Latest Articles

Elevating Fabrication: Investing in High-tech Equipment, Processes, and Labor

Aidan Salvi is the chief transformation officer for Amitron. As such, he’s visited fabricators in North America, Europe, and Asia in the past few years, and he’s had a ringside seat to the challenges and opportunities facing fabricators around the globe. The I-Connect007 editorial team asked Aidan to share his economic outlook for PCB manufacturing as we head into 2024 and beyond. As he points out, companies are opening their pocketbooks to invest, particularly in high-tech processes.

Anaya Vardya: 2024 and Beyond

I believe that the business outlook for individual companies will depend on their ability to adapt to these challenges, diversify their customer base, and innovate in response to changing market dynamics. That is certainly the way our company is looking at it. How we can manage and adapt to changing economic conditions will factor into how we perform in 2024. I suggest anyone who wants to succeed must do the same.

The Economics of Equipment Selection

Financing capital equipment is certainly a large part of a fabricator’s economic equation. However, the selection of your equipment has a long-term economic impact, especially if you overlook a few critical points. As IPS President and CEO Mike Brask recently explained, the first step in this process is to really understand your technological needs and the flexibility that’s required for your equipment to carry you into the future.

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

The Christmas and New Year’s holidays made for much-appreciated off-time in the U.S. and Europe, but there was still a lot of good industry reading for all to enjoy. From Happy Holden’s influence on our youngest and brightest to the cost of rework, policy challenges ahead for European PCB and PCBA companies, to new faces in the industry—with some bonus R2-D2 thrown in for good measure—these articles are worth a few minutes of your time. Here are my picks from this past week in industry news and feature articles.

Book Excerpt: 'The Printed Circuit Designer's Guide to... Designing for Reality,' Chapter 2

Let’s get the bad news out of the way first. Perfection is an unattainable goal. Don’t expect manufacturing to be perfect. There will always be variations from optimum at every step of the manufacturing process. Designers should recognize that variation and physical challenges within the PCB manufacturing process can be exacerbated by their design decisions.

IPC Europe: Raising the Industry Flag of Support

Barry Matties recently visited with Philippe Leonard, senior director for IPC Europe, and Francisco Fourcade, electronics technology standards manager for IPC Europe, about their priorities for IPC and the challenges they face moving into next year. The IPC Europe team has focused on collaboration, cooperation, and perhaps most importantly, educating policymakers on the impending needs of PCB and PCBA companies in Europe.

HDPUG: 30 Years of Collaboration

The High Density Packaging User Group International Inc. (HDP) and IPC have partnered successfully for many years. The groups signed an MOU in 2020 to strengthen this relationship, increase technical collaboration between the groups, and provide a mutual path toward emerging and disruptive high-density interconnect (HDI) technologies. IPC became a member of HDP at that point.

Happy New Year 2024 From I-Connect007

As we bid farewell to a remarkable 2023, let's welcome the New Year with renewed hope and endless possibilities. Though we are taking the day off to spend the holiday with our family and friends, the entire staff at I-Connect007 wishes you a happy and prosperous new year.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Most-returned Holiday Gifts

It’s the last Friday of 2023, and a relatively quiet news week here for the industry. Most of our staff has been spending time with family and friends. Still, the news never sleeps, and I encourage you to revisit our websites and see what’s been happening. Now, we all appreciate great gifts, but sometimes they just aren’t what we need—or want. So, in keeping with the holiday spirit, here are the top five most returned gifts.

IPC Asia Connects With Local Companies Like TTM to Improve Workforce Development

Top Chinese students interning with the most influential electronics manufacturers in China through the IPC Asia Talent Development Program are producing stellar results. Tom Edman, president and CEO of TTM Technologies—and an IPC Board member—has provided strong support for the IPC Asia Scholars Program, in particular, during its initial stages.

Laurent Nicolet Has an Eye for Photography

Our industry is filled with those whose intelligence and contributions forward technology and manufacturing processes across the supply chain. Laurent Nicolet has particular expertise in PCB etching, materials, and machinery. He focuses on new technologies and recently introduced the new embedded traces process developed per SCHMID. He is also a skilled photographer with a unique eye for beauty. Laurent has agreed to share his story and photos with our readers.

Pete Starkey’s Five Must-Reads of 2023

I must say, this has been a good year. We were free at last from COVID travel restrictions and obligatory face masks. This means I have been able to get out and about, network with colleagues in the industry, and report on some notable presentations from distinguished technical specialists in Europe. It has been a difficult job choosing a “top five” from such a multiplicity and diversity of high-quality papers, but here’s my selection.

DOD Awards $46.2 Million to Revitalize the U.S. Defense Industrial Base On-Shoring of Advanced Packaging and Assembly

The Department of Defense announced an award of $46.2 million to GreenSource Fabrication LLC (GreenSource) via the Defense Production Act Investment (DPAI) Program.

