Latest Articles

IPC’s Shawn Dubravac: COVID-19 Outbreak Accelerates Industry Shifts Already Under Way

On May 19, Barry Matties spoke with Shawn Dubravac, chief economist for IPC. While discussing other topics, Matties asked for Dubravac’s perspective on shifts in the market, who observed that the recessionary trend might be behind us; the markets are already showing recovery. Still, it could take a year or so to fully recover.

High-reliability, Low-temperature Solder Alloys

Increased digitalization and greater connectivity have been driving miniaturization and more complex and integrated designs in electronics. As the real estate on PCBs shrinks, so does the size of packages. However, the drive for finding design solutions for increased performance has continued to expand. The solder joint is an essential part of assemblies for electronic devices as it provides electrical, thermal, and mechanical connections. Therefore, soldering materials have been evolving to enable such a technological revolution.

Survey: Lessons Learned in Unparalleled Times

Parents often share nuggets of wisdom with their children in hopes that they won’t repeat past mistakes. But what do our electronics industry leaders want to share about lessons learned during the COVID-19 crisis?

KYZEN’s Tom Forsythe: The Effects of COVID-19

On May 7, Barry Matties and Tom Forsythe, executive vice president at KYZEN, discussed the effects of COVID-19. During the conversation, Forsythe addressed KYZEN’s strategy to keep the staff and employees healthy as the foremost concern. He also detailed recent changes in interacting with customers and his take on what will be the new long-term changes in how the company does business versus short-term accommodations.

IPC's Dr. John Mitchell: Leadership in Times of Crisis

On May 13, Dr. John Mitchell, IPC president and CEO, spoke with Barry Matties and Nolan Johnson in another installment in our series of industry updates. In this interview, Mitchell discussed the challenges of leadership in crisis situations.

Meet Patrick Crawford, I-Connect007 Columnist

Meet Patrick Crawford, one of our newest I-Connect007 columnists! Patrick’s columns will provide updates on IPC Design activities. He is currently the liaison to the Design Community Leadership, the industry leadership group of IPC Design. Patrick and the Design Community Leadership work to develop the IPC Design program as IPC redoubles its efforts to serve the printed board design engineering industry.

Happy Holden's Essential Skills: Online Instruction and Distance Learning

Online courses have become increasingly available and popular. For this to be effective, specific requirements must be met for courses taken or produced over the internet in order to provide the user with a positive experience. Read Happy Holden's updated article from his series on 25 essential skills for engineers.

I-Connect007 Survey: Lessons Learned During COVID-19 Lockdown

In a recent survey, we asked I-Connect007 readers about lessons that they and their companies have learned since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Survey respondents were asked to pick up to three areas of business operations where the most important lessons have been learned.

This Month in SMT007 Magazine: How Engineers Can Use SPI Tools for Verification

Koh Young’s Ray Welch and Brent Fischthal detail how engineers can work with SPI tools to verify how small they can go in component size with their solder paste application, and how the company’s SPI equipment is helping not only to verify but also to help drive the development collaboration between solder paste and stencil printer manufacturers, and inspection tools and software.

This Month in SMT007 Magazine: Indium Metal Forecast—Supply Chain Strong, Demand Continues to Grow

Indium is a critical metal for the indium-tin oxide (ITO) market and other coating applications. Donna Vareha Walsh—director of sales and global supply chain and trade compliance at Indium Corporation—describes the plentiful global supply of indium and its recycling loop, examines indium’s history of price volatility and the market reactions from the recent Fanya Metal Exchange auction, and provides an overview of indium supply and demand drivers, as well as the impact of recycling efforts.


‘Coatings Uncoated!’ Micro-webinar Series Review

I-Connect007 collaborated with Electrolube’s Phil Kinner to create a 12-part series of 5-minute micro-webinar sessions entitled “Coatings Uncoated!” offering the opportunity to gain a comprehensive basic understanding of the technology of conformal coatings, chemical types and application techniques, benefits and limitations, and the practicalities of where and how to use them.

