Latest Articles

Cycle Time Reduction with WORK, Part I

Lean, theory of constraints, quick response manufacturing, cross training, and SPC are powerful, tried and true methodologies for process improvement--but they are rooted in high-volume manufacturing environments and don't always play nice in a high-mix, low-volume operation. This article talks about the new WORK manufacturing strategy specifically developed to overcome these shortcomings while capitalizing on their strengths.

Rehm's Handler Discusses Latest Conformal Coating Machine

Paul Handler, general manager of Rehm Thermal Systems, discusses with I-Connect007's Andy Shaughnessy their latest conformal coating machine, which complements their IR or UV curing ovens. He also talks about the activities being done by the SMTA to provide technical knowledge and information to the industry as a whole.

Reducing Cycle Times with Innovative Bonding Solutions

In an interview with I-Connect007, Gudrun Weigel, head of engineering and a member of the board at Delo, discusses the importance of cycle time reduction, and how the company is helping its customers address this issue through its innovative bonding solutions.

Reducing Print Cycle Time

Of the several steps in the SMT process, an effective method of increasing throughput is to reduce the cycle time of the rate-controlling process step. This article will discuss two simple experiments that may lead to increased throughput and increased profitability.

Technologies to Enable Quick-Turn PCB Assemblies

Multi-day lead times for PCB assembly are a thing of the past as a few advanced thinking assemblers have worked hard to remove the time-related road blocks, enabling quick prototype assembly. This article highlights the latest technologies and innovations in PCB assembly that help electronics manufacturers continue their rapid development of new products and get to the market faster.

Gold Embrittlement Mitigation: Understanding the New J-STD-001 Requirements

With the advent of more information from studies on the behavior of how much gold can impact the mechanical structure of the solder joint, the "washing away" of gold has become more important. This article discusses the significant changes made in the J-STD-001 specification, and their impact in the EMS and OEM industries.

Choosing the Right Component to Reduce Cycle Times

SMAC Moving Coil Actuators president Edward Neff talks with I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias about the strategies they implement in their production lines to reduce cycle times and go to market faster. He also talks about how using proven components can help manufacturers ensure the uptime of their equipment and processes.

Cycle Time Reduction in the Eye of AOI

In our survey for this month’s topic for SMT Magazine—cycle time reduction—inspection was identified as one of the key issues highlighted by respondents as a bottleneck in their manufacturing process when it comes to cycle times. I spoke with Norihiko Koike, COO of Saki Co. Ltd, to get his insights on this, and how his company is helping their customers address the issue. He also talked about the future technology developments that we can expect in the AOI industry.

Value Stream Mapping: Operationalizing Lean Manufacturing

By applying value stream mapping (VSM), EMS providers can have a clearer picture of multiple processes involved in a work flow, identify waste and its sources, identify where change is required, standardize the process, and identify potential problems that could be encountered in the future state. It can also be used as a tool for planning as well as for managing changes.

Selecting a Reflow Oven, Part 3

In this conclusion of a three-part series on selecting and evaluating a basic reflow oven configuration for a circuit board assembly environment, methods of control and profiling techniques--such as on-board and PC-based control, and on-board, PC-driven and third-party profiling--are discussed and evaluated.


Soldering Process for Molded Interconnect Devices in Three Dimensions

MID (molded interconnect device) technology is used in particular where significant miniaturization, freedom of design with regard to geometry, and a reduced number of components for the electronics assembly is required. This article takes a closer look at vapor distribution to improve the three-dimensional soldering process for a MID application.

Surface Mount Technology Association—a New Milestone

With a grand mission, SMTA is an international network of professionals who build skills, share practical experience and develop solutions in electronic assembly technologies, including microsystems, emerging technologies, and related business operations. The organization delivers the right information at the right time to empower the workforce, who collectively advances technology, innovates new products, and serves the global industry.

BTU Talks Challenges and Trends Driving Product Development Strategies

Coco Zhang, product manager at BTU Ltd, discusses with I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias some of the technology trends and customer challenges and requirements that are driving innovations in their reflow ovens. She talks about energy efficiency, the challenges of complex boards used in the telecom and server industry, and the advanced technology requirements from the semiconductor packaging industry.

