minerals Violates Free Speech

Senior Circuit Judge A. Raymond Randolph cited both the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law and the SEC rule, writing that they "violate the First Amendment to the extent the statute and rule require regulated entities to report…on their website that any of their products have not been found to be…DRC conflict free."

A LinkedIn Profile Mistake: The Phantom Job Experience

Regardless of the goal in reading someone's profile, the single most important thing you want to see in a person's LinkedIn profile is if what they are doing in their current position is relevant.

Q1 North American EMS Market Snapshot

Over 370 industry professionals answered the call to take our first-ever quarterly market survey. This one-minute survey is designed to provide a snapshot of the current state of the EMS and PCB industries. Based on the results so far, we believe, with your help, we've been able to capture a fairly accurate picture of the current state of the market.

MYDATA's Gothner on Pick-and-place Industry Trends

Robert Gothner, general manager of MYDATA, joins Guest Editor Kelly Dack to discuss trends in the pick-and-place equipment industry, including a move toward higher-mix production and shorter-batch production which drives the need to make both processes more efficient.

Facebook: The Social Network Manufacturers Can't Figure Out

Bruce Johnston found that approximately 25% of PCB manufacturers have a Facebook page. Of those companies, 70% had given up. It was like something sinister had happened to the company's Facebook poster.

Assembly Materials for High-Temperature Applications

Trends in the automotive market are leading to an increasing need for new solder alloys. This article, from Heraeus' Jorg Todler, will discuss the reliability of soft soldering alloys at higher temperatures, as well as possibilities for a varitey of applications.

The Demise of Flux has Been Greatly Exaggerated

Andy Mackie, senior product manager at Indium Corporation, joins Editor Andy Shaughnessy to discuss a resurgence of interest he's seeing from many customers, particularly when it comes to flip-chip assembly, 2.5D and 3D assembly, and hybrid memory cube applications.

EOS Exposure of Components in Soldering Process

This article from author Vladimir Kraz examines the nature, consequences, and mitigation of electrical overstress (EOS) caused by electromagnetic interference (EMI)--or electrical noise--on power lines and ground in a manufacturing environment.

SMT Prospects & Perspectives: Tin Whiskers, Part 4 - Causes and Contributing Factors

According to Columnist Dr. Jennie S. Hwang, nucleation and growth can be encouraged by stresses introduced during and after the plating process. The sources of these stresses includes residual stresses caused by electroplatin, additional stresses imposed after plating, the induced stresses by foreign elements, and thermally-induced stresses.

iNEMI's O'Malley Gives Roadmap and Initiatives Update

iNEMI Vice President of Operations Grace O'Malley sits down with Editor Ray Rasmussen to discuss her association's activities in forecasting what's going on in the industry and how important technologies can be deployed faster. iNEMI's 20 technology working groups are now formulating the 11th roadmap, which should be available in the first quarter of 2015.

IPC, JEDEC Launch Grid Array Test Standard

One of the big challenges for many board designers today is to eliminate or reduce the damage caused by shock and vibration. Whether they're producing cell phones or aerospace boards, engineers want to use the best design and manufacturing processes for attaching ball grid array packages to printed boards.

Super Dry's Heimsch: RoHS Awareness & Moisture Management

Super Dry Director Rich Heimsch discusses with Guest Editor Ryan Flaherty how the growing trends in RoHS and accelerated awareness drive the need for moisture management solutions.

IPC APEX EXPO Tech Session to Tackle Low-temp Solders

Reliability issues continue to develop rapidly to meet changing customer needs and the rapid technical progress of semiconductors and circuit boards. Shock resistance has become more important as often-dropped portables increase in numbers and as finer pitches and the evolution of lead-free solder march on, the challenge to improve durability grows.

Characterizing Consumer Demand Worldwide

Chuck Bauer, managing director of TechLead, helps global companies with strategic planning. He explains how consumer demand for eletronics in North America differs from that of third-world countries.

