SMT Perspectives and Prospects: Rethinking Manufacturing–Bracing for and Embracing a Post-Pandemic Decade

From a 30,000-foot view, global macroeconomics is facing gusty headwinds, bracing for impact from social-distancing lockdowns and economic shutdowns across the globe as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Compounding to the pandemic, the world’s two largest economies—the U.S. and China—are butting heads on trade and geopolitical affairs.

Additionally, at the time of this writing, the lawless riots in the midst of the protests for social justice, spreading from coast to coast in the U.S., are destroying properties and businesses in metropolitan areas, aggravating the already-disrupted businesses and adding to the financial losses as the result of the pandemic. The triple whammy of concurrent events puts the country in an unprecedented challenge economically, socially, and politically.
Against this potent backdrop, how should our industry respond? How should we manage and rethink manufacturing? And what are the main issues at hand in near-term and long-term horizons? 

COVID-19 has cost lives and caused sorrow and distress. Our hearts go out to all who are in grief. However, the pandemic has propelled our deeper thoughts and made us venture into the wide landscape of the mind. We will have a new normal in business and manufacturing, just as in our daily lives. One old saying states, “Never let a crisis go to waste.” What have we learned from the coronavirus crisis to benefit our future endeavors?

Three tangible areas in business and manufacturing are directly impacted by these concurrent forces: business strategy in manufacturing, supply chain strategy and management, and manufacturing operation practice, including the workforce.

Hwang_1_0720.jpgBusiness Strategy: Re-Evaluate Outsourcing
For manufacturers, the first order of business is to strategize the business model, assessing outsourcing, or not outsourcing. Over the last three decades, the electronics industry has been characterized by its fast-paced technological development, inevitable down-spiral pricing, and market globalization. These also have been the top drivers behind manufacturing outsourcing. The underlying concept of outsourcing can be expressed—simply put—as finding a better or more cost-effective way to have products made or services rendered, meanwhile freeing up the resources and time for “essential” or more critical tasks[1]

The history of outsourcing in the U.S. is worth noting. It is a reasonably fair statement to say that the electronics industry’s circuit board manufacturing essentially pioneered the process to implement a full-blown outsourcing strategy in the late 1980s and early 1990s (depending on how we define a starting point). Gradually but steadily, manufacturing outsourcing within the electronics industry has extended upstream from the board assembly level (semiconductor packaging, integrated circuits foundry) and downstream (system, box) along the food chain. This created a new market and business sector, which originally was termed as contract manufacturing (CM) and later evolved to electronic manufacturing  
services (EMS), which is deemed to be a more appropriate representation for its expanded services.

It is interesting to note that this fast-growing industry was not noticed by Wall Street until the mid-1990s (passing $100 billion mark in 1999). Today, the same concept of manufacturing outsourcing has spilled over to other industries ranging from pharmaceutical to consumer staples, as well as to other functions, such as human resources and information technology management. In parallel, the scope of outsourcing continues expanding and its capabilities are proliferating, becoming an integral part of supply chain management.

When looking at the potential pros and cons of outsourcing, manufacturing outsourcing can potentially offer a number of advantages covering various business aspects, namely:

  • Economics and cost savings
  • Improvement in business focus
  • Operational efficiency
  • Technological prowess
  • Capital allocation
  • Time-to-volume
  • Time-to market
  • Geographical advantage
  • Proximity to customers
  • Shared risk or transferred risk down the food chain
  • Streamlining the complexity of business 


As an aggregate, these potential advantages offer tremendous appeal to a business, particularly in meeting the immediate competitive needs. The benefits can be vividly evident when a goal-oriented and well-thought-out strategy is effectively executed.

On the flip side, caution and alerts are in order. With the establishment of EMS, does this mean that technology-based companies can forgo core engineering competencies, including manufacturing technology?

It is always a strategic decision to take advantage of the benefits of outsourcing without losing the fundamental knowledge and know-how. The critical thought-process goes to assess core competencies and to sort out the functions or products for outsourcing from those that need to stay in-house. Even after a product or a function is identified to be outsourced, it takes engineering competencies to pose the “right” questions to select the right EMS provider to produce quality products as intended. 

In essence, outsourcing a non-value-added task is one thing, but to give up the critical knowledge base is entirely another. Overall, outsourcing should be dealt with as a well-planned strategy, not as a relief tactic. And the outsourcing strategy should be discerned between the temporary lift and long-term business enhancement.

