Article Highlights
Demand Forecasting: The Art of Knowing What You Need Before You Need It
08/17/2018 | Patty Rasmussen, East West Manufacturing
5 Supply Chain Questions to Ask Your Assembly Partner
08/16/2018 | Neil Sharp, JJS Manufacturing
Cross Functional Teams Drive Strong Focus on Risk Mitigation and Quality
08/15/2018 | Sandy Kolp, Firstronic
Best Practices to Achieve Zero Defects
08/14/2018 | Stephanie Weaver, Zentech Manufacturing Inc.
We Have the Best Practice for That
08/13/2018 | Stephen Las Marias, I-Connect007

Latest Articles

KIC’s MB Allen to Present ‘Industry 4.0 the Next Industrial Revolution – The Smart Factory’

KIC announced that MB (Marybeth) Allen will present at the SMTA Capital Expo & Tech Forum, scheduled to take place Thursday, August 23, 2018 at the John Hopkins University/Applied Physics Lab in Laurel, Maryland.

Demand Forecasting: The Art of Knowing What You Need Before You Need It

Forecasting is a skill born out of experience, intuition, and most of all, knowledge. But what do you need to know when you’re creating an accurate demand forecast? What data is needed? Are there tools you can use? Where do you start? Find out here.

5 Supply Chain Questions to Ask Your Assembly Partner

A key question for any OEM who may be considering outsourcing production is whether to maintain its existing supply chain or to hand those crucial purchasing decisions over to its assembly partner. This article highlights five questions to ask a potential assembly partner before handing over the responsibility for your supply chain management.

Cross Functional Teams Drive Strong Focus on Risk Mitigation and Quality

Having a traditional cross-functional team (CFT) approach, with a much larger CFT group that includes a tactically focused program manager, a strategically focused account director, a buyer, a product engineer, a process engineer, a test engineer, a quality engineer, a production supervisor or lead person, and a customer service representative focused on materials and scheduling, will help EMS firms govern all the necessary outputs associated with each customer.

Best Practices to Achieve Zero Defects

To ensure that a complex electronics build can be completed on time, on budget and with zero defects, here is a list of checks and balances that will help you with adjustments or corrections real time, instead of discovering them at the end of the build or worse, when it's already arrived at the end user.

We Have the Best Practice for That

Most best practices have been developed over time, based on the many different experiences that people encounter in the manufacturing line. And it is important to institute these best practices to make sure that your processes will result in outstanding job at the end of the day.

Strategies for Choosing Solder Paste for Successful Electronics Assembly

One common question from solder customers is, "How do I test and evaluate new solder pastes?" Although that seems like it should be a straightforward question with an easy answer, this could not be further from the truth. This article tells more about this, and how to best select solder pastes for your product.

How Investment in Staff Well-Being Impacts Manufacturing Productivity

As manufacturers seek to address the challenges of increasing efficiency, there's a greater emphasis on the value of high-performance working practices such as Lean manufacturing. But the emphasis on continual quality improvement processes can also have an indirect effect on employee health and well-being. Here's why manufacturers should invest in the well-being of its employees.

Alpha's Revolutionary Approach to Low-Temp Soldering

In an interview with I-Connect007, Morgana Ribas discusses the new technology on low-temperature solder that she has developed at Alpha Assembly Solutions. She also talks about why there is a need for a low-temperature process and the benefits it offers.

Factronix on Cleaning, the Market and More

Stefan Theil, product manager at Factronix, discusses the growing need for cleaning in European electronics manufacturing and the demands he's facing from customers when it comes to finer pitches, automation, and environmental concerns.


AXI 4.0 in a Smart Factory Environment

Outstanding quality is vital to be able to survive the fierce competition between contract manufacturers. Here's how one EMS provider address inspection challenges and board complexities to ensure the quality and reliability of their PCB assemblies.

How DFA Converts Complexity into Freedom for Medical Device Development

The assembly of medical devices comprising electronic and mechanical components has become an increasing challenge as devices grow more complex, functional and compact, and as they undergo increasingly frequent product refresh cycles. Read on to find assembly techniques that will help manufacturers to deliver highly engineered and integrated products.

IMPACT Washington D.C., 2018 with Juki Automation’s Bill Astle

I-Connect007's Patty Goldman caught up with Juki Automation’s Bill Astle during a luncheon on the last day of IMPACT Washington D.C., 2018. As a first-time attendee, Bill came away feeling like he made the right connections with key members of Congress, and he looks forward to returning to the event in the future.

Evaluating the Impact of Powder Size and Stencils on Solder Paste Transfer Efficiency

Building upon an earlier study that focused on solder paste powder size, room-temperature aging and PCB pad and aperture designs, this study continues to investigate powder mesh size, but also examines stencil surface treatments and stencil foil tension.

Flex Circuit Assembly: Challenges and Strategies for Success

The flexible printed circuit market is on track for growth. But dealing with flex circuits during assembly is very different from rigid PCBs. This article highlights some of the assembly challenges when working with flex circuits, and strategies to address them.

Novel Approach to Void Reduction Using Microflux Coated Solder Preforms

Shrinking QFN package sizes and power requirements are driving new developments in micro-fluxed preform. Learn what factors contribute to an optimal solution.

Addressing Temperature Challenges in Flex Circuit Rework

Zen Lee and Michael Gouldsmith of Thermaltronics discuss the challenges of flex circuit assemblies during the rework process, the power-on-demand feature of smarter hand soldering systems, as well as how Curie Point helps operators avoid temperature overshoots during rework.

I-Connect007 Survey Shows Rising Use of Flex and Rigid-Flex

In our recent survey on flex and rigid-flex circuits, the majority of our respondents indicated an increase in their use of flex and rigid-flex technologies in their designs, indicating a continued shift in flex technology usage. We bring you the survey details here.

Conversation with… Vexos: Doing It Right the First Time

Harry Chan, Deputy GM and VP Manufacturing for EMS firm Vexos Shenzhen, is responsible for all aspects of manufacturing through continuous process improvement, production management, and development of manufacturing talent and teams. In an interview with SMT007 Magazine, he shared the challenges when dealing with flexible circuit assemblies, and strategies and techniques to address them.

Plasmatreat on Atmospheric Pressure Plasma

At the recent SMT Hybrid Packaging 2018 event held in Nuremberg, Germany, I-Connect007's Barry Matties sat down with Nico Coenen, global business development manager of Plasmatreat, for a discussion on Plasmatreat's atmospheric pressure plasma (AP plasma) treatment process and its various applications in the electronics industry.


Overcoming Growth Challenges

Growth is usually seen by manufacturers as a good thing—a sign of success and a result of hard work. But if this growth isn’t planned for, or the manufacturer can’t react in time, growth can cause the same devastating results as if the business was in decline. This article looks at seven common areas that can cause manufacturers a headache when their business is growing, along with solutions to help ease the pain.

Tackling Reliability Challenges in Low-Temperature Soldering

William Yu, senior technical services manager for Alpha Assembly Solutions, recently shared with I-Connect007 the challenges when it comes to the reliability of low-temperature solder pastes, and soldering strategies to overcome these issues.

Nearing Retirement, Juki's Bob Black Reflects on a Long Career

After more than 40 years in the electronics manufacturing industry, Juki's Bob Black is nearing retirement. Bob sat down with Barry Matties at the recent SMT Hybrid Packaging show in Nuremberg to reflect on his career and talk about the importance of strategic partnerships, even if that means playing nice with your competitors.

