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

Latest Articles

Overwhelmed by Social Media? Read This

Social media is like a big party with hundreds of people in attendance. At that party, there may be 100 conversations going on at once, but you can't be involved in all of them; you wouldn't want to be. What you want to do is to find the conversations right for you or to start one of your own.

Zulki's PCB Nuggets: FAI - An Ounce of Prevention, Worth a Pound of Cure

Shrinking PCB real estate, ultra-fine-pitch devices, package-on-package technologies, thinner boards, and the recent adoption of challenging device packaging give the use of first article inspection greater importance.

Traceability Benefits Customer and Manufacturer

Scott Fillebrown, chief executive officer of Texas-based EMS provider ACD, explains the benefits of using a traceability system. The Cogiscan system has helped him identify bad components and potential bottlenecks in his company's processes.

Throughput Versus Wet-Out Area Study for PoP Underfill Dispensing

The use of package-on-package during assembly helps save space on a board, but, to insure reliability, underfill is required. This paper discusses the relationship between the wet-out area of the underfill reservoir and production time for the entire process.

Embracing Transparency: How Flextronics Addresses Social and Environmental Responsibility

Innovation in today's industry continues to be the driving force behind most successful companies. By taking this concept and applying it to corporate social and environmental responsibility, Flextronics has established a foundation for a more sustainable business model.

Manufacturing on the Move Back to the U.S.

Michele Nash-Hoff, president of ElectroFab Sales and author of several books on manufacturing, has been following the offshoring and onshoring of manufacturing jobs for years. She believes many companies simply jumped the gun and moved work to Asia without researching whether or not the move made good business sense.

Legislative & Regulatory Product-Related Environmental Policy Developments to Watch

The many international, federal, and state environmental requirements placed on the electronics industry can make compliance no easy task. Designed to provide a status report of these requirements, former IPC Director of Government Relations Holly Evans details what every manufacturer should know.

U.S. to Ease Restrictions on PCB Exports & Related Technology

With changes coming to restrictions on exports in the industry, Corey Norton, an international trade attorney, outlines updates to ITAR, EAR, the U.S. Munitions List, and more. The goal of these revisions is to create a control list of specific items with real inherent military significance.

IPC's Fern Abrams: Environmental Concerns & Export Issues

Fern Abrams, IPC's director of government relations and environmental policy, joins Guest Editor Dick Crowe to inform viewers about major developments and concerns in conflict materials, environmental issues, and export regulations.

Seven Ways Social Media is Changing Sales

Cold calling is for dinosaurs. Sales people are now make "warm calls." Every prospective customer’s company and the contacts at those companies can be reviewed using Google search, websites, and social media.

The Essential Pioneer's Survival Guide: Breaking Down Management Silos

Every day the silos of management appear to work together on the shop floor, but things are not always harmonious. To understand the reasons why, Michael Ford considers a typical problem that can occur on a dysfunctional shop floor and describes the hazards of the "blame game."

Environmentally-Responsible Defluxing

Cleaning is on the rise and today it is possible to improve assembly reliability via cleaning--all while maintaining an environmentally-friendly configuration. Michael Konrad explains how it is possible today to increase assembly reliability through cleaning while maintaining an environmentally-responsible configuration. No longer does one have to exchange one problem for another.

Cleaning Solutions for Manufacturing

In this video interview, industry expert Ed Kanegsberg, vice president of BFK Solutions, joins Guest Editor Dick Crowe of Burkle N.A. to discuss the necessity of cleaning prior to manufacturing.

Conformal Coating Inspection: What Do You See?

Dr. Lee Hitchens takes a look at conformal coating standards, what they actually mean, what you can achieve with new automated conformal coating inspection technology, and what must be considered to ensure a reliable inspection process.

Zulki's PCB Nuggets: The Intricacies of RF Design & Assembly

RF design in the past was nearly an impossible task for engineers, the know-how and technology were simply nonexistent. Now, with demand for such design growing at an incredible pace and the technology needed readily available, the PCB designer and assembly engineer should fully understand how to deal with RF intricacies.

Material Suppliers' Perspectives on SMT Assembly

Guest Editor Dr. Jennie S. Hwang joins Heraeus' Sales Director Vincenzo Longobardo and his service and distribution partner Frank Medina, president and CEO of Technica USA, to discuss the market dynamics, manufacturing, and technology of assembly materials.

High Reliability and Low Variability Results with Benchtop PCB Cleaning

With the rise of new cleaning standards, some are beginning to question once standard cleaning methods. While there are obvious pros of aerosol cleaning, questions remain as to whether this method can consistently and reliably clean a board. Lindsey Shehan examines the role different variables play in aerosol cleaning and offers guidelines to improve the process.

SMT Trends & Technologies: If You're Going to Do It, Do It Right

The two major causes of defects are poor solder printing, estimated to cause over 50 to 70% of equipment defects, and pick-and-place errors, which cause the rest. Developing a process to detect defects early means an incredible savings opportunity that manufacturers can’t afford to ignore.

Hunter Takes New Approach to IPC APEX EXPO

Hunter Technology President Joe O'Neil has been attending IPC APEX EXPO for years. He tells Editor Andy Shaughnessy that, for 2013, he decided to approach the show differently by sending a variety of staff, including process engineers, and meeting with customers.

Any Mix, Any Volume...Any Questions?

President of Panasonic's Factory Solutions Company of America Faisal Pandit joins Guest Editor Kelly Dack to explain how his company's AM100 SMT any mix/any volume assembly platform expands with any customer.

The Right Oven for the Job

Guest Editor Stuart Hayton joins Peter Tallian, COO of BTU, and Jim Griffin, vice president sales and marketing, and learns that many factors must be considered when purchasing an oven for electronics manufacture. BTU's new addition, the Dynamo, brings a low-cost solution to the market--complementing the company's Pyramax range.

Bob Willis Announces Package-on-Package Book

Internationally renowned and respected electronic soldering technology expert and instructor Bob Willis joins Guest Editor Joe Fjelstad to discuss his work and publications, including his most recent book, "Package on Package (PoP) Assembly Inspection and Quality Control."

Surface Chemistry Improves Printing Efficiency

Aculon, Inc.'s Director of R&D Eric Hanson describes to Technical Editor Pete Starkey how self-assembled monolayer nanotechnology can improve the performance of solder paste stencils.

The Impact of Lead-Free on Reliability and Cost

Happy Holden, director of electronics technologies and innovation at GENTEX; Dr. Ron Lasky, senior technologist at Indium; and Ventec USA Technical Manager Bruce MacDonald examine the current state of affairs with lead-free and what it means for the industry, including mission-critical military electronics.

Modern Cleaning Challenges in Post Reflow Applications

Kyzen CTO Dr. Mike Bixenman discusses modern challenges in post-reflow cleaning/defluxing applications. Low stand-off heights, increased reflow temperatures, and increased assembly densities contribute to the challenges faced when cleaning assemblies. Dr. Bixenman also addresses cleaning standards and challenges associated with a lack of clearly defined standards.