Recalling years ago, during a dinner meeting with Dr. Kazuo Inamura—the founder and chairman of Kyocera Corporation—I queried directly his view on outsourcing manufacturing. He replied just as point-blank, in paraphrasing, “How can an engineer not do manufacturing, and how can an engineering company not produce products?” He made his point, and I understood his sentiment.

Considering a product development cycle, from an innovative concept to technology development, to manufacturing the product, to introducing the product to the marketplace, each of the key milestones is pivotal to a product’s eventual success. The spirit and the principle of manufacturing are a part of a product and should be thoroughly embraced and comprehended with or without employing an outsourcing operation.

Under today’s competitive climate and with appropriate business justification, to outsource certain functions could be advantageous and constitute a smart business move. I have witnessed—and been actively engaged in with joy—the phenomenal development of the EMS operations ranging from the fledgling operation to the robust enterprises across three continents. EMS operations continue to have my genuine good wishes. However, it is prudent for OEMs or ODMs to maintain and acquire the engineering strength and know-how to prepare for future readiness.

Supply Chain Management
During this pandemic period, it is encouraging to note that the Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index for the month of May rose to 43.1% from an 11-year low  
of 41.5% in April, indicating that the pace of deterioration slowed as governments eased coronavirus-related restrictions[2]. What have we learned from the coronavirus crisis? 

Inventory and supply chain management will have heightened importance and priority to manufacturing efficiency and even to a manufacturer’s viability. Crucial questions to be addressed include:

  • Is a reliable dependency on the chain of suppliers in place?
  • What is the technology employed to monitor the chain of supply?
  • Is a risk management program in place?
  • What is the risk mitigation plan and its order of priority?
  • Are the policies and procedures to address risks and threats in place?
  • Do all strategic raw materials have an alternate source(s), if justified?
  • Do all mission-critical components have alternate source(s), if justified?
  • What is the level of visibility throughout the supply chain?
  • What is the predictability of the supply chain? 
  • Is there an adequate system in place to ensure internal and external cybersecurity to reduce manufacturing supply chain cybersecurity risks? 


Weighing the overseas sources juxtaposing with the domestic sources in quality, cost, delivery time, and in-time-availability becomes a strategic as well as an operating issue. Implementing the newly available technologies to minimize the risk and optimize the efficiency of supply chain management is also increasingly becoming a necessity.

Manufacturing Environment and Operation: Technology-Propelled and Data-Driven 
Assuming there is a reasonable likelihood that we and coronavirus may co-exist for an indefinite period of time, and considering that social-distancing practices will continue, a near-term and long-term plan should be formulated and implemented with the goals to ensure workers’ safety and health while maximizing workplace productivity and optimizing manufacturing efficiency.

COVID-19 catalyzed remote work, and the required social-distancing has prompted the need for more sophisticated ways to monitor factory operations, including the deployment of data management and analytics in a “further and faster” manner.

One of today’s deficiencies in deploying the leading technologies as effective tools, such as AI, is the lack of a relevant and sufficient database. AI requires a vast amount of data to function as desired. Accordingly, preparing AI to facilitate manufacturing operations by initiating a “data” program to collect, clean, manage, and use the data is also increasingly important. Data tells the story!
Hwang_2_0720.jpg

Data capabilities as tools to remotely monitor factories, provide a clearer view of operations, equipment performance and maintenance, allowing the operation to speed up production, reduce waste, and avoid downtime by quickly identifying maintenance and production issues. By identifying and extracting relevant data sets to feed into artificial intelligence, we will gain the ability to predict production and supply-chain problems. With the use of AI, factories are able to go from reactive analytics, reporting on what happened, to proactively analyzing what might happen, and the suggested actions to take.

The better we are at leveraging the emerging technologies (AI in conjunction with IoT and 5G) to enable a real-time contextual understanding and the monitoring of the manufacturing operation and environment, the smarter decisions we are able to make[3].

Manufacturing Workforce

Unlike other industry sectors, manufacturing takes the physical presence of skilled and well-trained workers. However, some functions can be performed in remote work (or work-from-home). One of the advantages of remote work is removing the geographical barriers in hiring and allowing employers to seek the best skilled workers regardless of where that talent resides. A recent survey by IBM Institute for Business Value found that more than 75% of respondents would like to continue working remotely at least occasionally, while more than half want it to be their primary way of working after the coronavirus crisis ends[4]. When asked what it is about remote work that has worked well, according to the Wall Street Journal, the top three on the list were: no commute, reduced meetings, and fewer distractions[5].