Counseling Startups From Design Through NPI

Andy Shaughnessy and Happy Holden sat down for an interview with Richard Marshall, CEO of Xitex Limited, a company based in the U.K. that provides consultancy to startups launching wired and wirelessly connected products. Richard explains some of the most common factors companies overlook when introducing a new product. He also discusses one startup’s new product—a Fitbit-type device worn by horses—and why he advises startups to “Make your mistakes close to home.”

Smart Factory Implementation, Part 2

During one of our recent interviews, conducted as government leaders around the globe were issuing lockdowns, an industry expert had to pause and whisper some gentle and loving “goodnight and sleep well” words to a small child who was headed off to bed. Under these conditions, we’re working with our families and loved ones gathered close. It reminds me that we all have people for whom we do our work, strive to build successful businesses, and make the world a better place.

Happy’s Smart Factory Protocol Primer

The smart factory concept is built upon data interchange as the foundation. There has been much development in the area of industrial and manufacturing data protocols over the years, stretching back into the 1960s. This article by Happy Holden surveys what are considered the most common protocols in use in the electronics manufacturing industry today, including IPC-CFX/ Hermes, OML, SECS/GEM, and MAPS.

Photography Slideshow by Columnist Mehul Davé

At I-Connect007, we like to work hard, play hard, and highlight our contributors. Mehul J. Davé is a great example of someone who is passionate about the industry as well as his other interests outside of work—especially photography. Here, we feature some of his work.

The Convergence of Technologies and Standards in Smart Manufacturing

Ranjan Chatterjee of Cimetrix and Daniel Gamota of Jabil teamed up to bring you this article, originally published as the paper "The Convergence of Technologies and Standards Across the Electronic Products Manufacturing Industry (SEMI, OSAT, and PCBA) to Realize Smart Manufacturing."

Aurora Circuits’ Chris Kalmus Offers PCBs for Ventilators at No Charge

Electronics manufacturers continue to step up to the plate during these uncertain times. In this interview, Dan Beaulieu speaks with Chris Kalmus, owner of Aurora Circuits in Aurora, Illinois, who announced on April 24 that his company would be offering PCBs for ventilators free of charge.

I-Connect007 Survey Details Concerns About Future of Industry

I-Connect007 continues to monitor the current worldwide economic situation by seeking input from our market leaders. Here’s what we discovered: If you’re feeling the pressure, you’re not alone. In a recent survey, we asked about your primary concerns for the future of our industry. The number one concern (26%) indicated a belief that sales will be affected negatively in the coming months.

An M&A Perspective on the Current Market

Barry Matties and Nolan Johnson spoke to Tom Kastner about what he sees from an M&A perspective in company leadership resistance to change, as well as the current state of the M&A market and how it’s been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Case Study: Example of ASKEY Applying QML Validation

The PCB007 China team paid a visit to the ASKEY plant in Wujiang, Jiangsu, to learn more about their QML process. In this interview with Qixian Zhang, vice GM of ASKEY’s Electronics Product Quality Assurance Department, he discusses what QML means to ASKEY and the electronics industry as a whole.


Automation War Stories From ICM Controls

Members of the I-Connect007 editorial team met with Andy Kadah, president of ICM Controls, and Kevin Jobsky, senior marketing manager, via teleconference on March 20, 2020. Originally, the purpose of our conversation was to discuss factory automation implementation details. Yet, we conducted the interview in the midst of a rapid-fire and wide-ranging onslaught of executive orders from the federal level on down to the local level meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Process Ionic Contamination Test (PICT) Standard Roundtable With Industry Experts

With standards committees set to release the first of four new test standards, industry experts discussed the process ionic contamination test (PICT) standard, which was recently approved by the IEC for publication. Roundtable participants included Teresa Rowe, senior director of assembly and standards technology at IPC, Graham Naisbitt, chairman and CEO of Gen3, Jason Keeping, corporate process development at Celestica, and Doug Pauls, principal materials and process engineer at Collins Aerospace.

IPC Europe Shares Technical Education and Standards Awareness

Against a background of COVID-19 uncertainty and unprecedented challenges, but recognizing the vital importance of continuing to educate engineers and share the knowledge and skills required to manufacture boards and assemblies of the highest yields and reliability, the IPC Europe team hosted a technical webinar for the European electronics industry, featuring the expertise of two of I-Connect007’s regular columnists: Mike Carano and Jan Pedersen. Pete Starkey provides an overview.