ASM Assembly Solutions on CFX

ASM Assembly Solutions was one of the 30+ companies participating in IPC's CFX (Connected Factory Exchange) showcase at the recent SMT Hybrid Packaging show in Nuremberg, Germany. In this interview, ASM's Thomas Marktscheffel shared his perspective on CFX and its current challenges, and dispelled the notion that CFX might be a cookie-cutter approach to the smart factory.

Reflow Perspectives to Flex Circuit Assemblies

At the recent NEPCON China 2018 event in Shanghai, I spoke with Ralf Wagenfuehr, plant manager at Rehm Thermal Systems, to gain insight into flex circuit assembly, and the challenges of reflow soldering. He also speaks about the need for industry forums focused on soldering flex printed circuits.

Is There an End in Sight to the Electronic Components Crisis?

As new and innovative technology continues to evolve on a daily basis, the need for electronic components has reached unprecedented levels, with passive manufacturers in particular among those struggling to cope with demand. Electronic component shortages are now such an issue that many OEMs are predicting their forecasted growth for 2018-2019 will be thwarted if they are unable to source the parts they need.

Conversation with Miraco… Strategies for Successful Flex Circuit Assembly

Jason Michaud, a 19-year veteran at Miraco Inc., is the company’s new vice president of sales. In an interview with SMT007 Magazine, Jason speaks about the factors driving the increasing utilization of flexible printed circuits, the challenges in flex circuit assembly, and the best practices to address those issues.

Aegis on CFX and Hermes Efforts

The Connected Factory Exchange (CFX) specification is truly revolutionizing the PCB industry. Michael Ford, from Aegis Software, met with I-Connect007's Barry Matties for an interview during the SMT Hybrid Packaging show in Nuremberg, Germany, to discuss the impact of this collaborative effort, and how it differs from the Hermes Standard.

DFM: Top Ten PCB Concerns

DFM—design for manufacturability—is a critically important but often ignored aspect of the PCB design process that directly impacts product quality and reliability. This article will discuss the top 10 DFM concerns that should be part of any design review process.

Tackling the Challenges in Flex Assembly

Apart from the design and manufacturing of flex printed circuits, a critical challenge that needs attention is assembly. Their flexible nature requires specific strategies for paste printing, chip mounting, soldering—whether reflow, wave, or hand—and rework/repair processes. Which is why the June 2018 issue of SMT007 Magazine looks into the many challenges in flex circuit assembly and highlight some of the strategies, techniques and best practices to help assemblers deal with flex circuit issues.


High School Team's Robotics Entry on Spotlight at Wisconsin Expo & Tech Forum

In May, I took the opportunity to drive around Lake Michigan and visit the SMTA Milwaukee Chapter’s Wisconsin Expo & Tech Forum. Held at the Crowne Plaza Milwaukee Airport Hotel, this was a well-organized and attended table-top expo and technical forum, with over 60 exhibitors, and a high school team with their FIRST Robotics entry.

Dave Bergman on IPC and CFX

The recent SMT Hybrid Packaging show in Nuremberg, Germany, marked the second opportunity for IPC to showcase its new Connected Factory Exchange (CFX) initiative. In this interview, David Bergman, VP for international relations at IPC, tells us more on the overall reception of CFX and the benefits users are seeing thus far. He also provides an update on what’s next for the open source standard.

The Value of Site Visits in Selecting Your Electronics Manufacturer

A site visit can be an invaluable exercise in helping you to better understand your electronics manufacturing services (EMS) outsourcing options and to see first-hand the operational capability, procedures and culture of a prospective EMS partner.

West Penn SMTA: New Leadership, Same Commitment

SMTA's new chapter president, Jason Emes, a quality engineer with Pennatronics Corporation enthusiastically discussed with I-Connect007's Patty Goldman the latest goings-on with this Keystone State chapter. He also spoke about his plans and initiatives for the SMTA West Penn Chapter.

It’s Time to Retire ROSE Testing

Over the last two to three years, there has been considerable discussion within various IPC committees about the role of the ROSE test in today's assembly environment. The transition from predominantly water wash processes to "no clean" has meant the advent of very different flux compositions. The question has been posed as to whether the ROSE test is still a viable option for evaluating PCB and PCBA cleanliness.

Seeing Clearly: XR Headsets and Flex’s Reference Design at AWE

At this year’s CES, they announced the launch of an extended reality (XR) reference design for the next generation of XR headsets. As the “sketch-to-scale” solutions provider, as they describe themselves, that designs and builds “intelligent products for a connected world,” they have now introduced an augmented reality (AR or, as we now call it, XR) reference design to reduce time to market for companies wishing to make and market XR devices.

The Michigan SMTA Expo & Tech Forum 2018: A Review

In May, I had the adventure of driving across Michigan to visit the SMTA Michigan Expo & Tech Forum. This well-organized and attended expo and technical forum featured over 75 exhibitors and two interesting presentations. Read on.

DFT Strategy Needed for 5G Assembly

Mathieu Kury of Asteelflash USA Corp. provides an overview of 5G, the opportunities in the market, and how it will impact the electronics manufacturing industry. He also discusses the key challenges from an EMS standpoint and how to become successful when 5G really arrives.

How to Apply for a Graduate Scheme in Manufacturing

There are a whole host of benefits which make graduate schemes within the UK manufacturing industry a popular career choice. You get paid while you train, you gain invaluable on-the-job experience within your chosen sector, you develop a breadth of new technical and business skills and there’s an opportunity to continue your academic studies while you work.

5G: Testing the Future Impact

The impending arrival of 5G is not without its entourage of challenges that will require a different approach in the electronics manufacturing process. One that is already impacting the electronics manufacturers and assemblers is the testing of the devices. Industry analyst firm Occams Business Research Consulting expects the global 5G network infrastructure market to register a 70% CAGR from 2016 to 2023 and reach up to $28 billion by the end of the forecast period. North America is the leading market for 5G network.


Enabling an Intelligent Supply Chain for Electronics Manufacturing

The first three industrial revolutions came about because of mechanization, electricity and IT. Now, with the advent of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and services making their way into the manufacturing environment, we are seeing the arrival of a fourth industrial revolution, Industry 4.0.

Key Insights from the Annual Manufacturing Report 2018

UK Manufacturing would appear to be experiencing both an exciting and a disconcerting time, according to the findings of the Annual Manufacturing Report 2018. This year's report set out not just to provide a statistical snapshot of the industry, but to test the mood of manufacturers across a range of issues from technology to training.

Newbie in North Carolina: Local SMTA Event

I-Connect007's Jonathan Zinski attended the SMTA Carolinas Expo and Tech Forum on May 15. Featuring numerous local companies who do not do not always attend larger trade shows, the event offered great value, with its smaller environment contributing to more in-depth conversations.

5G Requires a New Approach to Testing

The industry will be deploying 5G at millimeter wave frequencies between 28 and 40GHz, with significantly wider bandwidths than the current instrumentation. And the rules about how you design a test fixture, or conduct testing of those products is changing. In this article, National Instrument's David Hall explains.

Jigar Patel on ZESTRON’s Reliability Solutions for Class 3 Assemblies

At the SMTA West Penn Expo, I had a chance to discuss a paper presented by Jigar Patel, senior application engineer at ZESTRON. Jigar explained some of the cleaning challenges with newer components and how ZESTRON helps optimize cleaning processes for their customers.

Why Cleaning Still Matters

Paco Solis, lead investigator at Foresite Inc., speaks with I-Connect007 about why cleaning is more important now, the common pitfalls and misconceptions in cleaning, and strategies to consider to ensure reliable PCB assemblies.

