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IPS Engineers on AI and More

Over the past few months, we have met several of IPS's team members. IPS has been a manufacturer of wet process equipment for printed circuit board fabrication for over 30 years, working from its Cedar City, Utah, location. In part one of this interview, you will meet IPS team members Travis Houchin, Larry Boehm, and Kaal Glazier. With this group of two seasoned industry experts and the voice of the next generation, we cover several topics, including AI, and some useful tips when considering equipment, especially in brownfield sites.

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

It was a good week in PCB design and manufacturing. In this week’s wrap-up, we have news about an uptick in EMS shipments in January, a look at the current M&A climate, some guidance on investing in your company in order to stay competitive, a primer on designing with embedded capacitance materials, and a roadmap for the industry to embrace sustainable PCBs in the future.

Catching Up With Industry M&A Expert Tom Kastner of GP Ventures

Every year or so, I like to chat with my friend, M&A expert Tom Kastner of GP Ventures. I know he has been busy the past few years, so I was anxious to find out more about it. He is the one person I know who really has his finger on the pulse of the industry. Tom has always been a great source of information for me and the industry as a whole.

Recycling PCBs: How NCAB is Navigating Challenges and Embracing Opportunities

In a recent article for Design007 about sustainable PCBs, my colleague Ramon Roche wrote about the various environmental regulatory requirements all of us have to meet every day. He emphasized that regulations are used as a starting point. He stated, “We also require our suppliers to comply with local social and environmental regulations and be ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certified, where applicable.” The ambition to create sustainable printed circuit boards (PCBs) is a continuous effort, and no single regulation makes a complete solution. However, applying all these standards together can help to create the most sustainable PCB possible.

What PCB Fabricators Should Know About IPC APEX EXPO 2024

On the cusp of another IPC APEX EXPO, we focus on how bare board fabricators can maximize their time and investment at the show. We visited with Matt Kelly, IPC chief technologist, and Julia Gumminger, IPC professional development and events manager, as well as Udo Welzel and Stanton Rak, the chairs of the technical program committee, to discuss the technical depth and breadth that the 2024 show will bring to fabricators and professionals all along the supply chain.

John Mitchell Addresses Industry Workforce Challenges with U.S. Department of Commerce

IPC’s efforts in government relations and advocacy have been pivotal in getting legislation like the CHIPS Act passed. In February, IPC President and CEO Dr. John W. Mitchell was back in Washington, D.C., representing our industry in a meeting convened by the U.S. Department of Commerce, where he discussed workforce issues in our industry and how to ensure that our businesses have the workforce they need. In this audio interview, he reviews his concerns and solutions on workforce development.

RoBAT Brings TDR Test to Bare and Assembled PCBs

In an interview at DesignCon, Gregory Miczek, global applications manager with RoBAT, discussed the company’s background and its expansion path from backplane defect analyzers to TDR testers for high-tech bare and assembled boards.

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

It’s been another busy week in the industry. We lost another old friend last week. The EIPC show happened, and Pete Starkey provided us with complete and compelling show coverage, from start to finish. Recently, we posed the question, “When is it time to introduce embedded components into your PCB design?” which was asked and answered by design aficionado Kris Moyers in the latest issue of Design007 Magazine. We are proud to be a part of the exciting Global Insights weekly newsletter, which Nolan Johnson and Brian Knier explored in their interview, and we rounded out the week with some big merger news. Here are my picks for the past week’s must-read news items.

EIPC Winter Conference 2024, Day 2: A Closer Look at Global Trends

The opening session of the second day’s conference proceedings focused on global PCB trends and was introduced and moderated by Dr. Michele Stampanoni, vice president of strategic sales and business development at Cicor Group in Switzerland. He opened the session with Dr. Hayao Nakahara’s knowledgeable and enlightening video presentation on the IC substrates industry.

IPC Global Insight Newsletter: It’s Happening Now, for You 

In this interview, Brian Knier, vice president and chief marketing officer at IPC, discusses the compelling reasons this newsletter is a must for a worldwide audience that wants to compete in this global marketplace. In this interview, Brian Knier, vice president and chief marketing officer at IPC, discusses the compelling reasons this newsletter is a must-read for a worldwide audience that wants to compete in this global marketplace. 


An Interview With Two Student Leaders at Auburn

At Auburn University in Alabama, I connected with both Shaheen Pouya, the newly elected IPC student chapter president, who is pursuing a PhD in industrial engineering, and Padmanava Choudhury, the outgoing IPC student chapter president, a graduate research assistant and a fifth-year PhD student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. He is pursuing a doctoral degree in the reliability of electronics packaging.

Ventec: The Flexibility We Need in Standards-driven Manufacturing

Ventec International COO Mark Goodwin and technology ambassador Alun Morgan had quite a bit to say at productronica 2023 about slash sheets, IPC standards, and how to bring the PCB designer closer to the supplier. As Mark says, what matters to designers, manufacturers, and even consumers, is that the products meet compliance standards, such as REACH. They don’t need to know how something is built. They just want performance and availability.

