Latest Articles

24 Essential Skills for Engineers: The Story Behind the Book

In this interview with I-Connect007’s own Happy Holden about his newest book, 24 Essential Skills for Engineers, which he wrote over the span of his career, he highlights some particular moments from his time working at HP and as CTO of Foxconn which inspired many of the book’s chapters. Happy explains why he covered engineering skills as well as “soft skills” such as problem-solving and communication—skills which are keys to succeeding as an engineer.

Driving Lean Manufacturing with Digitalization

Reducing waste in the manufacturing process is always a challenge, especially when it comes to new product introductions (NPI). It is a key pain point for manufacturers, as waste leads to delays, unexpected costs, quality issues, and lost profit. Waste isn’t always about material that must be discarded—it can also include idle workers and equipment, unused material, and inefficient planning processes.

The Bill Comes Due: BOMs and the Digital Twin

The I-Connect007 Editorial Team recently discussed the subject of bill of material (BOM) with Michael Ford of Aegis Software. The conversation explored the current state of BOM creation, maintenance, and transfer, as well as the role BOMs play in product development and product life cycle. Naturally, attention also turned to the importance of the BOM within the digital twin.

BOM: The Path to Managing Parts

In the magazine this month, we start with some higher-level discussion about BOMs in the 21st century manufacturing world. We look at questions like “Who owns the BOM?” and “What makes up a BOM?” The reality is that BOMs are often oversimplified down to the component parts list when, in fact, a full-fledged BOM includes information on how to put the pieces together in a finished product as well.

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

Every fall, the action in the world of PCB design and manufacturing begins to pick up again. No more out-of-office email replies; summer vacation is over, and it’s time to get back at it. This week’s Top Five is a veritable pastiche of columns, articles, and news from the electronics industry.

Siemens Global Webinar: Data-Driven Manufacturing in the Electronics Industry

I had the opportunity to attend the second in the series of Siemens global webinars on data-driven manufacturing in the electronics industry, this time focused on data acquisition and analysis, discussing challenges and methodologies and detailing hardware and software solutions, exemplified by real-world illustrations of successful implementation.

BOMs and the Supply Chain from an Assembler's Point of View

Duane Benson of Screaming Circuits speaks with Nolan Johnson about issues assemblers encounter with BOMs and part shortages. Duane gives advice on how to avoid some common pitfalls.

A Multi-Tenant PLM Software Solution

To better understand how bill of materials and business operations software can interact, we reached out to George Lewis, vice president of corporate strategy for Arena, a PTC Business.

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

In some weeks, readership numbers are pretty even, which means I make my picks based on “excellence” or “achievement” of some sort. Other weeks, you readers “go viral” on a few key news items, making the selection process numerically driven. This was one of those weeks. Here, then, are the five most-read news items. Of course, leading the way are our esteemed technical editors, Pete Starkey and Dan Feinberg. These gentlemen are examples of my opening statement, as both enjoy huge popularity with readers precisely because they are so good at reporting on the industry.

Review: Emerging Opportunities for Additive Electronics

The special feature at SMTA’s virtual Additive Electronics TechXchange 2021 was a presentation by Dr. Matthew Dyson, senior technology analyst at IDTechEx, entitled "Emerging Opportunities for Additive Electronics."


Reducing the Cost of Solder Alloys Used in Wave and Selective Soldering Assembly Applications

The continued devaluation of the U.S. dollar and the industrial supply-demand balance between silver has increased the price of silver used in solder alloys. MacDermid Alpha Electronics Solutions has developed a number of low- and no-silver solder alloys to offset this continued trend in the increase in global silver cost. These alloys are appropriate for most applications, but not all.

From DesignCon: Neoconix Reacts Favorably to Higher-Density Market

During my visit to DesignCon, I stopped in to chat with Woody Maynard of Neoconix, a San Jose company making unique custom connectors. In this interview, Woody explains the technology, how they work with their customers, and where he sees the market headed.

BOM Connector: A Ready-Built Solution

Kevin Decker-Weiss of CircuitByte and Mark Laing of Siemens explain how a tool called BOM Connector can improve quoting and manufacturing flow. Mark and Kevin are openly enthusiastic about this topic; this conversation launched immediately into a technical discussion.

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

The kids and grandkids are back in school, and fall is on the way. During this busy week, we published a variety of articles, covering everything from trade shows to mergers. It’s hard to argue with IPC’s plans to require proof of vaccine or a negative COVID test to enter IPC APEX EXPO; you can expect other trade shows to follow suit in the future. We’d hate for a show to become a super-spreader event.

