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Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO 2023: Importance of Additive Manufacturing

Nolan Johnson meets with Luca Gautero, product manager at SUSS MicroTec, developer of the SUSS JETx solder mask printer. Luca discusses why additive manufacturing is important and the role SUSS plays in this area.

Schweitzer: The Captive Partnership

In this conversation with Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, we spoke with John Hendrickson, engineering director; Frank Harrill, vice president of security; and Jessi Hall, senior director of vertical engineering. We wanted to learn more about the best practices they developed while specifying, selecting, and preparing to install an entire facility’s worth of equipment all at the same time.

Curtis Grosskopf: Lasting Connections Fuel Progress

Dieter Bergman IPC Fellowship Award winner Curtis Grosskopf, a senior engineer at IBM, reflects on the evolution of IPC committees and the vital importance of their work, especially in collaboratively creating industry-wide standards to guide the work of professionals in every sector. This commitment to multidisciplinary cooperation is a mindset that should be fostered at the start of every career.

Meet Henry Crandall: New IPC Student Board Member

Barry Matties sits down with Henry Crandall, the newly minted Student Board Member on the IPC Board of Directors, to talk about how Henry became the first PhD student in electrical engineering in his family, as well as how his role on the IPC Board will allow him to represent the voices of students and young professionals interested in shaping the future of both IPC and the industry.

A Week-long Industry Extravaganza

We were back in San Diego, maybe for a “long vacation,” as IPC APEX EXPO is in Anaheim next year. Before we get to Anaheim, though, let’s talk about the show: It was a great week. I spent Sunday and Monday visiting some excellent Professional Development courses. As you know, this is a fast-changing industry, and we have to keep learning to stay ahead. On Monday, I attended the Microvia Weak Interface/Reliability subcommittee, and on Tuesday, the Ultra-HDI Technology Committee.

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

It’s been a busy week in our industry. We have a duke’s mixture of news and columns in this week’s Editor’s Choice, starting off with some good news for the American electronics manufacturing industry. In his State of the Union speech, President Biden signaled his support for the CHIPS Act and the U.S. electronics industry, and he promised that Washington would put its money where its mouth is this time. Is it going to happen? Don’t bet the rent money.

Shrinking Silicon, EMI, and SI

Dr. Todd Hubing is a longtime EMC instructor, president of LearnEMC, and a professor emeritus of the Electrical and Computer Engineering program at Clemson University. I asked Todd to discuss the challenges that shrinking silicon can present for traditional PCB designers, as well as the opportunities and benefits of smaller chip features.

IPC APEX EXPO Keynote Review: Shawn DuBravac

During an excellent packed-house luncheon on the Monday of IPC APEX EXPO 2023, IPC Chief Economist Shawn DuBravac gave a keynote address titled, “What's New in Tech: The Micro Trends Defining the Future of Electronics,” with an introduction by IPC President and CEO John W. Mitchell.

Time to ‘Finish the Job’ on PCB Funding

In his State of the Union address in early February, President Biden departed from his usual topics about education and the economy to mention the new CHIPS Act, as well as supply chain and infrastructure issues. For perspective on those remarks, Nolan Johnson chats with David Schild, executive director of the Printed Circuit Board Association of America (PCBAA).

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO 2023: IPC Offers Free Training Courses

Guest editor Hannah Nelson speaks with IPC’s David Hernandez about new benefits IPC members can expect in its training programs. These complimentary courses will help workforce development and companies to reduce training costs and standardize training across their organizations.


Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO 2023: The Growing Demand for Automation

Nolan Johnson talks with Jeff Brandman of TFE and Moritz Hertfelder of ERBO about the growing demand for vacuum systems and automation in PCB facilities. Jeff and Moritz shared information on their solutions to meet this need.

A First Look at IPC-CFX Box for Legacy Equipment

Although the prevalence of IPC-CFX in the electronics manufacturing industry has increased since the standard’s launch in spring 2019, the committee responsible for the standard has recognized legacy equipment in the field as a significant barrier to widespread industry adoption. To address this, an A-Team under the IPC-CFX Standard Task Group spent the past year working on a project that provides simple, readily available IPC-CFX hardware with supporting SDK that can act as an IPC-CFX endpoint for existing legacy equipment.

