Article Highlights
Excerpt: The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to… Smart Data, Chapter 3
05/05/2021 | Sagi Reuven and Zac Elliott, Siemens Digital Industries Software
Process Control in Solder and Reflow
05/05/2021 | Nolan Johnson, I-Connect007
An Inside Look at the IPC Committee Process
05/05/2021 | I-Connect007 Editorial Team
A Tribute to Dieter Bergman
05/04/2021 | David Bergman, IPC
Nolan’s Notes: Driving Cost Out of the Supply Chain
04/28/2021 | Nolan Johnson, I-Connect007
SMT :: Business

Latest Articles

Process Control in Solder and Reflow

Nolan Johnson speaks with KIC’s Miles Moreau to get his perspective on topics such as wave process inspection (WPI), wave solder, and vacuum reflow, and how they will fit into Industry 4.0 and smart factories.

An Inside Look at the IPC Committee Process

As IPC committee meetings were in full effect at this year’s APEX EXPO, Nolan Johnson and Barry Matties have a discussion with many of IPC’s directors and program managers—Teresa Rowe, Chris Jorgensen, Deb Obitz, John Perry, Andres Ojalill, and Patrick Crawford—to gain a better understanding of how committees work.

PRIDE Industries: A Nonprofit EMS and Staffing Firm Moves Into Mil-aero

PRIDE Industries is a contract manufacturing provider with a twist: The company provides training and coaching for job seekers with disabilities, including service-disabled veterans. If they don’t have openings in their Sacramento facility, they may have a job for you in one of 15 other states.

A Tribute to Dieter Bergman

In 1962, while at Philco Ford, Dieter became the company’s official representative to the IPC. Dieter tag-teamed with his friend and co-worker Gerald Ginsberg on the development of a prolific run of technical publications including a multilayer design standard and the massive binder known as the IPC-D-330 IPC Design Guide. For his standards contributions, Dieter received the IPC President’s Award in 1968, the same year he assumed chairmanship of the IPC Design Committee.

Show & Tell Magazine Now Available on Demand

IPC APEX EXPO 2021 is in the history books now. But as the paperboys used to say in the 1930s, you can still “read all about it” in Real Time With… IPC APEX EXPO 2021 Show & Tell Magazine! It’s all right here in one convenient publication: interviews with award winners, coverage of keynote speeches, show notes from our technical staff, thoughts from IPC Emerging Engineers, and much more

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

This week’s biggest news came in the form of industry briefings—there were a lot of them and the news was universally positive. The news you need to read for this week includes three reports from IPC detailing: the strength and risks in the global economic recovery; a strong EMS book-to-bill ratio; and strong North American PCB sales. Zeroing in on a single company, Apple reported a significant jump in revenue.

Excerpt: The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to… Smart Data, Chapter 2

Companies have been collecting data in large volumes. Highly varied data from manufacturing operations comes in quickly that needs to be validated, and its value prioritized so that it can be turned into something useful—transformed from big data to smart data. The amount of data available has grown exponentially into big data. Twenty years ago, a PCB work order resulted in 100 data records, megabytes of data; today, it is 10 billion records, terabytes of data. The investment in collecting this data and storing it is high. However, without a way to analyze the data, without analytics, it will not result in ROI.

I-Connect007 'Just Ask' Q&A Compilation Available Now

Throughout 2020, we asked you to send us your questions for Happy Holden, John Mitchell, Joe Fjelstad, Tara Dunn, and Heidi Barnes. You all had plenty of questions for these industry experts. The following is a handy compilation of your questions and their answers.

A New Captive PCB Facility in the U.S.

Diane Maceri and Jessi Hall discuss how Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL) has been working with Alex Stepinski of GreenSource Fabrication to build their own captive PCB facility in Moscow, Idaho; the thought process behind that decision; and their involvement in the Managers Forum at IPC APEX EXPO 2021.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

I’m sure it’s just me being hyperaware, but I can’t shake it: Mars is where it’s at right now. Is it just me, or do you get the same feeling from the news? There are the Mars rovers—three generations of them still rolling, now—and a drone helicopter winding up for a maiden flight any day now. But that’s not all. There’s SpaceX’s StarShip, rapid-prototyping its way into a manned flight to Mars. And NASA’s whole “return to the Moon” project is simply a shakedown for the U.S. government contractors’ Mars flight hardware, too.


Top Five Takeaways from IPC APEX EXPO 2021

IPC APEX EXPO 2021, which went all virtual this year, exemplified how the electronics industry has responded to the COVID-19 global pandemic: with resiliency, agility, and an unwavering commitment to build electronics better. APEX EXPO featured great content and robust discussions on topics of critical importance to the global electronics industry. From my vantage point leading IPC’s government relations programs, here are my top five takeaways from this year’s event.

Overcoming Component Selection and Sourcing Challenges

Most PCB designers know precisely how Captain James T. Kirk felt because we often feel the same way when starting a new design. We are launching into something that we ultimately don't know how it will turn out. We don't know the difficulties we'll face or problems we’ll need to fix. While we can control the design process and use our skills to make reasonable decisions, there are often huge hazards awaiting us in the "unknown." One worsening problem for all designers is component procurement.

Highlights on a Rousing Virtual IPC APEX EXPO 2021

What a week that was! I didn’t get to endure the 11-hour flight each way, neither did I need my comfy old shoes, but it certainly was a marathon event. And real-time-plus-six-hours gave me a few late nights, but it was such a meaningful experience, and well worth the effort!

Driving Down Cost in the Supply Chain

Driving cost out of the supply chain goes beyond reduction of raw material cost. Though many of the manufacturers today concentrate on negotiation with their raw material supplier(s) the hidden cost of internal supply chain goes undetected. To address the cost of the entire supply chain we should not only look at direct material cost but also the cost of internal supply chain. At Epoch we looked at four areas in particular which include: planning/tracking, storage/delivery, inventory management, and supplier relationships.

Technical Conference—Balancing Conventional and Disruptive Technologies

I thought the three keynotes given by IPC President and CEO John Mitchell, Industry Week Editor-in-Chief Travis Hessman, and IPC Chief Economist Shawn DuBravac, were spot on. They all spoke to the fact that the way products are conceived, designed, manufactured, and used is changing rapidly. While the keynotes had different focus areas, I noted an important similarity—they all underscored the need for increased industry collaboration to help bring the factory and supply chain of the future to life.

Excerpt: The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to… Smart Data

Whenever we discuss data, keep in mind that people have been collecting data, verifying it, and translating it into reports for a long time. And if data is collected and processes are changed automatically, people still will be interpreting and verifying the accuracy of the data, creating reports, making recommendations, solving problems, tweaking, improving, and innovating. Whatever data collection system is used, any effort to digitalize needs to engage and empower the production team at the factory. Their role is to attend to the manufacturing process but also to act as the front line of communications and control.

What Makes a Great Supply Chain Manager?

Building a competitive and reliable supply chain is a critical success factor for any manufacturing business. This is especially true today, where we face constant volatility and disruption across global supply chains. In this environment, effective supply chain leadership is more critical than ever. So, what makes a great supply chain manager?

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

The Top 5 is labeled as “editor’s choice,” which is a good thing this week because if I were limited to just posting the five most viewed news items, this week’s list would be full of our own coverage for IPC APEX EXPO. Judging from the metrics, that content has been extremely popular.

Rooting Out an 'Us vs. Them' Mentality: An Interview with Laura Kriska

Earlier this year, I-Connect007 columnist Dan Beaulieu submitted a book review on "The Business of WE: The Proven Three-Step Process for Closing the Gap Between Us and Them in Your Workplace." As a follow up to that review, Dan has interviewed the book's author, Laura Kriska.

IPC Supporting Newcomers in the Industry: Notes from IPC APEX EXPO 2021

With the wrap-up of IPC APEX EXPO 2021, it was extremely gratifying to note the emphasis placed on getting young people involved to combat the “graying out” knowledge losses facing our industry. A part of that emphasis was reflected in the award ceremony on Tuesday, March 9, which featured some people you may have seen mentioned in my “Better to Light a Candle” columns.


Emerging Engineers: Raviteja Boyana

Recent engineering graduate Raviteja Boyana discusses IPC's Emerging Engineer program and the IPC Education Foundation Scholarship, along with his mentorship with Gen3's Graham Naisbitt. Ravi has already found a job in the industry with Maxim Integrated.

IPC CFX Update v1.3

By the time that you read this, version 1.3 of the CFX standard should have been published. There are some very interesting additions in this release, including messages for predictive maintenance and smart energy management. As CFX is an IPC standard, the industry is assured of open content, designed to evolve Industry 4.0 manufacturing for everyone.

PCB Sourcing Using PCQR2

In a global market, it is often difficult to determine the best PCB suppliers for your technology needs, while also achieving the lowest costs for your products. Considering each PCB supplier has their own niche in terms of equipment, process, and performance, uniform test data from the IPC-9151D Process Capability, Quality, and Relative Reliability (PCQR2) Benchmark Test Standard can help find the right source for the board based on its specific technology requirements.

Bringing New Talent To Our Industry

Joe O’Neil, chairman of the IPC Education Foundation, talks about the panel discussion with young engineers and how the education foundation is working to attract new students into our industry. This effort provides resources to educators and helps young engineers advance their careers.

Happy’s Play-by-Play of IPC APEX EXPO

This was the first time IPC had a virtual APEX EXPO. It went well, but I missed seeing everyone. On the other hand, all this material being available for 90 days certainly allows it to fit anyone’s schedule. I spent all week intently listening to the presentations.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

This week, we have a round-up of stories from around the industry, including a Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO interview with Ventec, an article by Tamara Jovanovic about eliminating “garbage in, garbage out,” a review of an EIPC webinar by Pete Starkey, and news about another trade show going virtual this summer. And last but certainly not least, we bring you our one-minute video salute to all the fantastic people in this industry who we’ve worked with for decades. Enjoy!

I-Connect007 Video: A Salute to The Industry

I-Connect007 has produced this new one-minute video to acknowledge nearly 35 years of sharing your stories. In 1987 we launched our first industry publication and we have been dedicated to covering this industry ever since. We did not start out as publishers: in fact, our background was in printed circuit board fabrication. In 1987 there were still nearly 3,000 PCB shops in North America. At the time, profits were goods, trade events included giant industry parties (remember the extravagant hospitality suites in Anaheim?), and the industry was in a state of change.

The Test Connection Focusing on Services

Bert Horner, president of The Test Connection, explains why he highlighted the company's test services during IPC APEX EXPO. He also discusses some of the lessons the company learned during the pandemic.

Post-Show Interview with IPC President John Mitchell

In this relaxed wrap-up interview, John Mitchell shares his thoughts on this year’s virtual show with Barry Matties. Some of the emerging themes that came up include smart factory implementation and the increased traction for the emerging engineer program.

The Ongoing Need for Tribal Knowledge

IPC Hall of Fame recipients Bob Neves and Don Dupriest led a special event on the first day of IPC APEX EXPO 2021 called “Forgotten Tribal Knowledge with IPC Hall of Fame and Emerging Engineers.” In this interview, Bob discusses the ongoing need to harness tribal knowledge for the benefit of emerging engineers.


New Online Training Programs Enhance Delivery Options

Jahr Turchan, Blackfox's Director of Veteran Services & Advanced Manufacturing Programs, discusses how technical training programs pivoted in 2020 and how customers responded to their training needs throughout the year.

The Laser World is Rapidly Developing

Stephan Schmidt, LPKF president, discusses the LPKF laser 14x20” depaneling system. The company is also introducing automatic handling solutions, helping to fill the gap in automated SMT manufacturing lines.

Balver Zinn Group Mourns Loss of Managing Director Gregor Jost

It is with deep sorrow that Balver Zinn Josef Jost GmbH & Co. KG says goodbye to its managing director, Dipl.-ing. Gregor Jost.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

There was a lot going on in the industry this week, and most of it happened at the virtual IPC APEX EXPO. Sure, it wasn’t the same as being in San Diego, but the show went pretty well, especially for a first-time event. There were a few technical snafus, but the IPC technical staff was responsive and took care of most of the issues right away. As I said a few months ago, how would you like to be in trade show management during a pandemic? So, without further ado, here are my top five stories from the past week.

APEX Panel: Lessons Learned in Times of Crisis

During a crisis, communication among employees, customers and suppliers is key to keeping business operations running as smoothly as possible.This consensus came from a panel moderated by Mark Wolfe in the EMS portion of the Managers Forum on Monday, March 6, during the virtual IPC APEX EXPO 2021. Panelists were asked to speak about lessons learned during the pandemic and how it affected their business and employees.

IPC APEX EXPO 2021 Keynote: Travis Hessman on ‘The Great Digital Transformation’

Wednesday’s Premier Keynote at IPC APEX EXPO 2021 came from Travis Hessman, editor-in-chief of IndustryWeek, “a website and magazine dedicated to manufacturing leadership, operational excellence and the technologies that make it possible.” An energetic and animated presenter, a powerful storyteller and visibly passionate about digital manufacturing, Hessman made it clear at the outset that his goal was not to hype an already over-hyped industry, nor to focus on the technologies themselves, but to walk-through the process of transformation.