Valor MSS: The Solution for Agility

Michael Ford, marketing development manager for Mentor Graphics, updates us on the Valor MSS suite. He explains to Guest Editor Andy Shaughnessy how this manufacturing system has been growing and evolving to meet the needs of Mentor's customers.

Latest Developments in Conformal Coating from Semblant

Semblant CEO Steve Lowder brings Guest Editor Pete Starkey up to date with the latest developments in conformal coating, with examples of electronics running under water, under alcohol, under margaritas...

Comparing Conformal Coatings

Conformal coatings are used for a variety of reasons, but which is the better coating? With an in-depth look at the pros and cons of each, Diamond MT's Sean Horn addresses the use of three coatings: Silicone, urethane, and paraxylene. Which is best? Read on to find out.

Aqueous: Never to be Featured on "Dirty Jobs"

If you believe cleaning board assemblies is as easy as loading a dishwasher and pressing the start button, you've got a lot to learn! Mike Konrad, president and CEO of Aqueous Technologies Corporation, discusses how PCB board assemblies are cleaned in ways previously unknown. Have they coined a new "DF" acronym, DFC? Tune in and find out.

Selective Soldering: The Solution for Geospace Technologies

Bryan Steffen, SMT manager & process engineer, faced a challenge: Demand for his company's products was increasing exponentially, yet new products were being introduced. Learn how he increased productivity without sacrificing quality, extending delivery times, or increasing cost.

ApexFA: Automating Solder Paste Placement, Speeding Changeover

William Crist, Apex Factory Automation's national sales manager, joins Guest Editor Susan Mucha on the IPC APEX EXPO show floor to discuss how his company's turnkey SMT placement line solution automates solder paste measurement, speeds changeover, and supports placement of smaller components.

Cleaning Roundtable: Definitions, Best Practices, and Cost

Mike Konrad, Aqueous Technologies; Eric Camden, Foresite; Barbara "The Cleaning Lady" Kanegsberg, BFK Solutions; and Umut Tosun, ZESTRON weigh in on what best cleaning practices entail, the definition of "clean enough," and the cost of cleaning during an energetic roundtable discussion.

SMT Trends & Technologies: You Are Discharged

Hearing the phrase, "You are discharged," is great when leaving the hospital, but for manufacturers the phrase has a completely different meaning. With newer technologies leading to smaller circuits and components, ESD failures have become an even greater concern. Eric Klaver offers tips and solutions to the problem.

Europlacer Responds to BAE Systems' Call for Help

A strong partnership proved its value after the Susquehanna River flooded BAE Systems' Johnson City, New York facility in 2011. Chris Round tells the story of how two companies worked together to overcome a devastating situation.

Dr. Ron Lasky's Lead-Free Check-up Results

It's been six years since the implementation of the lead-free initiative and Dr. Ron Lasky, Indium Corporation's senior technologist, joins Guest Editor Kelly Dack to examine three basic issues that determine the health of the consumer and PCB industry after going lead free.

Choosing Between Turnkey & Consignment Manufacturing

Making the decision to outsource can be difficult for many in the industry. George Henning explains, compares, and evaluates consignment and turnkey manufacturing to help small- to mid-sized companies select the electronics manufacturing outsourcing strategy that best fits their needs.

Global Company, Local Advantage

How do you balance geographic locations of various team members for optimal customer support, performance, and cost efficiency? Daniel Pfeifer, global R&D manager for ESCATEC, has created three distinct groups, split by level of customer interaction and distance to customer, for a customized solution.

Choosing a Low-Cost Alternative to Sac Alloys for PCB Assembly

How much do subtle variations in alloy composition affect the performance and process requirements of PCB assembly? This paper from Brook Sandy and Ron Lasky, Ph.D. compares alternative lead-free alloys to SAC305 to determine if existing processes should be modified.

The Nine Worst Social Media Blunders by PCB Manufacturers in 2012

This week, Bruce Johnston continues with his "low-lites," examples of things some PCB manufacturers are doing that are, just...well, you'll see. He gives out awards for the worst practices in social media in 2012.

Impact of E-commerce on the Component Supply Chain

E-commerce is definitely gaining momentum. Some industry sources state that nearly half of all sales are coming from e-commerce platforms, an indication that the electronics component industry is embracing its future.

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.

What's Really Wrong with Corporate America?

In today's marketplace, a company must provide or add value to acquire a place in the global supply chain of goods and services. Michele Nash-Hoff discusses a book that guides companies in ways to design or redesign their organization for the sake of others. The book is "a guidebook on how a private or public company can achieve its true purpose in the world."

Preventing Lead-free SMT Soldering Defects

The lead-free process differs from a 63/37 process in many ways. A good understanding of these differences when using SAC alloys enables process engineers to incorporate the necessary changes to the process to reduce soldering defects, increase reliability, and maintain production yields.

The Worst PCB Manufacturers According to Social Media

This week, Bruce Johnston has compiled a few "low-lites," examples of things some PCB manufacturers are doing that are, just...well, you'll see. He gives out awards for the worst practices in social media in 2012.

PCB Surface Finish Receives High Marks from HKPC

This article highlights third-party testing conducted on PCB surface finishes for reliability and ability to enhance corrosion protection. Several tests were performed comparing various degrees of harshness, including a standardized test from IPC. One finish outscored them all.

Social Media and Thought Leadership, Part II

As a thought leader in your industry, you give away valuable information in your area of expertise and ask for nothing in return. In doing so, says Bruce Johnston, you wind up getting some amazing things in return.

Inside Flextronics SBS: Serving OEMs Large and Small

Last week, Editor Andy Shaughnessy attended the "Inside Flextronics SBS Manufacturing Forum" at the company's facility in Columbia, South Carolina. The first thing visitors noticed was the lack of PCB assembly. Instead, Flextronics SBS offers NPI solutions for OEMs of all sizes.

Outlook for European Electronics Industry Downgraded on Back of Weakening Economy

The outlook for European electronics production has been revised and experts expect output to decline by 2.9% for the year as a whole to Euro 199.2 billion. Reed Electronics Research's Andrew Fletcher, who has tracked developments in the European and global electronics industry since 1973, delves into the data behind the forecast.

The Year that Was

Paul Blom, executive vice president, operations, at SMTC, details the big EMS trends of 2012. He tells I-Connect007's Richard Ayes how these trends, including environmental compliance, onshoring, and labor issues, will impact the industry in 2013. Blom sees cost and technology transfers and technology deployment as challenges to address.

VOC-free Flux Study: Not All WOAs Are the Same

The purpose of this study from AIM's Karl Seelig is to explain factors relating to the use of a VOC-free flux in the soldering process and their impact on testing and reliability. Additional considerations include wetting and organic solvent characteristics, a flux's collapsing foam head, issues related to corrosivity, shelf life, manufacturability, handling, and storage.

