Latest Articles

Digi-Key on Adapting to the Changing Industry Landscape, Pt. 1

The I-Connect007 editorial team recently spoke with Chris Beeson, executive vice president of global supplier and new business development at Digi-Key Electronics, about trends and the changing landscape of the industry. Beeson describes how Digi-Key is looking to continue growing its user community as a design service provider while providing greater services for the entire PCB.

Oren Manor on the Siemens-Mentor Integration

In this video interview, part of the productronica coverage, the I-Connect007 team speaks with Oren Manor, director of business development for Siemens, in the Siemens booth. Oren introduces us to the in-booth production equipment that integrates factory automation, motion controls, and MES solutions. He points out that the recent effort to automate SMT lines is now expanding into the areas of final assembly, box build, and manual assembly as well.

EIPC Winter Conference—Speakers and Papers

I recently spoke with Kirsten Smit-Westenberg, executive director of EIPC, who is planning the EIPC winter conference set for February 2020 in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Kirsten discusses the conference topics, which are based around the needs of the next-generation electronic devices, and changes in fabrication solutions for PCBs, PCBAs, materials, and technologies.

Koh Young Europe Celebrates 16,000 Installed Systems

During productronica 2019, the I-Connect007 Editorial Team met with some of the industry's top executives, managers, and engineers. In this video interview, Editor Nolan Johnson and Harald Eppinger, managing director at Koh Young Europe, discuss the company’s milestone of 16,000 installed systems, the Zenith Alpha, and market trends in AOI systems.

Maximising Performance and Reliability of Automotive Electronics With Conformal Coatings

While the value of the electronic systems in a modern vehicle typically exceeds 20% of the total vehicle cost, many estimate that this value will exceed 35% within the next five years. With the increased adoption of electronic vehicles and the development of the internet of things (IoT)—which has brought us driverless cars like those being tested by Google in California and BMW on the roads of Bavaria—the future of this industry is starkly different from that of the 1970s when electronic fuel injection systems were first introduced to mainstream production.

Global Political Turmoil Creating Uncertainties for the Industry

From where I sit, representing the interests of electronics manufacturers and related companies around the world, I regret to say that the future of our industry—while bright overall—is fraught with uncertainties, from trade policy disputes to government leadership turnovers and economic and social megatrends. IPC is working with all governments and parties to overcome these uncertainties, but there is a lot to tackle.

AI Cameras Help Park Rangers Stop Poachers

Eric Dinerstein, the director of biodiversity and wildlife solutions at the non-profit organization RESOLVE, discusses the organization’s TrailGuard AI camera—a low-cost, durable, easy-to-use, efficient, and low-power burglar alarm system for Africa’s national parks—that alerts rangers at headquarters in near real-time of intruders and potential poachers coming into the park. With the help of leading companies, Eric explains how the project came to life, including implementing artificial intelligence (AI) and a satellite modem, making it the first of its kind.

Merger and Acquisition Trends

In this interview with the I-Connect007 Editorial Team, Green Circuits’ Joe O’Neil breaks down the current merger and acquisition (M&A) market in the electronics manufacturing space and the industry trends that affect it. Joe also gives his advice on best practices for the negotiating table from both the buyer’s or seller’s perspective.

Requirements of Being a MIL-certified Shop

Barry Matties speaks with American Standard Circuits’ VP of Business Development David Lackey, who has nearly 40 years of experience producing PCBs for the mil/aero market. David talks about what it’s like being a MIL-certified shop and the stringent quality and reporting requirements that it entails.

Words of Advice: The OEM Systems Designer

In a recent survey, we asked the following question: What advice would you give an OEM systems designer? Here are a few of the answers, edited slightly for clarity.


Why Does the PCB Industry Still Use Gerber?

Every so often, I hear technologists ask why so many PCB designers still use Gerber. That is a fair question. Ucamco has over 35 years of experience in developing and supporting cutting-edge software and hardware solutions for the global PCB industry. Our customers—small, medium, and large PCB fabricators—include the electronics industry’s leading companies, and many of them have been with us for over 30 years. We are dedicated to our industry and excellence in everything we do, which includes our custodianship of the Gerber format.

Keith Bryant on Growth in the European Market

Pete Starkey interviews Keith Bryant, chairman of the European division of the Surface Mount Technology Association (SMTA), about his view on the outlook of the industry, including growth in the European electronics manufacturing industry as well as the need for young engineers.

Meet Alfred Macha, SMT007 Columnist

Meet Alfred Macha, one of our SMT007 columnists! Macha’s columns concentrate on process validation, supply chain management, quality management systems, government contracts, FDA regulations, process controls, and more. Alfred Macha brings 20 years of senior leadership roles in quality and operations management working for Sanmina, DDi (now TTM Technologies), Anaren (now TTM Technologies), and HEI Microelectronics.