Zestron Highlights Benefits of pH-neutral Cleaning Solutions

I-Connect007's Andy Shaughnessy talks with Zestron's Sal Sparacino, marketing and product manager, and Umut Tosun, application technology manager, about the benefits of the company's pH-neutral cleaning agents for defluxing applications, and their advantages over alkaline-based cleaning solutions.

The Need for Speed

I was recently invited to judge the editor’s choice award at National Instrument’s 2015 NI Engineering Impact Awards—ASEAN Regional Contest, and there was one project that I found relevant to our topic for this month’s issue of SMT Magazine. Developed by Gatepacific Circuits Inc., the project improved the process of dispensing paste compared to the manual process done by human operators, and increased the throughput from 500 units to more than 1,000 units.

Tin Whisker Self-Mitigation in Surface Mount Components Attached with Leaded Solder Alloys

This article provides the findings of a lengthy project of soldering electronic components with pure tin finishes with lead-containing solder for the attachment. The object of the project was to determine the conditions under which sufficient alloying of the pure tin finish by lead in the solder is achieved for the purpose of whisker suppression.

Automotive Electronics Driving Innovations in Test

Boon Khim Tan, general manager of the Measurement Systems Division at Keysight Technologies, discusses with I-Connect007’s Stephen Las Marias the increasingly challenging test requirements in the automotive electronics space and the latest trends driving innovation in the sector.

Experience is Key

Sanmina's Bernd Enser, VP of Global Automotive, discusses with I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias the impact of the latest development trends in cars today on the automotive electronics assembly space, as well as the qualifications required of an EMS provider to get into an automaker's AVL. He also explains why experience is essential to becoming successful in the automotive electronics space, and offers his outlook for the industry.

Benefits of Paralyne Conformal Coatings in Automotive Applications

Automotive systems have been subjected to increasing computerization, applied to virtually all of the vehicle’s operational technology. Since these assemblies are increasingly situated in demanding end-use environments, selection of appropriate conformal coatings for automotive applications is essential to assure efficient performance.

Kyzen Discusses Cleaning On the Stencil Printer

Thomas Forsythe, executive vice president of Kyzen, talks with I-Connect007's Andy Shaughnessy about the latest trends happening at his company and their focus on green cleaning solutions. He also explained the technical paper they presented at the SMTAI 2015 conference, which tackles cleaning on the stencil printer.


Driving Innovation

Arthur Tan, president and CEO of IMI, discusses with I-Connect007’s Stephen Las Marias the latest developments in his company, some of the trends happening in the automotive electronics space, the challenges he is seeing in Asia, as well as the opportunities for growth. He also touches on some of the latest technologies that will help improve the assembly processes.

Addressing the Need for Reliable, Accurate Inspection Results

Nori Koike of Saki Corp. discusses with I-Connect007’s Stephen Las Marias how the latest trends in the automotive electronics space is driving the developments in AOI technology, and the biggest challenges when it comes to providing solutions targeted at the automotive electronics industry.

Rehm Thermal Systems Talks 25 Years of Technology and Trends

Ralf Wagenfuehr, plant manager at Rehm Thermal Systems, talked with I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias about the business and technology developments and evolution that have happened at the company as it celebrates its 25 years of success in this business.

The Demands on Automated Fluid Dispensing

In an interview with I-Connect007's Barry Matties, Brad Perkins of Nordson ASYMTEK discusses the current demands on dispensing equipment, and the benefits of investing in a high-end dispenser and coating system. He also talks about their strategies to reduce the process time and cycle time of their equipment.

DoD’s First Pass at Grey Market Regulation

The U.S. government gets a great deal of heat for many things, including fostering the introduction of counterfeit components into the supply chain. But when you really study how their procurement process is setup, when you break down the layers, it’s not hard to see how a counterfeit component or suspect material can find its way in.

ELCOSINT - The Future of High Temperature Interconnect

The increasing need for electronic assemblies to endure high-temperature operating conditions in aerospace, automotive, oil and gas drilling, power management and renewable energy applications, whether those conditions involve high ambient temperatures, high cycle temperatures or high junction temperatures, is driving the development of high temperature interconnection technologies.

Technica’s Annual Tech Forum a Success

Co-sponsored by ASM Assembly Systems, with active participation from Koh Young Technology and Rehm Thermal Systems, Technica USA's Annual Technology Forum Event held last July 22–23 in San Jose, California, was again a success. The event featured technical presentations and demonstrations on stencil printing, SPI, SMT placement defects, as well as the challenge in complex boards with 03015 parts up to large components.