Social Media and Thought Leadership

People want to know what you think; you have an informed opinion. This is how you establish credibility with your audience and it costs you nothing. It shows you are thinking beyond your company's day-to-day needs.

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.

Remaining Competitive in Today's Market

OEMs are required to get new electronics products to market faster all while continuing to improve profit margins. Innovation must occur, with the end game in mind, throughout every step of the process, from design to production to logistics to supply chain management and beyond. Flextronics' Mike McNamara explains how a great EMS provider can help.

How to Select a Conformal Coating Material

Choosing a conformal coating material is a complicated and involved process usually balancing a number of trade-offs and compromises. There's no such thing as a universally applicable conformal coating. Dr. Lee Hitchens offers a list questions to ask yourself and your suppliers to shortlist suitable materials.

GIA: State of the EMS Industry

Although the industry originated in North America, Asia has emerged as the dominant force in the market. Latin America and Eastern Europe represent other strategic locations. Shifting of manufacturing facilities by major firms, from Western Europe and North America to low-cost regions such as Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America, is offering lucrative opportunities.

Nano Coating Helps Control Stencil Release

Carmina Lantzsch, manager of technical support for LaserJob GmbH, joins Guest Editor Kelly Dack to describe her company's work in developing a proprietary nano coating that aids the stencil release process.

Out of the Box Manufacturing: A Talk with CEO Budvarson

Dan Beaulieu sits down with Chad Budvarson, founder and CEO of Out of the Box Manufacturing, to get the low down on his company, how it began, and why the company is so special.

Tell Your Statistics to Shut Up: Social Media in 2013

You can, as Charlie Brown famously told Lucy, "tell your statistics to shut up," but that won't make social media go away. With that in mind, Bruce Johnston offers a few social media statistics to chew on as we begin 2013.

Overcoming Challenges & Risk: A Snapshot of the EMS Market in 2012

Research from Frost & Sullivan suggests that the EMS market should continue a transition from specialization in high-volume production in traditional markets to low- to mid-volume manufacturing specialization in niche markets such as industrial, aerospace and defense, and medical.

The Essential Pioneer's Survival Guide: Is Your Brand Worth Protecting?

Customer satisfaction is crucial to a brand and customer complaints can ruin a company's good image in as little as 140 characters on Twitter. Protect your brand by finding defects in the process long before a product reaches the customer.

IMI: Ever on a Note of Hope

For the last two decades, IMI has ridden out gloom-doom-and-boom cycles as well as the next guy, making sure to heed lessons both in good times and in bad. IMI CEO Arthur Tan recounts his experiences riding out difficult times and explains how the company maintains its cautious optimism in the short- and medium-term.

Henkel's Brian Toleno on Enhancing Board Reliability

Director of Global Product Management for Underfills and Encapsulants Dr. Brian Toleno joins Editor Andy Shaughnessy to discusses his recent underfill work with the goal of enhancing reliability for boards featuring tighter real estate.

SMT Trends & Technologies: Power to the People

The current energy revolution will have a large impact on how power grids are designed and operated. This translates to changes in the manufacture of circuit boards used in the industry. Handling such a wide component range on a single SMD pick-and-place system can cause problems, but Sjef van Gastel helps you learn how to avoid them.

Outlook for the EMS Market: Current Trends and Perspectives

As competition intensifies, EMS providers will be hard pressed to diversify their services portfolio and offer a complete solution package. As a result, an increasing focus will be placed on diversification into design and aftermarket services.

Large Area Electronics: Addressing the Applications Challenge

Professor Martin Goosey reports on The Cambridge Integrated Knowledge Centre's large area electronics event. The event addressed the opportunities and challenges for new, low-temperature manufacturing techniques in photonics and electronics transitioning from the laboratory to the marketplace. Discussions included a PCB design based on FR-4 substrates with optical layers sequentially built onto the bottom layer.

Zulki's PCB Nuggets: Critical Aspects of a Thermal Profile

The thermal profile is one of the most important yet constantly changing elements in the assembly process. Unfortunately, a belief still exists in our industry that one size fits all when it comes to the thermal profile. For the sake of our OEMs and their products, we must remember that all thermal profiles are not created equal.

Top 10 Most-Read SMT Columns of 2012

More than a dozen columnists regularly contribute to SMTOnline and SMT Magazine and cover the latest in industry developments, controversies, and events. You've come to rely on their insight and opinions--apparently, you really, really enjoy reading columns from Bruce Johnston! Here's our list of the most-read columns of the past year.

EMS of the Future

The recent growth of the EMS industry is driven by a strong demand for smartphones and notebooks/tablets, as well as recovery of spending for capital equipment in the industrial and transportation sectors, specifically, automotive and semiconductors. Author Randall Sherman dives into details of the recovery and forecasts the years to come.

Before and After Reflow Characterization of FCBGA Voiding

Flextronics and North Star Imaging are working together to correlate current X-ray imaging and cross-section analysis of BGA voiding with high-resolution CT scan imaging. The group hopes to validate void measurements obtained from non-destructive imaging techniques with physically measured void measurements of cross-sectioning and to characterize void properties before and after reflow.

An Inside Look: 6th International Symposium on Tin Whiskers

Professor Martin Goosey, IeMRC Industrial Director, recently attended the symposium hosted by Loughborough University's Henry Ford College in the UK. He gives a detailed breakdown of the many informative presentations given by the best in the industry concerning the formation and prevention of tin whiskers.

SMT Trends & Technologies: Journey to the Center of the PCB

With 01005 components finding their way onto PCBs, what's next? Even smaller components? Passive manufacturers are indeed looking at 0050025 components along with many more possibilities including wafer-level packaging and imprinting into PCBs. For components, the next step is already here: Embedded components.

EMS Role & Future in Design Services: When Strategy is Successful

The EMS market continues to become highly competitive and profit margins are diminishing. As a result, EMS providers have narrowed their sights on building value-add services such as design services. For successful EMS providers, design services can be one of the most rewarding revenue generators and differentiators.

Semblant Aims for European, American Markets

Semblant recently launched two new plasma systems for the European and American markets. Company CEO Steven Lowder joins Editor Andy Shaughnessy to provide details about the SPF 1000 and SPF 1500, as well as the company's plans for the future.

Enhancing Switch Performance: Pushing the Boundaries with Contact Lubricants

Contact lubricants can extend the life of switches by more than 300%, enhancing performance in a variety of applications and preventing the need for expensive maintenance. So, how can you ensure correct product selection? Many practical considerations must first be taken into account. Jade Bridges explains.

Effect of Cooling Rate on the Intermetallic Layer in Solder Joints

In this paper the authors report a study of the effect of cooling rates on Cu6Sn5 crystals. Cooling rates from 200°C ranged from 10°C/minute to 100°C/minute and the effect of isothermal ageing at intermediate temperatures was also studied. The extent of the phase transformation after each regime was determined using synchrotron X-ray diffraction.

