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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.

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.
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