Choosing the Right Conformal Coating

Phil Kinner, head of conformal coatings at Electrolube, talks to I-Connect007’s Stephen Las Marias about the impact of increasing electronics in cars on conformal coating requirements. He also highlights the best practices that help automotive electronics makers select the correct conformal coating solution for their applications.

Faster, More Precise Jet-dispensing in Microsystems Technology

As miniaturization advances relentlessly, the components that need to be connected are becoming ever smaller and more delicate. At the same time, quality standards and the functionality of the materials are increasing. This development requires joining processes that can reliably fix the smallest of components.

How Automotive Electronics are Driving AOI Developments

Jens Kokott, head of AOI systems at GOEPEL Electronic, discussed with I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias the increasing need for continuous development of testing technologies to cater to the innovations happening at breakneck speed in the automotive electronics industry.


A Case Study on Evaluating Manual and Automated Heat Sink Assembly using FEA and Testing

Proper assembly of components is critical in the manufacturing industry as it affects functionality and reliability. In a heat sink assembly, a detailed manual process is often utilized. This article will illustrate the use of strain gauge testing and finite element analysis (FEA) as a simulation tool to evaluate and optimize the heat sink assembly process by manual and automated methods.

Material Considerations for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems Assembly

Added complexity in material selection comes from the ever-increasing array of applications in automotive electronics, and one of the newer applications is the deployment of an array of vision and detection systems for driver assistance, collectively known as advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).

Mycronic Jet Printer Technology Addresses Board Challenges

Thomas Bredin, area manager and market support and sales for Mycronic, highlighted the unique characteristics of their jet printer, and how this technology helps customers in maintaining the volume distribution of the solder paste over the pad amid today's trends of high mix of small and big components on the same board.

Automotive EMS: Going Beyond Assembly

The trend toward outsourcing in the automotive industry continues as automotive manufacturers strive to capitalize on the technical expertise and cost effectiveness of the EMS providers. For their part, the automotive EMS players have expanded their role through vertical integration and venture into the realm of non-electronics manufacturing.

Saki Discusses AOI Innovations

Norihiko Koike, COO at Saki Co. Ltd, discussed with I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias some of the latest 3D AOI technologies at the company, and how these are providing their customers easier programming and more reliable inspection.

The New Face of Automotive Traceability

Depending on the level of detail, accuracy, and timeliness of data capture from areas such as quality management, manufacturing, engineering, and supply chain, traceability can become the ultimate quality-management tool, as well as bring enhanced productivity and reduced operating costs.

OK International Talks Trends Driving Product Innovation Strategies

Bryan Gass, vice president for global sales and marketing at OK International, discussed with I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias how trends such as automation, wearables, and Industry 4.0 are driving his company's product innovation strategies.

Selecting a Reflow Oven, Part 2

In this follow-up to Part 1, Robert Voigt writes about heating technologies such as vapor phase, infrared and convection--including their pros and cons; methods of board transportation such as belt conveyor and pin conveyor; and inerting systems.

What’s Driving Automotive Electronics?

Despite optimistic forecasts surrounding the automotive electronics industry, challenges remain, driven by the high level of complexity of devices and electronics being built into cars and the harsh operating conditions that these products are expected to operate in. Find out how equipment suppliers and automotive OEMs and EMS providers are addressing these issues in the September 2015 issue of SMT Magazine.

Don’t Allow Standards to Get the Better of You

In the electronics manufacturing industry, there are so many different so-called standards for everything ranging from operational rules and documentation, to quality and traceability, which are confusing, incomplete, and represent a major cost and waste to manufacturing. In the coming Internet of Manufacturing (IoM) age, where standardization of communication and storage of information will be critical, the current way in which we approach and adopt standards cannot prevail.


Collaboration between OEM and EMS to Combat Head-on-Pillowing Defects (Part 2)

There have been many publications, industry workshops, and symposia that describe process mitigation techniques for minimizing the occurrence of head-on-pillow defects during surface mount assembly. In this article, the authors address the root cause of the HoP defect—specifically the link between HoP defects and component warpage.

