Article Highlights
Catching up With Niche Electronics
10/09/2019 | Dan Beaulieu, D.B. Management Group
Real Time with... SMTAI 2019 Video Interviews
10/09/2019 | Real Time with...SMTAI
SMTAI 2019: Happy Holden’s On-the-Scene Report
10/03/2019 | Happy Holden, I-Connect007
Real Time with… SMTAI 2019 Slideshow
10/02/2019 | Real Time with...SMTAI
Combating ESD: The Silent Assassin in Electronics Manufacturing
09/20/2019 | Neil Sharp, JJS Manufacturing

Latest Articles

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%.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Thru-hole Lead-free Soldering and Rework Concerns

Despite the industry's switch to SMT from thru-hole for almost three decades now, thru-hole has not disappeared yet, and don't expect it to any time soon. The most common way to solder thru-hole components en masse is by wave soldering. For tin/lead, the wave pot temperature for soldering thru-hole components is generally maintained at 260°C.

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.

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.

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."

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

A New Dimension in Solder Paste Inspection

Vi Technology CEO Francois Amblard introduces a solder paste inspection system where innovative, intelligent, and intuitive technology make a complex, three-dimensional image capture and display operation completely user-friendly.

TOF SIMS Analysis for SnxOy Determination on Lead-Free HASL PCBs

A lead-free HASL circuit board presented the authors with several wetting issues. A variety of analyses were performed, but TOF SIMS provided the most valuable insights. Jose María Servín Olivares and Cynthia Gomez Aceves explain.

Use Your Website to Prove Your Industry Leadership

Saying you are an industry leader means nothing. Prove it.

Production Automation Revolution: Are We Nearly There Yet?

How great would it be to take a product blueprint and simply command the production facility to "make it for me now!" Will we ever get to the stage where the production operation has the ability to reply and say, "Sure, I'll figure out how to do that and have it to you within the hour?" We may be closer than we think.

Indium Corporation's SACM Explained

Tim Jensen, product manager – PCB Assembly Materials, explains the effect of adding trace quantities of manganese to low-silver SAC alloys to provide the optimal balance of drop-test versus thermal cycling and cost versus reliability, which characterizes Indium Corporation's SACM solder paste.

AIM Compares Lead-free Alloys

Since RoHS went into effect, many users have been confused about the pros and cons of the various SAC flavors. Karl Seeling, vice president of technology for AIM, discusses his SMTAI 2013 presentation, which compares a variety of lead-free alloys.

Nordson ASYMTEK Intros New Precision Dispensing System

Roberta Foster-Smith, global marketing communications manager for Nordson, discusses the latest dispensing technology at ASYMTEK, the Spectrum II. She also provides updates on Nordson's other subsidiary companies.

Pushing the Limits of Lead-Free Soldering

The formulation of lead-free solder alloys is an ongoing process and the challenge extends beyond the solders themselves to joint design, flux formulations, component design and materials, PCB design and materials, component and board finishes, and process equipment. Nihon Superior's Tetsuro Nishimura investigates.

The Origin of the Graping Defect

Indium's Tim Jensen, global product manager, and Dr. Ron Lasky, senior technolgist and I-Connect007 guest editor, discuss the origin of the graping defect as well as several potential solutions on the show floor at SMTAI 2013.

The Ultimate Social Media Marketing Mistake

PCB manufacturers make quite a few mistakes in social media: Wrong message, wrong social network, bizarre posting frequency, and more. But even done wrong--horribly, horribly wrong--nothing is worse than quitting.

Super Dry: Bleeding-edge Moisture Management

One byproduct of the EU's RoHS legislation has been an increased focus on moisture management--especially by European companies. Director Rich Heimsch explains how Super Dry leverages its knowledge of moisture control to help meet the needs of bleeding-edge customers.

The Power of Urgency and Intention: Hiring in EMS

Why do so many EMS companies do such a poor job when attracting talent? Leveraging your strengths as an EMS company should help you, not hurt you, when attracting great employees.

The Evolution of ICT: What's Driving Today's Innovations

ICT systems have evolved greatly since their introduction three decades ago. In fact, the newest ICT systems might be termed "electrical test controllers" because some now support in-circuit, boundary scan, PLD programming, cluster and functional testing techniques.

Nordson Creates Test and Inspection Group

Keith Bryant, marketing director for Nordson, explains to Editor Andy Shaughnessy why his company is merging two of its subsidiaries--Dage and YESTECH--to form a new test and inspection group. Bryant also relates how the new unit will better serve its customers.