Koh Young Update With Quintin Armstrong

In this video interview from the show, Quintin Armstrong, Americas service and applications senior manager for Koh Young, updates Guest Editor Dick Crowe on Koh Young America's Technical Services Team, where the focus is on AOI of components and materials on the stuffed board, as well as demonstrations and training at their new facility in Duluth, Georgia.

Cimetrix Helping to Digitize Factories

Dan Feinberg met with Cimetrix’s Ranjan Chatterjee to discuss how their new Sapience software allows factories to establish communication with a wide variety of equipment across multiple lines and multiple facilities across the whole industry.

Via Reliability and Robustness in Today’s Environment

When Bob Neves dropped by the I-Connect007 booth at IPC APEX EXPO 2020 this year, Happy Holden took the opportunity to record the conversation. Bob had some startling and exciting updates on the testing of microvias and through-hole technology.

The Foundation of Industry 4.0

When adopting IoT solutions, start with three main considerations. First, assess which parts of the production cycle can be automated and/or monitored most effectively with IoT devices connected to an analytics platform. IoT technology should be matched to the production cycle of your operation.

Dr. John Mitchell: IPC’s Ongoing Efforts Related to COVID-19

On April 14, IPC president and CEO, Dr. John Mitchell, described IPC’s ongoing efforts related to COVID-19 with I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties. From a standpoint approximately 30 days into the U.S. shutdown, Mitchell reported that 94% of the executives attending the executive forum are expressing concern. He also outlined many of the chaotic drivers and influences in the industry, including shifting over to different, mandated products; supply shortages; potential declining demand for normal products; and increased shipping costs. Worker and staffing shortages have also become an emerging concern.

SMTA Europe’s Electronics in Harsh Environments Conference and Exhibition: A Taste of Things to Come

SMTA Europe’s Electronics in Harsh Environments Conference has become a must-attend annual event; unfortunately, it also became another casualty of the COVID-19 lockdown. Scheduled to take place in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, from April 21–23, 2020, it has now been postponed until December 1–3. Pete Starkey reports on a preview seminar presented by SMTA Europe.

Stencil Cleaning Update With Tom Forsythe

In this video interview from the show, Pete Starkey and Tom Forsythe, executive VP of KYZEN, which celebrated its 30th anniversary, discuss the practicalities of stencil cleaning and describe the characteristics and capabilities of KYZEN's newest versatile stencil cleaning product.


IPC Education Foundation: STEM and Online Learning Resources

Nolan Johnson recently caught up with Charlene Gunter du Plessis, senior director of the IPC Education Foundation, about how the COVID-19 outbreak is affecting the IPCEF, including how they are continuing to connect with IPC Student Chapter members and seek industry support. Charlene also discussed the increased usage of IPCEF’s online educational modules and shares STEM resources.

Business Practices Drive the Smart Factory, Not the Other Way Around (Pt. 2)

In Part 2 of this conversation, Sagi Reuven— business development manager at Mentor, a Siemens Business—continues his discussion on how smart factory implementations must start with traditional process analysis and improvement before the data capture process is useful.

Panasonic: From Hardware to Solutions and Data

In this video interview from the show, Managing Editor Nolan Johnson speaks with Sean Murray—director of sales, service, operations, and logistics process automation at Panasonic—about the company's focus on software and information management on top of their long history in hardware and equipment.

IPC Standards Work Continues to Move Forward

On April 3, 2020, Teresa Rowe, IPC’s director of assembly and standards technology, and David Bergman, vice president, spoke with Barry Matties about ongoing standards activities during the global COVID-19 outbreak. Rowe and Bergman reported that, where one might think that standards committees would be negatively affected, standards work seems to be going stronger than ever.

Gene Weiner: Lessons Learned From COVID-19

Barry Matties speaks with Gene Weiner, president and CEO of Weiner International Associates, about the electronics industry’s continued operation under COVID-19 restrictions and some of the lessons learned during this pandemic. One such lesson: Companies and nations must do a better job of sharing information to help prevent this from happening again.