IPC Managers Forum: Packed With Useful Information

Gene Weiner of Weiner International Associates discusses the highlights of the IPC Managers Forum which took place on the first day of IPC APEX EXPO. The forum was filled with a variety of speakers covering a range of industry topics.

IPC Releases Free Smart Factory for Electronics Manufacturing Presentation

The IPC APEX EXPO 2021 Technical Program features a tract on the “Factory of the Future Implementation,” March 10-11. As part of that program, IPC has made available a free presentation and video from the Manufacturing Technology Center (MTC), a CFX Program member. In this presentation, Barry Maybank along with Naim Kapadia, MTC technology manager, explains the background of the MTC, one of seven high-value-manufacturing technology catapult centers established in the UK.

IPC APEX EXPO Keynote: John Mitchell on the State of the Industry

IPC President and CEO Dr. John Mitchell was the Monday keynote for the 2021 edition of IPC APEX EXPO. Delivered via video conference as a part of this year’s virtual format, Mitchell made good use of a panel approach. After opening remarks, Mitchell anchored an around-the-horn series of reports from IPC experts.

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2021: Developments in Digital Manufacturing

Michael Ford and Pete Starkey discuss the industry trend towards digital manufacturing, the latest in 3D CAD technology, ontological data and the benefits of the new IPC standard for digital twins.


IPC APEX EXPO 2021: The Complete Agenda

IPC APEX EXPO week kicks off today in a first-ever virtual format. The 24-page IPC APEX EXPO program of courses and conference events details the events, technical program, keynotes, and much more.

Virtual IPC APEX EXPO Kicks Off Today

There will be no long TSA lines, late flights, Uber rides, noisy hotel rooms, missing luggage, or aching feet...all things that we long for. Instead, we will be attending our first-ever online IPC APEX EXPO 2021 starting today. One key benefit with this year’s IPC APEX EXPO is your ability to choose what session you will see or not see, as the IPC will have the sessions available for 90 days after the show so that you can catch up on whatever you missed. Also, those on your team who normally do not travel to the event will now be able to take part.

What Makes a Good Process Engineer?

Nolan Johnson recently spoke with Tuan Tran, director of customer solutions at Green Circuits, about what makes a successful process engineer. They also discuss a typical day in the life of a process engineer—from pre-manufacturing through post-DFM, for process improvement. As Tuan points out, there are a variety of paths to becoming a great process engineer.

Coming Out Ahead With Smart Processes

During a recent interview with Dr. Tim Rodgers that focused on supply chain management, the conversation also touched on smart factories. We’ve included Tim’s insights on smart processes here.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

We’re seeing an increase in optimism as more people are vaccinated and states under lockdown begin flipping open their shutters. This positive outlook is spreading, albeit slowly.

Finding Process Improvement Opportunities in Training

Nolan Johnson speaks with Leo Lambert of EPTAC about training the next generation out of high school and vocational schools, and how his company continues to improve processes, grow and adapt to changing requirements while fulfilling its mission to deliver technical certification training.

Predicting a ‘Roaring Twenties’ Innovation Boom

The 2020s have not started as anyone would have wished. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed weaknesses in supply chains and in global manufacturing, yet this could still be the most innovative decade ever.

Catching Up With Sean McConville, Niche Electronics

Dan Beaulieu catches up with Sean McConville, vice president of business development at Niche Electronics, who shares his background in the industry, the strengths of his company, and how the pandemic has affected its business.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

I’m following the landing procedures for NASA’s Perseverance Mars lander as I’m finishing my Top 5 list for the week. The successful landing of the lander seems a nice highlight for this week. Our global aerospace programs, both national and private enterprise, make these missions seem almost, almost routine. They are, as we all know, anything but routine. No surprise, then, that aerospace-related news percolated to the top of mind for our readers this week.

Footprints: A Distributor’s Perspective

No issue on footprints and library management would be complete without input from a component distributor. I recently interviewed Geof Lipman of Octopart; as director of operations for part data, he’s one of the brains behind the entire site. Geof explains how Octopart functions and manages millions of component data points, and he also discusses the current landscape of electronic components.


Jered Stoehr Discusses New Leadership Role at Milwaukee Electronics

On Friday, February 12, 2021, Nolan Johnson spoke with Jered Stoehr, incoming CEO at Milwaukee Electronics Corporation (MEC) about his new role. Jered steps in for his father, Michael Stoehr, after approximately 35 years of leadership from the elder Stoehr. In their conversation Jered provides Nolan with some additional detail to accompany the recent press announcement, including the timeline for the transition, how Jered prepared for this role, and what he sees as the agenda to grow and advance the business.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

We’re moving on into 2021, and there’s quite a bit going on in the world of PCB design, fabrication, and assembly. IPC APEX EXPO is fast approaching, and I know a lot of you will be attending, albeit virtually. In this week’s Top Five, columnist Eric Camden provides a how-to guide for PCBA technologists planning their IPC APEX EXPO schedule.

Building A Better, Brighter LED Headlamp with Top-Side Alignment Process (TAP)

An emerging trend in the automotive industry is the adoption of advanced LED headlamp lighting systems. These systems drive challenging placement requirements for LED packages. In this paper, we will review these unique challenges and discuss a novel approach to high-accuracy placement of LED packages enabling a scalable production solution.

Joe Fjelstad's Book Review: The Innovators

"The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution" by Walter Isaacson is the best technology history book I have ever read, and at the same time one of the most engaging and entertaining. It is a forte of Isaacson to write biographies of great people. I have read his other books on DaVinci, Steve Jobs, Ben Franklin and Albert Einstein and found them equally brilliant. Isaacson has a number of other titles I have yet to get to in the future. He is a singularly great storyteller.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

Another active news week in the electronics industry! February is launching with a high-G burn, to be sure. And if you’re a fan of The Expanse, like I am, then you’ve probably already watched through to the Season 5 finale; this means you have attention to spare for industry news all of a sudden. And if you haven’t reached the current end of the line for The Expanse, then today’s list is just what you need while you catch up.

Making the Most of a Virtual Event

Nolan Johnson speaks with Alicia Balonek, senior director of tradeshows and events at IPC, about how both attendees and exhibitors can best prepare for this year’s virtual IPC APEX EXPO and breaks down some of the events you can look forward to at this year’s show.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

This week, we have a variety of news and articles to share, and it’s all positive. We have a new president, and he’s pledging to help American businesses. December PCB sales were up 4.5% over the same period a year ago. Atotech is just about ready to launch an IPO. Sunstone has tweaked its free CAD tool, PCB123, to make it even easier for designers to receive their Gerber files. And columnist John Watson breaks down what we all learned during the chaos that was 2020.

Book Review: The Timeliest Read of 2021—The Business of WE

It’s only January, but this may be the timeliest book of the year, as well as the most important. Why? Because it deals with the issues that we are facing right here now. The gap that Kriska refers to is the one between black and white, men and women and as the title suggests “we and them.”

IPC’s Alicia Balonek Talks Trade Show News

Nolan Johnson discusses IPC APEX EXPO 2021 with Alicia Balonek, senior director of trade shows and events at IPC. Alicia provides an update on how IPC APEX EXPO will be structured in a virtual format, overviews the programming changes, and new additions designed to make IPC APEX EXPO the best virtual event possible.

5 Keys to Smart Process Success

Smart factories require the core underlying processes to be connected and “talking” to generate the data necessary to make real-time process decisions, that is, the IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things). In a truly connected factory, an ongoing continuous dialog between machines, business processes, suppliers and customers is happening in the background. This dialog is not only interactive, but proactive, as a constant stream of real-time data is tweaking and adjusting processes to drive improvement. It also provides time-critical information on how processes are operating, supply chain pipeline, and delivery status updates—all based on data.


Implementing Digital Twin Best Practices From Design Through Manufacturing Webinar Review

I-007e recently released a highly informative series of short webinars called Implementing Digital Twin Best Practices from Design Through Manufacturing presented by industry expert Jay Gorajia, the Director of Siemens Global Digital Manufacturing Services. The webinar is an excellent overview how data that is generated using a digital twin model can be effectively utilized to improve business execution using the Siemens tool suite.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

This week’s news gave off every indicator that we’ve started a new calendar year. The news channels were busy with changes in leadership—both corporate and governmental—and changes in ownership. Changes in representation, too. Honestly, it was hard to sort out the news to just five top items. Be that as it may, here are five things we think you ought to read, even if you read nothing else about the electronics manufacturing industry this week: tradeshow coverage, strategic acquisitions, market discussion, and governmental advocacy.

Your Greatest Competition is Yourself

It really doesn’t matter who you think your external competitors are, because the only competitor that really matters is you. Of course, you will look externally to stay on top of latest trends, but when it comes to competition, just competing with yourself is a win. When you look at yourself as your greatest competitor you will start with a huge advantage: you already have great intel on how “your competition” thinks. Ask yourself, “What can I do to displace my ‘competitor’ and create something much better?”

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

Hard to believe that a year ago, I was getting ready to attend DesignCon and IPC APEX EXPO and wondering if this Novel Coronavirus was going to cut into attendance from the Pacific Rim. Now, we’re accustomed to virtual trade shows. They’re not ideal, but they’re the best we can do while meeting in person is not possible. We’ve learned to adapt.

CES Dispatches: Opening Day at Pepcom

On Monday, January 11, I attended the launch of the CES 2021. Well, more precisely, I attended the Pepcom program, one of the multitude of ways to connect with CES in the virtual environment. Pepcom is a regular at CES, functioning a bit like a show-within-a-show.

CES 2021: Just How Different Will It Be?

CES 2021 starts today and this year there is no need for an overpriced hotel room in Vegas, no long lines to get a taxi or board a bus, and no crowded exhibit halls (one good thing this year). On the other hand, you must decide ahead of time what you want to see and make a reservation or appointment if you wish to have time and access assured.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

It’s a new year, and time for new resolutions and new beginnings. “New year, new you” certainly is reflected in this past week’s news. We saw several announcements regarding mergers, acquisitions, and organizational changes, plus some government legislation to help kick off the new year. Based on viewing activity, readers were keen to keep up on the changes under way.

IPC CEO and President John Mitchell Discusses New Membership and Dues Structure

In this video, IPC CEO and President Dr. John Mitchell discusses the organization’s move from a site-based and enterprise membership dues structure to a company revenue-based model. Mitchell explains that this change will go into effect upon each member company’s renewal in 2021, and he points out that many of the existing member discounts will remain unchanged.

Meet Cooler Cao: SMT007 Columnist

Meet Cooler Cao, the author of one of our newest SMT007 columns, Global Connections. Cooler will cover all aspects of cables, cable assemblies, and wire harness technologies. His aim is to help companies who design and use these technologies to find the best connection solutions.

Tales from a Trailblazer: An Interview with Christine Davis

Columnist Steve Williams recorded a series of interviews with new I-Connect007 columnist Christine Davis, president and founder of contract manufacturer CAMtek, who recently joined Zentech Bloomington. As a female business owner in a male-dominated industry, Christine has a unique perspective on what it takes to thrive in the electronics industry, and shares some of her stories and lessons learned along the journey.


This Month in SMT007 Magazine—Continuous Improvement: As Simple as X = Xc – 1

X=Xc – 1 is a conceptual equation for continuous improvement. You define X and work to reduce it by a factor of 1. This could be one work hour, one process step, one day less in a cycle, and so on. We recently met with Dr. Ron Lasky to discuss the concept of X=Xc – 1 and get his advice on generating enthusiasm among readers and the next generation about continuous improvement. As this discussion illustrates, many process improvements are small in scale, not yearlong, major efforts.

I-Connect Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

We always hear that the PCB industry is “mature,” full of people past their prime who don’t know how to change with the times. I think 2020 puts the lie to that idea. I’m honored to be a journalist covering such an amazing group of people. In the words of U2, “I will begin again.” Happy New Year!

I-Connect007 Wishes You a Happy New Year

Could there be a more welcome year in recent memory than 2021? If there’s one thing most of us can agree on, it’s that we want 2020 squarely in our rearview mirror as we speed ahead with a fresh, new start. This past year has brought with it much reflection, change and even some consternation. Thank you for taking this journey with us!

Happy Holden Discusses His Favorite Career Moment

Managing Editor Nolan Johnson recently buttonholed Happy Holden and asked him to discuss the favorite moment of his career. To know Happy is to understand the full weight of his quiet influence on this industry. We’re delighted to share with you Happy’s reminiscence about spending time with his family at David Packard’s ranch while re-engineering the tank controls at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. As Happy explains, Packard may have been a billionaire and an ex-secretary of defense, but he still cleaned all of the fish that Happy’s kids caught on the ranch.

