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Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO 2024: Exploring Silicone Solutions with R&D Director of CHT

In this interview, Gerry Ellis, the R&D director for CHT, discusses the product range offered by his company. He explains the challenges in creating base formulations, the drive to make products more user-friendly, and the various application techniques involved. Ellis also highlights the key market segments and the significance of providing efficient solutions to customers.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO 2024: MYCRONIC's Evolution and New Solutions

Henry Crandall interviews Kevin Clue, the vice president of global sales for MYCRONIC's High Flex division. They discuss the company's evolution, emphasizing its strong customer relationships and its role as a versatile, turnkey solution provider. Kevin unveils new solutions launched at IPC APEX EXPO, including an AI-integrated inspection system and the A40 pick-and-place platform. The conversation also touches on the increased use of AI and deep learning.

The Connection Between Wire Harness and Box Build

Christina Rutherford is a technical lead and expert in materials engineering at Honeywell, where her specialty is the design, specification, and manufacture of cables and wire harnesses. Rutherford also sits on the committee for IPC/WHMA-A-620. In this conversation, we explore the changing dynamics in wire harnesses and how they relate to box build. Christina’s standards work allows her to draw insightful parallels between wire harness and box build.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO 2024: Innovations in Thermal, Warpage, and Strain Metrology

Editor Nolan Johnson talks with Neil Hubble, president of Akrometrix, about the company's leadership in thermal, warpage, and strain metrology. Neil details how Akrometrix is committed to addressing customer challenges through technological evolution, innovative solutions, and a focus on data processing. A tabletop unit for thermal warpage testing is showcased at IPC APEX EXPO this year.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO 2024: An Introduction to Mastering IPC Certifications With Blackfox

Darin Pesola, master instructor for IPC certifications and sales manager at Blackfox, discusses the development of training materials for their training centers and online courses. Darin also emphasizes the challenging space addendum training course, which involves meticulous tasks and takes a week to complete. Upon finishing, students can demonstrate their acquired skills and move into the workforce.

Phil Kinner Pushes His Limits in Engineering and Running

Engineers break things on purpose. They like the challenge of putting things back together and making them stronger and more resilient. The skills engineers use to build products can also be used to rebuild their lives after a personal loss, something Phil Kinner learned when he laced up his running shoes after many years of a sedentary lifestyle.

Team Spirit: IPC's Global Advocacy Team Acting on Your Behalf

The once seemingly apolitical world of printed circuits and soldering irons has evolved into the politically engaged electronics manufacturing industry that we know today. This landscape of technology is quickly evolving by intersecting innovation, economics, and politics.

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

As we publish this week’s most-read news, the I-Connect007 team is wending its way home from an eventful and productive week at IPC APEX EXPO in Anaheim, California. We’ve posted a variety of dispatches from the show this week, released 73 video interviews (and counting), and also gathered the content and updates you’ll be looking for in the upcoming issue of Show & Tell… IPC APEX EXPO 2024.

IPC WinterCom 2024 Through the Eyes of One Dedicated Student

Lauriane Testuz stands as a testament to the power of curiosity, perseverance, and the relentless pursuit of knowledge. Her story serves as a reminder that the path to success is often paved by an unwavering commitment to one's dreams.

IPC APEX EXPO 2024 Day 2: A Focus on Workforce Development

Solving workforce development issues seemed to be a common theme among many conversations during the second day of IPC APEX EXPO 2024 in Anaheim, California. In his keynote address, “The Future of the Human Workforce: Maximizing Potential in an Automated World,” IPC President and CEO Dr. John W. Mitchell discussed the rapidly evolving workforce climate.

Feeling the Magic of a Show Opener at IPC APEX EXPO 2024

As we walked the show floor at IPC APEX EXPO on Tuesday, April 9, we were struck by the subtle differences in the feel of the show floor between Anaheim and the previous home in San Diego. Somehow, the large booths seem less dominant, and the smaller booths seem more prominent here in the shadow of Disneyland where everything feels just a little bit magical.

