AIM on RoHS Compliance for 2016 and Success with M8


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On the last day of SMTAI, I had a chance to sit down with AIM Technical Marketing Manager Tim O'Neill, who brought me up to speed on what the next phase of RoHS compliance will mean for AIM’s customers, the success they’re seeing with their new solder paste, M8, and where the company is headed in terms of expansion.

Andy Shaughnessy: Good to see you, Tim. For people who aren't familiar with AIM, why don't you give us a quick background?

Tim O'Neill: AIM is a global supplier of solders and materials to the electronics assembly market. The company's been around since the '30s and in the electronics industry since the early '80s. We are based out of Montreal, Canada, the location of our world headquarters, and we have wholly owned facilities in Rhode Island, U.S.A.; Juarez, Mexico; Lodz, Poland; and Shenzhen, China.  Our division, Assembly Materials, is part of a larger $2 billion organization specializing in metal recycling and trading.  Despite the global downturn in metal commodities our industry continues to stay strong, which is very positive.

Shaughnessy: What are some of the recent developments you were mentioning to me during our pre-interview?

O'Neill: The most exciting thing for us right now is our latest solder paste, M8 No Clean. It was released earlier this year after extensive product development that addressed two of what we feel are the most significant challenges to the assembly: ultra-fine pitch printing and voiding on bottom-terminated devices; two very common problems. When we are called in to apply tech services to assist a customer, these are usually the two problems that we're trying to resolve. It’s all about getting the paste to last longer, print more effectively and eliminate voiding after reflow. There's no such thing as a good void.

In product development, you can only take a product so far. Eventually, you have to decide if it's marketable or not. When a new product is released, you want to understand if your lab data correlates with what's going to happen in the field. In this regard, M8 has exceed our expectations.

Shaughnessy: What has customer feedback been like with M8?

O'Neill: I've been with AIM for 20 years and seen dozens of products get released. M8 has been a superstar and feedback has been fantastic—the kind of product where once they try it, they immediately want to know where they can get more. That is not typical for the solder paste industry, but it solves a lot of problems, and it makes an engineer's job easier.

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