Book Excerpt: The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to Smart Data, Chapter 1

Accurate data is required to adjust processes and to ensure quality over time. This is difficult because not all data is in the same format, and not all sensors perform the same over time. How do you know what the best data to collect is and how to filter out the junk data from useful or smart data? This is not an easy task when the interfaces to data collection sources are complex, and they do not speak the same language, often requiring the vendor’s help to get data out of the machine and then spending time normalizing the data to turn it into something useful. This is a challenge for companies trying to set up a custom data collection system themselves.

Happy’s Essential Skills: Recruiting and Interviewing

Printed circuit manufacturing was not one of the jobs that electrical engineers in HP wanted to do. EEs were also not the best choice for printed circuit manufacturing because chemical engineers, chemists, and mechanical engineers had more skills useful to support the PCB manufacturing process. Therefore, I was authorized to recruit external hires. To recruit chemical engineers, we went to those universities noted for their focus on industries like electronics, process control, and environmental...

Happy Holidays from I-Connect007

The I-Connect007 team would like to wish you and your loved ones the happiest holiday season. Continue to stay safe and healthy as we head into 2021. Happy Holidays!

Batteries and Data Centers

The I-Connect007 team met with electrical engineer Mike Mosman, who has spent the majority of his career designing some of the country’s largest data centers. Mike recently sold his engineering company CCG Facilities Integration; he is now the vice president of electrical engineering in mission-critical facilities for Morrison Hershfield, and is still designing leading-edge data centers for large Internet companies. In this discussion, Mike explains how evolving battery technology and a strong demand are playing a key role in this area and others.

Meet Christine Davis, I-Connect007 Columnist

Meet Christine Davis, one of our newest columnists! Christine will share her expertise and lessons learned through her journey as one of the few women in the electronics industry to found and run her own company.

IPC Addresses Critical Industry Skills Gaps With Electronics Workforce Training

Over the past three decades, IPC standards and certification programs have played a critical role in protecting public safety and promoting excellence by ensuring the quality, reliability, and consistency of electronic products. In 2019, IPC worked with its global network of certification centers to certify over 108,000 individuals across 200 countries and 21 languages to seven IPC standards. The ubiquitous adoption of these programs speaks to the strong partnership forged between IPC and the electronics industry.


I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

Some years, the middle of December is marked by a distinct lack of news in PCB design, fabrication and assembly. Much of the industry often takes off around this time to get a head start on the holidays, or to squeeze in a much-needed vacation. But 2020 is not one of those years. Most of us aren’t traveling anywhere farther than the refrigerator this year, and everyone seems to still be working, albeit from their home offices. And companies in the PCB community continue to make news.

Dr. John Mitchell on IPC APEX EXPO Going Virtual

On Monday, December 14, 2020, Barry Matties and Dr. John Mitchell, IPC president and CEO, discussed last week’s decision to move IPC APEX EXPO to an all-virtual platform. In this interview, Dr. Mitchell confirms that IPC is committed to delivering a cutting-edge experience, including a strong technical program, exhibitor and visitor support, multiple keynotes and a wide variety of online networking events. Matties and Mitchell also analyze the challenges for IPC in hosting the show, as well as some of the unique opportunities that a virtual show presents for IPC and attendee alike.

Book Excerpt: The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to Smart Data

Whenever we discuss data, keep in mind that people have been collecting data, verifying it, and translating it into reports for a long time. And if data is collected and processes are changed automatically, people still will be interpreting and verifying the accuracy of the data, creating reports, making recommendations, solving problems, tweaking, improving, and innovating. Whatever data collection system is used, any effort to digitalize needs to engage and empower the production team at the factory. Their role is to attend to the manufacturing process but also to act as the front line of communications and control.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

This week’s mainstream news was dominated—well, my personalized online news feed was, at least—by ballistics. SpaceX was in the news daily for lobbing multiple pieces of iron, even as their CEO took his household suborbital, leaving California and touching down in Texas. Pandemic numbers charts continue their skyward trajectory worldwide. The ever-present military tests and technology demonstrations, seemed a bit more commonplace this week as well. Worldwide political news, in general, seemed to follow parabolic curves like an Australian boomerang, veering off in unexpected ways only to suddenly cut a curving path and return.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

Around the holidays, we often see a slowdown in PCB design and manufacturing news. But this holiday season, there’s been no rest for the newsmakers in our industry! In the last week, our daily and weekly newsletters have been chock-full of breaking news and up-to-the-minute technical information that readers like you rely upon every day.

Siemens and Computrol: Achieving Operational Excellence in Electronics Manufacturing

I-Connect007’s Happy Holden and Nolan Johnson speak with Zac Elliott, technical marketing engineer at Siemens Digital Industries Software, and Farid Anani, VP of operations at Computrol, about how to achieve operational excellence in electronics manufacturing. They start by discussing the dynamic wherein automation projects may initially create islands of automation and the need to eventually connect those islands to achieve even greater operational efficiencies. The discussion then moves to how to make the data smarter and more useful for analysis and optimization.

Catching up With VRI’s Sérgio Rosendal Ribeiro

Dan Beaulieu speaks with Sérgio Rosendal Ribeiro of VRI, a Brazilian PCBA company entering the North American market, who is about to open up a location in Florida. They also discuss the overall business climate in South America.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

Well, it’s the last Friday in November. On any normal year in the U.S., this would be “Black Friday” because, for many retailers, the kickoff to the holiday season’s shopping spree is the source for most of the operating income for the year. While it remains to be seen how exactly how much traditional in-store and online retailing will rake in, with the varied pandemic lockdowns, it’s clear that readers wanted to get the latest electronics industry sales numbers!

Our Thanksgiving Wish

As we take time to observe this holiday, the I-Connect007 team wishes to offer our thanks to you, our global readers and contributors: designers, fabricators, engineers, assemblers, quality and process control gurus, chemists, physicists, supervisors, managers, entrepreneurs, business owners, standards writers, industry experts, and more. You breathe life into the vital, thriving, world-changing electronics industry. You are the real story.

Part 12 of Siemens’ Digital Twin Webinar Series: MES and Enterprise Systems

I-007e Micro Webinars recently released a free, on-demand series titled “Implementing Digital Twin Best Practices From Design Through Manufacturing” with Siemens' Jay Gorajia. To conclude the series, in Part 12, Gorajia discusses, “Integrating Valor Solutions as Part of MES and Enterprise Systems."


Mentor’s User2User Conference Focuses on Semiconductor Development

Mentor conducted its annual User2User Conference virtually this year on November 10. In a departure from past U2U conferences, this event was focused primarily on developing semiconductor advances. Happy Holden reports on all the details.

The Heterogeneous Integration Roadmap for Aerospace and Defense

Most people in the semiconductor industry are familiar with the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS), which provided guidance for the industry starting in 1991 (as the National Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors). As the benefits of Moore’s Law became more difficult and more expensive to achieve, the organization decided to publish a final version in 2016. The baton was handed to the Heterogeneous Integration Roadmap (HIR), with the realization that heterogeneous integration—assembling different types of devices rather than monolithic fabrication—is an important enabler for continued progress in the semiconductor industry.

PC Technological Advances in 2020

With CES quickly approaching, which is perhaps the largest technology event globally that is also going virtual this year, key component and sub-assembly companies are not waiting to announce their next generation of components. Dan Feinberg details new components and performance advances, as well as why you should consider building your own PC.

I-Connect007 Editor's Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

In my top five picks, we have news about columnist Tara Dunn moving to Averatek to work with their A-SAP additive processes, and an interview with Audrey Sim regarding the “hybrid” model adopted by the HKPCA for its upcoming Electronic Circuits World Convention. We also have a compilation of the questions that readers have asked Joe Fjelstad and news about DownStream Technologies adding support for flex, rigid-flex, and embedded component designs. Finally, we share a review of some of KYZEN’s new training sessions on cleaning electronic assemblies—virtual courses that pack a lot of information into 15-minute snapshots. Knowing how tight everyone’s schedules are now, 15-minute events might be the ticket.

Just Ask Joe Fjelstad: The Exclusive Compilation

We asked for you to send in your questions for Joe Fjelstad, and you took us up on it! We know you all enjoyed reading these questions and answers, so we’ve compiled all of them into one article for easy reference. We hope you enjoy having another bite at the apple. And if you’d like to hear more from Joe, view his column series “Flexible Thinking.”

Part 11 of Siemens’ Digital Twin Webinar Series: Data-Driven Manufacturing

I-007e Micro Webinars recently released a free, on-demand series titled “Implementing Digital Twin Best Practices From Design Through Manufacturing” with Siemens' Jay Gorajia. In Part 11, Gorajia discusses, “Data-Driven Manufacturing: Making Big Data Into Smart Data.”

The Test Connection’s Bill Horner Remembered

Bill Horner, the founder of The Test Connection Inc. and a well-respected engineer, passed away on September 21, 2020. He was 81 years old.

electronica Virtual 2020: Automotive Conference Keynotes

While not the same as battling with the traffic to catch the early flight to Munich, followed by an S-Bahn into the city and a crowded U-Bahn to the Messe, electronica 2020 went virtual. Pete Starkey details the Automotive Conference—an event he was particularly keen to attend.

I-Connect007 Editor's Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

My last turn to select the top five editor’s picks was just before the triple-threat Halloween holiday (full moon, blue moon, and on a Saturday). Now that it’s my turn again, it falls the mega-superstitious Friday the 13th. You’re not triskaidekaphobic, are you?

Manufacturers Weigh in on Made-in-America Debate

As the U.S. grapples with who will take the helm of the U.S. presidency, electronics manufacturers around the country are grappling with which policies and ideas would promote growth and innovation in the sector. Many agree that a push for “made in America” policies and incentives might be useful. Often, they point to similar initiatives used by other countries, including China and India.


Part 10 of Siemens’ Digital Twin Webinar Series: Inventory Management

I-007e Micro Webinars recently released a free, on-demand series titled “Implementing Digital Twin Best Practices From Design Through Manufacturing” with Siemens' Jay Gorajia. In Part 10, Gorajia looks at “Inventory Management in the Warehouse and on the Shop Floor.” Material accounts for 80% of PCB assembly costs. If not managed correctly, margins can be cut even further.

I-Connect007 Editor's Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

This past week, we published a variety of articles, interviews, and columns—and readers definitely made their favorites known. There was good news about hiring and staffing. (In case you were wondering, there are quite a few open positions in this industry right now.) We touched base with a pair of young engineers to get their thoughts on what it’s like for recent grads working in the PCB manufacturing community. We learned about a company’s new program that can help take some of the stress out of NPI. We also launched a new chapter in our “Just Ask” series, this time starring columnist Tara Dunn. And there was sad news that a contract manufacturer’s chairman had just passed away.

Real Time with… AltiumLive 2020: OSV Project—From Zero to Ventilator PCBs in Record Time

Andy Shaughnessy recently spoke with Chris Denney, CTO of Worthington Assembly, about his role in the Open Source Ventilator project, which he discussed during a panel at AltiumLive with partners Dugan Karnazes of Velocity Research and Rob Cooke of Calumet Electronics. Chris explains how many of the normal hurdles disappeared once the focus on revenue was removed from the equation, and the ventilator PCBs were designed and manufactured in record time.

Survey Results: ‘Are You Currently Hiring?’

The I-Connect007 research team invited readers to share their thoughts on what's happening with staffing and retention to help prepare for an upcoming issue on this important topic. Here, we delve into the first question, "Are you currently hiring?"

I-Connect007 Editor's Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

Welcome to the Halloween issue of the I-Connect007 Top Five Editor’s Picks! This year’s Halloween lands on a doozy of a day. Astronomers among us will, undoubtedly, already have noticed that not only does the spooky holiday fall on a Saturday night, but it also falls exactly on a full moon—and a Blue Moon, at that! The last time a Halloween Blue Moon occurred in all time zones was in 1941. As if there weren’t enough “ghoulishness” already, 2020 delivers yet another rare occurrence.

Part 8 of Siemens’ Digital Twin Webinar Series: On-Demand Machine Part Data

I-007e Micro Webinars recently released a free, on-demand series titled “Implementing Digital Twin Best Practices From Design Through Manufacturing” with Siemens' Jay Gorajia. In Part 8, Gorajia addresses, “On-Demand Machine Part Data for PCB Assembly Equipment.”

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

After a crazy year like this, we shouldn’t be surprised that this trade show season is unlike any other. Here’s one of the many “silver linings” of 2020: We actually dodged a bullet earlier this year when COVID-19 hit after most of our industry’s big events had taken place. In this week’s top five, we have an assortment of trade show and conference news items, plus a few examples of technological trends and innovation.

Northrop Grumman: 3D Nanomaterials May Counter Gaps in Additive Supply Chain

The best technology is dead in the water if your domestic supply chain won’t support it. That was just one of the takeaways from Dr. Judy Dickson’s talk during the SMTA Additive Electronics TechXchange. In her presentation, titled “Advanced PWBs: A Collaboration Between Design, Operations, and the Supply Chain,” Dickson, a senior principal systems engineer at Northrop Grumman Mission Systems, laid out the many challenges her department faces in fielding HDI advanced packaging into the next decade. Most of these challenges are related to sourcing the necessary materials in the U.S.