New Legislation Drives SigmaTron's Earnings Increase

"While SigmaTron posted a positive diluted earnings per share for the third fiscal quarter, we were disappointed with our overall results. The positive earnings were entirely attributable to changes in deferred tax items as a result of new legislation enacted in Mexico," Gary R. Fairhead, president, CEO, and chairman of the board.

Making Sense of Accuracy, Repeatability, and Specification for Automated Fluid Dispensing

Understanding accuracy and repeatability is an important step in analyzing fluid dispensing system performance. This article from Nordson Asymtek will explain accuracy and repeatability and how they can be applied to different specifications. It will also discuss key considerations when interpreting accuracy and repeatability for decision making.

What the Black Knight Can Teach Us About Social Media Marketing

Columnist Bruce Johnston writes, "I was looking for column-writing inspiration last weekend by watching 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail' (if I'm looking for inspiration somewhere, I might as well enjoy it), and I realized that the Black Knight has many of the good habits and virtues that can be use with social media marketing."

Evolutionary Solutions: Tracks to Run On

Strategically developing and executing your company plan is critical for EMS providers. Building your state-of-the-art company on a rock solid foundation sets you up for a future of serving customers' evolving needs and staying on track.

Conformal Coating Defect Solutions with NPL, SMART Group

NPL and SMART Group are creating a special feature area and free seminars sponsored by SMT Magazine at National Electronics Week (NEW) in the UK. This feature area will allow engineers and operators to have hands-on experience with different aspects of coating and cleaning plus education via a three-day seminar program.

Big Ideas on Miniaturisation

The SMT print process is now very mature and well understood. However, as consumers continually push for new electronic products, with increased functionality and smaller form factor, the boundaries of the whole assembly process are continually being challenged.

Panasonic Ready for Any Mix, Any Volume

Brent Fischthal, product marketing manager for Panasonic Factory Systems, discusses with Editor Andy Shaughnessy the group's "Any Mix, Any Volume" initiative--part of the company's plan to dispel the myth that it only deals with high-volume manufacturing.

Fine-Tuning the Stencil Manufacturing Process and Other Stencil Printing Experiments

Previous experimentation on a highly-miniaturized and densely-populated SMT assembly revealed the optimum stencil alloy and flux-repellent coating for its stencil printing process. The authors report on a new set of studies launched to focus on the materials themselves, with the purpose of optimizing their performance on the assembly line.

Seven Behaviour Mistakes Made by LinkedIn Group Members

In this column, Bruce Johnston talks about behavior in the LinkedIn Groups. Specifically, the type of behavior that is not welcome.

Should You Connect With Competitors on LinkedIn?

This week, columnist Bruce Johnston looks at the arguments for and against connecting with your competitors on LinkedIn.

Killing Sales: Seven Website Mistakes Manufacturers Make, Part II

This week, Columnist Bruce Johnston looks at the content companies put on their websites and how it can sometimes backfire.

API Reports Q4 Revenue of $59.1 Million, Up 10.7%

"Over the past twelve months we have successfully de-levered our balance sheet, driven operational efficiencies, and introduced innovative and differentiated products, resulting in design wins and sales funnel growth in both our defense and commercial end markets," said Bel Lazar, president and CEO.

Q4 Sales for PartnerTech Up 6%

President and CEO Leif Thorwaldsson, commented, "The year started off slowly, but we have seen a recovery in the latter part of the year. Many of our existing customers experienced a rough year, but we made up for it with solid sales to new customers."

Mentor: Focusing on Total Material Control

Michael Ford, senior marketing manager at Mentor, explains to Editor Andy Shaughnessy his customers' demand for "total material control" over all shop floor and warehouse locations and what's required to make it all happen.

Grain Refinement for Improved Lead-free Solder Joint Reliability

While grain boundaries can themselves contribute to failure, the reduction in the anisotropy of a solder joint by increasing the number of randomly oriented grains would be an advantage and the observation has been made that joints with a finer effective grain size last longer in thermal cycling than otherwise expected.

