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Matric and Koh Young: Collaboration Leads to Efficiencies, Growth

Faced with ever-increasing sales and production complexities, Matric Group responded by challenging themselves to increase efficiencies and yields on their manufacturing line. Achieving their goals included working closely with Koh Young to bring inspection up to cutting-edge capability. In this roundtable discussion, Nolan Johnson gets the whole story from Matric’s Patrick Stimpert and Doug Bevier, and Koh Young’s Ivan Aduna.

Real Time with... productronica 2023: Alltemated's Patented Adhesive Improves Solder Joint Reliability

Randy Temple of Alltemated explains how his company’s Place-n-bond™ underfilm is applied at pick and place. The product is made of thermoplastic which means it is 100% reworkable.

Real Time with... productronica 2023: Rehm—Automation, Digitalization, Sustainability Are Key

Michael Hanke shares key features of Rehm’s latest energy-efficient reflow soldering equipment with Pete Starkey. They also discuss the company’s complete line of integrated solutions.

Real Time with... productronica 2023: BTU's Bob Bouchard Discusses Latest Reflow Soldering Technology

In this interview, Pete Starkey meets with Bob Bouchard from BTU. With its ability to handle high volume, BTU's Aurora reflow soldering system helps reduce downtime, saves energy, has improved accessibility, and more.

IPC Day Mexico Highlights Aeronautics Industry

About 200 kilometers (125 miles) north of Mexico City lies Queretaro, an area rich in history, with stone streets and public squares, and which twice has been the country’s capital. But it’s also quickly becoming a global capital of electronics manufacturing, especially aeronautics, and was the location for the first IPC Day Mexico this past June.

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

This week’s news items taught me a few things I didn’t know. For instance, there’s news about the new equipment for THT work, governmental support for advanced packaging technologies, an upcoming webinar from iNEMI on counterfeits, an interview with U.S. Rep. Blake Moore, one of the sponsors of the bipartisan Protecting Circuit Boards and Substrates Act, and columnist Tim Haag, using Star Trek to illustrate why simplicity is, ahem, paramount.

Real Time with... productronica 2023: Faster Component Placement With Mycronic’s New A40

Mycronic’s Kevin Clue discusses the new MyPro A40, a pick and place machine that is 48% faster than its predecessor. The A40 maintains the flexibility desired by high-mix, low-volume manufacturers while offering a wider component range, better accuracy and repeatability.

Real Time with... productronica 2023: The Synergy of Partnership

Cogiscan, iTAC and DUALIS offer customized digital solutions from connectivity and material management to analytics and traceability. François Monette talks about factory solutions that can stand alone or be fully integrated.

Real Time with... productronica 2023: KYZEN Responds to Technology Demand

Tighter tolerances and complex technology demand better process control. Tom Forsythe discusses KYZEN's solutions.

Real Time with... productronica 2023: Koh Young Discusses Semiconductor and Advanced Packaging Inspection

Koh Young’s Harald Eppinger talks about the company’s technology for the semiconductor and advanced packaging market and how they address the challenges introduced by reflective components and micro solder deposits.

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

I learned to cook late in life, and is my go-to recipe source. Their recipes are peer-reviewed, you might say, and they’re always dead-on. So, this week, I present my top five recipes for traditional Thanksgiving dishes; these will also work well for Christmas dinner, or any big family gathering. Enjoy!

The Finer Points: World Champions of the IPC Hand-Soldering Finals

Productronica 2023 played host to the IPC World Hand Soldering Competition, bringing talented regional solder champions from all over the globe to compete for the title of World Champion. Each competitor was given sixty minutes to assemble a complex printed circuit board with their performance judged in accordance with IPC-A-610 Class 3 criteria. Each competitor’s efforts were rated on the merits of the results achieved, scored on the quality of the assembly process, the electrical functionality of the assembly and the speed at which the assembly was produced.

Check Out Our Real Time with... productronica 2023 Interviews

Last week in Munich, 42,000 visitors descended on productronica’s 88,000 square meters of show space over eight sprawling halls to see some of the 1,400 exhibitors, representing 45 countries worldwide and all parts of the PCB/SMT supply chain. If you weren’t able to make it to productronica this year, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. 

A Rousing Success: IPC India Hosts IEMI 2023

The second annual Electronics Manufacturing & Interconnection (IEMI) trade show, held in Chennai and Pune, India, welcomed more than 1,000 participants, including 30 international delegates from more than 10 countries, for two days of skills challenges, business-to-business meetings, panel discussions, special addresses from subject matter experts, and a keynote speech from IPC President and CEO John W. Mitchell. Awards ceremonies were held, and two Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) were signed.

