Latest Articles

Event Review: 7th Electronic Materials and Processes for Space Workshop

This year's Electronic Materials and Processes for Space Workshop discussed a wide range of technology issues and developments when it comes to PCB fabrication and assembly for space applications. From addressing reliability issues to dealing with cracks that may form during thermal cycling, to REACH regulations and their impact on space hardware, and tin whisker growths. Barrie Dunn provides the highlights.

3 Common Fears About Outsourcing Your Outbound Logistics

If you are still responsible for shipping finished product to your end users, you may be facing difficulties that are distracting you from your core activities. This article explains how you can overcome the common fears about outsourcing your outbound logistics to an EMS provider.

Moving Beyond Paideia: Learning for Earning

The complexities of our technological world and global marketplace now demand the development of specific, saleable skills as part of the student-customer's educational process--and that the template for teaching these skills must be based in the real world. Tom Borkes explains why in this article.

Investing in the Future Voices of our Industries

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a massive global initiative, aimed at getting kids more interested in STEM subjects through a variety of fun and interactive experiences. At a recent Maker Faire, Barry Matties spoke with FIRST's Jill Wilker and Ken Johnson about their organization's mission and vision.

Bumping of QFNs/LGAs and Other Leadless Devices for More Consistent Rework

Among the greatest challenges leadless devices present are the solder voiding primarily on the ground plane, the inability to clean underneath the devices post rework, and the difficulty in getting similar standoff heights on both the IO and center ground. This article talks about the type of rework methods available to address these issues.

Selecting a Selective Soldering System, Part 5

For the conclusion of his series on selective soldering discussion, Robert Voigt does a quick wrap-up to remind potential buyers about some important considerations that affect the purchase decisions they make.

How to Prevent Solder Bridges During Printed Circuit Board Assembly

Solder bridges occur when solder unintentionally connects one electronic component lead to another. Thankfully, a large number of solder bridges can be easily prevented. And while preventive measures may cost you a small amount of additional time and money, the long term payback can be significant.

Milwaukee Electronics: Screaming-Fast in Pursuit of 'Perfect Products'

Jered Stoehr, VP of sales and marketing at Milwaukee Electronics, discusses with I-Connect007's Judy Warner the innovative ways their company is meeting the needs of today's OEMs. He also talks about the challenges and opportunities they are seeing in their markets.

The STEM Trap

Post-secondary schools have not been responsive to the changing landscape of the modern electronic product assembly operation—they really can’t, considering the lack of real-world experience of most of the faculty. In this article, Tom Borkes explains why.

Condensation Testing—A New Approach

While the characterization of coating performance under high humidity conditions is detailed in well accepted IPC and IEC standards, the performance and testing under condensing conditions is not so well developed. This article talks about a new approach that has been developed where the test board is mounted on a substrate whose temperature can be independently controlled without changing the ambient condition.


Divergence in Test Results Using IPC Standard SIR and Ionic Contamination Measurements

This study will compare the results from testing two solder pastes using the IPC-J-STD-004B IPC TM-650 2.6.3.7 surface insulation resistance test and IPC TM-650 2.3.25 in an attempt to investigate the correlation of ROSE methods as predictors of electronic assembly electrical reliability.

Perfect Placement of Connectors and Pins: 3D Measurement of Swash Circumference and Embedment Depth

Manufacturers are faced with steadily increasing miniaturization and higher packing density in PCB assemblies. Packing densities, in particular, repeatedly create challenges in terms of testability, especially when high components such as connectors are fitted in close proximity to other components. This article looks at different handling and testing requirements for connectors.

Why Flexibility is Crucial to the Success of Your Outbound Logistics

When it comes to outbound logistics, the ability to adapt in order to reach new markets and meet ever-changing customer demands, is vital. This article explores how partnering with an electronics manufacturing services (EMS) provider will help to ensure you are fully equipped for change in a fast-paced global environment.

Material Effects of Laser Energy When Processing Circuit Board Substrates During Depaneling

Using modern laser systems for the depanelization of circuit boards can create some challenges for the production engineer when it is compared to traditional mechanical singulation methods. Understanding the effects of the laser energy to the substrate material properly is essential in order to take advantage of the technology without creating unintended side effects.

Industry 4.0: Making the First Move

Many companies now have active Industry 4.0, Internet of Manufacturing, or smart factory projects. In each case, different approaches were taken that appeared to best fit the project requirements and that would deliver the intended benefits versus the cost and effort investment needed. However, there is no best solution. This article explains why.

Package-on-Package Warpage Characteristics and Requirements

iNEMI organized the Warpage Characteristics of Organic Packages Project to identify primary factors that can contribute to the warpage performance of selected components during typical SMT processes, to better understand package warpage characteristics across different package types and attributes. This article focuses on the work related to package-on-package.