Just Ask Greg: Advice on Purchasing SMT Stencils

We asked you to send in your questions for Happy Holden, Joe Fjelstad, Eric Camden, and John Mitchell in our “Just Ask” series. Now, Greg Smith, an SMT007 columnist, gets a chance to answer a question.

SMTA Additive TechXchange Keynote: An Outlook on Advanced PCB Fab

Organised as a virtual event by Lenora Clark of ESI Automotive and Tara Dunn of Omni PCB, SMTA’s Additive TechXchange addressed additive technology specifically in the context of the electronics industry. Pete Starkey details the keynote presentation, an outlook on advanced printed circuit board fabrication, from Jeff Doubrava, managing partner at Prismark Partners.


I-Connect007 Editor's Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

Trade shows and technical conferences haven’t died; they’ve just moved online. The trade show season continues in virtual full force this week, and event coverage dominates the top five this week. Surprisingly, I don’t see events as this week’s theme. No, this week’s theme is “pundits.” We have Walt Custer’s industry outlook, seven experts on additive electronics, a designers conference keynote, and the IPC’s government relations expert. Don’t get me wrong: These folks are asked to speak to the industry for a good reason. They know their subject matter, and they present it skillfully. This week’s top five picks are worth reading.

Part 6 of Siemens’ Digital Twin Webinar Series: Single CAM Solutions

I-007e Micro Webinars recently released a free, on-demand series titled “Implementing Digital Twin Best Practices From Design Through Manufacturing” with Siemens' Jay Gorajia. In part 6, Gorajia discusses a “Single CAM Solution for All Process Engineering Tasks.”

I-Connect007 Editor's Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

It’s showtime! This past week, we saw quite a bit of news about virtual trade shows. It’s great to see show managers pivot from live, in-person events to virtual shows with only a few months to make it all happen. How would you like to be a show manager today?

Real Time with… AltiumLive 2020: Greg Ziraldo on a New Approach to DFM

Andy Shaughnessy speaks with Greg Ziraldo, senior director of operations at Advanced Assembly, about his AltiumLive panel, "Design With Manufacturing." Greg discusses things that designers and electrical engineers should keep in mind regarding assembly during the design process, as well as a few ideas that he hopes attendees will take away.

Programs for Veterans: A Blackfox Update

At IPC APEX EXPO 2020, I spoke with Al Dill, president and CEO of Blackfox, about the Evolution Foundation, a nonprofit program to assist veterans with training and assistance into civilian tech jobs. Here, we get an update from Dill, Jahr Turchan, director of veteran services and advanced manufacturing programs, and Sharon Montana-Beard, VP and director of sales and operations, on Blackfox’s programs for veterans.

My Experience at SMTAI 2020 Virtual

Denny Fritz shares his experience while attending SMTAI, concentrating on the exhibition portion of the virtual show. He also compliments SMTA on organizing and operating the virtual event.

Real Time with… SMTAI 2020: SMTA Announces Members of Distinction Annual Awards

SMTA recognized exceptional individual and corporate members for their immeasurable contributions to the association since 1994. And while the SMTA International Technical Committee announced the best presentation and paper awards from the 2019 conference on March 18, 2020, recipients were also recognized at SMTAI 2020.

Real Time with...SMTAI 2020: Seika’s Preparation Pays Off

Nolan Johnson and Seika Machinery’s Michelle Ogihara, senior sales and marketing manager, catch up on SMTAI 2020. Michelle shares her team’s generally positive experience in preparing for the exhibition, details the new products on display in the Seika virtual booth, and describes an experience from SMTAI that could have only happened at a virtual event like this.

I-Connect007 Editor's Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

Most all the action this week involved the STMA International Conference and Exposition. I-Connect007’s Real Time with… video interviews generally led the way for views and clicks. In each item, the intent was to make things better in some fashion. Whether it was pivoting on trade show delivery, optimizing the metalization process in the fab, adding more AI to manufacturing capital equipment, unifying and furthering the concept of the digital twin concept, or responding to company growth by upgrading systems with the help the equipment manufacturers, all these news items speak to being adaptable and forward-thinking.

Real Time With… SMTAI 2020: Mixing It Up in the Virtual Marketplace

SMTAI 2020 wrapped up on September 30, 2020, completing its three-day run on a virtual platform. This format was uncharted territory for SMTA, exhibitors, presenters, and attendees alike. It is remarkable—and a credit to the organization in the face of a pandemic—that SMTA chose to jump to a virtual format when it could have been so very easy to simply cancel the event altogether. SMTA showed its commitment to the technical conference participants by ensuring their research would publish as intended, as well as to the sponsors and exhibitors who support the event through underwriting and participation.


Manufacturing Test Strategy Tools: Part 4 of Siemens’ Digital Twin Webinar Series

I-007e Micro Webinars recently released a free, on-demand series titled “Implementing Digital Twin Best Practices From Design Through Manufacturing” with Siemens' Jay Gorajia. In Part 4, Gorajia discusses “Manufacturing Test Strategy Tools in the Hands of Designers.”

Real Time with... SMTAI 2020: First-Day Wrap-Up

SMTA International 2020 kicked off on Monday morning with attendees and exhibitors mingling and chatting about the latest SMT products and services—virtually, of course. Debbie Carboni, former SMTA VP of Expos, reported that there were “only a few hiccups,” which were addressed quickly and effectively. “This is much better than any other virtual event I have participated in,” she said.

Real Time with...SMTAI 2020: The Test Connection Celebrates 40 Years

Andy Shaughnessy spoke with Bert Horner, VP of engineering support for The Test Connection, about the company’s plans for the upcoming SMTAI virtual show. Bert explains that The Test Connection will address their core competency, engineering, and test services, as well as design tools, such as ASTER Technologies’ DFT analyzer TestWay and the SMH FlashRunner test programmer. He also notes a few of the positive things that the company learned during the COVID-19 lockdown and how the family firm celebrated its 40th anniversary this year.

Virtual SMTA International 2020 Opens Today

SMTA International 2020 kicks off today, and I-Connect007 will bring you complete coverage of this brand-new, virtual event through Real Time with… SMTAI 2020. The virtual SMTAI Electronics Exhibition runs through September 30. Throughout the week, we’ll be capturing and featuring video interviews with the industry’s top executives, engineers, and managers. Stay up to date with the latest developments in the SMT community—all without leaving your office.

Real Time with...SMTAI 2020: How to Network Virtually at the Show

Nolan Johnson networks with SMTA’s Tamara Shephard, membership engagement manager, and Karlie Severinson, events and administrative manager. Shephard and Severinson share how SMTAI has built multiple platforms to bring attendees, exhibitors, and presenters together. SMTAI will host networking opportunities on the virtual show floor to connect to exhibitors, multiple servers on Discord to connect technical program participants, live social events hosted on Zoom, and general social media outreach using the hashtag #SMTAI2020.

Real Time with...SMTAI 2020: The Latest in Test and Inspection From MIRTEC

Brian D’Amico, president of MIRTEC, shares an SMTAI 2020 update with Nolan Johnson. They discuss what visitors can expect to find at MIRTEC’s virtual booth, the current business environment for test and inspection equipment, and how the company has adapted their demonstration and evaluation processes to fit in inside current COVID-19 business protocols.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

In this week’s picks, we bring you news about the upcoming SMTA International 2020, IPC’s plans for the fall, a move for Burkle North America’s headquarters, and advice on how to select the correct CAD tool. And we have the first installment of our newest series: “Just Ask John Mitchell.”

Real Time with...SMTAI 2020: SelecTech - Flooring Solutions That Won’t Give You Static

Tom Ricciardelli, president and CEO of SelecTech, talks about technical flooring solutions with Nolan Johnson. Ricciardelli discusses some of the challenges to keeping a grounding floor working in a facility and brings Johnson up to speed on how the company’s flooring systems can be installed without factory downtime.

Real Time with… SMTAI 2020: Cimetrix’s Universal Translator—Sapience for Industry 4.0

Ranjan Chatterjee—vice president of smart factory solutions for Cimetrix—and Nolan Johnson discuss new developments in the Sapience product. Chatterjee teases some of the new features in Sapience for Industry 4.0 and shares that smart factory implementation is becoming increasingly quick and straightforward with Cimetrix’s approach to automation. Chatterjee also outlines what exhibit visitors can expect to find in the company’s booth.

Just Ask John Mitchell: Advice on Selling Tech in Asia

First, we asked you to send in your questions for Happy Holden, Joe Fjelstad, and Eric Camden in our “Just Ask” series. Now, it’s IPC President and CEO John Mitchell’s turn! A regular PCB007 columnist, John focuses on many of the challenges affecting the global electronics industry supply chain. Over the years, he has served as an engineer, manager, and executive at a variety of companies and organizations. We hope you enjoy “Just Ask John.”


Optimize Your PCB DFM Processes: Part 3 of Siemens’ Digital Twin Webinar Series

I-007e Micro Webinars recently released a free, on-demand series titled “Implementing Digital Twin Best Practices From Design Through Manufacturing.” Each of the 12 segments can be viewed in about five minutes.

Real Time with...SMTAI 2020: MacDermid Alpha’s Flash Etching Electroplating Paper

I-Connect007’s Nolan Johnson catches up with Sean Fleuriel, a chemist for MacDermid Alpha Electronics Solutions, and Richard Bellemare, director of electrolytic metalization, to discuss the SMTAI technical paper presented by Fleuriel, titled, “Pit Resistant Acid Copper Electroplating Process for Flash Etching.” Fleuriel and Bellemare highlight the challenges, processes, and conclusions from the paper, as well as which PCB fabricators are most likely to benefit from this new process.

Real Time with...SMTAI 2020: Aegis' Ontology Drives Digital Twin Process

Andy Shaughnessy speaks with Michael Ford, senior director of emerging industry strategy for Aegis Software, about its newest concept—Ontology—which the company will discuss during SMTAI. He also explains how Ontology relates to the company’s existing MES products, as well as how it dovetails with the digital twin process.

Real Time with… SMTAI 2020: SCHUNK Brings New Router to SMTA International

Nolan Johnson connects with SCHUNK Electronic Solutions’ Tom Herndon, regional sales manager, to discuss the company’s upcoming exhibits at SMTAI. Tom shares what visitors to SCHUNK’s booth can expect to find, including a virtual walking tour of the company’s headquarters facility in Germany. Tom also previews SCHUNK’s newest router, ideal as an entry-level router for shops looking to upgrade or automate.

Just Ask John Mitchell: Emerging Engineers and Managers

First, we asked you to send in your questions for Happy Holden, Joe Fjelstad, and Eric Camden in our “Just Ask” series. Now, it’s IPC President and CEO John Mitchell’s turn! Today, John answers this question: Does IPC have an interest in emerging managers, as well as emerging engineers?

Real Time with… SMTAI 2020: Insituware Offers Handheld Process Controls for the Smart Factory

Nolan Johnson speaks with Insituware CEO and Chief Engineer Michael Frederickson. Insituware’s expertise in materials control and measurement brings some innovative new handheld measurement devices to the manufacturing floor. Mike and Nolan discuss how these new devices contribute to accuracy, compliance, and real-time process optimization—all key factors in the smart factory environment. Mike also teases what the company will demonstrate in their virtual booth at SMTAI.

Just Ask John Mitchell: Are IPC’s Positions Dictated by Politics?

First, we asked you to send in your questions for Happy Holden, Joe Fjelstad, and Eric Camden in our “Just Ask” series. Now, it’s IPC President and CEO John Mitchell’s turn! A regular PCB007 columnist, John focuses on many of the challenges affecting the global electronics industry supply chain. Over the years, he has served as an engineer, manager, and executive at a variety of companies and organizations. We hope you enjoy “Just Ask John.”

I-Connect007 Editor's Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

Two weeks ago, when it was my turn to pick the top 5, I made a comment about themes. I’m making a stretch here, but this week’s theme is technical education. Three out of the five most popular news items this last week reported on upcoming technical events or publications.

Just Ask Eric: Nano-Coating on Stencils?

First, we asked you to send in your questions for Happy Holden and Joe Fjelstad in our “Just Ask” series. Now, it’s Eric Camden’s turn! A regular SMT007 columnist, Eric is a lead investigator at Foresite Inc., an analytical testing and consulting laboratory. As a reliability expert, Eric has worked with many large OEMs and contract manufacturing companies to optimize their manufacturing processes. Today's question involves the use of nano coatings on stencils.

Real Time with…SMTAI 2020: SMTA International Goes Virtual

Nolan Johnson connected with three SMTA principals—KYZEN’s Debbie Carboni, SMTA’s Ryan Flaherty, and Rockwell’s Greg Vance—to discuss the upcoming 2020 SMTA International (SMTAI) event, the first major electronics manufacturing conference and exhibition to go virtual this year. The panel gives an overview of exhibits, technical conference presentations, and professional networking in this new format. and provides some coaching on how to to get the most from this virtual event.