WKK Discusses Trends and Opportunities in China's Electronics Assembly Industry

WKK's Hamed El-Abd talked to I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias about his outlook for the electronics manufacturing assembly industry. He also provided his insights on the current business climate in China.

ELEDLights.com: Manncorp's Bright Future

Ed Stone, sales manager at Manncorp Inc., speaks with I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias about some of the trends he's seeing in the SMT equipment technology space that's driving demand for their ELEDLights.com business.

How Clean is Clean Enough to Achieve Reliable Electronic Hardware?

This article aims to develop an improved test method to measure the resistance on non-cleaned and cleaned test boards using low residue solder pastes under a series of bottom termination components. Testing the location, flux type, quantity and mobility may provide an improved risk assessment of reliability expectations.

Detecting Process Defects

In many cases, the same process problems in soldering, PCB manufacture, and component failures just go round and round and will return if the true cause of failure is not detected. The causes can be highly complex or very simple, but they are available if you care to search. In this article, Bob Willis talks about typical failures of boards and solder joints, process problems and their root causes, and their solutions.

Addressing Quality and Manufacturability Challenges of Mission-Critical Products

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

Declaring War on Failure in Electronics

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

Stencils: Why They Still Matter

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

Reducing Risks to Employees’ Health with Extraction and Filtration Technology

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

NEPCON Shenzhen 2015 Puts Spotlight on China's EMS Industry

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

Selecting a Reflow Oven, Part 1

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

Supply Chain Risk Mitigation Applications for the Grey Market

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

Mechatronics Innovations and Applications

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

A Greener, Money-saving Approach to Dealing with Waste

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

SMT Magazine August Issue Tackles War on Process Failure

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

Understanding Parylene Deposition

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

Fairlight: An Iconic Name in Digital Audio

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


Connector Cleanliness and Flux Entrapment

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

Localized Contamination Can Cause Big Problems

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

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

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

Meeting High-Speed Demand with Optical Circuits

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

EchoStar: The Future of Supply Chain Management Done Right

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

Cutting Cost, Not Price

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

EMI-caused EOS Sources in Automated Equipment

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

IPC-A-610: What's New With Rev F?

Why are new revisions created anyway? Can’t IPC just issue updates to the existing revision? Who defines what the changes are going to be and who approves of those changes? Why can’t they make changes for all the new technologies available? And the best question of all: Why does my product have some conditions that are not covered in the documents and specifications? Leo Lambert explains.

Pad Cratering Susceptibility Testing with Acoustic Emission

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

Masking for Parylene Deposition

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


Residues Can Cause Low Voltage Electronics to Ignite

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

Benefits of Soldering with Vacuum Profiles, Part 2

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

China Electronics Manufacturing Industry Welcomes New Era

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

A Rework Dilemma: PCB Shields

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

A Look at the High-Reliability Interconnect Market

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

The Theory Behind Tin Whisker Phenomena, Part 2

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

Industry 4.0: Who Benefits?

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

Things to Consider when Choosing a Parylene Coating Service Provider

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

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

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

Color Logical Analysis Approach for LED Testing in Manufacturing

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


Reliability Study of Bottom Terminated Components (Part 2)

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

Reliability Study of Bottom Terminated Components (Part 1)

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

EIPC Summer Conference: Day 2

Refreshed after an excellent conference dinner, and for most, a good night’s sleep, delegates returned for the second day of the EIPC Summer Conference in Berlin, continuing the theme of improving profitability through technical leadership and innovation to meet future market requirements, with sessions on materials and processes for high performance PCBs and advanced material testing strategies to meet OEM and ODM needs.

Parylene and Wearable Devices

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

Beating the Supply Chain Challenge

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

EIPC Summer Conference, Berlin: Day 1

Berlin, capital of Germany and a world city of culture, politics, media and science, was the venue for the 2015 EIPC Summer Conference, which attracted delegates from sixteen countries, including Russia, Hong Kong, Japan, Israel, USA and Canada, as well as the European Union, to experience a programme of 21 technical presentations over two days. Also included was a visit to the Berlin laboratories of Fraunhofer Institute, Europe’s largest application-oriented research organisation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Inspection: The Last Line of Defense

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

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

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

Acoustic Surface Flatness of Components and Boards

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Test Match: Partnering Specialist Boundary-Scan with ICT

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


New Embedded Component Standard Finalized

Solberg Technical Consulting's Vern Solberg talks to I-Connect007 about the recently launched standard, the IPC-7092, which focuses on embedded component technology. According to Solberg, this new standard took the earlier standards involved with passive devices, and combined it with standards on newer technologies using active devices, to help form components that can be manufactured and placed on layers within the PCB.

