Article Highlights
Pack Your Bags! We’ve Got Your Trade Show Calendar Here
09/23/2022 | Michelle Te, I-Connect007
Axiom Inspired by Industry Challenges
09/20/2022 | Michael Schindele, Axiom
Finding Some Breathing Room in Parts Supply
09/19/2022 | Nolan Johnson, I-Connect007
The Critical Balance of Supply and Inventory Control
09/07/2022 | I-Connect007 Editorial Team
Register Now for Happy Holden's ICT Smart Factory Webinar
09/06/2022 | I-Connect007 Editorial Team

Latest Articles

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

It’s officially fall now, and in Atlanta the temperature has plummeted to the mid-80s. We’ve all bumped our air conditioners up to 74 degrees. That means it’s trade show season, and I’ve been busy looking for my suitcase. This week, we have an assortment of news about associations, education, and advocacy, as well as another installment of our Printed Electronics Roundtable. And if you’re looking for a job, you are in luck; our jobConnect007 section is chock-full of open positions at all levels in this industry.

Pack Your Bags! We’ve Got Your Trade Show Calendar Here

It’s officially fall, and that means it's time to start planning your trade show attendance. To help you make decisions about when and where to go, we’ve put together a list of industry trade shows. It has been two long years with no or few in-person trade shows, and we’ve felt it. So, now we’re back in business and ready to hit the road. Do you have a show or conference to add to our list? Let us know!

IPC: Companies Are Intentional About Tracking Environmental and Social Risks

Leading companies in the electronics manufacturing industry are highly intentional about their environmental, social and governance (ESG) priorities, with climate change and energy use among the most closely scrutinized issues, an IPC analysis shows. As part of IPC’s ESG for Electronics initiative, IPC is interested in developing resources for members on the most common ESG methods and priorities of leading companies across the electronics value chain. In support of this, IPC has preliminarily analyzed the ESG reports of approximately a dozen companies in selected portions of the industry.

EIPC Technical Snapshot: Novel Laser-based Manufacturing Processes in Automotive Electronics

“Summer is over, now it's back to work!” This was the opening line of the invitation to the 18th EIPC Technical Snapshot webinar, Sept. 14, following the theme of advances in automotive electronics technology, introduced and moderated by EIPC President Alun Morgan. The first presentation, entitled "The fully printed smart component—combining additive manufacturing and sensor printing," came from Jonas Mertin, a thin-film processing specialist at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology.

Axiom Inspired by Industry Challenges

After living through more than two years of the pandemic, we are very aware of the issues facing the electronics industry. We have witnessed months of factory shutdowns, labor disruptions due to a reduced workforce, and country, regional, and citywide COVID regulations and shutdowns. I will describe some of the issues we’ve been facing, and then explain how we learned to be creative and look for the silver linings in these disruptions.

Finding Some Breathing Room in Parts Supply

Electronics manufacturers like Emerald EMS are finding that as the consumer markets experience a slowdown, and supply chain woes are lightening, challenges persist. Chris Lentz, vice president of supply chain logistics, and Joe Garcia, vice president of sales and marketing, break down the issues their company has faced over the past two years in working with vetted sources, not backing down in the face of adversity, and most importantly, forging better relationships with customers. One thing they’ve learned is how to be creative in finding parts while maintaining their reputation with customers. Just because you find it cheaper online doesn’t make it valid. Chris and Joe explain.

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

“You are the average of the five people that you spend the most time with.” This saying is attributed to Jim Rohn, and I couldn’t help thinking of that quote as I put together this week’s listings. Hear me out: 1) There are five items on our list; 2) These items zoomed to the top based on reader interest; 3) Every single one of these news items has an “association” association—IPC, iNEMI, SMTA, and NextFlex are all represented in what you, dear reader, chose to explore this last week.

Altium’s EDDI Report Tracks Components’ Availability—Today and Historically

There’s one lesson that all designers have learned over the past few years: Components might be here today and gone tomorrow, so tracking your parts is more important than ever. Any resources that help you keep tabs on your required parts are invaluable in these days of 40-week lead times. Earlier this year, Altium released one such resource: the Electronic Design to Delivery Index (EDDI) report. Assembled from millions of bytes of data gleaned from the Octopart search engineer and the Nexar platform, the monthly EDDI report provides part availability histories going back years, as well as a real-time snapshot of global inventories.

Four Silver Linings in the Stormy Clouds of Pandemic, Supply Chain, and Inflation

It may be difficult to see any bright spots in the current and recent economic situation. We have all experienced the devastation of the pandemic, supply chain issues, and most recently, inflation. However, as a senior technologist for an international materials supplier (Indium Corporation) and a professor of engineering at an Ivy League research university (Dartmouth College), I offer these four silver linings for those of us in the electronics industry.

Passing the Test With SMTA’s Rob Boguski

I recently spoke with Rob Boguski, president of Fremont, California-based Datest and an SMTA vice president and board member. Rob explained why today’s test customers are asking for more information than the traditional pass/fail, offers a preview of SMTA International, and gives an update on SMTA’s planning strategy for the next five years.


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

It feels like the first day of school. It’s September, and we’re all officially back at our desks, workstations, or kitchen tables. Even Les Vacances is over. Oui, c’est vrai! But instead of facing new teachers, we have to deal with diverse market forces, supply chain issues, and technology that never seems to stop evolving. Of course, that’s what makes this industry so interesting, isn’t it?

The Critical Balance of Supply and Inventory Control

Can you still design a product and expect to see validation by the next week? The Epoch International Enterprises team of Meghan Zou, Foad Ghalili, Lillian Lin, and Crystal Zhang provide insight into what their distributors have up against over the past two years as they seek to source and validate parts. Often, it means finding alternatives, redesigning the project, and worst of all, sitting and waiting.

Register Now for Happy Holden's ICT Smart Factory Webinar

Happy Holden understands—getting started can be the hardest part. For the past 55 years, he has followed his passion for automation and computers by writing books and white papers, and engineering and managing projects. Each one has always meant one thing: finding the right place to start. The first in a series of eight online sessions starts this Wednesday. Happy will introduce the topic of “Automation and the Journey to Your Smart Factory,” by breaking down the elements this type of journey requires, addressing the five W’s, and encouraging study on your own. Each session, hosted by ICT, is approximately 60 minutes, and is offered at 4 p.m. BST (3 p.m. GMT, 11 a.m. EDT, 8 a.m. PDT) Wednesdays, Sept. 7 to Oct. 26.

Catching Up With ExcelTech’s Matt Redhead

This is a story of hope for the future of our industry. Matt Redhead is a young entrepreneur who started his career in customer service and sales, but always had his sights set on owning a business. Recently, he achieved his dream by becoming the fourth owner of a 46-year-old contract manufacturing business just outside of Portland, Oregon. For those of you who worry about the younger folks joining our ranks, this interview will renew your faith.

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

This week we have quite a variety of articles for you. There has been so much electronics industry news coming out of Washington, D.C., that it can be hard to keep track of what’s going on. So, Editor Michelle Te compiled a handy-dandy reference guide to recent legislation news, including our exclusive coverage. We need to keep an eye on these senators and representatives. They’ve been talking about the importance of our industry for the past year, but this is an election year, after all. They’ve been known to say one thing and do another.

I-Connect007 eBook Introduction: The Evolving NPI Process

Thanks to marketing and advances in technology, we have all come to expect that the electronic products we buy will be closely aligned to our individual and specific lifestyle or business requirements. This expected variability, in personal function and style, as well as regulatory compliance and a changing global economic landscape, has made designing and producing new products a challenging prospect. And, on top of the resulting “high-mix, low-volume” production cycles, increasingly more products contain electronic components in varying levels that heighten the complexity of design and manufacturing.

Thriving Through Greater EMS Collaboration

Events of the past two years have clearly demonstrated the value of strong trading relationships. When materials become constrained, as in the recent microchip shortage or any of the pandemic-driven supply chain snafus, the companies that have those materials have a choice to make. Which customers will be put at the front of the line, and which will be placed at the rear? Too often, company executives assume that since they are a large buyer, they automatically will be prioritized when supplies are constrained. Research has shown that this is not always the case, and that assumption can leave a company in a weakened position.

A Framework for Managing Supply Chain Disruption

Recently, the 200-plus companies that use our software to power their digital supply chain processes have been, half-jokingly, pondering the same line during period customer success meetings: “If only CalcuQuote could create parts out of thin air.” It was asked often enough that we made it into our April Fool’s Joke of 2022.

What’s Going On in Congress? Your Handy Guide to PCB Legislation Headlines

We know you have so many questions about what the legislation means for you. Will there be funds to expand or upgrade my facilities? What about tax breaks? How will my specific needs be known? What will the current legislation mean for U.S. vs. China relations? Use this handy guide to get caught up, sort out the CHIPS from the USICAs, and be that someone who talks knowledgably at dinner parties.

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

Can it be Friday already? Seems like I’ve just barely put away my Tuesday dishes. Some weeks, I wonder where my days went as they fly by so fast I hardly even realize it. As I looked back through the news for the week, it was clear why everything went so fast: There was a lot going on. The news this week had a nice feel to it. It seems like the industry is starting to gain some traction again with shows, mergers and acquisitions, and companies getting to do those “extras” that they wanted to do before the pandemic reared its ugly head. It had a little of that “back to normal” feel, even if we aren’t quite there yet. What do you think? Are we normal yet?


The CMMC 2.0 Countdown: Will You Be Ready When the Clock Hits Zero?

If you influence IT decisions at your workplace, you need to hear this. If you make the decisions, you need to listen, not just hear: Unless you start acting on CMMC compliance now, you are putting yourself at a disadvantage—one that will take much more time to correct than you might expect. Think of me as a spokesperson for the industry I represent: we are concerned about you. From what I’ve heard and seen over the last few months, too many of you are listening to suppliers, upstream and downstream partners, or other business owners on how seriously to take CMMC. As a result, far too much wishful thinking is guiding decision-making. So, listen to the experts.

Digi-Key Drilling Down on Counterfeit Parts

The I-Connect007 Editorial Team spoke with Digi-Key senior managers Levy Olson (product management) and Kelsey Lawrence (operational excellence) about parts availability and how to manage the challenges of the ongoing shortages in supply. Levy and Kelsey share some intriguing statistics on counterfeit parts and discuss how Digi-Key ensures their extensive inventory is stocked with authentic parts.

Optimizing Test Engineering Practices for High-Mix Electronics Manufacturing

For PCB and assembly manufacturers, test engineering has become a critical factor in enhancing the profitability of new product introductions (NPIs). Given the trend toward high-mix, low-volume production, the journey from design data to an automated PCB testing program must be quicker and more efficient than ever before. In this article, we will discuss how to optimize the efficiency of the test engineering process in accordance with these new market realities.

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

There was some good news this week, as Republicans and Democrats managed to cooperate long enough to pass the CHIPS Act. Members of the House and Senate don’t usually act until they get worried about being voted out of office, so pardon me if I’m not ready to sing “Happy Days Are Here Again” just yet. But this is still really good news; the politicians are on the record now, and we can hold them accountable.

Business Email Compromise: The $43 Billion Scam

Business email compromise/email account compromise (BEC/EAC) is a sophisticated scam that targets both businesses and individuals who perform legitimate transfer-of-funds requests. The scam is frequently carried out when an individual compromises legitimate business or personal email accounts through social engineering or computer intrusion to conduct unauthorized transfers of funds. The scam is not always associated with a transfer-of-funds request. One variation involves compromising legitimate business email accounts and requesting employees’ Personally Identifiable Information, Wage and Tax Statement (W-2) forms, or even crypto currency wallets.

Printed Circuit Boards: Past the Lobby and Onto the Floor

There has not been a time in recent memory when the U.S. legislative body is putting as much focus on the microelectronics industries. One bill, the CHIPS Act, was signed into law last year. A new bill introduced this year seeks to allocate funding for printed circuit board fabrication. In this exclusive interview, our team spoke with Travis Kelly, CEO of Isola Group and president of the Printed Circuit Board Association, and U.S. Rep. Blake Moore (R-Utah), who has co-sponsored the bill now before the House. Travis and Blake both express optimism about onshoring domestic production, but the realities of the legislative calendar may pose some risks.

IPC's I-Connect007 Acquisition Update With John Mitchell

Editor Nolan Johnson speaks with I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties and IPC President and CEO John Mitchell about IPC's acquisition of the publishing company, and what this means to I-Connect007's readers.

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

The Top 5 list this week contains industry analysis from IPC’s Shawn DuBravac, news on the passage of the U.S. “CHIPS Plus” bill, new materials from Ventec, news about a fab for sale, and a chemistry company completing their acquisition, plus a brand new book in the I-Connect007 eBooks series.

Q4 Concerns: Hold on to Your Hats

IPC Chief Economist Shawn DuBravac has plenty to share about the state of the U.S. economy and how the electronics manufacturing industry might weather the storms of high inflation, rising interest rates, and low unemployment. It’s an interesting situation to find ourselves in as the flurry of opinion on a 2023 recession starts to take shape. Does it make sense to invest in PCB fab now? And how does the rest of the world feel about it? Shawn gets to the bottom line.

New Book from I-Connect007 Examines Evolution of Electronics Industry NPI

The Electronics Industry’s Guide to… The Evolving PCB NPI Process is the first book in I-Connect007’s new The Electronics Industry’s Guide to… technical series. This valuable resource is for all segments of the electronics interconnect industry.


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

Our biggest news this week: I-Connect007 has been acquired by IPC. Every member of the team, including founder and Publisher Barry Matties, is included in this deal. We’ve enjoyed working closely with IPC for decades, especially at events like IPC APEX EXPO, and we have four IPC columnists writing in our magazines and newsletters. This move makes sense for both parties. It enables us to take our magazine, newsletters, and book publishing to the next level, and IPC won’t have to spend years building a media company from the ground up. It really is a win-win.

IPC Acquires Media Company I-Connect007, Strengthening Relationship to Drive Growth and Innovation in the Electronics Industry

IPC, a global electronics manufacturing industry association, has acquired media company I-Connect007, a global source for news and original content serving the printed circuit design, fabrication and assembly/EMS markets.

Balancing Talent and Procurement Challenges

Ron Preston, vice president of supply chain at Green Circuits, outlines the company’s specific challenges with high-mix work. While the company excels at turning around boards in just a few days, difficulties in supply chain, materials, and staffing remain ever-present. What is to be done and how is Green Circuits working its way through these issues? The answers might surprise you.

Solder Paste Printing and Optimizations for Interconnecting Back Contact Cells

The interdigitated back contact (IBC) is one of the methods to achieve rear contact solar cell interconnection. The contact and interconnection via rear side theoretically achieve higher efficiency by moving all the front contact grids to the rear side of the device. This results in all interconnection structures being located behind the cells, which brings two main advantages. First, there is no frontside shading of the cell by the interconnection ribbons, thus eliminating the need for trading off series resistance, losses for shading losses when using larger interconnection ribbons. Second, a more homogeneous looking frontside of the solar module enhances the aesthetics.

