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Where Is the China Business Going?

We met with Milwaukee Electronics’ CEO Jered Stoehr and Vice President of Sales Paul Forker to discuss the evolving dynamics of Mexico's role in global trade, particularly in comparison to China. The recent increase in trade with Mexico, due to the impact of tariffs on business opportunities, and the shift of some companies from China to Mexico stemming from factors like cost competitiveness and geopolitical risks, have been key to Mexico’s position as the number one trade partner with the U.S.

IPC Impact Day Recap With Rich Cappetto

IPC has hosted its annual IPC Impact Day in Washington, D.C., for at least the past decade, with the first event taking place in the 1990s. This popular and important advocacy tool allows an industry segment to meet their local congresspeople, educate them on important issues, and influence new or existing legislation to support their interests. We spoke with Rich Cappetto, senior director of North American government relations at IPC, about the importance of the event and what it means for the greater PCB industry. He also highlighted an important change: There will be several IPC Impact Days throughout the year to allow smaller groups of industry professionals to visit Washington more often with a more targeted message.

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

This week’s must-reads are comprised of news which moves the industry forward. We’ve had quite a lot of news on a global scale, and they’re all good reads. To winnow down to just five, I chose either new information or interesting takes on ongoing industry stories. To that end, we have news about new capital equipment for advanced packaging, discussions of material selection and the imaging process during PCB fabrication, a columnist's ode to the best engineer she knows, and some optimistic news from the semiconductor industry.

Young Professionals Series: Meet Evan Griffith, Indium

Meet Indium Corporation’s Evan Griffith, our featured young professional. He has a bachelor’s degree in materials engineering and a master’s degree in engineering management from Dartmouth College, and works in Utica, New York.

Book Excerpt: The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to... Low-Temperature Soldering, Vol. 2

Low-temperature solders (LTS) continue to attract serious interest from the electronics industry. These solder alloys enable the use of lower glass transition temperature (Tg) substrates and components due to the lower processing temperature, promote long-term reliability by reducing exposure to thermal excursion, and enable organizations to meet sustainability targets. In this quick-read article are sharing an excerpt from Chapter 1 of the second volume of The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to... Low-Temperature Soldering.

Catching Up With Bob Duke of ASC’s Global Sourcing Division

Since we last talked to Bob Duke, president of American Standard Circuits’ Global Sourcing Division, I wanted to see how things are going and what a difference a year makes. Not surprising, and knowing how Bob operates, things are (spoiler alert) going great. Check it out for yourself.

Book Excerpt: The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to... Encapsulating Sustainability for Electronics

Encapsulation resins are ruggedizing solutions for challenging environments. There are several different options available, and it is possible to segment them in many ways, including chemistry type, cure method, or end application. This book is written as an introductory guide to aid the reader in understanding these encapsulation resins. It should act as a tool for application troubleshooting, taking an in-depth look at specific test methods and their relevance to key industries. What follows is an excerpt from Chapter 1.

Governments Struggling With ‘Silicon-to-Systems Approach’

What do you do when you don’t know what to do? That is the conundrum facing U.S. government officials overseeing billions of dollars in strategic investments in the domestic microelectronics industry. Enormous grants are beginning to flow to the chips sector, and after years of IPC advocacy and education efforts, policymakers have gained a clearer picture of the rest of the electronics supply chain, including everything chips depend on to function.

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

It’s been a great week. I spent part of the week at PCB East, which was held at the Boxboro Regency in Boxboro, Massachusetts. I haven’t been to Boxboro in about 20 years. The last time I was at PCB East in Boxboro, design instructor Mary Sugden had a hot plate and a supply of bologna in her room, because she preferred fried bologna to anything she could get in a restaurant. Never a dull moment with PCB designers! 

Has It Really Been Survival Mode?

In the face of an ever-growing electronics demand, our experiences from 2020 onward with rapid constraints in supply, and unexpected demand fluctuations, EMS companies face a more limited ability than we are accustomed to quickly adjust incorrect component mixes, and respond to shortened component lifecycles. Add to that the need to carefully approach the addition of very expensive capacity. We end up repeatedly answering the same set of questions, every day, for every job in our queue.