EIPC Winter Conference 2024, Day 1: A Grab-bag of Technical Topics

The 2024 Winter Conference of the EIPC took place January 30 and 31 at the IHK Academie in Villingen-Schwenningen, Germany. The keynote session will be reported separately. Here is my review of the first day’s conference proceedings.

Celebrating the Impact of IPC Community

IPC Community recently celebrated its one-year anniversary and everyone is recognizing our efforts to celebrate the success between IPC and its members, and showcase the interesting and important work of this nonprofit trade association.

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

With such an extremely newsy week, it was hard to select just five items you absolutely must read, but here goes. We have advocacy news from PCBAA and IPC, global market data on AI PC and GenAI smartphone hardware, a roundtable discussion on sales and marketing, a bookended pair of international milaero stories emphasizing a healthy aerospace industry, and an industry report on global semiconductor sales. 

The Designer and Manufacturer Must Be in Sync

It’s no industry secret that most PCB data packages sent to fabricators from designers cannot be built as-is. The finished boards often seem to work, despite a factory estimating what the designer wanted vs. what the documentation showed, then jointly rectifying issues through lengthy technical query (TQ) cycles. In general, everyone seems to be satisfied with this process, so why do we need to improve the designer/manufacturer relationship?

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

I’m writing this in Santa Clara, California on the last day of DesignCon. It was nice to get out of Atlanta, which was 28 degrees when I left. It’s a little rainy here, but it’s been in the 60s all week, and I’ll take that kind of weather any day. In this week’s must-reads, we have a little bit of everything, including sad news about the passing of our columnist Michael Ford. Everyone who knew him just loved the guy.

Electronics Industry Mourns Loss of Colleague and Visionary Michael Ford

Sadly, longtime I-Connect007 columnist, industry visionary, and friend Michael Ford passed away Jan. 27. “In this time of sorrow, we can take solace in the knowledge that Michael leaves a great legacy of contribution to the electronics industry,” according to a statement from Aegis Software. Michael was senior director of emerging industry strategy at Aegis. He was a prolific writer and speaker whose work and ideas put him at the forefront of electronics manufacturing. Working for Aegis gave him the opportunity to apply his software for electronics manufacturing experience to further drive technology solution innovation.

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

Believe it or not, it’s nearly February. Though January always seems to start out slow post-holiday, it also seems to end in a flurry of news and activity across all sectors. Staying true to that, this late January week of news and information is a clear signal that we are now fully immersed in the new year, and we have a lot to accomplish. Here are my picks for this week’s must-read articles, columns, and news.

Driving Operational Efficiencies at Summit Interconnect

As the largest privately held printed circuit board manufacturer in North America, with headquarters in Irvine, California, Summit Interconnect has eight facilities, including one assembly shop. Coming back into the industry after a career move that took him to Amazon, Summit COO Sean Patterson reflects on the issues of culture, the new workforce and PCB capacity issues in the United States, to name just a few.


Nearshoring: Mexico Making Pivotal Move in Supply Chain Dynamics

Amidst the turbulence of international trade wars, pandemic-induced supply chain disruptions, and the escalating demands for rapid delivery cycles, businesses are increasingly looking to relocate manufacturing and production operations to countries geographically closer to their core consumer markets. Nearshoring’s potential promise is not only to mitigate the vulnerabilities of extended supply lines but also to offer agility in responding to consumer needs, fostering a more adaptable and resilient business model.

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

It's been a chilly week for most of us in the United States, and whether you’re in the frozen Pacific Northwest (where I live) or the windswept plains of the Midwest and beyond, you were hunkering down and fighting to stay warm. What better way to pass the time than these editorial offerings. Have a great weekend, everyone.

Save Your Design by Understanding Fab Processes

At PCB Carolina, I met with Laura Martin, director of applications engineering for Summit Interconnect. Laura has been at Summit for about a year, moving into the role from a similar position at Insulectro. She has now become Summit’s go-to design for manufacturing (DFM) expert, and she’s working to move DFM further up in the design cycle, eliminating unpleasant surprises at CAM.

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

Welcome back, readers! Glad to see you. I hope you had plenty of rest over the holidays and you don’t need a vacation from your vacation. This week, our five must-reads include articles and news items on global fab trends and challenges, a breakdown of M&A activity in 2023, Ventec’s move into the equipment arena, the opportunities that arise from designer-fabricator communication early in the design cycle, and a new kind of AOI that’s driven by an AI neural network.

Ventec International: Growth, Changes, and a New Direction

Barry Matties speaks with Ventec International COO Mark Goodwin about a new direction for Ventec. Undeniably a major player in the global laminate market, Mark says Ventec’s primary focus remains the same. As a creative thinker and entrepreneur at his core, Mark explains that Ventec's move to add select equipment lines to their product lineup only adds value for their existing customers and complements existing product lines. 
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