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

It’s always interesting how certain groups of news emerge in our most-read content. This week, reader interest seemed focused on two distinct themes: Mexico and awards. In this week’s list, we find the inaugural award recipients from iNEMI’s Project Leadership Awards. We also bring you the award recipients from the SEMI FlexTech conference held last week in San Francisco. News from Mexico includes a new Atotech facility, and an interview with IPC’s David Hernandez and Lorena Villanueva about IPC’s expanding presence in Mexico. Metcal’s new hot air rework system also got a lot of attention, with an abundance of reader interest.

How Important Is Trust?

If you work for a U.S. defense prime contractor, do you have concerns that the controlled unclassified information (CUI) for your printed circuit boards, your printed circuit board assemblies, and your cable and wire harnesses is safe? What about the design and the development process for your products? Is the controlled technical information (CTI) safe and protected? Are the suppliers that your company selected maintaining a quality system, a supply chain risk management process, a security system to protect products and services from unauthorized access, and a Chain of Custody policy for electronic and physical materials?

IPC Mexico Continues to Grow

IPC Mexico has been growing for the past few years, and it’s no wonder: Mexico has become a major hub in the world of PCB manufacturing, spurred in part by reshoring as companies pulled work back from China during the pandemic. As the country’s maquiladoras thrived, IPC began expanding the Mexican educational and training operations, and the group recently named Lorena Villanueva as director of IPC Mexico. Andy Shaughnessy and Barry Matties recently spoke with Lorena and IPC Vice President of Education David Hernandez about IPC Mexico’s growth, as well as the office’s plans to provide PCB manufacturers the training resources they need to succeed.

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

I’m getting a lot of out-of-office replies. Are you all on the beach now? It’s 91 degrees every day here in Atlanta lately, but each afternoon it rains like we’re in a horror movie, and that drops the temperature down to the subtropical arena. Still, I’ll take heat over freezing any day. Things are heating up in our industry too, as we see from my top five choices this week. First-quarter electronic design revenue is up year-on-year, but PCB revenue barely moved the needle YOY. Editor Nolan Johnson spent the week at SEMICON West and the FLEX Conference, and he brings us a review of these conferences, co-located at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. As he notes, printed electronic circuits are beginning to gain a foothold in the market.

Time to Get Serious About CMMC Readiness

Divyash Patel of MX2 Technology is a leading cybersecurity expert who’s sounding the alarm about getting your company into a state of readiness. But he’s not yelling fire in a theater. Whether it’s aligning with DoD’s CMMC, or just ensuring your company’s data and processes are protected, Divyash can see what’s coming. “This is a must-have compliance program,” he says. “It needs to be taken seriously and maintained.”

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

In more than one conversation while discussing the industry this week, the themes have included industry turmoil, lots of business opportunities, and the urgent need to build out to meet changing demands. In fact, our July issue of PCB007 Magazine, which publishes later this month, will focus on these very topics. It’s definitely one not to be missed! These themes also emerged in this week’s top five news items as well. Top stories include an acquisition in the soldering machinery space, sales and service expansion in Mexico, industry data from SIA on semiconductor global sales data, and strong financial numbers from two China-based manufacturers. Now, with the U.S. Congress putting its focus on the PCB industry, things could really heat up. It’s going to be an interesting year.


CMMC 2.0: Are You Ready?

Nolan Johnson discusses with Ryan Bonner of DEFCERT exactly where EMS companies should aim for CMMC certification and how to go about it. Organizations, he says, “need to avoid false dichotomies where they assume that either CMMC is a go or it’s not happening at all. All the government mandated reviews to keep CMMC moving forward, resulting in new contract clauses are already underway. The rule making is scheduled; it will happen.”

Anaya Vardya: An Advocate for Great Partnerships

We can’t have a solid issue about partnership without including Anaya Vardya, CEO of American Standard Circuits, who feels strongly that it’s time for electronics manufacturers to come together in a spirit of unity and put aside some of their competitive differences to create a more robust industry. For the past six years, Anaya has written in his monthly column about the advantages of working together for a common goal. We reviewed every column and curated our own top 10. We know you’ll agree with his sentiments. How have you seen this working in your factory?

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

The summer is heating up, and our news this week is on fire, literally. Eltek has resumed making deliveries after a fire at their facility in Petach-Tikva, Israel. There’s never a dull moment in this industry. And we have some good news: EIPC’s conferences are now live events again, and Editor Pete Starkey is back in the saddle, bringing us a review of the two-day conference. I know Pete was getting tired of sitting around his house and watching these events on video.

Partnership and Collaboration

Dan Beaulieu and Nolan Johnson recently had a conversation with Christopher Kalmus of Aurora Circuits and Brigitte Lawrence of Brigitflex. Joining them was Jeff Brandman of Aismalibar North America. The group discussed the value of partnerships, noting how it has helped them win and keep business. They also describe a recent project for an OEM manufacturer in the automotive industry that served as a case study for this discussion.

The U.S. Economy Needs the Bipartisan Innovation Act and the PCB Act

In this IPC-created interview between Dale Curtis, IPC Advocacy Communications and Chris Mitchell, IPC VP Global Government Relations, the importance of the semiconductor and PCB manufacturing legislation moving through US Congress is highlighted.

Ventec’s Book on Thermal Management: The Summer Sequel You’ve Been Waiting For

I-Connect007 is excited to announce the release of the second title in Ventec’s series on thermal management, "The Printed Circuit Designer’s Guide to… Thermal Management with Insulated Metal Substrates, Volume 2." This second volume covers the latest developments in the field of thermal management, particularly in insulated metal substrates, using state-of-the-art products as examples, and focusing on specific solutions and enhanced properties of IMS.

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

Market news was certainly big this week. While the U.S. stock market continues make some large swings, the PCB and PCBA are doing their own dance with the numbers. We’re still feeling the effects of the pandemic, but it seems to be more about playing catch up. Still, the industry is showing some instability, both in positive and negative ways.

Assemblers Play the ‘Revise or Wait’ Game With Designers

Nolan Johnson recently spoke with Duane Benson at Milwaukee Electronics and Screaming Circuits. Duane was pointing out a trend in moving designs into production, which he termed “revise or wait.” This excerpt provides a preview of our exploration of similar topics involving supply chain issues, lead times, and proceeding forward despite the supply challenges.

Clean Energy and Critical Minerals: The Dichotomy and Divergence

There has long been a battle between environmental groups and the mining industry. Environmental groups push for clean energy and net zero carbon initiatives while the U.S. mining industry is buried deeper and deeper under overly burdensome permitting processes and relentless lawsuits that halt exploration, construction, and clean production of critical minerals.

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

We’re still not officially into summer yet, but Atlanta is bringing the heat, baby! It’s hit 97 degrees a few times this week, and I now have a fan aimed right at my face. At least it’s nice and humid too. I’m glad I don’t wear make-up. And it’s been a hot week in the circuit board community. This week, Eltek reported a fire at a board shop in Israel, and Flex committed to building a 145,000-square-foor facility in Jalisco, Mexico to serve the electric and autonomous vehicle segment.


Mining for Metals Requires a Long View

Nolan Johnson talks with Shaun Dykes, a 50-year expert in the mining industry. Dykes gives a concise primer on mining development, and the amount of time and effort required to develop and supply the mineral resources we depend upon for the manufacture of printed circuit boards. There are many factors that play into when and where a mine is developed—and what can prevent a mine from ever producing minerals.

Review: Institute of Circuit Technology 2022 Annual Symposium

The British Motor Museum in Warwickshire, housing the world's largest collection of historic British cars, was venue for the 2022 Annual Symposium of the Institute of Circuit Technology on June 8, which attracted a substantial gathering of manufacturers and suppliers from the UK printed circuit industry. ICT chair Emma Hudson reflected upon lessons learned during the pandemic lock-down and how the industry has successfully adapted to circumstances. She commented that the UK’s PCB fabricators are extremely busy, as she introduced an outstanding conference programme including a keynote from the incomparable Happy Holden.

PCB Technologies' Subsidiary iNPACK to Exhibit at IMS Show

Jeff De Serrano, president of PCB Technologies USA, discusses the launch of their new company, iNPACK, which focuses on high-tech substrate technologies, microelectronics assembly, and electronics packaging. He details his plans to continue expanding InPack over the next year and to meet with customers and exhibit at the International Microwave Symposium Show in Denver June 19-24.

Social Responsibility and Ethics in Manufacturing

Customers, partners, and employees are increasingly moving toward companies that care about people and the environment and are no longer just about their economic profitability. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has thus become essential, even in the manufacturing sector. CSR defines an organization's approach to sustainable development by considering the environmental, social, economic, and ethical issues of its activities.

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

PCB fabrication is back in the news this week and posting high readership numbers as well. Among the most-read news, we see industry leaders changing roles, capital equipment shipment milestones, operational cost efficiencies, and, last but not least, cybersecurity.

Book Excerpt: 'The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to… Solder Defects'

Solder defects in surface-mount technology (SMT) assembly have been an issue for decades. Further, the combined challenges of Pb-free soldering and ever-increasing miniaturization have resulted in new or exacerbated defects in electronics assembly, but there are proven ways to avoid defects. This book will be especially beneficial to PCB assemblers in improving their assembly processes and the reliability of the end-product, eliminating field failures, and reducing costs.

The Double-edged Sword of CMMC 2.0

For the past few years, those whose SMT provider organizations supply or contract with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) have been hearing about—or even gearing up for—implementation of the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program, better known as CMMC. By this, I mean that you were gearing up for CMMC 1.0. Today, we have CMMC 2.0, and there are a number of changes in the new version that impact both the standards for compliance and how you certify that compliance—especially if you run a small business.

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

Things are heating up in the world of PCB design and manufacturing as well. In the past week, we published quite a bit of news—some good, some not so good. Some of the news is mixed, as we see with the EMS industry shipments rising YOY in April, but falling from the previous month. It’s nice to see NASA investing in American small businesses, but they didn’t really have a choice, did they?

How Will Emerging Chiplet Technology Affect PCBs?

In a recent conversation with Ventec’s Alun Morgan, the I-Connect007 Editorial Team discussed, among several topics, semiconductor packaging developments. Industry insiders will know that, when you get Happy Holden and Alun Morgan talking about emerging technology trends, there will be insights shared.

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

I know I’m not alone in this behavior: Car advertisements during television commercial breaks are as good as invisible to me, until I’m thinking about getting a new car. Only then do I notice them. Rather, I see each one with all my attention and being. If that extends into our industry, then everybody must be itching to pick up some new equipment. This week’s must-reads includes a smattering of new product announcements, along with the news of the IPC European subsidiary.


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

This week, we bring you an article about manufacturing training for veterans, and a review of a great signal integrity webinar. IPC honors its A-Teams with the coveted Golden Gnome Awards, and Technica discusses various ways for fabricators to increase ROI. Dan Beaulieu has a review of a really cool book: Back to Human—How Great Leaders Create Connection in the Age of Isolation. In spite of all the meetings on Teams and Zoom, it’s easy to feel disconnected. But great leaders find a way to foster that connectivity.

Preparing the Next-gen Tech Workforce

Knowledge transfer, especially from the “graying-out” experienced technical workers in our industry, is a complex, difficult family of problems. It differs wildly between companies, and even within divisions of the same company. One of the biggest barriers is the full manufacturing schedules in North American electronics companies that don’t leave any slack time—and the 40-hour work week is a complete fantasy for many.

Jahr Turchan Discusses Blackfox's Training Scholarships for Veterans

Nolan Johnson recently interviewed Jahr Turchan, director of Veteran Services & Advanced Manufacturing Programs for Blackfox Training Institute. They discussed some of the new programs at Blackfox, including the Veteran Advanced Manufacturing Certification program. Thanks to programs like these, this is a great time for veterans transitioning into the manufacturing workplace.

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

The big news in the industry this week was the new bill introduced to the U.S. Congress in support of the PCB manufacturing industry. The Supporting American Printed Circuit Boards Act of 2022, which was introduced by Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Blake Moore (R-UT), incentivizes “purchases of domestically produced PCBs as well as industry investments in factories, equipment, workforce training, and research and development.” The bill is a PCB-oriented complement to the semiconductor-oriented CHIPS Act of 2021.

The Data Format Effect on Business Costs

Nolan Johnson and Barry Matties talked with Axiom’s Rob Rowland and Kevin Bennett about current challenges facing EMS manufacturing. During this conversation, the pair discuss the impact of data file formats on pricing, manufacturing, and quality. As they explain, the use of intelligent data formats such as IPC-2581 and ODB++ can speed up the data import process compared to Gerber.

Exploring High Density With Axiom

Nolan Johnson and Barry Matties talk with Axiom’s Rob Rowland and Kevin Bennett about the current high-density challenges facing EMS manufacturing. In this interview, Bennett and Rowland zero in on component packaging and feeder technology as critical areas in need of improvement.

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

This week, we have some M&A news from Summit Interconnect, and a variety of columns. Chris Bonsell discusses the lack of preventive maintenance planning in PCB manufacturing, and Kelly Dack lays out some solder mask guidelines for PCB designers. Duane Benson helps make sense of the quoting process in a time of 50-week lead times, and Dan Beaulieu has a great review of a book about how shareholder policies have caused many of the problems we see in corporations today.

Are Your Existing Machines Enough to Keep Up?

Buy new or make do? It’s an age-old debate for manufacturers who are trying to decide how best to manage machine assets inside their manufacturing facilities. New machines are expensive, but so is operating existing machines at a comparative deficit.

VJ Electronix: Automating the X-ray Inspection Process

VJ Electronix's Brennan Caissie shares the benefits of a new inspection tool that can be used on a variety of boards, with an automated system that takes the pressure off the manufacturing floor operators and can provide feedback all the way to the design process.

Finding Solutions in the Quoting Process

It’s easy to frame all our supply chain woes around the COVID-19 pandemic. However, at Screaming Circuits, we started receiving dire warnings about component shortages in early 2018. At that time, we were told that the supply upheaval could last years and that we should expect it to get much worse before it got better. Now, four years later, I would say those warnings nailed it.


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

It certainly seems that our times continue to be interesting, don’t they? Just how many different flavors of supply chain disruption can we come up with? Investment on the supply side needs to increase, but the size of the labor force needs to increase even more, if we want to accomplish the task of the buildout itself, let alone running the facilities properly.

SMTA Dallas Expo: A Novel Approach to Outsourcing Sales

Caleb Townsend is the co-founder of Factur, a new kind of recruiting agency that specializes in filling marketing and sales positions. I met with Caleb at SMTA Dallas and asked him to discuss the creative ways he’s helping contract manufacturers to practice Lean principles in their sales department. As Caleb says, his company helps sales departments embrace methods similar to those used on the shop floor, which sometimes means updating their filing system from a “shoebox full of business cards.”