Greg Vance to Serve as SMTA Interim President

Nolan Johnson talks to Greg Vance about taking over the SMTA Board President's role through September. Discussion includes an update on multiple board chair changes, and an update on the board's work to achieve their current set of objectives.

Averatek’s A-SAP Semi-additive Process Enables HDI

In this video interview from the show, columnist Tara Dunn spoke with Mike Vinson, president and COO of Averatek, who described the company's semi-additive process, A-SAP, with 25-micron features sizes and below, which enables high-density interconnections. Vinson also discusses the papers Averatek presented at IPC APEX EXPO 2020.

'Coatings Uncoated!' Webinar Series and Automotive Industry Trends

Phil Kinner, global business/technical director of Electrolube’s coatings division, tells Pete Starkey about the positive impact of the “Coatings Uncoated!” webinar series and comments on how the company has responded to the changes in the focus of the automotive industry.

Arlon Takes on High-Power Failure

In this video interview from IPC APEX EXPO, Pete Starkey and Dave Nelson, director of business development at Arlon Electronic Materials, explore causes of failure in high-power PCBs and explain how resin cracking during drilling can be overcoming using thermally conductive filled resin.

The Formation of the Printed Circuit Engineering Association

Patty Goldman spoke with Gary Ferrari, FTG Corporation, at IPC APEX EXPO 2020 about the formation of the Printed Circuit Engineering Association, which—having been started two months ago—has attained lots of interest from the industry. The PCEA hopes to bring together designers, engineers, fabricators, assemblers through local chapters to focus mainly on education and learning.


The Direction of MacDermid Alpha’s Automotive Initiative

Nolan Johnson speaks with Lenora Clark about MacDermid Alpha’s automotive initiative, where her role fits into the company’s focus on supporting carmakers in various business areas, and where the future of automotive is heading.

This Month in SMT007 Magazine: Exclusive Interview With Burt Rutan, Aerospace Legend

If you follow advancements in aerospace technologies and expeditions, then you know the name Burt Rutan. Described by Newsweek as “the man responsible for more innovations in modern aviation than any living engineer,” Rutan is a bold visionary with a passion for the advancement of technology, who has designed 46 aircraft throughout his career. Following his IPC APEX EXPO keynote presentation, Rutan stopped by the I-Connect007 booth and shared his thoughts on a wide variety of topics.

The Next Generation: 2K Conformal Coatings

In this engaging, 12-part webinar series, Kinner examines conformal coating chemistries in further detail, including their properties, applications, issues to be mindful of, and the processes you should follow to achieve a successful coating outcome. The entire “Coatings Uncoated!” webinar series can be viewed in an hour and covers a comprehensive range of hot topics and application-relevant case-study overviews, as well as back-to-basic subject matter and issues, such as condensation and contamination. Most of the 12 segments can be viewed in five minutes or less.

Siemens and Valor: Two Complementary DFM Technologies

Before IPC APEX EXPO kicked off, Andy Shaughnessy attended a Siemens seminar in San Diego on smart manufacturing for electronics and the integration of technologies from Siemens’ digital industry software and Valor. Afterward, Andy spoke with Andy Farrington, director of portfolio development for the Americas, about the event, as well as some of the hot topics and solutions that the speakers addressed.

IPC’s Dr. John Mitchell Commends U.S. Manufacturers and Governors

On March 31, Dr. John Mitchell, IPC president and CEO, gave Barry Matties an update on the industry response to COVID-19 since their conversation on March 20. Mitchell provides an overall update on the industry, commending U.S. manufacturers for their proactive responses.

Industry Outlook With Siemens’ Fram Akiki

In this video interview from the show, Editor Dan Feinberg speaks with Fram Akiki, VP of electronic and semiconductor industries for Siemens, about the biggest challenges in the electronics industry. They also discuss major industry trends, including smart connected devices used in autonomous transportation and robotics, increased complexity, and a reduced time to market.

Advances in Medical Diagnostics Using LoC and LoPCB Technologies

Several techniques for detection and diagnosis of COVID-19 are currently under development, some of which may detect the novel virus exclusively; others may also detect strains that are genetically similar. A detection kit recently announced uses technology based on a portable lab-on-chip (LoC) platform capable of detecting, identifying, and differentiating MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV, and COVID-2019 in a single test.