Citing Our Sources: Report from Deloitte

A Deloitte article, “Competing for talent: Recasting perceptions of manufacturing,” published in March 2022, could easily serve as a comprehensive handbook for understanding how to connect with Gen Z career candidates. Right out of the gate, authors Wellener, Reyes, Moutray, and Hardin write, “There is good news to report... compared to our 2017 study, significantly more respondents believe that manufacturing jobs are innovative, and respondents are likely to encourage their child to pursue a career in the industry.”

Real Time with... productronica 2023: KIC Introduces Proprietary New Technology

KIC’s proprietary new embedded barometer enables real-time detection of temperature change, board jams, and more. Miles Moreau details features that lead to reduced changeover time and improved manufacturing efficiency.

Building a Company Legacy Through Internship

Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL) has managed internship programs effectively since the company’s inception. In this interview, we talk with Marisa Hemingway, university relations manager, and EMa Freiburger, who started her career as an intern at SEL and now directly manages the intern program. They are both involved with internships and are very committed to the success of the program.

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

On a global scale, productronica has been dominating the news this week, mostly with announcements and show preliminaries. It’s been a long and full week for those who have exhibited and attended the trade show (despite the November rain), and I encourage you to review our productronica coverage from this week. In the coming days, we’ll be showcasing more photos, videos, and interviews, so please stay tuned.

Productronica 2023: It’s a Wrap!

It’s the last day of productronica 2023, the doors are closed, and will not reopen until November 2025. The show was a success, however, there is still talk about uncertainty in the economy. Of course, those that service the defense industry are busy, while other industries lag behind. As exhibitors finished up their last conversations, the halls began to empty out, final sales were made, and IPC wrapped up its World Hand Soldering Championship. Even the rain let up for a bit.

Progress in Europe: An IPC Report

For far too long, electronics manufacturing has been overlooked in European policy circles, but exciting developments are taking place in Brussels. This year, IPC released a new, unprecedented SWOT analysis of the European EMS and PCB industries produced in collaboration with major stakeholders, including electronics manufacturers, OEMs, trade associations, and trade unions.

ECD Introduces 20-Channel M.O.L.E. EV20 Touchscreen Thermal Profiler

ECD has developed a new 20-channel M.O.L.E. touchscreen thermal profiler for high-value, high-reliability electronic assemblies that require multiple thermal measurements. The M.O.L.E. EV20 is the second product in ECD’s EV-series thermal profilers, built on the market’s only profiling platform with full-color touchscreen control. M.O.L.E. EV20 replaces the company’s MEGAM.O.L.E. 20 and delivers significant ease-of-use and technological enhancements.

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

This week's edition focuses almost entirely on young people. This in itself is quite a feat as not long ago, there were no young people coming into this industry. Now, we have a small but steady stream of young folks entering the industry, and we’re focusing on providing them with the latest training and education. Our industry, for a variety of reasons, is now attractive to people born in this millennium. Didn’t see that coming!

A Unique Engineering Space in Mankato

Rob Sleezer is associate professor of integrated engineering at Minnesota State, and lead for the Twin Cities Engineering (TCE), a two-year engineering professional school with a non-traditional approach to the curriculum. That new approach just might turn out more industry-savvy graduates than traditional programs.

SEL’s Intentional K-12 Outreach Paying Off

There are negative stereotypes and a general lack of awareness about manufacturing and viable career paths among today’s emerging workforce. To help change that perception and introduce young minds to modern manufacturing, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL) hosts thousands of K-12 students to tour and experience its manufacturing facilities. The outreach goes beyond the students—this effort also raises awareness with educators. In this interview, John Cassleman, program manager for K-12 outreach, says this effort is working and providing hope for the future.

VIDEO: Advice From High School Students

At the annual NW Electronics Design and Manufacturing Expo (NEDME) on Oct. 18, hosted at Tektronix in Beaverton, Oregon, and sponsored by the Electronics Manufacturing Association and the Electronics Representatives Association, I met and interviewed students from one of the area’s FIRST Robotics teams. In this interview, team captain Rae Wetzel and her team member Logan King provide useful insight for anybody looking to hire the next generation. Please take a few minutes to watch this video and hear their particularly insightful advice about what skills are needed in the future workforce.