SMTA Atlanta: Peachy in the Peach State

I attended SMTA Atlanta Expo and Tech Forum last week, and it’s safe to say that this industry is definitely back in business in the Peach State. The aisles were busy all day, and the presentations were well attended.

How Smart Are You?

The standard IQ test has been established for many years now. Though the content within these tests has been cleverly and carefully put together, there are different kinds of “smarts” among people. It is likely that those who are putting together IQ tests will favor the kinds of “smarts” that they themselves have. Humans are very complex, however. Everyone is different, with natural skills and abilities in a multitude of disciplines: technical, artistic, social, and others. Put us all together as a society, and we make a pretty good team, at least when we all work together and support each other.

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

It’s been a busy week in this industry, and we have news and articles from the PCB design, fabrication, and assembly communities. The roller coaster ride continues, with whiplash-inducing news from IPC about March North American shipment—they’re up from February but down from the same period a year ago.

Big Data Can Bring Your Business Back

Let’s face it, in the past, electronics manufacturing has not been a big business for North America. A majority of electronics are assembled in Asia where supply chains and operating costs offer many economic advantages. In North America, the electronics manufacturing industry has been generally focused on lower volume, high-cost devices, while higher volume products are produced elsewhere. However, the COVID pandemic and various legislation in the U.S. are changing the situation, making electronics manufacturing in North America a more attractive option. How can factories in North America compete for the same type of manufacturing traditionally performed in lower-cost regions?

Getting Involved Earlier in the Test Process

At SMTA Dallas, Andy Shaughnessy stopped by the booth for The Test Connection, to find out from Bert Horner why the company has evolved into spending more time educating and consulting with their customers when it comes to testing new designs.

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

Welcome to April 15, everyone! There are reasons we tend to cover topics in a continuous conversation. First, there are always developments and news in the industry. Second, you dear readers respond to that content by reading it. This week the news items that drew the most reader interest verify that our industry has ongoing interest in government involvement in industry infrastructure, supply chain issues, cybersecurity, and new technologies like additive in fabrication.

KIC Adds Wave Monitoring Technology to Industry 4.0 Ecosystem for Thermal Processes

At the SMTA Dallas Expo, Andy Shaughnessy sat down with Miles Moreau of KIC to discuss the company’s latest offering in wave process inspection technology. Miles also explains how KIC’s early focus on automated real-time process monitoring has enabled them to become a leader in Smart factory implementation.

CalcuQuote’s Breakthrough Quoting Solution

While at SMTA Expo Dallas, I learned more about CalcuQuote’s automated quoting and purchasing software from CalcuQuote president, Chintan Sutaria. As Chintan explains, in these days of supply chain challenges, having an automated system that easily and efficiently searches for—and purchases—components can be a game-changer for EMS companies.


The Reality of Regulated Manufacturing

Nolan Johnson speaks with Ryan Bonner, CEO of DEFCERT, about government regulations for data and cybersecurity. A key component of moving to a digital factory will be to ensure security of the data required to operate a digital factory, and most importantly, customer design data.

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

Spring has definitely sprung, and the trade show season continues to roll right along. Managing Editor Nolan Johnson just returned from DesignCon 2022, and as he says in his review, the attendance was up from last year’s event, which had been at the McEnery Convention Center in the waning days of the pandemic. I hope we’re getting back to normal, whatever that means. This week, we have a few articles about Industry 4.0, as well as a column on setting your priorities. We have a cool article about methods for measuring the breakdown of resins during multiple thermal laminations, and a conversation with an EMS company president who realized that he was actually running a data collection firm that happened to make circuit boards. Can you say the same about your own company?

The Future is Driven by Data

When we visited Rocket EMS in 2013 to observe a DIY 4.0 factory data collection and management system in action, we were very impressed. This was clearly a factory of the future, even back then. We recently followed up with Rocket’s president, Michael Kottke, to discuss how this work has given the company a huge advantage over the competition. The moment he realized he’s now in a data collection business that happens to build printed circuit boards, everything changed. Is this where all companies should be headed? Perhaps, but you’ll want to take a cue from this type of innovative thinking.

Matt Kelly: The Digital Factory is Now

The I-Connect007 Editorial Team spoke with Matt Kelly, IPC chief technologist, about Factory of the Future. In this wide-ranging conversation, the team starts with the premise that factory automation is no longer a future topic, but a concern for right now. The conversation takes a closer look at the need for digitization, upskilling the workforce, ensuring ROI is gained from digitizing the factory and, at the center of it all, the need for a strong commitment to move forward as a company.

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

According to a quick look at history.com, “Some historians speculate that April Fools’ Day dates back to 1582, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar. In the Julian Calendar, as in the Hindu calendar, the new year began with the spring equinox around April 1.” All well and good, but why April Fools’? “People who were slow to get the news or failed to recognize that the start of the new year had moved to January 1 and continued to celebrate it during the last week of March through April 1 became the butt of jokes and hoaxes and were called “April fools.”

Improved Thermal Interface Materials For Cooling High-Power Electronics

Heat has been a significant concern in electronics since the beginning of the electronics age when hot glowing vacuum tubes were first used to receive and transmit data bits. The transistor and integrated circuit effectively solved that basic problem, but increases in integration resulted in increased concentration of heat, exacerbated by relentless increases in operating frequency. While improvements in electronics technology have been able to mitigate many thermal issues at chip level thanks to improved semiconductor designs devised to operate at lower voltages (thus requiring less energy) the thermal management challenge continues to vex electronic product developers.

How to Minimize Quoting Time and Increase Accuracy in EMS Production

New product introductions (NPIs) and customization have been increasing rapidly over the past few years—with the results that the already-small profit margins in electronics assembly are shrinking even further. Fifteen years ago, the PCB was the product. Today, most products are a system, with multiple PCBs, cables, and enclosures. Many manufacturers want to provide turn-key products that have multiple BOMs, making the assembly process even more complicated.

Dallas SMTA Expo: Open for Business

This year’s theme was “Texas is Open for Business,” and the turnout seemed to reflect that observation. We saw a steady stream of attendees arriving throughout the day, and most of them stayed through the barbecue lunch and happy hour. Dallas SMTA Expo and Tech Forum is becoming much more than a regional show. I met exhibitors and attendees from around the southwest, and a few from across the country. The Plano Event Center has a configurable layout that can accommodate events of all sizes, and next year’s show is expected to be even bigger.

M&A Activity: Keep Your Eye on the Ball

M&A activity is on the rise and shows no indication of slowing down, even if interest rates climb. In the past two years, there were more than 45 deals. Where does your company fit in? In this interview with Dan Beaulieu, M&A expert Tom Kastner breaks down the market and who benefits most when it comes to buyers, sellers, and where you live.

Dave Hillman on Living Your Passion

Barry Matties leads this engaging retrospective conversation with Dave Hillman, a Fellow, Materials and Process engineer at Collins Aerospace, who talks about mentorship, pandemic changes, and solder. “Soldering is soldering,” Dave says. “But how we do that keeps evolving in response to the new technologies and smaller packages.” What’s the key to his success and longevity? “Find your passion.” Here’s how he’s done it.


Thank You to the I-Connect007 Team

During IPC APEX EXPO, the I-Connect007 team works very hard to bring you several great interviews that will keep you up to date on the latest industry activity. This year, we had Nolan Johnson, Andy Shaughnessy, Pete Starkey, and Happy Holden of I-Connect007 in front of the cameras. We also send out a very special thank you to our guest interviewers, who sat in the I-Connect007 show floor studio to conduct many interviews. The list includes Tara Dunn, Dick Crowe, Joe Fjelstad, Steve Williams, and Kelly Dack. Their contributions are greatly appreciated.

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

It’s been a crazy week, with lots of bad news coming out of Ukraine. (I’m a news junkie by trade, but I confess that some days I just unplug from the news completely to avoid overdosing on negativity.) And, as you might have guessed, this is all having ill effects on our electronics supply chain, which is already stretched thin. This is reflected in our IPC news item that shows an uptick in PCB sales in February, but a drop in bookings YOY, in part due to the trouble in Eastern Europe. But there’s positive news in this week’s top reads. We have a NextFlex article about an innovative flexible technology called flexible hybrid electronics (FHE) and a great interview by Dan Beaulieu. We also have a column by Travis Kelly, who discusses PCBAA’s efforts to lobby for American manufacturing in Washington. And last but not least, let’s welcome our two newest columnists, Paige Fiet and Hannah Nelson, who discuss their excitement about entering this industry.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO 2022: Material Technology for Automotive

Nicholas Huffer of Acuity Electronics discusses with Nolan Johnson the use of IoT for material traceability for automotive and aerospace compliance. He explains how Acuity provides solutions, when used in tandem, represent a unified platform for electronics manufacturers. Representing the Siemens PLM Software suite of products for electronics manufacturing Acuity offers best-in-class services and support to maximize your investment in these solutions.

José Servin Receives IPC Dieter Bergman Fellowship Award

The Dieter Bergman IPC Fellowship Award is given to individuals who have fostered a collaborative spirit, made significant contributions to standards development, and have consistently demonstrated a commitment to global standardization efforts and the electronics industry. José Servin has worked as an IPC member for more than 14 years in the development of the Electronics Assembly Norms. As a member of the IPC A-610 and J STD-001 working groups, he became chairman of IPC A-610G and J STD-001G Automotive Addendums that complements the norms for automotive industry since 2018.

Going Global: Bridging Today's Labor Gap

No doubt you will relate to Foad Ghalili when he expresses his concerns about rising input costs to doing business, from getting the right components, to delivery times, and price increases. But what’s unique for the president of Epoch International is the way his company has leveraged its U.S. and China operations to make the most of the other thing on everyone’s mind—the labor shortage. If you’re not already implementing his ideas, you will walk away from this interview with some sure-fire tips.

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

This week seems jam-packed with holidays, both major and minor, doesn’t it? We started with “International Pi Day” on March 14. With all the obligatory pricing specials on most all things “pie” here in the U.S., suffice it to say, I’ve got a short stack bake-at-home pizza “pi” in my freezer, thanks to the one-day-only sales price of $3.14. Personally, I’m glad they didn’t make the promotional price = pizza diameter * Pi.

Doug Pauls, Collins Aerospace, Receives Dieter Bergman IPC Fellowship Award

Doug Pauls holds a B.A. in chemistry and physics from Carthage College, Kenosha, Wisconsin, and a B.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He worked nine years for the Navy, eight years as technical director of Contamination Studies Labs, and 19 years at Rockwell Collins (now Collins Aerospace), in the Advanced Operations Engineering group, where he is a principal materials and process engineer. Doug was awarded the Rockwell Collins Arthur A. Collins Engineer of the Year Award in 2004.

RF and Microwave: No Black Magic

I caught up with Ben Jordan after his class on RF and microwave at IPC APEX EXPO. Ben, an electrical engineer, explained how sitting through previous classes on this topic led to him developing his own class. “I wanted to bridge the gap,” he says, “with a class that makes the material approachable and teaches the intuitive nature of fields and waves and how they work in circuit boards.”

David Pogue: Is the Fear of Change Holding Us Back?

David Pogue, an American technology and science writer and TV presenter, sat down with the I-Connect007 Editorial Team after his keynote presentation at IPC APEX EXPO to talk about today’s technology, the breakthroughs that have shaped our current landscape, and whether fear of change and innovation is what’s keeping us from the next technological revolution. What do you think?

IPC’s Dieter Bergman Fellowship Award Presented to Bev Christian, HDPUG

The Dieter Bergman IPC Fellowship Award is given to individuals who have fostered a collaborative spirit, made significant contributions to standards development, and have consistently demonstrated a commitment to global standardization efforts and the electronics industry. Bev Christian is a facilitator for the High Density Packaging User Group (HDPUG) and an adjunct associate professor in the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering of the University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. In the past 31 years he has held positions at Nortel, BlackBerry, and CALCE; all in the areas of materials and failure analysis. Bev has never missed an IPC APEX EXPO since its inception. He is a member of 27 IPC committees and attends as time and the lack of clones allow.


Lean on Me: A U.S.–Europe Partnership

The United States is not the only region to feel the sting of losing the bulk of its printed circuit board manufacturing to Asia. European countries, such as France, recognize the dire need to modernize their factories, upskill their labor force, and provide for a more secure supply chain. But what are governments doing to help? In this conversation with Nolan Johnson, IPC Europe’s Alison James breaks down the tremendous potential for a partnership between the U.S. and Europe and what that means for a stronger global industry.

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

It’s Friday, and I’ve spent the last few days breaking in my new laptop. It’s a Mac, and it’s been a while since I used one of these. It occurred to me that the last time I used a Mac, there was no email and no internet. I was editor of my college newspaper. I had just voted for Clinton, because that’s what you did in your 20s. We had Apple Classic II monitors with screens the size of a postcard, and we were on the cutting edge of desktop publishing. Students submitted articles on 3.5” loppy disks or on notebook paper, sometimes written in pencil. That’s where I learned to edit, and to do it quickly. We won awards every year. Good times.

New IPC Excellence in Education Award Presented to Tabbatha Greek, Honeywell Aerospace

Tabbatha Greek serves as the Master IPC Trainer for Honeywell Aerospace, where she runs a private IPC Training Center. She has been involved with manufacturing training for more than 15 years. Through her experience, she recognized that the industry needed a better way to bridge the skill-gap in electronics manufacturing. After discussing the issue with IPC, they began work on an introductory course written specifically for operators. Tabbatha continued collaborating with IPC to address the challenges that trainees face when they are new to the industry. Once IPC had released the new online Electronics Assembly Operator course, her team was the first to become certified and provided valuable feedback for further improvements on the Workforce Development Training series.

More Than a Supply Chain Problem

By now, the topic is practically a trope: Supply chain problems abound, and they aren’t going away any time soon. Transportation and logistics are a key part of the challenge, meaning that the shorter we can make the shipping distance, the more resilient the chain will be overall. But that’s only part of the problem. It is currently not possible to simply shorten the chain; there are key elements of the electronics manufacturing process that are only available in a very few places on the planet.

Happy Holden Reflects on Successful IPC APEX EXPO 2022

The attendance at this year’s IPC APEX EXPO seemed higher than I expected, so thank you all for making the necessary arrangements to attend. However, we sorely missed many of our foreign contributors and friends. One of my cherished reunions was with Pete Starkey, who fought through the red tape of government restrictions to make his way from England for the show. Both of us were able to help conduct interviews with many of the industry’s business and technical leaders. For that, I am grateful.

IPC APEX EXPO From a College Student’s Perspective

My name is Hannah Nelson, and I am currently a junior electrical engineering major at Valparaiso University. I was given the honor and privilege to attend the IPC APEX EXPO as the new student director on the IPC Board of Directors. The student director position is used as a voice on the board for all IPC student chapters. It is a way to bridge the barrier between the educational system and the electronics industry and bring students toward the Factory of the Future. By attending APEX EXPO, I was given the opportunity to expand my knowledge regarding the needs of students who are heading into the industry.

