The Knowledge Base

Column from: Mike Konrad

Mike began his career in the electronic assembly equipment industry in 1985. Mike is the Founder and CEO of Aqueous Technologies. He is an internationally known speaker and was awarded “Distinguished Speaker” status with SMTA. Mike is an elected member of the SMTA Global Board of Directors where he is Vice President of Communications and is also the host of the Reliability Matters Podcast.

July 24, 2024

The Knowledge Base: The Value of Industry Certifications

Industry certifications have become increasingly significant in the modern job market, offering a range of benefits to both individuals and employers. These certifications serve as formal recognitions of expertise and proficiency in specific areas, validating a person's skills and knowledge. In the context of the electronics assembly industry, certifications are particularly valuable, given the technical nature of the work and the rapid advancements in technology.
June 17, 2024

The Knowledge Base: The Difference Between Critical and Distracting Decision-making

In today's rapidly changing business environment, distinguishing between distractions and critical elements can be the difference between success and stagnation. As businesses navigate technological advancements, shifting market dynamics, and evolving consumer behaviors, the ability to prioritize effectively has never been more essential. Here, we'll explore key areas that require critical attention and identify common distractions that businesses should be wary of.
May 22, 2024

The Knowledge Base: The Transformative Role of AI and ML

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are at the vanguard of a technological revolution, redefining the parameters of manufacturing and business processes. Perhaps their most notable impact is within the electronics assembly industry, where they drive unprecedented levels of automation, enhancing efficiency and contributing to significant financial outcomes. This exploration delves into the transformative role of AI and ML, shedding light on the mechanisms of automation enhancement and the resultant financial implications.
April 30, 2024

The Knowledge Base: A CM’s Perspective on Box Build Practices

In the ever-evolving landscape of electronics manufacturing, the box-build process stands out as a critical phase that bridges the gap between individual component manufacturing and the delivery of a fully functional electronic system. This intricate procedure, encompassing the assembly of everything from PCBs to wire harnesses and mechanical enclosures, demands a high level of precision, efficiency, and innovation. As the electronics assembly industry expands and diversifies, understanding the best practices within box-build assembly has become paramount for manufacturers aiming to stay ahead in a competitive market.
March 06, 2024

The Knowledge Base: Mastering Trade Show Success for Exhibitors

Trade shows serve as invaluable platforms for businesses to showcase their products, network with potential clients, and stay abreast of industry trends. However, amidst the hustle and bustle of a trade show, standing out can be challenging. Exhibitors must employ strategic planning and execution to maximize their investment and achieve tangible results. In this guide, I’ll review the best practices for exhibiting at a trade show to ensure your participation is not only successful but also memorable.
February 12, 2024

The Knowledge Base: The Evolution of Conscious Marketing

Marketing is an evolving field, and the strategies that worked in the past may no longer be as effective in today's digital age. Traditional marketing, characterized by companies boasting about their products' greatness through technical specifications and braggadocious statements, is becoming increasingly obsolete. In contrast, conscious marketing focuses on providing solutions to problems by educating and connecting with the audience on a deeper level. Younger generations, in particular, have developed automatic filters in their minds that sift out marketing hype. This shift toward problem-solving and value creation is redefining the landscape of marketing.
January 31, 2024

The Knowledge Base: Mastering the Art of Reworking Circuit Assemblies

In the dynamic realm of electronics manufacturing, the need for reworking circuit assemblies is an inevitable reality. Whether it's correcting defects, upgrading components, or adapting to design changes, the process of rework plays a crucial role in ensuring the functionality and reliability of electronic devices. In this column, we'll delve into the challenges, best practices, types, and reasons for reworking circuit assemblies, and shed light on the intricate world of electronic assembly modification.
December 20, 2023

The Knowledge Base: The Pivotal Role of Optimization

In the fast-paced realm of electronics production, where innovation is relentless and competition is fierce, the pursuit of optimization and efficiency has become the cornerstone of success. As technology evolves at an unprecedented pace, manufacturers face the dual challenge of meeting increasing demands while maintaining high quality standards. This month, I delve into the intricate landscape of electronics production and explore the pivotal role that optimization plays in driving efficiency across the entire manufacturing process.
November 02, 2023

The Knowledge Base: Dartmouth Takes a Human-centered Approach

As the theme of the November issue of SMT007 Magazine is hiring/recruitment, particularly of younger people, I thought it would be prudent to discuss where these young people are coming from. As our industry is highly technical, we rely on universities and trade schools to feed the pool of candidates. I recently interviewed Dr. Alexis Abramson, dean of the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College, on my podcast titled Reliability Matters. Here are excerpts from our conversation.
October 04, 2023

The Knowledge Base: The Role of Automated Inspection Systems

I invited three experts within the AOI space to answer 10 questions: Brian D'Amico, president of MIRTEC USA; Joel Scutchfield, general manager of SMT business operations and director of sales at Koh Young America, Inc.; and Arif Virani, COO of Darwin AI. In this insightful interview, we delve into the pivotal role of automated inspection systems in the electronics assembly industry.
September 06, 2023

The Knowledge Base: A Closer Look at SMTAI’s Technical Program

The 2023 Surface Mount Technology Association’s annual Expo and Technical Conference (SMTAI) takes place Oct. 9–12 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Co-located with the Minneapolis Medical Design & Manufacturing (MD&M) trade show, SMTAI is the Midwest’s largest electronics manufacturing show and technical conference. The technical program is curated by the SMTAI Technical Committee. Now that the conference’s technical program has been finalized, I invited members of the Technical Committee to provide information and insight on the specific conference presentations taking place in Minneapolis.
July 12, 2023

The Knowledge Base: AI in the Electronics Manufacturing Space

One of the latest acronyms to join the pop culture lexicon is artificial intelligence (AI). To many, AI brings the promise of revolutionary innovation into a near-limitless array of products and applications. We’ve heard the term, but what is artificial intelligence? What are its potential applications within the electronics manufacturing industry? How is it being implemented? I invited Arif Virani, co-founder and COO of DarwinAI, to explain artificial intelligence and its current and potential applications within the electronics manufacturing space.
June 21, 2023

The Knowledge Base: Data Collection and Analysis

Mike Konrad interviews Ryan Gamble, CEO and founder of Intraratio, about the collection and analysis of big data. What are the common misconceptions, does artificial intelligence play a role, and what are some of the biggest mistakes for assembly companies when it comes to big data collection?
May 22, 2023

The Knowledge Base: Building Reliable Electronics for Harsh Environments

Welcome to our new column, The Knowledge Base, from SMTA. These monthly columns will feature conversations with industry experts and leaders across the electronics manufacturing spectrum. In this first column, Mike Konrad, vice president of communications for SMTA, provides answers to questions he’s been asked over the years about how to build reliable electronics in harsh environments.
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