Latest Articles

Flextronics Expands Romania Facility, Targets Medical Market

Flextronics has expanded its facility in Timisoara, Romania, to include a dedicated medical operation to better serve medical equipment and medical disposables OEMs globally. The expansion includes a newly refurbished production area and 1,300 square meters of class-eight clean room area.

Breault Talks Current Assembly Trends

Lightspeed President Rich Breault speaks with Editor Andy Shaughnessy at SMTAI 2011 and focuses on the trends he's currently seeing in assembly, including work returning from Asia as customers seek suppliers within driving distance.

Past, Present and Future of Package-on-Package

Package-on-package (PoP) technology has enabled PCB designers to conserve board real estate and reduce crosstalk, while simplifying testing of the decoupled memory and logic devices. SMTAI keynote speaker Lee Smith of Amkor Technology discusses PoP technology, ongoing industry collaboration, and standards development.

IPC: EMS Industry Returns to Growth

After economic setbacks in 2009, the world market for electronics EMS returned to growth in 2010, according to a study released by IPC. The EMS market is projected to grow 14.8% globally and 10.2% in North America this year. The study includes forecasts through 2015, provided by New Venture Research Corporation.

The Four Stages of Defect Resolution

ITM Consulting President Phil Zarrow discusses his four stages of defect resolution with Editor Andy Shaughnessy at SMTA International 2011. Zarrow also touches on the challenges his customers are facing, including QFNs.

ZESTRON Opens Cleaning Tech Centers

President Harald Wack educates viewers on ZESTRON's newest tech center in Shenzhen and its support of local cleaning needs. The company's Ph-neutral products support environmentally-friendly trends and a growing involvement in education through the ZESTRON Academy.

SMTAI to Discuss PCB Technology Challenges

The SMTA announced a session on Challenges and Solutions for PCB Technology which will take place Tuesday, October 18, 2011 during their annual conference, SMTA International, in Ft. Worth, Texas. Gil White, DDi Global, will chair the session and Laura Turbini, Ph.D., Research in Motion, will co-chair.

DEK GM Discusses Latest Offerings, Innovations

New General Manager for Americas Brian Smith talks about DEK's upgradeable systems, which allow companies to seamlessly move to the next level of technology without having to change existing lines. Smith also discusses other innovations at IPC's Midwest Expo.

Jasbir Bath on Reaction to Rising Silver Costs

Jasbir Bath, Consulting Engineer with Christopher Associates, sits down with Guest Editor Bob Neves at IPC Midwest to discuss the industry's reaction to the soaring cost of silver. What does the market need to consider in the move to produce solders with a lower percentage of silver?

electronica & productronica India Explore Opportunities

Just a day before electronica India 2011 & productronica India 2011 opens on September 13, 2011 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, the upward trend in electronics production is being clearly reflected in registration figures.

Building a "Due Diligence" Approach to Conflict Minerals Compliance: Can RoHS Provide a Model?

Sponsored by Republican U.S. Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas, Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act is designed to provide corporate accountability and public transparency to the sourcing of gold, tantalum, tin and tungsten in an effort to choke the supply of such minerals from, and the revenue to, rebel-controlled mines.

Reid: RoHS Bolsters Materials and Interconnections

Paul Reid, Program Coordinator at PWB Inc., discusses what's new in reliability testing and why he believes this is the "Year of Design." He explains how RoHS requirements have furthered the development of more robust materials and interconnections, as well as how the effects of design are starting to be a major influence on reliability.

Study of Quality Benchmarks for EMS Industry Now Available

The report is designed to provide information to EMS companies interested in comparing their key 2010 operating variables to those of other EMS providers by net sales and type of product. The study covers financial and production data, assembly attributes, yields, defect rates (DPMO), customer returns, supplier performance, customer satisfaction and certification data.

Neways Posts 23% Rvenue Growth in 1H11

Neways increased turnover by 23% to EUR 143.5 million in the first six months of 2011. Net profit in the first six months more than doubled to EUR 3.2 million. Market demand weakened in May and June under the impact of macro-economic developments, but with orders worth EUR 68.8 million at the end of June the order book remained at a good level.

Resurgence in Demand for Standards Training

EPTAC's Director of Operations Brenda Clunie explains that the certification training business has been getting a big push from companies who have laid off skilled workers during the downturn and are now training new people for the industry, as well as those who are re-investing in their own internal instructors.

Winland Electronics' Positive Sales Trend Continues in Q2

"The positive sales trends we have been experiencing continued into our second quarter," said Brian Lawrence, CFO and Senior VP. "Sales were up 7% on a sequential quarterly basis, the result of a large project sale to a new customer, and continued strong sales from our existing customers."

Nortech Systems Reports 13% Sales Increase in Q2

Nortech Systems Incorporated reported net sales of $27.8 million for the second quarter ended June 30, 2011, a 13% increase over net sales of $24.7 million for the second quarter of 2010. "Our two newest acquisitions led the sales growth for industrial and medical customers," said Mike Degen, President and CEO.

Henkel Continues Solid Performance in Q2

"Henkel continued its solid performance in the second quarter, despite the challenging market environment. We achieved high organic sales growth and outperformed once again our relevant markets," said CEO, Kasper Rorsted. "All our business sectors contributed to this growth and, with double-digit increases in our growth regions, we improved the share of total sales in these markets to 42%."

IPC's Data Exchange Standard for Conflict Minerals Regulation

IPC will begin development of a data exchange standard to help the electronics manufacturing industry comply with forthcoming U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations on conflict minerals at a kickoff meeting on September 22, 2011, held in conjunction with IPC Midwest Conference & Exhibition, Schaumburg, Illinois.

ERP Software: How It Enables Businesses to "Lean," "Green" and Prosper in the "New Normal" Economy

Harold Katz explains how both “lean” and “green” are achievable via the judicious selection and implementation of an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software solution. Due to the savings that ERP software can produce, such software is also essential to prospering in the coming “new normal” economy.

Incap's 1H Revenue Up 15% YoY

Sami Mykkänen, President and CEO of Incap Group, said, "Revenue developed favourably in the strategic focus areas of energy efficiency and well-being technology industries. The improving general economic situation has stimulated demand and the recovery of investment activities is especially evident in the increased sales of electrotechnical devices."

Celestica on Solar

Director of Engineering Services Irene Sterian talks with Editor Ray Rasmussen about the company's efforts in solar cell manufacturing. At $10 to 15 million per line, solar cell manufacturing isn't for everyone, but other opportunities are out there for EMS providers.

Moldable Solutions to Protect Electronics

Guest Editor Kelly Dack sits down with Dr. Brian Toleno, Director of Technical Service Engineering for Henkel Electronic Materials, to discuss a silver-plated copper (SPC) process for cost-effective treatment of various forms of the material. Dr. Toleno also shares an innovative, award-winning product called "Macromelt" which offers a moldable solution for incapsulative packaging of electronics.

Disruptive Climates the Focus of IPC Executive Summit

The event, scheduled for October 4–5, 2011, in San Jose, California, combines the strategic planning focus of IPC’s Management Meetings with the global business insights of its Market & Technology Conference. The summit will provide ideas and solutions that will help executives strategically map their companies' futures through today's disruptive climate.

Flextronics Reports Q1 Sales of $982 Million; Up 15%

Net sales for the first quarter increased $982 million or 15% to $7.5 billion compared to net sales for the quarter of $6.6 billion. "Every one of our four core business groups grew double digits year-over-year and our revenue marked the second highest June quarter in our history. We expect our revenue growth to continue next quarter," said Mike McNamara, CEO.

Plexus Posts Fiscal Q3 Revenue of $559 Million

Dean Foate, President and CEO, commented, "Fiscal third quarter revenues were $559 million with EPS of $0.58. We experienced an exceptional level of forecast volatility during the quarter as customers broadly lowered their demand for the second half of our fiscal year."

Elecsys' EDMS Segment Posts 40% Sales Growth for FY2011

Sales for the company's Electronic Design and Manufacturing Services (EDMS) business segment increased 40% to approximately $13,807,000 for the fiscal year ended April 30, 2011, an increase of $3,945,000 from $9,862,000 in the prior fiscal year. The increase in sales was a result of steady increases in bookings and shipments over the past fiscal year.

Sanmina-SCI, KACO Enter Manufacturing Partnership

KACO chose Sanmina-SCI to provide end-to-end manufacturing services for its blueplanet 02xi inverter series to solidify and further develop the company's position in the U.S. market, with more competitive costs and reduced delivery times.

Cleaning Technologies: Trends and Developments

As the developing electronics market sees modern and future electronics becoming smaller and smaller, the requirement for high performance and reliability becomes stronger than ever. To achieve good insulation resistance, and ensure adequate adhesion of conformal coatings and potting and encapsulation resins, the cleanliness of electronic assemblies is essential.

Changes to ITAR and EAR Impact Selling to Mil/Aero Sector

The U.S. government is reforming its export control system by updating and modifying export control lists, licensing policies and enforcement. The government's changes in export controls are intended to create narrower and more consistent export rules, enabling U.S. companies to increase their exports while better protecting national security.

Arrow Electronics Acquires Seed’s Distribution Business

Seed is a value-added distributor of embedded products with 14 offices across China. The company is primarily focused on Texas Instruments products, and is well known in China as a strong technical service provider with Digital Signal Processor (DSP) specialization.

Making Product Eco-Compliance Easy

With every country looking now at its own hazardous substances list, companies must look at the big picture and treat product environmental compliance as a process, not a project. Companies should to focus on how various legislations paint a total picture; not focus on each individual country and its legislation. An audit of the product environmental compliance program does just this.

Testing and Verification Agilent's Way

Joe Reisinger, Agilent's Global Account Manager, meets with Guest Editor Kelly Dack at the company's booth at APEX 2011 and talks a bit about his company's test solutions and highlights a new and impressive machine.

SMTA Awards ZESTRON Best of Conference Award

The SMTA South East Asia Technical Conference on Electronics Assembly Technologies was a resounding success. Attendance increased 45% from 2009 and was very well received by attendees. The Best of Conference Award was presented to Umut Tosun, ZESTRON, for his presentation on "Fluid Flow Mechanics: Key to Low Standoff Cleaning."

EPIC, Rocket Enter Marketing & Manufacturing Agreement

Under the terms of the agreement, the companies will engage in joint marketing and business development initiatives, featuring Rocket's world class prototype and new product introduction services and EPIC's award-winning volume manufacturing and supply chain capabilities.

Facilitating Stencil Solder Paste Flow

Clive Ashmore, of the Future Technology Group at DEK, offers Guest Editor Kelly Dack an overview of the company's new process chemistry that helps facilitate paste flow through ever-decreasing mask openings.

Heraeus & Technica USA: The Latest in Solder Paste Tech

Anton Miric, Heraeus Product Line Director, and Frank Medina, Technica USA CEO, meet with Editor Pete Starkey to discuss the latest developments in solder pastes and adhesives, and their impact on the North American market.

Improving Economy Drives EMS M&A Activity in Q1

Eleven completed transactions in Q1 2011 were on par with the M&A activity from the last quarter as the industry is still exhibiting higher transaction activity as compared to 2009. The continued economic and credit market improvements combined with the general market need to deploy cash is driving further M&A.

Nam Tai Reports 104% Net Sales Growth for 1Q11

The company has reported net sales of $161.9 million for the first quarter of 2011, more than double that of 1Q10's $79.27 million. Nam Tai currently has two separate projects planned for expansion, both of which depend upon the prompt action and cooperation of local government.