Movers and Shakers: Brian Chislea of Dow Making a Difference for FIRST Robotics

My passion for STEM, mentoring, and our electronics industry is both professional and personal. I’m a scientist and application engineer at Dow Chemical, as well as an IPC standards committee leader and a mentor for burgeoning engineers. Most importantly, my personal life revolves around helping kids become involved in STEM activities, so when I saw an opportunity to be a mentor for my son’s middle school robotics program, I couldn’t pass it up.

Inside the Minds of Gen Z

Gen Z employees definitely bring new skills and expectations to today’s workforce. Manufacturers, take note: You have a generation of employees who are curious about the world, love to keep busy and engaged, and just need a better understanding of why manufacturing is cool. In this roundtable discussion, recent high school graduate Dylan Nguyen and Paige Fiet, a recent university graduate, provide insight into what they’re looking for in a career. It’s an enlightening discussion.

Meet the New Workforce at IPS

I recently visited IPS in Cedar City, Utah, which has been manufacturing wet process equipment for printed circuit boards fabrication for more than 30 years. While there, I conducted candid one-on-one interviews with several of the team members. They shared their views on manufacturing, their roles and challenges, their burgeoning passion for what they do, and valuable advice for others looking at manufacturing as a career.

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

When I use our analytics to see what’s of most interest to our readers, what comes to the top of list are topics such as sustainability, materials, reshoring, upskilling, and high reliability. It makes sense, doesn’t it? In today’s business climate, we must be ever aware of the impact we’re having on the environment while maintaining a high-quality product that supports our national economic and security interests.

An Introverted Physicist in a Press-Fit World

As a physicist who has spent much time for my PhD utilizing various surface analysis techniques, plating conditions, and environmental exposures to investigate the underlying mechanisms behind metal whisker growth, many of my main projects for the automotive industry were focused on the development and testing of new surface finishes for whisker mitigation of compliant press-fit pins. Imagine my excitement when I saw IPC's Cold Joining Press-Fit Task Group.

Silicon Frogs and Smashing Asteroids: A Review of the IPC High Reliability Forum

In the electronics industry, we all agree about the expectation that items leaving Earth must work all the time, and we expect the same level of reliability from our communications systems and our cars. There may be differences in the hardware, but vigilance during design and build are integral to ensuring mission success. We kept this expectation in mind for nearly two years, as we planned and then executed the IPC High Reliability Forum, Oct. 17-18 in Baltimore, Maryland.

Using Test Strategies Simulation in Test and Inspection Workflow

In the past, test engineers tended to focus on one piece of the test and inspection workflow: AOI, boundary scan, ICT, flying probe, functional test, and the like. In their focus on one strategy, they generally ignored the other test and inspection tests, and had little idea of what was and was not covered by these other strategies. Essentially, applying the maximum coverage from their area of focus or assuming what pieces may be covered from other strategies is like taking a shot in the dark because you don’t really know the facts. The key to designing a good test and inspection process is to model that process before starting to produce test programs and then see the coverage results reflected. The concept is to build a digital twin of the test and inspection process to get the visibility that’s needed to make important decisions.

Real Time with... SMTAI: The SMTA International Postshow Report

Sharing his observations on this year's SMTAI show, Ryan Flaherty, marketing director for SMTA, spoke with us at the end of this year's event. He gave us an update of what to look forward to when SMTAI moves to Rosemont, Illinois, in 2024.

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

I don’t know everything, but I know one thing: This job is never boring. Here’s just a sample of what we’ve published online in the last week: an article on zero liquid discharge technology, an interview with a flex fabricator about avoiding DFM issues, a feature on the use of AI in smart assembly processes, a news item about investment in advanced substrate development in the U.S., and a story about one woman’s journey in electronics, starting when she learned to solder at 11 years old.

Forecasting the Wind: IPC's Expert Economist on the Impact of Inflation Rates

In the enchanting world of Shakespeare's plays, prophecies often set the stage for unforeseen twists and turns. Just as Macbeth could not have anticipated the tumultuous journey that lay ahead after encountering the three witches, the financial markets and policymakers find themselves in a similarly uncertain terrain. Take prices, which rose sharply in 2022. The Federal Reserve was slow to respond. Although the rate of inflation has declined since reaching its zenith last year, it continues to exceed the Federal Reserve's 2% inflation goal. “Higher for longer” is likely the mantra for interest rates. This prolonged period of higher interest rates will have a ripple effect on various sectors of the economy.