Solving Problems and Validating Excellence

“IPC’s slogan is Build Electronics Better, which is 100% what Validation Services is,” says Randy Cherry, who directs the program, now in its 11th year. Having created the program from the ground up and weathered the COVID drought just when the program was gaining momentum, IPC Validations Services has 165 customers and an impressive 98% retention rate.

My Experience as an International Student

In the summer of 2017, after finishing my bachelor’s, I decided to leave India to pursue my ambitions. I had grown up around engineering: My dad was a mechanical engineer, which fueled my interest in engineering as I always saw him working on complex HVAC projects. After high school, I took competitive exams and was admitted to the University of NMIMS in Mumbai to pursue mechanical engineering. After graduating with my bachelor's degree, I felt a strong desire to delve deeper into the field. Pursuing a master's degree abroad seemed like the perfect way to gain this in-depth knowledge, so I decided to apply to U.S. universities because I saw them as world leaders at the forefront of technology and research.

IPC Releases Newest List of Standards Updates, Revisions

Each quarter, IPC releases a list of standards that are new or have been updated. To view a complete list of newly published standards and standards revisions, translations, proposed standards for ballot, final drafts for industry review, working drafts, and project approvals, visit ipc.org/status. These are the latest releases for Q2.

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2024: Progress and Opportunities in Industrial Workforce Development

IPC's Cory Blaylock and Victoria Hawkins discuss the exciting progress in workforce issues, with IPC celebrating the approval of their national program standards. The Department of Labor has broadened its list of occupations, notably approving the PCB design engineer role. There are funding opportunities for apprenticeship programs, particularly for underrepresented populations. IPC also offers supportive services for employer companies and workforce development initiatives.

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

This week, our columnists enjoy particular attention with Barry Olney, Mehul Dave, and Happy Holden all providing valuable insight on materials, the critical importance of the front-end engineering process once a PCB design is received, and an overview and observations around IPC APEX EXPO technical sessions.

EOS Brings IPC Standards to South Korea

We are well aware of the saying, “There are no borders in the world economy.” To grow, a company must think about establishing a global customer base, no matter how small the product. So, the product must be manufactured according to a common global standard. In electronics manufacturing, one South Korean company learned that IPC standards should be applied immediately.

IPC APEX EXPO Retrospective: The Founders Look Back

IPC APEX EXPO 2024 will soon feel like a distant memory, and by all accounts, it was a good show with an impressive display of technical knowledge. During the show, I visited with industry icons and IPC Hall of Fame recipients Dan Feinberg and Gene Weiner, who were among the original visionaries and founders of what became APEX EXPO. These individuals took me on a funny and engaging historic journey and a glimpse into how we arrived today.

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2024: Electrification of Automobiles: Challenges and Solutions

Grace O'Malley, VP of technical operations for iNEMI, shines a light on the electrification of automobiles, the need for industry alignment, standardization, and collaboration to tackle challenges. She mentions issues from a recent workshop, changing use cycles, longer vehicle lifespan, and the role of OEMs and the supply chain. Grace also highlights the importance of collaboration and appreciates the opportunity to work with industry leaders.

Catching Up With Tom Yang of CEE PCB

I was in the Bay Area recently and met with my new friend Tom Yang, CEO of CEE PCB, a $450 million Chinese PCB fabricator. For too long, we have enjoyed the luxury of complaining about Chinese companies without even knowing who they are and what they do. That’s just too easy. My mission was to talk to a real live shop owner in China. With this interview, you will have a better and more personal understanding of CEE and the rest of the Chinese PCB industry.

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2024: An Introduction to IPC's Validation Services

Randy Cherry, director of IPC's Validation Services (VS) Program, sits down with Editor Marcy LaRont to discuss the program's global success and expansion, touching on the IPC-1791 Trusted Supplier and Cybersecurity List, the QPL/QML programs, and a newly introduced standard being developed in the automotive space. Randy also shares his upcoming travel plans to Australia and expresses his hope that the VS program will see much global growth in the coming months.


