Looking Forward to Day 2


Reading time ( words)

By Carl Wesselmann

This is the fifth in a series of articles about APEX, held January 22-24 in San Diego. It provides a guide to the activities of the second day of the show.

APEX 2002 hits its full stride today as attendance peaks at the various conferences, forums, special events and on the exhibit floor. The following description of APEX 2002's various conferences and panels for today is a roadmap to preserve valuable time and energy. Please refer to the APEX Show Directory to check for cancelled events and/or changed times.

Special Events: a Bonus Keynoter and Service Awards

Although APEX's main activities -- the Technical Conferences, Free Forums and meetings of the Standards Development Committees -- continue into their second day, attendees may want to be on hand for two special sessions:

  • Chris Israel, formerly with AOL Time Warner and now a deputy assistant secretary for technology policy, keynotes today's activities. At 8:30 a.m. he addresses the effect the administration's policies on wireless communications and the Internet will have on electronics manufacturing, as well as the Bush administration's accomplishments in high-tech.
  • The second event is the presentation at noon of dual Service Excellence Awards to assembly equipment and software suppliers and contract manufacturers (CMS). The awards are in recognition of "outstanding performance in customer satisfaction" and are based on overall customer ratings in five areas of service.

Free Forums and Standards Development Meetings Continue

Whereas yesterday's free forum sessions looked hopefully at the prospects for future technologies and the near-term outlook for one of them (optoelectronics), today's meetings seek answers to issues of more immediate urgency.

For example, a forum on lead-free soldering, one of the hottest subjects, will lead off the day in tandem with a panel on training (9 a.m.). The IPC's David Bergman assembles a group of experts from the industry and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in preparation for the commencement of a special study on the impact of tin/lead and various lead-free solders. The emphasis is on project goals and plans for industry involvement. At the same time, EP&P Magazine's Greg Reed introduces a panel to speak on training in the workplace. Consisting of Speedline's Howard Kamens and Joe Belmonte, SMT Plus' Jim Blankenhorn, Lee Neery of Jabil Circuits and Flextronics' Tescha Borgstrom, it will focus on contemporary methods of training including those for teachers and computer- and Internet-based instruction. Usually considered a nonvalue-added activity, workplace training can affect profitability and productivity.

Lead-free processing concerns continue in the morning and afternoon with a panel discussion at 10:45 a.m. Gail Stout, editor-in-chief of SMT Magazine, leads the group on how OEMs and CMs are handling this important issue. On hand also are a national laboratory rep and a materials expert to impart their experiences with lead-free applications. Attendees are encouraged to share their possible "worst-case" problems with a view toward solutions via brainstorming. And at 1:30 p.m., Edwin Bradley, Ph.D., of Motorola introduces results of the National Electronics Manufacturing Initiative (NEMI) special report on lead-free soldering via a panel of its researchers, including John Sohn, Ph.D.; Delphi Delco's Richard Parker; Carol Handwerker, Ph.D., of NIST; and Solectron's Jasbir Bath. NEMI's lead-free project has been a two-year study of reliability, reflow characterization, and the development of a database for modeling.

The all-important Standards Development Meetings resume at 8 a.m. with no less than four concurrent sessions. First, under Assembly and Joining Processes, is Tim Skidmore of Multicore Solders who will gavel the solder paste task group to order. This group is responsible for compiling a handbook on paste testing as well as revising J-STD-005, the standard on solder paste requirements. Next, a task group on Cleaning and Coating gathers under the leadership of Humiseal's John Waryold for revising IPC-CC-830, Qualification and Performance of Electrical Insulating Compound for Printed Board Assemblies. Advancements in these materials together with testing methods are discussed. (This session will continue from 10:15 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. for a review of the Conformal Coating Handbook -- IPC-HDBK-830 -- now under development.) The next two meetings are all-day affairs under the aegis of JEDEC. The first actually is the beginning of a two-day session (ending on Thursday) on reliability testing of ball grid arrays (BGA) and other advanced packages. Intel's Jack McCullen, who leads IPC's task group B-10a and the JEDEC committee for developing J-STD-020 on moisture sensitivity of plastic surface mount devices (SMD), will direct the attention of those interested on Revision B of the standard as well as Revision A to J-STD-033. The fourth session in the morning start-up at 8 a.m. also is a two-day affair (to continue to 5 p.m. on both days) under the Product Assurance category and is concerned with wire harness acceptability. The group, under the leadership of Ralph Hersey of Ralph Hersey & Associates and NASA's Garry McGuire, is in a joint effort with the Wiring Harness Manufacturers Association (WHMA) to develop IPC/WHMA-A-620 for wire harness and cable assembly.

