Article Highlights
IPC APEX EXPO 2020 Attendees Speak: Victor Mendez
02/28/2020 | I-Connect007 Editorial Team
IPC APEX EXPO 2020 Attendees Speak: Hector Hernandez
02/27/2020 | I-Connect007 Editorial Team
Stencils: Not As Simple As They Seem
02/26/2020 | I-Connect007 Editorial Team
I-007e Micro Webinar: Primary Flight Control Case Study on Condensation and Coverage
02/26/2020 | I-Connect007 Editorial Team
IPC APEX EXPO 2020 Attendees Speak: Lance Davies
02/26/2020 | I-Connect007 Editorial Team

Latest Articles

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

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

Test Match: Partnering Specialist Boundary-Scan with ICT

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

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

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

High-Density Interconnect and Embedded Board Test

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

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

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

Enclosed Media Printing as an Alternative to Metal Blades

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

Solder Paste Printing: Quality Assurance Methodology

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

iNEMI Managing Director: New, Disruptive Technology on the Horizon

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

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

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

Final Test Solution of WLCSP Devices

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


BGA or CGA: When Is It Right for You?

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

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

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

Advanced Business Intelligence Systems are Not a Luxury

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

Advances in Electronics Assembly Technology - SMART Group Seminar Preview

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

A Look at the Latest Demands for Flying Probe Testing

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

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

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

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

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

Exact Science Implemented at Kester for Increased Reliablity

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

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

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

Solder Jet Printing: Is It the Right Time?

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


Jetting Strategies for mBGAs: A Question of Give and Take

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

0.3% Humidity, That's Super Dry!

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

Position Accuracy Machines for Selective Soldering of Fine-Pitch Components

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enhancements in Consolidating Data Prep

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

Solder Paste Stencil Design for Optimal QFN Yield and Reliability

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

Zentech: Expanding EMS Solutions and Supporting Innovation

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

Open Failure Analysis Lab Assessment Service Available

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


Software and Hardware Solutions

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

Universal Instruments Talks Challenges in China's Electronics Manufacturing Industry

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

NEPCON China Showcases Latest Manufacturing Tech in Asia

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

How to Select an Automatic Pick-and-Place Machine

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

Are the Robots Taking Over?

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

Benefits of Soldering with Vacuum Profiles

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

High Reliability Thanks to Adhesives

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

Time to Ditch Heavy Metal for Soft Rock?

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

Insitu: Moving Mountains in a Mountain Community

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

Developments with Metallic Thermal Interface Materials

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


The Importance of Solder Process Expertise

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

How to Streamline PCB Thermal Design

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

Doing Business in India and China

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

Product Line Philosophy: Start Small...End Big

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

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

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

Electrolube Expands Their Coverage

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

Direct Marketing Strategy Paying Off

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

Neutral Cleaning and Latest Developments in Closed-Loop Control

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

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

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

Role of Plasma in Reliability of Conformal Coating

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


Tin Whisker Risk Assessment of a Tin Surface Finished Connector

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

High-end Assembly Requirements for Precision Dispensing

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

The Unpredictability of Tin Whiskers Endures

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

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

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

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

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

Tin Whiskers: Why Testing Temperature Can Change the Outcome

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

Advanced Printing for Microelectronic Packaging

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

Risk and Mitigation for Tin Whiskers and Tin Pest

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

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

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

Proposed EU Legislation Receives Industry Support

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


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

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

Essemtec Features Paraquda at Automaticon

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

California Congressman Mike Honda Discusses American Manufacturing

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

JOT Automates Final Testing of Smart Wearables

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

Risk and Mitigation for Tin Whiskers and Tin Pest

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

ZESTRON's Umut Tosun to Present at IPC APEX

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

Data I/O to Showcase PSV7000 at APEX

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

RPS to Exhibit Multiple Systems at IPC APEX

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

Indium's Jensen to Present Webtorials for PCB Assembly

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

Nordson EFD Demos Fluid Dispensing Systems at MD&M

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


Transition Automation Debuts Holder System for Ekra Serio

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

Opportunities for 3D Printed Structural Electronics

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

ZESTRON to Hold 5-part Cleaning Webinar Series

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

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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."

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Plasma Polymerization: A Versatile and Attractive Process for Conformal Coating

This paper discusses the plasma coating process and the equipment used. The application of this type of coating to electronic assemblies and high-frequency RF applications, and the results of tests to demonstrate the protection offered by these coatings, is also addressed.