The Value of a Global Sourcing Partner

In today's highly competitive environment, global sourcing is no longer a competitive strategy; it is a standard practice. But the challenges of developing a robust domestic PCB supply chain is daunting enough that moving onto the international stage presents a whole new degree of difficulty that most companies are not equipped to manage.

Conversation with… Keysight: Challenges and Opportunities in Testing 5G

Roger Nichols, 5G program manager at test and measurement provider Keysight Technologies Inc., discusses the opportunities that 5G will enable, the many challenges facing electronics manufacturers when it comes to 5G, and how they are helping the industry address these issues.

The Key to Boosting Numbers of Women in Manufacturing

According to latest figures by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the split between male and female employees in UK's manufacturing industry is significant—with men accounting for 76% of the total manufacturing workforce and women making up just 24%. So, what exactly is being done to encourage the recruitment, and retention, of more women within the UK manufacturing environment?

Modeling an SMT Line to Improve Throughput

One of the major challenges for an electronics assembly manufacturing engineer is determining how an SMT machine will impact throughput. Typically, an SMT equipment supplier will ask for a few products to simulate the throughput capability of their machine. Unfortunately, if the engineer works in a high-mix, low-volume environment, he may need to know the impact of a new machine on 1,000 or more products.


Elements to Consider on BGA Assembly Process Capability

As a cutting-edge technology applied in SMT assembly, BGA packages have quickly become a significant selection to conform to fine pitch and ultrafine pitch technology, achieving high-density interconnection with a reliable assembly technology provided, which leads to the increasingly more applications of this type of package.

RTW NEPCON China: Armada Discusses Impact of Auto Electrification on PCB Assembly

At the recent NEPCON China 2018, Klaus Schubert, managing director of Armada, speaks about the increasing electrification in cars and how this is impacting the PCB assembly processes, and in particular, the solder paste printing.

8 Terms Commonly Used When Buying Electronic Components

As a buyer of electronic components, I've taken for granted just how many terms are used on a daily basis during the procurement process. Here's a quick guide explaining what some of the more common terms used when buying electronic components actually mean.

LPKF Sees Increasing Use of UV Lasers

Julian Rose, product manager for the UV and stencil laser machines of LPKF, discusses with I-Connect007 Managing Editor Stephen Las Marias the challenges in laser stencils and strategies and techniques to address them, and the increasing use of UV lasers.

Launching a Manufacturing Career Via an Apprenticeship

Deciding on the right career path within manufacturing, and the best route to take to make those dreams a reality, can sometimes seem a daunting prospect for young people considering their options. Joining apprenticeships combine the opportunity for on-the-job training with classroom learning, but exactly what you learn depends on the role you're training for.

RTW NEPCON China: Christian Koenen Stencil Technologies Ensure First Pass Yields

At the recent NEPCON China 2018 event in Shanghai, Michael Zahn, development manager for Christian Koenen GmbH, explains how stencil technologies can improve the solder paste printing process and ensure first pass yields.

The Survey Said: Industry Optimistic After Strong 2017

During recent trade shows and conferences, we spoke with a variety of fabricators and assembly providers. They had one thing in common: Every company achieved strong growth in 2017, and shared a positive outlook about the future. This year, the industry is optimistic, driven by positive economic outlook, growing customer demand, and new technologies and vertical markets, among others.

3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing in PCBA

There are several materials that are available for 3D printing for various engineering uses. Various vendors offer over hundreds of different materials that are either specific to an application or to a specific desired characteristic. For this study, eight materials that are regularly used for engineering applications were evaluated and characterized to determine which can be used in PCB processes.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Indium's Brook Sandy-Smith on PMI-Squared

Indium Corporation's Brook Sandy-Smith discusses ionic process residues on PCB assemblies and introduces the concept of "PMI-squared" (process material interaction investigation), the topic of an IPC Technical Buzz Session at IPC APEX EXPO 2018.

Combining Strengths Synergistically: PDS and Green Circuits

Power Design Services (PDS) and Green Circuits have just announced their merger. I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties recently sat down with Joe O’Neil and Matthew Becker of PDS, along with Ted Park of Green Circuits, to get the full scoop.


RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Inspection Technology Developments

Brian D'Amico, president of Mirtec Corp., speaks with I-Connect007 Technical Editor Pete Starkey about the challenges of miniaturization, increasing component density, and the shadowing of small components by taller ones, and how Mirtec has developed its inspection technology to ensure they remain at the leading edge.

Under the Hood: Solder Joint Reliability

It has been long established that packages using NSMD BGA pads were more resilient than ones with SMD pads to fatigue-induced solder joint cracks. However, NSMD pads in previous investigations on 292MAPBGA and 416PBGA packages failed sooner in AATS testing due to an alternate failure mode: substrate Cu trace cracks. This article looks into the effects of substrate material and package pad design on solder joint reliability of 0.8 mm pitch BGA.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Koh Young Discusses New Equipment and Data Challenges

Joel Scutchfield, Americas Sales Manager for Koh Young, discusses the company's latest inspection equipment and some of the challenges of providing customers the data they need for the real achievement of smart factory realization.

How to Secure a Place on an Electronics Manufacturing Graduate Scheme

The world of EMS is a fast-moving and technologically innovative sector that can offer a wide range of compelling career opportunities for new graduates. For those seeking a route into the electronics manufacturing industry, a graduate scheme can be hugely beneficial in gaining practical, first-hand experience of an EMS business across all its operations.

Zestron Opens Technical Center in Taiwan

Zestron on Wednesday, May 16, launched a new technical center in Hsinchu, Taiwan. With the opening of this new technical center, the company now owns a total of eight globally linked technical support facilities throughout the world.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Michael Ford Speaks About Aegis' Role in CFX

At the recent IPC APEX EXPO 2018 trade show in San Diego, California, Michael Ford, European marketing director, discusses his work with Aegis Software and the reaction of attendees who witnessed the Connected Factory Exchange (CFX) demo.

RTW NEPCON CHINA: Mycronic Discusses Recent Acquisitions

At the recent NEPCON China 2018 event, Thomas Stetter, senior vice president for assembly solutions at Mycronic AB, speaks about the company's recent acquisitions and how it helped the company expand into different areas in the electronics assembly industry.

RTW NEPCON CHINA: OK International Highlights Need for Smarter Systems

At the recent NEPCON China 2018 tradeshow in Shanghai, Steven Fang, director of sales for Asia at OK International, speaks about the challenges their customers face when it comes to hiring skilled operators, which warrants the need for smarter systems and tools.

System-Driven Approach Ensures Automotive Electronics Assembly Success

In an interview with SMT007 Magazine, Mathieu Kury, business development manager at Asteelflash USA Corp., talks about the new challenges and customer requirements when it comes to automotive electronics assembly, trends driving the growth of the market, and where the industry is headed.

On Globalization and Standards

Like a language—English, Chinese, Hindi, German, Spanish, French—a standard builds a bridge between people. "If I make this sound, we both understand that it means this. If I write this symbol, we both understand that means that. If I perform this action, we both understand the gesture."


RTW NEPCON CHINA: Rehm Discusses Reflow Strategies to Reduce Voiding

At the recent NEPCON China 2018 event in Shanghai, Ralf Wagenfuehr, plant manager at Rehm Thermal Systems in China, speaks with I-Connect007’s Stephen Las Marias about their latest advancements in reflow oven technology, as well as on strategies to reduce voiding.