Alpha Takes the Greenfield Route

Alpha Circuit is a PCB fabricator located in Elmhurst, Illinois. Given that the launch of a new PCB fab is a rare occasion these days, we caught up with the senior team—Prashant Patel, president and CEO; Steve Smith, general manager; Steve Ryan, sales and direct support—guiding the buildout of Alpha Circuit’s brand new 44,000 square foot facility. They discuss what goes into equipment selection and line design, and the timing couldn’t have been better. At press time, the new facility was on schedule for test production by the end of January 2023.

A Post-show Marketing Plan

After you’ve exhibited at a trade show, then the work really begins. Where do you begin? How do you best capitalize on the leads and other contacts you’ve made? We asked Kiki Shimomae, sales and marketing coordinator for Taiyo, to discuss her pre- and post-show plans for a show like IPC APEX EXPO, and the importance of staying visible on social media.

EIPC Winter Conference 2023, Day 2 Review

Day 2 of the EIPC Winter Conference at the Groupama Stadium in the Décines-Charpieu region of the Metropolis of Lyon in eastern France included a privileged visit to the Bugey Nuclear Power Plant for those who were registered and passed their security clearance. Such was the interest that the party was split into morning and afternoon groups. EIPC board member Martyn Gaudion, CEO of Polar Instruments, made a fine job of moderating Session 6 twice over.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO 2023: IPC's Sustainability Initiative

Michelle Te talks with Dr. Kelly Scanlon about IPC's Sustainability for Electronics Initiative, which will provide direction and ensure realistic and appropriate tools for the electronics manufacturing industry.

EIPC Winter Conference 2023: Day 1 Review

The EIPC Winter Conference returned to the Metropolis of Lyon in eastern France this month. In 2018, the venue was Villeurbanne in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. Five years later the setting was the Groupama Stadium in Décines-Charpieu, and leaders of the European printed circuit community gathered in expectation of a spectacular programme of 16 presentations, a visit to a nuclear power station, and an invaluable networking opportunity. They weren’t disappointed.

Another Successful STEM Outreach

The IPC Education Foundation (IPCEF) hosted its annual STEM Outreach Event over the course of two days at IPC APEX EXPO 2023 in San Diego, accommodating more than 550 students on Wednesday, Jan. 25 and Thursday, Jan. 26. This was IPCEF’s largest event to date. The event created awareness of the many careers available in the electronics manufacturing industry and helped future talent engage and connect with industry professionals.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO 2023: SVHC and REACH’s Effect on Solder Mask

Pete Starkey and Ashley Steers of Electra Polymer discuss SVHC, REACH and changes to solder mask processes and products.

Coreen Blaylock: Opening Doors for New Professionals

Coreen Blaylock, recipient of the IPC Excellence in Education Award, is project management and ping operations at Lockheed Martin. She shares her unconventional introduction to the industry and how her work in STEM education and building industry partnerships has been instrumental in reinvigorating the manufacturing workforce. Lockheed Martin’s commitment to continuous education has provided veterans and displaced workers the training and financial support they need to be successful in our exciting industry.


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

This week, I used my super sleuthing skills to select news and articles that are both driven by numbers and themes. Let’s see if my selection matches up with yours. We know our readers are opening our daily and weekly newsletters, scanning the important news of the day. The numbers tell me that. But it’s the content within those clicks that help me lock in on a clear line of thought. This week, the topic of the week: investments.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO 2023: PFAS and TSCA Regulations

IPC’s Suhani Chitalia sits down with Pete Starkey to discuss PFAS regulations in the U.S. and TSCA in the EU. Also discussed is U.S. reporting and record keeping requirements for EU REACH updates.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO 2023: PCB Automation

Robert (Bob) Berg, vice president of business development at Matrix Electronics, talks about PCB automation trends with guest editor Jesse Vaughan. He also talks about upcoming issues, including retrofitting new process automation solutions with existing equipment and process footprint, and recommendations for implementation.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO 2023: The Supply Chain and Markets

Ventec International Group COO EMEA Mark Goodwin gives Pete Starkey a comprehensive overview of what’s new at Ventec.

The Industry Is Back and Better Than Ever

To say that anticipation had been building prior to this show would be an understatement. Bearing in mind the various unknowns as we emerge from the worst of the pandemic, IPC APEX EXPO 2023 stood apart as a beacon of cautious optimism. Overall, I don’t think anyone left the show disappointed. There was a real air of resurgence on the show floor related to the many new technologies, innovations, materials, and Smart manufacturing solutions being developed in the industry.
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