It is expected that the development and deployment of emerging technologies will accelerate. As 5G is becoming more available and more reliable for advanced connectivity, innovations in how we work to achieve the maximum efficiency and output—including work-from-home—will become a part of the workforce in a “proper” extent. Going forward, a hybrid work model is most likely to be implemented throughout the companies and organizations, varying in extent with different natures of the business.

In the next decade, having a skilled and educated workforce, as well as continuing education and training programs—especially in data science and data engineering—will be even more important to competitive manufacturing operation.
To cope with the new world, it is plausible to address additional business decisions, including:

  • Are factories logically, strategically, and preemptively distributed in terms of geographical locations?
  • Is there a need for redundancy in factories?
  • What criteria are to be established for making redundancy of factories?
  • What are the key tasks to accelerate the adoption of new technologies—that is, to effectively and timely leverage AI, IoT, 5G, and associated infrastructure and supply chain to achieve the intelligence-teaming manufacturing operating in an integrated manner? 


With its constantly changing and fast-paced nature, there is no industry quite like the electronics industry, with its technology, operation, and promise. For the last three decades, this most innovative and dynamic industry has made many companies and individuals prosperous. Also, as vividly demonstrated, change and coping with change have been a part of our being. The industry’s ability to adapt to change rapidly has been utterly stunning in the past. And I believe, wholeheartedly, that this ability will continue, as we overcome the compounded challenges of the pandemic, the economic recovery path, and the ongoing U.S.-China trade uncertainty.

There is a rainbow after the storm. The beauty of these crisis experiences is that we are in the position to build a better normal, so let’s brace for the challenges and embrace the opportunities!

References
1. J.S. Hwang, “Outsourcing Manufacturing or Not, and to What Extent?” The SMT Magazine, April 2003.
2. Institute for Supply Management, “May 2020 Manufacturing ISM Report on Business,” June 1, 2020.
3. J.S. Hwang, “Smart Factory Implementation: How Smart Is Smart Enough?” SMT007 Magazine, April 2020.
4. IBM, “IBM Study: COVID-19 Is Significantly Altering U.S. Consumer Behavior and Plans Post-Crisis,” May 1, 2020.
5. H. Torry, “As Coronavirus Lockdown Rules Ease, Some Want to Keep Working From Home,” Wall Street Journal, May 27, 2020.

This column originally appeared in the July 2020 issue of SMT007 Magazine.

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2020

SMT Perspectives and Prospects: Rethinking Manufacturing–Bracing for and Embracing a Post-Pandemic Decade

07-28-2020

Against the potent backdrop of current events, how should our industry respond? How should we manage and rethink manufacturing? And what are the main issues at hand in near-term and long-term horizons? Dr. Jennie Hwang explores these questions, as well as three tangible areas of business and manufacturing.

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SMT Perspectives and Prospects: Smart Factory Implementation—How Smart Is Smart Enough?

04-13-2020

As we are moving further into the Industry 4.0 era, rigidity is out, and flexibility is in; stiffness is out, and agility is in; and sluggishness is out, and swiftness is in. Dr. Jennie Hwang explains how manufacturing companies need to develop a thorough understanding of the available technologies that can be utilized to translate business objectives into business roadmaps targeting operational excellence to produce competitive, reliable, and economic products that perform in a timely fashion in the marketplace.

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SMT Perspectives and Prospects: Joint Industry Standard IPC J-STD-006—Electronic Solder Alloys

01-02-2020

It has been nearly two decades since the global electronics industry adopted lead-free conversion from leaded electronics. Readers who have been in the industry during this period will recognize the changes and challenges the industry has faced and appreciate the fact that taking the element lead (Pb) out of electronics has not been a straightforward path.

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2019

SMT Perspectives and Prospects—Revisiting Globalization: Technology, Jobs, Trade

11-21-2019

In 2004, Dr. Jennie Hwang wrote a column titled “Globalization: Technology, Jobs, Trade,” which was published in the July issue of SMT007 Magazine. Amid the protracted and roller-coaster trade uncertainty between the U.S. and China, and the renewed debate on globalization, she revisits the topic. What has changed over the last 15 years? Where do we stand today? Is globalization undergoing a retreat or reverse course?

