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

Texans like to say that everything is bigger in Texas. That certainly seems to be the case for the SMTA Dallas Expo & Tech Forum. Publisher Barry Matties and I attended SMTA Dallas on Tuesday, and the tabletop show has now grown to 100 exhibitors, up from 92 vendors last year. It’s become more than a local or regional show, with some exhibitors flying in from Silicon Valley and the East Coast.

Teresa Rowe: Onward and Upward

Teresa Rowe, IPC senior director, Assembly and Standards Technology, has been inducted into the Raymond E. Pritchard Hall of Fame. She looks back on her unexpected introduction to IPC and how both passion and perseverance have always been at the heart of our industry’s drive to innovate. Seize every chance to grow and learn, Teresa says, and always keep moving toward the next opportunity.

Organizing Materials Differently at Ventec

At a recent industry conference, technical editor Pete Starkey caught some time with Ventec’s Mark Goodwin and Didier Mauve. In this conversation, Mark and Didier discuss Ventec’s work to curate their product offerings into functional categories based on function and target application. The pair also share their thinking on markets which they see as driving material development work. When material performance becomes an integral part of the PCB’s performance specifications, the traditional way of categorizing materials may not do the job.

A Quantic Leap into Foils and Embeddeds With John Andresakis

Andy Shaughnessy talks with John Andresakis about how the merger of resistive foil technologies from Ohmega and Ticer has evolved under the new ownership of Quantic. Andresakis also shares how these materials are finding new applications, especially in the embedded component application space, as the company reaches out to the new generation of PCB designers and design engineers.

Gene Weiner: Setting the Standard

Patty Goldman catches up with Gene Weiner, the longest-serving member of IPC, about his experience meeting with the next generation of engineers in IPC’s Emerging Engineers program through a unique contest held at IPC APEX EXPO 2023. Weiner, who has attended well over 60 annual IPC meetings, shared his unflagging optimism and the lessons he’s learned over his illustrious career with the young professionals who managed to find him at the show. With so much still to do, Weiner has no plans to retire any time soon; he’s already hard work helping IPC develop a new program to support aspiring managers in the industry.

Bigelow: Bullish on Fab’s Future

Twenty-plus years is a long time to lead a business during a long decline in the industry, but IMI President and CEO Peter Bigelow remains quite confident about the future. The company is in a strong financial position, running well, and looking at new technologies. So, what’s his biggest challenge? It’s not much different than any other manufacturer you talk to, and while he may not have all the answers, he’s clearly got insight to share.

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

It’s almost as if upheaval is the new normal. We often describe slow-moving but unstoppable change as moving in “geologic time.” But occasionally–like an earthquake–geology shifts suddenly. Here in my office, tracking the news of the industry, things are moving faster than geologic time, but more slowly than the jolt of an earthquake. The wave seems almost surfable, where before it seemed overwhelming. In this week’s list, we bring news from five different, high-vibration areas in our industry. If you read nothing else this week, these five items will keep you informed.

John W. Mitchell: Fire Your Hiring Habits

On the Wednesday of IPC APEX EXPO week, IPC President and CEO Dr. John W. Mitchell stylishly delivered his keynote address, “Fire Your Hiring Habits!” to a packed ballroom full of round tables all immaculately laid for a sit-down lunch. Announced by IPC Hall-of-Famer Joe O’Neil with a Rolling Stones track in the background, Mitchell’s presentation, subtitled “Finding and keeping the best talent is fundamental to building electronics better,” offered relevant and valuable guidance on understanding human nature and how this knowledge can help you find and keep the right individuals for your organisation.

Advancing in a New Era

What goes down must also come up. This is not the idiom we’re used to hearing, but I’d like to apply it to IPC APEX EXPO 2023. After a few years of lower attendance numbers due to the COVID pandemic, 2023 ushered in a re-invigorated group of attendees, exhibitors, speakers, event contractors, and staff to the show floor and meeting rooms. IPC APEX EXPO 2023 was fueled by the possibilities of new advances in electronics manufacturing.

A Promising Future for Automation

This year, I had the great opportunity to come to IPC APEX EXPO in San Diego as a contributing member in Chemcut’s booth. Being an exhibitor is always interesting because you never know what you will learn or who you will meet. Truly, it seems that every IPC APEX EXPO is an eye-opening experience. This was the second show I attended, and last year I was amazed to see how in-depth and interconnected the electronics industry is. Seeing how many different companies contribute to manufacturing today’s core technology never fails to impress me.