T-Global Technology Offers Solutions for Thermal Management Challenges

James Hopkins from T-Global discusses the company's focus on thermal management products, including thermal interface materials, heat sinks, and thermal simulation services. He highlights the importance of collaborating with mechanical engineers and addressing challenges in balancing thermal performance and mechanical requirements. Hopkins also mentions the role of thermal simulation in guiding product recommendations and the significance of early collaboration among stakeholders for optimal product outcomes.

Thinking Inside the Box for a Change

In this interview, Joe O’Neil discusses the growing importance of box build from an EMS provider perspective. Supply chain disruptions and the desire to offer more value to customers have fueled interest in box build. Additionally, mass customization is emerging as a trend, allowing for personalized product variations. While Tier 1 companies have mastered this approach, Tier 2 and 3 players hold significant opportunities in the industrial space.

The Need for a Holistic Global Sustainability Standard

No one can deny that the resources of our fragile planet are finite. The environment seems like a third party, subject to constant degradation. We’re acutely aware of the effects of pollution on our climate, and despite our “throw-away” culture, recycling and recovery of materials has remained relatively expensive, even as we use more energy just to survive.

A Closer Look at Professional Development at IPC APEX EXPO 2024: 3D Printing and AI

While the finishing touches were being made to the show floor at IPC APEX EXPO, just as much activity was happening in the conference rooms of the Anaheim Convention Center on the days before the show officially opened. The hallways and classrooms were filled for standards committee development meetings and Professional Development Courses, and IPC hosted evening receptions for Emerging Engineers, ECWC, and those who are attending for the first time in a special “newcomers” event.

IPC APEX EXPO 2024 Readies for Tomorrow’s Show Opener

IPC APEX EXPO is finally happening in Anaheim this week. As we entered the Anaheim Convention Center this past Friday, the weather was colder than expected, but the sun still shone. Making our way to the entrance doors, the small groups of happy but tired-looking Disneyland goers filled our path, as did hundreds of young, sparkle-clad cheerleaders from across the nation whose competition was taking place in a neighboring hall.

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

Spring has definitely sprung; it was 81 degrees last week in Atlanta, and this week it’s been in the 40s. That’s typical spring weather in Atlanta. My newly cut lawn is looking great, thanks to my “yard guy” Clive. I need to finish packing for IPC APEX EXPO, so without further ado, here’s my must-reads for this week. I hope to see you at APEX next week.

Creators of SMT UHDI Test Board Vehicle Discuss this Important Project

Chrys Shea of Shea Engineering and Altium’s David Haboud educate us on the latest revision of the SMT test board for UHDI testing, presented at the SMTA UHDI Symposium on March 26 in Arizona. Chrys was involved in the original SMT test board, introduced roughly five years ago. She and David discuss recreating the test board to be appropriate for UHDI, the genesis and history of this project, and why industry members should make use of it to benchmark their processes.

MS2 a Beneficial System for Reducing Solder Dross

We recently spoke with Octavio Raygoza, sales manager for P.Kay Metal in Mexico, to discuss how P.Kay’s MS2® system for reducing solder dross is both financially and environmentally responsible. By reducing solder dross up to 85%, you nearly double the output while consuming the same amount of solder.

IPC APEX EXPO 2024: There’s an App for That

With so many things to do at a large trade show and conference like IPC APEX EXPO, you cannot possibly take every class, attend every talk, or see every vendor on your list. But you can plan your days and maximize your time with the IPC APEX EXPO mobile app. The app allows you to easily view the show’s daily agenda, keynote speakers, the conference and professional development schedules, and, of course, flag and make notes on exhibitors.

The World of Electronics and Standards: A Conversation with Frank Honyotski, STI

Marcy LaRont of I-Connect007 speaks with Frank Honyotski of STI Electronics, who discusses the services offered by STI, including training, engineering, and failure analysis. He highlights his involvement with IPC standards development and emphasizes the importance of industry professionals engaging in standards development.

Mycronic Brings New Machines and New Capabilities to IPC APEX EXPO 2024

Mycronic’s vice president of global sales, Kevin Clue, shares the new products which will be shown at IPC APEX EXPO 2024, along with the market demands to which this new equipment responds. Clue also discusses AI and machine learning developments in the Mycronic portfolio.