Supplier Selection Key to Assembly Reliability

As with any electronic assembly, or electronic device for that matter, the quality of the raw printed circuit board is the most critical link in the product reliability chain. According to Steve Williams, the key to managing this risk is the supplier selection and qualification process.

Willis, SMART Group, NPL Offer Cleaning, Coating Seminars

Bob Willis, with help from SMART Group and NPL, is gearing up for a conformal coating and cleaning special feature area and seminars sponsored by SMT Magazine at National Electronics Week (NEW) in the UK.

Supplier Selection Key to Assembly Reliability

As with any electronic assembly, or electronic device for that matter, the quality of the raw printed circuit board is the most critical link in the product reliability chain. According to Steve Williams, the key to managing this risk is the supplier selection and qualification process.

Predicting Strength & Pad Cratering Failures Under BGA Pads

In this study a detailed methodology is outlined to show the relationship between board strain, solder joint strain, and force to failure in monotonic bend testing and pad pull testing. The correlation between monotonic bend testing and pad pull testing is shown, such that the results of pad pull testing can be used to estimate the likelihood of pad cratering failures in PCBAs during bend testing and manufacturing operations.

Want to Turbocharge Sales in 2104? Use LinkedIn Properly

Many salespeople already use LinkedIn, but, in my experience, a very small fraction--less than 5%--use it well. And that 5% is making a killing.

Addressing Flux Corrosion and Reliability Concerns Early

The old saying, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," is very true when it comes to the assembly process and avoiding field-failure returns. Flux corrosion is just one of the reasons an assembly might be rejected by the end customer or be returned from the field non-operational. Steps can be taken to minimize the risk of corrosion, even before the first component is placed.

ZESTRON Names Scheerer New Executive VP

The company is pleased to announce the addition of Todd Scheerer as its new executive vice president. In this role, he will continue to focus on ZESTRON's growth in products and services while expanding the customer base and business development in the U.S., Canada, and South America.

How to Ensure Your Website Attracts More Visitors

A study conducted by CEB found that customers are 57% of the way through the purchasing process before contacting a vendor. That means they're researching possible vendors long before they actually contact them. What can PCB manufacturers do to put themselves on the finalist list?

Customer Need Drives Product Development at JTAG

Peter van den Eijnden, managing director at JTAG, explains to Editor Tobey Marsicovetere that new product development at his company is driven by customer need, allowing greater testing coverage at a lower price point.

PCB Manufacturers Get Better at Social Media...Sort Of

For his second annual review of social media use by North America's PCB manufacturers, Columnist Bruce Johnston looked at 102 companies' use of social media.

Riverwood Solutions' CEO Talks Start-up Outsourcing at CES

Riverwood Solutions' CEO Ron Keith Joins Philip Stoten on the show floor at CES 2014 to discuss the challenges facing technology start-ups looking for manufacturing partners. Keith shares his take on the big issues and how best to tackle the outsourcing of manufacturing.

Understanding SMT Under Stencil Wiper Rolls

Dennis O'Brien provides solder paste stencil printing engineers and purchasing professionals of stencil cleaning products a clear understanding of the different types of stencil cleaning paper/fabrics currently available. Fine-pitch applications and small apertures are the norm now and the performance of stencil cleaning rolls is more critical than ever.

Three Things You Should Know About LinkedIn Endorsements

What are the characteristics of endorsements, post and run, and liking a comment or status update? You can do them in a few seconds and they take no real thought. It's LinkedIn for lazy people.

The Pre-owned Equipment Market: Then and Now

Erhard Hofmann, managing director at AdoptSMT Europe, has been a leader in the pre-owned SMT equipment market since its inception. He details to Guest Editor Ryan Flaherty his company's journey and transformation over the years and what he sees coming in the near future.

SMT Trends and Technologies: All-inclusive Devices Driving Change

The increasing popularity of handheld electronic devices like smart phones and tablet PCs stems from the convergence of entertainment, information and communication functions into a single "all-inclusive" housing with touch screen control. The miniaturization and integration of these devices is leading to a fundamental change in the manufacturing process.