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

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

High-Density Interconnect and Embedded Board Test

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

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

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

Enclosed Media Printing as an Alternative to Metal Blades

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

Solder Paste Printing: Quality Assurance Methodology

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

NEPCON China 2015 a Resounding Success in Shanghai

The three-day event was a complete success, bringing together nearly 22,000 trade visitors and high-quality buyers, as well as 450 leading brand names from 22 countries and regions worldwide. NEPCON China keeps up with market trends and gathers resources from all stakeholders to present a comprehensive event that covers SMT, new electronics materials, soldering, dispensing, electronics automation, measurement and other innovative technologies and products across the world.

iNEMI Managing Director: New, Disruptive Technology on the Horizon

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

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

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

IPC Plating Sub-committee 4-14: Surface Finish Specifications

IPC specifications are reference documents to be called out by designers and OEMs. Designers may take exception with one or more items in the specification to ensure that the product meets the requirements of its intended use. The acronym AAUBUS (as agreed upon between user and supplier) is part of any specification. Specifications are consensus documents. They are agreed upon by a panel of interested industry participants composed of suppliers, manufacturers, assembly houses (CMs) and end-users. The IPC Plating Sub-committee 4-14 is no exception.


Final Test Solution of WLCSP Devices

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

BGA or CGA: When Is It Right for You?

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

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

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

Advanced Business Intelligence Systems are Not a Luxury

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

IMPACT 2015: An In-Depth Look

IPC understands that presenting a unified voice for the electronics industry is essential for advancing policies that affect the industry’s long-term future and strengthens the U.S. and global economy. That is why 22 IPC member-company executives descended on the nation’s capital for IMPACT 2015: IPC on Capitol Hill, IPC’s annual advocacy event.

Advances in Electronics Assembly Technology - SMART Group Seminar Preview

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

A Look at the Latest Demands for Flying Probe Testing

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

Material Witness: How About that Technical Roadmap!

You may remember the movie "What About Bob?" If you do, you may recall the scene in which Bob (Bill Murray) confronts his psychiatrist (Richard Dreyfuss) and emotes, “I need! I need! I need! Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!” As I thought recently about some of the drivers that IPC and others have incorporated into their technical roadmaps, I feel a bit like that befuddled psychiatrist.

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

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

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

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


Exact Science Implemented at Kester for Increased Reliablity

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

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

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

IPC Validation Services 2014

Guest Editor Judy Warner talks with IPC's Director of Validation Services, Randy Cherry. Randy has been busy since launching IPC's Validation Services a year ago, with 16 QML audits completed and rapidly growing interest shown at this year's show. Randy also discusses future plans for auditing to IPC intellectual property standards 1071A and 1072, as well as to PCB standard 6012.

Solder Jet Printing: Is It the Right Time?

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

Jetting Strategies for mBGAs: A Question of Give and Take

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

EchoStar’s Les Beller Shares the PCB Design-to-Fab Process

Recently, I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties had the opportunity to interview Les Beller of EchoStar Technologies. Beller’s career began in the early 1980s as a circuit board designer, eventually leading him to EchoStar, where he has managed the PWB design group and spent time as a PCB quality engineer. He is now a manufacturing process engineer specializing in DFx. In this interview, Beller focuses on the many challenges circuit board designers face, strategies for bridging the gap between circuit design and fabrication, and the future of circuit designers.

A Conversation (and Day) with Joe Fjelstad, Part 5

Our five-part interview series with Verdant Electronics Founder Joe Fjelstad wraps up with a look back at the point when Fjelstad’s career began focusing on circuit board technology, and he details his patented Occam process, and why this game-changing, disruptive technology has yet to become standard practice in the industry. Also explained: Why Fjelstad has been referred to as an “iconoclastic polemicist,” and how a Native American story he heard long ago has resonated throughout his career and life.

0.3% Humidity, That's Super Dry!