ZESTRON Keeps an "Eye" on Bath Concentration

Sal Sparacino, marketing manager, and Umut Tosun, application technology manager for ZESTRON, presented a paper on the company's new Eye technology recently at SMTAI. The pair explain to Editor Andy Shaughnessy how the product helps measure and control cleaning bath concentration.

Head-in-Pillow Versus Non-wet Open Defects

Indium's Tim Jensen, global product manager, and Dr. Ron Lasky, senior technolgist, discuss the difference between head-in-pillow and non-wet opens--which are often confused--and present several solutions.

Focus and Clarity: Match Your LinkedIn Profile to Your LinkedIn Goals

Figure out who your audience is, what they want to know, and write your profile for them.

Aqueous Cleans Up With Batch Cleaning Process

For years, batch cleaning was the butt of jokes, but environmental and budgetary concerns have lead to batch eclipsing the in-line cleaning process. Aqueous CEO Mike Konrad explains how the batch cleaning equipment they sold in 2012 saved millions of gallons of water, and he discusses the company's popular cleaning workshops.

The 10 Deadly Sins of Electronics Manufacturing

Jim Hall, principal of ITM Consulting, discusses his recent SMTA International workshop which focused on the 10 deadly sins he's found while auditing manufacturers. Lust,'s all there!

IPC Launches J-Std-004 Validation Service

The association has developed a new validation service to determine if fluxes conform to J Standard 004. IPC's Vice President of Standards & Tech Dave Torp joins Guest Editor Dr. Ron Lasky to discuss the importance of this accomplishment.

The 10 Deadly Sins of Electronics Manufacturing

Jim Hall, principal of ITM Consulting, discusses his recent SMTA International workshop which focused on the 10 deadly sins he's found while auditing manufacturers. Lust,'s all there!

Lasky: Medical RoHS Exemption Ends in 2014

The European Union's medical exemption for RoHS ends in July 2014. But Dr. Ron Lasky of Indium Corporation informs Editor Andy Shaughnessy about his recommendation for a high-reliability lead-free solder, SACM, which includes manganese.

Understand Your Customers Problems Before Using Social Media

To successfully use social media in your company's sales and marketing mix, you must really understand your customers' problems and be able to help them with those problems.

Combining Electronics and Mechanical Manufacturing

Additive manufacturing is expected to transform both electronics and mechanical manufacturing over the next couple decades. Right now, they're considered distinct fields, but that may eventually change.

Ensuring Supply Chain Reliability and Integrity

It's become standard procedure for companies to claim a worldwide reach. But with operations in Canada, Silicon Valley, China, Hong Kong, and Mexico, EMS provider SMTC Corporation is truly a global enterprise. Corporate Value Engineering Manager Brian Morrison and VP of Account Management Frank Gerber discuss the company's strategies to ensure that the devices entering their supply chain meet high-reliability standards.

Lead-free Solder Alloy Update from Dr. Ning-Cheng Lee

Dr. Ning-Cheng Lee, vice president of technology, joins Editor Andy Shaughnessy to discuss the papers he's presenting at SMTA International 2013. Each will focus on lead-free solder alloys, but with different operating temperatures.

Eight Reasons to Join a LinkedIn Group

Columnist Bruce Johnston belongs to several alumni groups for schools, organizations, and companies he's been involved with over the years. These groups are invaluable for networking--it is always easier to reach out to someone with whom you have a shared experience.

SMT Perspectives and Prospects: Tin Whiskers - Phenomena and Observations

Tin whisker reflects its coined name. It has long been recognized to be associated with electroplated tin coating and most likely occurs with pure tin. Its appearance resembles whiskers. However, whiskers can also form in a wide range of shapes and sizes, such as fibrous filament-like spiral, nodule, column, and mound.

Viscom MD on New Inspection System & Business "In China"

As pioneers in the AOI and inspection industry, Viscom continues to deliver new products such as the 3088Q machine, launched during NEPCON South China 2013, which serves a slightly more cost-sensitive consumer. Managing Director Norbert Meuser discusses his company's commitment to technology and sustainability, and that business in China isn't necessarily "in China" anymore.

Brittle Failure in Lead-free BGA Solder Joints

The increasing complexity of electronic assemblies, coupled with the transition to higher-temperature lead-free soldering, has given rise to another case of brittle interfacial failures induced by double reflow. This article describes and characterizes electrically intermittent, brittle interfacial solder joint failures in a lead-free BGA subjected to two reflow cycles.