SCANFIL EMS Achieves 44% Sales Growth in Q1

The growth in turnover was particularly due to improved demand among Scanfil EMS Oy's professional electronics customers. The development of production and sales processes and increased sales volumes contributed to the increase in operating profit.

Advanced High-Performance Epoxy Adhesives Revolutionize Structural Bonding

Structural bonding is defined as the process of joining parts together using an adhesive as opposed to conventional mechanical fasteners or assembly methods such as soldering, brazing or welding. In this white paper, the cornerstones of successful structural bonding are explored.

BGA Routing Takes Center Stage in Vegas

Charles Pfeil, engineering director in Mentor Graphics' System Design Division, discusses his Designers Forum presentation "Effective BGA Fanouts." He predicts that large-scale BGAs will soon have over 2,000 pins and bring PCB designers a plethora of new routing issues.

An Obvious Partnership: Nordson YESTECH & Dage Inspection Solutions

Nordson YESTECH President Dan Miller sits down with Editor Pete Starkey on the APEX show floor to describe the latest developments in automatic optical inspection (AOI) and 3-D X-ray inspection. Miller relates how the two technologies can be used in conjunction for a complete result. The Nordson Test and Inspection Group also makes its debut at the show.

RIT/CEMA Work to Solve Technical Issues

Dr. S. Manian Ramkumar, Ph.D., professor and Director of the Center for Electronics Manufacturing and Assembly (CEMA) at Rochester Institute of Technology, talks about the assistance his group provides the industry. Leading equipment and material suppliers have donated the latest and greatest equipment in support of efforts to help solve industry technical problems.

Benchmark Trims Q1 Guidance on Softer Demand

Benchmark Electronics lowered its guidance for the first quarter of 2011 due to softer than projected demand and temporary inventory corrections. Sales for the first quarter of 2011 are expected to be approximately $540 million and the company anticipates a reversal of this sales decline and expects a rebound in the second quarter.

SMTA Releases SMT Certification Dates, Locations

The SMTA proudly announces four upcoming offerings of SMT Certification in Toronto, Schaumburg, Santa Clara and Fort Worth. Each program is a three-day offering consisting of a 1.5-day refresher workshop on topics in SMT Processes or Six Sigma/Greenbelt. The program concludes on days two and three with an open- and closed-book examination.

Ryder Industries to Expand to Inland China

The new manufacturing facility will not only provide state-of-the-art production capabilities and environmental impact management, but it also will promote economic development. The new 70,000 square meter manufacturing complex will offer fully integrated plastic injection, screen printing and painting capabilities, as well as SMT/PCBA and box-build under one roof.

Dave Foggie: DEK's Remarkable Year

China Editor Edy Yu talks with Dave Foggie, Semicon and Alternative Applications Manager at DEK, during the recent Semicon China 2011. Foggie goes into detail about the great 2010 had by the company and shows off two systems on display at the show--one focused on wafer-level packaging and the other on substrate-level processing.

Cisco Executive to Keynote Atlanta SMTA Expo

The SMTA announced today that Mark Brillhart, Vice President, Technology and Quality, Cisco, would keynote on the state of the electronics industry at its 15th annual Atlanta SMTA Expo Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 9:30 a.m. at the Gwinnett Civic Center.

At ECT, Focus is on the Customer

Editor Pete Starkey speaks with Chan Pin Chong and Gary Stoffer of Everett Charles Technologies (ECT) about the addition of Chang Chan Pin to the company staff. The pair also explain their plans to continue strengthening the company, their focus on customer relations and recent developments in their product line.

Innovation - It is Essential to Competitiveness

Innovation is the vanguard to increased competitiveness. Companies need to be able to thrive and weather storms like the current economy, globalization and rapidly evolving or disruptive technologies.

Think You Only Need AOI? Think Again

The whole idea of AOI is to help ensure that what's coming off the line is exactly the same as the original with which it's being compared. AOI probably did its job just fine, or maybe not: There is a known or expected false call and escape rate with the AOI process, which, by the way, is why it can't be used for first article inspection.

Mirtec Thriving on AOI

Brian D'Amico, President of Mirtec USA, sits down with Editor Andy Shaughnessy to explain updates to his company's AOI equipment lineup and to discuss new technology offered at SMTAI.

IMI Reports $412 Million Revenue in 2010; Up 4% YoY

Integrated Micro-Electronics Inc. recorded $412.3 million in consolidated revenues for the twelve months ended December 31, 2010. This represents a year-on-year growth of 4% due to the sustained strong performance of IMI's China operations and incremental revenues from its acquisition of PSi Technologies, Inc.

Nordson Reports 23% Sales Increase in Q1

"Our global team delivered the best first quarter performance in Nordson's history," said Nordson President and CEO, Michael F. Hilton. "Our model of differentiated technology, application know-how and direct sales and service enabled us to capture business in both established and emerging markets. The organization continues to deliver superior value to our customers."

Strong EMS Activity in 2010

There were 46 completed EMS transactions in 2010, nearly doubling the 24 recorded in 2009. Similar to previous years, vertical/horizontal convergences were the most common type of transaction with 15 transactions in 2010, or 33% of total activity, compared to 12 transactions in 2009.

Altaris Capital Partners Acquires Paramit Corporation

Altaris Capital Partners LLC has acquired Paramit Corporation, a provider of manufacturing services to OEMs in the medical devices market. Lincoln International advised Paramit in the transaction, the terms of which were not disclosed.

ALPHA SACX Plus Solder Alloys Secures China Patent

"We have made a significant investment in the development of our SACX Plus® family of alloys with the intention of providing high-value, lead-free solder options to assemblers, and we are pleased that China has joined other countries in recognizing their uniqueness," said Mike Murphy, Global Product Manager for Wave Soldering Materials.

Enics, Axis Enter Strategic Partnership Agreement

"Axis chose Enics because of its competitive price/performance, size and strategic fit with Axis manufacturing and logistics requirements," said Per Ädelroth, Vice President Operations. Enics was selected among the best EMS companies in the world to become a global partner for AXIS.

Flextronics Posts Strong Q3 Results; Sales Up 19%

Adjusted net income for the third quarter ended December 31, 2010 was $193 million, an increase of $55 million or 40%, and adjusted EPS increased $0.08 or 47% to $0.25, compared to $138 million and $0.17, respectively, for the year ago quarter.

NEPCON China 2011 Highlights Auto Electronics of the Future

The twenty-first edition of NEPCON China, which will take place at the Shanghai Everbright Convention and Exhibition Center May 1-13, 2011, will bring together top international manufacturers of electronic equipment to showcase developing trends in auto electronics manufacturing.

ENEPIG Round Robin Testing Underway

With round robin testing ongoing, George Milad, IPC Plating Committee co-chair updates the continuing efforts for ENEPIG specification. Milad also offers Editor Ray Rasmussen updates on other committee activities as well.

Fein-Lines: CES, Day 2

Day 2 of CES was Dan Feinberg's chance to see as many of the new tablets as he could and also view the first motherboards and latest high-end hardware for use with the new Intel i7 and i5 (Sandy Bridge) chips.

Outlook and Trends 2011: A Perspective

For 2011, expect the continuing focus on smaller, faster, lighter, less expensive electronics products; lead-free reliability to become accepted as reasonable for consumer products; and continued efforts to develop technology-based strategies to combat the counterfeit components crisis.

Top 10 Countdown: Most-Read EMS Tech Tuesday Articles of 2010

This year saw the acquisition of SMT Magazine by I-Connect007, a move that improved our already-impressive technical article offering. The I-Connect007 editors have compiled the top 10 Tech Tuesday articles that brought our readers a greater understanding of technology developments and key issues in the EMS industry for 2010.

IEC Electronics: IPC Standards Define Expectation Levels

"For contract manufacturers, the IPC standards define reasonable expectations for products. It adds some sanity and clarity for manufacturers and customers. It’s nice to have a document that defines the requirements," said Jake Slezak, Manufacturing Engineer at IEC Electronics Corporation.

Ryder Discusses Strategies for Workforce Stability in China

As many analysts predict shortages of skilled labor and risk from rising costs in Chinese factories, one EMS company is positioned to avoid disruption. Ryder Industries' historical focus on fair compensation, good working conditions and effective employee communications gives the company an advantage as global attention focuses on growing labor unrest in China.

Unmasking a Counterfeit BGA

Although there are several main types of counterfeit components, by far the most abundant are components that have been stripped off used PCBs (E-scrap), refurbished, resurfaced and re-marked to reflect a newer single lot/date code. They are then misrepresented and resold and as original factory-new product.

An Electronic Alliance

Gary Tanel, CEO of Circuitronics, relates the importance of servant leadership through the newly conceived Electronics Alliance--an association of trusted business partners providing the ultimate in service to their customers.

Increasing Throughput with Solder Paste

Mitch Holtzer, Director, Assembly Materials Marketing at Cookson Electronics, explains what customers should look for in a solder paste and how Cookson develops products that can speed up the assembly process.

Henkel's Dr. Brian Toleno Joins SMTA Board of Directors

Recognizing his technical expertise and dedication to the surface-mount and microelectronics packaging sectors, electronics industry colleagues have nominated and elected Henkel's Brian Toleno, Ph.D. to the SMTA Board of Directors.

IPC, NPL Host Soldering and Assembly Defects Webinar

According to Bob Willis, NPL Process Defects Database Consultant, the advent of lead-free technology made every step of the assembly process more difficult. "Common process problems today relate to the correct selection of printed board materials, surface finishes and soldering materials."

From electronica 2010: Electronics & EMS in India

QUAD Electronics' Andrew Scheele, Director, Corporate and Business Development, and Raminder Singh Soin, Managing Director, share their views with EMS Now's Philip Stoten during electronica 2010 on what makes the supply chain tick in India: Its successes, challenges and future, while drawing parallels with other manufacturing regions, both east and west of India.

Preparing for Tomorrow's Business

We're on the upswing, but it's still tough out there. Conelec Vice President of Operations Dave Vickery shares with Guest Editor Greg Papandrew his company's strategy for remaining strong in the challenging business climate of today, and tomorrow.

Greenpeace Strikes Again with Unscientific Scorecard

With the October 2010 scorecard, Greenpeace continues to mark down consumer electronics manufacturers for failing to lobby for an agenda based on faulty science. Why is Greenpeace trying to exert control over what companies say? Perhaps an honest discussion of the facts and evidence would fail to support their position.

Neways Reports 52% Revenue Increase in Q3

Neways Electronics International N.V. recorded turnover of EUR 66.2 million in the third quarter of 2010, up 52% compared with the same period last year. Both operational profit and net profit increased for the fifth quarter in a row.

Managing Dross in Soldering Processes

Wave, selective and related soldering processes involve large volumes of molten solder that are exposed to the atmosphere. Turbulence, oxygen exposure, temperature and other factors affect dross formation in wave soldering processes. Keith Sweatman and Keith Howell of Nihon Superior advise operators on how to reduce dross.

SMTAI Show Wrap-Up

In a roundtable conversation, Guest Editors Krista Botsford and Greg Papandrew discuss SMTA International 2010. Highlights included the lead-free symposium, a new solar technology session, a focused trade show and tech sessions, a fascinating keynote on counterfeit components and the opportunity to network with industry experts.

