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

I just finished counting the percentage of times in which artificial intelligence/machine learning/data analytics topics appeared in the I-Connect007 news this week. What do you think the percentage is? AI has moved well beyond a technical term; heck, it has clearly also eclipsed catch-phrase status. It seems a foregone conclusion that AI applications will be inserting themselves into manufacturing just as they are appearing in our handheld devices. Speaking of handhelds, that market seems to be growing as well. This week’s five must-reads include smartphone market data, telecom infrastructure development, a new white paper on the influence of data analytics, a report on the European market, and the launch of a new podcast series on PCB 3.0, a new design methodology.

Demystifying the IPC Technical Activities Executive Committee Global

You have an excellent idea for a new standard in the electronics manufacturing industry. How do you turn that idea into a reality? It’s simple: You submit a PIN to the TAEC. Now, what does that even mean? To develop a new standard, you need the help of the IPC Technical Activities Executive Committee (TAEC) Global. Ideas for new IPC standards are submitted via Project Identification Notification (PIN) to TAEC Global, which conducts an initial review. The PIN is then sent to the general TAEC standards development oversight committee for review and approval. Now, how do they review it and who comprises the committee?

IPC Certification: Leading the Way in Ensuring Quality in Electronics

When high school students face an upcoming test, they may experience a mix of dread and excitement, depending on the source material and how well they’ve prepared. Similarly, professionals sitting for a certification exam to test their knowledge of IPC standards may feel a whirlwind of emotions. However, these aren't just any exams; they’re meant for operators, engineers, and managers building the critical infrastructure of our world’s most essential electronics systems.

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

It was a good week in PCB design and manufacturing. In this week’s wrap-up, we have news about an uptick in EMS shipments in January, a look at the current M&A climate, some guidance on investing in your company in order to stay competitive, a primer on designing with embedded capacitance materials, and a roadmap for the industry to embrace sustainable PCBs in the future.

Build Tariff Planning into Product Development Strategy Early 

An attorney at DesignCon? I wasn’t sure I heard that right either, but it’s true. I sat down for an interview with international trade lawyer James Kim of ArentFox Schiff LLP. James was at the show to present a session entitled “Chips, Batteries & Charging Stations,” which highlights the Biden administration’s steps to secure the supply chain for the EV industry. James gave me a quick primer on international tariffs and trade laws, and much more.

Catching Up With Industry M&A Expert Tom Kastner of GP Ventures

Every year or so, I like to chat with my friend, M&A expert Tom Kastner of GP Ventures. I know he has been busy the past few years, so I was anxious to find out more about it. He is the one person I know who really has his finger on the pulse of the industry. Tom has always been a great source of information for me and the industry as a whole.

Shifting From Prospect to Customer

All art is process-oriented or procedural—a bold claim that many artists might take issue with. Still, painting with oil on canvas follows a process of building colors from bottom to top; watercolor on paper follows a different process. Learning a musical instrument follows a process, and building the skills to play music with others requires precise communication and a mastery of the song to be played. These are all procedural things.

TECHNICAL PAPER: Novel Automatic Repair of Populated PCBs in a Cost-effective and Adaptive Way

Repair of soldered components is a constant necessity in the electronics industry. Product performance enhancement, damaged components, and exchange of wrong placed components are some of the motivations behind a repair. Dispensing and placing a 400 μm pitch component manually is very time consuming and could cause collateral damage to the already populated components. A novel automatic repair method and tools with no human interaction were developed. Learn about this method…

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

John Mitchell Addresses Industry Workforce Challenges with U.S. Department of Commerce

IPC’s efforts in government relations and advocacy have been pivotal in getting legislation like the CHIPS Act passed. In February, IPC President and CEO Dr. John W. Mitchell was back in Washington, D.C., representing our industry in a meeting convened by the U.S. Department of Commerce, where he discussed workforce issues in our industry and how to ensure that our businesses have the workforce they need. In this audio interview, he reviews his concerns and solutions on workforce development.

RoBAT Brings TDR Test to Bare and Assembled PCBs

In an interview at DesignCon, Gregory Miczek, global applications manager with RoBAT, discussed the company’s background and its expansion path from backplane defect analyzers to TDR testers for high-tech bare and assembled boards.

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

It’s been another busy week in the industry. We lost another old friend last week. The EIPC show happened, and Pete Starkey provided us with complete and compelling show coverage, from start to finish. Recently, we posed the question, “When is it time to introduce embedded components into your PCB design?” which was asked and answered by design aficionado Kris Moyers in the latest issue of Design007 Magazine. We are proud to be a part of the exciting Global Insights weekly newsletter, which Nolan Johnson and Brian Knier explored in their interview, and we rounded out the week with some big merger news. Here are my picks for the past week’s must-read news items.