IPC Student Director: Three Things IPC APEX EXPO Taught Me

IPC APEX EXPO 2022 was my first in-person APEX EXPO event, and it surely did not disappoint. The show this year was packed with high quality technical courses, engaging professional development courses and, of course, an admirable show floor exhibition. This year APEX EXPO really resonated with me, and I would like to leave you with three insights I learned while attending.

Conversations With Two IPC President’s Award Winners

We interviewed two of this year’s IPC President’s Awards, Joe Kane of BAE Systems and Zhiman (Susann) Chen of Zhuzhou CRRC Times Electric Co., Ltd. The IPC President’s Award is given to IPC members who have exhibited ongoing leadership in IPC and have made significant contributions of their time and talent to the association and the electronics interconnect industry. The award is a personal honor to recognize the winners’ selfless dedication to the electronics industry in terms of their time, expertise, and leadership.

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

In the news this week we found a synchrony of topics. Much of the world is aware of the speaking points from U.S. President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address this past Tuesday. In that speech, President Biden talked prominently about U.S. legislation in process to bring more technology manufacturing back to the states. In fact, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger was not only an invited guest, but was referred to directly in the speech as a positive example. I can only assume that President Biden meant that moment to be a motivator for other CEOs in the industry.

A Hard Look at Strategic Chip Investment

Jan Vardaman is a key contributing author to an IPC report detailing the capabilities gap in advanced packaging capabilities in the U.S. manufacturing ecosystem. We talked with Jan about the report and the current dynamics in the U.S. market. Jan’s comments provide additional detail and insight to the findings published in the report.


Bob Neves: IPC Continues Its Global Reach

During IPC APEX EXPO, Nolan Johnson visited with Bob Neves of Microtek Laboratories China and the new board chair of the IPC Board of Directors. Nolan asks Bob about IPC’s views on the disruption in supply chain, about restoring PCB fabrication in the United States, and how the IPC is looking to resolve supply chain issues from a global perspective.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO 2022: Jennie Hwang’s Thoughts on Megatrends

At IPC APEX EXPO 2022, Nolan Johnson catches up with Jennie Hwang to hear her thoughts on industry trends. Her insight ranges from work-at-home dynamics and hybrid work to the impacts of “the new normal” and IOT on the manufacturing floor. Jennie's interview was one of more than 60 interviews conducted by I-Connect007 during this year's show. If you were unable to attend IPC APEX EXPO 2022, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events in San Diego, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

IPC EMS Leadership Summit: Peer Solutions to Supply Chain and Labor Development

EMS leaders gathered for the EMS Leadership Summit on Monday, January 24 at IPC APEX EXPO. Expert and peer presentations on priorities ranging from the economy to the supply chain, cybersecurity, and software were interspersed with peer-to-peer discussions on several key topics.

SMTA Dallas: Texas Open for Electronics Business

The Dallas SMTA Expo is scheduled for March 22 at the Plano Event Center, and we heard that our Texan friends have quite a gathering set up. Andy Shaughnessy spoke with Gary Tanel, president and ambassador of the Dallas Chapter of SMTA and chairman of the Electronics Alliance. He asked him to discuss what his group has on hand for the Dallas SMTA Expo. As Gary says, “Texas is open for business.”

Where Have All the Board Shops Gone?

When I look at the landscape of U.S.-based PCB fabricators, the title of this article reminds me of a 1960s protest song. If you don’t remember the song or that era, you have some interesting research to do. As well, a Hank Williams Jr. song comes to mind, “All my rowdy friends have settled…” Seriously, I am pleased to see many of my old friends taking advantage of the present opportunities.

IPC Education Foundation STEM Outreach

The IPC Education Foundation (IPCEF) hosted its annual STEM Outreach event on Thursday, January 27 at IPC APEX EXPO in San Diego. Due to COVID restrictions and regulations on field trips, the Foundation unfortunately could not host all the schools and students as initially planned, but we were thrilled to welcome nearly 80 students from e3 Civic High School, San Diego. The day was packed with several hands-on technical activities, career exploration, and industry engagement. The students participated in educational tracks with a focus on soldering, PCB design, a roundtable discussion, and a tour of the IPC APEX EXPO show floor.

The IPC STEM Event Inspires

Once again, IPC APEX EXPO featured its successful STEM event, organized by the IPC Education Foundation, and sponsored by several companies, including I-Connect007. The event had nearly 80 students in person for a hands-on introduction to our industry. After the welcoming comments, the students broke into groups for different activities. While some enjoyed a guided tour of the show floor, upstairs the other students learned how to solder. Then they rotated so that they all had the same opportunities.

David Pogue Keynote Opens IPC APEX EXPO 2022

There were just a few empty seats in the huge, main lecture hall of the San Diego Convention Center on January 25 as IPC APEX EXPO welcomed the opening keynote speaker, science and tech writer David Pogue. Despite the early time of 8:30 a.m., the crowd enjoyed his topic, “Disruptive technology and how it will affect your business: What’s coming by 2026?” Pogue took us on a short journey through some of the technological innovations that continue to accelerate the transformation of our lifestyles and gave us a preview of how we might succeed in a world we’ve never seen before.

Automotive Initiatives Make Headway at IPC APEX EXPO

A significant number of automotive activities made notable strides at this year’s IPC APEX EXPO. Several committees dedicated to creating and updating automotive addenda for existing IPC standards, like assembly processes, PCB fabrication, and high-voltage cable, met and were led by companies like Toyota, Bosch, Continental, and Elmatica. Automotive dedicated groups, like the Cold Joining/Press-fit Task Group, also met and discussed inclusions in its next planned revision.

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

Like many of you, for the past few months, we’ve been busier than a farmer with two rattlesnakes and one shovel. As soon as we got home from IPC APEX EXPO 2022 we started work on our post-show publication, Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2022 Show & Tell Magazine. Now in its fifth year, Show & Tell is the best—and most exhaustive—source of in-depth information about IPC APEX EXPO. We published Show & Tell this week, and the response from industry leaders has been off the charts. Show & Tell gives the reader a taste of what it was like to be at the show, from ribbon-cutting and keynotes through the last conference classes.


Chris Mitchell's Top 10 Takeaways from IPC APEX EXPO 2022

The recent surge in COVID cases provoked more than a few questions about what to expect at this year’s IPC APEX EXPO. But as I traversed the San Diego Convention Center last week, the top answer was clear: a lot of smiles! Sure, they were hidden behind masks, but they were evident in the eyes of everyone I met. Attendees were thrilled to be back together in person, sharing ideas as freely as elbow bumps. IPC is a community, and APEX EXPO is the place where we build it.

Finally! A Book About PCB Stackups

‘The Printed Circuit Designer’s Guide to… Stackups: The Design within the Design’ is the latest addition to I-Connect007’s comprehensive, educational library. In this book, brought to readers by Siemens Digital Industries Software and I-007eBooks, author and stackups expert Bill Hargin discusses materials, laminate datasheets, impedance planning, and more. This book provides the reader with a broader understanding of stackup planning and material selection in an effort to comprehend what Hargin calls “the design within the design.”

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

Here in the Northern Hemisphere, we’re now closer to the equinox than to the solstice; change is in the air. Where I live in the Pacific Northwest, we’ve had unseasonably mild and sunny weather, teasing us that spring might be right around the corner. Change is in the air in our news feeds, too. This week, we bring you on-the-grow news from NCAB and Aegis, some market reports on smart manufacturing, and a widely read column on cybersecurity from Mehul Davé. Now that’s something to warm up to.

GEN3 Webinar Concludes With Release of Part 11: Historical Background

In this engaging, 11-part micro webinar series, topic experts Graham Naisbitt and Chris Hunt examine the history of the influences of Electrochemical Migration (ECM) and the evolving use of Surface Insulation Resistance Testing (SIR) that has been developed over the past 25 years by GEN3 and its association with the British National Physical Laboratory. GEN3 and NPL have created the standard that has now been in widespread use around the world since the turn of the millennium.

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2022: Dynamics in Soldering

Joe Fjelstad of I-Connect007 speaks with Stan Farnsworth of PulseForge on the changing dynamics in soldering and the new PulseForge Soldering In-Line. Dan also asks about PulseForge’s debut at the recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. If you were unable to attend IPC APEX EXPO 2022, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events in San Diego, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2022: The Health of the Electronics Business

If you are interested in the overall health of the electronics business for MAES then you will enjoy this interview with Joe D'Ambrisi of MacDermid Alpha. This interview is conducted by Pete Starkey, and it also covers the recent Electrolube integration. If you were unable to attend IPC APEX EXPO 2022, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events in San Diego, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2022: Time to Conform

Joe Fjelstad of I-Connect007 talks with Camille Sybert of Nordson ASYMTEK on conformal coating equipment and process options, and material and market demands. If you were unable to attend IPC APEX EXPO 2022, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events in San Diego, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2022: Time to Design for Test

In this RTW interview, Andy Shaughnessy and Bert Horner of The Test Connection talk about the trends and challenges in test and the need for PCB designers to design for test. If you were unable to attend IPC APEX EXPO 2022, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events in San Diego, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

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

This week’s picks comprise a potpourri of published articles, a hodgepodge of helpful hints, and a brood of business news. Our collection includes several interviews from IPC APEX EXPO; we filmed over 60 of these video interviews that week, all shot with our new anti-COVID protocol. The boom microphones, selected so that we wouldn’t have to attach clip-on mics to each interviewee, gave our booth/studio an air of 60 Minutes. But unlike what we see in most news shows, almost all the news at IPC APEX EXPO was positive as companies emerge from the pandemic with even more innovative software, services, and equipment than before. It’s looking like 2022 is going to be a really good year.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO 2022: AI and ML for Electronics Manufacturing

Zac Elliott from Siemens Digital Industries Software talks about the advancements in AI and ML for electronics manufacturing with guest editor Steve Williams. If you were unable to attend IPC APEX EXPO 2022, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events in San Diego, from ribbon cutting to teardown.


Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2022: Full Spectrum of Inspection

Pete Starkey asks Brian D'Amico how MIRTEC is addressing the full spectrum of inspection requirements associated with the electronics manufacturing industry. If you were unable to attend IPC APEX EXPO 2022, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events in San Diego, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO 2022: Advanced Metrology and Inspection

In this interview, Steve Williams talks with Subodh Kulkarni, Ph.D., of CyberOptics Corporation, on their new SQ3000+ system for advanced metrology and inspection applications. This conversation looks at the challenges companies are facing with inspection. If you were unable to attend IPC APEX EXPO 2022, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events in San Diego, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

The Under-Reported Story of the Semiconductor Shortage: Counterfeits

At this stage, we are all aware of the semiconductor shortage. While chips are still in short supply, there’s been no shortage of news stories about the chip shortage. If media coverage of the problem actually generated chips, the shortages might well be over. We’ve all seen stories about exploding demand for consumer electronics, factories shuttered during COVID-19 lockdowns, supply chain bottlenecks, a dearth of raw materials, and even drought, all in an effort to explain why we can’t get enough of these critical components.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO 2022: Quoting, the Supply Chain, and BOMs

During this conversation, Business Development Manager Mark Laing of Siemens Digital Industries Software and Editor Nolan Johnson discuss the latest in EMS quoting and a variety of challenges in the supply chain. They also discuss the quality and accuracy of BOM data supplied to EMS companies. If you were unable to attend IPC APEX EXPO, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events in San Diego, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO 2022: With Laser Focus

Stephan Schmidt of LPKF Laser & Electronics, along with guest editor Steve Williams, looks at why, with new technologies, more applications are migrating to laser depaneling and away from traditional singulation methods as cost drops and performance increases. If you were unable to attend IPC APEX EXPO, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events in San Diego, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO 2022: New Materials for Additive Manufacturing

Trevor Polidore of Rogers Corporation and I-Connect007 Guest Editor Tara Dunn discuss the introduction of the new Rogers materials designed for use in 3D printing. They also look at the trends and challenges in materials for additive and semi-additive manufacturing. If you were unable to attend IPC APEX EXPO, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events in San Diego, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

Real-time Strategies to Offset Soaring Expenses

Supply chain, distribution, and price inflation are headline news topics these days. To better understand how EMS companies do—or could—respond to pricing pressure from input costs, we asked both EMS industry company representatives and EMS equipment manufacturers to comment on how the industry can respond to current pressures. Editor Nolan Johnson spoke with several EMS executives about a variety of ways for dealing with rising costs.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO 2022: Smart Factories Demand Total Inspection

Joel Scutchfield of Koh Young America and SMT007 Editor Nolon Johnson discuss the smart factory's need for a total inspection solution that includes SPI, AOI, DPI, API, and KSMART, along with multi-point inspection (SPI, pre, and post) to improve yields. As Scutchfield points out, "Connectivity alone does not equal a smart factory. It's what you do with the data."

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO 2022: Advanced Packaging Report

Matt Kelly, chief technologist at IPC, provides a quick assessment of IPC APEX EXPO 2022 as of end-of-day Wednesday. Matt reviews the technical programs and shares his thoughts on the importance of the continued evolution of the Factory of the Future. If you were unable to attend IPC APEX EXPO, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events in San Diego, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO 2022: Digitized Component Storage

Richard Heimsch, Director for the Americas of Totech Super Dry, shares his thoughts with Nolan Johnson on the need and application of digitized component storage to maintain component reliability. Totech successfully demonstrated cutting-edge dry storage products and solutions at this year's show. If you were unable to attend but are looking to better manage your moisture sensitive devices and are not sure of what questions to ask when looking for a dry cabinet, listen to this interview.


Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO 2022: Connecting the Digital Thread

Jason Spera of Aegis Software has an interesting conversation with Nolan Johnson on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) digital thread connected data flow. As the move to smarter factories accelerates, the need for managing and optimizing interconnected sensors, instruments, and other devices networked together increases. If you didn't make it to IPC APEX EXPO, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events in San Diego, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

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

The last time I was in this space, we were busy preparing for our extensive coverage of IPC APEX EXPO, so now I have the honors of compiling the news from the week following the event. We often use the phrase “busy news week” in these compendiums, but this week I have metrics—25% more news items published this week at I-Connect007 than our weekly average. All the more reason to read the website newsfeeds and newsletters, but also all the more reason for me to bring you the best of the best from the past week.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO: ICAPE Continues to Expand

ICAPE’s Paulo Franca and Editor Andy Shaughnessy discuss the company’s recent acquisitions around the globe, including a PCB fabrication facility in South Africa. If you didn't make it to IPC APEX EXPO, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events in San Diego, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO 2022: Omron on Their New AOI

Brad Ward of Omron speaks with guest editor Steve Williams about their new VT-S1080 3D AOI, along with the high-speed updates to VT-X750 3D CT AXI. If you didn't make it to IPC APEX EXPO, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events in San Diego, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO: Fire Up the Inkjets

Technical Editor Pete Starkey sits down with Don Monn of Taiyo America to discuss the benefits of inkjet solder mask and how it helps streamline the manufacturing process. They also discuss the recent acquisition of Circuit Automation, a manufacturer of solder mask coating and vertical drying equipment. If you didn't make it to IPC APEX EXPO, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events in San Diego, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

Supply Chain’s Risky Behavior

Barry Matties and Nolan Johnson speak with Joe O’Neil, CEO of Green Circuits, about something that seems to be on everyone’s minds—the rising cost of, well, everything. Joe’s background in marketing and finance, as well as his leadership at Green Circuits, positions him as an expert on managing costs related to labor, facilities, lead times, employee training, and the future of the industry. But what rising costs actually surprised him? This is a must-read for us all.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO: Current EMS Trends

There's a lot going on in the global EMS market right now. Kaitlyn Dotson of CalcuQuote and Editor Nolan Johnson discuss a variety of current EMS market trends and some of the challenges that EMS customers should be focusing on in the near future. If you didn't make it to IPC APEX EXPO, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events in San Diego, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO: Advocacy in Washington

Editor Nolan Johnson sits down for an interview with Chris Mitchell, Vice President of Global Government Relations at IPC. They discuss the industry's advocacy in Washington to educate Congress on our key issues, as well as the growth in global advocacy by IPC. If you didn't make it to IPC APEX EXPO, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events in San Diego, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO: John Mitchell Shares Thoughts on the Show

John W. Mitchell, president and CEO of IPC, shares his thoughts with Barry Matties about the return of the in-person IPC APEX EXPO after a two-year hiatus. Watch this interview or view it on our show page. If you didn't make it to IPC APEX EXPO, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO: EMS Management Committee Update with Charlie Capers

Charlie Capers, VP and general manager of Zentech Dallas, attended and spoke at the EMS Management Committee meeting during IPC APEX EXPO. He discusses some of the challenges mentioned by attendees, including the supply chain, costs, and the continuing labor shortage. Watch this interview here or view it on our show page. If you didn't make it to IPC APEX EXPO, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events, from ribbon cutting to teardown.


Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO: IPC Training Updates

Pete Starkey discusses the latest updates to IPC certification programs and their online training with Vince Price of Blackfox Training Institute. If you didn't make it to IPC APEX EXPO, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

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

We just wrapped up IPC APEX EXPO 2022, and I think it went better than anyone could have expected. I wasn’t sure the live show would actually take place. With the COVID protocols in California changing daily, no one knew for sure that a live show would even be allowed to open. But here's my picks for the week, both from the show and from the industry.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO: PCB Manufacturing Today

Dick Crowe speaks with Kurt Palmer, president of Burkle North America, about the trends he sees in PCB manufacturing today. From LDI to laser drills, they discuss a wide range of concerns and opportunities. If you didn't make it to IPC APEX EXPO, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

Day 3: Lots of Action in San Diego

The perfect San Diego weather on Wednesday morning ushered in another full day at IPC APEX EXPO 2022. IPC President and CEO John W. Mitchell’s keynote presentation offered a roadmap for the organization and the future of the electronics manufacturing industry. IPC runs on the contributions of its tireless volunteers, and a group of these engineers and technologists were honored at yesterday’s Awards Luncheon. The traffic on the show floor was steady most of the day, and we saw a constant stream of visitors in the I-Connect007 booth and studio.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO: The Testing Demands on PCBA

Mycronic’s Jesse Dowd and guest editor Steve Williams discuss the company’s new 3D AOI system, which is well adapted to high-mix production. They also look into the demands on testing and challenges that companies should be aware of. If you didn't make it to IPC APEX EXPO, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO: PCBA Cleaning Trends

Tom Forsythe of KYZEN speaks with Editor Nolan Johnson about the launch of the newest addition to their AQUANOX line. They also discuss trends in cleaning of PCB assemblies and what EMS companies can expect in the future. Watch this interview below or click here to view on our show page. If you didn't make it to IPC APEX EXPO, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

Day 2: Keynotes, Competitions, and a Busy Show Floor

Here in San Diego for IPC APEX EXPO, Tuesday saw the keynote address from tech author David Pogue, the ribbon cutting ceremony for the EXPO, the designer’s competition, and a full day of exhibition. Committee work and technical programs continued. We’re here, covering all the events, of course. Pogue stopped by our booth after the keynote. Barry Matties and I interviewed Pogue; look for that interview in our upcoming special edition magazine, Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO Show & Tell.

Day 1: It's Show Time!

IPC APEX EXPO officially opens today, and as Crosby, Still and Nash once sang, “It’s been a long time coming.” The last live IPC APEX EXPO was held two years ago and was—for many of us—the last trade show we would attend before the pandemic hit. A lot has changed since then. But not everything has changed. After spending a few days watching the exhibitors set up, I have to say that it looks a lot like the show floor always does at IPC APEX EXPO. I was surprised at the amount of capital equipment on the floor. I thought that exhibitors might have scaled back their spending, afraid that attendance might be light, but I saw no evidence of that. Companies came here ready to strut their stuff!

IPC APEX EXPO: We’re Back, Masked, and Ready for Business

I-Connect007 is here in San Diego, setting up our booth on the show floor for the exhibition portion of IPC APEX EXPO. Technical conferences and programs start today, and the show floor has filled with all the biggest names in our industry. Registration has been smooth and everyone seems to be wearing masks.

Getting the Most Out of IPC APEX EXPO 2022

It’s going to be a big deal for many of us to attend a large trade show like IPC APEX EXPO again. In fact, this was the last show I attended before locking down in early 2020—and that feels like a decade ago. With that in mind, going to IPC APEX EXPO this month will probably be the most important and valued trade show experience we have had in a very long time. We should all be doing everything we can to make this trade show experience as beneficial as possible. Here are some tips on how to make this show, as well as any other show you attend, a meaningful experience so that you will be sure to get a great return on your investment.


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

Next week, we’ll be in San Diego. In fact, I fly down tomorrow morning to start preparations, along with most of the I-Connect007 team. The weather forecast says to expect sunny, with the occasional cloud, all week, with daytime temperatures around 70 degrees. That’ll be nice, as I’m sure COVID-related social distancing guidelines will encourage us to socialize outside as much as is feasible.

Kelly Dack Teases AltiumLive 2022

AltiumLive 2022 is just around the corner! Editor Nolan Johnson chats with Guest Editor and columnist Kelly Dack, one of the event hosts for AltiumLive Connect 2022. Kelly updates Nolan on the latest about the upcoming AltiumLive virtual conference, what's on the agenda, how it's connected with IPC APEX EXPO, and what attendees can expect to find.

GEN3 Webinar, Part 9 Released: SIR, Additional Information

In this engaging, 11-part micro webinar series, topic experts Graham Naisbitt and Chris Hunt examine the history of the influences of Electrochemical Migration (ECM) and the evolving use of Surface Insulation Resistance Testing (SIR) that has been developed over the past 25 years by GEN3 and its association with the British National Physical Laboratory. GEN3 and NPL have created the standard that has now been in widespread use around the world since the turn of the millennium. The ninth episode, “SIR, Additional Information” can be viewed in just under four minutes. Presenters discuss test duration, number of coupons, and whether SIR is good to use for qualification testing. Also covered in this segment: SIR and objective evidence.

The Impact of Obsolescence and Shortages on Counterfeit Risk

While obsolescence and shortages have always been an issue, recent large-scale disruptions have made the electronic components supply chain even more volatile. Since last December, the global chip shortage has caused pricing shifts, lead time delays, and widespread stockouts. The shortage is bringing a higher-than-normal number of counterfeit parts into the supply chain. To adequately address the problem, it is important to understand its root causes, exacerbating factors, and how its impact can be avoided.

Testing Flexible Circuit Assemblies

I recently spoke with Bert Horner of the Test Connection Inc., about the current state of flex and rigid-flex assembly testing. He explained some of the differences between testing flex and rigid PCBs, the requirements for testing specialties such as high-voltage flex, and the added demands of handling flexible circuits.

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO: Siemens’ Supply Chain Solutions

Nolan Johnson speaks with Oren Manor of Siemens Digital Industries Software about the company’s booth at IPC APEX EXPO, which will highlight a DSI platform meant to help designers find and use components in their designs during these tough supply chain challenges. If you can’t make it to IPC APEX EXPO, don’t worry. We’ll be bringing you interviews with the engineers, managers and technologists who are making a difference in our industry.

‘Trust Me, I Have Your Chips Right Here’

When making the decision to purchase materials, there is a strong benefit from a trust in the supplier. When materials are in short supply, however, there is no time to establish trust with a new supplier, especially when it’s the only one that can fulfill a requirement. While the manufacturing world is seeking methods to find trust with previously unknown suppliers, there are also those who are getting cleverer at disguising their often-nefarious activities—ones that could bring catastrophic results. In the real world, how can supply chain trust be established and maintained, or is it safer to assume that everyone is out to get us?

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

We’re driving headlong into 2022, and there’s a lot going on in the world of PCB design, fabrication, and assembly. It’s trade show season now. IPC APEX EXPO starts in less than two weeks, and we’re all getting ready for what is, for many, the first trade show in years. Do you know where you put your business cards after your last show in 2020? I keep half a box of biz cards in my glove compartment; I’m not going to make that mistake again.

CES 2022: Half Virtual, Still Valuable, and Here’s Why

Another CES has wrapped up, and while not fully back to its glittery self, the show still managed to create quite a buzz in the electronics world. Attendance was about half of its typical 150,000 as hundreds of companies still touted their wares and I’m excited to share with you what I discovered. I reported on the show from the safety of my home office, which was a bit of a letdown because I really enjoy walking the aisles of the show, visiting the exhibits of both large and small companies.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO: Super Dry Matches Storage to Your Needs

In this interview, Editor Nolan Johnson and Richard Heimsch of Super Dry preview the key criteria for component moisture management. If you can’t make it to IPC APEX EXPO, don’t worry. We’ll be bringing you interviews with the engineers, managers and technologists who are making a difference in our industry. To listen to this Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO interview with Kaitlyn Dotson, click here.


GEN3 Webinar, Part 8 Released: New IEC Standards—A Walk Through

In this engaging, 11-part micro webinar series, topic experts Graham Naisbitt and Chris Hunt examine the history of the influences of Electrochemical Migration (ECM) and the evolving use of Surface Insulation Resistance Testing (SIR) that has been developed over the past 25 years by GEN3 and its association with the British National Physical Laboratory. GEN3 and NPL have created the standard that has now been in widespread use around the world since the turn of the millennium. The eighth episode, “New IEC Standards—A Walk Through” can be viewed in just over five minutes. Presenters discuss scope, measurement technique, the B52 and field gradient, dummy components and the test chamber.

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO: CalcuQuote—Making Sense of the Supply Chain

Nolan Johnson speaks with Kaitlyn Dotson, COO of CalcuQuote, about the upcoming IPC APEX EXPO show, what CalcuQuote will be exhibiting, and the current supply chain and market dynamics. If you can’t make it to IPC APEX EXPO, don’t worry. We’ll be bringing you interviews with the engineers, managers and technologists who are making a difference in our industry.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO: Taiyo Focuses on Collaboration

Don Monn, Midwest regional sales director at Taiyo America, reviews the progressive adoption of inkjet solder mask technology while acknowledging that liquid photoimageable mask continues as the mainstream process, with new developments in double-sided coating and vertical drying equipment. He comments on how Taiyo’s collaborative relationships with suppliers and customers have enabled logistics to be successfully managed through difficult times.

Sunstone Growing With Supply Chain Strategies

Barry Matties and Nolan Johnson talk to Sunstone Circuits’ Matt Stevenson, Kelly Atay, and Dawn DelCastillo about the current supply chain challenges and how they are adapting. They also share insights on market conditions, including trends in reshoring and marketing strategies related to reshoring.

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2022: Blackfox Mixes It Up with Training Opportunities

Andy Shaughnessy speaks with Jamie Noland, master IPC trainer and marketing manager for Blackfox Institute, about current and upcoming training opportunities and what you can expect from them at the show. Blackfox has expanded its offerings to reach a wider audience, including some very basic classes for beginners.

Making the Most of a Smart Factory Initiative

Nolan talks with Joel Scutchfield of Koh Young about trends he’s seen in 2021 and what’s ahead in 2022. “We see the expanded use of artificial intelligence in several areas,” Joel says. “We see predictive maintenance as being something that customers are asking for, and continued refinement and reduction of the human element in the programing process, data analytics, etc. Customers are also driving the trend toward more connectivity, and I don’t see that going away. It’s in their control. They’re going to make all of us get there.”

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

No matter how you look at it, we’re already off to a roaring start in 2022. Here on the West Coast of the U.S., heavy and persistent rains are doing what they can to fix years of drought through the southwest United States. The eastern seaboard is seeing plenty of rainy weather as well. As they say on the salt containers: When it rains, it pours. That adage is rather true in the news of the industry this week. Therefore, my must-reads include a celebration of longevity in business, the launch of our next space telescope, and the sale of equipment for the printing of electronics. On a more circumspect note, we also bring you the IPC’s report on rising material and labor costs, and an article on cybersecurity.

GEN3 Webinar, Part 7 Released: SIR Test Coupon Design

In this engaging, 11-part micro webinar series, topic experts Graham Naisbitt and Chris Hunt examine the history of the influences of Electrochemical Migration (ECM) and the evolving use of Surface Insulation Resistance Testing (SIR) that has been developed over the past 25 years by GEN3 and its association with the British National Physical Laboratory. GEN3 and NPL have created the standard that has now been in widespread use around the world since the turn of the millennium.

ProMetrics: An Easy, Smart Solution

Rehm's Michael Hanke speaks about the product on process and the advantages of live process monitoring with ProMetrics, Rehm’s newest monitoring tool, which is brand new and unique in the market. Users say that it’s easy to use and, more importantly, that it provides the security in a system they are looking for.

Don’t Hit the Snooze on Cybersecurity

I have good news for small manufacturers looking for ways to stand apart from the competition: By delaying the launch of the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC), the Department of Defense (DoD) may have done you a favor. They’ve handed you a golden opportunity to zig when everybody else is zagging. If your competitors are small- and mid-sized businesses that supply the DoD, their concerns aren’t too different from yours. Sure, this CMMC stuff is coming, but it doesn’t seem urgent, or does it?


Don’t Miss Further Discussion of Materials Testing in GEN3 Episode 6 of ‘Predicting Reliability in Electronics’

The sixth episode, “Materials Testing—Process Materials,” can be viewed in under four minutes. Presenters share information on paste vs. flux vs. rework, limitations of standards, hand soldering/rework cautions, and more. Designed to complement GEN3’s book, The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to...Process Validation, this entire webinar series can be viewed in about an hour and covers a comprehensive range of topics surrounding the four groundbreaking test standards published between 2019 and 2021 that set the scene for Objective Evidence and its widespread influence throughout the world of electronics, whether in the high reliability arena of space, medical, automotive, or general industrial applications.