Complete Your LinkedIn Profile and Rise in Search Results

Columnist Bruce Johnston provides a quick tutorial on the three factors that affect your appearance and ranking in LinkedIn search results.

Mirtec Develops its own Camera Systems

Brian D'Amico, president of Mirtec, joins Editor Andy Shaughnessy to explain why his company decided develop its own camera technology. Now, Mirtec even sells camera systems to its rivals.

What's the Secret to Success for Indiana Manufacturers?

Many companies in Northern Indiana were hit hard by the recession and the dramatic downturn in the auto industry, but some manufacturers were able to weather the storm, recover rapidly, and resume growth well before the rest of the country. Columnist Michele Nash-Hoff shares the story of three such companies.

New Opportunities in Jet Printing

Guest Editor Ryan Flaherty chats with Nico Coenen of Mydata about the shifting trend for jet printing as less of a replacement of screen printing and more of an add-on or adjustment process. Also discussed is the thriving mobile and tablet industry and the growing automotive market.

New SMTA Board Member Bullish on Industry

Martin K. Anselm, Ph.D., is a new member of the SMTA board. He joins Editor Andy Shaughnessy to explain how he plans to help the association contribute to the EMS industry. Martin also provides the latest news on Universal and the AREA Consortium's expansion.

The Quest for Live Shop Floor Information

Michael Ford, marketing development manager for the Valor Division of Mentor Graphics, joins Editor Andy Shaughnessy to detail the value customers see when they are able to access shop floor information in real time.

Advantages and Benefits of 3D CT Scanning

With 3D scanning, virtual cross sectioning allows analysis of internal features without physical damage. An added benefit is that no fixturing is required with CT scanning. Three-dimensional scanning detects areas of poor product performance, captures data quickly, shortens production cycles, and improves product design and quality.

Use the Three "Killer Bs" to Increase LinkedIn Success

To be noticed on LinkedIn, to meet new people and grow a network, you need to master the three "killer Bs:" Be visible, be memorable, and be habitual.

Europe: A High-precision, High-volume Market

Roberta Foster-Smith, global marketing communications manager for Nordson, speaks with Guest Editor Ryan Flaherty about what's driving the changes in the conformal coating market in Europe, as well as the need for high-precision, high-volume systems.

Advanced Rework Technology and Processes for Next-Gen Packages

What are the next set of challenges that will need to be addressed regarding area array and SMT rework? This article, from Air Vac Engineering's Brian Czaplicki discusses the five rework gaps identified by iNEMI and associated technical and process challenges.

Five Reasons Your Social Media Efforts are Going Nowhere

One of the reasons that great sports teams are great is that they work on and practice the fundamentals over and over. Today’s column is a variation on this theme. Here are five social media mistakes that companies make over and over again.

Konrad on Cleaning "No Clean"

Aqueous Technologies' Michael Konrad joins Guest Editor Ryan Flaherty of SMTA to talk about the difficulty of establishing cleaning standards in the industry today, as well as the importance of cleaning "no-clean."

Slightly Unusual, But Necessary, Soldering Methods

An extremely informative SMART Group webinar, presented recently by Peter Grundy of Altus Group and moderated by Bob Willis, investigated alternative soldering techniques including light-beam, laser, inductive-coil, robotic soldering irons, and high temperature inert atmosphere systems. Pete Starkey reports.

Replacing Hindsight With Insight

Michael Ford, marketing development manager with the Valor Division of Mentor Graphics, joins Editor Andy Shaughnessy to discuss his SMTAI paper, which offers ways to "replace hindsight with insight" on the shop floor.

SMTA Hopes to Expand to Europe and Beyond

Guest Editor Ryan Flaherty of the SMTA sits down with SMTA Board Member R. Scott Priore of Cisco to discuss what the association can bring to the European market and newly-developing countries.

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