Catching up with BidChip’s Moshe Hezrony

I love talking with start-ups, and I’m always on the lookout for interesting ones to feature. It was with great pleasure that I learned about BidChip, a new company focused on helping companies find the best value in chips and other components, especially ones that are hard to find. I spoke with founder Moshe Hezrony about his novel approach. I learned a lot, and I think you will, too.

Advancing Innovation: IPC CEMAC Fosters Cooperation

More than 300 representatives from 200 prominent companies gathered in Shanghai last October for IPC CEMAC, with the theme, “Building an Intelligent Future: Innovation and Cooperation in the Electronics Industry.” The event had IPC standards at its core and was dedicated to creating a high-value platform for mutual exchange and learning among professionals in the electronics industry.

IPC Global Insight Newsletter: It’s Happening Now, for You 

In this interview, Brian Knier, vice president and chief marketing officer at IPC, discusses the compelling reasons this newsletter is a must for a worldwide audience that wants to compete in this global marketplace. In this interview, Brian Knier, vice president and chief marketing officer at IPC, discusses the compelling reasons this newsletter is a must-read for a worldwide audience that wants to compete in this global marketplace. 

Set Your CM Business on Fire

What often surprises me when working with contract manufacturers (CMs) is that many of them, especially the ones earning less than $25 million a year, have not done much planning for more business and their futures. I’ve realized that many started to build a specific sub-assembly as offshoots of a larger company.

An Interview With Two Student Leaders at Auburn

At Auburn University in Alabama, I connected with both Shaheen Pouya, the newly elected IPC student chapter president, who is pursuing a PhD in industrial engineering, and Padmanava Choudhury, the outgoing IPC student chapter president, a graduate research assistant and a fifth-year PhD student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. He is pursuing a doctoral degree in the reliability of electronics packaging.

EIPC Winter Conference 2024, Day 1: A Grab-bag of Technical Topics

The 2024 Winter Conference of the EIPC took place January 30 and 31 at the IHK Academie in Villingen-Schwenningen, Germany. The keynote session will be reported separately. Here is my review of the first day’s conference proceedings.

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

With such an extremely newsy week, it was hard to select just five items you absolutely must read, but here goes. We have advocacy news from PCBAA and IPC, global market data on AI PC and GenAI smartphone hardware, a roundtable discussion on sales and marketing, a bookended pair of international milaero stories emphasizing a healthy aerospace industry, and an industry report on global semiconductor sales. 

Relationship Selling Never Grows Old

The first step for a sales team is to directly interact with the targeted customers, converting the leads (created by advertising and research done by the marketing team) into sales. Marketing is the first chapter, and sales is the rest of the story. Get to know the customer and build a relationship with the key decision-makers, be they process engineers, purchasing agents, or just about everyone in between.

Effectively Conveying Your Brand—and Your Message

What is your brand and message, and why is this important? After 40 years running a business, I’ve learned the true core values of marketing and why it is critically important to any business success story. You must define and share your message, align your team, and stay in it for the long term. Here are several tips and examples to help you get there.

Sales and Marketing: Our Roundtable of Experts

If you’ve ever heard of a product and thought about how it would work in your life, that’s the result of marketing. It’s a subtle yet powerful force in how business operates today. For this issue of SMT007 Magazine, we gathered some of the most widely recognized authorities on marketing and selling electronics manufacturing services. They explain the sales and marketing process and what it takes to be successful in today’s competitive climate—whether you’re on the giving or receiving end.

IPC WinterCom 2024 in Photos

IPC WinterCom 2024, Jan 22–25, in Barcelona, Spain, emerged as a dynamic hub for global collaboration in the electronics manufacturing industry. Bringing together around 300 leaders from 40 countries, the event showcased Europe's significant potential in standards development. Discussions spanned diverse topics from design and materials to cutting-edge technologies.

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

I’m writing this in Santa Clara, California on the last day of DesignCon. It was nice to get out of Atlanta, which was 28 degrees when I left. It’s a little rainy here, but it’s been in the 60s all week, and I’ll take that kind of weather any day. In this week’s must-reads, we have a little bit of everything, including sad news about the passing of our columnist Michael Ford. Everyone who knew him just loved the guy.

IPC Korea Hosts Festival of Electronics Standards and Technology

IPC K-FEST, our annual premier event in Korea, successfully convened on Nov. 9 in Suwon, South Korea, with nearly 80 representatives from more than 40 companies spanning diverse sectors. K-FEST stands for Korea Festival of Electronics Standards and Technology and is organized by IPC Asia and the IPC Korea Advisory Committee. “IPC K-FEST 2023 is where innovation meets inspiration, where standards meet technology, and where the future of electronics comes alive,” says Sydney Xiao, president, IPC Asia Pacific.