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

A Conversation (and Day) with Joe Fjelstad Part 4

We continue the conversation as it turns to the more technically focused area of disruptive technology. The method Joe has been demonstrating for years now is one which is poised to offer dramatic increases in electronic reliability while decreasing overall cost through the elimination of solder--a cornerstone concept of what has been coined as Occam technology.

Position Accuracy Machines for Selective Soldering of Fine-Pitch Components

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


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

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

Shax Engineering: The Biggest Little Board Shop in the Bay Area

In a recent visit to Shax Engineering, Barry Matties had the opportunity to interview Isam Shakour, founder and president of Shax Engineering. This little San Jose, California company is a complete turnkey operation, providing PCB layout, fabrication, and assembly services. We discussed the company’s growth since its 1998 founding, and Shakour’s plans for Shax going into the future.

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

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

A Conversation (and Day) with Joe Fjelstad Part 3

In Part 3 of this interview series, Fjelstad divulges his interesting entry into the electronics manufacturing industry, including a brief diversion as a restaurateur. In this portion of the interview, the pair was touring the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum (home of the Spruce Goose) where Fjelstad spoke frankly about his experience in Vietnam and how it has shaped his view about war, which he shares. Finally, the importance of education was discussed, as well as India, and why the rest of the manufacturing world should be paying attention to them.

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

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

A Conversation (and Day) with Joe Fjelstad, Part 2

In Part 2 of this multi-part interview series, Verdant Electronics Founder and CEO Joe Fjelstad, and I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties discuss the future of what’s to come for the electronics industry, which, according to Fjelstad, has a lot to do with where we’ve just been in our quest for lead-free manufacturing. He also offers his view on the natural order of the evolution of personal political persuasions.

Enhancements in Consolidating Data Prep

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

A Conversation (and Day) with Joe Fjelstad, Part 1

I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties and industry veteran Joe Fjelstad, CEO and founder of Verdant Electronics, met recently to spend a day together enjoying the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum (home of the Spruce Goose), located in the Oregon community of McMinnville. Their conversation ebbed and flowed between a wide variety of topics, from the electronics industry, to political shenanigans and the “war against failure.” In Part 1 of this multi-part series, Fjelstad introduces his “war against failure” idea, and what went terribly wrong in the advent of lead-free manufacturing.

Solder Paste Stencil Design for Optimal QFN Yield and Reliability

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

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

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


Zentech: Expanding EMS Solutions and Supporting Innovation

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

Open Failure Analysis Lab Assessment Service Available

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

Software and Hardware Solutions

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

Universal Instruments Talks Challenges in China's Electronics Manufacturing Industry

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

NEPCON China Showcases Latest Manufacturing Tech in Asia

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

An Optical Update with TTM

Barry Matties recently met with Marika Immonen, manager of R&D optical interconnects at TTM Technologies. They last spoke one year ago. This time, they discussed the optical project that she’s been leading, as well as the future of optical technology in the PCB industry.

How to Select an Automatic Pick-and-Place Machine

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

Understanding DFM and its Role in PCB Layout

DFM is short for “design for manufacturability.” It is the process of arranging a PCB layout topology to mitigate problems that could be encountered during the PCB fabrication and assembly processes required to manufacture an electronic system. Addressing fabrication issues is what’s known as design for fabrication (DFF), and addressing assembly issues during design is known as design for assembly (DFA).

Are the Robots Taking Over?

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

Zentech’s John Vaughan on the Mil/Aero Sector: “It’s Headed Up”

I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties and Zentech’s John Vaughan had a chance to discuss industry concerns within the mil/aero segment at IPC APEX EXPO 2015. The two also shared thoughts on the space industry, and Vaughan detailed Zentech’s involvement with National Manufacturing Day, a nationwide effort focused on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) that simultaneously brought high school students together with 1,600 manufacturing companies from around the U.S.


Benefits of Soldering with Vacuum Profiles

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

High Reliability Thanks to Adhesives

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

Time to Ditch Heavy Metal for Soft Rock?

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

Bernie Kessler: Pioneering Spirit Then and Now

I-Connect007’s Patty Goldman sat down with longtime friend and IPC Hall of Famer Bernie Kessler at IPC APEX EXPO 2015 in San Diego. Among other things, the two discussed the early days of IPC, and the beginnings of APEX EXPO.