The Green Challenge

Brian Morrison, engineering manager at SMTC Corporation, notes that a number of manufacturers are still not fully complying with the green regulations primarily due to issues with system management, data integrity, and declaration management.

Green Manufacturing and Resiliency

What is resilience? How does it relate to manufacturing and, in particular, green and sustainable manufacturing? Professor David Dornfeld, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, defines the term and details its importance to the manufacturing supply chain.

ECPE Integrated Power Boards Workshop a Success

While the U.S. was celebrating Thanksgiving, the European Center for Power Electronics (ECPE) hosted a workshop for 80+ participants from Europe and the U.S. on the challenges of designing and implementing high-power circuit assemblies and held in Rsjiwjik, Netherlands. Joe Fjelstad reports.

The Right Stencil for the Job

Bill Kunkle, manager of stencil technology for Metal Etching Technology (MET), joins Editor Andy Shaughnessy to discuss the challenges facing his customers and his company's drive to meet those concerns.

The RoHS Recast: Are You Ready?

A new RoHS Directive goes into effect January 2, 2013, and companies have until that date to purge all products of any noncompliant materials. The Recast doesn’t change the original RoHS Directive’s restrictions, but, in fact, significantly enlarges the law’s product scope and completely transforms its compliance requirements. Are you ready?

Facts About HCFC-225 Usage Ban In 2015

The timeline for phase-out of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) was created in 1997, per the Montreal Amendment. To meet the 90% total reduction requirement for all HCFCs by 2015, this phase-out is now underway. Techspray's Lindsey Shehan explains.

Tropical Stencil: A Creative Business Model

Bob McGlynn, owner of Tropical Stencil in Jupiter, Florida, explains his company's business model: Part board rep, part stencil provider. McGlynn began as a board rep and continued that work even after he acquired the company.

New Invensas Package: Smaller, Faster, Cheaper

Veteran technologist Vern Solberg, now a consultant with Invensas, a subsidiary of Tessera, joins editor Andy Shaughnessy to discusses a paper he delivered detailing the company's new package technology that is faster, smaller, and cheaper than other options.

Mentor Focuses on Failure Analysis With FMEA

Bernard Sutton, product marketing manager with Mentor Graphics, details the paper he presented on failure mode effects analysis (FMEA) at SMTAI 2012. The paper covers his company' efforts to make failure analysis information available to everyone in the product development chain, from design through final assembly.

Dispensing: A Fluid Situation

Well known for its pick-and-place systems, Essemtec also offers a variety of dispensing solutions. Steve Pollock joins Editor Andy Shaughnessy to discuss his company's newest dispenser, which can cut dispensing time by half.

Onshoring and Nearshoring with SigmaTron

Guest Editor Susan Mucha and SigmaTron Vice President of Sales Curtis Campbell discuss his company's SMTAI 2012 paper and the trend for onshoring back to the U.S. and "nearshoring" to Mexico. Campbell explains that SigmaTron's Mexican operations are seeing a steady increase in business.

Boundary-Scan Testing: JTAG GM Peter van den Eijnden Introduces the Latest Tools

Recent hardware and software solutions allowing engineers to harness the boundary-scan already embedded in their existing designs have developed at quite a pace. The technology has pushed further into the development space with low-cost and free debug tools. The technology is now available to even the most modest of electronic engineering departments.

Ionic Cleanliness Testing: Ultimate Process Optimization Tool

If you want to know how robust your product is before it goes into the field, you need to know how clean it is. If it isn’t as clean as it should be, there’s a problem upstream in the manufacturing process that needs correction.

Training Center Built on Government, Industry Teamwork

Chris Mather, director of enterprise development at Lorain County Community College, discusses the school's Richard Desich SMART Commercialization Center for Microsystems. This state-of-the-art assembly facility is available for use by students and private industry, and Mather hopes it will serve as a model for other colleges around the country.

diplan Acquisition Enhances Aegis Technology's Offerings

In addition to the technologies that diplan brings to Aegis's product line, the acquisition also greatly accelerates expansion into Europe and Asia--complementing Aegis' presence in North America, and established presence in the UK, Scandinavia, and Benelux.

Maintaining OSP Coating Integrity During the Cleaning Process

OSP is a reliable surface finish method, but care must be taken during the SMT process to minimize surface thickness degradation, particularly due to reflow and cleaning. The results of this study detail the effect of chemically-assisted cleaning on OSP film thickness.

Cleaning and Contamination With Bob Willis

For years, most didn't worry about cleaning, but that's changed with the increasing component densities. Bob Willis joins Editor Andy Shaughnessy to discuss a program on cleaning and contamination he'll be conducting at IPC APEX EXPO 2013.

Printing Up Print Data at Indium

Brook Sandy-Smith is a chemical engineer at Indium, but she's also a writer. She discusses a booklet she's written that presents print data in a user-friendly format for use by engineers. Indium seems to bring out the inner writer in its employees: Just ask bloggers Ron Lasky and Rick Short.

Blackfox Delivers Benefits of Custom Solder Training

"It began with classroom theory, presentations, demonstrations on fasteners and soldering, and then switched to one-on-one training. Employees received feedback on their individual soldering performance," said Dan Watson, Olympus NDT quality engineer, of the five-day, on-site training program performed by Blackfox Training Institute.

EPTAC Takes on Counterfeit Training

Director of Business Development Brian Downes joins Editor Andy Shaughnessy to detail his company's collaboration with IDEA. EPTAC will provide the IDEA Counterfeit Mitigation and Inspection Training Course.

Selecting the Right Potting Compound for Your Application

Many questions arise when trying to select an appropriate potting compound. An experienced materials expert can help identify the primary concerns, recommend materials, provide testing of the materials, and offer information on dielectric strength, adhesive characteristics, thermal conductivity, and more, through the testing process.

The Continued Evolution of JTAG Test Solutions

Board test technology is witnessing what could be the most dramatic changes since the introduction of boundary-scan in 1990. While the traditional standard, 1149.1, revolutionized the way PCBs are tested and programmed, new advancements have initiated developments and updates to both the IEEE 1149.x standards and associated proprietary test techniques.

Behind the Scenes in Solder Technology

There's a lot more to solder than the flux and the powder with which most are familiar. Leigh Gesick, president of AMTECH, joins Editor Andy Shaughnessy to discuss his company's strategy for meeting customer needs when pushing solder to the limit.

SMT Perspectives and Prospects: Can Microstructure Indicate a Good Solder Joint? Part II

How does one examine solder joint microstructure? Is the microstructure important? In her latest column, Dr. Jennie S. Hwang continues a series that addresses the practical aspects of solder joint microstructure and what it can tell us about solder joint reliability.

Bringing USB to the PXI Test Environment

Very little has been said about combining PXI and USB products in a test system--yet USB is an extremely common interface on consumer and professional products, ubiquitous on many mobile devices. That means that USB may be a native control connection on a device that needs testing--so a test system, ideally, needs the capability of supporting USB for test.