High-Frequency Materials for PCB Design

Applications Development Manager Greg Bull of Rogers Corporation sits down with Editor Andy Shaughnessy and details the characteristics of Rogers' RO4000 LoPro, RO4360 and RO4460, and he points out why these laminates can be good news for PCB designers.

AcAe Takes Translating Data to the Next Level

AcAe is a design service bureau that has developed some cutting-edge translation and conversion technology. AcAe Technical Director Clive Robinson and Editor Andy Shaughnessy chat about the myriad CAD data formats and AcAe's efforts to make sense of this Tower of Babel. This may be our first interview with a former Space Invaders technician.

Cost of Ownership or Product: Which One's the Real Deal?

Perhaps nowhere is the dichotomy between academic theory and empirical evidence more evident than in the application of total cost of ownership (TCO) methodology. Sometimes tactics simply get in the way of sound strategies. A TCO assessment, however, often alleviates serious downstream disappointment.

Using IPC 1750 Series For Life Cycle Analysis

PTC Product Management Director Jorgen Vos sits down with Guest Editor Krista Botsford at Electronics Midwest 2010 to discuss life cycle analysis (LCA) and how IPC's 1750 series of standards can be leveraged to support the gathering of LCA data.

IPC Keynote: Sustainability in Electronics

Finding a balance between cost and the environment is a struggle for the industry. Dr. Carol Handwerker, Professor of Materials Engineering at Purdue University, talks about these and other issues facing the industry today and what's coming down the pike in the not-too-distant future.

Considering a Halogen-Free Future? Know the Facts

To understand the halogen-free movement, one must fully comprehend the reason behind the push, as well as the differences between halogens and halides. This industry-sponsored effort is being driven primarily by increasingly environmentally-conscious customers, pressure from non-governmental environmental organizations and the desire by suppliers to be proactive.

Inside Look: SMART Group's 26th Birthday Conference, Day II

It was a bright and sunny morning for the second day of the event. A keen and well-rested audience of electronics manufacturing specialists returned to the conference room for further education and amusement. European Technical Editor Pete Starkey continues his detailed look at the excellent presentations offered by a few of the industry's best.

Conflict Minerals Legislation Causing Great Concern

Conflict minerals have come to the forefront of industry issues. Fern Abrams, IPC's Director of Government Relations and Environmental Policy, talks with Ray Rasmussen and offers an update on the status of legislation and its probable affect on the industry.

United Against Counterfeiting: A Counterfeit EEE Parts Solution

Counterfeit electrical, electronic and electromechanical parts pose a significant threat in the global supply chain. Equipment failures or malfunctions can cause mission failures, health and safety concerns and could jeopardize national security. This paper will segment the market, address solutions and outline what each link in the supply chain can do to help eliminate the problem.

Rowland: New RoHS Annex Affects Assembly Industry

On September 24, 2010, the Exemption Annex to Directive 2002/95/EC was officially replaced by a new Exemption Annex (which is now a separate document) containing 39 Exemptions. According to the proposed RoHS recast, a four-year maximum validity period for the Exemptions is set to stimulate substitution efforts and transition the burden of proof to the Exemption applicant.

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.

Conformal Coating vs. Encapsulation: Protecting Electronic Devices

Jade Bridges, R&D Manager at Electrolube Ltd., continues her look at conformal coatings this week. To ensure reliability of critical devices, it is essential that PCBs are protected to prevent reduced performance or, in the worst case, complete failure. This protection can be offered in the form of a conformal coating or potting and encapsulation resins.

Electroless Ni/Electroless Pd/Immersion Au/Electroless Au (ENEPIGEG) Plating Process For Gold Wire Bonding on Organic Package Substrates

This study examines the wire bonding reliability of electroless gold plating after heat treatment. Results indicate that in the ENIGEG process, the electroless Ni under the immersion Au/electroless Au diffused onto the surface of the gold plating by heat treatment and changed to nickel oxide, resulting in the prevention of wire bonding between the gold wire and the gold plating and a decrease in bonding strength.

Boundary Scan and Cheese

Boundary scan has fueled hybrid solutions that enable powered opens testing and silicon-based probing. Such has been the prevalence of the technology that it now no longer only serves the higher end market, but the automotive and consumer electronics market also. Coupled with innovative business licensing, the savings from its use can easily justify the investment.

New Solder Bumping Technology and Adapted Assembly Processes for 100 µm Pitch Flip-Chip Technology Using Capillary Flow or No-Flow Underfill, Part II

In the continuation of this paper, the authors present new cost-efficient solder bumping and adapted assembly technologies for the processing of flip-chips with a pitch of 100 µm or less and solder ball diameters of 60 µm or 50 µm, respectively.

Cleaning Issues Addressed at APEX

The more reliability issues are raised, the more cleaning seems to become important to electronics manufacture engineering teams. Zestron President Harald Wack sits down with EMS007 Editor Steve Gold to discuss the cleaning concerns of which engineers need to be aware--and what Zestron is doing to help the industry improve its cleaning processes.

Best Practices for Post-Reflow Assembly Cleaning

Many manufacturers resist the idea of post-reflow cleaning because it flies in the face of the no-clean flux promise. Unfortunately, higher reflow temperatures, assembly and component miniaturization and increased reliability expectations have all eroded the basic principle of the promises of a no-clean process.

New Solder Bumping Technology, Processes for 100 µm Pitch Flip-Chip Technology With Capillary Flow or No-Flow Underfill, Part I

The authors of this paper present new cost-efficient solder bumping and adapted assembly technologies for the processing of flip-chips with a pitch of 100 µm or less and solder ball diameters of 60 µm or 50 µm, respectively.

Section 14: PWB Vias, X-Sections

These images of SMT defects and attributes were compiled by consultant Tom Clifford. Section 14 includes images of partially filled vias, plugged vias, wide open vias, non-uniform via covers, annular ring defects, voids, top-side dimples and more. These images provide resources for training, quality control specs and standards and research.

STB Market Fuels Need for Infrared Technology

XMP®-2 from UEI will allow a hand-held remote to receive and display information and is generating increased interest, especially from STB manufacturers. By incorporating an emitter and a receiver in both the STB and the remote, information for advertisers could be incorporated--negating the need for additional systems (and remote controls) like the current Nielsen ratings system.

Causes and Solutions for Solder Ball Defects

Industry expert Bob Willis explains the impact of flux and solder mask on solder ball defects in this video based on the National Physical Laboratory Defect Database. The defect database allows engineers to search through a range of defects covering components, PCBs, solder joints and assembly problems.

Counterfeit Material Prevention and Detection

In this article, Paul Bodmer, Bruce Tostevin and Scott Mazur, Benchmark Electronics Inc., detail the methods used to prevent and detect counterfeit components for various industries such as telecommunications, military and aerospace. The objective is preventing counterfeit components and material from propagating into the manufacturing process.

Ionic Cleanliness Testing Research of PWBs for Purposes of Process Control, Part I

Many a company has learned the hard way that product reliability is directly related to the ionic cleanliness of a circuit board. In this study, the authors research low-residue and lead-free flux structures, identify solvent compositions that will dissolve these residue types and offer options for performing both bulk and site-specific ionic cleanliness testing methods.

Section 12: SMT Assemblies, T-Cycled Cracks

These images of SMT defects and attributes were compiled by consultant Tom Clifford. Section 12 includes images of non-collapsing BGA balls, CGAs, LCCCs, SMCs, gull-wings, x-sections and more. These images of SMT defects and attributes provide resources for training, quality control specs and standards and research

False Tin Whiskers: Masquerading Tin Copper Intermetallics

In March 2007, a process industrial engineer was notified of whisker-like anomalies on a QFP. Optical inspection revealed a large quantity of anomalies that appeared to be tin whiskers. This paper details the investigation to determine the root cause and identification of the anomalies observed on the QFP during optical inspection.

M&A Activities in EMS Industry Re-Stabilizing

Mergers and acquisitions in the EMS industry for the second quarter were slightly down compared to the previous quarter, but the Q2 2010 Deal Volume Comparison from Lincoln International reports that economic conditions appear to have stabilized, which has created an opportunity for companies to pursue strategic investments within the EMS sector.

Component Performance Rising with Energy Requirements

Components that work as expected, and when required, are very important in general, and especially in harsh environments. After all, electronic systems are being used everywhere, from many thousands of feet underground or underwater to outer space.

Section 11: SMT Assembly Defects

These images of SMT defects and attributes were compiled by consultant Tom Clifford. Section 11 includes images of odd via-fill, fiber debris, lead-on-land, bridges, tombstoning, dead-shorts, "type G" defects and more. These images of SMT defects and attributes provide resources for training, quality control specs and standards and research.

Lead-Free in Mission Critical: Failure Is Not An Option

To confidently use lead-free in high-reliability applications, especially considering the EU drive to impose RoHS on some areas currently exempt, it seems prudent to step back and determine where we are, how we got here and what remains to be done. ECD's Grant Peterson guides us through the concerns with lead-free.

Section 10: BGAs Re-Balled

These images of SMT defects and attributes were compiled by consultant Tom Clifford. Section 10 includes images of re-balled collapsing and non-collapsing C-BGAs, compromised fillets, mis-registered balls and more.

Incap Posts 18% Revenue Growth in 1H

Sami Mykkänen, President and CEO, said, "The period's revenue fell short of expectations, as demand was low due to the general economic recession, especially at the beginning of the year. In the second quarter, demand picked up markedly and many customers estimated their needs would increase in the latter part of the year."

Solder Joint Reliability Analysis and Testing of a Dual-Row QFN

Dual-row QFN designs help bridge the gap between conventional QFN packages and BGAs. They enable a higher I/O count per area of single-row QFN packages and they maintain similar costing due to the lead frame-based technology. This paper focuses on the board-level solder joint reliability of a 28-lead dual-row QFN package.

Digital Pseudo-Color Inspection Reveals Hidden Soldering Defects

Computational tools that render digitally processed images in pseudo-color can enable inspectors to recognize soldering defects, such as lifted leads and cold solder, in SMT mounting processes. With enhanced images, comparative evaluations to determine cases of defects or no defects are easily accomplished.

Rowland on RoHS 2 Draft Exemptions

RoHS 2 is intended to be an improved version of the existing RoHS legislation; the objective is to develop a regulatory process that is simple, understandable, effective and enforceable. The approval vote is provisionally set for October 2010.

SigmaTron Posts 29% Revenue Growth in Fiscal 4Q10

Gary R. Fairhead, President and CEO, commented, "I am pleased to report our third consecutive profitable quarter and, perhaps even more significant, a quarter in which our revenue grew nicely from the levels in quarters two and three."

007 Asian Coverage Expands With SMT Merger

For years, I-Connect007 has been covering the electronics market in Asia. With video and written content, in Mandarin and English, I-Connect007 has been there, on the ground in Asia, digging for the next story. With the acquisition of SMT Magazine, I-Connect007 has deepened and widened its coverage of the Asian PCB assembly market.

The Proliferation of Lead-Free SAC Alloys

As solder suppliers formulate more variations on the lead-free solder theme, it appears that standardization is needed. But who's going to take ownership of the problem? Guest Editor Jasbir Bath and Indium Corporation Senior Technologist Dr. Ron Lasky have a spirited discussion on this proliferation problem.

I-Connect007 is SMTA's Media Partner of the Year

During a ceremony at the NEPCON show in Shanghai, China in April, the SMTA awarded I-Connect007 (PCB007, EMS007) "Media Partner of the Year" for its dedicated service to the electronics industry.