NEMI then enters the Standards Development picture with two concurrent meetings beginning at 9 a.m. and concluding at noon. The first is a session of NEMI's Technology Interest Group on optoelectronics integration. Cookson Performance Solutions' Alan Rae, Ph.D., will chair a discussion on developing plans for implementing this technology in specific projects. Second, Intel's John Cartwright joins NIST's Barbara Goldstein in convening a meeting on both in-house and externally developed factory information systems.

The morning sessions conclude when David Dodgen assembles the Solder Alloy Task Group at 10:15 a.m. It will open discussion on the recently published Revision A of J-STD-006, which covers the joint IPC statement on solder alloys and fluxed and non-fluxed solid solders.

The afternoon Assembly and Joining Process Standards Development meetings begin at 1:30 p.m. when Raytheon Systems' Joe Felty convenes the ISO/IEC Coordination Task Group on soldering materials, which is charged with reconciling international requirements in the standards. Also at 1:30 p.m. for Process Control, Patricia Goldman of PPG Industries and L. Samantha Walley of Raytheon will prompt the subcommittee on IPC-PE-740A to discuss its revision. This is the handbook on troubleshooting PCB manufacture and assembly. Next, under Cleaning and Coating, the Solder Mask Performance Task Group assembles at 3:30 p.m. to discuss updating IPC-SM-848. Chaired by Roger Landolt of Enthone-OMI, the group is responsible for setting the standard on qualifying the performance of permanent polymer coatings for PCBs. And finally, from 4:30 to 6 p.m., Nick Lycoudes of Motorola SPS starts the JEDEC committee on the quality and reliability of solid-state products. A by-invitation-only meeting, it will review where the JEDEC 14 subcommittees now stand on this subject.

The Technical Conferences

The subject of Lead-free Technology is a global one and it is with that perspective that these sessions are assembled. On Tuesday, Jennie Hwang, Ph.D., author and entrepreneur, led the discussions on how this relatively new technology is affecting components, finishes, materials and assembly processes. She now returns to introduce instruction on how it is influencing test and rework.

One important facet of lead-free processing is the need to cope with the higher temperatures required by leadless solder alloys. "New" residues are created that may or may not be compatible with popular no-clean practices. And what about test and rework? What changes, if any, are imminent? Three presenters will probe these questions beginning at 9 a.m.

Karen Tellefsen, Ph.D., of Alpha-Fry Technologies leads with a discussion of lead-free solder pastes and whether operators can expect sufficient penetration when probing during in-circuit testing (ICT). It is followed by the presentation of a paper on rework of lead-free surface mount components by Arun Gowda of State University of New York. Last, K. Srihari, Ph.D., State University of New York, turns to surface mount components and how they require special handling when reworking them.

Paul Wang, Ph.D., of Sun Microsystems then takes over the chair for the final sessions in this category, starting at 10:45 a.m. He likewise introduces three presenters concerned with the urgent factor of reliability of lead-free assemblies.

Yun Zhang, Ph.D., of Lucent Technologies leads both parts of a discussion of an old problem that now becomes new, i.e., whisker growth during solder processing with alloys containing tin. Finally, Gerard Minogue, Ph.D., Alpha Metals, gets down to specifics with a discussion of the effects on both Sn/Pb and lead-free BGA solder joints when subjected to heat stresses and aging.

The marriage of photonics and electronics, called Optoelectronics, is a field that promises and demands much. The products that are contemplated using this technology are staggering in their imagination, so much so that they are seen to create a seminal change in the industry. This makes today's and Thursday's conferences a must-attend for designers and assemblers.

Two afternoon meetings, beginning at 1:30 and 3:15 p.m., are both headed by Alan Rae, Ph.D., of Cookson Performance Solutions. The first, dealing with optoelectronics issues, will present two papers on the practical concerns of optical component assembly and the successful production of assemblies. John Rukavina, Ph.D., of Plexus discusses cost containment in which it is revealed that time and cost reductions by a factor of 10 are required. Stanford Acomb of Manufacturers' Services Ltd. then follows with a presentation on the considerations to be faced in producing reliable optoelectronics products.