Vapor Phase Soldering Solves Many Challenges

IBL Technologies' CEO Jochen Lipp explains why vapor phase soldering is gaining popularity in both the EMS and OEM communities. In addition to being a lower-temperature reflow solution for lead-free products, the process also minimizes voids and tombstoning and can support BGA repair and selective soldering needs.

Dr. Martin Anselm Provides AREA Consortium Update

Universal Instruments' Dr. Martin Anselm, manager of the AREA Consortium, joins Editor Andy Shaughnessy to discuss the group's projects focusing on assembly materials, processes, and reliability, and explains why this data is now more important than ever.

Ron Lasky: The Real Meaning of Productivity

Indium's Dr. Ron Lasky presented a paper at SMTA International 2012 focused on productivity. He explains to Editor Andy Shaughnessy how seemingly small issues can lead to huge losses in productivity and gives examples of assembly providers who've doubled their uptime by making a few simple changes.

IPC Symposium Focuses on Lean for Assembly Industry

"Understanding the use of lean in an electronics manufacturing environment requires insight into our industry," says Susan Filz, IPC director of industry programs. "We've brought together lean experts from major electronics manufacturing companies to present at this event because they understand the unique challenges, and opportunities, our industry faces."

Firstronic Pushes Program Management

Firstronic is a regional EMS provider that has pioneered automating program management processes through its proprietary software, ProManage. Guest Editor Susan Mucha talks with Firstronic President Rick Herndon about the paper he presented at SMTAI.

SMT Trends & Technologies: It Pays to be Frugal

Low-energy electronics manufacturing equipment helps maintain production--more production for the same energy--and also saves money. A recent comparison suggests that an average high-volume assembly plant could save nearly half a million dollars a year on energy-related costs alone, and that figure can only rise.

OKI on Business in China, Seminars, and Awards

Paul Wood, OK International's advanced product application manager, presented two papers at NEPCON South China and won the show's Best Presentation Award for his paper on micro BGA rework. Wood chats with Editor Marcy LaRont about the show, business in China, and how great seminars can lead to great equipment sales.

Fundamentals of Reflow Technology: Metallurgy of the Soldering Process, Part III

Mixing pure metals with alloying elements plays an important role in soldering technology, for instance, when lead is added to pure tin. If alloys of various compositions cool while their temperatures are continuously measured, we observe the same behavior as above, except that the temperature does not remain entirely constant. Instead, the speed at which the material cools shows a clear-cut change within a given temperature range.

State-of-the-Art in Laser Cut Stencils

Ahne Oosterhof of LPKF describes to Technical Editor Pete Starkey how laser-cutting techniques and material technology have developed and improved to enable the demands of high-precision solder paste printing to be realized.

Solder Paste Deposits and the Precision of Aperture Sizes

The quality of a stencil may be measured a number of ways: Smoothness of the cut wall, material quality, thickness and thickness uniformity of the material, proper aperture location, and proper aperture size. Here, though the testing of 12 stencils acquired and manufactured using different equipment and methods, the authors show that significant variability exists in aperture size precision between various stencil manufacturing sources.

Change is Coming to the Cleaning Industry…Again!

Cleaning is once again the focus of government regulation. The last big change in cleaning came in 1995 as a result of the Montreal Protocol eliminating the use of chlorofluorocarbon solvents (CFCs) for cleaning everything from PCBs to the aircraft engines.

Fundamentals of Reflow Technology: Metallurgy of the Soldering Process, Part II

When solder melts a change in the state of aggregation takes place. This means that the atoms begin to vibrate so intensely that the crystalline structure disintegrates. The material melts. However, the disintegration of a well-ordered crystalline structure can also be viewed as a greater degree of freedom of movement which must be introduced to the material in the form of energy.

Nordson Dage Experiencing Record Year

Keith Bryant, global sales director for Nordson Dage X-Ray Systems, expounds upon the importance of the South China market, the company's Jade flat-panel machine, and the company's expectations of a record year.

Fundamentals of Reflow Technology: Metallurgy of the Soldering Process

Soldering is a very specific science that must encompass a number of disciplines and demands considerable expertise to master. In its ultimate analysis, the process of soldering is all about the interaction of materials at a molecular, or even atomic, level. Arguably, to understand this fully, you need to be a bit of a scientist.

ZESTRON Targets Sensitive Product Cleaning

With new environmental regulations and the demand for high quality, everything related to the cleaning process is changing. ZESTRON's John Shen explains how customers now request special products sensitive material cleaning.

Xenon's Customized Automation Equipment a Hit

Dr. Hartmut Freitag, managing director for Xenon, introduced his company to the South China market as a first-time exhibitor at NEPCON South China and he plans to be back next year. With a large factory in Shenzhen, this German organization has alliances with local universities to help hire the best talent locally, and the company plans to expand R&D into this area as well.

Why You're Not Seeing Results from Social Media

Exasperation is probably the best word to describe how most managers and executives feel about their social media experimentation so far. This week, Bruce Johnston provides five reasons why your social media plans may not be working.

DfE Online Helps Meet Environmental Regulations

The Surface Mount Technology Association (SMTA) and electronics and technology consultants Technology Forecasters Inc. (TFI), PlesTech, Ltd., and Harvey Stone announce the launch of DfE Online, a breakthrough training and certification program in Design for Environment (DfE).

TCO: From Buzzword to Reality - Six Key Factors to Consider Before "The Offshore Default"

With the U.S. economy hobbled and arguably in a recession, two wars behind us, and politicians in the public's crosshairs, onshoring has been making news. Domestic PCB fabrication revenue has declined 66% and more than half of all N.A. fabricators have closed. Surprisingly, applying a true TCO approach to procurement shows that the benefits of procuring overseas do not always exist.

SMT Trends & Technologies: A Pocket Full of Components

With batch sizes becoming smaller and smaller, much assembly time is wasted by an increased number of setup changes. Time-consuming elements often include loading or unloading feeders, changing feeders and nozzles, tuning and teaching new components, and ramping up. How can such challenges be addressed?

How Clean is Clean?

CEO Michael Konrad of Aqueous Solutions says that cleaning is for everybody. He discusses why the need for higher-reliability products, even in commercial electronics, brought him to China. He also chats about clean versus no-clean flux.

Blackfox, ProSkill to Provide Awareness and Training

The partnership was formed to provide awareness and training in the techniques and practices required to detect and avoid counterfeit components and the costs, legal issues, and risks associated with them to prevent infestation of counterfeit material into the supply chain.

Coenen on the Advantages of Jet Solder Paste Printing

MYDATA's Global Sales Director for Jet Printing, Nico Coenen, joins Editor Ray Rasmussen to discuss the advantages of jet solder paste printing. While not perfect for every application, this technology is gaining more and more acceptance in the industry.