Real Time with…SMTAI 2020: Koh Young on New Products and the Role of AI

Nolan Johnson speaks with Joel Scutchfield, director of sales for the Americas, about Koh Young's exhibit at SMTAI. Scutchfield outlines all the new products being displayed in the virtual booth and discusses the increased role that the company sees for AI in their products and the smart factory flow.

I-007e Micro Webinars Releases Part 2 in ‘Implementing Digital Twin’ Series

I-007e Micro Webinars recently released a free, on-demand series titled “Implementing Digital Twin Best Practices From Design Through Manufacturing.” Each of the 12 segments can be viewed in about five minutes.

Just Ask Eric: Selecting the Right Lead-Free Solder for Your Application

First, we asked you to send in your questions for Happy Holden and Joe Fjelstad in our “Just Ask” series. Now, it’s Eric Camden’s turn! A regular SMT007 columnist, Eric is a lead investigator at Foresite Inc., an analytical testing and consulting laboratory. As a reliability expert, Eric has worked with many large OEMs and contract manufacturing companies to optimize their manufacturing processes and assist with the identification of electronic hardware failures utilizing various analytical techniques. He also specializes in optimizing PCBA processes and identifying hardware failures through analysis. We hope you enjoy “Just Ask Eric.”

I-Connect007 Editor's Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

This week, we have a little bit of everything. There’s quite a bit of new technology news, along with an I-Connect007 eBook on thermal design techniques, trade show talk, and an interesting take on trading in capital equipment. We’ve been following the “digital twin” for the past few years, and when Siemens released a webinar on the topic this week, Happy Holden got a sneak peek and wrote a review that turned out to be one of our most popular recent articles.

NVIDIA’s Three Next-Generation GPUs Excite Consumers

Finally, the product release that many had been waiting for. NVIDIA recently announced its next-generation RTX 3000 Series GPUs, and the stated capabilities are amazing. Dan Feinberg has all of the details.

Improving Tech Support During a Pandemic

Koh Young’s Quintin Armstrong, senior manager of technical services and applications for the Americas, discusses the work that has been going on at the company around field support, including pre- and post-sales support training, and how those areas have been affected by COVID-19.

I-Connect007 Editor's Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

When compiling my Top Five, I tend to let the reader views guide my choices. Oh, sure, sometimes a news item is significant well beyond the reads it receives; that’s why this is an editor’s picks, not a strict Top Five. Still, readership habits inform my choices. That makes it even more interesting when a week demonstrates a theme so convenient as to seem contrived. Take this week, for example. In this week’s top five, four of the top five are news reports on mil-aero topics. You, dear readers, gobbled up the military and aerospace news this week. The outlier is, as we all would expect, a conference report from our very own Pete Starkey.

Promoting a Circular Economy in Electronics Manufacturing

The sixth international Electronics Goes Green Conference was held as an online virtual. Pete Starkey provides a recap of the event, which provided insight into innovative eco-design and extended reliability from the perspective of iNEMI’s roadmap.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

This week, we have quite a potpourri for you. There's good news about the PCB market. And as this year continues to surprise us at every turn, companies are discovering the true nature of their leaders. Todd Kolmodin has a great column about bosses and leaders and why the two words are not synonymous. Not to be outdone, columnist Barry Olney found a way to explain the wavelength of electromagnetic energy by using a chocolate bar and a microwave oven. We also have great articles by Sagi Reuven and Pete Starkey.

An EMS Perspective on Inventory Management

Foad Ghalili of Epoch International discusses the inventory management practices the company has in place between its two facilities in Fremont, California, and Dalian, China; and how upgrading to an electronic management system made maintaining a much larger inventory possible.


Real Stories of Applied Advanced Analytics in the Electronics Manufacturing Smart Factory

The smart factory is starting to become a reality, as part of the overarching Industry 4.0 paradigm. With the technology enablers, such as industrial IoT (IIoT) and cloud computing, electronics manufacturing operational technology (OT) are on a converging course with traditional information technology (IT). Beyond the challenges of data acquisition and transformation, the true “proof in the pudding” is in the quick ROI from advanced analytics. We will share examples of successful, profitable implementation of applied machine learning (ML) in the electronics manufacturing line, where measurement science meets data science.

Catching up With VirBELA’s Glenn Sanford

Have you been disappointed by trade shows and conferences being canceled or postponed? Have you wondered how some of these events are going virtual? Dan Beaulieu speaks with Glenn Sanford, chief strategy officer of VirBELA, about the company’s platform and its impact on events.

I-Connect007 Survey on Leadership: More Important Now Than Ever

The I-Connect007 research team recently conducted a survey on leadership, covering everything from leadership qualities to stories and lessons learned from inspirational leaders. Read what respondents from the industry had to share on the topic of leadership.

Just Ask Joe: The Land Warrior Project

First, we asked you to send in your questions for Happy Holden. Now, it’s Joe Fjelstad’s turn! Inventor, columnist, instructor, and founder of Verdant Electronics, Joe has been involved with rigid PCBs and flexible circuits for decades, and he’s ready to share some of his knowledge with our readers. We hope you enjoy “Just Ask Joe.”

Just Ask Joe: Automotive Conformal Coatings

First, we asked you to send in your questions for Happy Holden. Now, it’s Joe Fjelstad’s turn! Inventor, columnist, instructor, and founder of Verdant Electronics, Joe has been involved with rigid PCBs and flexible circuits for decades, and he’s ready to share some of his knowledge with our readers. We hope you enjoy “Just Ask Joe.”

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

This week, the top five is full of progress in technology and financial performance. It’s more evidence that the electronics industry, at its core, continues to thrive.

Got a Question? Just Ask Joe!

A few months ago, we launched our “Just Ask” series with Happy Holden. Many readers took us up on it, sending all manner of questions for happy to answer. Now, Joe Fjelstad—inventor, technologist, author, and Flex007 columnist—is getting in on the action. Here’s your chance to pick Joe’s brain. What’s the one question about this industry that you’ve always wanted to ask Joe?

This Month in PCB007 Magazine: Blue Box—Leading a Cleaning Revolution

Jim Metropoulos, CEO and founder of Blue Box, talks about the innovative foam solution he developed to clean the coils of HVAC systems in large facilities, ranging from casinos and manufacturing plants to some of the top hospitals in the country.

The Pros and Cons of Working Remotely

For this issue of Design007 Magazine, Managing Editor Andy Shaughnessy asked Patrick Crawford if IPC had any insight into how the “new normal” of working from home has impacted their members. Here is what the IPC technical staff had to say about the advantages and disadvantages of working remotely, as well as working with IPC volunteers who are new to working from the dining room table.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

This week’s picks include a little of everything. We have an interview with the founder of Avishtech, a new EDA software company that has a spin on field solvers and stackup tools. We also have an interview with Mike Carano, who discusses the need for mentors. Then, there’s news about partnership between Koh Young and Mentor, and an iNEMI "best practices" guide for disinfecting your facility. Finally, we've compiled all of the "Just Ask Happy" entries into a single document for your viewing pleasure. Happy Friday!


Just Ask Happy: The Exclusive Compilation

We asked for you to send in your questions for Happy Holden, and you took us up on it! We loved them so much, and we know that you did too, so we’ve compiled all 21 questions and answers into one document for easy reference.

W. Edwards Deming’s Lost Chapters Recovered

I was cleaning up my bookcase recently and came across a tired, dog-eared set of papers that was Dr. Deming’s initial draft of his book "On The Management of Statistical Techniques for Quality and Productivity," which I received when he came to HP to lecture about quality and productivity on March 11, 1981.

I-Connect007 Editor's Choice: 5 Must-Reads for the Week

Nolan Johnson's top 5 picks this week include the SpaceX Dragon splashdown, the Mars 2020 mission’s Ingenuity helicopter—featuring an interview with the carbon fiber company that built the helicopter’s landing gear—and the U.S. Air Force’s efforts to secure space systems with the help of volunteer hackers. Readers also responded to news from IPC and iNEMI, and blockchain turned out to be hugely popular.

This Month in SMT007 Magazine—IBM: Supply Chain Blockchain

IBM’s Michelle Lam and Christophe Begue, along with Nolan Johnson, discuss the basics of blockchain, and how it enables a more secure and traceable supply chain. They also address some of the applications for this technology and what the future holds.

Goodwinds Composites: Putting a Helicopter on Mars

On July 30, 2020, Nolan Johnson spoke with Leland Holeman and Amelia Cook, the owners of Goodwinds Composites. While Goodwinds may be a small business, they still pack a heavy punch in the carbon fiber fabricating business. Case in point, the NASA Perseverance Mars rover mission, which had just launched as we captured this interview, carries a helicopter (named Ingenuity) in its payload and contains custom parts fabricated by Goodwinds.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

Say what you will about 2020, but it certainly isn’t boring. There’s a lot going on in the PCB world, and there’s something for everyone in this week’s top five picks. And it’s all positive, despite the lingering presence of COVID-19 and its aftereffects.

Just Ask Happy: Monitoring Via Reliability on a Lot-by-Lot Basis

We asked for you to send in your questions for Happy Holden, and you took us up on it! The questions you've posed run the gamut by covering technology, the worldwide fab market, and everything in between. How would you monitor microvia reliability on a lot-by-lot basis?

Just Ask Happy: What Would You Change About the Industry?

We asked for you to send in your questions for Happy Holden, and you took us up on it! The questions you've posed run the gamut by covering technology, the worldwide fab market, and everything in between. What would you change about the industry?

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

This week’s top five is a smattering across the industry. There’s an update on an established vendor and a press release from a startup. Then, we have two columns: one on M&A, and the other on supply chain disruptions. Finally, I highlight an interview from a U.S. food distributor sales manager, shedding light on the similarities of supply chain interruption in all industries. It's quite an assortment, but what they all have in common is that readers found these items compelling.

Just Ask Happy: Manufacturing Issues From a Designer’s Viewpoint

We asked for you to send in your questions for Happy Holden, and you took us up on it! The questions you've posed run the gamut, covering technology, the worldwide fab market, and everything in between. Enjoy.


Find the Perfect Employee With D.B. Management Group

If you’re searching for the right person for an open job in the PCB industry, look no further than D.B. Management Group’s recruiting page in each of the I-Connect007 magazines.

Selling in a Post-COVID Environment, Part 2

Nolan Johnson continues his conversation with Penny Cole about how COVID-19 has affected her industry’s distribution channels and supply chain, as well as how she has adapted to the shifting dynamic as a salesperson.

Selling in a Post-COVID Environment, Part 1

Nolan Johnson spoke with Penny Cole of Lotus Foods about how COVID-19 has affected her industry’s distribution channels and supply chain, as well as how she’s adapted to the shifting dynamic as a salesperson.

A New Job Is One Click Away at I-Connect007 Career Opportunities

In the pages of I-Connect007’s monthly magazines and newsletters, you’ll find job openings for positions that span the entire circuit board supply chain. Here’s a quick sample of available positions: chief technology officer, director of business development, senior process engineer, image department operator, development chemist, SMT field technician, and sales reps for territories that span the U.S.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

Like a bad penny, COVID-19 just keeps coming back and affecting the PCB industry. This week, we saw more industry events going fully virtual—a trend that’s likely to continue. But as Chris Mitchell explains, the COVID-19 outbreak is also forcing lawmakers and organizations to work together for the good of the U.S. electronics supply chain. Sometimes, it takes a crisis to make everyone cooperate, so let’s celebrate these little victories.

Handling Supply Chain Disruption in Silicon Valley

Nolan Johnson spoke with Najat Badriyeh, CEO and president of Naprotek, about the current state of the supply chain as a contract manufacturer in Silicon Valley, adjustments the company has made, and what she anticipates for the future.

Cyberattack! Think It Couldn’t Happen To You? Think Again!

Eric Cormier and Dave Ryder of Prototron address the ransomware attack that locked them out of their system last December, bringing business to a screeching halt and forcing them into the arduous process of a full rebuild. With things finally starting to normalize, Eric and Dave now offer precautionary advice they’ve accumulated over the past six months.

I-Connect007 Leadership Survey: Valuable Lessons From Grandma

The I-Connect007 research team has been surveying readers on the topic of leadership as part of our ongoing planning for upcoming issues. As this response illustrates, great examples of leadership can be found everywhere—provided we're paying attention.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

The common theme in this week’s Top 5 editor’s picks is “change.” We’re talking change in the form of forwarding process, achieving milestones, evolving, and improving metrics. This week’s picks are not only newsworthy but also captured reader attention based on metrics. If you haven’t read any other news items from the industry this week, I propose these five must-reads.

Understanding MIL-PRF-31032, Part 1

Over the course of this series, Anaya Vardya will discuss topics such as MIL-PRF-31032 requirements, the quality plan, responsibilities of the Technical Review Board (TRB), and the testing and reporting requirements for the certified shop into the DLA.


I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

The USMCA trade agreement was just the tip of the iceberg in news affecting our industry this week. We also saw more young people getting involved in the industry, an HDP User Group webinar on automotive thermal issues, and more questions for our own Happy Holden—this time, on stacked microvia reliability, or the lack thereof.