EPC’s Michael de Rooij Discusses Strategic Partnership with Wurth Electronik

Michael de Rooij, PhD, of Efficient Power Conversion Corp. (EPC) talks to I-Connect007 guest editor Kim Sauer about their strategic alliance with Wurth Electronik, how their cooperation works, and how the technology solution they are co-developing can address the wireless power challenge as a whole.

Understanding How EMS Companies View Capital Investment Decisions

One of the great benefits of outsourcing your manufacturing is that it can largely remove the need to continually invest in expensive capital equipment. But when selecting an EMS partner, it is important to take a realistic view of their equipment list. This article explains why.

A New Dispensing Solder Paste for Laser Soldering Technology

A new solder paste of alloy composition of Sn-3.0Ag-0.5Cu in a dispensing way is developed for the automatic laser soldering processes. This paper presents the results of soldering BGA spheres on circuit boards with minimal voiding and no splash or solder balling issues.

How to Overcome Medical Electronics Manufacturing Challenges

There are a lot of things to consider when choosing a medical EMS provider to work with and it is worth taking time to make sure the partner fits your needs. To help you make comparisons between suppliers, this article lists a set of questions to ask to help ensure that the manufacturer you work with has the right experience and expertise for you.


The Pasternack Story

John Farley, director of marketing for Pasternack Enterprises, speaks with I-Connect007's Judy Warner during the recent International Microwave Symposium event about their experience at this year's show. John also discusses the multiple layers of Pasternack's RF products and services and the unique way they do business.

Addressing New Testing & Inspection Challenges

NK Chari, marketing director for manufacturing technologies at the Electronic Industrial Solutions Group of Keysight Technologies, talked about the challenges in PCBA testing and inspection, tougher requirements for testing, and the need for functional testing. He also mentioned some best practices to consider to improve the PCBA testing and inspection process.

Case Study: Achieving Near-Perfect Reads of Data Matrix Codes in PCB Assemblies

The range of Data Matrix marking techniques and PCB materials means that the appearance of marks in PCB assemblies can vary dramatically from one situation to the next. In this case study, each PCB needs to be read at the time of solder inspection so the inspection results can be stored in a database. An integrated solution was developed to reduce the downtime required for opening the inspection machine and manually entering the labels of the PCB assemblies.

I-Connect Survey: Automation or Reducing Process Steps?

In our recent survey, we asked what is more important: automating a process or eliminating process steps. Interestingly, the results are 50-50: half of our respondents say automating a process is more important, while the remaining 50 percent consider eliminating a process step a key strategy.

ITRI’s Wang Talks Future of Soldering and Paste Printing

In an interview with SMT Magazine, Wang Chao, technology manager at UK-based ITRI Ltd, discusses the biggest challenges in solder paste printing, how the solder paste material impacts the process, and the future for soldering and paste printing.

5 Myths About Electronics Manufacturing Outsourcing

OEMs have been outsourcing their electronics manufacturing and test for decades, yet a number of myths relating to outsourcing still remain today. In this article, Neil Sharp tackles some of these myths head on so that anyone considering outsourcing to an EMS provider can base their decision on facts and not fiction.

Selecting a Selective Soldering System, Part 4

In the previous three chapters on selective soldering, Robert Voigt covered the different applications well-suited to this technology, the various types of fluxing and soldering methods available, and nitrogen inerting. In this chapter, he discusses programming software, and how you can figure out the best sequence to optimize production speed.

An Integrated PCB Producer’s Approach to the Market

NCAB Group is one of the biggest PCB suppliers in the world. Barry Matties and Stephen Las Marias recently met with Andy Liu of NCAB to discuss an integrated producer’s approach to the market, new design tools, the current state of the Chinese market, and the future of 3D printed electronics.

Designers Notebook: Specifying Lead-Free Compatible Surface Finish and Coating for Solderability and Surface Protection

A majority of the components furnished for electronic assembly are designed for solder attachment to metalized land patterns specifically designed for each device type. Providing a solder process-compatible surface finish on these land patterns is vital; however, selection of the surface finish on the circuit structure, whether plated or coated, can be greatly influenced by the components’ terminal metalization and the specific alloy composition used for the assembly process.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0): Intelligent Manufacturing

The last industrial revolution was driven by striking advances in electronics and information technology having achieved enormous economic prosperity and manufacturing automation. So what is the fourth industrial revolution and what does it encompass? This article talks about the genesis of the term and the vision for Industry 4.0.