AdoptSMT: Pre-Owned Equipment Big Draw in Down Economy

Erhard Hoffman, managing director of AdoptSMT Group, discusses selling pre-owned SMT equipment to the China market, why his equipment is especially desirable in South China, and plans to expand business with Editor Marcy LaRont.

It's About the Environment...for Better or Worse

Michael Konrad, CEO of Aqueous Technologies Corporation, says "It's not easy being green," but it just makes sense. His essentially non-green, chemical-laden cleaning business produces zero discharge, and it's not the only one. Konrad says that regulation, for better or worse, is a huge driver for making the impossible possible in this industry. He's seen it happen.

Apex Introduces Solder Paste Inspection System to U.S.

Apex Factory Automation Sales and Support Manager William Crist joins Editor Ray Rasmussen on the IPC Midwest show floor to provide an overview of a newly-introduced solder paste inspection system for the U.S. market.

Likelihood of Metal Vapor Arc by Tin Whiskers

For electronic equipment, tin whisker growth can produce unintended electrical shorts resulting in product failure. Under certain conditions, tin whiskers can initiate a metal vapor arc that can have destructive consequences. This study investigates the role of bias voltage, pressure, and whisker geometry on metal vapor arc formation, and presents a metric for whisker arc formation.

An Investigation of Whisker Growth on Tin-Coated Wire and Braid

Whiskers develop in any environment: Ground or vacuum/space, wet or dry, applied power versus no power. The authors analyzed 13 samples of tin-coated wire and braid, manufactured between 1965 and 2009, from five different suppliers, by scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive X-ray to evaluate the material composition, size, and density of whiskers.

Aegis In for Something New

Why would a software company ever move into the hardware arena? Jason Spera, CEO of Aegis Software, sits down with Editor Marcy LaRont at NEPCON South China 2012 to discuss his company's InForce line attendant--it's much more than just software. Spera also relates his experiences in Shenzhen.

Games Maker: Bob Willis Gets a "Real" Job

Have you ever wondered what it's like to become an integral part of a global spectacle? Bob Willis, who devoted three weeks to the London 2012 Games says the experience was definitely worth the time and training. He reports: "Being a Games Maker for is completely different from my day job and some may say it's the first real work I have done in years!"

Miller Gives Update on Nordson Yestech's Latest Technology

Don Miller, president of Nordson Yestech, discusses why China is such a robust market for his company. He talks about their latest and greatest technology--something that pairs nicely with several Nordson partner businesses, providing a distinct edge in the marketplace.

Wages & Environmental Regulations Drive Business from South China

The southern region of China has always been important for manufacturing. But these days, South China is sounding more and more like the U.S. WKK President Hamed El-Abd provides his thoughtful perspectives on the current state of business in the region and where it may be going next.

Effects of Tin and Copper Nanotexturization on Tin Whisker Formation

New research from authors at the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins in Laurel, Maryland, examines the effect of adding grain refiners during tin electroplating. Particular focus is given to "as-deposited" film morphology and the associated incidence of whiskering.

Tin Whisker Mitigation Process for Surface Mount Components

Ten years after the EU's lead restrictions took place, electronic components with tin-lead finishes are definitely a thing of the past. Author Scott Sentz explores his company’s tin mitigation process which works with both passive and active components.

Effectiveness of Conformal Coatings on Surface Mount Components as Tin Whisker Mitigation

In this study, sets of assembled quad flat packages were conformally coated and evaluated for tin whisker mitigation, as well as the coating coverage. Six coating materials were examined. Whisker growth was examined after specimens were subjected sequential to temperature cyclings, corrosive gases, and temperature and humidity conditions.

Zollner's New Facility to Focus on the Customer

John Burke, General Manager and COO of Zollner's newly-dedicated U.S. operations located in the Silicon Valley, joins Guest Editor Joe Fjelstad to profile the new facility, its capabilities, and near-term plans for growth in service to the company's many U.S.-based customers.

Assembly and Rework of Lead-Free PoP Technology

Lead-free PoP technology is the latest in vertical electronics packaging integration and has become the preferred technology for mobile handheld electronics applications. TT electronics has developed the capability to assemble and rework numerous state-of-the-art packaging technologies, and this article addresses the essential engineering development activities performed to both assemble and rework PoP components.

Nam Tai Enjoys 62.8% Sales Growth in Q2

Sales in the second quarter of 2012 were $205.1 million, an increase of 62.8%, as compared to sales of $126.0 million for the same quarter of 2011. Gross profit margin in the second quarter of 2012 was 9.2%, up 3.9% from 5.3% in the second quarter of last year.

Celestica's Q2 Revenue Drops; Acquires D&H Manufacturing

"We are pleased to announce that we have entered into an agreement to acquire D&H Manufacturing Company. This acquisition will strengthen our complex mechanical and systems integration offering, and allows us to provide additional value to our customers in the diversified markets segment of our business," said Craig Muhlhauser, president and CEO.

Board-Level Defects Examined

Dr. Jennie S. Hwang discusses issues related to board-level defects: Pad cratering, conductive anode filament formation, and solderability defects. Dr. Hwang also notes that lead-free assembly has placed significant stress on printed wiring board assemblies and discusses packaging trends such as BTC.

Staying Green When You Clean

Bill Schreiber, president of Smart Sonic, describes challenges involving cleaning pallets and stencils, their proprietary chemistry, and their womb-to-tomb turnkey process for cleaning--all while keeping the environment in mind.

I-Connect007 EMS Asia Week: Great Expectations

EMS makers in Asia have a positive outlook this week, with most expecting June shipments and total sales for the year to hit record highs. Quanta is expected to ship 12 to 15 million tablet PCs to become the largest ODM maker of non-iPad tablet PCs in 2012. Compal Electronics and Wistron are achieving double-digit percentage growth, while V.S. Industry has a posted a 24.4% rise in net profit.

2012 Medical Devices Outlook

The medical semiconductor market has largely followed the same ups and downs as the rest of the semiconductor industry, with total shipments declining slightly in 2011 after spiking in 2010. However, over the next several years, the market is projected to grow, with demand spurred on by a wave of new government-approved ultra-portable and implantable products and booming regional demand.

Manufacturing Process Software Solutions at Mentor

Senior Marketing Development Manager Michael Ford of Mentor Graphics explains his company's new MSS software solution that streamlines and greatly improves the efficiency of the manufacturing process to achieve higher profits. The software is also scalable and suitable for any size company.

A MUST Use System

Graham Naisbitt, managing director of GEN3 Systems UK, joins Guest Editor Mark Thompson to discuss his company's MUST system, which uses force testing for traceability of solder leads. An especially important feature for determining counterfeit parts.

NPI Runs and Volume Production on One Machine?

Volume production lines usually have too high an output to be used as a dedicated NPI line. But, with careful line design, the two can be combined on a single machine. NPI and volume production simultaneously in one machine is only doable with more than one lane. Columnist Eric Klaver explains.

Data & Statistics Generated Can Improve Competitiveness

Company President Leo van de Vall sits down with Guest Editor Dan Feinberg to discusses a new service that uses the statistics and data generated during production to make the customer more competitive in the marketplace.