Real Time With... Brings Events to Your Screen

Trade shows and conferences are vital to the PCB assembly world. Where else can you meet so many potential customers and suppliers? Still, you can't make every industry event, and if you can’t be there, our Real Time With... video coverage is the next best thing to being there.

Real Time with...EMS Technology Videos

I-Connect007's Real Time with... has produced over 3,000 video interviews, conference presentations and product reviews at major events around the world. Past events include IPC APEX Expo, productronica, IPC Midwest, SMTA International, Mexitronica, NEPCON China and many more.

Next-Generation PoP Pastes for Electronics Assembly

Many differences exists between PoP pastes and the traditional solder pastes. This paper highlights those differences and discusses the characteristics needed by PoP pastes to increase transfer efficiency, eliminate head-in-pillow defects and provide excellent solder wetting.

Packaging and Antennae Technology Improvements

In this video, Arthur Chait, EoPlex, discusses ceramic and metal parts fabrication using a new technology. We look at miniaturized antennae and semiconductor package LGA substrate products built with this formative manufacturing platform.

Response: How Do You Clean PCB Assemblies?

In response to the editor’s question, “how do you clean PCB assemblies?” that was posed in the May/June issue of SMT, Jade Bridges of Electrolube describes the relationship between no-clean PCBs and coating adhesion. The relationship is not good. Bridges explains why dewetting and poor adhesion can occur.

An Image Library of SMT Defects Section 6: BGA PCB Defects, Metallic Contamination

These images of SMT defects and attributes were compiled by consultant Tom Clifford. Section 6 includes images of solder splash, copper peaks, loose copper as well as other PCB defects that can cause problems at solder stencil printing.

Practical Components Designs Custom Circuit Board Practice Kits and Boards

Practical Components, supplier of solder training kits and materials, mechanical IC samples, or dummy components and SMD production tools and equipment, now designs custom practice PCBs or complete kits.

PCBA in a Wind Tunnel: Watch Thermal Management in Action

In this video, Mike Haskell, Advanced Thermal Solutions (ATS), talks about heat sink design and instrumentation. Using a miniature wind tunnel, he demonstrates how heatsinks change air velocity to cool PCB components.

Arrow Electronics Acquires Sphinx Group Limited

Arrow Electronics Inc. (NYSE: ARW) acquired Sphinx Group Limited, a UK-based value-added distributor of security and networking solutions.

An Image Library of SMT Defects Section 5: BGA PCB Defects, Mask

These images of SMT defects and attributes were compiled by consultant Tom Clifford. Section 5 highlights bad design, mis-registration, bad mask definition, metal splash, and other via defects on PCBs.

Incap Inks Partnership with Kenyan Thames Electricals

According to the agreement, Incap will design and manufacture inverters for the customer, with the first production sets being delivered in August. An estimated total of 5,000 to 8,000 units will be delivered to the customer this year with annual revenue from these products estimated reach one million euro.

FCT Assembly to Hold Open House at CA Facility

FCT Assembly will hold an open house at its new CA facility on July 12, walking attendees through a variety of processes, from CAD design though laser cutting. Bob Dervaes, VP of technology and engineering for the solder division, will speak.

Precision Soldering: New Rework and Selective Soldering Options

Malcom Company introduced hot air tools; VJ Technologies debuted an IR preheater series; Seho added process controls as well as a training program; Etek began carrying Purex fume extraction items; and RPS Automation brought fiducial inspection and auto correction to its selective soldering products.

Aqueous Technologies Premiers Automatic Defluxing and Cleanliness Testing System

Trident OneShot is designed to provide automatic cleaning (defluxing), cleanliness testing, and drying of post-reflow circuit assemblies.

Outsourcing Out? Some OEMs Choosing Assembly

For years, the industry focused on convincing OEMs to abandon electronics manufacture in favor of outsourcing. Yet, today, some OEMs are looking to bring electronics manufacture in-house. MannCorp Sales Manager Ed Stone explains the factors that are driving OEMs to invest in electronics assembly operations, rather than using the current outsource mode.

Electronic Component Orders Keep Rising

Manufacturers are responding to current and future electronics growth and don't want to slow momentum by getting caught short of electronic component inventory.

Printed Circuit Board Information Service

This service from Research and Markets offers PCB manufacturers and companies in the PCB supply chain a comprehensive and detailed analysis of the global PCB market.

Orbotech Outlook: Sustained PCB Growth to Be Driven by Underlying Market Recovery, New Consumer Electronics Devices, and Growing China Presence in PCBs

Barclays Capital offers their insights from Orbotech (ORBK) Analyst Day. The following is from Orbotech’s PCB division presentation. Management discussed the fact that Orbotech continues to supply PCB systems to all of the major PCB manufacturers worldwide, including Samsung, LT, Compeq, Hitachi, Unimicron, Daeduck, Multek, Toshiba, LG, AT&S. Together, these PCB suppliers account for ~80% of the PCBs used in handsets.

Participate in a Survey on Electronics Design and Manufacturing in Europe

TFI is investigating electronics design and manufacturing in Europe, with an emphasis on Eastern Europe. Take the survey and answer how EMEA compares to China/Asia for manufacturing, what you see as emerging trends, and more.

New Coating, Dispensing, and Printing Products

These new products include automatic conformal coating inspection; electrically conductive adhesive to replace solders; a line of coating cure ovens; a radiometer for light cure; fine-structure screen printer; a valve actuator; and dispensable TIM.

Apple Rides High-Margin Hardware to Competitive Supremacy

Apple Inc. has become the world’s most valuable technology company based on sales of high-margin hardware like the iPhone, an approach that competitors are finding difficult to duplicate, according to iSuppli Corp.

Test Protocols for Evaluation of New Lead-free Alloys Outlined in New White Paper by IPC Solder Products Value Council

Analytical Procedures for Portable Lead-Free Alloy Test Data provides a set of test protocols for the evaluation of new lead-free alloys on the basis of their physical properties to reduce the time and effort required to characterize an alloy and improve its processes without jeopardizing reliability.

An Image Library of SMT Defects Section 3: BGA PCB Defects, Via-in-pad

These images of SMT defects and attributes were compiled by consultant Tom Clifford. In Section 3, we look at via-fill plating failures; craters, lumps, and odd cover shapes; edge flaking; and other via-in-pad defects on PCBs. They provide resources for training, quality control specs and standards, and research.

New Nozzles, Software, and Equipment for Selective and Wave Soldering

These soldering products include selective soldering equipment, custom nozzles, selective soldering programming software, a compact wave soldering system, and a component lead re-tinning machine.

New in Solders: No-Clean Lead-free Pastes and Eco Solder Recovery

Henkel launched Multicore LF620 no-clean lead-free solder paste; Kester announces its NXG1-HF lead-free no-clean solder paste; FCT Assembly debuted NL9302 no-clean, lead-free, halide-free solder paste; and Seika Machinery Inc. brought on board a Solder Paste Recycling Unit.

SPI Built onto a Screen Printer: Pemtron Demos the System

In this video, Steve Wong, Pemtron, showcases Pemtron’s TROI 3D solder paste inspection (SPI) module built onto the SJ Innotech screen printer, at IPC APEX EXPO 2010.

Video Demos: New IC Placer and Printer Technology from Assembleon

In these videos, SMT tours Assembleon's booth at IPC APEX EXPO, looking inside IC placers, chip shooters, feeders, and the printer and squeegee technology on display.

Premo Plans China Expansion for Power Electronics Apps

Premo will open a new plant to enlarge production this year. The 4,000 sq.m. plant with 500 sq.m. laboratory premises will be operating in Wuxi, China. The company expects to grow at an annualized aggregated rate over 20% the next three years. This will require further capacity especially for applications in power electronics for renewable energies and automotive.

IPC Study: Quality Benchmarks for Small to Medium EMS Industry

IPC Study of Quality Benchmarks for the Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) Industry for 2009 is designed to provide information to EMS companies interested in comparing their key 2009 operating variables to those of other EMS providers by net sales and type of product. 

Essemtec Forms Essemsol to Focus on Custom Application Development

Essemtec’s new business unit Essemsol combines parts of development and production to shorten the realization time for customer-specific solutions. The business unit incorporates all activities from former Essemsolar (solar applications), Essemsolution and customer-specific dispenser applications.

May Manufacturing Report: Growth Overall, But Supplies Tight

The manufacturing sector grew for the 10th consecutive month during May, driven by continued strength in new orders and production. Employment continues to grow. There are a number of reports, particularly in the tech sector, of shortages of components; this is the result of excessive inventory de-stocking during the downturn.

The Landscape of PCB Technology is Changing Rapidly--How Will AOI Testing Keep Up? Part II

The popularity of HDI is rising. Solder jet printing and cold attachment rival traditional solder printing. Manufacturers are building smaller and smaller quantities--even batches of one! What does this all mean for traditional AOI? Part II of this paper discusses the strengths and weaknesses of AOI given significant changes in PCB materials and manufacturing methods.

On the Show Floor at SMT Hybrid Packaging: Exhibits Preview II

The following dispensing products, inspection systems, pick-and-place equipment, dummy components and test boards, automation and support tools, and other products will be highlights of the SMT Hybrid Packaging show, June 8-10 in Nuremburg.

An Image Library of SMT Defects Section 2: BGA PCB Defects, External Damage

Images in this section include mechanical damage from improper handling, test probes, and other sources. Some mechanical intrusions can lead to electrical failure or degrade reliability.

Medical Electronics Headed for Healthy Future Growth

This issue of the Henderson Forecast summary explores the rising costs of healthcare and the medical electronics market. Medical electronics growth slowed during the recession but is surging back, thanks to improved device design, expanded healthcare coverage in the U.S., and other factors.

Bed of Nails Test Fixture Using a PCB Rather than Wires

In this video, Craig Pynn, SiFO, shows SMT a bed of nails fixture made for in-circuit (ICT) and functional test (FT). The test fixture eliminates the wire bundle for better signal, less human intervention, and faster fixture turn-around with easy replication. SiFO is based in China.

AXI and AOI in One Viscom Inspection System

In this video, Volker Pape, Viscom, demos AXI and AOI combined in one system for comprehensive inspection at IPC APEX EXPO 2010.

IPC Supports RoHS Amendments 197-203 for More Scientific Approach

RoHS Directive proposed amendments 197 through 203 support the use of a rigorous scientific methodology to evaluate additional restricted substances and their alternatives. IPC has taken exception to other proposed RoHS amendments that would ban all brominated flame retardants (BFR) without a scientific evaluation.

Visit the Blakell Europlacer UK New Product Introduction and Process Day

Blakell Europlacer, designer and manufacturer of comprehensive SMT placement systems for the global electronics industry, will host a New Product Introduction and Process Technology Day at its manufacturing headquarters in Poole, Dorset. U.K. on June 23. Activities include expert presentations, a live SMT assembly line, and World Cup viewing party.

New Methods for Supply Chain Management in an Eco-friendly Era

TFI and DCA collaborated for a design-for-environment roadmap service; Assent announced a SVHC declaration tool for managing REACH compliance; and SYSPRO added an inventory optimization module to its management suite.

Attend a Seminar on Solar Energy and Electronics with Dr. Jennie Hwang

SMT Editorial Advisory Board member Jennie Hwang, Ph.D., will deliver a on-day lecture on “Solar Energy in the Electronics Industry” on June 17 in Penang, Malaysia.