Explaining the QSFP-DD Data Center Interconnect Standard

According to Cisco’s report, most IP traffic either originates or terminates in data centers. Yet as massive as the flows between centers are becoming, the data managed within those same facilities is going even higher. All of this activity means that “hyperscale” is the word of the future. Roughly one-quarter of all servers installed in 2016 went to hyperscale facilities, but that number will grow to almost one-half by next year.

Meet Ray Prasad, SMT007 Columnist

Meet Ray Prasad, one of our SMT007 columnists! Prasad’s columns explore DFM, manufacturing processes, yield improvement, quality control, IPC standards, and much more.

Design For Excellence: Karen McConnell on Standards

During the IPC Summer Meetings, I spoke with Karen McConnell, senior staff CAD CAM engineer with Northrop Grumman Mission Systems. Karen is a veteran PCB designer as well as an IPC committee chair and mentor. She offered an update on some of the IPC committees she chairs, the need for more mentor programs in this industry, and why you can call something a ham sandwich if you define it correctly in the standard.

The Changing Landscape

SMTAI featured two keynote speakers: Adam Steltzner, a NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) engineer who led the Mars Science Laboratory's Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL) Phase for the Curiosity rover and the chief engineer for the Mars 2020 Project; and Dr. Mike Hawes, Lockheed Martin Vice President for Human Space Exploration and Orion Program Manager. The energy at both keynotes was palpable. We’re returning to extra-orbital space with human crews, and the demands of such missions drive innovation.

The Ecosystem of Industry Standards

I-Connect007 reached out to representatives from several industry standards organizations and talked with them about how they participate in the standards process. Along the way, these conversations clarify which group does what, how they all work together as well as clarify and dispel a couple of industry myths.

Koh Young Opens New North American Facility

Koh Young America recently opened its new corporate headquarters for the Americas outside of Atlanta, Georgia. I attended the open house and spoke with Joel Scutchfield, director of sales for the Americas, about the state-of-the-art facility and the benefits of relocating to the East Coast.

So Many Standards Committees, So Little Time

During the IPC Summer Meetings and Panelpalooza in Raleigh, North Carolina, I met with Leo Lambert, vice president and director of technology at EPTAC. We discussed IPC’s recent efforts to revamp the way standards are developed and interpreted as well as changes to training and education committees and a variety of methods for eliminating errors and duplicated comments when revising standards.


Juan Arango on Koh Young’s New U.S. Headquarters

At a recent open house, Managing Director Juan Arango talks about his role in the company’s transition from their Arizona facility to a new headquarters located outside of Atlanta, Georgia. Juan details many of the benefits customers can expect, including brand new spaces dedicated to customer demos as well as training.

Meet Zulki Khan, SMT007 Columnist

Meet Zulki Khan, one of our newest SMT007 columnists! Khan’s columns address new frontiers in upcoming manufacturing techniques, including challenges in the marriage of SMT and microelectronics manufacturing and the critical aspects involved.

Discover the Benefits of a Technology Center

Nico Fahrner, application engineer at Rehm Thermal Systems, talks with Barry Matties about the benefits prospective customers get from being able to fully test their systems in-line at Rehm’s technology centers before purchasing.

Is Your EMS Partner Up to Speed With WEEE 'Open Scope?'

E-waste encompasses a myriad of "unseen" metals, semi-metals, and chemical compounds that are found inside circuit boards, wires, and electrical connections. If not handled correctly, chemicals—such as cadmium, barium, lithium, lead, mercury, and beryllium—can present a significant health risk through direct contact, the inhalation of toxic fumes, or the build-up of toxins in water, soil, and food products.

Breaking the Stereotype: Millennials in Manufacturing

Goodwinds Composites is a company that I have watched grow from a small distributor serving the hobby industry to a full-fledged manufacturer serving many industries. Leland Holeman and his sister, Amelia Cook have worked together for the past 12 years to transform this company into a healthy business.

SMTAI 2019: To the Moon and Beyond

W. Michael Hawes, D.Sc., gave a great keynote at SMTAI 2019 titled, “To the Moon! Orion's Next Giant Leap Into Deep Space.” Dr. Mike Hawes is currently the VP for human space exploration and the Orion Program manager for Lockheed Martin. Barry Matties spoke with him afterward to discuss the technology innovations that empower the next-generation spacecraft to take astronauts to explore farther than humankind has ever ventured.

SMTAI 2019: Carmichael Gugliotti Discusses His First SMTAI Paper

Carmichael Gugliotti, process specialist at MacDermid Alpha Electronics Solutions, discusses his first STMAI paper presentation with Andy Shaughnessy. Gugliotti's paper focuses on periodic pulse plating of mid-aspect ratio PCBs.