Catching up With Fane Friberg: Supply Chain Management Expert

Dan Beaulieu recently spoke with Fane Friberg, principal at CEPHAS and a supply chain management expert, about how he started his company, as well as current market challenges he sees and what he thinks the future holds for companies—especially post-pandemic.

IPC: Shawn DuBravac and Chris Mitchell on USMCA

On July 1, 2020, the USMCA trade act (United States-Mexico-Canada Act) phased in as a trade agreement guiding economic trade and growth in North America. Nolan Johnson spoke with both Shawn DuBravac, IPC’s chief economist, and Chris Mitchell, IPC’s vice president of global government affairs and an I-Connect007 columnist, about the impact of USMCA on North American electronics manufacturing.

This Month in SMT007 Magazine: Electronics Manufacturing—A Critical Industry and Supply Chain

Chris Peters represents the U.S. Partnership for Assured Electronics, where he advocates for electronics manufacturing as a critical industry. Here, he describes the current status, the supply chain, and what he sees in Washington, D.C.

June Issue of SMT007: A Snapshot of a Resilient Industry

Tamara Jovanovic, an electrical engineer at Happiest Baby in Los Angeles, never imagined that I would have to take half of my lab equipment home to be able to continue doing her job. As she says in her review of the June issue of SMT007 Magazine, the entire industry is adapting to the "new normal," and ready for whatever the future brings.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

Updates on trade shows, conferences, and associations dominated industry news this past week. Some events are returning to a physical venue; others are opting for a virtual version in 2020. Add to that a spate of cross-association cooperative agreements and new programs for career development coming from multiple associations, and you’ve delivered four of my top five picks.

Happy Holden Is Taking Your Questions Now

Happy Holden, the industry icon and “Father of HDI,” is ready to answer your questions! What have you always wanted to ask Happy, but never thought you'd have the chance? Now is your chance! Please take a few minutes to jot down your questions for Happy. A select group of answers will be published in upcoming editions of I-Connect007 magazines and newsletters.

Burak Aksoy: An Update on DOWSIL EA-3838 Fast Adhesive

On June 10, Nolan Johnson spoke with Burak Aksoy, technical service and development scientist for Dow Silicones. Aksoy updated Johnson on the recent introduction of DOWSIL™ EA-3838, a fast-curing adhesive formulated for use in industrial manufacturing and assembly applications.

Walt Custer’s EIPC Business Outlook Webinar: ‘You Can’t Sugarcoat This Stuff!’

In normal circumstances, it would have been the time of year for the EIPC Summer Conference, and Walt Custer would have opened the proceedings with his business outlook for the global electronics industry. However, circumstances were far from normal. Pete Starkey discusses some of the takeaways from Custer's global business outlook webinar, organized by EIPC.

Book Excerpt: Cornerstone of Smart Manufacturing—The Convergence of IT and OT

The following is an excerpt from Chapter 2 of the I-Connect007 eBook The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to… Advanced Manufacturing in the Digital Age, written by Oren Manor of Siemens, a Siemens Business.


The iNEMI 2019 Roadmap: Optoelectronics

Continuing the series of webinars highlighting recently-published chapters of iNEMI’s 2019 Roadmap—the comprehensive guidebook to the future goals and needs of the electronics manufacturing industry—the installment on optoelectronics examined and discussed data transmission by optical technology. Pete Starkey provides an overview.

Where The Jobs Are: The I-Connect007 Help Wanted Pages

If you’re looking for a career in the PCB industry—design, fabrication, or assembly—the I-Connect007 Career Opportunities section, jobconnect007.com, is the first place you should look. Right now, there are job openings for positions that span the entire circuit board supply chain, and you can submit your resume directly to the hiring managers by clicking on the ad.

The iNEMI 2019 Roadmap: Flexible Hybrid Electronics

The emerging trend for “electronics on everything, everything with electronics” was the theme of iNEMI’s webinar presentation of the highlights of its recently published Flexible Hybrid Electronics Roadmap Chapter, delivered by Girish Wable, senior engineering services manager with Jabil. Pete Starkey provides an overview.

SpaceX Manned Mission Promises More Success for Milaero and Electronics Manufacturing

On May 30, 2020, SpaceX became the first non-governmental organization to send human cargo into orbit and to a successful docking rendezvous with the International Space Station (ISS). On June 1, Nolan Johnson spoke with military/aerospace consultant and I-Connect007 columnist Mike Hill about the significance of this mission.

IPC’s Shawn Dubravac: COVID-19 Outbreak Accelerates Industry Shifts Already Under Way

On May 19, Barry Matties spoke with Shawn Dubravac, chief economist for IPC. While discussing other topics, Matties asked for Dubravac’s perspective on shifts in the market, who observed that the recessionary trend might be behind us; the markets are already showing recovery. Still, it could take a year or so to fully recover.

Survey: Lessons Learned in Unparalleled Times

Parents often share nuggets of wisdom with their children in hopes that they won’t repeat past mistakes. But what do our electronics industry leaders want to share about lessons learned during the COVID-19 crisis?

KYZEN’s Tom Forsythe: The Effects of COVID-19

On May 7, Barry Matties and Tom Forsythe, executive vice president at KYZEN, discussed the effects of COVID-19. During the conversation, Forsythe addressed KYZEN’s strategy to keep the staff and employees healthy as the foremost concern. He also detailed recent changes in interacting with customers and his take on what will be the new long-term changes in how the company does business versus short-term accommodations.

IPC's Dr. John Mitchell: Leadership in Times of Crisis

On May 13, Dr. John Mitchell, IPC president and CEO, spoke with Barry Matties and Nolan Johnson in another installment in our series of industry updates. In this interview, Mitchell discussed the challenges of leadership in crisis situations.

Happy Holden's Essential Skills: Online Instruction and Distance Learning

Online courses have become increasingly available and popular. For this to be effective, specific requirements must be met for courses taken or produced over the internet in order to provide the user with a positive experience. Read Happy Holden's updated article from his series on 25 essential skills for engineers.

I-Connect007 Survey: Lessons Learned During COVID-19 Lockdown

In a recent survey, we asked I-Connect007 readers about lessons that they and their companies have learned since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Survey respondents were asked to pick up to three areas of business operations where the most important lessons have been learned.


Counseling Startups From Design Through NPI

Andy Shaughnessy and Happy Holden sat down for an interview with Richard Marshall, CEO of Xitex Limited, a company based in the U.K. that provides consultancy to startups launching wired and wirelessly connected products. Richard explains some of the most common factors companies overlook when introducing a new product. He also discusses one startup’s new product—a Fitbit-type device worn by horses—and why he advises startups to “Make your mistakes close to home.”

Smart Factory Implementation, Part 2

During one of our recent interviews, conducted as government leaders around the globe were issuing lockdowns, an industry expert had to pause and whisper some gentle and loving “goodnight and sleep well” words to a small child who was headed off to bed. Under these conditions, we’re working with our families and loved ones gathered close. It reminds me that we all have people for whom we do our work, strive to build successful businesses, and make the world a better place.

The Convergence of Technologies and Standards in Smart Manufacturing

Ranjan Chatterjee of Cimetrix and Daniel Gamota of Jabil teamed up to bring you this article, originally published as the paper "The Convergence of Technologies and Standards Across the Electronic Products Manufacturing Industry (SEMI, OSAT, and PCBA) to Realize Smart Manufacturing."

Aurora Circuits’ Chris Kalmus Offers PCBs for Ventilators at No Charge

Electronics manufacturers continue to step up to the plate during these uncertain times. In this interview, Dan Beaulieu speaks with Chris Kalmus, owner of Aurora Circuits in Aurora, Illinois, who announced on April 24 that his company would be offering PCBs for ventilators free of charge.

Case Study: Example of ASKEY Applying QML Validation

The PCB007 China team paid a visit to the ASKEY plant in Wujiang, Jiangsu, to learn more about their QML process. In this interview with Qixian Zhang, vice GM of ASKEY’s Electronics Product Quality Assurance Department, he discusses what QML means to ASKEY and the electronics industry as a whole.

Automation War Stories From ICM Controls

Members of the I-Connect007 editorial team met with Andy Kadah, president of ICM Controls, and Kevin Jobsky, senior marketing manager, via teleconference on March 20, 2020. Originally, the purpose of our conversation was to discuss factory automation implementation details. Yet, we conducted the interview in the midst of a rapid-fire and wide-ranging onslaught of executive orders from the federal level on down to the local level meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The Foundation of Industry 4.0

When adopting IoT solutions, start with three main considerations. First, assess which parts of the production cycle can be automated and/or monitored most effectively with IoT devices connected to an analytics platform. IoT technology should be matched to the production cycle of your operation.

This Month in SMT007 Magazine: Exclusive Interview With Burt Rutan, Aerospace Legend

If you follow advancements in aerospace technologies and expeditions, then you know the name Burt Rutan. Described by Newsweek as “the man responsible for more innovations in modern aviation than any living engineer,” Rutan is a bold visionary with a passion for the advancement of technology, who has designed 46 aircraft throughout his career. Following his IPC APEX EXPO keynote presentation, Rutan stopped by the I-Connect007 booth and shared his thoughts on a wide variety of topics.

Mentor's Oren Manor on Automation Business Adjustments

Oren Manor, director of business development at Mentor, a Siemens Business, shares an update with Barry Matties on the recent COVID-19 outbreak. Manor describes how Mentor's automation business operations have adjusted. Manor also provides some projections on how manufacturing may need to adjust as the global economies come out of this time.

Matt Stevenson on Sunstone Circuits' Current Operations

Nolan Johnson speaks with Matt Stevenson, VP of marketing at Sunstone Circuits, who shares an update on the company's current level of business operations under COVID-19 restrictions. Stevenson confirms that Sunstone Circuits is fully operational and classified as an essential business.


AIM Appoints Oscar Hernandez as Sales Manager for Queretaro and Bajio Regions Mexico

AIM Solder, a leading global manufacturer of solder assembly materials for the electronics industry, is pleased to announce the appointment of Oscar Hernandez to the position of Sales Manager for the Queretaro and Bajio regions of Mexico.

This Month in SMT007 Magazine: Business Practices Drive the Smart Factory, Not the Other Way Around (Part 1)

In Part 1 of this conversation, Sagi Reuven— business development manager at Mentor, a Siemens Business—makes the case that smart factory implementations must start with traditional process analysis and improvement before the data capture process is useful. He also covers how sometimes the key to utilizing Industry 4.0 comes from a change in mindset rather than a drastic change or investment in new equipment or processes.

Watch It! The Perils of Technology Transfer (Selective Spray vs. Selective Dip Application)

The tenth episode of the popular micro webinar series “Coatings Uncoated!” is now available to view. Author of The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to...Conformal Coatings for Harsh Environments and topic expert Phil Kinner from Electrolube shares highly focused educational information on conformal coating and encapsulation. If you are in the assembly business, an EMS company, or responsible for specifying conformal coating and/or encapsulation, then this free series is for you.

Evolving Solder Capabilities for Shrinking Components

Taiyo’s Yuya Suzuki, marketing manager for IC packaging materials, talks with Nolan Johnson and Dan Feinberg about the challenges with soldering due to shrinking components and how Taiyo’s R&D work around smaller filler sizes and increased planarity has been preparing them for the future of solder mask.

Semiconductors in Charge: The Changing Face of PCB Manufacturing

The I-Connect007 editorial team recently spoke with Chuck Bauer and Dana Korf in a technical discussion that spanned a number of topics around shrinking components, such as redistribution layers (RDLs), active embeddeds, and why even the most revolutionary technologies must show ROI to be successful.

IPC APEX EXPO 2020 Attendees Speak: Gerry Padnos

"Overall, it has been a successful show for us," said Gerry Padnos. "We have mainly seen serious shoppers, not just window shoppers. We have done a lot of good work here, and we have a lot of interest in our products."

Michael Ford Explains the Benefits of IPC-CFX

In this video interview from the show, Guest Editor Dan Beaulieu and Michael Ford, senior director of emerging industry strategy at Aegis Software, discuss the IPC-CFX standard that allows machines to communicate with other machines. They also focus on some strategies that can turn any factory with old or new equipment into a smart factory.

This Month in SMT007 Magazine

We recently surveyed readers on the topic of smart factories, specifically exploring reader perceptions of what a smart factory entails, along with implementation plans that may be on readers’ minds. Looking at how respondents ranked their top three from this list of 10 objectives, some patterns do emerge.

IPC APEX EXPO 2020 Attendees Speak: Mike Montesi

"One of the biggest challenges for me selling is educating customers that they can generate oxygen and nitrogen on their own for up to 90% savings versus getting trucked in deliveries," said Mike Montesi of On Site Gas Systems. "It’s all about education because 98–99% of customers are used to the high cost of delivered gases, where we can separate it on-site with their own equipment, and the payback is typically under a year."