Brain Power on Tap: IPC's Thought Leaders Program Provides Insights on Key Issues

IPC is a global organization that develops and promotes the use of standards, certification, education, and industry intelligence for the electronics industry. Additionally, IPC’s strategic vision is to build its leadership position on topics and issues that drive change for the industry—and to be astutely aware of these drivers and how they are interconnected. With these goals in mind, IPC has created the Thought Leaders Program (TLP), comprised of industry experts who will assist IPC on key industry issues and offer valuable insights to IPC members and key external stakeholders.

Championing Innovation: IPC WinterCom 2024 Takes Barcelona by Storm

Barcelona played host this month to IPC WinterCom 2024, a groundbreaking industry event that sparked a surge of excitement amongst the global electronics manufacturing industry. Imagine the vibrant atmosphere of passionate minds from nearly 40 countries converging to shape the future of electronics manufacturing. This weeklong extravaganza wasn't just a conference; it was a celebration of collaboration and innovation.

Electronics Industry Mourns Loss of Colleague and Visionary Michael Ford

Sadly, longtime I-Connect007 columnist, industry visionary, and friend Michael Ford passed away Jan. 27. “In this time of sorrow, we can take solace in the knowledge that Michael leaves a great legacy of contribution to the electronics industry,” according to a statement from Aegis Software. Michael was senior director of emerging industry strategy at Aegis. He was a prolific writer and speaker whose work and ideas put him at the forefront of electronics manufacturing. Working for Aegis gave him the opportunity to apply his software for electronics manufacturing experience to further drive technology solution innovation.

Driven by a Mission: Student Members Excel in Auburn IPC Chapter

The IPC Student Chapter Program officially launched in early 2019 with 10 universities and community colleges, including Auburn University in Alabama, where students have remained active and involved. They have truly been a beacon of hope, particularly during the difficult pandemic years, and have risen even stronger since. This is due to inspiring student ambassadors and leaders who are shaping the way for every new member.

Exploring Cold Milling as an Alternative PCB Component Removal Method

When a PCB undergoes multiple heat cycles, inherent risks emerge, primarily due to the expansion and contraction of materials. This thermal stress can induce various issues, including delamination, warping, compromised solder joints, and damage to heat-sensitive components like integrated circuits or capacitors.

Joe Russeau: Straddling Work in the Test Lab With Life on the Farm

Joe Russeau, president of Precision Analytical Laboratory, Inc. (PAL), has studied chemical residues on electronic assemblies for nearly 30 years. An IPC leader who chairs the 7-11 Test Methods Subcommittee and a member of the 5-32G Residue Task Group and J-STD-004 Task Group, Joe’s expertise lies in the analysis of manufacturing residues on the performance of electronic assemblies. While Joe is an acknowledged leader in the field of chemical electronics and ion chromatography, what really makes his heart sing is his herd of Black Angus cattle and his deep love of cattle farming.

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

It's been a chilly week for most of us in the United States, and whether you’re in the frozen Pacific Northwest (where I live) or the windswept plains of the Midwest and beyond, you were hunkering down and fighting to stay warm. What better way to pass the time than these editorial offerings. Have a great weekend, everyone.

Rework: A Perspective From the Source

Maria Mejias and her team at Intel work on the cutting edge of rework techniques. Tasked with characterizing rework processes for Intel’s boards and packages, Maria’s work is on the vanguard. We spoke to Maria about how her team works, what it’s like to be on the cutting edge of rework, and what contract manufacturers should expect.

Jonny Nichols: The Hanwha Future-proof Proposition

With expansion, added personnel, and a new view on onshoring, Hanwha Corporation is alive and well. Vice President of Marketing Jonny Nichols details just what it takes for a supplier like Hanwha to remain competitive amongst shorter lead times and itchy customers anxious to get their product to market. The key, Jonny says, is to deliver systems that can do it all.

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

Welcome back, readers! Glad to see you. I hope you had plenty of rest over the holidays and you don’t need a vacation from your vacation. This week, our five must-reads include articles and news items on global fab trends and challenges, a breakdown of M&A activity in 2023, Ventec’s move into the equipment arena, the opportunities that arise from designer-fabricator communication early in the design cycle, and a new kind of AOI that’s driven by an AI neural network.

A New Generation of AI AOI

Barry Matties interviewed Roberto Gatti, CEO of Delvitech, a Swiss company that has launched a new generation of AOI utilizing an AI neural network. As Roberto explains, their approach was not to bring another AOI machine to the market; instead, they focused on bringing a new technology to an AOI system.