Vehicle Electrification: Disrupting the Automotive Industry and Beyond

Around the globe, governments are announcing mandates that will bring about the demise of the internal combustion engine. China has led the charge by requiring 8% of new vehicles on the road to be “new energy” or zero emission vehicles in 2018, up from the current 2–3% on the road today. Similar strong government regulations limiting the future of the internal combustion engine have passed around the world, and the importance and growth of the hybrid and fully electric automobile industry can’t be overstated.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Heraeus Discusses Developments at New Lab

Jim Wertin, technical sales manager at Heraeus Electronics, shares news about the company's latest product offerings, as well as its newly established application laboratory, which helps customers and potential customers resolve production issues and improve the quality of their products.

CFX: The Next Step Toward the Future of Factories

For the past two to three years, almost every exhibitor in almost every trade show focused on the electronics manufacturing industry has an "Industry 4.0 Compatible" sign in their booth. As of today, the best question to ask is, "Compatible with what?" There has really been no standard yet developed toward this goal, and Industry 4.0 has been just a buzz word.

Electronic Component Shortages are Real

The electronic component market is in poor shape (again) and the sooner you face this fact, the sooner you can put plans in place to mitigate the risk to your business. Electronic component shortages are once again causing OEMs and EMS providers a real headache. Here's a look at the current state of the market, and seven ways in which you can work closely with your EMS provider to make the best out of a bad situation.

How the Factory Ecosystem Positively Drives Exponential Value

In today's factories, the output must far exceed the accumulative performance of each machine to stay competitive. No machine or process is an island—they must form ecosystems. The trend towards extreme automation and the smart factory leads to ever more connectivity and interdependence.

What's the Scoop? APEX CFX Showcase

The IPC Connected Factory Exchange (CFX) demo at the recent IPC APEX EXPO 2018 trade show in San Diego, California, is a great example of industry collaboration. The CFX Showcase at APEX had 245,000 CFX website page views; 701,200 CFX messages transmitted; and 664.5 million bytes of data exchanged; and the whole thing was pulled together in a matter of weeks. Here's what the participants in the program have got to say.

SMT Renting: A Trend for the Future?

You may have heard the name Martin Ziehbrunner before: he cofounded the equipment company Essemtec AG in 1992. He left the company in 2013, and soon he'd cofounded another SMT company, but with a twist. SMT Renting specializes in renting SMT equipment with an operational lease, primarily for the European market. In this interview, he explains how his latest company is challenging the normal way of acquiring SMT capital equipment.

Solving Reliability and Thermal Management Challenges in Automotive Electronics

Paul Salerno, global portfolio manager for SMT assembly solutions at Alpha Assembly Solutions, discusses the growing automotive electronics industry, its impact on the soldering materials business, and how Alpha helps customers address the new challenges and requirements in the automotive market.

The Climate Change of Data

From a typical manufacturing standpoint, cloud storage is simply another way or place in which to put data. From a usage perspective, many see it as being no different from an on-site server or even the external hard disk on your laptop. Off-site cloud storage is vast and can easily be cost effective, requiring no maintenance or fixed overhead other than paying the service bills. There are, however, a couple of very important things to consider with cloud storage.


Poor Supply Chain Management Will Cost You Money

Supply chain management goes far beyond merely keeping track of all the SKUs currently on sale. It also means tracking the parts going into the products, since those parts are also potentially going to be used for post-sale support if necessary. If you can't trust your components to be legitimate and trustworthy, backed by a solid chain-of-possession, then every aspect of your electronics operation may be in jeopardy.

Industry 4.0 Concerns

The fastest way for manufacturers to achieve growth in a new world of industrial connectivity is to leverage new technologies. A transition to automated data and process management is irrefutable. But, while this heralds smart supply chains that bring enhanced agility, productivity and profitability, many are adopting a "wait and see" approach.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Mycronic Broadens Product Portfolio

Thomas Stetter, senior vice president of assembly at Mycronic, discussed with I-Connect007's Pete Starkey how their company continues to broaden their product portfolio towards a full-line SMT solution and the Industry 4.0 automated factory.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: MEK on Increasing Demand for THT AOI Systems

Henk Biemans, managing director of MEK Marantz Electronics Ltd, speaks with I-Connect007 Managing Editor Stephen Las Marias about what's driving the increasing demand for THT AOI systems. Other topics discussed include reliability issues, articifial intelligence, and machine learning in inspection systems.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Nordson SELECT's Acquisition Update

Carlos E. Bouras, general manager of Nordson SELECT, discusses the acquisition of ACE Production Technologies and InterSelect GmbH one year later, along with the synergies between the two companies, and how they have strengthened Nordson SELECT's capabilities.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: CFX - The IPC Connected Factory Initiative

David Bergman from the IPC speaks with I-Connect007's Pete Starkey about how the CFX format has been developed, and the excited response to the CFX Visitor Experience at the IPC APEX EXPO 2018.

5 Ideas to Enhance the Induction Process in Manufacturing

While most of us work and live in an alternate reality, first impressions still count and your induction process is no different. Here are some ideas to consider implementing within your own manufacturing business when welcoming your new starters.

Investigating Analytical Tools for Testing Cleanliness with Foresite's Eric Camden

At the recent West Penn SMTA Expo, Eric Camden, lead investigator at Foresite Inc., speaks with I-Connect007's Patty Goldman about fluxes and analytical tools for testing cleanliness, and how these impact the reliability of the assembled boards.

Interview with Yusaku Kono: Rising Star Award Recipient

The IPC Rising Star Award is given to IPC members who have taken leadership roles and provided support to IPC standards, education, advocacy and solutions to industry challenges. Their contributions have made significant impact upon IPC and industry within the past five years and will continue to have a lasting impact for many years to come.

Succeeding at the Velocity of Technology: An IPC APEX EXPO 2018 Wrap-Up

After many months of planning, IPC APEX EXPO 2018 proved to be a success. From revolutionary advancements displayed on the show floor to expert insights conveyed in technical conference sessions and professional development courses, IPC APEX EXPO provided the learning and connections that helped 4,574 attendees from 43 countries prepare for the future.


Stencil Printing Techniques for Challenging Heterogeneous Assembly Applications

A new generation of near microscopic size SMT chip capacitors has appeared in the market, known as either 0201 or 008004. This article investigates and characterizes the stencil printing process for compatibility with M0201 capacitor assembly. Effects of circuit board quality, stencil thickness, and stencil nano-coating are evaluated against solder paste volume transfer efficiency and raw-volume print distribution.

How to Assess Top Talent when Recruiting for Key Manufacturing Roles

As your business continues to grow and evolve, gaps in talent can start to appear. And while growth is often seen as a sign of success, if you fail to manage growth correctly, it can quickly turn and bite you in a similar way to a business in decline.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Super Dry Tackles International Moisture Management Differences and Floor-Life-Reset Techniques

Rich Heimsch comments on the differences in attitude regarding moisture management between Europe and the U.S., and the increasing awareness of floor-life-reset techniques.

The Direction of Autonomous Driving

Flex (formerly Flextronics) is a company that I've worked with for decades, both as a customer and as a supplier. Recently, they were honored with Frost & Sullivan’s Manufacturing Leadership Award. I sat down with Eric Hoarau, the senior director managing automotive innovation at Flex, to discuss his company’s views on where autonomous driving technology is heading in the next 10 - 15 years.

Automotive Electronics Still in the Driver’s Seat

The past year was one of the strongest years that the PCB supply chain and the rest of the electronics manufacturing industry in general, has seen. Everyone we talked to at the shows were optimistic that the strong growth in the industry in 2017 will continue through 2018. And most industry players point to one thing when it comes to what’s driving this strong growth—automotive electronics.