Is Oven Baking Really the Answer?

Jos Brehler, sales director for Totech Super Dry, joins Editor Pete Starkey to explain how moisture-sensitive device control has become an increasingly serious issue and the low-temperature alternatives to traditional oven baking.

Are There Fake Parts in Everything?

A recent study discovered that 40% of components supplied to the U.S. government were either substandard or fake. Guest Editor Stuart Hayton chats with Sensible Micro President Christopher Torrioni about how the introduction of the NDAA 2012 will help phase out the fakes.

SMTA Seeks Member of Distinction Award Nominations

The Surface Mount Technology Association (SMTA) is accepting nominations for the 2012 SMTA Member of Distinction Awards. The awards honor members who have shown exceptional service to the association and to the industry and are presented each year at SMTA International.

Second Star from the Right and Straight on 'Til Morning

William Shatner’s keynote address was packed with eager attendees at IPC APEX EXPO. A thread of serious environmental consciousness ran throughout Shatner’s performance. As well, many thought-provoking and inspirational questions were asked and answered with wit, insight, and wisdom.

IPC Sets Standards on Strain Gauge Tests

"The revision is about making sure there's a common, accepted practice for measuring manufacturing strain on printed board assemblies due to board flexure," said Intel Corporation's Jagadeesh Radhakrishnan, a co-chair of the task group that developed IPC/JEDEC-9704A.

Rehm, Technica Partner to Expand in the U.S.

Frank Medina of Technica and Michael Hanke of Rehm Thermal Systems talk to I-Connect007 Guest Editor Michael Carano about their partnership, equipment and materials technologies, and strategies for success in an up-and-down market.

Chrys Shea on the Challenges of Lead-Free

Chrys Shea discusses the many challenges lead-free assembly has presented to the industry, including issues from the early days that were not anticipated: Copper dissolution, assembly issues with bottom side terminations and pad cratering. Exciting developments in optical inspection are also discussed.

Rehm Addresses Soldering Issues, Misconceptions

Rehm Thermal Systems' Helmut Öttl, head of application and PM soldering, sits down with Guest Editor Steve Gold on the IPC APEX EXPO show floor to examine the many misconceptions concerning the soldering process.

Maxed Out: Do Not Adjust Your Set

Some of the innovations racing towards us will make you squeal with delight, such as the next-generation 4K2K displays, which will blow today's high-definition displays out of the water. For example, the current high-definition 1080p format presents images that contain 2 megapixels, but the next-generation 4K2K displays will boast 4096 x 2400 pixels (that's 10 megapixels). And there are even wall-size 8K4K displays on the drawing board.

iNEMI Seeks Participation for PCBA Project

The IPC9704 standard was revised February 2012 (now IPC9704A) to encompass the impact of lead-free electronics and to incorporate consistent strain gage placement/measurement techniques to monitor printed circuit board assembly (PCBA) flexure within a manufacturing environment.

Smart Equipment Strategies Optimize Final Test

Semiconductor companies are putting a greater focus on cost structure as sales prices fall and margins are reduced. This segment of the electronics industry is growing fast, but it seems no company is willing to pay the high prices associated with ICs used in production. Barbara Loferer takes a closer look.

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.

Rehm Thermal Systems, Technica Partner in U.S.

Rehm Thermal Systems has entered into a new U.S. distribution agreement with Technica. Chief Customer Officer Michael Hanke discusses his company's new partnership and also delves into the family-owned business's focus on process technology and global manufacturing strategy.

The Future of Solder Materials

Indium Corporation's Dr. Ning-Cheng Lee and Guest Editor Dr. Jennie S. Hwang discuss lead-free solder development and the future requirements of lead-free materials.

Valor Automates Product Planning with New Module

Mentor Graphics' Product Marketing Manager Mark Laing joins Editor Andy Shaughnessy to explain why the company's Valor division decided to release the new Product Planning Module. Laing also discusses common production challenges this module addresses.

SMTA Announces Soldering & Reliability Conference Program

The SMTA has announced the program for the 2012 International Conference on Soldering and Reliability. The event will be held during the week of May 15-18 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. This conference will be co-located with the SMTA Lead-Free Academy and the SMTA Toronto Expo.

IMI Enjoys 40% Revenue Growth in 2011

"Despite a global economy saddled with Eurozone struggles and U.S. weaknesses, we grew our revenues. IMI remained profitable in spite of a very volatile marketplace," said Arthur Tan, President and CEO. By expanding its global footprint in 2011, IMI has achieved a diversity of marketplaces, serving varied segments of the electronics industry in different parts of the world.

Competing in the Inspection Market

The assembly inspection market is often viewed as a "necessary evil." Yet, the right equipment can help increase yields. Christopher Associates President Matt Holzmann joins Guest Editor Steve Gold on the show floor to explain how value can be added to this very important process.

IEC's Fiscal 1Q12 Revenue Up 18%

W. Barry Gilbert, Chairman of the Board and CEO, stated, "While revenues were up for the entire company, earnings were down significantly from the prior quarter. Key sections of the company continue to perform quite well. We continue to increase our revenue and our organic growth was in line with our estimates at just over 12%."

SMTAI 2011 Best Papers Announced

The SMTA is pleased to announce the Best Papers from SMTA International 2011. As speakers at SMTA International, individuals make contributions to the industry by sharing their research and findings. To reward exceptional achievement, $1,000 awards and plaques are given for the Best of Conference Presentation, Best of Proceedings Paper, and the Best International Paper.

Facing the Challenges of 2012 and Beyond

A diverse group of trends, including the return of manufacturing to the United States, the continued development of clean energy options and mobile communication devices, and the end of exemptions to RoHS chemical restrictions, all bring the potential to affect business in 2012.

Lingering Economic Uncertainties to Spur Declines in ECM

Following a year of expansion in 2011, the global electronics contract manufacturing business is expected to decline slightly in 2012, as continuing economic uncertainty in Europe and the United States constricts growth, according to an IHS iSuppli EMS & ODM Market Brief report from information and analysis provider IHS.

SMTA: 2012 SMT Certification Dates & Locations Released

The SMTA proudly announces upcoming offerings of SMT Certification in Minnesota, Ohio, California, and Florida. The SMTA Certification program is unique as it recognizes and certifies the entire SMT assembly process at an engineering level.

What Can You Rely On?

Companies who rode the sharp increase in demand in 2011 had to adapt to fulfilling their customer's requests quickly, requiring a production ramp-up to meet delivery demands. This was true for both electronics manufacturers and their equipment suppliers. If one supplier could not meet required lead times manufacturers quickly turned to another with more capacity.

There's More to Plasma

Plasma has many more applications in PCB manufacturing than desmearing drilled holes and activating surfaces. Peter Bierhuis, previously President of Nordson March, now newly-appointed President of Nordson Asymtek, discusses a few of these uses with Editor Pete Starkey on the productronica 2011 show floor.