The High Cost of Repair

When talking to the staff at BEST, Inc., there’s one key message: Not much has changed in the repair business, except for all the things that have changed. We spoke with Dan Patten, general manager; Laura Ripoli, customer service manager; and Nash Bell, president, to learn just how much the cost-benefit analysis is changing for their clients and their business. It’s safe to say that change for the good is in the air at BEST.

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.

IPC Standards and Electronics Sustainability: More Than Meets the Eye

When we look at existing IPC standards, we see that most were created and intended to communicate and clarify expectations for superior quality, reliability, and consistency in electronics manufacturing. At first glance, their connection to sustainability is not obvious.

Jordan Mandel: The New Face of Totech North America

Jordan Mandel, sales director in North America for Totech Europe, discusses his new role with the company as Rich Heimsch prepares to retire, the untapped potential of Dry Storage, and how Totech is working with OEM’s and manufacturers to help them create solutions to their moisture control problems. Like the need to protect components from ESD, Mandel says we are now seeing that same thing around moisture-sensitive devices.

Economic Outlook: Mil/Aero Gaining Altitude and Velocity at Axiom

Oregon-based Axiom Electronics specializes in complex assembly services for aviation, mil/aero, and similar complex high-reliability sectors. In this Q&A, Rob Rowland, director of engineering at Axiom, shares a bullish outlook for 2024 tempered by a few key concerns.

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.

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.

Economic Outlook: Overcoming the Growth Bottleneck

Charlie Capers is the previous VP and general manager at Zentech Dallas, has managed several award-winning electronics companies, and is currently working within the global quote group. He discusses the economic outlook for industry companies, cash vs. credit for capital expansion, and what companies need to do to expand and grow amidst the challenges.

What’s Happening With Financing Solutions?

Amy Pine and Brian Carey are principles of Innovative Capital Resources, a financing resource for electronics manufacturing with a 20-plus year history. They briefed the I-Connect007 Editorial Team on what they’re seeing in the financing side of the industry, how it compares to the past, and a bit of what they see over the horizon in 2024. Hint: There’s some good news for investors.

Economic Outlook: Cascade Systems Technology—The Confluence of Assembly and Advocacy

Shantanu Gupta is president and CEO of Oregon-based Cascade Systems Technology, a contract manufacturer specializing in volume assembly, box build, and testing services. Shantanu was part of Oregon’s Semiconductor Task Force and testified on numerous occasions with the Oregon Legislature to help maximize Oregon’s benefit from CHIPS Act funding.

Economic Outlook: Lightspeed Manufacturing Sees Company Growth in Industry Consolidation

Lightspeed Manufacturing is a Massachusetts-based contract manufacturer specializing in production, prototyping and repair services. Rich Breault, Lightspeed chief executive officer, shared his outlook from the northeast United States.

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.

Ringing in Some Holiday Cheer at SMTA Silicon Valley

It was a pleasure to attend SMTA Silicon Valley on Thursday, Dec. 7 at the Flex campus. The show hosted just over 60 exhibitors, which meant the narrow aisles remained full of attendees throughout the day. As festive music was piped through the sound system, and board members like Michelle Ogihara kept the energy high for all involved, old friends and colleagues caught up and made deals. The Flex facility in Milpitas was indeed a great choice for this event.

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.

Real Time with... productronica 2023: The Latest Advancements in Reliability Testing with Gen3

GEN3's Andrew Naisbitt discusses the next generation of process ionic contamination tester which has updated infrastructure, new traceability software, multi-board tracing, updated hardware and more.

Real Time with... productronica 2023: ViTrox's Robotic Final Inspection Solution Offers User Flexibility

Fahmi Helmi of ViTrox highlights their advanced robotic vision solution, V9i. Its multi-angle views, with both rule-based and self-learned algorithms, makes it ideal for various inspection needs.

Here and Abroad, Governments Investing in Industry

I recently spoke with IPC’s Chris Mitchell, VP of global government relations, and Rich Cappetto, senior director for North American government relations. Rich joined IPC this summer after serving as chief customer officer of the U.S. House of Representatives; he holds a master’s degree in defense and strategic studies from the U.S. Naval War College.

Real Time with... productronica 2023: Adaptsys Offers Customers More Efficient Solutions

Duncan Milroy shows Pete Starkey how the updated Re-flex II carrier tape system can benefit customers with time savings and better accuracy.

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

Every year, companies in the consumer electronics segment look forward to the Christmas season. Some of these companies make almost half of their revenue in November and December. What are the hottest electronics gadgets this year? According to the Consumer Reviews Guide, these are the top sellers in the electronic gadget market this holiday season. Do any of these gadgets strike your fancy, as my grandmother used to say? Check them out.

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.

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