Rae remains on hand to chair the 3:15 p.m. session, which is concerned with fiber (optics) management. Bjorn Karlsson, Ph.D., of Solectron Sweden leads off in a discussion on yield improvement possibilities by means of changing to a cleanroom environment for assembly. Next, Tatiana Berdinskikh, Ph.D., of Celestica Canada investigates how contamination of optical connectors and laser-source modules can affect assembly, which then clears the way for presentation of the final paper, by Siemens' Peter Demmer. His subject is how latest optoelectronics interconnect technology on PCBs is performing.

The third "conference within a conference," that of Test/Inspection and Quality, receives its complete treatment today in all-day presentations of no less than 13 papers.

At 9 a.m., Jana Knezovich of Agilent Technologies introduces three papers on case studies in automated optical inspection (AOI). What is the experience of AOI in high-volume assembly? Sundra Raj of Solectron Malaysia is first to answer in a discussion on PCB manufacture. Ana de Marco del Pozo of Manufacturers' Services-Spain follows by presenting a review of a two-year study of AOI performance in a CM setting, which is contrasted with Tellabs' Eric Siegler's discussion of the selection and implementation of AOI in an OEM environment.

Under the banner of test and inspection strategies, CR Technology's Colin Charette introduces another block of three presentations at 10:45 a.m. Dealing with the decisions a facility must make when building a QA program, the first is concerned with automated X-ray and how this technology can be continually improved. Then Tracy Ragland of Agilent Technologies talks about the effectiveness of various test procedures and suggests a specific metric for measuring same. Panasonic Factory Automation's Tom Hunt is last with a focus on AOI and SMT manufacturing with a goal of eliminating ICT without harming quality and reliability.

Alternate inspection strategies is the subject at 1:30 p.m. when Mike Smith of GenRad chairs the presentation of three papers that seek to correlate the creation of solder paste faults with their correction. One method is statistical process control (SPC), which is the technique of the first presenter, GSI Lumonics' Doreen Tan, who describes its application in the implementation of AOI for a CM. Another is a simple case study of a specific paste inspection program as described by Stig Oresjo of Agilent Technologies. And the third, by Graeme Struthers of Solectron Scotland, tells about that installation's combined use of AOI and automated X-ray.

The last session of four papers is concerned with "improved" test processes and is introduced by Gordon LaPorte of Teradyne at 3:15 p.m. ICT is the method of choice for most assemblers but, at the same time, is recognized for its limitations and nagging high cost. Agilent's Glen Leinbach leads off, discussing six case studies that showed more defects shipped than expected and what to do about it. Next, GenRad's Kevin Paton uncovers the special challenges of Ethernet testing; followed by a paper on the effectiveness of ICT on BGA solder joint reliability testing, given by L. Gopalakrishnan of Ciena Corp. The last word on this subject falls to Amit Verma of GenRad who tackles the very real problem of limited ICT access on modern (i.e., crowded) PCBs.

The most comprehensive of technical conferences rightly deals with Electronics Assembly. The 12 meetings on Tuesday concerning this activity now continue with seven additional sessions, which cover such vital activities as component placement, cleaning, reworking and materials/solderability.

Moisture-sensitive components and coating materials are the subjects of concern at the morning's opening meetings. Martin Goetz, Ph.D., of Alpine Microsystems opens the doors at 9 a.m. to those interested in environmental conditions during SMT assembly. The "conditions" might be elevated temperatures, which for moisture-sensitive devices (MSD) can be fatal during reflow. The three papers on this subject are concerned with automated process systems as exampled by case studies.

The lead paper, presented by Francois Monette of Cogiscan, informs on automatic tracking of MSDs, after which Steve Martell of Sonoscan reveals experiences with acoustic micro imaging (AMI) as an assessment of component damage during lead-free processing. The last paper gets down to an actual case study: Jean Lamontagne of C-MAC Electronic Systems details the benefits and cost savings that may be expected when MSD processing is under "improved" control.

For coating materials, Dow Corning's Barry Ritchie calls together three presenters to discuss the coatings families and how they have assumed a heightened importance in preventing a formidable failure mode: electromigration.