IPC APEX EXPO 2020 Attendees Speak: Joel Scutchfield

"Based on traffic and attendance, we have had a great week. We had 40+ more scans than what we did last year at this point, and we’re waiting for the final tally today," said Joel Scutchfield, Koh Young's director of sales for the Americas.


IPC APEX EXPO 2020 Attendees Speak: Dr. Martin Anselm

"The biggest challenge I’ve encountered a number of different times is the migration to much larger packaging," said Dr. Martin Anselm, director of CEMA Lab. "Devices are getting much larger, and with the thousands of I/O of solder joints, and they are not just single-die, multi-chip modules in different forms or 2.5D technologies.

Phil Carmichael: IPC Asia Continues Solid Growth

Phil Carmichael, IPC president of Asia Pacific, talks with Barry Matties at the HKPCA show during the first week of December 2019 about the continued growth and increased engagement by Asian member companies with IPC, with over 320 members in standards committees now working on the development of the next-generation standards.

‘A Night of Happy-ness’ and 2020 Good for the Industry Awards

The Horton Grand Hotel in San Diego was the site of “A Night of Happy-ness” on the evening of Monday, February 3, 2020. I-Connect007 transformed the Regal Ballroom into a cozy lecture hall with two key objectives: to award the I-Connect007 Good for the Industry awards, and to celebrate the life, achievements, and personality that is industry pioneer Happy Holden.

New From I-007e Micro Webinars: Part 2 in ‘Coatings Uncoated!’ Series

Got five minutes? Watch Phil Kinner's the latest segment, Never Underestimate the Importance of the Application Process, which examines the pivotal role that application plays in the overall success of coating, and presents a great opportunity to grasp the importance of the process.

Upgrading to a Digital Line

Ridhi Kantelal of Arch Systems breaks down what fabricators considering bringing in digitalization and upgrading their lines should know, and why they may see the most benefit from focusing on the data engineering aspect rather than the actual retrofitting of their systems.

The Convergence of 5G and Automotive

Karthik Vijay is head of the applications engineering team for customers in Europe at Indium Corporation. He spoke with Barry Matties about what EMS or assemblers for automotive should consider, as well as how he thinks 5G will affect the marketplace and manufacturing.

CyberOptics Sensors: So Good That Their Rivals Use Them

Editor Nolan Johnson and Subodh discuss CyberOptics’ latest precision 3D systems, such as the SQ3000, which offers AOI, SPI and CMM functionalities. The inline CMM system includes top-of-the-line software for metrology grade measurements of critical points. Subodh points out that some of his competitors even utilize CyberOptics sensors in their equipment.

Is Captive Making a Comeback?

Andy Shaughnessy recently spoke with Altium’s Steve Chalgren, senior VP of business strategy and planning. Steve shared his thoughts about why improved manufacturing and automated EMS equipment, such as robotics, might lead smaller OEMs to become captive shops like the old days. Is captive making a comeback?

Accurate, Uniform Data With KIC’s Smart Reflow Analyzer

Editor Nolan Johnson and Miles discuss KIC’s newest system, the SRA, a smart reflow analyzer that can provide the customer with information about their machines: Is the airflow adequate? Is there proper heat transfer to the product? Is this data uniform from week to week and month to month? Miles explains how the SRA uses the latest in laser technology to track conveyor speed and heat transfer more accurately than ever.

Practical Verification of Void Reduction Method for BTC Using Exposed Via-in-pad

The method explored in this article regards the use of exposed via-in-pad. A dedicated test vehicle was designed for two types of QFN components. The main variables accounted for were the component size, number of exposed vias in the thermal pad, via pitch, via size, and solder paste coverage. The responses sought in this experiment include a thermal pad void level and solder wicking down the via barrel with resulting solder protrusion on the opposite side of the PCB.


Mirtec's Approach to Raw Data: The 'Sushi Principle'

Editor Pete Starkey and Brian D’Amico discuss the company’s new Alpha system, designed for the automotive market. D’Amico explains why Mirtec is focusing on providing customers with raw data instead of “cooked” data, what he terms the “sushi principle.” He says that the system is able to pick up tiny defects that would otherwise be filtered away if the system were not using raw data. D’Amico also discusses their use of artificial intelligence, and some of the possible benefits from using AI going forward.

Supply Chain Update and the Impact of 5G

I caught up with Stephanie Martin, senior VP of global supply at Vexos, to talk about the current landscape of the industry from an EMS perspective. Stephanie describes an ongoing technology shift occurring with the industry’s move to smaller case sizes and why it’s in the customer’s best interest to look at the design cycle and go as small as they can on components.

The Digital Medical Revolution

Zulki Khan, founder and CEO of NexLogic Technologies Inc., offers his unique perspective on manufacturing trends as a PCB turnkey solutions provider based in Silicon Valley. He discusses additional requirements that are now necessary to compete in different industry sectors, most notably medical, which he says is set for a “digital revolution.”

Oren Manor on the Siemens-Mentor Integration

In this video interview, part of the productronica coverage, the I-Connect007 team speaks with Oren Manor, director of business development for Siemens, in the Siemens booth. Oren introduces us to the in-booth production equipment that integrates factory automation, motion controls, and MES solutions. He points out that the recent effort to automate SMT lines is now expanding into the areas of final assembly, box build, and manual assembly as well.

Merger and Acquisition Trends

In this interview with the I-Connect007 Editorial Team, Green Circuits’ Joe O’Neil breaks down the current merger and acquisition (M&A) market in the electronics manufacturing space and the industry trends that affect it. Joe also gives his advice on best practices for the negotiating table from both the buyer’s or seller’s perspective.

The Changing Landscape

SMTAI featured two keynote speakers: Adam Steltzner, a NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) engineer who led the Mars Science Laboratory's Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL) Phase for the Curiosity rover and the chief engineer for the Mars 2020 Project; and Dr. Mike Hawes, Lockheed Martin Vice President for Human Space Exploration and Orion Program Manager. The energy at both keynotes was palpable. We’re returning to extra-orbital space with human crews, and the demands of such missions drive innovation.

Is Your EMS Partner Up to Speed With WEEE 'Open Scope?'

E-waste encompasses a myriad of "unseen" metals, semi-metals, and chemical compounds that are found inside circuit boards, wires, and electrical connections. If not handled correctly, chemicals—such as cadmium, barium, lithium, lead, mercury, and beryllium—can present a significant health risk through direct contact, the inhalation of toxic fumes, or the build-up of toxins in water, soil, and food products.

SMTAI 2019: Juan Arango Discusses Koh Young America's New Headquarters

Andy Shaughnessy speaks with Juan Arango, managing director of Koh Young America, about their new corporate headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, which is located near most of their U.S. customer base.

Real Time with… SMTAI 2019 Slideshow

The SMTA International 2019 Conference and Exhibition closed last week on a high note. For those who were not able to attend the event, held at Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois, the slideshow contains a selection of photos from the exhibition show floor as well as the conference.

SMTA 2019 International Awards

The SMTA International conference—held September 22–29, 2019, at the Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois—honored industry members with awards for their contributions to the industry. I-Connect007 has compiled an unofficial list of award recipients. The official list from SMTA will be released shortly, and I-Connect007 will publish it as soon as it is available.


Real Time with... SMTAI 2019 Videos Now Live

If you couldn't make it to SMTAI 2019, be sure to catch I-Connect007’s video interviews with the movers and shakers of the electronics industry. We’ve updated our video presentation for a better experience for our users, so check it out!

Combating ESD: The Silent Assassin in Electronics Manufacturing

ESD is a constant but invisible force within electronics manufacturing that can have a powerfully detrimental impact on production yield, product and product reliability, and company profitability. And as the circuitry within electronic devices continues to get faster, smaller, and more sophisticated, their sensitivity to the effects of ESD is only likely to increase.

Additive Electronics Conference Set for October 2019

Tara Dunn, president of Omni PCB and I-Connect007 columnist, and Lenora Clark, director of autonomous driving and safety technology at MacDermid Alpha Automotive, discuss what can be expected from the upcoming Additive Electronics Conference in San Jose, California, the impetus and motivation behind the conference, and who can benefit the most from attending.

Meet Chris Ellis, SMT007 Columnist

Meet Chris Ellis, one of our newest SMT007 columnists! In his columns, Ellis addresses common problems that Manncorp customers have had with the in-house conversion process, and shares solutions that have worked in the past.

SigmaTron Reports Q1 Financial Results for Fiscal 2020

Revenues increased to $74.0 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2020 from $71.4 million for the same quarter in the prior year.

How Digitalization Is Transforming the Electronics Manufacturing Industry

The rise of the "digital" supply network—such as the cloud, big data, 3D printing, augmented reality, or the internet of things (IoT)—promises to address issues such as increasing global competition, rising consumer expectations, and the increasingly complex patterns of consumer demand, by providing a greater level of transparency, innovation, and resiliency. And there is a growing belief among business strategists that the more digitalized our manufacturing supply chains can become, the greater our efficiency will be.

Selecting the Proper Flex Coverlayer Material

Coverlayers are polymer materials used to cover and protect the copper traces of the flex circuit product. There are a number of different options available for protecting the circuits, and they serve different design requirements in terms of cost, performance, and flexural endurance optimization. When specifying the choice, it is critical to call out not just the type of coverlayer material but also the thickness requirement. This can be very important in certain types of constructions, especially when a flex circuit will experience dynamic flexing during use.

eSMART Factory Conference 2019, Day 2

Happy Holden continues his report on the the eSMART Factory Conference Dearborn, Michigan, with highlights from the event's second day, which includes a keynote from Brian Toleno titled "Augmented Reality: Next-Generation Computing for Front-Line Workers."

Meet Dr. Bill Cardoso, SMT007 Columnist

Dr. Bill Cardoso started his first company at age 17 in Brazil, selling it a few years later to work for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, where he led research in nuclear physics to build the equipment that discovered the Higgs Boson (and the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics). After 10 years at Fermilab, he moved from Chicago to sunny San Diego to start Creative Electron in his garage in 2008.

Whizz Systems on Competing in Silicon Valley

Whizz Systems is an EMS provider located in Silicon Valley that has managed to survive and thrive through many of the industry ups and downs of the past two decades. President Muhammad Irfan discusses the company's assembly and design services, as well as trends he’s seeing from the industry in the Valley. He also details how choosing the right type of customer has led Whizz to see sustained success in one of the most difficult and expensive areas for an assembly shop to survive.


Seven Key Steps to Selecting a New EMS Partner

Choosing to outsource your electronics manufacturing to an EMS provider requires careful planning and consideration. And even once you’ve made your decision, there may still be things that test you or that don’t go quite to plan. An experienced EMS partner has been there before; they understand the challenges, and they’ll be able to support you through the process to ensure you achieve your goals.

IEEE's Future Directions Programs Target Reliability

Dan Feinberg speaks with Kathy Grise, IEEE Future Directions senior program director, at the AWE conference recently in San Jose, California. In this excerpt, Dan and Kathy discuss the importance of reliability, blockchain, recruiting younger generations, etc.

Which Matters Most: Unit Cost or Total Cost of Supply?

The primary objective for any OEM is to design, manufacture, and deliver high-quality products in the most cost-effective way possible. When demand patterns change, or there is an increase in competition, it can be easy to rely on the calculation of unit cost to relieve the price pressure. But, as many manufacturers are discovering, choosing to base their outsourcing decisions purely on unit cost may not always reap the expected benefits in the long term.

How Do I Get Smart With IPC CFX? (Part 2)

The introduction of the CFX standard is the critical trigger that enables smart, flexible factory operation in line with business needs. The technology is simple to adopt, which creates a true “plug-and-play” environment on which advanced production AI software technologies can be developed.

Outsourcing Electronics Manufacturing: Key to Growth?

Deciding to outsource part or all of your electronics manufacturing operations could provide the means to increase production capacity and improve your sales lead times. But before you choose to hand over responsibility to an EMS provider, it’s important to take stock not just of the tangible benefits but also of the potential risks.

How Do I Get Smart With IPC CFX? (Part 1)

Today's assembly factories are seeing the biggest challenge to face the industry in a generation, called by many the next industrial revolution. However, in essence, the challenge is a simple extrapolation of trends that have been occurring and increasing in assembly manufacturing for decades. In Part 1 of this two-part article, Michael Ford writes about the history behind the drive for automation in the SMT assembly industry and where CFX fits in.

Smart Manufacturing Roadmap: Data Flow Considerations for the Electronics Manufacturing Industry

The 2019 iNEMI Roadmap features a new chapter on smart manufacturing. The chapter identifies key technology gaps and needs and offers recommendations to guide the electronics manufacturing industry in realizing the benefits of smart manufacturing. This article is based on information excerpted from the chapter.

Reliability vs. Failure

Summer is officially underway here in the Northern Hemisphere, and just like the temperatures, we’re turning up the heat in this issue and getting technical. Enter “Reliability Man,” the hero who must persevere against all the challenges thrown in his path.