Creative Electron's Bill Cardoso on the iPhone 10 Teardown and Much More

At the recent West Penn SMTA Expo, Creative Electron CEO Bill Cardoso speaks with Patty Goldman about his presentation on the iPhone 10 teardown, and how this reflects the direction where contract manufacturers are headed. He also highlights what sets Creative Electron apart in the market.

The Evolution of Camtek Manufacturing

Chris Davis, president and founder of EMS firm Camtek Manufacturing, in Bloomington, Illinois, discusses with Dan Beaulieu what led her to not only start Camtek from the ground up, but also what it means for her business to be a certified women's business enterprise (WBE).

Interview with Bob Cooke: IPC President’s Award Recipient

IPC first began presenting the President’s Award in 1966, and for many years it was the only award bestowed on IPC volunteers, to several individuals each year. This year’s recipient is Bob Cooke with NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC). Here's why he was bestowed this honor.

Why AOI is a Must-have for PCB Assembly

AOI has an invaluable role to play in speeding up the process of PCB production, in ensuring extreme precision to catch even the smallest of defects, and in minimizing the potential for time-consuming and costly reworking.

Interview with Linda Woody: Dieter Bergman IPC Fellowship Award Recipient

The Dieter Bergman IPC Fellowship Award is given to individuals who have fostered a collaborative spirit, made significant contributions to standards development, and have consistently demonstrated a commitment to global standardization efforts and the electronics industry. This year, Linda Woody is one of the two recipients of the award. Here's what she has to say.


Interview with Dave Hillman: IPC’s 2018 Raymond E. Pritchard Hall of Fame Award Winner

A self-described "dinosaur" of the industry, Dave Hillman has been a steady force in all things solder-related at Rockwell Collins for 30 years. And just to keep things fresh, he has spent years mentoring both college-age and younger children. In this interview, I-Connect007’s Patty Goldman gives Hillman a chance to tell his story.

IPC APEX EXPO Takeaways

The IPC Connected Factory Exchange (CFX) live demo at this year's IPC APEX EXPO show in San Diego, California highlighted how the CFX standard will enable manufacturers to track their efficiencies better, prevent issues even before they happen, and make adjustments wherever needed.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Miraco Company and Services Introduction

Miraco's current quality manager, William Pfingston, fills Guest Editor Steve Williams in on the company's contract manufacturing capabilities and services, including strengths in design and flex circuits. He also talks about the company's expansion and organizational changes.

Should You Outsource Your Outbound Logistics to Your EMS Partner?

Shipping your products to their end destination is the final stage in your manufacturing process and one which is crucial to the ongoing success of your entire manufacturing operation. After all, getting your product delivered on time, in the correct quantities, to the right people and in pristine condition all contributes to your customer’s first impression.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: New Electrolube Developments and Improved Coatings

Electrolube's Phil Kinner discusses new developments in two-component polyurethane conformal coatings, and improved silicone coatings for high-temperature applications.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Kyzen’s Tom Forsythe Talks Tips for Better Cleaning

Tom Forsythe, executive VP of KYZEN, offers his advice on designing for better cleaning. Forsythe also discusses customers' continuing demand for data and KYZEN's data management efforts.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Blackfox—Training Program for Transitioning Military Personnel

Al Dill, president and CEO, discusses a training program for transitioning military personnel provided by Blackfox, who is a certified IPC training organization around the world.

Industry 4.0 Technologies: If Only I Had Known

What is coming in 2018 is not a single master Industry 4.0 solution as people may expect, but rather the opportunity for everyone in the industry to play their part, re-evaluating what can be done in their processes or products to take maximum advantage of the new CFX-fueled Industrial IoT environment.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Saki—The Smart Factory Concept

Alex Malek, VP of sales and service for Saki, explains how the company's software and hardware provide a common platform for machine-to-machine interconnectivity.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Manncorp Expands With New Learning Center

Ed Stone, sales manager of Manncorp, discusses the company's expansion, specifically their new application and learning center, their new equipment in the pipeline, and his outlook for this year.


RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Zentech Discusses New NIST Legislation

Matt Turpin, president and CEO of EMS firm Zentech Manufacturing Inc., speaks about the NIST 800-171 legislation published by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and how it is different from other regulations such as ITAR.

Cleaning with Data

Tom Forsythe, vice president of KYZEN, spoke to Barry Matties about KYZEN’s new process control monitoring and data service. They discussed the drivers behind these developments, the company's focus on managing data, and how KYZEN plans to support an industry embracing more cleaning and Industry 4.0.

5 Techniques Used to Detect Counterfeit Electronic Components

Although government pressure and private resources have helped minimize the risk of counterfeit components from entering the supply chain, there is still and will most likely continue to be, a prominent threat. So, what can you do to minimize this risk? Read on.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Kimball Electronics Discusses New Opportunities in the Medical Market

Tom Ferris, business development director for Kimball Electronics' medical industry solutions business, discusses the latest opportunities in the medical market and new requirements from customers.

A Not So Surprising Focus for Flex in the XR Realm

Dan Feinberg has been covering augmented, virtual, and mixed-reality for I-Connect007 for the last few years. He recently met with Eric Braddom, VP of Extended Reality (XR) Product Management for Flex, a company that is involved in this disruptive technology. In this interview, Dan and Eric discuss the future of augmented, mixed and/or virtual reality, or as Flex calls it, "extended reality."

Electronics Manufacturing (R)evolution

2018 is going to be the year of Industry 4.0, where we will see how enabling technologies including sensors, big data, analytics, and the Internet of Things (IoT), will transform the electronics manufacturing landscape.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: COMET Technologies Highlights Product Range and New Facility

Craig Arcuri of COMET Technologies details the numerous ways his company's technology is employed to manufacture and inspect a wide range of products, from chips to jet engine turbine blades. He also speaks about Lab One, the company's new technology and application center in Silicon Valley.

Manufacturability: Pad Relief and Mask Relationship to Solder Joint Volume

Electronic assembly thermal management has always been an issue but has become more significant as we pack more power and function into a smaller form factor. In recent years, the growing use of LEDs for illumination on a large scale has presented additional thermal demands.

Your Competitors are Outsourcing Their Manufacturing; Shouldn’t You?

As an OEM, you will be focused on increasing sales and maximizing profits. But you can only sell what you can produce, and manufacturing complex industrial electronic products day in, day out can be a headache. As your sales start to climb, you move closer to hitting your internal capacity limits. Here's how EMS providers can help you become successful in your manufacturing.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: How Smart Factories Will Revolutionize Electronics Manufacturing

KIC president Bjorn Dahle discusses the smart manufacturing trend in the electronics assembly industry, and how KIC can help their customers with smart manufacturing transitions.


RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Indium Discusses Fighting Solder Voids

Voiding has increasingly become one of the most critical challenges in the soldering process. In this interview, Christopher Nash, product manager for the PCB assembly solder paste business of Indium, speaks about how the company is helping customers address the voiding challenge.