Brandy Tharp: A Passion For Helping Others

Eleven-year-old girls hold many interests, from sports and playing games, to learning how to make more complex decisions and finding commonalties with friends and loved ones. While Brandy Tharp may have been doing all those things at that age, she was also learning a new skill that most of her friends probably weren’t—how to solder. It lit a fire in this young girl who enjoyed math, helping others, and finding ways to harness her energy. Now director of education at IPC, Brandy brings decades of training, experience, and passion to what she does.

Real Time with... SMTAI 2023: Can You Trust Zero Trust?

During the 2023 SMTAI exhibition in Minneapolis, MN, Nolan Johnson sat down to chat with Tony Chiappetta, president of CHIPS, a cybersecurity provider. In this interview Tony introduces the Zero Trust initiative — explaining what it is, what it isn't, and why it's pertinent.

Collaborating to Develop AI-powered Smart Assembly Processes

In electronics manufacturing, automated production has undeniably revolutionized the industry, enabling the creation of high-quality products at an unprecedented scale. However, it comes with its own set of challenges, particularly the potential for specific failures that need human intervention. The rapid advancements in technology, such as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), big data analysis, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence (AI), have ushered in the era of Industry 4.0, promising more intelligent manufacturing processes.

Real Time with... SMTAI 2023: BTU International Optimizes New Products and Manufacturing

Nolan Johnson recently interviewed Bob Bouchard from BTU International at the SMTAI 2023 event. There's been a lot of activity at BTU International in the last twelve months, all of it aimed at improving customer cost of ownership, and adding even more robustness to BTU's customer order fulfillment. Listen to the interview to learn more.

Smarter Design Means Smarter Test and Results

Nolan Johnson speaks with The Test Connection Inc.’s Bert Horner about the pragmatic realities of life as a contract test company. To no one’s surprise, data is at the center of the business. As the conversation proceeds, however, Bert shares insight on how the data’s use is shifting inside his test services and with his OEM customers.

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

My must-reads for this week all seem to be forward-looking: an introduction to Factory 5.0, an interview from the floor at SMTA International on rework stations, announcement of a merger of two components suppliers, board of directors news, and an insightful PCB CAD tool market projection report.

Meet Tibi Baranyi: He’s an Expert in Engineering, Standards, and Fishing

IPC committee members come from all over the world and have a variety of educational backgrounds and life experiences. Fortunately, they bring that knowledge and diversity to the development of IPC standards. In this interview, Tiberiu (Tibi) Baranyi, technology group manager at Flextronics Romania in Timisoara, discusses Flex, fishing, and figuring out the best way to participate in IPC standards development.

Real Time with... SMTAI 2023: Robotic Automation in Final Inspection—A Different Kind of Pivot

ViTrox Sr. General Manager, Richard Osborne, discusses talent shortages, the trend for EMS companies to include box build, and automating final inspection. Osborne outlines how ViTrox is helping solve this challenge with creative hardware.

Real Time with... SMTAI 2023: Adjusting to the Supply Chain

Mark Ogen, ASMPT SMT Solutions' marketing manager for the Americas, discusses the unique challenges facing a build up of capacity in electronics manufacturing under these current supply chain conditions. Where is ASMPT putting their development attention for their customers? Find out here.

Closing the Inspection Gap: Enhancing Electronics Manufacturing Quality With Reflow Process Inspection

In the world of electronics manufacturing, inspection, and quality control are paramount. Manufacturing engineers, process engineers, and managers in the electronics industry are constantly seeking innovative ways to improve the reliability and performance of SMT lines, and OEM auditors want assurances of complete process control and traceability of production for their product builds. Real-time, inline inspection steps are necessary to maintain consistent quality and ensure the highest level of process control and traceability. This article sheds light on the critical role of reflow process inspection (RPI) ensuring the quality and reliability of PCBAs during reflow soldering, and briefly touches on exciting new sensing technology developed by KIC, one of the industry leaders.

Real Time with... SMTAI 2023: Underfilm: The New 20-Year-Old Assembly Solution

Underfilm is an alternative for underfill. Alltemated holds a patent for this technology which they've been perfecting for 20 years. Rachael Temple, sales and marketing, explains how it works, when to use it, and why you should.

Real Time with... SMTAI 2023: Adjusting to the Supply Chain

Mark Ogden, ASMPT SMT Solutions' marketing manager for the Americas, discusses the unique challenges facing a build up of capacity in electronics manufacturing under these current supply chain conditions. Where is ASMPT putting their development attention for their customers? Find out here.

Real Time with... SMTAI 2023: Getting Smarter About Inspection

Joel Scutchfield, General Manager and Director of Sales at Koh Young America, shares his thoughts on why Koh Young is working on development of automation, machine learning, and advanced software tools.