Empowering the Smart Factory Era With AI

The paradigm of operational excellence has emerged as a key focus area in today's rapidly evolving manufacturing landscape. Realizing this shift, manufacturers are increasingly exploring ways to optimize operations to meet the challenges of the "new normal." The manufacturing sector's challenges, particularly regarding personnel and talent, are not going away. Thus, the conversation has shifted toward addressing these challenges through automation, artificial intelligence (AI), and collaboration with suppliers.

High Temperature Component Warpage as a Function of Moisture Sensitivity (MSL) Rating

Moisture sensitivity requirements for non-hermetic surface mount devices are defined in the joint IPC/JEDEC standard J-STD-020E, “Joint IPC/JEDEC Standard for Moisture/Reflow Sensitivity Classification for Non-hermetic Surface-Mount Devices,” last updated in December 2014. This standard allows customers and suppliers to place electronics devices into specific categories, defined into 8 different moisture sensitivity levels (MSL). Test method criteria are defined within this standard to define MSL levels for different packages. A subsection of MSLs are shown in Figure 1 below, showing the MSL 3 and 4 used in this study.

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO: A Unique Approach to Design for Manufacturability (DFM)

Chad Orebaugh from Key Tronic Corporation, an electronics supplier, takes time to outline the company's operations, challenges, and their unique approach to design for manufacturability—DFM. Highlights of this conversation include the importance of industry standards and guidelines, while also emphasizing the need to innovate and manufacture beyond existing norms.

Best Student Poster: Drop Shock Reliability

Two Auburn University doctoral candidates authored a poster on drop shock performance of solder alloys in BGA assemblies that won Best Student Poster at IPC APEX EXPO 2024. They received a $750 cash prize and a $2,000 scholarship. Palash Vyas is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Industrial Engineering with more than three years of research experience in reliability testing of PCBs. His paper was co-authored by Soroosh Alavi, who has bachelor’s and master’s of science degrees in industrial engineering.

Chiplet Architecture for AI Will Create New Demands for Assembly

As we look deeper into the entire AI ecosystem, it becomes clear that AI algorithms are intensely hungry for compute power. This demand for compute resources is accelerating beyond the customary rate predicted by Moore’s Law, just as traditional semiconductor fabrication methods are failing to maintain Moore’s Law. It’s a real dilemma.

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2024: Advanced Technologies with BlueRing Stencils

Guest Editor Kelly Dack and Greg Smith, manager of stencil technology with BlueRing Stencils, discuss the company's capabilities and services. They explore the use of nano coatings for thin stencils and determining the area ratio. Greg emphasizes the role of stencil artwork in controlling solder deposition and the need for collaboration between designers and stencil companies. They also focus on thinner stencils and step stenciling techniques for achieving proper solder deposition.

Delving Into Special Sessions at IPC APEX EXPO 2024

Once again, we were back at IPC APEX EXPO for another show and conference, and back to gathering in the Anaheim Convention Center. With Disneyland just across the street, there were tourists everywhere. This APEX EXPO was bigger than ever, with more activities, Professional Development Courses, standards committee meetings, and the 16th Electronic Circuits World Convention. I really enjoyed walking around and seeing everything the show had to offer.

IPC Excellence in Education Award: Janene Stinson

Janene Stinson of Boeing is this year’s proud winner of IPC’s Excellence in Education Award. This award recognizes Janene’s work in the defense and aerospace industry for over 30 years, and enduring contribution to workforce development in more than 20 years of teaching and training with IPC.

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2024: IPC's Workforce Training and Onboarding Solutions

IPC's Kelly Allen and Carlos Plaza chat about the organization's workforce training courses. They discuss the importance of efficient onboarding, the challenges and opportunities in integrating new hires, and IPC's solutions for a smoother onboarding process. They also touch on expert involvement in IPC education and introduce new courses on component identification and standards.