Jackie Mattox Keynotes Women in Electronics Reception

Named one of the Top 21 female influencers in 2021, Jackie Mattox started her career in the electronics industry during her college years at a small rep firm in Southern California, where she worked her way into the roles of sales and distribution manager and took a passionate interest in strategic key account management. Jackie graduated from California State UniversityNorthridge with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication/journalism. Jackie has always had a heart for people and especially for women’s issues, along with a dedication to personal and professional leadership development.

Mycronic is Bullish on Data-Driven Production

Nolan Johnson speaks with Mycronic’s Clemens Jargon and Göran Frank about data-driven production technology and strategies. With the introduction of new data-driven software, Mycronic has made monitoring the line easier to use, faster to learn, and more purposeful. They discuss the company’s plans to drive competition and improve customer engagement. "Everything in the production line needs to be rationally analyzed based on data," says Jargon. "Therefore, it is so important to collect good data, because then we can analyze it and continuously improve the performance of lines."

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

I’m starting to get more and more out-of-office replies. Are you reading this on your phone while standing in line at Best Buy? But if you’re reading this, here’s to you! It’s been a pretty good year—much better than last year, though that’s a fairly low bar to clear. It’s a mixed bag this week, with news about trade shows, along with articles and interviews focusing on everything from education to methods for dealing with supply chain issues by staying flexible and taking action earlier in the process.

Segment 12 of Koh Young Micro Webinar Series: Smart Factory Success

In under four minutes, presenter Ivan Aduna wraps up the series with the 12th episode, Smart Factory Success. Here he teaches viewers that realizing a smart factory means taking a practical approach to process and systems, while examining areas to improve productivity. Combining initiatives such as IPC-CFX, IPC-Hermes, and IPC-DPMX with machine learning and 3D measurement data generated during inspection, helps manufacturers define inefficiencies and boost line efficiency. As new data is fed to these algorithms, they learn and optimize their operations to improve performance, developing intelligence over time.

SMTAI 2021: Rob DiMatteo Turns Up the Heat at BTU

At SMTA International 2021, Nolan Johnson spoke with Rob DiMatteo of BTU International about the current shift in market drivers, pain points from customers, and what he expects to see in the near future. Chip shortages and port delays are just two of the challenges facing BTU’s customers. As general manager of BTU, DiMatteo wants his company to excel at customer service despite these challenges. He also previews a new flux management technology for keeping reflow ovens extremely clean, calling it a significant breakthrough.

GEN3 Releases Micro Webinar Episode 5, ‘Predicting Reliability in Electronics: Materials Testing—Circuit Boards’

In this engaging, 11-part micro webinar series, topic experts Graham Naisbitt and Chris Hunt examine the history of the influences of Electrochemical Migration (ECM) and the evolving use of Surface Insulation Resistance Testing (SIR) that has been developed over the past 25 years by GEN3 and its association with the British National Physical Laboratory. GEN3 and NPL have created the standard that has now been in widespread use around the world since the turn of the millennium.

Alun Morgan's productronica Slide Show

I-Connect007 has been bringing you interviews with a variety of technologists who attended last month's productronica show in Munich, Germany. As part of our continuing coverage of productronica 2021, we present this exclusive slide show of photos taken by our good friend Alun Morgan, technology ambassador for Ventec International Group and a fantastic photographer in his own right. Rumor has it that Lufthansa made him buy a separate seat for that giant camera of his.

Real Time with… productronica: Electrolube is Going Green

Pete Starkey visits with conformal coatings expert Phil Kinner of Electrolube about the company’s involvement in productronica, its new bio-friendly conformal coatings, and how the acquisition by MacDermid Alpha is opening new doors for Electrolube in the automotive industry.

Technical Track Opportunities at IPC APEX EXPO 2022

Matt Kelly, IPC chief technologist, discusses the growth of the technical conference tracks in this year’s IPC APEX EXPO program, as well as market dynamics that are influencing the topics presented at this year’s event. "We are thrilled with the number of abstract submissions we have received. As of today, we have over 150 submissions, which may be the highest number we’ve ever received. It shows the appetite and the interest people have to present and share their knowledge."


DoD Faces Growing Risks from Reliance on Lead in Electronics

Like a cancer that spreads untreated until it becomes an urgent problem, the U.S. defense community is facing a small but growing problem that is increasingly undermining U.S. military readiness and technological dominance. The problem is lead—specifically, the lead-alloy solders that traditionally have been used to attach electronic components to printed circuit boards (PCBs). Over the last 15 years, the commercial electronics industry has shifted to lead-free solders, prompted by environmental health regulations in Europe and elsewhere. However, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and its contractors never made the switch and are still heavily reliant on leaded solders. Now, leaded electronics are becoming harder to find and more outdated.

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

Right now, it seems that almost everyone I know is talking about the future. Doesn’t matter whether it’s with my family, loved ones, friends, industry colleagues, or neighbors I meet on the street, conversations are almost entirely forward-looking. This being the holiday season, some reminiscing is to be expected, but I’m just not hearing it in the chatter all around me–this year is different somehow. And it shows in this edition of my must-reads for the week as well. This week we bring you forward-looking discussions with ,,,

CyberOptics: The Confluence of PCB and Semiconductor in Inspection Systems

Dr. Subodh Kulkarni talks to Nolan Johnson about CyberOptics' advancements in metrology inspection applications—especially for highly reflective surfaces—and how semiconductor inspection and PCB inspection are continuing to converge. If you didn’t make it to SMTA International in Minneapolis, don’t worry. We have interviews with the SMT segment’s top engineers and managers. Visit realtimewith.com now for all the interviews produced by I-Connect007 in partnership with SMTA at this year's event.

IPC APEX EXPO 2022: What to Expect Regarding COVID Restrictions

As IPC is adhering to California Department of Public Health Guidelines, proof of COVID vaccination or a negative test will be required to attend IPC APEX EXPO 2022. IPC has partnered with InHouse Physicians (iHP) for attendees to upload their proof of vaccine or negative COVID test results in advance of arrival at IPC APEX EXPO. Once information is uploaded via the iHP link, a trained medical professional will review the information within 24 hours and provide an email confirmation with a green check mark indicating they’ve been cleared for entry.

Segment 11 of Koh Young Micro Webinar Series: Connectivity Using CFX and Hermes

In under four minutes, episode 11 Connectivity Using CFX and Hermes teaches viewers about Machine-to-machine (M2M), the foundation that drives the smart factory vision, enabling automatic SMT line maintenance and management. The systems should be designed to work with the printer, mounter, conveyor, and other equipment types to simplify communication across the entire SMT line. Presenter Ivan Aduna shares how initiatives such as IPC-CFX, IPC-Hermes, and IPC-DPMX all help to pull the factory of the future into the present.

Navigating the Supply Chain Storm with ICAPE

Guillaume Chauvet of ICAPE Group, vice president of sales-Americas East, discusses managing the supply chain through transportation issues, raw material shortages, and longer production times. He also details how he helps customers manage different suppliers and divergent technologies. "As we’ve grown, we have opened a big office and lab in China to control the quality of our Asian suppliers," said Chauvet. "Now we also have inspectors in the factory who just check the quality of the product directly out of the lines. We send the product to the lab to validate the sample before the customer receives the boards."

Industry Market Drivers, Inflation, and the Supply Chain

In this wide-ranging interview, Shawn DuBravac, chief economist for IPC, discusses a variety of market drivers and pressures that are affecting PCB manufacturing and assembly. He also shares his thoughts on the relationship between inflation, wages, and the current supply chain challenges—and what all this may mean to your bottom line in 2022.

Test and Inspection: Competitive Advantage and Cost of Doing Business

In this interview, Charlie Capers of Zentech breaks down the changing requirements he’s seeing in test and inspection in the industry, and the growing importance of investing in testing for the future growth and success of your company. According to Capers, "When you collect statistics on defects, you will start to see a trend that says, for example, we’ve got a lot of shorts and opens, meaning that our solder paste process is not tight. If you’re collecting statistics and really studying them, you will see trends in your processes."

I-Connect007 and the Experts at GEN3 Release Episode 4 of Predicting Reliability in Electronics

In this engaging, 11-part micro webinar series, topic experts Graham Naisbitt and Chris Hunt examine the history of the influences of Electrochemical Migration (ECM) and the evolving use of Surface Insulation Resistance Testing (SIR) that has been developed over the past 25 years by GEN3 and its association with the British National Physical Laboratory. GEN3 and NPL have created the standard that has now been in widespread use around the world since the turn of the millennium. The fourth episode, “Testing Background,” can be viewed in under 11 minutes. Presenters share information on why the 1.56µg/cm2 NaCl equivalence was removed, test options, IPC-TM-650 method 2.6.3.7.1 and more.

ICT Autumn Seminar Review: Live in 2021!

Faced with the choice between a real or virtual event, Bill Wilkie took a calculated risk. It has been many long months since members of the Institute of Circuit Technology had gathered together under one roof, but a fair-sized bunch of industry stalwarts braved the weather and the threat of COVID, descended on the Manor Hotel in Meriden, UK, on Nov. 30, and applauded Bill’s decision to go live. They were not disappointed; the program was superb, the atmosphere upbeat, and the networking opportunity priceless.


John Mitchell: Focus on the Future

In a far-ranging interview, Dr. John Mitchell and Barry Matties discuss the upcoming IPC APEX EXPO, IPC programs, and the challenges (and opportunities) facing our industry. If you think Dr. Mitchell's assessment would be pessimistic, you'd be wrong. We’re an industry that enjoys and needs to work together, and we’ve been held at bay for too long. "Throughout 2021, at every conference I’ve attended, people are really excited about seeing each other again," said Mitchell. "And since APEX EXPO is one of the premier events for the industry, that is the thing I’m happiest about—getting people back together again, getting them excited."

EMS Leadership Summit Expands Its Reach

Nolan Johnson talks with Tracy Riggan, senior director of solutions, and Mark Wolfe, executive EMS advisor, both at IPC. They discuss details for the EMS Leadership Summit planned for IPC APEX EXPO 2022, how the summit program has changed from years past, and who should attend. Hint: Directors and above, along with any “rising star” managers. "It’s important in those discussions to have a wide breadth of ideas and learnings from different levels and roles of organizations," said Riggan. "We’re expanding that conversation by bringing in younger leaders, maybe those in management positions staged to be the next presidents and vice presidents of their organizations."

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

It hardly feels like the end of 2021, but here we are, looking at a new year and IPC APEX EXPO and AltiumLive coming up in less than two months. If you don’t count days lost during the holidays, it’s more like one month before showtime. Hey, at least we have some live events to attend now. This week, we have some association and trade show news, as well as articles on data management and the diminished role of U.S. chip makers in the global electronics supply chain. We’re almost behind the eight-ball here, folks, and we can’t build chip factories overnight. Let’s get a move on!

I-Connect007 Releases Segment 10 of Koh Young Webinar Series: ‘Converting Process Data Into Intelligence’

In this engaging, 12-part micro webinar series, Koh Young topic experts Joel Scutchfield and Ivan Aduna examine 3D inspection, AI, CFX, connectivity and smart factory success. Segment 10 is titled “Understanding CFX and Hermes.” Before your coffee will even get cold (just over three minutes), in this 10th episode, you will learn how initiatives like the IPC Connected Factory Exchange (CFX) and IPC-Hermes-9852 underpin efforts within the industry to develop standards and help create a smart factory. These M2M communication standards, guided in part by Industry 4.0, are altering the manufacturing process by improving metrics such as first pass yield and throughput by applying autonomous process adjustments.

Ron Lasky: A Perspective on Writing About Solder Defects

Nolan Johnson speaks with Dr. Ron Lasky About "The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to... Solder Defects." Ron is a full professor at Dartmouth College, but works part-time at Indium Corporation, helping their customers solve defects. This I-Connect007 eBook, he says, is a compilation of all he’s learned over the years as well as the deep technical knowledge of the team at Indium.

Design to Production Flow: DFT and Test Coverage Using Industry 4.0 Principles to Produce Good Products

Achieving design for test (DFT) can be challenging for both design and test groups, as sometimes both expect that the other will be the one to manage DFT. The design and test groups might be in the same organization, or they could be an OEM vs. an EMS company. It works best if both the design and test groups are engaged in the process of DFT and trying to achieve the goal of the best test coverage and lowest rate of field returns.

Now Playing: Part 3 of 'Predicting Reliability in Electronics' Micro Webinar

In this engaging, 11-part micro webinar series, topic experts Graham Naisbitt and Chris Hunt examine the history of the influences of Electrochemical Migration (ECM) and the evolving use of Surface Insulation Resistance Testing (SIR) that has been developed over the past 25 years by GEN3 and its association with the British National Physical Laboratory. GEN3 and NPL have created the standard that has now been in widespread use around the world since the turn of the millennium. The third episode, “ECM Examples,” can be viewed in under five minutes. Presenters share information on ECM types, including examples from Bosch, HP, and NP. Presenters also discuss ECM requirements and more.

Ram Wissel Details KYZEN Automated Process Control Line

Nolan Johnson speaks with Ram Wissel, VP, global technology manager, about KYZEN’s work in automated process control with its Process Care Line, designed to offer unmatched automated process management and control with remote reporting capabilities. If you didn’t make it to SMTA International in Minneapolis, don’t worry. We have interviews with the SMT segment’s top engineers and managers. Visit realtimewith.com now for all the interviews produced by I-Connect007 in partnership with SMTA at this year's event.

Nolan’s Notes: Preparing for APEX—The 2022 Edition

As summer was waning, I found myself at the airport with my carry-on, headed to a technical conference for the first time in nearly 20 months. During a normal winter trade show season, I keep a “go bag” packed, ready to just grab on my way to the airport. But after more than a year and a half travel-free, my “go bag” had gone. It had long since been unpacked, the contents folded in with my normal household belongings. Repacking my bag was a treasure hunt; I had to remember all the things I’d found useful on the road (and the ones that seemed to be useful but weren’t). But once I’d brought all my gear together, and boarded the plane, I felt a familiarity settle over me; everything seemed to be back in place again. I suspect that many of you will have a similar experience (both personally and professionally) as you prepare for IPC APEX EXPO in January 2022.

Research and Development Leads to Biogreen Coatings

In the November 2021 issue of SMT007 Magazine, we featured a pre-productronica interview with Phil Kinner of Electrolube, who shared a preview of the company’s newest products that the company planned to launch at the show in Munich. "This is the first show that we’ve been to in a while, and we have a couple of new products we are launching," said Kinner. "One is a thermal gap filler, designed in China by our Chinese team with a thermal conductivity of 6 watts per meter K, which is really decent. We also have a new conformal coating with a high degree of bio-renewable source materials."


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

If you’re in the United States like I am, and if you celebrated with a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, like my family did, then you just might have fallen asleep sitting up in a chair (or in my case, stretched out on the couch) and missed some of the highlights in the news this week. Never fear, I woke up early to bring the top five news items you should know for this week. We have industry bookings and sales news from IPC, some news from the flex sector, an explanation of induction lamination from Happy Holden, and two different takes on “sustainability.”