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Learn From the Wise

07-12-2019

How can we get ahead in this digital world inundated with a gargantuan amount of information available to all? More sustainably, how can we stay ahead of the curve? Knowledge and wisdom are the fuel to propel us ahead; learning from the wise is the speedier path to acquire the fuel.

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The Role of Bismuth (Bi) in Electronics, Part 6

05-10-2019

In this installment of this column series on the role of bismuth (Bi) in electronic products, Dr. Jennie Hwang looks at the effects of Bi on the properties and performance of solder interconnections in electronic products when Bi is not contained in the solder alloy for the SMT assembly process (Bi-absent solder alloy composition of solder paste).

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The Role of Bismuth (Bi) in Electronics, Part 5

03-07-2019

The fifth part of this column series addresses the most interesting, yet intricate, aspect of the subject—plausible underlying operating mechanisms among the four elements (Sn, Ag, Cu, Bi) in a SnAgCuBi system. This article features illustrations on relative elemental dosages in relation to relevant properties and performance.

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2018

SMT Manufacturing: Why Soldering?

11-15-2018

Upcoming AI hardware requires advanced semiconductors, packaging approaches, new architectures, increased speeds and capabilities of inference processing, and system design and manufacturing prowess continually developed to reach the interconnect density. Against this backdrop, packaging and assembly levels will continue to be critical technology and serve as the backbone of manufacturing electronic hardware to deliver desired products with enhanced miniaturization, functionality, and augmented intelligence promptly.

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Artificial Intelligence: Super-Exciting, Ultra-Competitive

09-18-2018

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have become common everyday words, however, the present reality and future potential are yet to evolve. This article looks into the key considerations and strategies to better leverage these trends that are expected to transform the manufacturing world.

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The Role of Bismuth (Bi) in Electronics, Part 3

08-08-2018

The third part of this column series aims to answer why SAC isn't able to become a universal interconnecting material for electronic circuits, and why a quaternary alloy system offer a more wholesome approach.

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The Role of Bismuth (Bi) in Electronics, Part 4

06-04-2018

Dr. Jennie Hwang's column series continues in Part 4, which addresses two pivotal questions: Why SAC is not able to be a universal interconnecting material for electronic circuits, and why a quaternary alloy system offers a more wholesome approach.

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New Year Resolutions and Best Wishes

03-12-2018

The New Year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals. But the true challenge is to keep these goals from falling into a wish list and to know how to stick to those goals and when. I hope that in this year to come, goals give us direction in whatever we do, be it on AI, 5G, mixed reality and quantum computing or the next chip design.

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2017

The Role of Bismuth (Bi) in Electronics, Part 2

12-08-2017

Part 2 of Dr. Jennie Hwang's article series outlines the Bi effects on 63Sn37Pb solder material, which have been substantiated by years of field performance prior to lead-free implementation. This should serve as the sound baseline for further discussion on the subject.

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The Role of Bismuth (Bi) in Electronics, Part 1

10-17-2017

In this column series about bismuth, Dr. Jennie Hwang starts with its elemental properties: where it is usually mined, its safety data, and application areas—in the chemical world, the metals industry, and electronics. She also writes about how bismuth compounds improve the performance some electronics devices, such as varistors.

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The Role of Bismuth (Bi) in Electronics: A Prelude

08-24-2017

When it comes to considering applications in electronics and microelectronics industry, over last three decades, the industry has shied away from using bismuth (Bi), at least not in standard practices in mass production. However, an interest has surfaced recently. This article series is tailored to electronics and microelectronics industry, to provide an overview in its entirety in the areas of importance to industry applications going forward.

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Do Acquisitions Bear Fruit? A Pragmatic Perspective

05-02-2017

Acquisition is an effective tool for a company’s growth as a part of corporate growth strategy; and it is one of the top fiduciary duties of a company board’s governance oversight. However, statistically, the acquisition failure rate is quite high. In her column this month, Dr. Jennie Hwang reflects on her hands-on experience as well as observations on mergers and acquisitions in the corporate world.

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2016

The Theory Behind Tin Whisker Phenomena, Part 5

11-23-2016

In this installment of the series on the theory behind tin whisker phenomena, Dr. Jennie Hwang completes the discussion of key processes likely engaged in tin whisker growth—crystal structure and defects.