Whizz is Da BOM

In this interview with the I-Connect007 Editorial Team, Whizz President Muhammad Irfan shares his 20-plus years of experience by breaking down the bill of materials process in today’s challenging environment. Irfan describes what that means for his team and suppliers, and how we move forward in a post-pandemic climate.

How to Use Panelization Planning to Save Money and Resources

In this interview, Siemens’ Patrick McGoff speaks with Nolan Johnson about strategies to utilize panelization planning to save money and resources.

A Conversation with Javad EMS

Nolan Johnson speaks with Gary Walker, vice president and co-founder of Javad EMS, about who they are as a company, where they came from, and where they’re going.

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

The past couple weeks have delivered quite a bit of PCB manufacturing industry news, to be sure. If you haven’t already seen this news piece from USPAE, “Electronics Industry Summit With US DoD Spawns More Dialogue, Collaboration,” I’d like to bring it to your attention one more time.

Luminovo Cuts BOM Waste, Improves OEM/EMS Communication

Luminovo founder Sebastian Schaal says his company is using its experience as an AI provider to help implement LumiQuote, a new EMS RFQ software tool. Sebastian explains how LumiQuote helps cut down the waste in the BOM process and friction between OEM and EMS providers, and gives designers the EMS data they need earlier in the design process so they can make more informed decisions.

Nolan's Notes: The Designer to EMS Communication Process

CAD tool developers have been working toward “system design” for most of the history of the sector. Early in my career when I wrote code at an EDA startup that now is recognized as a major player in the market, we were working on the idea of system design. The compute power and wide area network resources necessary to realize the vision of full mechatronic system design just weren’t available then, but we were working on it.


From DesignCon: Fotofab’s Photochemical Etch Process

At DesignCon 2021, Nolan Johnson catches up with Charles Cohen of Fotofab about what the company does for the photonics industry, and how growth in the medical industry impacts his business.

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

This week, we’ve covered a variety of topics in our newsletters and websites. In my Top Five picks, we have quite a mixed bag of industry news and articles. In market reports, there’s good news from the North American PCB side of things, but bad news from the EMS segment, driven by long lead times and material shortages. We also have an article that gets down to the root cause, or causes, of the six-month lead time and price increases.

The EMS/Designer Relationship: Kelly's Story

In a recent discussion with John Vaughan and Kelly Dack, we explored how parts availability information can reverberate back to the design team in unexpected ways. In this part of the interview, Dack details how a parts availability issue can restart the design all the way back with the OEM design team.

Electronics Industry Summit With U.S. DoD Spawns More Dialogue, Collaboration

The U.S. Government, the electronics industry, and academia must continue to step up their joint efforts to address risks and gaps in the defense electronics supply chain.

How To Get Started With IIoT

Every company will have to decide just how much IIoT technology they want to bring into their environment, and how fast. In this article, we will offer some general advice and suggestions for those who want to experiment with a few IIoT devices before committing to a larger IIoT project.

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

I’m at DesignCon as I start pen this week’s must-reads. It’s good to be back in the convention centers, I have to say. In my last installment, I expressed the anticipation; I can now confirm that taking the pulse of our industry is so much easier when one is nearer the heartbeat.

A Deep Dive into Digital Twin

The I-Connect007 Editorial Team spoke with Aegis' Michael Ford to explore his vision and reality of the digital twin as a communication mechanism.

Factors Affecting Quality of Solder Joints in Multi-Busbar Interconnection

Tabbing and stringing is the dominant method in the market for making crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar cell modules. Soldering ribbons are used as an interconnection medium in this process on the four or five busbars of the front- and back-side metallization.

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

Well, we’re officially in the trade show season. Delta variant or not, Editor Nolan Johnson and I are going to DesignCon next week. I’m flying on Delta, which I think is a harbinger of good luck. I did get flight insurance, though. I’m definitely ready to fly somewhere.

SMTA Membership Voting Results

SMTA Vice President of Membership Rob Boguski speaks to Nolan Johnson about the recent annual voting amongst SMTA membership. Besides filling four SMTA Leadership seats, SMTA put a proposed membership restructuring up for approval. Boguski shares the results of that voting and what it means for the SMTA going forward.


EMS/Designer Relationships: Building Communication

In this interview with contract manufacturing expert John Vaughan and design expert Kelly Dack, they discuss the EMS/designer relationship and the communication that must take place for that to be successful.