Developments with Metallic Thermal Interface Materials

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

Hunter Technology’s Two Newest CID Recipients Discuss Certification

I-Connect007 Guest Editor Kelly Dack spent time at Hunter Technology’s Silicon Valley plant, where he had the opportunity to sit down with two recent CID certification recipients, Jeff Davidson and Zev Gross, who recently completed Dack’s CID training program. The two also discuss the benefits of achieving certification and their plans to take the advanced course.

The Importance of Solder Process Expertise

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

How to Streamline PCB Thermal Design

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

Doing Business in India and China

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

Multek CTO Excited About the Challenges of the Fast-Moving Wearables Market

I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties and recently-appointed Multek CTO Dr. Joan Vrtis sat down at IPC APEX EXPO to discuss the rapidly evolving wearables market, especially for medical, and the myriad questions that must be addressed. Other topics include Multek’s contribution to the wearables industry and what it sees as the main challenges to putting their circuits into various applications.


Product Line Philosophy: Start Small...End Big

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

Upping the U.S. Service Level of Chinese Manufacturing

Eddie Tang of Glory Faith and Yash Sutariya, president of Alpha Circuit discuss the unique business relationship between their companies. Alpha provides consulting and technical service in North America for GF, including rework and emergency manufacturing capability in its North American plants.

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

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

Electrolube Expands Their Coverage

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

Raising a Unified Voice for an Advanced Manufacturing Economy

The electronics manufacturing industry is an important sector in the global economy, and John Hasselmann, VP of Government Relations at IPC, is an advocate for policies that will help our industry as well as the prosperity and welfare of billions of people.

Hunter Technology on Design Operations and Business Strategies

Immediately following IPC APEX EXPO 2015, Guest Editor Kelly Dack paid a visit to Hunter Technology’s facility in Milpitas, California, where he interviewed Ian Grover, vice president of design engineering, and Chris Alessio, vice president of sales and programs. Discussed are Hunter’s design operations as well as the company’s overall business strategy.

Direct Marketing Strategy Paying Off

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

Trending at Freedom CAD: New Crop of Next‐Gen Designers

Scott McCurdy, director of sales and marketing at Freedom CAD Services, expresses his vision for what North America is bringing to the table in the world of circuit design. I‐Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties and McCurdy also discuss China, trends in product design, tools, and more.

Neutral Cleaning and Latest Developments in Closed-Loop Control

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

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

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


Role of Plasma in Reliability of Conformal Coating

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

Reliability and Harmonization of Global Standards at Forefront of EIPC Efforts

At IPC APEX EXPO 2015, I-Connect007 Technical Editor Pete Starkey caught up with EIPC's Michael Weinhold and Alun Morgan, who were happy to discuss both recent and ongoing focuses for EIPC, namely, reliability. Also touched on was the importance of the alignment of global standardization processes, especially for Asia.​

Tin Whisker Risk Assessment of a Tin Surface Finished Connector

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

High-end Assembly Requirements for Precision Dispensing

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

The Unpredictability of Tin Whiskers Endures

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

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

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

Bob Neves Receives Award, Talks Bergman Tribute

I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties sat down with Bob Neves, one of the first recipients of the Dieter Bergman Fellowship award, to talk about the tribute held for Dieter on Wednesday night of IPC APEX EXPO 2015, and some of the reasons behind the newly created award.

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

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

Tin Whiskers: Why Testing Temperature Can Change the Outcome

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

Advanced Printing for Microelectronic Packaging

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


Risk and Mitigation for Tin Whiskers and Tin Pest

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

EPTAC Expansion Includes CID Curriculum

Leo Lambert, vice president and technical director of EPTAC, discusses EPTAC's latest expansion, which includes IPC's certified interconnect designer (CID) curriculum.

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

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

Cadence’s Brad Griffin Digs Deep Into DDR

During DesignCon 2015, our roving reporter, Kelly Dack, stopped by to visit with Brad Griffen in the Cadence booth. What follows is their very interesting conversation that revolves around the evolution of DDR.

Proposed EU Legislation Receives Industry Support

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

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

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

2015 EIPC Winter Conference, Munich: Day 1 Review

Ninety delegates, eleven countries represented and a thought-provoking two-day programme on themes of reliability in PCB fabrication and assembly, copper cleaning and advanced material solutions, advanced imaging and soldermask, and how to make PCBs smart and ready for Industry 4.0. Add the further attractions of a keynote by Walt Custer and the chance to visit a military aircraft assembly plant: the formula for another highly successful EIPC Conference, this time close to Munich Airport.