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New Year Outlook: China’s Five Year Plan

01-25-2016

In this article, Dr. Jennie Hwang writes about the latest developments in the current global economic landscape, as well as mega-technological trends, which include: the highlights of macro-economy outlook, China factor, oil dynamics, cyber security, and grand challenges in technology and the path forward.

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2015

A Look at the Theory Behind Tin Whisker Phenomena, Part 3

11-05-2015

The third installation in Jennie Hwang's five-part series on tin whisker phenomena continues the discussion on key processes engaged in tin whisker growth. She discusses the energy of free surface, recrystallization, and the impact of solubility and external temperature on grain growth.

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The Theory Behind Tin Whisker Phenomena, Part 2

08-06-2015

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

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The Theory Behind Tin Whisker Phenomena, Part 1

05-27-2015

In this first article of a five-part series, Dr. Jennie Hwang goes back to basics as she discusses the theory behind the tin whisker phenomena--the reasons and mechanisms behind its occurrence--as well as how tin whiskers can be mitigated in the plating process.

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New Year Outlook: What Can We Expect in 2015?

03-04-2015

Dr. Jennie Hwang takes a long view on market thrusts in the anticipated global economic landscape, as well as mega-technological trends in selected areas deemed timely and relevant to the industry: macro-economy, oil dynamics, China factor, cybersecurity, and grand challenges in technology and the path forward.

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2014

2014: Year-end Review

12-31-2014

In her latest column, Dr. Jennie S. Hwang reviews how predictions in her January 2014 column actually panned out. She goes through the key sub-topics that directly or indirectly impact the industry in terms of macroeconomics, business environment, technology, and the global marketplace. By and large her 2014 outlook was on or close to target.

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Tin Whiskers, Part 6, Preventive and Mitigating Measures: Strategy and Tactics

09-24-2014

In this installment of the tin whisker series, Dr. Jennie S. Hwang takes a look at the preventive and mitigating measures--the strategy and tactics. She says an effective strategy for prevention and mitigation starts with a good understanding of the causations of tin whiskers. A smorgasbord of material and technique options are offered as a guide to prevent or retard tin whiskers.

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Capsulization

08-06-2014

Since lead-free implementation, concerns about tin whiskers have intensified. For the past 12 years, studies and research by various laboratories and organizations have delivered burgeoning reports and papers, and Dr. Hwang has devoted an entire series to this subject. This article aims to capsulize the important areas of the subject.

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Tin Whiskers, Part 5: Impact of Testing Conditions

05-21-2014

Dr. Jennie S. Hwang says, "Real-life stresses may lead a different tin whisker behavior as in accelerated tests (temperature cycling, elevated temperature storage). The alloy-making process to achieve homogeneity needs to be taken into consideration. For an 'impurity' system, how the process that adds elements into tin could also affect the whisker propensity."

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Tin Whiskers, Part 4: Causes and Contributing Factors

03-26-2014

According to Columnist Dr. Jennie S. Hwang, nucleation and growth can be encouraged by stresses introduced during and after the plating process. The sources of these stresses includes residual stresses caused by electroplatin, additional stresses imposed after plating, the induced stresses by foreign elements, and thermally-induced stresses.

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New Year Outlook: What Can We Expect in 2014?

01-29-2014

In her latest column, Dr. Jennie Hwang takes a long view on market thrusts in the anticipated 2014 global economic landscape, as well as technological trends in selected areas important to the SMT industry. Readers, pay attention--her predictions for 2013 were extremely accurate.

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2013, A Year-End Review

01-09-2014

For this year-in-review column, Dr. Jennie S. Hwang checks on whether her January 2013 column, "Outlook for the New Year," is on or off target. She addresses the key sub-topics that directly or indirectly impact the industry in terms of business environment, technology, and global marketplace to see how her predictions actually panned out.

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2013

Tin Whiskers: Concerns & Potential Impact

11-26-2013

What is the biggest concern about the growth of tin whiskers? A simple answer is "uncertainty." If or when tin whiskering occurs, what are likely sources of uncertainty or potential adverse impact? Dr. Jennie Hwang explains that concerns and impact concerning tin whiskers primarily fall into one of four categories.