Moisture Sensitivity Concerns in PCBs for Lead-free Assemblies

During the early stages of lead-free implementation, we were concerned with lead-free alloy selection and reliability issues. Now a new issue has cropped up — PCB delamination and moisture sensitivity and steps necessary to control them.

From the Show: A Hands-on APEX Session

On the first day of APEX, IPC and three instructors from BEST decided to bring a more pragmatic approach to a PCB repair topic taught in the technical program. Along with 24 participants, the instructors from BEST led a hands-on reballing session. After a lively, highly participative 60-min. question and answer session on the fundamentals of reballing, the reballing process, and its various attributes, participants eagerly began the hands-on session.

A New Method for Reworking SMT Components

A recently developed new stenciling process overcomes metal stencils and hand soldering deficiencies, resulting in better first pass yields and faster rework times--all while simplifying the rework process.

More productronica Exhibits

productronica 2009 will take place November 10–13 in Munich, Germany. Following are more new and flagship products to see at the electronics manufacturing tradeshow, not featured in our Productronica Show Preview: Materials. Productronica Show Preview: Equipment productronica 2009: Product Showcase.

STEP 10 Rework and Repair: The Complete BGA Rework Process

Robert Avila and Wade Gay, Finetech, describe the steps to BGA rework, aided by video clips of rework in action. There are at least five steps in successfully completing the cycle for BGA rework. These steps, which include component removal, site cleaning, reballing, and soldering, do not change, independent of whether or not the BGA is on a PCB that is large, small, thin, or thick, etc.

Step-by-Step - Step 10: Rework & Repair

Modern PCBs, with higher component density and shrinking component and trace/space dimensions, can be successfully modified, reworked, and repaired even while being processed in today’s lead-free and mixed-alloy rework-and-repair environments.

APEX NEWS 2007

On the show floor at IPC Printed Circuits Expo/APEX/Designers Summit, the more than 400 exhibitors provided product information, process knowledge, and interactive tools to a constant flow of attendees.

SMT Welcomes Advisory Board Members

SMT Magazine welcomes Laura J. Turbini, Ph.D., and Harald Wack, Ph.D., to its Editorial Advisory Board. The Board offers insight on the industry, future trends, and market technology; members write columns such as "Speaking of Process Optimization," "Speaking of Cleaning," and more. Turbini and Wack will join 10 other industry experts that analyze the SMT industry from every possible angle.

Surface Mount Battery Retainer

The 11.6 coin-cell retainer is a top-loaded, low-profile retainer designed for automated SMT placement. Keystone Electronics Corporation states that the lightweight surface mount battery retainer suits high-density PCB packaging.

Design for Manufacture

As more companies embrace design for manufacture (DFM) as a method to increase both profits and throughput, a concept known as design for excellence (DFX) has come to the forefront. When properly implemented, DFX will ensure that a product can be manufactured and tested.


Tombstoning Reduction Via Phased-reflow Soldering

A drop-in replacement for standard lead alloys, whereby a small amount of Sn62 wets both sides of the termination before the Sn63 melting point is reached. The lower melting point on sn62 tack solders parts to the board and virtually eliminates this common defect.

New Electronics Industry Award Named After Company Founder

Vishay Intertechnology, Inc. announces that Dr. Felix Zandman, founder, chairman, CTO and business development officer, has had a new award named after him by the Electronic Components, Assemblies & Materials Association (ECA). The Dr. Felix Zandman Award was officially presented on March 20 at the CARTS (Capacitor and Resistor Technology Symposium) event in Palm Springs, Calif., in conjunction with the 25th anniversary of CARTS USA.

New Acoustic Capabilities Aid Flip Chips

In the past, flip chips have achieved higher I/O counts repeatedly to take advantage of their compact design.

Solder Paste vs. Flux-only Attachment for BGA Rework

Proper rework procedures, which should mimic the original manufacturing process to ensure the reliability of the reworked device, have taken a backseat to expediency.

Maximizing Lead-free Wetting

This article examines the findings of several studies using quantitative wetting gauges to measure solder-paste wetting to PCB surfaces.

Mixed Technologies Converge - Changing the Assembly Scene

Commercial markets for pervasive high-tech products dominate the electronics scene and are forcing assemblers to respond to the miniaturization and convergence of diverse technologies.

Three-Five Systems Names New Regulatory Affairs Director

Three-Five Systems (TFS) announces that it has named Leslie Honda to the newly created post of regulatory affairs director.

Process Control for Solder Paste Deposition

The authors review solder paste inspection, the sensor technologies used to acquire 2-D/3-D inspection and measurement data, methods of using measurement data to identify problems and solutions, and guidance on developing an AOI strategy.
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