Finding and Preventing Counterfeit Components in the SMT Supply Chain

In this video, Paul Romano, Fusion, discusses counterfeit electronics detection and prevention. X-ray images and decapsulated components illustrate his points.

Eco-friendly on the SMT Line

Seika shows us a stencil printer wiper roll recycler and a solder paste recovery system. The wiper roll can be cleaned and reused up to 10 times with the solvent-based ultrasonic cleaner. The paste recovery unit turns spoiled or unused paste into solder bars.

Vacuum Tooling for PCB Protection

Tony Du, Ovation Products, discusses different Ovation tooling for various machine designs and PCB types.

Reduce Flux at Wave Soldering

A retrofit ultrasonic spray fluxer can replace old spray or foam fluxers in wave solder machines. Sono-Tek shows us how the fluxer works at IPC APEX Expo 2010.

Video Interview on Pick-and-Place Feeders: Refurbished or New?

Dee Claybrook, Rapid Tooling, discusses the benefits of refurbishing and repairing pick-and-place feeders. Juki legacy feeders are compatible with the latest systems. Watch this video interview from IPC APEX EXPO 2010, held in Las Vegas in April 2010.

On the Show Floor at SMT Hybrid Packaging: Exhibits Preview I

Technology Forecasters Inc. Initiates European Electronics Design and Manufacturing Study: Learn How to Participate

TFI is launching a thorough investigation of electronics design and manufacturing in Europe to help electronics-industry executives set profitable strategies for Europe, with an emphasis on Eastern Europe. The study will kick off with a one-hour call June 9.

New Products for Process Control in the PCB Assembly Facility: MES/ERP, Barcode Readers, and More

These new products include machine controllers, ERP software, a barcode scanner, laser marker, ESD control, MES, and other line-control products.

Flextronics, Jabil, Celestica, Others Present Business Outlooks

Organic growth versus mergers/acquistions? Lead times improving? How are the end markets? EMS providers Flextronics, Celestica, Jabil, and other electronics supply chain companies shared outlooks at the 7th annual Credit Suisse Electronics Supply Chain Conference. Read the main points summarized by Credit Suisse analysts William Stein, CFA, and Rahul Chadha.

Dispensing Valve Maker VERMES Technik Spins Out of Woellner as VERMES Microdispensing, Essemtec and Promess Hold Stock

VERMES Technik, the manufacturer of fast piezoelectric dispensing valves, has been spun out of the Woellner Group and turned into VERMES Microdispensing GmbH. The two new stockholders are Essemtec and Promess.

Chipworks Teardown of the KIN TWO CDMA Phone

Semiconductor/microelectronics reverse engineering and patent infringement analysis specialist Chipworks performed a teardown of the KIN TWO cell phone. The cellular device is manufactured by Sharp for Verizon Wireless.

Gartner: Worldwide Mobile Phone Sales Grew 17% YoY in Q01 2010, Smartphone Sales Grew 48.7%

Among the most successful vendors were those that controlled an integrated set of operating system (OS), hardware and services. Smartphone sales to end users saw their strongest year-on-year increase since 2006. RIM, a pure smartphone player, made its debut in the top five mobile devices manufacturers. Apple increased its market share by 1.2 percentage points. Android’s momentum continued into the first quarter of 2010, particularly in North America, where sales of Android-based phones increased 707% YoY.

Nitrogen Generation from On-Site Gas: Look Inside the N-20

Bob Wolff, On-Site Gas, opens up the N-20 nitrogen generation system, explaining how the system makes nitrogen from the ambient air, for use in electronics assembly processes. This video is from IPC APEX 2010 in Las Vegas.

Check Out the New QX500 AOI System from CyberOptics

Chris Rockwell, CyberOptics, demos the QX500 automatic optical inspection (AOI) system, which offers speed and accuracy. This machine demonstration was filmed on the show floor at IPC APEX EXPO 2010 in Las Vegas.

Solder Recovery from Dross in the EVS Booth at APEX

Bennet Bruntil, EVS, describes solder recovery without an operator chopping and squeezing dross. Solder recovery can save wave soldering 40% in solder costs. Watch the video from the show floor at IPC APEX EXPO 2010.

Video: KIC Manual Virtual Profiling Tool

Brian O’Leary, KIC, demonstrates the MVP profiling product for spot checking thermal profiles in the reflow oven. The Manual Virtual Profiler (MVP) was featured at IPC APEX EXPO 2010 in Las Vegas.

Watch Nordson Asymtek Conformal Coating Dispense Technology

Dan Ashley, Nordson Asymtek, talks about dispensing applications for conformal coating. Spray, bead, and jetting dispense of coatings are discussed, as well as solder paste and underfill dispensing. Watch the Nordson Asymtek dispense heads in action in this video from IPC APEX EXPO 2010.

Video Demonstration: Christopher Associates Shows Panel Cleaner

At IPC APEX EXPO 2010, Michael Moreau of Christopher Associates demonstrates a modular, flexible circuit board panel cleaner. This panel cleaner can remove lint and other contaminants from both sides of a flex circuit panel, one side of a panel with SMT components on the other side, etc.

Season Group Explains Why It Acquired US-based EMS Headquarters

Season Group acquired the assets of DC Electronics, a San Antonio, TX EMS provider, retaining all DC Electronics employees in Season Group USA. Season Group tells SMT why it added U.S.-based electronics assembly to its Asian and Canadian locations.

NexLogic Technologies Open House Showcases Larger Facility

PCB design and assembly house NexLogic moved to a much larger headquarters, more than doubling its manufacturing floor to provide its customers even more capability. Today, the company has four SMT lines: two for prototype jobs and two for production. 

Industrial Automation Electronics Equipment Market to Exceed Expectations in 2010

In spite of general negative sentiment among many vendors in this space, IMS Research predicts strong growth for most automation equipment in 2010 and 2011. Q01 2010 growth will likely have been 25% over that of Q01 2009.

Consumer Electronics Sales Overall Trend Down; LCD TVs, PCs Continue Growth

The percentage of U.S. broadband households purchasing CE continues to decline year over year, falling from 87% in 2007 to 76% in 2009, according to international research firm Parks Associates. LCD TVs and PCs are exceeded sales expectations, which could indicate better revenue streams for savvy consumer electronics OEMs.

Bigger Facility for Macrotron, Enhances eReader Production

EMS provider Macrotron Systems Inc. moved its Fremont manufacturing facility across town to a former Intel building. The facility offers 40,000 square feet for electronics manufacturing and customization, particularly for the company’s Dittobook eReader production.

A Bad Economy Can Actually Help Future Growth

Arnon Tuval, President of ORPRO Vision LLC, discusses the acquisition of Orbotech's AOI division. The change-over was important to both companies--they worked together to meet with customers, making sure the right actions were taken in the move forward. The bad economy actually helped--the company took its time and made sure no opportunities were missed.

Tom Sharpe, SMT Corp., Will Keynote SMTAI with Counterfeit Awareness Message

The SMTA Annual Meeting and Awards Ceremony at SMTA International (SMTAI), October 27, 2010, will feature SMT Corporation's VP Tom Sharpe as the keynote speaker.

BPM Microsystems Supports Exar Programmable Power Solutions

Exar’s PowerXR ICs, combined with BPM Microsystems’ universal device programmers, target reduced development time and cost, and are easily reconfigured for real-time design changes.

SMTC's First Quarter Revenue Up 37% YoY

John Caldwell, President and CEO: "We continue to see signs of economic recovery. We experienced wide spread increased customer orders in the first quarter and, thus far, in the second quarter. With this strong order intake combined with a large opening order backlog, we expect continued sequential second quarter revenue growth."

Present at IPC APEX EXPO 2011

Submissions dealing with reliability, head-on-pillow and lead-free repair and rework, as well as new research in growing areas such as photovoltaics and printed electronics are especially encouraged for IPC APEX 2011, April 12-15, 2011 in Las Vegas.

ECA, NEDA Electronics Industry Associations Announce Merger

The National Electronics Distributors Association (NEDA) and the Electronic Components Association (ECA) have agreed to merge, forming the Electronic Components Industry Association (ECIA) by January 2011.

Small, Midsized Industrial Manufacturers Expect Better 2010, More Sustainable Products

The main challenge for small and midsized manufacturers in the year ahead will be to manage the increase in demand with capacity, monitoring how much of the uptick is due to inventory replenishment verses customer driven demand, and matching that with throughput and hiring decisions. This report comes from buying consortium Prime Advantage.

Electronics without Brominated Flame Retardants or PVC Arriving on Market

This market overview from ChemSec -- the International Chemical Secretariat shows that legislative and industry initiatives for less hazardous electronics are bringing about technically and economically feasible replacements for brominated flame retardants (BFR) and PVC in a wide range of electronic products. Numerous electronic products without brominated flame retardants and PVC are already on the market, with more on company’s planning timelines.

A Defect Phase Diagram for Tin Whisker and Local Film Properties Near Whiskers

Tin whiskers spontaneously grow from electrodeposited Sn-containing films, but the growth mechanism is not well understood. This award-winning APEX 2010 poster evaluates local grain structures, grain boundary mobility and grain orientations around whiskers and correlates these film properties to whisker growth.

Kyzen and E-Tronics to Hold Technology Day in Hungary

Williams Says He's Got "Big Shoes to Fill"

Dan Feinberg interviews his replacement as Chair of IPC's Government Relations Committee, DDi Corporation's Mikel Williams. Williams admits he's got some big shoes to fill, but is excited to support IPC in Washington D.C., especially as the organization works with the DoD and investigates "green" movements.

Watch Capacity Change on a Siemens SX Placement System

In this video, a Siemens technician adds capacity to a Siemens SX pick-and-place machine at APEX 2010. The many reasons to rent capacity, rather than purchase the maximum throughput/capacity on a system or upgrade traditionally, are discussed. Additional specifications of the SX placement machine are covered.

Europlacer Opens New Facility in FL

Europlacer, a designer and manufacturer of comprehensive SMT placement systems for the global electronics industry, moved to a new, larger facility in Tampa.

State of the Component Supply Chain, and EMS Exposure

Credit Suisse analysts William Stein, CFA and Rahul Chadha provide key take-aways on electronics manufacturing services’ supply chain from the annual Global Technology Distribution Council (GTDC).

Henkel Reports Positive Q1 Results; Sales Up 7.8%

In the first quarter of 2010, Henkel generated sales of 3,512 million euros. In a recovering market environment, this constitutes an increase of 7.8% compared to the figure for the prior-year quarter. Henkel is confident of again outperforming its relevant markets in terms of organic sales growth.

NASA Anti-Counterfeiting Measures Fall Short of Validating Parts Authenticity

In 2009, a NASA probe project was delayed nine months and exceeded its budget by more than 20%, partly because of a counterfeit part. According to BrandWatch Technologies, brand security and product authentication solution provider, the problem extends beyond NASA’s dollars and timelines; risking personal safety, diminishing confidence in U.S. aerospace programs, and impacting the businesses of legitimate component manufacturers.

Ticona Acquires Dupont LCP and PCT Products for Electrical and Electronics Applications

Celanese Corporation (NYSE:CE) enhanced its advanced materials segment with the global Zenite liquid crystal polymer (LCP) and Thermx polycyclohexylene-dimethylene terephthalate (PCT) product lines from DuPont Performance Polymers.