Economic Outlook: Joe O’Neil Has More Optimism than Concerns

Joe O’Neil’s background includes operating both printed circuit fabrication and printed circuit assembly companies. In this Q&A with Joe, he explains how, in his current role, he contributes to the strategic initiatives at IPC, including his involvement in developing advanced fabrication technologies demonstration facilities in the U.S.

Holiday Greetings From the Staff at I-Connect007

The staff at I-Connect007 wishes you and your loved ones a happy holiday season. Today is Christmas Day, and we wish all those celebrating this holiday a merry and carefree time.

IPC Chief Economist’s Industry Forecast for 2024

To better understand the current economic situation for electronics manufacturing, we brought in Shawn DuBravac, IPC chief economist, to provide an update with a high level global economic outlook. As you might expect, the seas have been a bit turbulent in the aftermath of the pandemic. Shawn breaks down the headwinds and the tailwinds of an economy in flux, and what it means for you.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week—Holiday Movie Edition

Every year, my friends on social media have a discussion about Christmas movies. It starts with someone asking whether “Die Hard” qualifies as a Christmas movie. Then everyone speculates about which Christmas movies are the best or worst of all time. Here are the top five highest-grossing Christmas movies of all time.

I-Connect007 Columnist George Milad Passes Away

I-Connect007 columnist George Milad passed away on Dec. 7, 2023, at the age of 81. George was well-known in the PCB industry for his technical expertise in physical organic chemistry. He was employed as a national accounts manager at Uyemura International Corporation, was the author of the chapters on plating and surface finishing in Printed Circuit Handbook: Seventh Edition, and had a series of publications on electrolytic plating and metallic surface finishes.

Review: The Institute of Circuit Technology Christmas Seminar 2023

A multitude of delegates from the UK printed circuit industry made the journey to the Institute of Circuit Technology Christmas Seminar on December 5 at the grandiose Majestic Hotel in the picturesque spa town of Harrogate in North Yorkshire. They were welcomed by ICT Chair Emma Hudson, who introduced a program of three presentations encompassing the diverse topics of satellites, electroless metallisation and electronics manufacturing initiatives.

Fond Memories of Lino Sousa

Many of us have been in the PCB industry for a long time. With that, we have made great friends and met some of the most amazing and lovely people one can ever meet, especially professionally. From time to time, we must also say goodbye. Lino Sousa certainly falls into the category of amazing and special people in our industry. We learned of his passing last weekend —he will be sorely missed. In this compilation, friends and colleagues have shared their thoughts and made tribute to our friend, Lino.

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

Ever notice how the end of the calendar year creates a “tennis spectator” effect in our thinking? Let me explain. We’ve all seen the video of people watching a tennis match, with their gazes moving back and forth, left to right, as the ball moves between the contestants; that lazy head-shake led by the gaze of the eyes, right? Well, as we reach the end of a year, we seem to take stock in what’s happened behind us (reflectively gaze to the left), and what is coming in the future (expectantly gaze to the right.) Our thoughts bounce back and forth as if time were the tennis ball. In this week’s must-reads, however, we keep our gaze firmly affixed to the right, as it were, considering the future. If you only read five pieces of industry news this week, here are my suggestions.

Real Time with... productronica 2023: MKS' Atotech Brings New Features to Horizontal Plating

Roger Massey gives an update on Atotech's newest generation of their Uniplate® line. If you were unable to attend productronica 2023, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of many of the week's events in Munich.

Recent Practices in PCB Fab Registration System Architecture

The registration of copper features, both to interconnects and to each other, is a topic about which documented cases in the public space are less than abundant, other than individual supplier marketing with minimal back-up data. Traditionally, this area is known to individual fabs as it involves multiple processes with a lot of variation in equipment makes/models, and even base materials between different shops. This article endeavors to document the current Pareto frontier of registration system design architecture for use by PCB fab engineers.

A Conversation With Industry Icon Pete Starkey

After spending a week at productronica 2023 with Pete Starkey, it became quite clear that Pete is something of an icon in the printed circuit board industry. I knew I had to spend some time talking to him specifically about the history, progress, and future of the bare printed circuit board. It was fascinating, humbling, and very educational. I think you’ll agree.

ASC and Sunstone: The Art of the Zipper Merge

We’ve all been there when two traffic lanes need to merge into one: Chaos ensues. It’s most often because some folks simply choose not to cooperate with fellow drivers. But when the so-called zipper merge works correctly, traffic flows smoothly. The same can happen when bringing two separate companies together; for some pairings, it’s a battle, while for others, the merging is as smooth as a zipper. American Standard Circuits and Sunstone Circuits have been integrating their business merger for about six months, and we checked in with Anaya Vardya and Matt Stevenson to see how the integration is proceeding. There are simple lessons to be learned from hearing their stories and applying them to your own situation.
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