AWE 2019: Go XR, Be Awesome

Dan Feinberg attended and covered the recent 2019 Augmented World Expo (AWE) and conference in Santa Clara, California. The event featured the latest developments and technologies in augmented (AR), mixed (MR), virtual (VR), and extended virtual reality (many just call it all XR to make it simple). Here's a wrap-up of the event.

4 Key Considerations When Auditing a New EMS Partner

Choosing whether (or not) to outsource your electronics manufacturing is likely to bring with it a multitude of questions—and some understandable doubts. Outsourcing is a critical decision—and it’s one that will rely on thorough research, close examination and the asking of some tough questions. This article summarizes four key areas that you'll want to scrutinize as you embark on your supplier selection process.


Smart Factory Transitions Are Attainable—With a Plan

In a white paper, Zac Elliott, technical marketing engineer at Mentor, a Siemens company, outlines a structured organization for smart factory implementation. While there can be one set of challenges to overcome when building a smart factory on a greenfield site, firms restricted to pre-existing facilities face a different set of hurdles. In this interview, Elliott discusses how things have proceeded since the paper was published, and talks about strategies for smaller firms and brownfield companies.

Streamlining, but Streamlining What?

Electronics continue to grow in application areas, capabilities, and complexities. With such growth in the raw number of circuit boards being produced globally, the pressure is on to build more faster with higher quality and greater reliability. But this isn't new. What is new is the thinking and problem-solving that will need to happen at the manufacturing floor level to deliver on this coming need.

Collaboratively Creating Wearable Medical Products

Patty Goldman, Barry Matties, and Happy Holden recently spoke with David Moody and Rich Clemente of Lenthor Engineering along with Anthony Flattery and Amit Rushi—their customers at GraftWorx. They discussed a recent project and how they worked together to solve a difficult problem by designing a rigidized flex circuit for their product.

4 Ways Electronics Manufacturers are Growing Their Businesses in 2019

At a time when many manufacturers are struggling to remain profitable, and with the uncertainty of the Brexit negotiations still looming large, finding new ways to nurture and grow your electronics manufacturing business has never been more crucial. Yet, despite the current challenges, some EMS providers are bucking the trend with reports of sustained growth. Here is their secret.

Whizz Systems on Knowing Your Strengths and Building Customer Relationships

Located in the heart of the Silicon Valley, Whizz Systems Inc. provides electronics product design, development and manufacturing services. Muhammed Irfan, president of the company, speaks with Nolan Johnson about knowing your strengths, engaging start-ups, and building strong customer relationships through education and preparation.

Co-owner Philip Kazmierowicz on New Role as KIC President

KIC is one of the leaders in reflow and thermal process control and smart oven technologies. On March 25, 2019, KIC announced that Philip Kazmierowicz, company co-owner, would take on the position of president. Nolan Johnson took that opportunity to sit down with Kazmierowicz in his Oregon-based R&D lab to discuss KIC's history and his plans for the future of the company.

Green Circuits' Three Tips to Be a Well-prepared Customer

Nolan Johnson speaks with Joe Garcia, VP of sales and marketing at Green Circuits, about how they can help on both the front and back end of the process, their hidden gem—design services—as well as three tips to be a well-prepared customer.

Communication and Information: Two Keys to Success

Nolan Johnson and Duane Benson, an I-Connect007 columnist and a representative from Milwaukee Electronics, discuss how assemblers can help their customers through submitting and maintaining accurate information, and engaging in open communication early and often about the highly important bill of materials.

From DataED’s NPI Center to the Manufacturing Floor

The I-Connecct007 team recently spoke with a team of technologists and managers at Data Electronic Devices (DataED). Jeff Hamlett, director of sales and marketing; Lori Giglio, general manager at the NPI Engineering Center; Vic Giglio, president and CEO; and Ron Sprizza, VP of quality for DataED, provided an overview of the importance of company culture and making your customers the first priority.

Incoming CEO Steve Pudles on the Acquisition of Zentech

Nolan Johnson talks to Steve Pudles about the recent acquisition of Zentech Manufacturing Inc. by BlackBern Partners LLC and Zentech management. Steve, also an investor in Zentech, steps in as the incoming CEO of the new organization and discusses the deal, his new role, changes to management, and the company's plans post-sale.


The One Thing

The vast majority of the problems that we run into fall to the categories of communication and information. As with the old 'telephone game,' each time information goes from one party to another, the risk of misinterpretation increases. If we are given unclear information from a customer, we may not be able to give the right information to our partner.

Five Key Questions Your EMS Partner Should Be Asking in the Supplier Selection Process

As we've continued to observe the impact of the ongoing global electronics components shortage, any challenge to the supply chain has the potential to cause major disruption. Whether you currently manage your own end-to-end electronics manufacturing, or you have opted to outsource to an EMS provider, there are five essential issues (and potential risks) to bear in mind when assessing the value and reliability of any proposed new supplier.

Catching up With Darrel Yarbrough of YES

Yarbrough Electronic Sales (YES) is one of the fastest growing contract manufacturers in the Southwest. As people get to know them better, they are becoming the go-to company in their area. In this interview, long-time industry veteran Darrel Yarbrough, owner of YES, provides a background about the company, its capabilities, and his outlook for the industry.

The Perfect Job

After all the days and weeks invested into developing the schematic, the PCB design, poring over the data sheets and online libraries for component parts, and running the calculations for mechanical clearances inside the enclosure, you—designers—are ready to be done. You're ready for the next design challenge—not for a week or so perfecting the bill of materials and the design notes. And there's the rub. Find out why.

Zentech's Mission-critical Tips for Program Success

Nolan Johnson and John Vaughan, I-Connect007 columnist and VP of sales and marketing at Zentech Manufacturing, discuss how to make customer programs successful through early communication, complete design packages, and more from a company servicing mission- and life-critical industries, including military, aerospace, and medical.

IPC Asia President Phil Carmichael on China Trends

At the productronica China 2019 show in Shanghai, Barry Matties joined Phil Carmichael, president of IPC Asia, to discuss the continued growth of IPC in Asia, including the increasing emphasis on training. IPC China has grown from hosting two technical conferences five years ago to 32 in the past year. Phil also addresses current trends he’s seeing as well as trade tensions between China and the U.S.

How Electronics Manufacturers Can Reduce Their Environmental Impact

With OEMs demanding ever greater value for money from their suppliers, EMS providers can find themselves facing increasing pressure on every front. To remain competitive, there's a growing recognition of the need to continually improve, adapt, and evolve the manufacturing process.

Cadence Design Systems Takes Tensilica to CES Show Floor

While roaming the aisles of CES, I happened across a suite hosted by Cadence Design Systems. It wasn’t a booth—just a quiet presence behind walls with demonstration hardware inside. Vic Markarian, senior group director for worldwide IP licensing and sales, explains why Cadence was at CES.

Lionrock Delivers Bendable, Industrial-grade Battery Tech

David Yeung, co-founder and CEO of Lionrock Batteries, discusses previous projects—including smartwatch straps—and his collaboration with the Nano and Advanced Materials Institute (NAMI) in Hong Kong on wearable, flexible battery technology at CES 2019.

From Participant to Volunteer to Leader: Matt Smith on the IEEE Rising Stars Conference

Matt Smith is one of the volunteer organizers for the IEEE Rising Stars Conference. As if that’s not enough, Matt also is an example of the impact this program can have on a young professional. In this interview, Matt provides an overview of the programs and what the conference strives to create for the attendees.


DSG: Breaking Ground on the Smart Factory Revolution

Mauro Dallora leads the I-Connect007 team through the Dongguan Somacis Graphic (DSG) PCB Co. Ltd. facility in China, lays out the company’s strategy for becoming an Industry 4.0 smart factory, and explains the current ongoing major expansion. Read about various topics in this factory tour and interview.

A Young Engineer’s Perspective

Jeffrey Diament, a recent Princeton University graduate and an engineering associate from sensor manufacturer Instrumems, talks about the company’s nanowire sensing platform that can measure velocity, temperature, and humidity. Being his first career job out of college, Diament discusses his experience on the hardware and manufacturing side of things and offers advice to other young professionals.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: IPC Global Government Relations Initiatives and Updates

IPC VP of Global Government Relations Chris Mitchell discusses with Judy Warner the association’s initiatives such as the IPC Workforce Champions, the skills gap analysis, and how IPC plans to advocate for the industry and grow the supply chain in North America and around the world.

Building a Smart Factory Supply Line

I-Connect007 recently toured Victory Giant Technology (VGT) Co. Ltd. in Huizhou, China—one of China’s largest PCB producers. Currently, VGT generates about US$500 million in annual sales, and have plans to reach $1.5 billion in the coming years. Read more to find out VGT's expansion plans and strategies for growth.

IEEE Rising Stars Conference Founder: Empowering Young Professionals

Held each year in Las Vegas on the weekend preceding CES, the IEEE Rising Stars Conference is rapidly establishing itself as a model program for developing leadership, networking, and aptitude in navigating an organizational structure in technical students and young professionals. Michael Andrews, an IEEE Senior Life member, serial entrepreneur, and founder of the IEEE Rising Stars Conference, tells us more.

Filling the Skills Gap: Strategic Hiring and Succession Planning

While attending the IEEE Rising Stars Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, I had a long and insightful conversation with veteran technical recruiter Terry McNabb. We covered so much information that the interview has been broken into two sections. This section features our discussion on the shortage of mid-career expertise in the workforce and best practices for hiring experienced technical staff.

Octane Open Concept Solution: Innovative Analytics and Floor-control Software

Octane Open Concept targets the contract manufacturer and is well along in the development process for a pair of software tools designed to optimize assembly and testing results tracking on the manufacturing floor. In an interview, CEO Craig Reiselt discusses the company and the products and opportunities in front of Octane.

No Rest for the Weary: Supply Chain Pressures Are Here to Stay!

As we leave 2018 behind, it should be noted that the challenges faced by all consumers of electronic components in our industry this year have stretched teams both physically and mentally. We will continue to see pressures across the supply chain through 2019 and beyond, so there is no rest for the weary.

Impact of 5G

In our recent I-Connect007 survey on 5G, we asked the following question: "How do you think 5G will impact the electronics manufacturing industry?" Below are some of the replies, edited slightly for clarity.

Tom Lavoie on Career Planning and Professional Development

In this interview at the IEEE Rising Stars Conference, Tom Lavoie, a former HP D-level executive and now president of Consensia IT Partners and a certified Focal Point business coach, discusses how to help entry-level technical stars get their careers started with a plan, and experienced executives enhance their professional skills.


2019 IPC EMS Management Meeting Wrap-up

At the recent EMS Management Meeting during IPC APEX EXPO 2019, EMS leaders gathered to discuss issues critical to EMS providers today, including supply chain issues, customer contracts, labor optimization and talent shortages. The highlight of the day was a supply chain challenges panel and discussion featuring supplier, distributor, and end-user perspectives on addressing component supply and lead time challenges.

Industry Outlook from IPC's Sharon Starr

Sharon Starr, IPC's director of market research, provides updates on the EMS and PCB industry outlook, benefits of IPC membership and participation, plans to expand the EMS statistical program, and new studies being published.

What Drives Your Optimism?

In our previous I-Connect007 survey, we asked the following question: "What drives your optimism?" Here are just a few of the replies, slightly edited for clarity.

Digi-Key’s Dave Doherty: Tweaking the Supply Chain

In an interview with I-Connect007, Digi-Key COO Dave Doherty discusses supply chain disruptions and shortages and shares a number of ways in which Digi-Key is helping to smooth out the delivery of components even with the current turmoil.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO 2019: Five-year Standard Committee Collaboration on JS-001

David Hillman from Collins Aerospace and IPC's Teresa Rowe speak with Editor Dan Feinberg about how a seemingly simple question resulted in years of committee work to develop the JS-001 standard on the use of conformal coatings and avoiding tin whiskers.

Dan Schoenfelder: Searching for Parts in Real Time

The I-Connect007 editors recently sat down with Dan Schoenfelder, vice president of business development at Octopart. We discussed online parts libraries and the impact they can have on choosing parts based on availability data during the design process.

Improving the Efficiency of Your PCBA Production

Ensuring you're hitting your build times is always a major priority in surface mount production. The challenge for many OEMs, however, is that the processes involved with PCBA can be numerous and complex. And the smallest of details can make the biggest of differences.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Zentech on the Fourth Pillar of DoD Acquisitions, and NIST

Steve Williams speaks with John Vaughan, VP of sales and marketing for Zentech, about their dominance in the military/aerospace market sector, the new "fourth pillar of DoD acquisitions," and how companies that do not take the NIST initiative seriously will be quickly left behind.

The Sun Rises on IPC APEX EXPO 2019

It's sunrise on Monday in San Diego, and IPC APEX EXPO at the San Diego Convention Center is already abuzz with activity. The exhibition hall setup is on schedule to open for business tomorrow morning, January 29th, 2019.

In the Studio: Real Time with…IPC

It's almost time for IPC APEX EXPO 2019 at the San Diego Convention Center, and that means another Real Time with…IPC video program bringing you interviews with the electronics industry's top movers and shakers, engineers, and managers.


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