Improving Test and Inspection

In our recent survey on PCBA test and inspection challenges, respondents consider the following to be among their biggest problems: probing to narrower traces and pads; testing boards with smaller and finer features and sizes; dry solder and other solder-related issues; finding sublayer defects; dealing with flat, no-lead components; and testing cycle time. This month, we look into different PCBA test and inspection strategies that address the key challenges in today’s electronics manufacturing and assembly environment.

Conversations with STI Electronics' Dave Raby at IPC IMPACT Washington, D.C.

Dave Raby, president and CEO of EMS firm STI Electronics and an eager participant at this year’s IMPACT Washington, D.C. event, speaks with I-Connect007’s Patty Goldman about his expectations at this year’s conference.

Zentech’s Matt Turpin on IMPACT Washington, D.C.’s Benefits

At the recent IMPACT Washington, D.C. 2016 event in Capitol Hill, Matt Turpin, CEO of EMS firm Zentech discusses with I-Connect007's Patty Goldman his expectations on the event, its importance, and how, so far, it has helped the electronics manufacturing industry in the United States.

Hand Soldering: The Move Toward Automation

At the recent NEPCON event in Shanghai, JBC's Domingo Taberner discussed with I-Connect007's Barry Matties the hand soldering market in China, the move towards automation, the greatest challenges their customers have in soldering, and what to know about choosing the right temperature and tip.

Sensible Design: Coatings—Five Essentials for Designers

In an ideal world, PCB designs would not have an inherent weak point for corrosion; unfortunately, in the real world, they do. When a weak point is revealed, you are better equipped to deal with it. Often the spacing of components, board finish and distance to ground planes can be optimised for corrosion resistance.

A First-Timer's Perspective on IMPACT Washington, D.C. 2016

I-Connect007 editor Patty Goldman speaks with Faisal Pandit, president of Panasonic Factory Solutions Company, during the recent IMPACT Washington D.C. 2016 event. They discuss his experience as a first-time attendee, and his reasons for attending the event this year.

Solder Paste Dispensing: Breaking the Limits of Printing

In an interview with SMT Magazine, Eric Gu, application manager at Nordson Asymtek China, talks about the greatest challenges and innovations in solder paste dispensing, and factors to consider when using solder paste dispensers.

The Reliability Factor in Solder Paste Printing

In an interview with SMT Magazine, Knoll Evangelista of EMS firm EMS Components Assembly Inc. speaks about the solder paste printing challenge, what factors impact the process, and best practices to consider.

To Clean or No Clean?

The addition of a cleaning process to your manufacturing line will amount to an added 5–6 cents per board produced. Mike Konrad of Aqueous Technologies believes that is a small price to pay for the added value, testing, and reduced liability and insurance that a cleaning solution can provide; however, he admits cleaning isn’t for everyone.

Solder Paste Printing: A User’s Perspective

Integrated Micro-Electronics' Joemar Apolinario, Aurelio Bantigue, and Rodney Bebe, discuss the challenges and key considerations to make when dealing with tighter tolerances and finer pitches in line with the continuing miniaturization trend in the electronics manufacturing industry. They also talked about the impact of solder pastes in the printing process, and the criteria for their selection and qualification.


SPI Parameter Considerations for Tighter Tolerances

In an interview with SMT Magazine, Vi Technology’s Jean-Marc Peallat and Chong Choon Hee speak about the solder paste inspection challenges when it comes to tighter tolerances and finer lines and pitches in board assemblies, and the latest innovations happening in the SPI space to help customers address these issues.

The Sum of All Parts: The Fabricator-Assembler Connection

After discussing the relationship between PCB fabricators and those who design the boards (see my previous column ), it is imperative to do the same for the relationship between assemblers and fabricators. This brings about a whole new set of potential complications.

IPC President John Mitchell Discusses IPC's Footprint in China

At the Capital Club in Beijing, IPC’s president John Mitchell met with I-Connect007’s Edy Yu to discuss the current activites of IPC China. Some of the topics covered included the growing China membership, training, trade shows and IPC China’s standards development effort.

Jumping Off the Bandwagon: The Production Engineering Student as Customer

Production, industrial, process, manufacturing engineering, to name a few fields of engineering study, will never be successfully taught on-line. In his latest article, Tom Borkes explains why.

EIPC Summer Conference 2016, Day 1: Strategies to Maintain Profitability in the European PCB Industry

Resplendent in the kilt, EIPC chairman Alun Morgan welcomed a large and enthusiastic gathering of printed circuit professionals from all over Europe and as far afield as the USA, Canada and Russia, to the EIPC Summer Conference 2016 in Edinburgh, Scotland's cosmopolitan capital city.