In-Stat Analysis: How Long Will the Apple Garden Last?

Apple, by all accounts, is a very successful high-tech company. The most recent success of the iPad demonstrates Apple’s unique position in the market as a device OEM and content aggregator, which allows it unprecedented interaction and interface to the customer for the device and the content and applications. In the process of developing a complete solution, Apple controls just about every step in the value chain. Jim McGregor provides this analysis on Apple for In-Stat.

Flexible Printed Circuit Boards: Global Strategic Business Report

This report from Research and Markets analyzes the worldwide markets for flex PCBs by end-use markets and production region (2007-2015). It includes an introduction to flex circuits, including PCB types, materials used to make flexible circuits, and the benefits of using flex over rigid PCBs.

EMS Merger and Acquisition Activity in Q01 Shows Expansion Drive: Lincoln International

There was an increase in Q'01 M&A activity compared to the previous four quarters. EMS companies are expanding well beyond their core manufacturing competencies. Overall, the economic conditions appear to have stabilized, creating created an opportunity for companies to pursue strategic investments within the EMS sector, according to this report from Lincoln International.

Sustainable Energy Partners with Plexus Corp for Global Manufacturing and Supply Chain Strategy

Sustainable Energy will use Plexus’s technical and manufacturing expertise to maintain lowest manufactured cost on solar cell inverter modules. Plexus will add manufacturing flexibility to Sustainable Energy’s SUNERGY photovoltaics inverter design production, enabling rapid response to changing demand profiles from different geographical markets.

ThQM Program Saves 47% Production Time with Reflow Profile Verification

EMS providers using ECD’s thermal quality management program ThQM, along with its profiling products, report saving 20-30 minutes per reflow profile at the profile verification step.

SMTA China Awards from Nepcon China 2010

SMTA China presented awards for the best papers/presentations and exhibits during Nepcon China.

Pick-and-Place Takes Over More Functionalities: New Products

With changes in software, nozzles, drive systems, feeders, and other elements, pick-and-place systems can place bare die or LEDs, perform high-speed IC shooter functions, handle large connectors and other oddforms, etc. New products come from Siemens Electronics Assembly Systems, Count On Tools, Universal Instruments, Essemtec, MYDATA, Assembleon, and IPTE.

ADVISORY BOARD UPDATE: Weiner International Associates Appoints Dr. Jennie S. Hwang as Executive Associate

Dr. Hwang has been involved in advancing the latest and emerging technologies in electronics packaging and manufacturing, and is a member of the SMT Editorial Advisory Board.

Etek Europe Launches Used SMT Division

Etek Europe Ltd, supplier of quality SMT equipment and services throughout Europe, launched a new division, Etek Used SMT, selling premium used equipment with a comprehensive warranty.

The IeMRC Announces Funding for New Electronics Research Projects

The Innovative Electronics Manufacturing Research Centre (IeMRC) launched its second 5-year program of support for U.K. electronics research with funding for 12 new projects aimed at addressing key strategic technology issues.

SMTA China Announces Winners of the 2010 Annual Awards

SMTA China held its annual awards presentation at the SMTA China Annual Breakfast Reception, which took place on April 21, 2010 at the Shanghai Everbright International Hotel during Nepcon China.

EMS Industry to Steady, But Still on "Shaky Ground"

According to a new forecast from IDC, the EMS industry will enjoy a compound annual growth rate of 8% for the 2010-2014 forecast period. But the recovery is still on shaky ground, with periods of weakness expected into 2011.

New Precision Dispensing Tools and Materials

DEK debuted an enclosed print head; Christopher Associates brought out a precision mixer, Ovation released a Gold version of its Grid-Lok fixturing; Asymtek debuted dual simultaneous jetting, and DYMAX introduced a curing wand.

North American PCB Book-to-Bill Still Strong, Growing in March

“In the March data, we can really see the recovery in full swing,” said IPC President & CEO Denny McGuirk. “Rigid PCB bookings grew in double digits and continued to grow faster than shipments, which has kept the book-to-bill ratio strongly positive for the past 10 consecutive months. Both rigid PCBs and flexible circuits are gaining strength.”

IDC: Worldwide Electronic Manufacturing Services Will Return to Steady, But Uneven Growth in 2010

The EMS industry contracted by 11% in 2009, less than expected due to a resurgence of consumer spending late in the year. According to a new forecast from IDC, the EMS industry will enjoy a CAGR of 8% for the 2010-2014 forecast period. But the recovery is still on shaky ground, with periods of weakness expected into 2011.

New PCB Design and Device Programming Products

These design and device programming tools enable easier PCB assembly test, less complicated design updates, faster design, and easier integration of oddform components, among other benefits. Products come from ATS, EMA Design Automation, Numerical Algorithms Group, Stratford Digital and LogicSwap, ASTER Technologies, DfR Solutions and ARINC, Zuken, BPM Microsystems, and AVX.

Global SMT Placement Equipment Markets Report

Research and Markets released the “Global Surface Mount Technology Placement Equipment Markets” report. The global SMT placement equipment market includes approximately 40 companies that offer a variety of purchase options to the two main end users of the equipment: original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and contract electronics manufacturers (CEMs). This report discusses gantry and turret pick-and-place systems.

A Revision of IPC-4202 Gives Updated Guidance in Flexible Base Dielectric Materials

IPC-4202A, “Flexible Base Dielectrics for Use in Flexible Printed Circuitry,” provides comprehensive data to help users more easily determine the capability and compatibility of flexible base dielectric materials in manufacturing flexible printed circuitry and flexible flat cables.

Winners of 4th SMT China Vision Awards

The SMT China VISION Awards included 15 product awards, as well as recognition for China-based companies, innovation, and versatility. Here are the winners.

Trends in Selective Soldering

In this report, Research and Markets evaluates the key technology and market trends, pricing trends, and industry adoption factors for selective soldering. Some of the major market participants and their core competencies are also discussed.

Best Posters from IPC APEX 2010

Posters showing research on solder joint reliability, nanocrystalline copper deposition in PWB fab, tin whiskers, and PCB laminate properties research took the top prizes from IPC APEX Expo 2010, celebrating research in the SMT industry.

Survey Reveals Caution in Tech Supply Chain released findings from a survey of 586 electronics supply chain decision makers across North America, Europe, and Asia on the current business environment; volumes and expectations, and pricing trends. The survey was sponsored by electronics components distributing company Digi-Key.

New PCB Fabrication Materials

These new materials include eco-friendly FR polymers, ultra-fine PCB substrate yarns, thermally enhanced substrates, halogen-free LCPs, as well as flex circuit materials.

DEK Demos New Technologies, Capabilities at APEX

DEK highlighted its Horizon print platform at IPC APEX Expo in April 2010. The company also showcased on-board printing process controls and features, such as a secure remote support system and line-speed solder paste inspection. Watch all three videos here.

Electronics Manufacturing Companies on the 2010 Fortune 500 List

OEMs, military contractors, chip makers, and contract electronics manufacturers are among the companies in Fortune Magazine's Fortune 500 listing for 2010, as well as parent companies for solder makers, printer companies, testers, etc.

Victron Expands to Mexico EMS Facility

CA-based EMS provider Victron Inc. expanded into a new manufacturing facility in Rosarito, Mexico. The company also plans to open facilities in China and the U.S.

Updates to IPC-6012 and IPC-A-600 Include Spec Changes for New Board Technologies and Processes

The new H revision of IPC-A-600, “Acceptability of Printed Boards,” serves fabricators and assemblers, particularly inspectors and product developers. IPC also released its companion document, the C revision of IPC-6012, “Qualification and Performance Specification for Rigid Printed Boards.”

IPC J-STD-001E Industry Requirements for Soldered Electrical and Electronic Assemblies Updated

IPC J-STD-001E encompasses advanced technologies and provides new and updated criteria for all three classes of construction as well as expanded support for lead-free manufacturing.

What to Expect at NEPCON China 2010

From a celebration of 25 years of SMT in China, to new products in hot sectors, to conference papers, this guide is a starting point for any Nepcon China attendee. Nepcon China takes place April 20-22 in Shanghai.

Top 10 Cell Phone Manufacturers Face Challenging 2010

The Top 10 contract manufacturers of cell phones will experience a difficult 2010 following a year that upended their longstanding business models and dealt them unprecedented losses, according to iSuppli Corp.

IPC Elects New Officers/Members to Board of Directors

Three candidates were elected as board officers and will serve two-year terms covering April 2010 through March 2012. Three other candidates were elected as board directors and will serve four-year terms, covering April 2010 through March 2014.

Federal Electronics To Supply Assemblies For Trident Submarine Nuclear Missile Guidance System

EMS provider Federal Electronics Inc. was selected by Charles Stark Draper Laboratories (CSDL) to build interconnect assemblies for the Trident II (D5) MK6 Life Extension Guidance System (Mk6LE).

New Adhesives, Encapsulants, and Other Non-solder Assembly Materials

ECM introduced rubber-like adhesives; Henkel re-engineered Macromelt encapsulant for medical and auto uses; Creative Materials has silver-filled epoxy adhesives; Fujipoly debuted Sarcon TIMs; Zymet offers reworkable underfill; Dymax put out a new adhesives guide; Cotronics makes a high-purity adhesive to resist high temperatures; and Permabond introduced an instant-attach adhesive.

Best Papers from IPC APEX EXPO 2010

IPC announced the winners of the 2010 Best U.S. and International Papers at IPC APEX EXPO, held last week in Las Vegas. Papers covered challenging rework, drop test on lead-free PCBs, embedded components, and head-in-pillow defects.

WPG/Yosun Merger May Challenge Avnet for World Leading Distributor

The merger of WPG Holdings Limited and Yosun Industrial Corp., both based in Taiwan, could create the world’s largest electronics distributor, according to iSuppli Corp., challenging Avnet and Arrow for the top electronics component distributor spot.

Jack Bramel Receives IPC Raymond E. Pritchard Hall of Fame Award

In recognition of extraordinary contributions to IPC and the electronic interconnect industry, countless hours of volunteer service on IPC standards development committees and exceptional lifetime achievement, Jack Bramel of Jack Bramel & Associates was awarded the 2009 IPC Raymond E. Pritchard Hall of Fame Award.

U.S. Manufacturing Technology Consumption Up 22%

February U.S. manufacturing technology consumption totaled $163.96 million, according to AMT and AMTDA. With a year-to-date total of $291.27 million, 2010 is up 22.3% compared with 2009. Analysis of manu-facturing technology consumption provides a reliable leading economic indicator as manufacturing industries invest in capital metal-working equipment to increase capacity and improve productivity.

WAGO Brings Connector Technologies on North American Tour

WAGO Corporation’s Innovation in Automation Tour (IIAT) 2010 has twin vehicles currently crossing the U.S. and Canada, bringing WAGO’s automation, interconnect, and electronic products for interactive visits and demonstrations. WAGO provides spring pressure connection technology.

Bob Black of Juki Honored with IPC President Award

Juki Corporation’s Bob Black, president and CEO, was awarded the IPC President’s Award during the IPC APEX Expo this week in Las Vegas. The prestigious award is presented to IPC members who have exhibited ongoing leadership in IPC and have made significant contributions of time and talent to the association and the electronics interconnect industry.

iSuppli iPad Teardown Reveals Interface-focused Electronics Design

With more than 40% of its bill of materials (BOM) dedicated to the display, touchscreen and other user interface components, Apple Inc.’s iPad represents a radical departure in electronic design compared to conventional products, according to a teardown conducted by iSuppli Corp. Battery cost and other features are dissected.