Turbocharge Your Sales with Content Marketing

A friend of columnist Bruce Johnston recently received an invitation to quote on a board from a defense contractor in the mid-Atlantic area. When asked why the company had selected them, the contractor said his team had read all articles, posts, and other content the manufacturer had on its website. The contractor was impressed by the PCB company.

A Look at In-Circuit Test

Teradyne Marketing Product Manager Alan Albee joins Editor Ray Rasmussen to discuss the challenges facing in-circuit test, the automation of the testing process, and solutions on the drawing board to support the future of test.

The Art of Failure: A Study in PCB Failure Analysis: the Intermittent Connection

Over the course of a failure analyst's career, he will be exposed to an extensive and varied array of devices. No matter the technology--whether they be nanoscopic silicon sensors with moving parts so small as to defy belief or massive circuit assemblies comprised of thousands of discrete components and integrated circuits--no device is completely immune to failure.

Improving Reliability Through HALT and HASS Testing

HALT and HASS technology use a combination of accelerated stresses to expose product flaws early in the design and manufacturing stages (often at board level), improving product reliability and customer confidence. Author Mark R. Chrusciel explains how and why companies are succeeding with HALT and HASS.

Making Yourself Recruiter-worthy on LinkedIn

Last fall, the percentage of companies using LinkedIn to find new employees was in the high 80s. It's now well over 90%. Today, columnist Bruce Johnston addresses what companies look for on a LinkedIn profile.

AIM: Insight into 77 Years of Service

Since 1936, AIM of Montreal Canada has survived and thrived. Editor Marcy LaRont speaks with President Rick Black and gains insight into how the company has managed such longevity: Ever forward thinking--technologically, environmentally, and globally.

Tablets and Smart Phones Make Nordon's Year

"It doesn't matter if it's in Southern California or Southern China--it's all the same to us," says Joe Strockunas, group vice president for Nordson. With an ever-increasing demand for smart phones and tablets, he tells Editor Marcy LaRont the company is having a good year and China is right at the heart of it all.

Thin Palladium Layers: An Effective Cost-saving Strategy

As the price of gold continues to rise, palladium becomes more attractive for product developers worried about their bottom line. Palladium provides a highly-active catalyst surface for chemical reactions and the majority of its applications are found in the automotive and electronics industries. Other uses include hydrogen reserve and medical engineering.

The Return of Metcal

Paul Wood of OK International joins Editor Marcy LaRont to discuss how small soldering hand tools are where the growth is for the foreseeable future. He also talks about coming full circle with Metcal tools, as his company decides to rebrand that part of the business back under the original Metcal name.

Going Offline for More Flexibility, Quality

P. Kay Metal has long been a trusted name in the solder business. The company's MS2 product has continued to provide great benefits for customer operations and quality. But with an eye for continuously adding value, PK's exciting new machine allows for offline solder dross reclamation, providing even greater benefit and cost savings.

Sigmatron Reports Strongest Earnings Since 2010

"The first quarter of fiscal 2014 was an excellent quarter for the company, with fully diluted earnings per share the strongest since the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010," says Gary R. Fairhead, president, CEO, and chairman of the board. "During the quarter we saw improved performance from the two plants we acquired in 2013 and steady performance from our other operations."

Evaluation of Molded Flip-chip BGA Package for 28nm FPGA Applications

This paper describes the process used in selecting and qualifying the molded flip-chip BGA for cost effective, high-performance 28nm FPGA devices. A collaborative approach in partnership with the assembly manufacturer was employed to develop customer collateral that includes handling, reflow/rework, and heatsink attach guidelines for the molded flip-chip BGA package.

Fix Your Mindset: Social Media is Like One Big Party

Social media allows you to find interesting people and introduce yourself to them. If there's a key person you wish to speak with at a prospective company there is nothing stopping you from finding that person on social media and introducing yourself to them right now.

Kyzen Earns Best Paper Award at NEPCON South China

Part of the SMTA China 2013 Technology Conference sponsored by SMTA China South, Kyzen's presentation was given by Jason Chan, Asia technology manager, who discussed the fact that stencil printing capabilities are becoming more important as the range of component sizes assembled on a single board increases.

Dage's EFD Business Celebrates 50 Years

After 50 years, nothing is slowing down in Dage's Electronics Fluid Dispensing (EFD) business. As they celebrate their milestone anniversary, Bradley Davis, President - China, discusses how far his company has come and the innovation that keeps it thriving. Davis assures there is still much growth to be done in China.