IPC APEX EXPO 2012 Includes Free Process Defect Clinic

Organized by IPC and the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), the free clinic will be held in the exhibit hall to assist event attendees with assembly and soldering process problems, RoHS compliance issues, solderability concerns, field failures and other process-related issues.

Award-Winning Sensible Micro Ready for Growth

Sensible Micro Corporation President Chris Torrioni speaks with Editor Andy Shaughnessy on the SMTAI show floor to document the component distributor's six-year rise from a small family firm to an award-winning global company.

Flextronics Expands Romania Facility, Targets Medical Market

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

Breault Talks Current Assembly Trends

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

Past, Present and Future of Package-on-Package

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

IPC: EMS Industry Returns to Growth

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

The Four Stages of Defect Resolution

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

ZESTRON Opens Cleaning Tech Centers

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

SMTAI to Discuss PCB Technology Challenges

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

DEK GM Discusses Latest Offerings, Innovations

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

Jasbir Bath on Reaction to Rising Silver Costs

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

electronica & productronica India Explore Opportunities

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

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

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

Reid: RoHS Bolsters Materials and Interconnections

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

Study of Quality Benchmarks for EMS Industry Now Available

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

Neways Posts 23% Rvenue Growth in 1H11

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

Resurgence in Demand for Standards Training

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

Winland Electronics' Positive Sales Trend Continues in Q2

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

Nortech Systems Reports 13% Sales Increase in Q2

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

Henkel Continues Solid Performance in Q2

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

IPC's Data Exchange Standard for Conflict Minerals Regulation

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

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

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

Incap's 1H Revenue Up 15% YoY

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

Celestica on Solar

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

Moldable Solutions to Protect Electronics

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

Disruptive Climates the Focus of IPC Executive Summit

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

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

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

Plexus Posts Fiscal Q3 Revenue of $559 Million

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

Elecsys' EDMS Segment Posts 40% Sales Growth for FY2011

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

Sanmina-SCI, KACO Enter Manufacturing Partnership

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

Cleaning Technologies: Trends and Developments

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

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

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

Arrow Electronics Acquires Seed’s Distribution Business

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

Making Product Eco-Compliance Easy

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

Testing and Verification Agilent's Way

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

SMTA Awards ZESTRON Best of Conference Award

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

EPIC, Rocket Enter Marketing & Manufacturing Agreement

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

Facilitating Stencil Solder Paste Flow

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

Heraeus & Technica USA: The Latest in Solder Paste Tech

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

Improving Economy Drives EMS M&A Activity in Q1

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

Nam Tai Reports 104% Net Sales Growth for 1Q11

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

SCANFIL EMS Achieves 44% Sales Growth in Q1

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

Advanced High-Performance Epoxy Adhesives Revolutionize Structural Bonding

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

BGA Routing Takes Center Stage in Vegas

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

An Obvious Partnership: Nordson YESTECH & Dage Inspection Solutions

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

RIT/CEMA Work to Solve Technical Issues

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

Benchmark Trims Q1 Guidance on Softer Demand

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

SMTA Releases SMT Certification Dates, Locations

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

Ryder Industries to Expand to Inland China

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

Dave Foggie: DEK's Remarkable Year

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

Cisco Executive to Keynote Atlanta SMTA Expo

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

At ECT, Focus is on the Customer

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

Innovation - It is Essential to Competitiveness

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

Think You Only Need AOI? Think Again

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

Mirtec Thriving on AOI

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

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

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

Nordson Reports 23% Sales Increase in Q1

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

Strong EMS Activity in 2010

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

Altaris Capital Partners Acquires Paramit Corporation

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

ALPHA SACX Plus Solder Alloys Secures China Patent

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

Enics, Axis Enter Strategic Partnership Agreement

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

Flextronics Posts Strong Q3 Results; Sales Up 19%

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

NEPCON China 2011 Highlights Auto Electronics of the Future

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

ENEPIG Round Robin Testing Underway

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

Fein-Lines: CES, Day 2

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

Outlook and Trends 2011: A Perspective

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

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

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

IEC Electronics: IPC Standards Define Expectation Levels

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

Ryder Discusses Strategies for Workforce Stability in China

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

Unmasking a Counterfeit BGA

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

An Electronic Alliance

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

Increasing Throughput with Solder Paste

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

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

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

IPC, NPL Host Soldering and Assembly Defects Webinar

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

From electronica 2010: Electronics & EMS in India

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

Preparing for Tomorrow's Business

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

Greenpeace Strikes Again with Unscientific Scorecard

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

Neways Reports 52% Revenue Increase in Q3

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

SMTAI Show Wrap-Up

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

Managing Dross in Soldering Processes

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

High-Frequency Materials for PCB Design

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

AcAe Takes Translating Data to the Next Level

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

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

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

Using IPC 1750 Series For Life Cycle Analysis

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

IPC Keynote: Sustainability in Electronics

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

Considering a Halogen-Free Future? Know the Facts

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

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

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

Conflict Minerals Legislation Causing Great Concern

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

United Against Counterfeiting: A Counterfeit EEE Parts Solution

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

Rowland: New RoHS Annex Affects Assembly Industry

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

Conformal Coating vs. Encapsulation: Protecting Electronic Devices

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

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.

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

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

Boundary Scan and Cheese

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

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

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

Cleaning Issues Addressed at APEX

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

Best Practices for Post-Reflow Assembly Cleaning

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

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

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

STB Market Fuels Need for Infrared Technology

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

Causes and Solutions for Solder Ball Defects

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

Section 14: PWB Vias, X-Sections

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

Counterfeit Material Prevention and Detection

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

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

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

Section 12: SMT Assemblies, T-Cycled Cracks

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

False Tin Whiskers: Masquerading Tin Copper Intermetallics

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

M&A Activities in EMS Industry Re-Stabilizing

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

Component Performance Rising with Energy Requirements

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

Section 11: SMT Assembly Defects

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

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

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

Section 10: BGAs Re-Balled

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

Incap Posts 18% Revenue Growth in 1H

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

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

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

Digital Pseudo-Color Inspection Reveals Hidden Soldering Defects

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

Rowland on RoHS 2 Draft Exemptions

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

SigmaTron Posts 29% Revenue Growth in Fiscal 4Q10

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

007 Asian Coverage Expands With SMT Merger

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

The Proliferation of Lead-Free SAC Alloys

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

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

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

Real Time With... Brings Events to Your Screen

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

Real Time with...EMS Technology Videos

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

Next-Generation PoP Pastes for Electronics Assembly

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

Packaging and Antennae Technology Improvements

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

Response: How Do You Clean PCB Assemblies?

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

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

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

Practical Components Designs Custom Circuit Board Practice Kits and Boards

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

PCBA in a Wind Tunnel: Watch Thermal Management in Action

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

Arrow Electronics Acquires Sphinx Group Limited

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

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

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

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