Happy Thanksgiving From the I-Connect007 Team

In the United States, the Thanksgiving holiday is a celebration of gratitude and appreciation for the harvest and for the people close to us. Thankfulness, however, transcends just one day of official observance. The fourth Thursday of November is when the U.S. officially celebrates Thanksgiving Day and 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.

Now Playing: ‘Predicting Reliability in Electronics’ Presented by the Experts at GEN3

In this engaging, 11-part micro webinar series, topic experts Graham Naisbitt and Chris Hunt examine the history of the influences of Electro-chemical Migration (ECM) and the evolving use of Surface Insulation Resistance Testing (SIR) that has been developed over the past 25 years by GEN3 and its association with the British National Physical Laboratory. GEN3 and NPL have created the standard that has now been in widespread use around the world since the turn of the millennium. The second episode, “Electrochemical Reliability and SIR,” can be viewed in under 15 minutes. Presenters share information on research conducted by NPL as a pan-European project, provide an explanation of ECM as corrosion, discuss the meaning of objective evidence, and more.

Segment 9 of Koh Young Webinar Series: Koh Young Auto Programming (KAP)

In this engaging, 12-part micro webinar series, Koh Young topic experts Joel Scutchfield and Ivan Aduna examine 3D inspection, AI, CFX, connectivity and smart factory success. At just over 8 minutes, the ninth episode, “AI in Action” is now available to view. In this segment, viewers will learn about 3D profilometry technology and how it converges with Koh Young’s proprietary AI technology to deliver true automatic programming. This geometry-based software solution reduces the programming process to minimize time to production and reduce costs.

Koh Young Furthers Offerings in Conformal Coating Inspection

Joel Scutchfield, general manager of SMT business operations and director of sales at Koh Young, talks with Nolan Johnson about Koh Young’s newest conformal coatings inspection offerings. They also discuss how changing customer needs are creating expansion into new inspection applications. Scutchfield also announces an organizational change. If you didn’t make it to SMTA International in Minneapolis, don’t worry. We have interviews with the SMT segment’s top engineers and managers. Visit realtimewith.com now for all the interviews produced by I-Connect007 in partnership with SMTA at this year's event.

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

This month—and this year, really—has just flown by. As someone mentioned to me recently, “There are basically only three full work weeks before New Year’s Day.” Yikes. Thanksgiving is next week, which means most of your customers and suppliers will be hard to reach. Unless there’s a problem, that is! In that case, they’ll find you, even if you’re carving a turkey with the kids and grandkids. So, with a short week on the horizon, most of us are in overdrive now, trying to get ahead of the game.

MacDermid Alpha's Scott Lewin Knows What's Important in Solder

Scott Lewin, regional marketing manager for the Americas for MacDermid Alpha, leads Nolan Johnson through what's important in solder, with various scenarios and their impact on EMS efficiency and quality. As Scott explains, “It’s not what’s new that’s important to the customer; it’s what’s important.” If you didn’t make it to SMTA International in Minneapolis, don’t worry. We have interviews with the SMT segment’s top engineers and managers. Visit realtimewith.com now for all the interviews produced by I-Connect007 in partnership with SMTA at this year's event.

Segment 8 of Koh Young Webinar Series: Going the Distance With AI

Designed to complement Koh Young’s I-007eBook, The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to... SMT Inspection, Today, Tomorrow and Beyond, topic experts Joel Scutchfield and Ivan Aduna share highly focused educational information on the use of data gathered during the inspection process. In recent times, artificial intelligence has demonstrated promising potential across a variety of industries, from self-driving vehicles to virtual doctors, and it has far-reaching applications within the manufacturing sector. By using the right mixture of AI technologies, manufacturers can boost their efficiency, improve flexibility, speed up processes, and even achieve self-optimizing processes.

Now Playing: ‘Predicting Reliability in Electronics’ Presented by the Experts at GEN3

In this engaging, 11-part micro webinar series, topic experts Graham Naisbitt and Chris Hunt examine the history of the influences of Electro-chemical Migration (ECM) and the evolving use of Surface Insulation Resistance Testing (SIR) that has been developed over the past 25 years by GEN3 and its association with the British National Physical Laboratory. GEN3 and NPL have created the standard that has now been in widespread use around the world since the turn of the millennium. The first episode can be viewed in just over eight minutes. Viewers will be given an introduction to SIR and ECM, including objectives, why we use standards, and why “objective evidence” should be used in place of “cleaning.”

MIRTEC Introduces Extended Z-Axis AOI Vision Capabilities

Nolan speaks with Frank Cormier, regional sales manager for MIRTEC, about the new MV-6Z OMNI 3D In-Line AOI System. Frank outlines the new extended Z-axis vision system, and highlights how this new equipment is targeted to automotive and power supply manufacturers. If you didn’t make it to SMTA International in Minneapolis, don’t worry. We have interviews with the SMT segment’s top engineers and managers. Visit realtimewith.com now for all the interviews produced by I-Connect007 in partnership with SMTA at this year's event.


KYZEN’s Customer Engagement Initiatives

Tom Forsythe, executive vice president of KYZEN, gives Editor Nolan Johnson an update on the company’s new products, product development, and customer engagement, including plans for drawing more new customers. Forsythe also explains how KYZEN’s remote process capabilities wound up being a lifesaver for customers who could not get into their facilities during the pandemic, and why sometimes, “It’s better to be lucky than right.” If you didn’t make it to SMTA International in Minneapolis, don’t worry. We have interviews with the SMT segment’s top engineers and managers. Visit realtimewith.com now for all the interviews produced by I-Connect007 in partnership with SMTA at this year's event.

Conformal Coatings and Legacy X-Rays

Viscom President Ed Moll talks about test and inspection, specifically around the company’s X-ray technologies and current state-of-the-art conformal coating inspection. About pain points for customers, Ed says, "It depends on the product line, whether its solder paste inspection, optical inspection, or X-ray inspection; a new recent trend would be conformal coating inspection. We are doing quite a bit of work in conformal coating inspection, which is being driven by the auto manufacturers requiring that those who are doing conformal coating are collecting data, not just visually inspecting, using a black light, and determining that it’s good."

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

Welcome to Friday in mid-November. If you're celebrating Thanksgiving, have you made up your menu and bought the turkey? It will be here before you know it. Around here, we're talking financial news and I've selected my top five financial news items of the week. There was plenty to choose from and my picks this week highlight a few of the most-read financial news pieces from our industry, as well as a couple high-interest technology related pieces. We also released our latest webinar, an 11-part series from the expert at GEN3. Definitely check that one out!

Honoring Those Who Served

On this Veteran’s Day holiday, the I-Connect007 staff takes a moment to honor those men and women over the years, who served to protect and defend their country. Just on the I-Connect007 staff, we have loved ones who served, ranging from World War I to present-day active-duty military. The holiday isn’t intended to be a political statement, but rather a reflection on service, duty, and personal sacrifice. In some cases, the ultimate sacrifice. Our staff has submitted images of veterans who are near and dear to their hearts. Check them out!

IPC-J-STD-001: The State of the Standard

In 2015, it was recognized that the long-standing cleanliness provisions of J-STD-001 Section 8 were no longer adequate for modern electronics and that a new approach was needed. A group of cleaning subject matter experts (SMEs), dubbed the Rhino team, were assembled to create the new protocol. This group of SMEs was led by Doug Pauls of Collins Aerospace, a long-time leader in cleaning materials and processes in the IPC. He said “tiger” was overused and he always had a fondness for the rhino, a particular animal of the Serengeti.

Market Changes Require Re-evaluating Your Testing Processes

Nolan Johnson dives into test and inspection with Bob Neves of Microtek Laboratories China. From his perspective running a test lab, Neves shares his view on the current issues for contract manufacturers regarding test and inspection. Over the course of this conversation, Neves discusses the effect of the current supply chain on testing practices, factory automation, the collection an analysis of data, and more. For all the automation and data collection possible, Neves points out, it still comes back to the people.

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

It’s merger mania! Yes, there’s been a lot of M&A activity lately in our industry over the past few months. This week was no different when it comes to merger activities. In this week’s selections, we have news about DuPont’s acquisition of Rogers, Nano Dimension’s merger with Essemtec, and NCAB’s acquisition of Elmatica. We also have news from SMTA International, and an interview with Joe Clark of DownStream Technologies about their new flex and rigid-flex technology.

Explore the Depths of Your Dispensing Process

Past missions to the “final frontier” might have been more successful if the coating on the electronic assemblies had been measured using our novel inspection technology for the dispensing process. While this is just a hypothetical statement, it is highly likely that in a harsh environment like outer space, some effects such as crystal growth and surface contamination can occur. As such, sealing the electronics assembly from environmental contaminants is particularly important because any debris or moisture can form the breeding ground for crystal dendrite growth.

Test Strategies and Pain Points

In this interview with Bert Horner of The Test Connection, Inc., a test engineering service provider, he shares his insights on the trends and challenges for test and inspection. This discussion is centered around common challenges in the industry, and the importance of setting up your test and inspection strategy. Bert states, "The biggest challenge is giving access to the key points and understanding a test strategy prior to the assembly being built."

Perfecting the Application of Conformal Coatings Without a Capital Investment

Research chemist Michael Szwarc isolated the parylene polymer series in the late 1940s at the University of Manchester, England. He discovered the polymer as one of the thermal decomposition products of a common solvent, p-xylene, at a temperature between 700 and 900°C. Union Carbide scientist William Gorham later developed a deposition process to apply the film. He deposited parylene films by the thermal decomposition of di-p-xylylene at 550°C and in vacuum below 1 Torr, a process that did not require a solvent and resulted in chemically resistant films free from pinholes. In 1965, Union Carbide commercialized the material and the chemical vapor deposition (CVD) process that is unique among conformal coatings.


EPTAC Studying Low-Melt Alloys as In-Person Classes Resume

I recently spoke with Leo Lambert, the VP of Technology for EPTAC, about some research the company is doing into low-melt alloys. We also discussed EPTAC’s continuous growth, as well as some of the lessons learned during the pandemic and their plans moving forward.

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

This week’s top picks, as influenced by readership interest, don’t seem to hold to a particular theme. Previously, I’ve referred to this as a potpourri, and now that I’ve done that once, I can’t really do so again, can I? How about a mixed bag? No, I don’t think so. While the news is certainly a diverse assortment, this just feels too obvious.

Real Time With... SMTAI: Anaya Vardya of American Standard Circuits

Anaya Vardya, president and CEO at American Standard Circuits, speaks with Nolan Johnson ahead of the SMTA International exposition. Vardya shares why American Standard Circuits will be exhibiting at the show, and outlines the topics ASC will be presenting on the show floor.

Maximizing ROI and Usage of Test Equipment

With so many variables to consider, making informed acquisition decisions around modern electronic test and measurement equipment can be challenging. While this article focuses on electronic test and measurement equipment, the basic principles of asset optimization can be applied to almost any hard asset. In the context of test equipment, asset optimization represents total equipment life cycle management to reduce costs and improve efficiency and productivity.

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

There’s a lot going on in the industry this week, and my top five picks have a little bit of everything.

SMTAI Pre-Show Interview: Dan Hart of MacDermid Alpha Electronics Solutions

Nolan talks to Dan Hart, Application Development Manager, about the paper his team will be presenting at SMTAI in early November, the work that went into the research, and why his team took on this research.

CapEx Planning With Summit Interconnect

The I-Connect007 Editorial Team recently spoke with John Vaughan, Greg Halvorson, and Brett McCoy of Summit Interconnect about their capital expenditure (CapEx) strategies. They discuss the challenges they face when planning CapEx after acquiring fabricators with different capabilities, and the need to have dedicated funds ready for expenditures each year.

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

Well, William Shatner finally did the field research for his role as Captain James T. Kirk this week, going sub-orbital on the Blue Origin launch platform. No, I’m not making fun of Shatner’s flight, quite the contrary. He’s the first actor in the entire Star Trek franchise to go into space while still living. And at 90 years old, he’s now the oldest person to make the trip as well!

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

This week we have quite a potpourri for you. Our newest columnist, Kim O’Neil of Prototron Circuits, offers details on setting up your own quality management system (QMS). Emmy-winning tech writer David Pogue will be a keynote at IPC APEX EXPO, which I think is a great move on the part of IPC. We have an article from Brent Fischthal of Koh Young America on the value of investing in the latest AOI equipment, which can save you time and money by eliminating false calls.

Naprotek: Knowing Your Value and Maximizing It

Nolan Johnson talks with new Naprotek CEO Daniel Everitt about Naprotek’s value-add for customers, the market dynamics, factory automation, and more.


Increase Production Yield by Investing in Leading-Edge Equipment

Let us consider automated optical inspection (AOI). AOI technology has been available for decades, but only since the introduction and industry adoption of real 3D measurement has it emerged as a major area of focus to prevent defects and improve production yields in post pre-reflow and post-reflow positions. Yet, many manufacturers are using antiquated 2D or quasi-3D systems that increase false calls and escapes.

Driving Lean Manufacturing with Digitalization

Reducing waste in the manufacturing process is always a challenge, especially when it comes to new product introductions (NPI). It is a key pain point for manufacturers, as waste leads to delays, unexpected costs, quality issues, and lost profit. Waste isn’t always about material that must be discarded—it can also include idle workers and equipment, unused material, and inefficient planning processes.

Fane Friberg on Capital Expenditure Project Planning

In a recent survey, about 75% of SMT007 readers indicated that their organization uses a capital expenditure plan; about 25% do not have a planning process in place. Based on this information, the I-Connect007 Editorial Team reached out to Fane Friberg to discuss capital expenditure planning and execution.

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

Once again, seemingly like clockwork, the controversy erupts. It’s such a divisive issue, and it seems no one can be undecided in this debate; each of us is expected to take a stand. All of society—including the media—asks, “Which side are you on?”

24 Essential Skills for Engineers: The Story Behind the Book

In this interview with I-Connect007’s own Happy Holden about his newest book, 24 Essential Skills for Engineers, which he wrote over the span of his career, he highlights some particular moments from his time working at HP and as CTO of Foxconn which inspired many of the book’s chapters. Happy explains why he covered engineering skills as well as “soft skills” such as problem-solving and communication—skills which are keys to succeeding as an engineer.

The Bill Comes Due: BOMs and the Digital Twin

The I-Connect007 Editorial Team recently discussed the subject of bill of material (BOM) with Michael Ford of Aegis Software. The conversation explored the current state of BOM creation, maintenance, and transfer, as well as the role BOMs play in product development and product life cycle. Naturally, attention also turned to the importance of the BOM within the digital twin.

BOM: The Path to Managing Parts

In the magazine this month, we start with some higher-level discussion about BOMs in the 21st century manufacturing world. We look at questions like “Who owns the BOM?” and “What makes up a BOM?” The reality is that BOMs are often oversimplified down to the component parts list when, in fact, a full-fledged BOM includes information on how to put the pieces together in a finished product as well.