Profiled Squeegee Blade Rewrites the Rules for Angle of Attack

This paper from authors Ricky Bennett, Rich Lieske, and Corey Beech presents the revolutionary performance of the profiled squeegee blade--recently developed to create a virtual multi-angle of attack for unsurpassed process control for all types of stencil printing processes.

Aegis' Paul Price on New FactoryLogix and Hiring Plans

Aegis is having a great year, and FactoryLogix is a huge part of that. Global Vice President of Sales Paul Price sits down with Editor Marcy Laront at NEPCON South China 2013 to discuss his company's new FactoryLogix product and hiring plans.

Taking the LED Pick-and-Place Challenge

For solid-state lighting products to be successful, not only are the best and brightest LEDs on the market required, but the knowledge and support to handle these components in a high-speed, accurate manufacturing process resulting in high yields, low defect rates, and no damages to LEDs is critical.

There's Only One Reason to Use Social Media: Increasing Sales

Most vendors have problems meeting people on LinkedIn because they forget that these are real people looking for real solutions and help with their problems--not just walking, breathing purchase orders.

Death to Electrical Noise!

Removing electrical noise from power lines is imperative to prevent equipment faults on the manufacturing floor, in the lab, or anywhere clean power is required. Vladimir Kraz, president of OnFilter, identifies the problems accociated with dirty power and electrical over-stress and discribes his company's power filtering solutions.

Reworking Thermally Massive Assemblies

Air-Vac Director of Marketing and Sales Brian Czaplicki joins Guest Editor Kelly Dack to describe his company's award-winning rework machine that limits copper dissolution in through-holes during the rework phase.

Beating the Heat: A Review of Thermal Management Challenges

Over the last few years, a number of '90s-era solutions have been brought down off the shelf, dusted off, and pressed into service to once again get the heat out of electronic devices and systems. A wide range of solutions have since been developed operating on various principles.

DEK's Stencil Printing Solution Evolution

DEK's future technologist, Clive Ashmore, provides an overview of the evolution of stencil printing from just a year ago and describes what it means to provide value-added technology solutions.

Advanced Through-Hole Rework of Thermally Challenging Components/Assemblies: An Evolutionary Process, Part 1

The conversion of high-end server and network applications to lead-free is being hastened by government regulations and the limited availability of tin-lead components. The successful transition of low-end and mid-range server applications to lead free has come largely through wave solder process optimization and the use of alternate lead-free alloys for mini-pot rework.

Solder Paste Stencil Manufacturing Methods and Their Impact on Precision and Accuracy

The authors of this paper discuss various parameters that influence stencil positional accuracy, including different lasers systems, various metals and processes, temperature variations, and the effect of mounting a stencil in a frame. Total effects are shown with measurement results from a number of stencils made according to today's practices using available laser systems and processes.

Seven LinkedIn Changes and What They Mean to You

Along with other recent updates to LinkedIn--a new overall look and feel, overhauls to the Search function and to LinkedIn today--last week I opened my Who’s Viewed Your Profile page to find it had been a beneficiary (victim?) of the review and refresh trend.

Nam Tai Reports 64% Jump in 2Q Sales

Nam Tai Electronics has reported net sales of $167.9 million, excluding the discontinued LCMs for tablets business of $30.7 million, in the second quarter ended 30 June 2013, up 64.1% over the same period last year. Gross profit in 2Q2013 was $15.7 million, an increase of 2.7%, compared to $15.3 million in the second quarter of last year.

The Art of Failure: Device Failure Analysis - PCB Delayering

Since PCB delayering is a technique for failure analysis, it is important to recognize the types of defects it is best for uncovering. Cracked or otherwise damaged traces are perfect candidates, since the delayering process not only reveals the crack in the trace, but also allows complete access to nodes on both sides of the crack.

PARMI's Jeff Mogensen on Screen Printing Trends

Guest Editor Allen Jergens discusses the up-and-down trends of the industry with PARMI's General Manager Jeff Mogensen and, more specifically, how to improve the screen printing process in the upcoming year.

Applications of Low-temperature Tin-bismuth and Tin-bismuth-silver Lead-free Alloy Solder Pastes

For assembly of heat-sensitive components and boards, lower-temperature lead-free solder alloys should be looked at as an alternative to high-temperature SnAgCu solder. This type of assembly also requires a temperature hierarchy for different soldering operations on the board. These issues, and more, are investigated by authors from Koki and Christopher Associates.