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

Recently, I was reading a report from Deloitte on the Mexican economy (and don’t judge me what I read while I wait my turn at the gym). This particular report is cited in an interview scheduled for the June 2024 issue of SMT007 Magazine. I made note of a few things.


Listen to I-Connect007’s Latest Podcast Episode: Empowering Electrical Engineers

I-Connect007 is thrilled to announce the release of the latest episode in Series 3 of its popular podcast, On the Line With... , available now on Apple and Spotify.

Taking Standards and Industry Into a Future Age

IPC APEX EXPO 2024 proved to be another busy week in the world of IPC Factory of the Future standards development. It would be near impossible to cover every last nook and cranny of important discussions, outcomes, and future-looking plans that occurred during our Factory of the Future standards committee meetings, but we will do our best to provide a textual highlight reel for the week.

An AI Revolution in Wire Harness Manufacturing

In the wire harness industry, a narrative unfolds that is as intricate and interconnected as its products. Arik Vrobel’s journey from El-Com Systems to the founding of Cableteque is one of enduring innovation, strategic adaptation, and a deep understanding of the industry’s evolving needs. His development of an AI application for the wire harness industry may be a game-changer for manufacturers.

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2024: IPC's Push for Sustainability in Electronics

Editor Marcy LaRont speaks with Dr. Kelly Scanlon, lead sustainability strategist for IPC, during IPC APEX EXPO 2024. They explore the organization's heightened emphasis on sustainability, the creation of a Sustainability for Electronics Leadership Council by IPC, their sustainability strategy, and their part in standards and education. Kelly also underscores the significance of industry participation and invites experts to contribute to sustainability initiatives.

The Ever-expanding Horizons of PCB Manufacturing: Global Trends and Local Impacts

The global printed circuit board industry is in an unprecedented transformation, driven by a confluence of technological advancements, shifting market dynamics, and geopolitical factors. As the demand for advanced electronics continues to soar, investment in the PCB sector is witnessing a remarkable uptick, with notable developments reshaping the landscape. Concurrently, the emergence of new local PCB shops, defense contracts bolstering supply chain resilience, growth projections across different regions in 2024, and the inflation outlook collectively delineate the evolving panorama of PCB manufacturing.

The Rise of Collaborative Intelligence in Manufacturing

Every modern manufacturer grapples with a common challenge: extracting actionable insights from the ever-growing sea of operational data. The challenge of the data deluge isn’t just overwhelming; it coincides with a broader shift in automation needs. While traditional forms of automation, such as robots, remain vital, the focus is expanding to encompass automating the very intelligence needed to run a factory efficiently. As a result, a new generation of tools and technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI) is beginning to transform the way factories operate.

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2024: Insight into STARTEAM Global

In this interview, Martin Schneider, CTO of STARTEAM Global, talks about his long career journey that has given him valuable industry experience. He discusses his role as CTO, the company's initiatives in North America, the company's journey and its expansion into Thailand, as well as the advantages of attending IPC APEX EXPO. He expresses his gratitude and admiration for the industry.

The Data Brings Us Together

IPC APEX EXPO 2024 wrapped up after a week of immersion in printed circuits and electronics manufacturing, so why did I keep thinking about wood joinery as I flew home rather than fabrication and assembly?

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2024: The HDP User Group's Role in the Electronics Industry

Bev Christian, a project facilitator from the HDP User Group, outlines the consortium's focus on new materials and reliability in the electronics industry, and their collaboration on non-proprietary projects. Key areas of interest include corrosion, PFAS, and lead-free solders. Bev also highlights the value of collaboration and mentions partnerships with other consortia. The HDP User Group welcomes interested individuals to get involved via their website.

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2024: Unveiling the New Chief Strategist of Advanced Packaging at IPC

Devan Iyer, IPC's new chief strategist of advanced packaging, shares his industry experience and the objectives of his role and emphasizes the necessity for solid standards and guidelines for new packaging technologies and design methodologies. He also highlights the significance of diverse package technologies across different markets. Devan is looking forward to collaborating with IPC and industry members as they find ways to connect emerging package technologies with PCB/EMS systems.