Setting Clear Boundaries with Your EMS Provider

A common area for confusion, particularly during the early stages of an outsourcing partnership, relates to 'boundaries', and agreeing who is responsible for what. If clear lines are not discussed and agreed between you and your EMS provider, it can be easy to fall into an assumption trap, and we all know what happens then.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Addressing Challenges in Automotive Electronics

Paul Salerno explains how Alpha Assembly Solutions have addressed the challenges of the exponential growth in automotive electronics, with specific reference to soldering in power train, ADAS, and infotainment applications

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Asteelflash Expansion Plans and Industry Challenges

Mathieu Kury, business development manager at EMS firm Asteelflash, discusses the company's expansion plans and activities amid the growing demand in the automotive electronics space.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Developments and Reliability Improvements in Solder Alloys

Tim O'Neill explains developments in solder alloys for cost-sensitive applications, and improvements in the reliability of alloys subjected to sustained high temperatures.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: IPC Highlights Latest Developments in EDGE

David Hernandez, senior director of learning and professional development at IPC, speaks with editor Stephen Las Marias about talent recruitment and retention, skills gap challenges facing the industry, and how IPC is addressing these issue through its IPC EDGE platform. Hernandez also discusses the latest developments in EDGE and how IPC is expanding the program.

Exceeding Customer Expectations

Aculon Inc. commercializes unique surface coatings leveraging nanotechnology and other surface modification techniques. The company’s original focus was the optical industry, developing treatments of prescription eyewear, sunglasses and other optics.

The IoT Event of The Decade

The IPC APEX EXPO tradeshow at the end of this month is set to rock the manufacturing world in a way that has not been seen for many years. This is not just a tech-fest, it is the introduction of some serious business growth opportunities for manufacturers, machines vendors and solution providers based on the successful implementation of their Industry 4.0 solutions and enhancements.

The Vital Role of Solder Paste Printing in New Product Introduction

The high degree of automation within the SMT methodology offers a variety of advantages, from automatic correction of errors, to simpler and faster assembly, better mechanical performance, increased production rates and reduced labor costs. In this first in a series of articles exploring SMT assembly, we highlight the specific attributes, and the vital importance, of the solder paste printing process for your NPI.

Dr. Bill Cardoso of Creative Electron Talks About IPC’s CFX Standard

Creative Electron's Dr. Bill Cardoso is a member of the CFX committee and has equipment in the CFX showcase at APEX in San Diego from February 27 to March 1. In an interview, he talks about the standard and the group that has delivered such a successful collaboration.


Mycronic Announces the Acquisition of Vi TECHNOLOGY

Mycronic recently announced the acquisition of Vi TECHNOLOGY, with the intent of combining VIT’s inspection technology with Mycronic’s jetting capabilities. In an interview with I-Connect007, Olivier Pirou, Managing Director of VIT, discusses more about the merger and how this will help VIT contend in such a competitive environment.

9 Essentials of an Electronics Contract Manufacturer

Differentiating between the best contract electronics manufacturing providers and those that are sub-par can initially seem tricky. In order to help you make the best and most educated decision possible, here are nine essentials to look for when hiring an electronics manufacturing service.

Working with Customers: A Consultant's Perspective

Industry veteran and expert Chrys Shea is in a unique position when it comes to her work for the electronics assembly industry. As president of consulting firm Shea Engineering Services, she helps suppliers test and bring new products to the market, and helps assemblers bring new processes or skills to their assembly lines.

6 Questions to Assess Your Company's IoT Readiness

Small-to-medium sized companies shouldn't assume that Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT or Industrial Internet) is for the 'big boys' only. Innovations coming out of the IIoT have the potential to significantly level the playing field among companies of all sizes.

Start Your IPC APEX EXPO Show Experience Here

As many prepare to travel to California from February 24 to March 1, IPC APEX EXPO 2018 will offer a collection of exciting events for both newcomers and industry veterans, including educational opportunities and showcase exhibitions. Want a sneak peek into the upcoming events at IPC APEX EXPO 2018? This exclusive pre-show coverage publication from I-Connect007 is all about San Diego or bust!

Why the Right Preparation is Crucial for Your NPI

In today's increasingly competitive manufacturing environment, it's crucial that you are able to produce high quality new products that can be delivered on time, at the volumes required and at the right cost. And the key to ensuring a smooth transition from the initial design through to final manufacture is the implementation of a new product introduction (NPI) process.

Improving SMT Yield and Reducing Defects: A Rauland Case Study

Ever-increasing demand for more complex boards that have higher densities of components means more challenges for SMT assembly operations and yields. Smaller component sizes and more densely packed PCBs lead to more powerful designs in much smaller product packages. These advancements have spurred a new set of challenges in building smaller and more complex assemblies.

Growing with the Customer

Greg Hebson, global director for strategic accounts at EMS firm Vexos Inc., speaks with I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias about working closely and growing with customers, as well as ensuring total customer satisfaction.

Designing Electronics for Harsh Conditions

We expect a lot from our products, especially our electronic products. Think about it: cellphones, wearables, medical devices—for some reason we think they should still work after being immersed in liquid, left outdoors in freezing temperatures or dropped on concrete from a standing position.

Talk to Your Customers

Whatever industry we are in, we are a customer and a supplier at the same time. The goal is always 100% customer satisfaction, as dissatisfaction in your customer side will eventually result in problems. For one, according to the results of our survey, the loss of business and reputation can be the consequences of not meeting your customers' needs.


Pros and Cons of Outsourcing Your Product Design to an Independent Contractor

Taking on an independent design contractor or sole trader offers an opportunity to inject a fresh perspective, to gain the value of specialist knowledge and to save on staffing costs, training, infrastructure and equipment. Ultimately though, deciding whether to engage an independent contractor in your product design will require weighing up the pros and cons as they apply to your specific project.

Super Dry’s Novel Approach to the Drying Process

Pete Starkey spent a few minutes at the SuperDry booth on the first day of the productroncica show, and chatted with old friend Rich Heimsch, who taught the old dog a few new tricks about the drying process.

Why You Should Invest In Package Testing

Have you ever thought about why you should invest in package testing? Packaged products often take multiple modes of transportation in various conditions before they ever reach the customer. The best way to ensure the product makes it to the customer, intact and in working order, is to test the package before it ever leaves the manufacturing facility.

Tips & Tricks: Machine Assist Time

Assist time is the human intervention required to keep a machine producing during normal operation. It does not include errors, maintenance, setup, and prototyping. There are many reasons for a machine to require assistance. PCB loading, stencil wiping, paste addition, feeder replenishment, and PCBA unloading—some require labor, some can be automated, but all will require some amount of time to complete.

Should You Be Outsourcing Product Design?

While handing over part or all of your manufacturing to a third party can be daunting, it offers a host of benefits. It frees you up to focus on what you do best--whether that's designing, marketing or selling. It reduces your operating costs, and you gain from the range and depth of expertise than an EMS can provide. For OEMs already outsourcing their manufacturing, going to a third party for other services, like product design, could well be the next logical step.

Tempo Automation: Setting the Pace for Low-Volume, Quick-Turn Assembly

Jesse Koenig, co-founder and VP of technology at PCB assembly company Tempo Automation, discusses with I-Connect007's Patty Goldman how they are making electronics development much easier and more seamless for customers.

The Importance of Feedback in the Electronics Assembly Supply Chain

Any customer feedback is a good feedback, whether it is good or bad, because it often pushes the supplier or manufacturer to improve. However, the problem in the electronics assembly supply chain is that customers often do not give feedback, unless it is negative.

Working with Your Customers

Even though you have trusted supplier partners, working closely with them will ensure seamless manufacture and high-quality output. In our recent survey, most of our respondents agree, with more than a third or 40% closely working with at least 50% of their customers.

What's Driving Manufacturing Investment in 4IR?

The use of automation is transforming global manufacturing, with initiatives such as robot technology, big data and 3D printing, providing manufacturers with the ability to create smarter products, more streamlined processes and better solutions for their customers.