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Tin Whiskers: Phenomena and Observations

10-09-2013

Tin whisker reflects its coined name. It has long been recognized to be associated with electroplated tin coating and most likely occurs with pure tin. Its appearance resembles whiskers. However, whiskers can also form in a wide range of shapes and sizes, such as fibrous filament-like spiral, nodule, column, and mound.

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Cyber Security: From Boardroom to Factory Floor

08-21-2013

Cyber attacks are and will continue to be a huge concern to U.S. corporations in the foreseeable future. It's a matter of when, not if. It is not industry-specific and every company will have to deal with this challenge. The earlier preparation is made, the better a company is positioned to fend off the attack.

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SMT Perspectives and Prospects: Cyber Security - From Boardroom to Factory Floor

08-21-2013

Cyber attacks are and will continue to be a huge concern to U.S. corporations in the foreseeable future. It's a matter of when, not if. It is not industry-specific and every company will have to deal with this challenge. The earlier preparation is made, the better a company is positioned to fend off the attack.

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Tin Whiskers: Clarity First

06-11-2013

Lead-free solder comprises a wide array of alloy systems and each system can be modified in numerous ways. A test scheme to represent lead-free is a daunting task with an astounding price tag. Dr. Jennie Hwang advises that any tin whisker propensity study be conducted with a specific alloy composition, as clarity is the name of the game.

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SMT Perspectives and Prospects: Conflict Minerals: A Snapshot

04-03-2013

As the supply chain becomes increasingly complex and global, with an ever-increasing number of suppliers, full traceability of conflict minerals throughout the global supply chain is a daunting task. To comply with the SEC’s reporting and disclosure requirement, a company must formulate a comprehensive program to achieving traceability and transparency.

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SMT Perspectives and Prospects: SAC System, A Revisit

03-13-2013

In compliance with the RoHS Directive initiated by the EU and later deployed globally, SAC305 of SnAgCu (SAC) system has been used as a lead-free solder interconnection alloy for both second- and third-level interconnection since the implementation of lead-free electronics. After a 10-year run, Dr. Jennie Hwang takes a look at SAC305 for IC packages and PCB assembly.

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SMT Perspectives and Prospects: Outlook for the New Year

02-06-2013

After protracted high unemployment and lack of a speedy recovery in the U.S., and in the absence of clear solutions to the Eurozone's financial crisis and China's lower manufacturing activities in 2012, will the grim global economic outlook extend to 2013?

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SMT Perspectives and Prospects: 2012 Year-End Review

01-16-2013

Dr. Jennie S. Hwang compares the past year to predictions made in her January 2012 column, "What Can We Expect in 2012?" including business, technology, and global marketplace issues. She feels that, overall, 2012 was another intriguing year filled with both wanted and unwanted events.

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2012

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

11-27-2012

How does one examine solder joint microstructure? Is the microstructure important? This month, Dr. Jennie S. Hwang continues a series that addresses the practical aspects of solder joint microstructure and what it can tell us about solder joint reliability. The focus of this offering is the role of the phase diagram in microstructure.

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

11-06-2012

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

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

09-11-2012

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

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SMT Perspectives and Prospects: 100 Points on Lead-Free Performance and Reliability, Part 2

08-21-2012

In the final of a two-part series, Dr. Jennie S. Hwang takes a wide, sweeping look at the history, timeline, highlights, and future projections for lead-free manufacturing.

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2011

Reliability of Lead-Free System: Part II, The Role of Creep

10-26-2011

The degradation of a solder joint is inevitable. The solder joint intrinsic degradation process engages two scientific phenomena--fatigue and creep. In this article, industry expert Dr. Jennie S. Hwang continues her look at the reliability of the lead-free system with a closer examination of the latter.

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Reliability of Lead-Free System: Part I, Solder Joint Fatigue

09-14-2011

Industry expert Dr. Jennie S. Hwang continues her look at the reliability of the lead-free system this month with a closer examination of solder joint fatigue. Fatigue is one of the most likely culprits for material failure--regardless of metals, polymers or ceramics.

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2002

Lead-free Symposium at APEX

04-15-2002

Amid a variety of programs, lead-free technology was "a conference in a conference" at APEX 2002, in San Diego. The program was designed with six focal themes covering components, printed wiring board (PWB) surface finishes, materials, assembly processes, test and rework, and reliability. Additionally, SMT Magazine developed an illuminative panel forum and NEMI discussed a summary report by NEMI

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