DuPont and Raytheon Honored with 2010 IPC Corporate Recognition Awards at IPC APEX EXPO

During the IPC Annual Meeting Luncheon held in conjunction with IPC APEX EXPO, IPC presented the Stan Plzak Corporate Recognition Award to Raytheon Company and the Peter Sarmanian Corporate Recognition Award to DuPont.

ZESTRON America Adds Ion Chromatography Cleanliness Test to VA Technical Center

ZESTRON Corporation installed ion chromatography (IC) at its Technical Center in VA, as part of the cleaning supplier’s “Global Link” Initiative to enhance its Technical Centers, located in the U.S., Malaysia, and in other global locations.

IPC-A-610E Released: Industry Requirements for Acceptability of Electronic Assemblies Updated

IPC released the E revision of IPC-A-610, "Acceptability of Electronic Assemblies." IPC’s most widely-used standard, which provides visual acceptance criteria for post assembly mechanical and soldering assembly requirements, now addresses additional technologies, including flexible circuits, board in board, package on package, depanelization and additional SMT terminations.

Updated Materials Declaration Standard IPC-1752A Addresses Revolving Door of Environmental Regulation Changes

Helping electronics manufacturing companies better manage the growing documentation required to ensure products comply with evolving environmental regulations, IPC — Association Connecting Electronics Industries has released IPC-1752A, "Materials Declaration Management." The A revision of the standard provides an updated and expanded industry-wide reporting format for material declaration data exchange between companies in the electronic interconnect supply chain.

Fuji America to Include Aegis Software with FUJI Flexa

Aegis Software announced an OEM bundling agreement with Fuji America Corporation, supplier of high-quality automated assembly equipment for surface mount applications. Under this agreement, announced at IPC APEX EXPO 2010, Fuji America will include Aegis NPI software for BOM, CAD, Gerber, and scanned board data conversion with each license of Fuji's line-level management and optimization software Fuji Flexa.

SMT Names Morey Corp. VP 1st SMT VISIONARY Winner

SMT, the source of engineering solutions for PCB manufacturing, awarded its 1st Annual SMT VISIONARY Award to Taymur Ahmad, VP of operations of The Morey Corporation, for his work bringing lean manufacturing strategy and growth to the EMS provider. The SMT VISIONARY Award recognizes leadership during the recession at an OEM, ODM, or EMS provider. SMT launched the VISIONARY reader award as part of PennWell Corporation’s 100th anniversary to celebrate the drive and initiative of SMT’s reader community.

SMT Celebrates 18th Annual SMT VISION Awards with Top Industry Products

SMT announced the winners of its 18th Annual SMT VISION Awards on Monday, April 5, 2010 during the 2010 IPC APEX EXPO at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Convention Center, Las Vegas. SMT recognized winning products and services in 18 categories, showcasing top-notch technology, efficiency, environmental benefits, and quality from the electronics assembly industry’s suppliers. SMT VISION Award winning products represent true value for the surface mount electronics assembly sector, as judged by a panel of industry experts and as assessed by the customers actually using these products.

Chipworks Teardown of the iPad: Few Changes in State-of-the-art Semiconductor Technologies

Reverse engineering and patent infringement analysis provider Chipworks found that Apple has followed the same approach with iPad that it perfected with its iPod and iPhone development by using conservative, lower-cost technology, and focusing its efforts on design and usability. Essentially, the iPad’s very small circuit board makes it a large iPod rather than a small personal computer (PC).

IPC APEX EXPO 2010: Exhibits Preview VII

IPC APEX EXPO is coming up April 6-9 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. This preview includes PCB materials from Rogers, TRI’s test solutions, IPS’s PCB production systems, carts from Bliss Industries, a rework system from Finetech, dross recovery with FCT Recovery, kitting carts from Inovaxe, ZESTRON’s environmentally neutral cleaning products, defect detection from Vi TECHNOLOGY, pick-and-place machines from Europlacer, ASYS process machines and EKRA screen printers, and Aster’s test products.

IPC APEX EXPO 2010: Exhibits Preview VI

IPC APEX EXPO is coming up April 6-9 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. This preview includes jet printing from MYDATA, 3M electronics products, Protron’s PCB fab and NBS’s EMS offerings, stencils and services from Fine Line Stencil, nitrogen generation from On Site Gas, rework products from Martin and OK International, a diverse offering from Christopher Associates, AOI and SPI from CyberOptics, selective soldering from APS Novastar, and dross processing systems from EVS International.

Presentations of Note at IPC APEX EXPO

Scan through some of the upcoming paper presentations and courses coming up next week, April 6-9 at IPC APEX EXPO in Las Vegas. Presenters come from Indium Corporation, Photo Stencil, UL, and more.

Photo Stencil Expands Malaysian Ops with Laser Cutting Systems

SMT Stencil and tooling maker Photo Stencil expanded capacity and capability at their Malaysian manufacturing facility.

Nikon Forms Nikon Metrology with Metris Assets

Nikon created Nikon Metrology, Inc., a new company that combines Nikon Instruments Inc.’s industrial instruments business with the former Metris business, acquired by Nikon Corp. in 2009. Nikon Metrology, Inc., headquartered in Brighton, will focus on the industrial and manufacturing business markets for precision measuring and industrial microscopy.

Worldwide Electronics Manufacturing Services Vendor Shares

The Worldwide Quarterly Electronics Manufacturing Services report, released by Publications, covers quarterly revenue by region and product segment for all electronic manufacturing services (EMS) and original design manufacturing (ODM) companies in the EMS database, from Q’01 2004 through Q’04 2009.

Elcoteq's Sales Down 56% for 2009

Net sales declined in both Consumer Electronics and System Solutions compared to the previous year. The decline in net sales was due to the combined effect of the overall decline in electronics equipment demand and the company's weak balance sheet.

Update of IPC J-STD-609 Provides Greater Delineation of Lead-free Solders for Marking and Labeling

IPC released the A revision of IPC J-STD-609, "Marking and Labeling of Components, PCBs and PCBAs to Identify Lead (Pb), Lead-Free (Pb-Free) and Other Attributes." This standard presents a marking and labeling system that aids in electronics assembly, rework, repair, and recycling, and now provides additional codes for more precise specification of certain lead-free solders.

SMT Equipment Investments Increase in 2010

This month, Siemens Electronics Assembly GmbH (SEAS) released its research on order bookings for October 2009 through February 2010, showing more than 3× growth over the same period 1 year ago; Universal Instruments Corp. installed an additional line at an existing customer site, which is increasing capacity. BPM Microsystems also announced a major sale to a programming center in the U.K.

Presentations to Attend at IPC APEX EXPO

This is a sampling of the many technical papers and posters that will be presented during the conference at IPC APEX Expo, April 6 through 9 in Las Vegas. These include cleaning topics, soldermask application, test and inspection, solders, new package types and assembly, and more.

IDTechEx Releases Report on Printed, Organic, and Flexible Electronics

"Printed, Organic & Flexible Electronics Forecasts, Players and Opportunities 2010-2020" provides detailed ten year forecasts by device type. The market is analyzed by territory, printed versus non-printed, rigid versus flexible, inorganic versus organic, cost of materials versus process cost, etc. It has more than 200 tables and figures. Activities of over 1000 leading companies are given.

Raising the Standards in Las Vegas

IPC Vice President of Standards and Technology, Dave Torp, sits down with Editor Steve Gold to update engineers on the latest standards development initiatives, including what standards will be released at this year's IPC APEX Expo. Torp also reviews how standards are developed and who can get involved.

New Products for Electronics Test and Inspection

In these new test and inspection releases, Johnstech debuted a configurable test contactor; Glenbrook combined optical and X-ray inspection; Seica added thermal scan to its flying probers; ASSET increased its Intel test coverage; Corelis updated its boundary scan toolset; Sonoscan offers inspection for high-reliability and anti-counterfeiting tasks; and Nordson YESTECH adapted the X1 for batch X-ray inspection.

Analysis: Electronics Industry in the Recession

Henderson Ventures published its Forecast Summary, covering the movement of electronics inventory and end markets during the recession. It also focuses on automotive electronics and electronic equipment. Publications released a yearbook research product on the world electronics industry, with volume one focused on Western Europe.

ASQ Joins Lean and Quality Groups in Lean Certification Program

In a move that aligns manufacturing professionals toward a single standard for Lean Certification and workforce development, American Society for Quality (ASQ) is joining with the organizations currently responsible for the Lean Certification program: the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, the Association for Manufacturing Excellence and The Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence.

Environmental Management Systems: Why ISO 14001 Now?

Technology Forecasters Inc.’s Pamela Gordon finds many North American companies certifying to ISO 14001, the international standard for environmental management systems. While ISO 14001 is not new, until recently, most technology companies that do not manufacture hardware opted out of the ISO 14001 track, stating that their manufacturing outsource partners were certified. Why now are many non-manufacturing electronics companies and software firms opting in to creating an environmental management system and certifying to ISO 14001?

February PCB Industry Results Show Consistent Growth

IPC — Association Connecting Electronics Industries released the February findings from its monthly North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program, showing that the combined rigid and flex circuit book-to-bill ratio grew, heavily influenced by the rigid circuit board segment.

Preview the Innovative Technology Center at IPC APEX EXPO

IPC announced the products that will be featured in the Innovative Technology Center (ITC) at IPC APEX EXPO, April 6–8, 2010 in Las Vegas. Assessed by an IPC Review Board of industry experts, the products were selected based on their representation of a new or emerging technology of significant value and relevance to the electronics manufacturing industry. This year’s winners demonstrated innovation in materials, test and assembly technology.

Jabil "Gaining Confidence": Reports Positive Earnings

"Results for the quarter indicate significant year-over-year margin expansion on modest revenue growth. We are gaining confidence that these positive trends may be sustained for the balance of the year," said Timothy L. Main, President and CEO.

Small and Midsized Industrial Manufacturing CFOs Reveal Their Top Concerns of 2010

Prime Advantage released its Group CFO Survey, revealing the top financial concerns of its member companies’ CFOs in 2010. 

Highlights: IPC APEX Expo Presentations

This is a sampling of the many technical papers and posters that will be presented during the conference at IPC APEX Expo, April 6 through 9 in Las Vegas. These include PCB design tutorials, tin whisker growth studies, solar panel discussions, and more.

IPC APEX EXPO 2010: Exhibits Preview V

IPC APEX is coming up April 6-9 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. This preview includes various materials from Taiyo America; inspection technology from CyberOptics; flex cutting services from A-Laser; soldering advances from Vitronics Soltec; DEK's printing technologies; assembly materials from Henkel; Electrolube cleaning products; supply chain solutions from Calumet; fixturing from ECT; Milara's print systems; PCB supports from Production Solutions; XRF from RMD Instruments; and a new cleaning formulation from Kyzen.

Ticona Vectra LCP Adds Dimensional Stability to Housing in Samtec BullsEye System

Samtec Inc., a worldwide manufacturer of a broad line of electronic interconnects, has specified a glass-fiber reinforced Vectra liquid crystal polymer (LCP) from Ticona Engineering Polymers for an injection molded housing used in its BullsEye test point system.