Essemtec Features Paraquda at Automaticon

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

California Congressman Mike Honda Discusses American Manufacturing

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

JOT Automates Final Testing of Smart Wearables

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


Wearable Tech Back to a Healthy Development Pace

Wearable tech was a major sensation in 2014. The wearable tech industry generated extensive interest among media, investors, start-ups, wearable tech enthusiasts, technology leaders and trade fairs. Many events were held around wearable products and industry last year. The trend for early 2015 has seen the industry fall back into a healthy developmental pace. Investors are keen to see a return on their capital injections and former start-ups are now reaching maturity.

Risk and Mitigation for Tin Whiskers and Tin Pest

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

Production of PCBs Drives SMT Equipment Market

The global market for Surface Mount Technology Equipment is projected to reach US$4.5 billion by 2020, driven by the strong demand for electronic products and the ensuing increase in production of Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs).

ZESTRON's Umut Tosun to Present at IPC APEX

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

Data I/O to Showcase PSV7000 at APEX

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

RPS to Exhibit Multiple Systems at IPC APEX

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

Indium's Jensen to Present Webtorials for PCB Assembly

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

Nordson EFD Demos Fluid Dispensing Systems at MD&M

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

Opportunities for 3D Printed Structural Electronics

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

ZESTRON to Hold 5-part Cleaning Webinar Series

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


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

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

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

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

The Rise of Structural Electronics

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

CES 2015: Preview and Predictions

Looking back over the last five years of CES and analyzing predictions and items featured by the large exhibitors, you'd likely assume the 2015 show would feature more advanced 3D TVs, as they were predicted to take over the market...wrong!

Component Selection for Easier Design and Manufacture of Electronics

In the world of high tech, simplicity is arguably one of the foundational objectives of most of the technologies that surround us today. Certainly this is true in terms of how product designers are trying to create interfaces that allow even the most non-technical users to get what they need from electronic products with a minimum of hassle.

SMTA: Call for Papers for 2015 Events

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

Rework Challenges for Smartphones and Tablets

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

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

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

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

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

Sanmina: Automation in Production Lines

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


The Essential Pioneer's Survival Guide: Reshoring Made Simple

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

Assembly with Solder - An Unblinking Look at

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

BEST, Inc.: Branching Out to Bare Board Rework

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

Forensics Uncovers Elusive Defects & Saves PCB Designs

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

Sustainability: What and Why?

Joe Fjelstad writes, "The resources of our planet are limited and thus are diminishing as we continue to unleash and ramp-up a seemingly never-ending flow of products to both serve and amuse us with output of the global electronics industry likely to be nearing the top of the list of 'offenders.' In that regard, we are becoming victims of our own success, to one degree or another."

Thru-hole Lead-free Soldering and Rework Concerns

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

Supplier Selection Key to Assembly Reliability

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

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

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

Plasma Polymerization: A Versatile and Attractive Process for Conformal Coating

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

Moisture Sensitivity Concerns in PCBs for Lead-free Assemblies

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


From the Show: A Hands-on APEX Session

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

A New Method for Reworking SMT Components

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

More productronica Exhibits

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

STEP 10 Rework and Repair: The Complete BGA Rework Process

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

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

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

APEX NEWS 2007

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

SMT Welcomes Advisory Board Members

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

Surface Mount Battery Retainer

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

Design for Manufacture

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

Tombstoning Reduction Via Phased-reflow Soldering

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


New Electronics Industry Award Named After Company Founder

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

New Acoustic Capabilities Aid Flip Chips

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

Solder Paste vs. Flux-only Attachment for BGA Rework

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

Maximizing Lead-free Wetting

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

Mixed Technologies Converge - Changing the Assembly Scene

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

Three-Five Systems Names New Regulatory Affairs Director

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

Looking Forward to Day 2

This is the fifth in a series of articles about APEX, held January 22-24, 2002 in San Diego. It provides a guide to the activities of the second day of the show.

Looking Forward to Day 1

This is the third in a series of articles about APEX, held January 22-24, 2002 in San Diego. It provides a guide to activities taking place during the first day of the show.

Process Control for Solder Paste Deposition

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