SMTAI 2019: SAFI-Tech's No-Heat SAC305—A Possible Gamechanger

Ian Tevis is CTO and founder of SAFI-Tech, a startup focusing on SMT solutions. He explains how he founded SAFI-Tech right after college and details the benefits of the company's first product, No-Heat SAC305.

IPC Electronics Materials Forum 2019

IPC will be holding its Electronics Materials Forum 2019 from November 5–7, 2019, in Bloomington, Minnesota. The Electronics Materials Forum is a new technical conference focused on developments in materials and processes associated with advanced electronics assembly and manufacturing.

SMTAI 2019: MIRTEC's Newest Product Introduced at SMTAI

Brian D'Amico, MIRTEC president, updates Nolan Johnson on the healthy business environment on the show floor and the company's new product that was introduced at SMTAI. D'Amico also shares his view on industry challenges providing connectivity for smart factory productivity.


SMTAI 2019: KIC's New, Smart Factory Products

MB Allen, manager of applications and sales for KIC, and Karl Pfluke, regional sales manager, update Nolan Johnson on their new product announcement from earlier this year. They also address the company's ongoing work on smart factory products.

Chuck Bauer: SMTAI 2019 Founder's Award Recipient

At the recent SMTAI conference and exhibition, Chuck Bauer, Ph.D., senior managing director at TechLead Corporation, received the Founder's Award, a prestigious award given to a member who has made exceptional contributions to the industry and provided ongoing support and service to the SMTA.

SMTAI 2019: Chris Bastecki on Low-temperature Solder Challenges and Products

Chris Bastecki, director of global PCB assembly at Indium Corporation, discussed challenges of low-temperature solder and the company's new product, Durafuse LT, which provides novel properties and reliability.

SMTAI 2019: Company Updates and Future J-STD-001 Changes

Nolan Johnson speaks with Graham Naisbitt, chairman and CEO of Gen3 Systems, and Andy Naisbitt, operations director, about how they just signed an agreement with a new distributor. Graham also discussed upcoming J-STD-001 changes and Gen3's shift to a more consultative customer model.

SMTA Additive Electronics Conference: Industry Trends

Mainstream PCB manufacturing is often limited to 50-75 microns (mm) line and space. But the electronics industry is evolving quickly. Propelled by the demand for more sophisticated electronics, PCB design is being tasked with finer lines, thinner materials, and smaller via sizes.

SMTAI 2019: Creative Electron's Mobile X-ray Van and LED-specialized Equipment

Nolan Johnson and CEO Bill Cardoso discuss Creative Electron's new equipment that specializes in LED applications and the company's X-ray van—the "mobile trade show" and demo platform.

ODB++: Transforming Ideas Into Products

The ODB format originated with the objective of delivering on this need. The format was originally introduced for use by PCB fabricators, eliminating the need for a collection of CAM files in multiple formats—such as Gerber, Excellon, IPC-356, or even IPC-350, which was an early attempt to simplify this process. The key to the success of ODB was that it obtained industry acceptance.

Catching up With Niche Electronics

Niche Electronics President Frank Bowman speaks with Dan Beaulieu about his company, their services, how they help their customers, and their plans for the future.

Real Time with... SMTAI 2019 Video Interviews

The SMTA International Conference and Exhibition 2019, which took place September 22–26, 2019, at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois, concluded successfully. For those of you who were not able to make it to the show, catch our video interviews with the movers and shakers of the electronics industry. We've updated our video presentation for a better experience for our users, so check it out!

SMTAI 2019: Michael Ford on IPC-CFX and the Effects of Industry 4.0

Michael Ford, senior director of emerging industry strategy at Aegis Software, and Nolan Johnson discuss some of the long-term, global effects of Industry 4.0 and life beyond IPC-CFX.


SMTAI 2019: Juan Arango Discusses Koh Young America's New Headquarters

Andy Shaughnessy speaks with Juan Arango, managing director of Koh Young America, about their new corporate headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, which is located near most of their U.S. customer base.

SMTAI 2019: Nir Benson Discusses Mentor's Challenges and Solutions

Nir Benson, business development manager at Mentor, a Siemens Business, talks with Andy Shaughnessy about his work to integrate the two companies' solutions, some of the challenges he sees, and his efforts to optimize their cloud-based systems.

SMTAI 2019: Kristen Mattson on the SMTAI Vacuum Reflow Systems Demo

Kristen Mattson, marketing principal at BTU International Inc., and Nolan Johnson discuss the vacuum reflow demo that's running on the show floor and the program with the American Competitiveness Institute where they have PYRAMAX vacuum reflow systems available for customer process evaluation.

SMTAI 2019: Happy Holden’s On-the-Scene Report

Last week concluded the 2019 SMTAI conference in Rosemont, Illinois. Overall, I think the show was successful and covered all aspects of SMT processes.