Mentor's Oren Manor on Automation Business Adjustments

Oren Manor, director of business development at Mentor, a Siemens Business, shares an update with Barry Matties on the recent COVID-19 outbreak. Manor describes how Mentor's automation business operations have adjusted. Manor also provides some projections on how manufacturing may need to adjust as the global economies come out of this time.

BGA Standard Update With Ray Prasad

In this video interview from the show, Ray Prasad, president of Ray Prasad Consultancy Group, updates Guest Editor Joe Fjelstad on the ongoing work with the BGA standard and the latest revision that is going to ballot.

I-Connect007 COVID-19 Outbreak Research Survey Results

Our ongoing survey regarding the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak on the electronics industry has produced some interesting results. Here are some of the response highlights as of today. If you would like to make your voice heard, please take the survey.


EPTAC Preparing Young People for Future in Industry

In this video interview from the show, Guest Editor Kelly Dack and Leo Lambert, VP/technical director of EPTAC Corporation, describe the impact of internships and apprenticeships, the importance of IPC specifications, the effectiveness of certification.

Matt Stevenson on Sunstone Circuits' Current Operations

Nolan Johnson speaks with Matt Stevenson, VP of marketing at Sunstone Circuits, who shares an update on the company's current level of business operations under COVID-19 restrictions. Stevenson confirms that Sunstone Circuits is fully operational and classified as an essential business.

What’s Driving AOI Innovation and Collaboration?

When we look at the optical inspection market growth trajectory, we can see how process challenges helped create innovations. For example, solder paste inspection (SPI) has undergone a shift from 2D to 3D because the 2D inspection technologies manufacturers traditionally used to collect solder deposit images could not solve shadowing problems. Thus, companies developed 3D SPI to capture the printed solder paste height to accurately measure the total volume of paste printed. Several years later, we see the same need for surface-mounted component inspection with AOI systems.

Watch & Learn! Latest Installment of I-007e Micro Webinar Series Features EV Charging Controller Case Study

The eleventh episode of the popular micro webinar series “Coatings Uncoated!” is now available to view. In “Cycle Time Constrains Coverage,” topic expert Phil Kinner from Electrolube examines the trade-off between cycle time and coverage required while considering an electric vehicle charging controller case study. If you are in the assembly business, an EMS company, or responsible for specifying conformal coating and/or encapsulation, then this free series is for you.

InduBond Gets Hot With Induction Heating Lamination

In this video interview from the show, Editor Nolan Johnson sat down to speak with Víctor Lázaro, InduBond’s R&D director and technical manager, about InduBond's latest technology for panel lamination utilizing induction heating. InduBond demonstrates a lamination oven on the IPC APEX EXPO show floor, as well as the advantages of the technology.

This Month in PCB007 Magazine: A Scorecard for Suppliers

Al Block and Naji Norder from National Instruments talk about the PCQR2 tool, what that entails, and how companies can use the data-driven analysis to validate the quality of suppliers and potentially save millions.

What It Takes to Be a Milaero Supplier, Part 2

The decision to pursue military and aerospace (milaero) certification impacts every facet of the organization, and not every shop is prepared to make this transformation. In Part 2, Anaya Vardya focuses on what it takes to be a milaero supplier in the areas of engineering and CAM.

AIM Appoints Oscar Hernandez as Sales Manager for Queretaro and Bajio Regions Mexico

AIM Solder, a leading global manufacturer of solder assembly materials for the electronics industry, is pleased to announce the appointment of Oscar Hernandez to the position of Sales Manager for the Queretaro and Bajio regions of Mexico.

IPC Chief Economist Dr. Shawn DuBravac Shares Industry's Financial Outlook

On March 23, IPC Chief Economist Shawn DuBravac, Ph.D., CFA, spoke with I-Connect007 publisher Barry Matties in an exclusive phone interview immediately following DuBravac’s online briefing to IPC member attendees.

IPC APEX EXPO 2020 Attendees Speak: Heston Singh

"We have been coming here for many years, and we had another good experience this year," said Unitron's Heston Singh. "If it wasn’t good, we wouldn’t be coming back. They have products that are needed for this market, so we’ll be back every year."


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