How Manufacturers Botch Social Media...and What They Can Do About It

There's a reason your company is around after all this time and it isn't because you charged the lowest prices. Social media is a tool that can help you showcase your industry leadership and the reasons why your customers keep coming back to you.

Advances in Materials Jetting

The jetting of materials such as adhesives and solder paste has significant advantages over dispensing. Dan Ashley, market specialist at Nordson ASYMTEK, discusses these advantages and shares information about a new jetting nozzle featuring improved throughput and ROI advantages.

10 Reasons to Hire a 16 Year Old to Run Your Social Media Campaign

You will have no problems overcoming cynical attitudes with a young kid in charge of your social media. Everything in the business world is new to them--a first time experience.

Replacing Automated Test Equipment

The life span of automated test equipment typically does not exceed one or two decades. Sooner or later, no matter how well serviced and reliable the equipment, it will need to be replaced. All aspects of the process should be analyzed: Characteristics, the migration of test programs, test fixtures, and overall short- and long-term considerations.

Latest AOI Trends for the Electronics Industry

Guest Editor Mark Thompson speaks with Paul Groome, vice president of sales for Digitaltest GmbH, about in-circuit testers, automated optical inspection (AOI) systems, data collection, and the latest trends in the industry.

A Novel Glass Substrate for Pure Glass PCBs

Guest Editor Bob Neves talks with CEO Jeb Flemming of 3D Glass Solutions about a new glass ceramic-based substrate for electronics. This substrate mitigates RF issues, allows extremely high densities, and uses conventional wet-etch technologies to produce vias en masse.

Four Social Media Mistakes to Avoid

Good content on social media is never about the company, it is always about the prospective customer and their world, their job, and their problems.

Electrolube Marks 10 Years in China

Directors and senior staff from Electrolube will gather in China July 18, 2013 to celebrate the company's 10-year anniversary since opening its state-of-the-art facility in Beijing. Guests will join the company's principal staff from across the globe to show appreciation to customers and industry experts for supporting the company's development over the last decade.

A High-Speed Jetted Soldering Solution

MYDATA's Gustaf Martensson, innovation field expert, R&D, reveals his company's high-speed jetting solution for solder paste dispensing, which provides a way to "jet" solder paste onto boards and features advantages in challenging board designs, pin-in-paste, and component add-ons.

Advanced Through-Hole Rework of Thermally Challenging Components/Assemblies: An Evolutionary Process, Part 2

The conversion of high-end server and network applications to lead-free is being hastened by government regulations and the limited availability of tin-lead components. The successful transition of low-end and mid-range server applications to lead-free has come largely through wave solder process optimization and the use of alternate lead-free alloys for mini-pot rework.

Evolutionary Solutions: Lean In

How do manufacturers identify waste and eliminate it from manufacturing processes? And how do they do this on an ongoing basis to ensure that waste does not creep back into their workplace? The answer is to adopt philosophies and systems that are proven to work. Karla Osorno explains.

Contract Manufacturing in the High-reliability Market

Jon Hanson, sales and marketing manager at Computrol, joins Technical Editor Pete Starkey to discuss manufacturing trends in the U.S. high-reliability sector. With many demanding customers in the medical and military and aerospace industries, Hanson says, in his line of work, great relationships are key.

I-Connect007 EMS Asia Week: Business Picking Up

Across Asia, EMS firms are seeing brisk business this year. Wistron aims to create a medical business division and has also landed orders for two entry-level models from BlackBerry, according to reports. Pegatron expects a 10% growth in 2Q13 shipments while Netronix plans to dominate the e-book reader market.

Jabil: Q3 Revenue Increase; Finalizes Acquisition of Nypro

"We are pleased with our progress on the diversification of our business and the positive benefits it affords the company," said CEO, Mark T. Mondello. "We expect this diversification to continue during our fourth fiscal quarter as we finalize our acquisition of Nypro, which is expected to close on the 1st of July."

A Focus on Reliability and the Environment

Dr. Mark Currie, global product manager at Henkel, explains his company's focus on bringing high reliability to new solder alloys. He tells Guest Editor Dan Feinberg about a new alloy adding traditional leaded solder reliability to new lead-free solders.

Your Company Website: From Necessary Evil to Money Maker

Many companies need an extreme website re-think. The website is the hub of a company's social media and a website is where a company can generate sales leads. Bruce Johnston offers four simple tasks that will change your website from an afterthought to a lead-generating, money-making machine.