Making the Right Equipment Selection

For the January 2018 issue of SMT007 Magazine, we invited Kathy Nargi-Toth, president of Eltek USA, and Matt Turpin, president and CEO of Zentech Manufacturing to a discussion on the decision-making process for new equipment, and the key considerations for choosing the best machine solution for a process.


Selecting X-Ray Inspection Equipment

Automated optical inspection (AOI) is an established, key process control in the SMT industry that greatly increases confidence in the quality of the finished product. But what do you do about devices where you cannot optically see the solder connections? X-ray inspection provides the answer.

How Engineering Support Can Affect QC

Quality processes are part of any reputable contract manufacturer's operation. When working with an electronics contract manufacturer, it is wise to consider a partner that has an experienced engineering team. This article tells more.

Indium's Karthik Vijay Talks Engineering for Automotive Applications

Barry Matties met with Karthik Vijay, Indium Corporation's technical manager for Europe, at last year's productronica, where everything from stencils and laser cutting to flux technology and jetting were discussed. If you want to know about where material technology currently stands in the automotive landscape, you’ll want to read on.

Creating a Healthy Work Environment

In an interview with SMT007 Magazine, Wolfgang Koehler, CEO of the North America branch of ULT, discusses how their business has been over the past year, their challenges and opportunities, and how they are helping their customers. Another topic of discussion is investing in new equipment—the key parameters to consider, and what’s driving customers to buy their systems.

7 Simple Ways to Motivate Your Electronics Manufacturing Staff

Your manufacturing staff are the backbone of your electronics manufacturing organization. They are the ones showing up day in. day out to build products for your customers. So, keeping them motivated and engaged should be a priority, right? But too often during peak production periods, surmounting pressure can lead to staff feeling overworked, demoralized, and underappreciated.

The Importance of Product Testing for Quality, Reliability and Durability

One really vital piece of the product development process is product testing for quality, reliability and durability. You need to find out whether your product will do what it's supposed to do—that's quality. You also need to learn whether it will do what it's supposed to do over and over again, even when conditions aren't ideal—that's reliability and durability.

Assigning IDs Within the Internet of Things

Networking devices and machinery is in full swing. However, despite all the Industry 4.0 enthusiasm, there are voices of caution: Secure your communication. For this, identification of the participants is one requirement and special SD cards offer a surprisingly simple and flexible solution.

Improving Design, Manufacturing and Assembly Teamwork

Many electronics manufacturers tend to compartmentalize or "silo" their departments, such as the design team versus assembly-related functions. The relationship between design and manufacturing can too often be disconnected or otherwise poor, which stalls productivity and increases bottom-line costs. By identifying and addressing these gaps, this financial hemorrhage can be reduced, and profitability increased.

Tips & Tricks: Assembly Panelization

Thoughtful PCB array and panel design can reduce line stoppage, improve changeover time and reduce material scrap. Fiducial location and design are good aids to prevent mistakes, but may still result in line stoppage. If you have fiducial recognition issues, making the shape of the mask opening different than the fiducial feature may help the vision system discern the target feature easier.

Is UK Manufacturing Ready for the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

The new fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is driving the transformation of manufacturing across the world, encompassing breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, big data, the Internet of Things and 3D printing. And according to the World Economic Forum's Klaus Schwab, when compared with previous industrial revolutions, the fourth is evolving at an exponential rather than a linear pace.


Recent Innovations in DFMA

Software, electronics and sensors are making their way into the world of product design. New composites, plastics and alloys are replacing traditional metals. Designs are even reducing the carbon footprint of manufacturers, and more products can be recycled when they reach the end of their use.

Configure to Order: Different by Design

When considering implementation of Industry 4.0 solutions, following the hype in the market, attention typically is focused on the need for communication between machines on the shop-floor. Knowing what is currently executing and the status of each process in the factory, as well as all the related resources and support operations, provides critical information for Industry 4.0 computerized management systems.

PCB Pad Repair Techniques

There are a variety of reasons behind pads getting "lifted" completely or partially from the laminate of a PCB. Per the just revised IPC-A-610 Revision G, a defect for all three classes occurs when the land is lifted up one or more pad thicknesses. Lifted pads can occur when a device has been improperly removed or there is a manufacturing defect in the board construction. In any case, as with any repair, the ultimate decision on the ability to repair the pad lies with the customer.

Focus on the New

It seems like it wasn't too long ago when I was writing about the optimism of the electronics manufacturing and assembly industry going into 2017. Now, here we are again at the beginning of the new year, looking at new trends, disruptive technologies, and emerging markets for 2018. I am also proud to announce our new branding as well as our fresh, new look.

Why You Want Your EMS Partner to Be Annoying and Boring

Outsourcing part or all of your manufacturing to an electronics manufacturing service (EMS) provider can be daunting. Handing over some of the control of your business can be a scary prospect.

14 Lessons in Diagnostic Instrument Development

With over 40 years of global leadership in the design, development and manufacture of life-saving medical technology, ITL Group offers invaluable experience and industry insight into what influences the success or failure of a product. Here are 14 lessons from ITL’s many years in diagnostic instrument development.

Top 10 Most-Read SMT007 Columns of 2017

Another year is over in the SMT industry. 2017 saw a myriad of hot topics, including Industry 4.0, the millennials’ entry into the manufacturing space, and alternative solder materials, to name a few. Without further ado, here are the Top 10 columns from SMT007 over the past year.

What Does Digital Twinning Mean for Manufacturing?

Industry 4.0 brings with it new forms of artificial intelligence that organizations can leverage to improve and streamline their processes. Machine intelligence is driving industrial connectivity and possibilities for optimized productivity and in turn, substantial savings.

Top 10 Most-Read SMT Articles of 2017

Every year, we like to take a look back at the most popular SMT news and articles. These are the top 10 most-read SMT articles from the past year.

The Effect of Area Shape and Area Ratio on Solder Paste Printing Performance

The ongoing miniaturization trend in the SMT production induces new challenges and highly integrated systems. In passive components, the miniaturization leads to the introduction of the EIA size 01005 or smaller. Despite numerous publications in this field already addressing the printing of such devices, a defined wholly optimized process remains unsolved and inspires further novel research ideas on this topic.


Customers Drive Investment Decisions

In our recent survey on investing in new equipment, one question we asked is what or who influences the research into new equipment to buy for their factories. A majority, 77% of respondents, say that addressing customers’ needs is the primary influence in their research for new equipment, followed by market conditions or trends.

Top Reasons for Investing in New Equipment

In our recent survey, a majority of respondents said they consider increasing capacity and improving their existing manufacturing capability as top reasons for investing in new equipment for their production lines.

Evaluation of Stencil Technology for Miniaturization

SMT stencil printing technology continually evolves to keep pace with device miniaturization technologies. Printed circuit board assemblers have numerous new technology options to choose from, and need to determine the most effective ones to produce the highest quality and most reliable solder interconnections.

Step Stencil Technologies and Their Effect on the SMT Printing Process

Components such as quad flat no lead (QFNs), land grid array (LGAs), micro ball grid array (micro BGAs), 0201s and even 01005s continue to push manufacturers to use thinner stencil foils to apply the correct volume of paste onto their boards, but larger components such as edge connectors still require larger paste volumes.

Mirtec Succeeding Through Inspection Innovation

David Bennett, president of Mirtec Europe, speaks with I-Connect007 Technical Editor Pete Starkey about the company's latest inspection technologies, the challenges that miniaturization can bring, and Mirtec's efforts to stay on the leading edge and never be a “me too” company.