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

In this week’s Top 5, we start with a conversation with Mike Soble, who explains why SEL and Chemcut have such a great partnership. We have a review of SMTA International, which took place this week in Minneapolis. We also have a conversation with the design team at Monsoon Solutions; they explain how they geared their documentation process to the requirements of IPC standards. Mike Morando explains how to qualify your rigid-flex manufacturer. And we have an announcement about the IPC Checklist, a very useful document that I-Connect007 recently published.

Real Time with... SMTAI 2023: The Human Effect in Repair

Finetech Sales Engineer, Tony Haynes, shares what he hears customers asking for most often. He also shares his perspective on where people are the most important in the test, inspection and rework cycle.

Real Time with... SMTAI 2023: Cleaning Up Your Process Controls

Tom Forsythe of KYZEN discusses how cleaning is evermore integral to not only producing a high-quality product, but also in maintaining, and even expanding, process windows on the production line.

SMTA International 2023 Kicks Off In Minneapolis

My morning in Minneapolis may have started early, with construction workers directly outside my hotel window at 7 a.m., but to me the hustle and bustle was simply a reflection of the activity at SMTA International. The exposition continues its cohabitation this week with MDM&A for one final year, and there was a definite hum in the hall on Tuesday. Eyeballing the attendance, it seems that SMTAI continues its rapid year-on-year recovery from the pandemic effect. 

‘Testing’ a Strategy

To get a front-line perspective on test and inspection, we spoke with Raj Vora, manufacturing engineer, and Darren Carlson, operations manager at San Diego-based VAS Engineering, a company that has been paying careful attention to operational efficiencies. “All roads lead to Rome,” they say; it seems any operational efficiency work ultimately leads back to data and analysis. In this conversation, Raj and Darren share how test and inspection equipment is vital to the efficiency of the entire manufacturing structure.

Real Time with... SMTAI 2023: Leo Lambert: EPTAC on the Move

Leo Lambert, vice president and technical advisor at EPTAC, shares with Nolan Johnson the current trends and emerging needs in certification training. Like so many things in our industry at the moment, training is changing. Not only is the curriculum changing, but how we teach it is evolving rapidly. Lambert discusses how EPTAC is meeting these new needs.

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

This week, our must-read picks include the PCB industry monthly report, IPC’s Alison James’ statement to the EU regarding the vitality of our industry, an overview of test and inspection, greenfield fabrication facility design, and the future of advanced packaging and solder.

­PCB West: Coating Services at HZO

John Sandilands, director of sales at HZO, explains his company’s approach to the coating process, and how it stands out for companies wanting to protect their electronics products from harsh conditions. The secret is in the process itself, John says.

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

This week’s must-reads cover a little bit of everything: advanced packaging substrates, rigid-flex design, the potential loss of tribal knowledge, ultra HDI processing, and the need for fabricators to begin utilizing Smart systems. In a few weeks, we’ll be attending SMTA International in Minneapolis, and then productronica in Munich. We hope to see you on the road!

The End of Solder?

The practical question around CHIPS Act development and electronics assembly is, “Will this change how we do business?” Indium Corporation’s Dr. Andy Mackie sat down with Nolan Johnson to share what he sees as emerging answers to that question from his perspective as an expert in electronics assembly and packaging, and as a participant in standards development through IPC, JEDEC, and SEMI.

A Catalyst for Advanced Packaging and Substrates

Despite being a leader in R&D investment in semiconductors and packaging with greater than $50 billion per year, the U.S. has seen its market share decrease to less than 3% in areas like advanced packaging and advanced substrates. The cause for this market share erosion was a laser focus in Asian countries to attract semiconductors and advanced packaging investment through ecosystem development and incentives. If the U.S. is serious about changing the momentum to onshore advanced packaging and advanced substrates, an ecosystem approach to innovation and manufacturing incentives must be employed. It is not enough to have the most innovative technology if the supply chain and manufacturing economics do not deliver competitive commercial opportunities.

Unlocking Synergies

The U.S. Chips Act Propels Collaboration Between Semiconductor Manufacturers and Equipment Suppliers In today's rapidly evolving world, the semiconductor industry stands as a driving force across economies and industries, propelling progress through technological advancements. The U.S. Chips Act emerges as a game-changing legislation aimed at redefining America's semiconductor manufacturing prowess. The Act sets forth a clear mission: bolster domestic chip production, reinforce national security, and stimulate economic growth.

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