Zentech First to Adopt IPC Apprenticeship National Program Standards

IPC achieved a landmark in 2023 by creating an apprenticeship program approved by the U.S. Department of Labor. With such a registered framework in place, industry can work through IPC to secure local, state, and federal dollars for workforce development in a way they’ve never been able to do before. Zentech Manufacturing, headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, with production facilities in Bloomington, Illinois, and Richardson, Texas, is the first employer partner to adopt IPC’s national program. Click here to read their story.

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

This week, trade shows are at the top of our feed, with our coverage of the Del Mar Electronics and Manufacturing Show and IPC APEX EXPO. These two longtime events are almost polar opposites in size and scope, but Del Mar seems to be expanding from its roots as a “neighborhood gathering” with its move into the Del Mar Fairgrounds. The Del Mar show always has a good “buzz factor,” which is something you can’t buy.

A Review of the 2024 Del Mar Electronics and Manufacturing Show

The Del Mar Electronics and Manufacturing Show (DMEMS) in Del Mar, California, recently took place at an unlikely venue: the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Doug Bodenstab, founder and show organizer, says the show covers everything in electronics manufacturing: design tools, components, base materials, training, testing, board fabrication, AI, data analytics, and more. While you can find about anything online these days, Bodenstab adds that there is no substitute for meeting people in person.

Do You Think Enough About Ergonomics?

Vitorio Lorenzini, a workstation design expert with Assembled Product Specialists, discusses the importance of ergonomics in the workplace. He emphasizes the value of early involvement in workstation planning to optimize space and resources, ultimately enhancing workflow efficiency. 

Using AI to Redefine Productivity

​​​​​Plato Systems, a machine perception company spun out of Stanford University, employs AI and video data to analyze and optimize the human component in manufacturing. Initially focused on semiconductors, Plato Systems has expanded into EMS manufacturing. Co-founder and CEO Amin Arbabian, along with product advisor Anders Holden and head of growth Luis Vidal, discuss their approach to changeover optimization and its impact on productivity in the industry. They’ve also included customer Raj Vora in the conversation.

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2024: Manufacturing Intelligence from the Factory Floor

Nolan Johnson and Ranjan Chatterjee, Vice President of Smart Factory Business Units at PDF Solutions, discuss the background of Cimetrix and PDF Solutions. They explore the analytics tools provided by PDF Solutions, the merging of semiconductor and electronics manufacturing, and data handling in these industries. They also discuss different product lines, standards, packaging technologies, data usage, and integration with ERP systems

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2024: Saki America's Inspection Solutions and Market Expansion

Craig Brown, GM of Saki America, speaks with Editor Marcy LaRont about Saki's comprehensive inspection solutions, metrology, quality control, and software integration. He also touches on the company's recent X-ray machine award, the 3Di-LS3 machine, and their growing presence in the US and Mexico markets.

Listen Up: Popular Podcast Series Returns With Discussion of Electroless Copper

In the latest episode of the podcast series, On the Line With: Designing for Reality, Nolan Johnson returns to Sunstone Circuits in Mulino, OR, to continue down the manufacturing process with Matt Stevenson.

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2024: ‌Digitization and Regular Updates of the iNEMI Industry Roadmap

Ranjan Chatterjee is a board member at iNEMI. In this conversation with Editor Nolan Johnson, Chatterjee discusses the digitization of, and regular updates to, the industry roadmap. The roadmap is a collaborative effort on technologies and standards which is intended to guide CEOs and CTOs in their long-range planning. Ranjan discusses the board's role in shaping the roadmap and the vision for more frequent updates.

Viscom’s Approach to Inline X-Ray 

In this interview, Viscom President Ed Moll and CEO Jesper Lykke discuss the importance of inline X-rays for real-time data and board inspection. They also discuss AI integration, customer inquiries, and ROI considerations. Also, as Ed moves into semi-retirement, he reflects on his long career, recent developments, and the evolving X-ray industry. He shares his insights on career opportunities for emerging engineers in the industry.