Creation Technologies on IMPACT Washington, D.C. 2016

Bhawnesh Mathur, president and CEO of contract electronics manufacturer Creation Technologies, shares his thoughts with I-Connect007's Patty Goldman on the benefits of the recent IMPACT Washington D.C. event.

Solder Jet Printing: Keeping Up with the Challenges

In an interview with SMT Magazine, Thomas Bredin, area sales manager at Mycronic, discusses solder paste printing, and how the jet printers are getting up to speed with the challenges such as tighter tolerances and finer lines and pitches. He also talks about key factors to consider when selecting a solder paste printer, and what Mycronic 4.0 is all about.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: ACE's Alan Cable Discusses Benefits of Selective Soldering, and Need for Lead Tinning

Alan Cable, president of ACE Production Technologies, talks to I-Connect007 guest editor Mark Thompson about selective soldering and how it helps electronics assemblers overcome the high cost of labor.

EDA Tools: Automation vs. Control

Stephen V. Chavez, CID+, is currently the lead PCB designer for the Electronic Systems Center division of UTC Aerospace Systems (UTAS). He's also a frequent speaker at the IPC APEX EXPO Design Forum. I caught up with Stephen and asked for his thoughts on the EDA tools of today, and whether he’d prefer to have more control vs. more automation.

Selecting a Selective Soldering System, Part 3

The previous two articles on selective soldering covered the different applications well-suited to this technology, and the various types of fluxing methods available. In this article, Robert Voigt discusses the common types of soldering technologies available, as well as nitrogen inerting systems.


Pad Defined vs. Mask Defined: Which Method is Optimal?

It seems that there is no universal consensus on a seemingly simple choice used in designing electronic circuits. Should the pads on the PCB be defined by the edge of the solder mask opening (mask defined), or should the solder mask opening fall short of the circuit board interconnect (pad or non-solder mask defined)? In this article, SMT Magazine columnist Mitch Holtzer discusses which among the two methods is optimal.

Improving the Solder Paste Printing Cycle Times

At the recent NEPCON China show in Shanghai, I interviewed Adam Sim, senior sales manager at Speedline ITW EAE, about the challenges in solder stencil printing, how printing cycle times may be improved, and the key factors to consider when selecting a solder paste printing solution.

To Bake or Not to Bake (in Rework)—That is the Question

When performing rework on printed circuit boards, the issue of the moisture having to be baked out of the PCB is often debated. Whether it is localized mini-wave rework, hand-soldering or convection rework, the board, as well as neighboring components, needs to be taken into account in terms of moisture protection during the reflow cycle. This article details the baking requirements during PCB rework.

Solder Paste Printing: Challenges and Best Practices

In an interview with SMT Magazine, Watson Tseng, General Manager of Shenmao America Inc., talks about the challenges in solder paste printing, key parameters and best practices to consider, and variables involved when it comes to selecting the appropriate solder paste for the printing process.

The Solder Paste Factor in Printing

Mitch Holtzer, Alpha Assembly Solutions’ global director of customer technical support, and expert columnist at SMT Magazine, talks about the challenges that customers face when it comes to solder paste printing, the impact of solder pastes on the printing process, and the variables involved when selecting the type of solder to use for specific applications.

3D Solder Joint Reconstruction on SMD Based on 2D Images

Solder joint inspection has been a critical issue for quality control, mainly due to their specular reflections. AOI systems have been faced with the same difficulty for solder inspection. This paper presents an algorithm for 3D solder joint reconstruction, which gives 3D analysis capability to the traditional 2D AOI equipment, practically without increasing the financial cost and with no cycle time impact, bringing 2D AOI equipment back into the game of SMT technology.

Solder Paste Exploration

From the manufacturers of solder pastes, to equipment makers, all the way to the solder paste inspection guys, and the electronics assemblers who are using their products, I talked to the supply chain to find out what’s going on in the solder paste printing process, what factors impact the process, the challenges, and the best practices to consider to be able to address those challenges and improve efficiencies and yield in the SMT line.

Flexible Circuit Component Assembly… and a Math Lesson

Flexible circuits are often sold in multiple-up panels or arrays to facilitate the assembly of SMT components. Coordination between the desires of the assembly supplier and the fabricator can have a significant effect on costs based on material/panel utilization.

The Henry Ford Division of Labor Production Model

We are all aware of what the price of assembling a product is based upon: material cost, number of labor hours needed for the product assembly and test, and labor sell rate in dollars per hour. In this article, Tom Borkes writes why the disparity in labor sell rates is still daunting.

Selecting a Selective Soldering System, Part 2

In Part 1, Robert Voigt began a discussion of selective soldering, including how it works, some pros and cons, and several fluxing and soldering options to choose from. This chapter dives a little deeper into the mechanics of fluxing systems.


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