IPC PCB Executive Agent Task Force Sees Two Government Reports Recognize Vital Role of U.S. PCB Industry

Following a year of active engagement with Congress and Department of Defense (DoD) policy makers, IPC and the IPC PCB Executive Agent Task Force members are recognizing two recently released reports from the DoD and the U.S. Commerce Department emphasize the government’s growing awareness of the importance of the U.S. circuit board industry in protecting national security.

New Specialized Soldering Equipment for Selective, Reflow, Rework, and Wave Systems

Seho introduced a process gas cleaning system, Rehm debuted a new cooling zone design, Christopher Associates added a fluxless soldering robot, Seika released a nano rework station as well as a solder paste recycling unit, ACE added a spot preheat with nitrogen, and Miyachi Unitek introduced a weld monitoring system.

Supply of Commodity Parts Remains Tight, Capacity Management Conservative

While the end of 2009 brought improved availability for many commodity electronic components, supply for most parts remains tight, according to iSuppli Corp. Only EMS providers have shown an increase in inventory.

New Solder Pastes Bring Testability, Jettability, and Compliance

FCT Assembly introduced a pin-probable solder paste for easy testing; MYDATA certified a leaded solder paste from AIM for jet dispensing; and Henkel debuted a halogen- and lead-free solder paste.

IPC Urges EU to Incorporate Science in RoHS Recast

IPC – Association Connecting Electronics Industries released a white paper, Recasting the RoHS Directive: An Opportunity to Solidify its Scientific Basis in Support of Comprehensive Environmental Regulation, urging members of the European Union (EU) Council and Parliament to ensure that the revised RoHS Directive be scientifically based and fully aligned with the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Regulation. Copies of the white paper will be sent to members of the EU Council and members of the EU Parliament’s Environment Committee.

Geotest and Pickering Form Strategic Alliance in PXI Test

Geotest - Marvin Test Systems, PXI and PC-based test equipment provider, created a Strategic Alliance program with Pickering Interfaces, a test supplier for signal switching and conditioning. The Alliance combines Geotest's expertise in digital test, system integration, and automated test equipment (ATE) software with Pickering's catalog of PXI switching and signal conditioning products.

IPC Seeks Input on Best Industry Practices for Intellectual Property Protection

The IPC Intellectual Property Committee will release its first draft of a standard for the protection of intellectual property (IP) designed into printed circuit boards (PCBs) at an open meeting, Tuesday, April 6, 2010, at IPC APEX EXPO in Las Vegas. The draft, “Best Industry Practices for Intellectual Property Protection,” is intended to assist printed board manufacturers in the protection of IP for their customers in commercial, industrial and military/high-reliability markets. Industry members from all segments of electronics manufacturing are invited to attend the meeting to review the draft standard and provide input.

IPC APEX EXPO 2010: Exhibits Preview IV

IPC APEX is coming up April 6–9 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. This preview includes electrical test products from ECT, inspection systems from ORPRO and VJ Technologies, solder paste inspection on-printer from Milara and CyberOptics, Seho’s soldering equipment and FCT’s solder pastes, consumables and nozzles from Count On Tools, rework from VJ Technologies, and process control software from Valor, as well as various PCB assembly machinery from Seika.

New PCBs and Components

These new products include cable/harness assembly support, new components, new PCB materials, oddforms like EMI shields and heatsinks, and pin connectors.

Brady Polyimide Labels Tested to Withstand Precision Cleaning Chemicals for Electronics

Brady Worldwide Inc. and ZESTRON partnered to conduct extensive chemical compatibility testing on Brady’s line of polyimide labels, which are commonly used as printed circuit board (PCB) identification labels. According to the test results, Brady polyimide labels can withstand ZESTRON’s latest cleaning chemicals, enabling electronics customers to apply Brady polyimide labels pre-process during the manufacturing of circuit boards.

New Supply Chain Management Products

These online and software products are designed to enable faster prototype builds, add security to the bill of materials (BOM) for a job, and make locating components easier for SMT assemblers. They simplify requests for quotes (RFQ) and enable reverse engineering of obsolete parts despite missing data.

Global Strategic Business Report on PCBs

Research and Markets released “A Global Strategic Business Report: PCBs,” analyzing the global market for printed circuit boards (PCBs) in US$ million. The major markets analyzed include the US, Canada, Japan, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and rest of world (ROW), with forecasts through 2015. It identifies major geographical and technological changes coming for the PCB fab industry.

EMI Builds Products to Promote Health with Medical Certification

Express Manufacturing, Inc. (EMI), an electronics manufacturing services (EMS) provider, is building a line of products for OEMs to promote health. The company recently obtained ISO 13485 certification for medical device manufacturing and invested in Fuji XPF chip shooters for medical electronics production.

SMTC Reports 16% Revenue Increase in 4Q

Despite a challenging economic environment, in which SMTC's revenue declined from $206.9 million to $179.5 million, the company produced net earnings from continuing operations for the full 2009 year of $2.4 million, increasing $0.8 million or 46% over 2008 results.

Banner Year for HB-LED; OLEDs and LEDs Also Fare Well

EPIC, the European Photonics Industry Consortium, released “LEDs: The 2009 Market Review.” The report, which is distributed exclusively to EPIC members, tracks the response of the lighting and display industries to one of the most difficult economic crises in recent years. HB-LED and OLED unit production figures as well as revenues have been summarized for major players around the world for the two-year period of 2008 and 2009.

Bob Willis Intros Online Training Service for SMT Production Teams

Bob Willis, a consultant who has been providing electronics assembly training over 20 years, will launch a new Website-based training service.

EMS Provider Lightspeed Expands to New Manufacturing Facility

Lightspeed Manufacturing has moved from its old factory in Methuen, Mass. to a new 60,000-sq-ft modern manufacturing facility at 135 Ward Hill Avenue in Haverhill, MA. Lightspeed is a contract manufacturer of printed circuit electronics assemblies that has experienced continued growth.

IPC APEX EXPO 2010: Exhibits Preview III

IPC APEX is coming up April 6–9 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. This preview includes cleaner chemistry from Kyzen; test systems from Digitaltest, atg, and Seica; selective soldering systems from Juki and Seica; cleanliness test systems from Gen3 and Ascentech as well as Austin American Technology; process control from ProWorks and Microscan; reflow profiling from KIC; halogen-free solder from Indium; assembly systems from Siemens and Juki; and spray fluxing from Sonotek.

New Cleaning Products Are More Compatible, Cleanliness Tests More Accurate

Zestron and Heraeus optimized cleaning processes for new lead-free and leaded solder pastes; Seika introduced a printer wiper roll cleaner that eliminates waste; Zestron added 5-liter refills for its Bath Analyzer; GEN3 Systems and Ascentech debut a line of cleanliness testers; and Kyzen developed a pH-neutral aqueous cleaning product.

New Edition of IPC Market Data Update Shows Continuing Recovery in Electronics Supply Chain, Production

IPC released the winter 2010 edition of Electronics Industries Market Data Update, which offers proof of a continuing economic recovery. The IPC Index of North American Electronics Industry Performance rose dramatically from -18.3 in the third quarter of 2009 to -5.5 in the fourth quarter. The Index is a new business indicator that reflects trends in sales performance from all key segments of the electronics interconnect supply chain.

Yale Scientists Develop Magnetic Lead-free Solder

Yale University scientists have developed a magnetic solder that can be manipulated in three dimensions and selectively heated. The alloy is tin/silver with iron additives that allow magnetic manipulation for selective heating, reflow location, and added strength.

SMTA Announces Best of Conference Papers

"Emerging Competitors in Emerging Markets: What Patent Applications Reveal" and "New Packaging and Interconnect Technologies for Ultra Thin Chips" take top honors at SMTA's annual Pan Pacific Microelectronics Symposium.

MOREY Provides Telematics Hardware Design for Automotive X PRIZE Competition

The X PRIZE Foundation will partner with IL-based EMS provider MOREY Corporation to benefit the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE, a $10 million competition designed to inspire a new generation of viable, safe, and fuel-efficient vehicles.

NBS Deploys RFID Intelligent Feeders System

EMS provider NBS installed and deployed a radio frequency identification (RFID) driven intelligent feeder and materials management system throughout the company’s Santa Clara manufacturing facility. This sophisticated traceability technology will enable NBS to electronically track, monitor, match and record components to printed circuit board assemblies (PCBA) while in process, eliminating limited manual logging practices.

Reflow Profiling: KIC's Brian O'Leary Shows New Methods, New Understanding

Reflow profiling has gained importance as SMT assemblers struggle to meet the lower-temperature reflow needs of components, and the higher-temperature needs of lead-free solder alloys. Profiling can involve a lot of guess work, wasted boards, and lost time. KIC, along with the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), studied the most accurate way to profile a BGA, and achieved nonlinear results. The methodology and design of experiment described here, from Brian O’Leary’s presentation to the SMTA Boston Chapter, can be applied to other profiling situations.

IPC APEX EXPO 2010: Exhibits Preview II

IPC APEX is coming up April 6–9 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. This preview includes test systems from Acculogic, the Sentinel print inspection module from DEK, box build and stencil fab services from ITT, cleaning systems from Aqueous, a range of SMT equipment from Essemtec, halogen-free solder paste from Henkel, convection reflow from BTU, new soldering equipment modules from Pillarhouse, Assembléon’s new assembly line equipment, solder materials from Cobar, and closed-loop stencil cleaners from Smart Sonic. Over the next several weeks, SMT will bring you new product previews and highlights of the exhibit floor.

New Members of IPC Government Relations Steering Committee

IPC’s Government Relations (GR) Steering Committee added two members with the recent election of Mark Osborn, president, Colonial Circuits Inc.; and Irene Sterian, manager of advanced process development, Celestica. With upcoming GR committee meetings at IPC APEX EXPO in April and IPC Capitol Hill Day in June, the new members will help address the critical issues currently under consideration by the group.

STI Electronics Will Update IPC-A- 610 and J-STD-001 Training and Certification Program to E Revision

STI Electronics Inc., an organization providing training, electronic and industrial distribution, consulting, laboratory analysis, prototyping, and small- to medium-volume PCB assembly, won a contract with IPC to update the existing IPC-A-610 and J-STD-001 training and certification programs from the D to the soon-to-be-released E revision of the standards. 

IPC January PCB Book-to-Bill Shows Growth

IPC released the January findings from its monthly North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program, showing both rigid and flex PCBs in positive territory, with a combined book-to-bill ratio of 1.05. “The best news from our January PCB surveys is the huge growth in orders compared to January of last year,” said IPC president Denny McGuirk.

New Products for PCB Assembly Test

These new test products include functional test with temperature calibration and a new test handler from Multitest, LXI test matrices from Pickering Interfaces, ESD testers from Transforming Technologies, a test system manager from QualiSystems, new boundary scan applications from JTAG Technologies, a test socket from Aries and test socket spacer cutting from A-Laser, Agilent characterization systems, and cleanliness test upgrades from Specialty Coating Systems.

SMTA Accepting Applications for Board of Directors

The Surface Mount Technology Association (SMTA) is currently seeking committed individuals for its Board of Directors.  Candidates should have valuable skills and ideas to continue our mission of helping members succeed in electronics assembly and related business operations.

Endicott Interconnect's Case Study: Medical Application

Endicott Interconnect developed a solution for the catheter that includes producing the flexible substrates, as well as providing the flip chip assembly on the flexible substrate.

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