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

We are well into trade show season and what a season it has been so far! SMTA Dallas, IMAPS, and the SMTA UHDI Symposium have filled out the past two weeks as we barrel toward IPC APEX EXPO in just a week’s time. There have been many exciting announcements of equipment and technology that will be showcased at IPC APEX EXPO, including announcements from Ventec, Blackfox, Insulectro, Indium, and more. Click through the news to see what’s in store for the big show.

SMTA Conducts First UHDI Symposium

SMTA’s first UHDI Symposium in Peoria, Arizona, on Tuesday, March 26 featured a standout full-day technical program with 11 separate presentations on what will be required for our companies to move to ultra HDI manufacturing. The event was the brainchild of Tara Dunn, SMTA director of training and education. It included a compelling and collaborative presentation by David Haboud of Altium, John Johnson of American Standards Circuits, and Chrys Shea of Shea Engineering, who had spent the past several weeks creating and building an appropriate SMT test board vehicle for UHDI, something that was passed around for all conference goers to see and touch.

Keynote Preview: Reshaping our Engagement With the World

The widespread integration of AI across various sectors is broadening its impact, from revolutionizing healthcare with Smart solutions to transforming homes into intuitive spaces, highlighting its crucial role in boosting efficiency and addressing complex challenges. In healthcare, we're witnessing a trend toward personalized care with AI-driven devices like intelligent pillows to mitigate snoring, sophisticated sleep monitors, and innovative patient monitoring systems.

IPC APEX EXPO 2024: LPKF—Debunking Depaneling Industry Perceptions

In this audio interview, listen to Jake Benz discuss advances in laser depaneling at LPKF. Thanks to advances in laser technology, perceptions about laser depaneling are changing from a low-speed, specialized process to a high volume process suitable for production manufacturing. Benz elaborates on some of the development and engineering that went into creating their latest, most capable depaneling machines.

IPC APEX EXPO 2024: The Future—and Legacy—of Cleaning with KYZEN

Tom Forsythe, executive vice president previews KYZEN’s presence at IPC APEX EXPO 2024. New developments include a new addition to the AQUANOX line, AQUANOX A4618, and a major update to the ANALYST line of control equipment.

Blackfox Ready for IPC APEX EXPO 2024

Blackfox Training Institute offers IPC-certified training for a myriad of PCB assembly techniques and standard certifications. With many technologists beginning to eye retirement, this training is at a premium. I recently spoke with Jamie Noland, director of training and education for Blackfox, about the company’s latest educational efforts, and his plans for the upcoming IPC APEX EXPO, where Blackfox will be exhibiting.

Seeking Employment: Meet Gary Turner

Meet Gary Turner, a recent graduate from the University of Texas at Dallas with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s in material science and engineering. He is currently seeking employment in the industry. The following interview will allow you to learn about Gary and see if he might be a good candidate for a position you are looking to fill.

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

This week's news feed contains a bunch of big money items, as well as some interesting industrial and technology puzzles to be solved. There’s even some down-home people news from the Dallas SMTA conference held this week. Don’t overlook the latest issue of PCB007 Magazine, either. The topic is sustainability, which is becoming an ecosystem of its own.

IMAPS Wrap-up: AI, Chiplets, and 3D Cube Architecture

The International Microelectronics Assembly and Packaging Society, IMAPS, held its 20th Device Packaging Expo and Conference this past week in Fountain Hills, Arizona, followed immediately by a ‘Workshop on Advanced Packaging for Medical Electronics’ that continued through the remainder of Thursday. Fortunate to find myself in Texas earlier in the week, I made it for the last day of the IMAPS event and attended two excellent keynote presentations by AMD and Intel, respectively. Here are some highlights.

SMTA Austin Show Celebrates Relaunch of Chapter

In this interview, Justin Worden, president of the Austin chapter of SMTA, discusses the relaunch of this Texas chapter. He highlights the event, which includes a social happy hour and tech talk, emphasizing the focus on personal development to improve employee retention.

Standards Development Propels the Industry Forward

Standards development task groups will meet face-to-face at IPC APEX EXPO, April 6–11. The technical discussions provide an opportunity to share knowledge, learn from other subject matter experts, and network with others who have similar technical interests. You may remember the urgent need for coffee and the possibility of snagging a cookie or a granola bar to maintain the necessary energy level for these marathon sessions.