Star Wars and Disney: ‘Spinning the Script’ With Paul Bailey

Paul Bailey has quite a story to tell. The current vice president at AOA, and former principal concept technical director for Walt Disney Imagineering gave the opening keynote speech at IPC APEX EXPO 2024. He delved into some of the technological marvels he’s been involved with throughout his career, particularly with Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the new Star Wars experience at Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

IPC Raymond E. Pritchard Hall of Fame Award: Pierre-Jean Albrieux

Congratulations to Pierre-Jean Albrieux, who received the 2024 IPC Raymond E. Pritchard Hall of Fame Award. The award is given to individuals in recognition of the highest level of achievement, extraordinary contributions, and distinguished service to IPC and toward the advancement of the industry, including helping to create a spirit of mutual esteem, respect, and recognition among members consistent with the goals and mission of IPC.

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2024: Magnalytix's Services and Trends in the Electronics Industry

Mike Bixenman, president of Magnalytix, explains Magnalytix's services, including third-party validation, test boards, electrical testing, and comprehensive reports. He also discusses emerging trends such as power electronics and reliability. Standards and design improvements also form part of this conversation.

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

Spring is a renewal each year as dormant flora bloom, and baby ducklings and geese are ever present in local bodies of water. Even though it is beginning to get hot, I love this time of year in Arizona, with the sun waking me around 5 a.m. It fills me with an energy that I often lose in the dark winter months. Wherever you find yourself in the world, I hope you are enjoying Spring and that you are filled with energy and enthusiasm for all the great work part of our daily lives in this industry.

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2024: Industry Growth, Challenges, and Technological Advancements

Editor Nolan Johnson and Shawn DuBravac, IPC chief economist, dive into key industry topics such as growth, challenges, and technological advancements. They discuss shifts in the global competitive landscape, downstream demand, customization, and how AI is enhancing human skills. The industry outlook appears promising for both the short and long term.‌

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2024: Alltemated Focuses on Services and Customer Relationships

Rachael Temple, director of marketing and sales at Alltemated, discusses the company's offerings such as outsourcing, value added services, and quick turnaround times. Rachael emphasizes the significance of fostering relationships and trust with clients, sharing a real world example where Alltemated helped a component distributor with custom tooling, and then wraps up with a look at future growth and collaborations.

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2024: The Driving World of e-Mobility with Indium

In the competitive EV market, technology plays a crucial role facing the challenges of infrastructure. As Brian O'Leary explains, Indium's e-Mobility product suite includes proven solder and thermal management products for high reliability.

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2024: Circuit Board Testing Strategies and the Impact of AI

Editor Marcy LaRont speaks with Bert Horner, president of The Test Connection, about the importance of strategic planning and design-for-test (DFT). Bert touches on some common mistakes that occur when DFT is not adequately considered early on. The discussion outlines an overarching industry need for a culture shift toward increasingly higher levels of integration and collaboration. Bert mentions that AI now has an influence on testing, as everywhere else, and announces his forthcoming book.

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2024: ASMPT and Technica's Successful Partnership and Future Plans

Nolan Johnson speaks with Frank Medina and Jeff Timms about the fruitful collaboration between ASMPT and Technica and the upcoming launch of a machine with enhanced capabilities. They also discuss partnerships with semiconductor firms, customer demo plans, and the significance of the demo center. The conversation highlights the potential in North America.

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2024: Understanding Objective Evidence in Manufacturing Processes

Graham Naisbitt explains the importance of objective evidence in manufacturing processes, debunking the common misconception that the ROSE test is a cleanliness test. He also discusses the introduction of Rev J, a requirement for measuring ionic contamination on circuit assemblies, and the challenges in accurately measuring contamination. Alternative methods like ion chromatography and the need for updating standards like the ROSE test are mentioned.


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