Electronics Design and Manufacturing in Laymen's Terms

Explaining electronics in a few words is nearly impossible. Controlled management of electrical currents or voltage is virtually always the foundation. The execution usually entails assembly of electronic components, which together are to ensure the requested functionality.

Surface Tension and Load-Carrying Capacities of Solder

Manufacturers rely heavily on the load-carrying capacity of molten solder millions of times a day. An in-depth knowledge of surface tension values makes it possible to confirm which components are compatible with an upside-down soldering process. This article reveals the processes, and results, used to determine the surface tension values of various solders.

Minimizing Voiding in QFN Packages Using Solder Preforms

QFNs can be a challenge to assemble, but the addition of a solder preform can reduce the problem by increasing the solder volume of the joint--all without adding flux volume. This paper will quantify the preform requirements and process adjustments needed to use preforms in a standard SMT process and offer experimental data showing void reduction using preforms.

SACM: Better Drop Test Performance by Indium

Indium's Global Product Manager Tim Jensen joins Editor Andy Shaughnessy to discusses SACM, a solder alloy that features better drop shock resistance than SAC105 and thermal cycle performance that's similar to SAC305.

How Many LinkedIn Connections Should You Have?

Bruce Johnston explains the pros and cons of having a large LinkedIn network compared to a smaller one.

Rehm's Thermal Systems: Not Just Hot Air

Chief Customer Officer Michael Hanke of Rehm Thermal Systems points out the challenges of conventional reflow ovens and explains how convection plus condensation features deliver superior performance to Rehm's global customer base.

Proper Documentation Demands Dummy-Proof Instructions

Why is proper documentation such a big deal? At the beginning of a project, a wide difference in meanings may exist between the OEM customer and manufacturing provider in virtually all aspects of PCB design, fabrication, and assembly. As columnist Zulki Khan explains, clear and specific documentation can remove all doubt.

Inclusion Voiding in Gull Wing Solder Joints

While solder voiding in BGA solder joints has been extensively investigated and characterized, solder voiding phenomena in other SMT soldering configurations and their reliability impact have not been as clearly identified. Authors from IBM define and examine voids encountered in gull wing solder joint geometries.

Get 37 Pieces of Social Media Content from One Story

How on earth can you find enough content to satisfy your followers on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+? Bruce Johnston says it's easier than you might think.

Trainers See Encouraging Trend

Sharon Montana-Beard, vice president of sales and operations for Blackfox, sees encouraging signs of growth in demand for the specialist training and certification services her organization provides.

DEK Solar Celebrates New Suzhou Technology Centre

Designed to support the advanced solar development efforts of its customers, as well as DEK Solar technology and process innovation, the new facility is equipped with three solar cell metallization lines, metrology analysis tools for cell testing, and a highly-talented team of process development engineers, sales professionals, and service experts.

Process Preparation Updated in Valor MSS

Mark Laing, product marketing manager for the Valor Division of Mentor Graphics, details the updated process preparation features in the Valor MSS suite. The newest updates can help companies save serious time and money by combining a variety of disparate tasks.

Evolutionary Solutions: Why Reshore?

Bringing manufacturing, and jobs, back to the U.S. significantly impacts the nation's economic future and many industry leaders are taking on this initiative for the benefit of the nation. No matter which side of the fence you're on, there is benefit to considering important factors to ensure end-customer services and cost management.

Reshoring America: Is it a Myth?

Mike Carano, OMG Electronic Chemicals; Yash Sutariya, Saturn Flex Systems; and Roland Valentini, Gardien Group sit down to discuss several pivotal questions concerning reshoring in the U.S. and share their strong opinions on the possibility of manufacturing returning this country.

TechSpray Provides a "Green" Clean

Kevin Pawlowski, senior product manager at Techspray, joins Guest Editor Joe Fjelstad to describe products and services that enable the environmentally-friendly cleaning of PCB assemblies. Pawlowski also introduces a new fast-curing, temporary, and easily removable soldermask for blocking solder from board features which are desirably left unfilled.

The Importance of Thermal Management in Assembly

KIC President Bjorn Dahle joins Guest Editor Stuart Hayton to discuss the innovative solutions his company has brought to the assembly process, with at energy savings of at least 15%.

Comprehensive Stencil Solutions from Photo Stencil

Photo Stencil's Vice President of Sales and Marketing Rachel Miller-Short discusses her company's new Smart-Release™ nanolayer stencil coating with Guest Editor Kelly Dack. She also explains various stencil types and how to decide which type of stencil is best for the job at hand.