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

This week’s must-reads include: a recently-run interview with Travis Kelly from Isola; IPC Chief Economist Shawn DuBravac discussing economic trends that will touch the industry; new high-speed materials; technique for copper pour from Design007’s recent “Just Ask…” series; and maintaining continuous manufacturing knowledge throughout your enterprise.

Communicating Effectively with EMS Providers

For the past several decades, OEMs have used outside EMS providers to build a multitude of products from PCBAs to complete box and cable assemblies. Communicating effectively is the key to success in getting products from concept to reality. For companies that want to form a good working relationship with EMS providers, there are several steps that should be followed to ensure a successful product build.

Catching Up with the Latest at Datest

Nolan Johnson chats with Datest's Rob Boguski about the latest happenings at the Fremont, California testing and inspection service provider.

Ductility is Your Greatest 'Alloy': Avoiding Drop Shock Failures

The drop shock reliability of solder joints has become a major issue for the electronic industry not only because of the ever-increasing popularity of portable electronics and the widespread use of lead-free solders, but also in ensuring high first-pass yield during handling in a production environment.

Knowledge Continuity in Manufacturing

“Why do we do it that way?” “Because we always have.” Those can be some of the most dreaded words on the manufacturing floor. It means that someone decided at one point to do things a certain way, and you don’t know whether it’s a critical aspect of the assembly process, or just another roadblock to improvement.

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

In the past week, we published quite a bit of news—some good, some not so good. The supply chain is likely to be a challenge for the next year or so. But in this industry, technologists always seem to find a workaround.

Leveraging Data Analytics in Recall Scenarios

Minimize the impact of product recalls by using smart data to uncover the root cause. One of the most effective ways to minimize the impact of a recall is to define the root cause of the defect quickly and accurately, thereby minimizing the number of products that need to be recalled. For example, if a defect is related to a specific spike in temperature on the production line, only products that were produced during the spike need to be recalled: the rest of the products are not impacted.

Get Your Industry 4.0 Here! IPC-CFX Momentum Builds

Those of us who have been actively involved in the development of IPC-CFX and IPC-2591 from the beginning always knew the standard would be a breath of fresh air for industry. It was just a matter of time. That time is definitely upon us, and IPC is prepared to meet the challenge to ensure any company’s successful implementation of IPC-CFX.

The Meaning of (PCB) Life

New products, new designs, but still the age-old question persists, “How long will it live and what will its quality of life be?” Assembled printed circuit boards (PCBAs) are a complex system of materials, components, and interconnections that all need to work as intended for the product to reliably operate during its expected life. All it takes is one piece of that complex system to fail and the product’s life span will disappoint.


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

In this week’s top five: a high profile surprise merger between Autodesk and Altium, which had been in the works, resolved this week; financial news from fabs and assemblers around the globe is reporting strong bookings and sales as the industry bounces back from pandemic-related shutdowns; component demands continue to exert pull pressures on the semiconductor suppliers, keeping the market (overly?) competitive pricewise. The tiles are indeed being stirred. Which pieces will you be dealt?

How to Troubleshoot Your Testing Processes

There are a multitude of electronic circuit assembly manufacturers, high-volume/low-product mix to low-volume/high-product mix. Only you will know where you are in that definition.

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

Trade show season is around the corner, and we’re talking about real, in-person trade shows. The virtual shows served their purpose, and we may see more virtual shows in tandem with live events, but I’ll be glad to get back on the show floor and see what’s “really” going on out there. It's great to see IPC’s hand soldering competitions returning to Europe this fall.

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

This may be a global industry, but the effect is very real: holidays in the U.S. will drive the industry news cycle. In fact, I can even (unscientifically) rank the major U.S. holidays by their silencing effect on the news. Christmas leads the way, of course, followed by New Year’s, Thanksgiving, Independence Day, Memorial Day, and Labor Day. Here's a wrap-up of the biggest stories of the past week, starting before Independence Day weekend.

SMTA Offers New Membership Structure

SMTA membership is being revamped for Jan 1 2022. This interview detals those changes with SMTA President Martin Anselm and Membership Vice President Rob Boguski.

IPC-WP-019: The How-to Behind the Cleanliness Requirements in IPC J-STD-001G

IPC-WP-019, “An Overview on Global Change in Ionic Cleanliness Requirements,” was initially released in August 2017. Eleven months after the release of the original IPC-WP-019, a revision of the white paper was released that aligned to the new cleanliness requirements forming the basis of IPC J-STD-001G Amendment 1.