SMTAI 2019: Tom Forsythe on Cleaning Challenges and Solutions

Andy Shaughnessy speaks with Tom Forsythe, KYZEN executive VP, about the challenges created by continually increasing densities as well as some of the company's newest cleaning solutions.

Insertion Loss Performance Differences Due to Plated Finish and Circuit Structure

Data will be presented for loss versus frequency for six different plated finishes commonly used in the PCB industry, and opinions will be offered as to why the loss behavior differs for the different plated finishes and for the different circuit configurations. Because the insertion loss of high-frequency circuits also depends on substrate thickness, circuits fabricated on substrates with different thicknesses will be evaluated to analyze the effects of substrate thickness on insertion loss.

Real Time with… SMTAI 2019 Slideshow

The SMTA International 2019 Conference and Exhibition closed last week on a high note. For those who were not able to attend the event, held at Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois, the slideshow contains a selection of photos from the exhibition show floor as well as the conference.

SMTAI 2019: Lenora Clark Discusses Company Changes and Her New Role

Lenora Clark, director of autonomous driving and safety technology at MacDermid Alpha Electronics Solutions (and co-organizer for the upcoming SMTA Additive Electronics Conference), and Nolan Johnson discuss her new role, recent company reorganization, and the synergies customers are seeing.

SMTAI 2019: Technical Sessions Overview and 2020 Preview

Karlie Severinson, SMTA events and administrative manager, gives Nolan Johnson an overview of the SMTAI 2019 technical sessions and plans for next year's event.

SMTA 2019 International Awards

The SMTA International conference—held September 22–29, 2019, at the Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois—honored industry members with awards for their contributions to the industry. I-Connect007 has compiled an unofficial list of award recipients. The official list from SMTA will be released shortly, and I-Connect007 will publish it as soon as it is available.


SMTAI 2019: EPTAC Continues Its Expansion

Andy Shaughnessy and Brenda Clunie, VP of operations for EPTAC, discuss the company's current growth plans and how its training facilities serve the needs of OEMs who are bringing in new, younger talent.

IPC Panel on Bottom-terminated Components

During the IPC Summer Meetings in Raleigh, North Carolina, I sat down with Tom Rovere, a materials and process engineer at Lockheed Martin in Owego, New York. We explored a panel discussion on bottom-terminated components (BTCs) that Tom participated in as well as the challenges and issues related to BTCs and the important role that designers play in that process.

SMTAI 2019: Gary Tanel Provides an SMTA Update

SMTA Ambassador Gary Tanel gives Andy Shaughnessy an update on his work with Electronics Alliance and the Dallas chapter of SMTA. He also discusses the JoAnn Stromberg Student Leader Scholarship Award and the Charles Hutchins Educational Grant.

Leo Lambert on Training the Next Generation of Technologists

I sat down for an interview with Leo Lambert, VP of technical director for EPTAC Corporation, during the IPC Summer Meetings in Raleigh, North Carolina. We discussed the company’s growth, including plans to have training centers across different regions of the country to help cut down on students’ travel times, and why training methods must constantly evolve to remain effective.

Real Time with... SMTAI 2019 Videos Now Live

If you couldn't make it to SMTAI 2019, be sure to catch I-Connect007’s video interviews with the movers and shakers of the electronics industry. We’ve updated our video presentation for a better experience for our users, so check it out!

Standards Through Time: Changing to Stay the Same

The use of standards has, ultimately, propelled civilization forward. As the electronics manufacturing industry works to create, revise, update, and restructure standards, it helps to take a moment to review how standards, and the process of creating them, have occurred throughout history.

Combating ESD: The Silent Assassin in Electronics Manufacturing

ESD is a constant but invisible force within electronics manufacturing that can have a powerfully detrimental impact on production yield, product and product reliability, and company profitability. And as the circuitry within electronic devices continues to get faster, smaller, and more sophisticated, their sensitivity to the effects of ESD is only likely to increase.

Meet Chris Ellis, SMT007 Columnist

Meet Chris Ellis, one of our newest SMT007 columnists! In his columns, Ellis addresses common problems that Manncorp customers have had with the in-house conversion process, and shares solutions that have worked in the past.

Additive Electronics Conference Set for October 2019

Tara Dunn, president of Omni PCB and I-Connect007 columnist, and Lenora Clark, director of autonomous driving and safety technology at MacDermid Alpha Automotive, discuss what can be expected from the upcoming Additive Electronics Conference in San Jose, California, the impetus and motivation behind the conference, and who can benefit the most from attending.

Weaving Advocacy into E-Textiles

Electronic textiles (e-textiles) – fabrics that have electronics embedded in them to achieve certain functions – are of growing interest in the electronics manufacturing industry, and thus they are of growing interest to the IPC Government Relations team as well.


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