Conformal Coating Material Challenges in Electronics Processing

Conformal coating materials generally do not cause problems when applied correctly and no compatibility issues exist. In fact, most coatings do a great job of protecting a PCB if the rules are followed. The difficulties come when the coating is expected to work beyond its boundaries or we fail to understand application techniques and their limitations.

Social Media: Three Resulting Trends in B2B Purchasing

Social media is great for sales people, but smart customers are figuring out how to use it too. This week, Bruce Johnston explains three ways that social media is putting tools in the customer’s tool belt.

Stadium's Inskip Reflects on a Century of Innovation

The Stadium Group of the 21st Century has come a long way from its origins and with recent strategic purchases it has become a leading provider of integrated electronic technologies to the global electronics market.

AdoptSMT's Hofmann on Europe's Expanding Equipment After-market

Guest Editor Dick Crowe joins Erhard Hofmann, managing director at AdoptSMT Europe GmbH, to learn more about the distribution of after-market parts and consumables, along with pre-owned equipment, in Europe and the Americas.

Aegis Focuses on Chinese Market with FactoryLogix Release

Aegis' Karsten Schluter, managing director, Asia, presents FactoryLogix, a software system designed to meet customers' needs, at NEPCON China 2013. Combined with diplan, it's a great way to enhance the company's service and products.

Digicom: A Contract Manufacturer with a Unique Twist

Mo Ohady, general manager of Digicom Electronics, joins Guest Editor Judy Warner to discuss his company's new facility and its unique abilities and services offered to the academic community.

JOT Automation Sees Rise in China's Mobile Sector

Jot Automation, in 12 years of doing business in the region, is starting to see a rise in automation in China as operator wages rise. General Manager Matti Leirimaa explains what the industry can expect from his company, especially in the mobile sector, in the next year.

The Essential Pioneers' Survival Guide: The Opportunity to be Agile

Since beginning life as MRP technology in the 1970s, the traditional distribution chain has become an antique. The world has evolved with Internet technology replacing traditional points of sale. Many electronic products have also become fashionable. Such changes have completely altered the demand patterns that MRP and ERP logic were designed to manage.

Environmental Testing Drives High-Reliability Electronics

Robert Nelson, VP and GM for Cincinnati Sub-Zero (CSZ), talks about the importance of environmental testing in the manufacture and development of high-reliability electronic products. Not just for OEMs, environmental testing helps manufacturers dial in their processes and gain a competitive advantage.

Want Customers Calling You? Smart Salespeople Use LinkedIn

LinkedIn should be part of your sales strategy--it's the place where customers and prospective customers go to exchange ideas and discuss problems. Salespeople who really understand how to use LinkedIn have potential customers cold calling them.

AdoptSMT on Adapting to Chinese Suppliers

Erhard Hofmann, managing director at AdoptSMT Europe GmbH, chats about the type of business his company conducts in China, mainly the buying and reselling of spare parts and equipment. Hofmann also discusses the biggest benefits and differences he finds when doing business in Asia versus Europe.

The Way Forward for PC, Tablet Markets

PCs, tablets and smartphones are vying for market share. Experts from Intel, Microsoft, and Lenovo will address business and technical issues at IPC ESTC later this month.

WKK's El-Abd Demonstrates Waterproof Electronics Coating

WKK President and Executive Director Hamed El-Abd demonstrates to Guest Editor David Yang a new waterproof coating that can protect electronic devices--even when left for hours submerged in water and even alcohol.

In Pursuit of the Perfect Cover Tape

A high-performing cover tape must strike a balance between adhesion strength and smooth de-taping. The adhesive must be strong enough to prevent delamination and the minimum risk of components spilling out of the carrier. On the other hand, it must be removed easily enough to minimize vibration-induced chip mis-picks.

Stencil Printing of Small Apertures

Dr. William Coleman examines stencil technologies and aperture wall coatings to determine how these parameters influence paste transfer for miniature devices with area ratios less than the standard recommended lower limit of 0.5. A matrix of print tests are utilized to compare paste transfer and measure the effectiveness of the different stencil configurations.

Low Surface Energy Coatings Rewrite Area Ratio Rules

The need for denser and more compact devices is intensifying--a fact well known to the SMT industry. The authors of this paper focus on the relevant attributes affecting the properties of solder paste release and introduce the effects of surface free energy with respect to key elements making up the stencil printing process.

11 Steps to Writing Sales-boosting Content

Content is the heart of any social media program; content in all it’s forms--posts, papers, status updates, webinars, and videos--is a showcase for a company's knowledge of the industry and the problems customers face.