Cleanliness Behind Many Assembly Challenges

Eric Camden says nobody knows your board like you do, so it’s time for assemblers to start doing their own cleanliness testing and due diligence, and stop relying on outside organizations to determine how clean their boards need to be.

State of the Coating Industry

Several trends have really stood out as the first half of 2021 comes to a close. First, 150°C appears to have become the “new normal” for the maximum required operating temperature of conformal coatings for automotive use. This is an increase from 85°C or 120°C on the last generation of products.

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

This week, Nolan Johnson's top five includes two popular press releases on equipment purchases, plus a case study that details another company’s ROI from new equipment. We also bring you Pete Starkey’s latest EIPC webinar writeup, and a bit of historical controversy from Clyde Coombs.

A Framework for Large-Scale AI-Assisted Quality Inspection Implementation in Manufacturing Using Edge Computing

This paper discusses in detail the challenges in large-scale deployment of AI models for quality inspection operation and introduces a framework for large-scale AI-assisted quality inspection in manufacturing environment using edge computing architecture. The framework focuses on IT architectural decisions to fulfill the OT requirement, including user experience in the quality inspection ecosystem.


Excerpt: The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to... SMT Inspection: Today, Tomorrow, and Beyond, Chapter 5

Reliable AOI methods have become powerful, economical complements to traditional test strategies. AOI can be used successfully as a process monitoring tool for measuring printing, placement, and reflow performance. Yet, a single inspection system has limitations, especially when there is limited or no communication with the balance of the line. In this setup, it simply cannot optimize a printed circuit board assembly process. Equipment suppliers must cooperate to achieve communication for a zero-defect future.

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

It’s summertime here in Atlanta. The masks are gone, and my Hawaiian shirts are back in rotation! It feels like we’re getting back to normal. Speaking of normal, it looks like DesignCon, PCB West, SMTA International, and IPC APEX EXPO are good to go; they’re set to be live, in-person events, just like in the “olden days” of early 2020.

ICAPE Group Offers Boots on the Ground Support in Asia

Nolan Johnson speaks with Roger Harts about some of the current complications around manufacturing electronics in China and how ICAPE Group works as a vital supplier partner to OEMs and companies hoping to manufacture in Asia.

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

This week’s can’t miss news items touch all the bases—unlike Pittsburgh Pirates Rookie Ke’Bryan Hayes, who didn’t touch all the bases on Tuesday night’s game, and had his home run revoked.

The Role of 3,000 Committee Members

I believe the committee structure really shines as we are constantly striving to produce the best possible version of the standard and ensure consensus for best practices in each review cycle—currently every three years—for the industry. During the review cycle, users of the standard can submit comments on the document content which are then debated by the committee. The committee has A-Teams and Working Groups that the leaders can delegate to; these groups have members with relevant expertise to review particular areas of the document or individual comments. This gives us a two-fold bonus of having knowledgeable participants provide feedback and frequently passing on information to someone who may not know as much in that area.

Surface Prep vs. Cleaning

Nolan Johnson learns the differences between surface prep and cleaning in a discussion with cleaning expert Tom Forsythe of KYZEN, who says the two are not exactly one and the same with technical jargon around the topic varying from industry to industry.

Cleaning and Inspection

Today’s non-negotiable requirement is to produce objective evidence. As can be seen from Figure 1, the two tools that have been proven to be up to the task, are SIR followed by PICT. What can also be seen is the plethora of issues that must be addressed.

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

In case you’ve been on the beach with an umbrella drink in your hand, in industry news we saw the soft opening of a new laminate facility and more M&A activity in the PCB fab segment. And we ran some really great content from our contributors, with articles on how to save your company money and how to save yourself time in the design cycle. Plus, Editor Nolan Johnson channels his inner John Updike with his review of one of the most popular manufacturing strategy books ever, three decades after its publication.

TIM: Thermal Interface Material in Power Electronics

The omnipresent trend in power electronics for higher performance in smaller spaces requires a quick, effective, and cost-efficient heat transfer, within and out of, highly compact power modules. A well-designed, heat management concept from the beginning of a new design guarantees a longer lifetime of the electronic components and, by that, higher quality of the whole electronic power module.

Excerpt: The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to… Smart Data

IoT applications are gathering huge amounts of real-time, shop-floor data constantly but collecting data simply is not enough—it needs to be used intelligently. Analytics is the application of statistics and other mathematical tools to business data to assess and improve practices.


Copyright © 2024 I-Connect007 | IPC Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved. Log in