Optimizing Communication Between Fabricators and Designers

During DesignCon, I spoke with James Hofer from Accurate Circuit Engineering about some of his customers' biggest challenges. We discussed various ways to increase the level—and quality—of communication between designers and fabricators. James also offered some interesting observations about bridging the gap between designer and fabricator. How often do you communicate with your fabricator?

The Summit View of the Marketplace

Investments, staffing, cybersecurity, and a peek into his crystal ball—John Vaughan, vice president of strategic markets at Summit Interconnect, sits down with Nolan Johnson to talk about it all. Business is good, by the way, thanks to Summit’s portfolio of military contracts, and he has sound advice to offer for smaller shops in the United States, and their real ability to make a difference in PCB fabrication.

The Automated Future of PCB Fabrication

I have always felt that automation has the potential to make a big difference in our PCB industry, especially domestically, where labor is at premium. For the past year, I have been looking for the story of how automation can and will make a significant difference in established PCB shops. I was fortunate enough to find that story in Multicircuits, located in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Only a few short years ago, this company was considered a “plain vanilla” PCB fabricator holding its own in our industry; now it has suddenly assumed a true leadership position in the industry in terms of capability, technology, operations, and profitability.

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

The captive shop used to be the rule, not the exception. Until outsourcing caught on, that is. North American captive shops went the way of the dodo bird, and the PCB market hasn’t been the same since. Even R&D went out the window, or offshore, if you want to be technical about it. But Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL) is something of a wild card. The company recently opened a new captive facility in Idaho, and the industry is paying close attention.

Sarah Czaplewski-Campbell: Ready to Take Flight

Sarah Czaplewski-Campbell, a materials/product development engineer at IBM, shares her experiences as a young professional who has benefited from the guidance of seasoned mentors alongside her own unflagging drive to expand her industry knowledge. She offers poignant advice for prospective professionals, urging them to assertively seek out advice and experiences that will help them progress in their careers.

Runner-up Discusses IPC Design Competition

PCB designer Adam Thorvaldson of Innovex was a finalist in this year’s IPC Design Competition at IPC APEX EXPO. He came in second place in this final heat, which is quite a feat, considering that the contest started last fall with 49 contestants from around the globe. We asked Adam to share his thoughts on the competition, what it means to be one of the winners, and any ideas about improving the contest for 2024 in Anaheim.

ICT Seminar 2023 Review: Energy, Thermals, and Assistive Technology

Widely believed to be the traditional Centre of England, Meriden was a popular venue for a gathering of the UK printed circuit community this month. They braved the forecast of heavy snow for the Institute of Circuit Technology’s annual general meeting to learn about current developments and challenges in a thought-provoking technical seminar and to network with industry peers and contemporaries. Thankfully, the forecasted heavy snowfall did not reach Meriden until after the event; we only had a few flurries, although the weather caused considerable disruption elsewhere in the country.

Paige Fiet: Forging a New Path

As a young industry professional, Paige Fiet, a process engineer at TTM Logan, sees mentorship as a formative component of her success in IPC. Alongside the support and guidance of her mentors, Paige has distinguished herself as an emerging leader who brings a fresh perspective to the many topics currently of interest to the industry.

Thomas Marktscheffel: Collaboratively Revitalizing the Industry

Thomas Marktscheffel, director of product management software solutions at ASMPT GmbH & Co. KG, reflects on the evolution of industry-wide standards and how his multidisciplinary approach to the development of CFX has been crucial to its success. With the advent of digitalization, cultivating a collaborative spirit is now more than ever an essential component of standards development. Patty Goldman recently spoke with Thomas about what this award mean to him

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

I try to not talk about the weather in this space, but this week I feel compelled. I’m based in the Pacific Northwest, and we’re relatively used to it being wet and rainy. But just south of us in California, the state has gone from what I read has been called the driest period in the West in the past 1,200 years to a right proper drenching. This week’s news cycle felt like one of those California-style “atmospheric rivers.” There was so much worthy reporting worthy that I was a bit overwhelmed in making my final selections. Suffice it to say that, this week, there is quite a bit of news that’s worth your time to read.


Shrinking Silicon, Growing Signal Integrity Challenges

What happens when die sizes shrink? As IPC design instructor Kris Moyer explains, quite a bit. Shrinking silicon can mean rising signal speed and rise times, and traditional PCB designers may find themselves dealing with problems formerly only seen by RF engineers. We asked Kris to discuss the pros and cons of silicon shrinkage and some of the techniques and trade-offs that PCB designers and design engineers need to understand as they find themselves entering the RF arena.

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.
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