TFI: How Small EMS Companies Benefit from "Green"

Owners of small electronics manufacturers are already courageous, providing big-company manufacturing quality with minimal equipment and personnel. So when Tier IV contract manufacturers whose success owes, in part, to their sustainability initiatives, they are double heroes in TFI's book.

SMT Trends & Technologies: Miniaturization Little by Little

When will the miniaturization trend end? Perhaps the end will come when we can no longer see the components. On one hand, ICs are squeezing more patterns into a nanometer--something that we certainly can't see; on the other, surface-mounted components are becoming smaller and smaller.

Package-under-Package: A 2D Option with 3D Benefits

The 3D interconnection of electronic devices continues to hold sway over the minds and imaginations of electronic product developers. It offers a means for addressing the challenge presented by the electronic industry's desire to pack more function in to the same, or lesser, amount of space.

John Perrotta on High-Mix Placement Capabilities

John Perrotta, vice president of Europlacer, North America, describes to Guest Editor Kelly Dack how his company's machinery offers a wide range of unique placement solutions ranging from 01005 component specs to massive, four-inch challenges.

B2B Companies Using Social Media Make More Money

This week, Bruce Johnston takes a look at research results and trends that show the positive impact social media use is having for many companies. He says, "If your company doesn't use social media, don't read this week--you'll just get depressed."

Air Products Unveils Electron Activation Process

Dr. Christine Dong, lead research scientist at Air Products, describes a novel electron activation technology, which obviates the need for the use of flux during the assembly of fine-pitch wafer-level and flip-chip devices, and the new class of 2.5D interposer solutions on the rise.

JTAG President: Growth in China Fuels New Products

Peter van den Eijnden, president of JTAG Technologies, a company based in the Netherlands, discusses the many changes he's seen in his 15+ years of doing business in China. The growth in the Chinese domestic market has sparked an expanded need for testing, fueling a line of JTAG products.

Selecting a Subcontract Conformal Coating House

Subcontracting your conformal coating process isn't difficult if you quality, turnaround time, and price are carefully considered and researched. If all three areas can be achieved successfully with the chosen subcontract coating house you will be happy. If even one factor is ignored, it may be a less pleasant situation.

Skilled Workforce, Quality Equipment Key to Contractor Success

A contract manufacturer can have the best equipment in the world, but the key to quality manufacturing is a highly-skilled team. Lightspeed Manufacturing President Rich "Bro" Breault sits down with Guest Editor Kelly Dack to explain how his company accommodates the manufacturing and repair needs of the industry.

Parylene Versus Acrylic Conformal Coatings

Parylene and acrylic resins are both conformal coatings, but the similarities end there. Acrylic conformal coatings can be applied four ways: Via spray, dip, brush, or robotics. Parylene coatings, meanwhile, are applied through a vapor deposition process onto the substrate or material being coated. Sean Horn details these differences and more.

Evolving Technologies in Nanomaterials

Semblant's Senior Vice President of Customer Service Greg Thomas joins Dr. Alan Rae, CEO of NanoMaterials Innovation Center, and John Andresakis, vice president of strategic technology of Oak-Mitsui Technologies, to explore advancements in nanomaterials and how they will impact the industry.

How to Attract Followers Via Social Media

This week, Bruce Johnston offers five guidelines to help attract a following on any social media network.

AREA Consortium Update with Dr. Martin Anselm

Dr. Martin Anselm is manager of Universal Instruments' AREA Consortium, which conducts research into materials, processes, and reliability for its member companies, which now number over 30. He joins Editor Andy Shaughnessy to discuss the group's ongoing research and developing trends.

Technology Roadmap Revolves Around Collaboration

IPC Director of Technology Transfer Marc Carter joins Editor Ray Rasmussen to discuss IPC's plans to streamline roadmapping efforts through collaboration and cooperation with industry groups, including iNEMI, ITRS, Prismark LLC, JPCA, JISSO, and TPCA. To join the roadmapping effort, those interested should e-mail Carter at

Sharon Starr on New IPC Research Initiatives

Guest Editor Stuart Hayton sits down with IPC Director of Market Research Sharon Starr to learn more details about the organizations new research initiatives now available by subscription.

Hybrids Present Technical, Business Challenges

Sanmina NPI Manager Brian Nelson explains the issues his company and customers face when dealing with hybrid PCBs manufactured with various laminates. Hybrids are becoming more mainstream, but each new combination of materials is an entirely new entity that must be tested and certified.

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