ECWC16 Technical Conference Special Sessions

The ECWC16 Technical Conference at IPC APEX EXPO 2024 will feature two curated Special Technical Sessions on Thursday, April 11. Building on the success of similar sessions last year, these sessions will feature leaders in the advanced packaging and e-mobility segments, focusing on technological challenges and innovations. Both sessions were curated by the Technical Program Committee (TPC), consisting of subject matter experts in their fields.

SMTA Dallas 2024 Photo Gallery

This year marked the 21st SMTA Dallas in Plano, Texas. Having sold out their booth space once again, the Dallas electronics business community showed up with lots of energy and ready to do business. SMTA Dallas has grown from a small chapter event to one that is now on its 3rd venue and pushing the envelope on SMTA’s 100-exhibitor rule. Industry veteran Gary Tanel, SMTA Director of Membership and Dallas’ event manager, has a lot to be proud of.

SMTA Dallas 2024 Happening Today

This year marks 21 years of SMTA Dallas. The show is happening today, March 19, at the Plano Events Center, with just over 100 booths. As the show was being set up yesterday, Marcy LaRont sat down with Gary Tanel, show organizer and director of membership, to discuss the show's growth, selling out (again) this year, and how professional associations with this type of volunteer work and industry involvement are important. Stay tuned for more coverage this week on SMTA Dallas 2024.

IPC APEX EXPO 2024: A Preview of the Women in Electronics Reception

This year’s Women in Electronics Reception is scheduled from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 9. It will feature a panel discussion led by IPC Hall of Famer Karen McConnell, Northrop Grumman, on work-life balance. Panelists include:

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

It was a busy week in PCB design and manufacturing. This has been a pretty “dense” week, and this week’s Top Five features an article on density equations by Happy Holden, and a news item about the SMTA UHDI symposium in Phoenix. We also have news about our latest podcast, and a Chris Mitchell column about economic security here and abroad. And Todd Kolmodin discusses the ins and out of 4-wire Kelvin testing, and he tells us a little about Lord Kelvin himself. 

Much Ado About Factory of the Future

For attendees looking for guidance on modernizing their manufacturing, IPC APEX EXPO 2024 will provide plenty of opportunities to learn about the latest innovations and how to begin applying them in your operations today. When walking the show floor, look for the IPC-CFX flags at vendor booths. These are equipment vendors who know the importance of IPC-CFX for their customers and the industry, and have demonstrated proficiency in IPC-CFX implementations.

EMS Roundtables: Leaders Helping Each Other

This year, as an extension of our yearly EMS Leadership Summit at IPC APEX EXPO, we began hosting regional roundtables. These meetings primarily provided an opportunity to network with fellow EMS leaders in each region. At these scheduled receptions and dinners, leaders gather to solve problems, build business networks, and discover potential new insights. At the same time, IPC facilitators share information regarding IPC initiatives and EMS market data.

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

It may not officially be March Madness until March 17, but it feels pretty mad to me. Let’s just say it out loud: We are T-4 weeks to the IPC APEX EXPO. As I reviewed the big news of the week, I noticed quite a bit from mil/aero, and I recommend that you look for those headlines. But for now, I am more interested in the IPC Technical Conference and the ways that one engineer says you can get the most from your time spent at the show; Pete Starkey’s take on the world and European markets through the view of the EIPC keynote presenters; the reported growth in the global PCB market and the European EMS market; and what we are actually doing to remedy our workforce problems.

IPC APEX EXPO 2024 Technical Conference: Innovation Communication

IPC APEX EXPO continues to build upon a long tradition of technical program depth. In recent years, the technical program staff has fostered an increased depth of research in the technical program and expanded the scope and variety of the special sessions. Of particular interest to EMS-oriented attendees is the Factory of the Future technical track comprised of three separate sessions and 10 presentations.

BOSTONtec Shares Perspective on Today's Wire Harness Industry

BOSTONtec is a Michigan-based company established in 1993 that produces high-quality, height-adjustable modular workstations. It serves the assembly, fulfillment, medical, automotive, aerospace, and technology markets. We visited with Rob Doucette, senior applications engineer, to learn more about the wire harness industry from his point of view.

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.

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