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

Every fall, the action in the world of PCB design and manufacturing begins to pick up again. No more out-of-office email replies; summer vacation is over, and it’s time to get back at it. This week’s Top Five is a veritable pastiche of columns, articles, and news from the electronics industry.

Siemens Global Webinar: Data-Driven Manufacturing in the Electronics Industry

I had the opportunity to attend the second in the series of Siemens global webinars on data-driven manufacturing in the electronics industry, this time focused on data acquisition and analysis, discussing challenges and methodologies and detailing hardware and software solutions, exemplified by real-world illustrations of successful implementation.

BOMs and the Supply Chain from an Assembler's Point of View

Duane Benson of Screaming Circuits speaks with Nolan Johnson about issues assemblers encounter with BOMs and part shortages. Duane gives advice on how to avoid some common pitfalls.


A Multi-Tenant PLM Software Solution

To better understand how bill of materials and business operations software can interact, we reached out to George Lewis, vice president of corporate strategy for Arena, a PTC Business.

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

In some weeks, readership numbers are pretty even, which means I make my picks based on “excellence” or “achievement” of some sort. Other weeks, you readers “go viral” on a few key news items, making the selection process numerically driven. This was one of those weeks. Here, then, are the five most-read news items. Of course, leading the way are our esteemed technical editors, Pete Starkey and Dan Feinberg. These gentlemen are examples of my opening statement, as both enjoy huge popularity with readers precisely because they are so good at reporting on the industry.

Review: Emerging Opportunities for Additive Electronics

The special feature at SMTA’s virtual Additive Electronics TechXchange 2021 was a presentation by Dr. Matthew Dyson, senior technology analyst at IDTechEx, entitled "Emerging Opportunities for Additive Electronics."

Reducing the Cost of Solder Alloys Used in Wave and Selective Soldering Assembly Applications

The continued devaluation of the U.S. dollar and the industrial supply-demand balance between silver has increased the price of silver used in solder alloys. MacDermid Alpha Electronics Solutions has developed a number of low- and no-silver solder alloys to offset this continued trend in the increase in global silver cost. These alloys are appropriate for most applications, but not all.

From DesignCon: Neoconix Reacts Favorably to Higher-Density Market

During my visit to DesignCon, I stopped in to chat with Woody Maynard of Neoconix, a San Jose company making unique custom connectors. In this interview, Woody explains the technology, how they work with their customers, and where he sees the market headed.

BOM Connector: A Ready-Built Solution

Kevin Decker-Weiss of CircuitByte and Mark Laing of Siemens explain how a tool called BOM Connector can improve quoting and manufacturing flow. Mark and Kevin are openly enthusiastic about this topic; this conversation launched immediately into a technical discussion.

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

The kids and grandkids are back in school, and fall is on the way. During this busy week, we published a variety of articles, covering everything from trade shows to mergers. It’s hard to argue with IPC’s plans to require proof of vaccine or a negative COVID test to enter IPC APEX EXPO; you can expect other trade shows to follow suit in the future. We’d hate for a show to become a super-spreader event.

Whizz is Da BOM

In this interview with the I-Connect007 Editorial Team, Whizz President Muhammad Irfan shares his 20-plus years of experience by breaking down the bill of materials process in today’s challenging environment. Irfan describes what that means for his team and suppliers, and how we move forward in a post-pandemic climate.

How to Use Panelization Planning to Save Money and Resources

In this interview, Siemens’ Patrick McGoff speaks with Nolan Johnson about strategies to utilize panelization planning to save money and resources.

A Conversation with Javad EMS

Nolan Johnson speaks with Gary Walker, vice president and co-founder of Javad EMS, about who they are as a company, where they came from, and where they’re going.


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

The past couple weeks have delivered quite a bit of PCB manufacturing industry news, to be sure. If you haven’t already seen this news piece from USPAE, “Electronics Industry Summit With US DoD Spawns More Dialogue, Collaboration,” I’d like to bring it to your attention one more time.

Luminovo Cuts BOM Waste, Improves OEM/EMS Communication

Luminovo founder Sebastian Schaal says his company is using its experience as an AI provider to help implement LumiQuote, a new EMS RFQ software tool. Sebastian explains how LumiQuote helps cut down the waste in the BOM process and friction between OEM and EMS providers, and gives designers the EMS data they need earlier in the design process so they can make more informed decisions.

Nolan's Notes: The Designer to EMS Communication Process

CAD tool developers have been working toward “system design” for most of the history of the sector. Early in my career when I wrote code at an EDA startup that now is recognized as a major player in the market, we were working on the idea of system design. The compute power and wide area network resources necessary to realize the vision of full mechatronic system design just weren’t available then, but we were working on it.

From DesignCon: Fotofab’s Photochemical Etch Process

At DesignCon 2021, Nolan Johnson catches up with Charles Cohen of Fotofab about what the company does for the photonics industry, and how growth in the medical industry impacts his business.

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

This week, we’ve covered a variety of topics in our newsletters and websites. In my Top Five picks, we have quite a mixed bag of industry news and articles. In market reports, there’s good news from the North American PCB side of things, but bad news from the EMS segment, driven by long lead times and material shortages. We also have an article that gets down to the root cause, or causes, of the six-month lead time and price increases.

The EMS/Designer Relationship: Kelly's Story

In a recent discussion with John Vaughan and Kelly Dack, we explored how parts availability information can reverberate back to the design team in unexpected ways. In this part of the interview, Dack details how a parts availability issue can restart the design all the way back with the OEM design team.

Electronics Industry Summit With U.S. DoD Spawns More Dialogue, Collaboration

The U.S. Government, the electronics industry, and academia must continue to step up their joint efforts to address risks and gaps in the defense electronics supply chain.

How To Get Started With IIoT

Every company will have to decide just how much IIoT technology they want to bring into their environment, and how fast. In this article, we will offer some general advice and suggestions for those who want to experiment with a few IIoT devices before committing to a larger IIoT project.

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

I’m at DesignCon as I start pen this week’s must-reads. It’s good to be back in the convention centers, I have to say. In my last installment, I expressed the anticipation; I can now confirm that taking the pulse of our industry is so much easier when one is nearer the heartbeat.

A Deep Dive into Digital Twin

The I-Connect007 Editorial Team spoke with Aegis' Michael Ford to explore his vision and reality of the digital twin as a communication mechanism.


Factors Affecting Quality of Solder Joints in Multi-Busbar Interconnection

Tabbing and stringing is the dominant method in the market for making crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar cell modules. Soldering ribbons are used as an interconnection medium in this process on the four or five busbars of the front- and back-side metallization.

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

Well, we’re officially in the trade show season. Delta variant or not, Editor Nolan Johnson and I are going to DesignCon next week. I’m flying on Delta, which I think is a harbinger of good luck. I did get flight insurance, though. I’m definitely ready to fly somewhere.

SMTA Membership Voting Results

SMTA Vice President of Membership Rob Boguski speaks to Nolan Johnson about the recent annual voting amongst SMTA membership. Besides filling four SMTA Leadership seats, SMTA put a proposed membership restructuring up for approval. Boguski shares the results of that voting and what it means for the SMTA going forward.

EMS/Designer Relationships: Building Communication

In this interview with contract manufacturing expert John Vaughan and design expert Kelly Dack, they discuss the EMS/designer relationship and the communication that must take place for that to be successful.

Leveraging Data Analytics in Recall Scenarios

Minimize the impact of product recalls by using smart data to uncover the root cause. One of the most effective ways to minimize the impact of a recall is to define the root cause of the defect quickly and accurately, thereby minimizing the number of products that need to be recalled. For example, if a defect is related to a specific spike in temperature on the production line, only products that were produced during the spike need to be recalled: the rest of the products are not impacted.

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

This week’s must-reads include: a recently-run interview with Travis Kelly from Isola; IPC Chief Economist Shawn DuBravac discussing economic trends that will touch the industry; new high-speed materials; technique for copper pour from Design007’s recent “Just Ask…” series; and maintaining continuous manufacturing knowledge throughout your enterprise.

Communicating Effectively with EMS Providers

For the past several decades, OEMs have used outside EMS providers to build a multitude of products from PCBAs to complete box and cable assemblies. Communicating effectively is the key to success in getting products from concept to reality. For companies that want to form a good working relationship with EMS providers, there are several steps that should be followed to ensure a successful product build.

Catching Up with the Latest at Datest

Nolan Johnson chats with Datest's Rob Boguski about the latest happenings at the Fremont, California testing and inspection service provider.

Ductility is Your Greatest 'Alloy': Avoiding Drop Shock Failures

The drop shock reliability of solder joints has become a major issue for the electronic industry not only because of the ever-increasing popularity of portable electronics and the widespread use of lead-free solders, but also in ensuring high first-pass yield during handling in a production environment.

Knowledge Continuity in Manufacturing

“Why do we do it that way?” “Because we always have.” Those can be some of the most dreaded words on the manufacturing floor. It means that someone decided at one point to do things a certain way, and you don’t know whether it’s a critical aspect of the assembly process, or just another roadblock to improvement.


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

In the past week, we published quite a bit of news—some good, some not so good. The supply chain is likely to be a challenge for the next year or so. But in this industry, technologists always seem to find a workaround.

Get Your Industry 4.0 Here! IPC-CFX Momentum Builds

Those of us who have been actively involved in the development of IPC-CFX and IPC-2591 from the beginning always knew the standard would be a breath of fresh air for industry. It was just a matter of time. That time is definitely upon us, and IPC is prepared to meet the challenge to ensure any company’s successful implementation of IPC-CFX.

The Meaning of (PCB) Life

New products, new designs, but still the age-old question persists, “How long will it live and what will its quality of life be?” Assembled printed circuit boards (PCBAs) are a complex system of materials, components, and interconnections that all need to work as intended for the product to reliably operate during its expected life. All it takes is one piece of that complex system to fail and the product’s life span will disappoint.

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

In this week’s top five: a high profile surprise merger between Autodesk and Altium, which had been in the works, resolved this week; financial news from fabs and assemblers around the globe is reporting strong bookings and sales as the industry bounces back from pandemic-related shutdowns; component demands continue to exert pull pressures on the semiconductor suppliers, keeping the market (overly?) competitive pricewise. The tiles are indeed being stirred. Which pieces will you be dealt?

How to Troubleshoot Your Testing Processes

There are a multitude of electronic circuit assembly manufacturers, high-volume/low-product mix to low-volume/high-product mix. Only you will know where you are in that definition.

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

Trade show season is around the corner, and we’re talking about real, in-person trade shows. The virtual shows served their purpose, and we may see more virtual shows in tandem with live events, but I’ll be glad to get back on the show floor and see what’s “really” going on out there. It's great to see IPC’s hand soldering competitions returning to Europe this fall.

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

This may be a global industry, but the effect is very real: holidays in the U.S. will drive the industry news cycle. In fact, I can even (unscientifically) rank the major U.S. holidays by their silencing effect on the news. Christmas leads the way, of course, followed by New Year’s, Thanksgiving, Independence Day, Memorial Day, and Labor Day. Here's a wrap-up of the biggest stories of the past week, starting before Independence Day weekend.

SMTA Offers New Membership Structure

SMTA membership is being revamped for Jan 1 2022. This interview detals those changes with SMTA President Martin Anselm and Membership Vice President Rob Boguski.

IPC-WP-019: The How-to Behind the Cleanliness Requirements in IPC J-STD-001G

IPC-WP-019, “An Overview on Global Change in Ionic Cleanliness Requirements,” was initially released in August 2017. Eleven months after the release of the original IPC-WP-019, a revision of the white paper was released that aligned to the new cleanliness requirements forming the basis of IPC J-STD-001G Amendment 1.

Cleanliness Behind Many Assembly Challenges

Eric Camden says nobody knows your board like you do, so it’s time for assemblers to start doing their own cleanliness testing and due diligence, and stop relying on outside organizations to determine how clean their boards need to be.


State of the Coating Industry

Several trends have really stood out as the first half of 2021 comes to a close. First, 150°C appears to have become the “new normal” for the maximum required operating temperature of conformal coatings for automotive use. This is an increase from 85°C or 120°C on the last generation of products.

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

This week, Nolan Johnson's top five includes two popular press releases on equipment purchases, plus a case study that details another company’s ROI from new equipment. We also bring you Pete Starkey’s latest EIPC webinar writeup, and a bit of historical controversy from Clyde Coombs.

A Framework for Large-Scale AI-Assisted Quality Inspection Implementation in Manufacturing Using Edge Computing

This paper discusses in detail the challenges in large-scale deployment of AI models for quality inspection operation and introduces a framework for large-scale AI-assisted quality inspection in manufacturing environment using edge computing architecture. The framework focuses on IT architectural decisions to fulfill the OT requirement, including user experience in the quality inspection ecosystem.

Excerpt: The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to... SMT Inspection: Today, Tomorrow, and Beyond, Chapter 5

Reliable AOI methods have become powerful, economical complements to traditional test strategies. AOI can be used successfully as a process monitoring tool for measuring printing, placement, and reflow performance. Yet, a single inspection system has limitations, especially when there is limited or no communication with the balance of the line. In this setup, it simply cannot optimize a printed circuit board assembly process. Equipment suppliers must cooperate to achieve communication for a zero-defect future.

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

It’s summertime here in Atlanta. The masks are gone, and my Hawaiian shirts are back in rotation! It feels like we’re getting back to normal. Speaking of normal, it looks like DesignCon, PCB West, SMTA International, and IPC APEX EXPO are good to go; they’re set to be live, in-person events, just like in the “olden days” of early 2020.

ICAPE Group Offers Boots on the Ground Support in Asia

Nolan Johnson speaks with Roger Harts about some of the current complications around manufacturing electronics in China and how ICAPE Group works as a vital supplier partner to OEMs and companies hoping to manufacture in Asia.

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

This week’s can’t miss news items touch all the bases—unlike Pittsburgh Pirates Rookie Ke’Bryan Hayes, who didn’t touch all the bases on Tuesday night’s game, and had his home run revoked.

The Role of 3,000 Committee Members

I believe the committee structure really shines as we are constantly striving to produce the best possible version of the standard and ensure consensus for best practices in each review cycle—currently every three years—for the industry. During the review cycle, users of the standard can submit comments on the document content which are then debated by the committee. The committee has A-Teams and Working Groups that the leaders can delegate to; these groups have members with relevant expertise to review particular areas of the document or individual comments. This gives us a two-fold bonus of having knowledgeable participants provide feedback and frequently passing on information to someone who may not know as much in that area.

Surface Prep vs. Cleaning

Nolan Johnson learns the differences between surface prep and cleaning in a discussion with cleaning expert Tom Forsythe of KYZEN, who says the two are not exactly one and the same with technical jargon around the topic varying from industry to industry.

Cleaning and Inspection

Today’s non-negotiable requirement is to produce objective evidence. As can be seen from Figure 1, the two tools that have been proven to be up to the task, are SIR followed by PICT. What can also be seen is the plethora of issues that must be addressed.


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