Manfred Suppa of Lackwerke Peters GmbH + Co. KG leads off with a provocative challenge ("Are Coating Materials and 'Fast' Processes a Contradiction?"), which he will attempt to resolve. Following is Westin Bent of Alpha Metals with a challenge of his own: how conformal coating materials can be evaluated for reducing the rate of conductive anodic filament formation. Last is Michael Reighard of Asymtek/Nordson, who discusses some of the more practical applications in process control of the conformals.

At 10:45 a.m., the subjects of placement equipment and underfill materials take over in concurrent meetings. For the first, chairman Jeff Kennedy of Manufacturers' Services directs attention to basic considerations when purchasing this most important hardware. They include a means to characterize SMD placements based on movement relationships of the functions required (particularly for 0201 components), plus a sharing of processing strategies for high-speed processing.

The three-paper presentations begin with a discussion of board design by Flextronics' Mei Wang, who reveals an assembly process evaluation for placing 0201 devices on PCBs. Next, Paul Houston of Siemens Dematic Electronics Assembly Systems focuses on his company's experiences with high-speed handling of these minute components. It is followed by Sjef van Gastel's (Assembleon Netherlands) characterization of a specific machine concept for SMD placements.

On the subject of underfill materials, the university experience assumes the spotlight. R. Wayne Johnson, Ph.D., of Auburn University--CAVE assembles three presenters under the sponsorship of IMAPS, whose purpose is to survey the possibility of eliminating the traditional capillary process for underfilling flip chips.

Yan Zhou of Loctite talks about comparative properties of optically clear epoxy encapsulants. Next, Loctite's Larry Crane, Ph.D., reveals the development of a "reworkable" fluxing underfill for direct chip attach (DCA) devices. The third paper, by Michael Previti of Cookson Semiconductor Packaging Materials, then discusses what progress has been realized toward a lead-free, no-flow underfill material.

Two concurrent meetings -- under the headings of Cleaning and Improving EMS/Supply Chain Productivity --kick off the afternoon meetings at 1:30 p.m. Bill Barthel of Plexus Corp. heads a three-paper discussion on the ever-changing cleaning requirements engendered by ongoing miniaturization. And, of course, lead-free processing plays an important role.

The sessions begin with a talk on a basic step: surface mount cleaning process optimization, by Mike Bixenman of Kyzen Corp. It is followed by Petroferm's Beth Bivins and Julie Wadford, who reveal the latest innovations in cleaning lead-free solder paste residues, which then leads to a familiar question, posed by Andreas Muhlbauer, Ph.D., of Zestron Corp.: "Why Clean No-clean?"

Todd Woods of Plexus Corp. also introduces a three-paper parlay, on improving productivity in a CM setting. This is a main consideration for OEMs when deciding on outsourcing options and, hence, a competitive factor for the manufacturer. The papers stress "tools" and systems available to improve advantages.

Universal Instruments' Prashant Vithlani leads off with a discussion of the special productivity aspects of PCB assembly in a high-mix environment. Speedline Global Services' Joe Belmonte then displays a guide, or means, of evaluating one's manufacturing operation. Kevin Moynihan of Manufacturers' Services concentrates on getting global efficiency from supply chain compression.

Ray Prasad of the Ray Prasad Consultancy Group and Flextronics' Sammy Yi will convene the final sessions on assembly, at 3:15 p.m. Four presenters are lined up by Prasad to discuss the effect of wireless devices on material selection, usage and processing.

Celestica's Jackie Csonka-Peeren leads off with a discussion on what effect no-clean flux residues have at RF frequencies. This then leads into Maryellen Queen's of Cookson Performance Solutions paper on the material requirements of commercial high-frequency circuits, followed by Michael Liberatore's, Ph.D., of Alpha-Fry Technologies talk on the RF characteristics of fluxes and other materials. The last paper of the day in this session belongs to Charles Patterson of Manufacturers' Services.

Chris Andrews of SMTC Manufacturing explains a role for programmable devices in equipment deployment, followed by two papers on improving productivity. The first, by Darren Wall of Manufacturers' Services, proposes how simulation of various surface mount equipment and operator deployments can improve quotation accuracy. The second, by Ronald Lasky, Ph.D., of Indium Corp. proposes the use of a convenient, low-cost throughput estimator for surface mount assembly.

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