Industry 4.0 and the Platform-Based Approach to Testing

Chandran Nair, the vice president for Asia Pacific at National Instruments, explains how the Industry 4.0 vision will change electronics manufacturing. He discusses key technology enablers that would drive the evolution of manufacturing processes, and how a platform-based approach can help improve test and measurement.

Koh Young Europe Ready for Next Year, and Beyond

Harald Eppinger, managing director of Koh Young Europe, speaks with I-Connect007 Managing Editor Andy Shaughnessy about the demands of the European market, the company's long-standing success with its solutions, and the future of Koh Young Europe.

The Year of IoT Digitalization

There is no longer any significant disagreement that having an industry-wide standard for IoT communication is absolutely essential for digitalization of factories if they are going to deliver on Industry 4.0 performance expectations. Digitalization of manufacturing is the key business opportunity of the decade, whoever and wherever you are, so stand-up and be a part of it, and create your opportunities.

Solder Printing Process Inputs Impacting Distribution of Paste Volume

The volume of solder deposition, like any process, has variations that may be characterized by a statistical distribution curve, whether normal or non-normal. As complexity, density, cost and reliability requirements increase, there may be value in narrowing the distribution curve. It is common sense that less variation serves the interest of quality of the more complex and dense circuit boards.

Tips & Tricks: Generating Stencil Tooling

Many engineers are leaving the editing up to the stencil fabricator these days. From the outside, this may appear as a time saver for process engineers, but considering how many stencil redos have been required and how many processes that have run 'sort of OK,' there's a tremendous amount of scrap and rework that could be saved from just a little more attention paid to stencil tooling.


Improving Solder Paste Printing

Of the three elements involved in the solder paste printing process—stencil, solder paste, and printer—the stencil is considered one of the major factors affecting the transfer efficiency, accuracy, and consistency, of solder pastes into the pads, especially with the continuing trend towards miniaturization.

9 Ways to Keep Up with Changes in Manufacturing Technology

The world of manufacturing technology might not be quite as fast to change as consumer electronics, but it is evolving, and faster than you think. Recent evidence shows that companies are increasingly adopting 'servitized' business models and technology is a key enabler, so falling behind the times is not really an option.

Two Questions to Ask Yourself with PCB Continuous Strips of Parts

Sometimes, you don't want to buy a reel, full or partial, but still want your PCB parts all in one continuous strip. Everyone wants to use up their odds and ends, but once those are gone, it's easier for you if each part is one strip. If you want to save a little money and can use a longer turn-time, you might want to choose a short-run production service with continuous strips.

Insights from productronica

The recently held productronica was a busy exhibition. There were booths that were so crowded that people were standing in the aisle to talk with company representatives. But some booths were nearly empty. Read to find Dieter G. Weiss' comments on this biennial show.

Equipment Matters in Solder Paste Printing

The solder paste printing process has always been considered a major contributor to yield loss. According to many studies, solder paste printing accounts for up to 70% of all PCB assembly defects. For the December issue of SMT Magazine, we interviewed experts in the solder paste printing process to learn more about the key issues leading to this huge percentage of defects, and the technology developments that are addressing these challenges and improving yields in the process.

Tips & Tricks: What to Do if You Can't Have Reference Designators on Your Board

Sometimes, you can't have reference designators on your board. Perhaps it's because it's too densely populated and there isn't room. Or maybe, for aesthetic reasons, you've chosen to leave them off. Here's how you can address that issue.

What Matters Most is Communication

While there may be new techniques and strategies, technologies, equipment, tools, and materials to employ and utilize, there is always one thing that will ensure the manufacturing/ assembly success of your product: communication. Communication between the designer and the assembler will help improve the manufacturability and assembly of the final product—even before the board design gets fabricated.

DFx on High-Density Assemblies

Use of new technologies poses a number of challenges for solder paste selection, PCB design, assembly process, and reliability. The type of end product will have different challenges, concerns, and requirements in all aspects. The assembly line for many of these end products will look very similar, but specification limits would be different.

Is Your EMS Provider The One for You?

No matter where you are in your outsourcing journey, ensuring that your EMS provider is right for you is one of the most important success factors. The right partner should bring you years of pain-free manufacturing that has the ability to evolve and adapt to your needs as your business grows.

Via-in-Pad Plated over Design Considerations to Mitigate Solder Separation Failure

Under certain conditions, the use of VIPPO with other pad structures within a BGA footprint can result in a unique failure mode in which the BGA solder joint separates between the bulk solder and the intermetallic compound either at the package pad or PCB pad interface, depending on whichever is the weaker interface. It can be either a complete or partial separation and hence, may or may not be detected at ICT/functional test.


Video from productronica 2017: YXLON Moves Away from One-Size-Fits-All Approach

Keith Bryant, global director for electronics sales at YXLON International, speaks with I-Connect007 Technical Editor Pete Starkey about their latest X-ray inspection machines that are designed as a specific fit for its own market sector. He also talks about what's state of the art right now in X-ray inspection systems, as well as updates on the progress of the integration of SMART Group into the SMTA.

Video from productronica 2017: Rehm Discusses Trends Driving Product Development

Michael Hanke, chief customer officer of Rehm Thermal Systems, speaks with I-Connect007 Managing Editor Andy Shaughnessy about the importance of communicating with their customers when it comes to new process and technology trends. He also talks about Industry 4.0 and big data, and process monitoring and transparency.

How to Ensure Good Service from Your EMS Partner

What does good service mean from an EMS provider? Sure, it’s about consistently delivering products, on time, and to a high quality. But there's more to it than that. This article highlights two factors to consider when choosing an EMS provider to ensure good service and a strong, healthy and happy outsourcing partnership.

Video from productronica 2017: Heraeus Highlights Need for Highly Reliable and Compatible Assembly Materials

At the recent productronica 2017 event in Munich, Germany, Stefan Merlau, global product manager of assembly materials for Heraeus Electronics, discusses with I-Connect007 Managing Editor Andy Shaughnessy the biggest pain points of their customers, and how his company’s latest technologies are helping them address these issues. He also speaks about their outlook for the industry going into the new year.

Video from productronica 2017: Koh Young Focuses on Total Inspection Solution

At the show floor of productronica 2017, I-Connect007 Technical Editor Pete Starkey speaks with Managing Director Harald Eppinger of Koh Young Europe GmbH about the principles of Koh Young’s total 3D inspection solution for SMT process optimization and yield improvement.

Video from productronica 2017: Mycronic Discusses Precision Jetting Systems

From the show floor during productronica 2017, Clemens Jargon, VP of Global Dispensing at Mycronic, discusses with I-Connect007 Technical Editor Pete Starkey the company’s portfolio of precision jetting equipment, with particular reference to the speed and versatility of the MYSmart series.

Blockchain for Manufacturing: What are the Opportunities?

Blockchain is one of the hottest topics in the tech world, and a buzzword that’s been popping up quite a bit over the last year or so. It is said to have the potential to radically simplify many business processes, by reducing risk and boosting transparency. In the manufacturing world, what are its opportunities?

Video from productronica 2017: Nordson ASYMTEK Highlights Bulk Dispensing Technology

At this week’s productronica, Nordson ASYMTEK highlights its the new Helios SD960 bulk and two-component dispensing system. Almar Thewissen, program manager for Industrial Applications, EMEA, at Nordson, discusses its applications with I-Connect007 Technical Editor Pete Starkey.

Video from productronica 2017: Goepel Highlights Updates on X-Line 3D In-line System

At productronica 2017 in Munich, Germany, Goepel electronic's Andreas Turk, head of AXI Systems, explains the latest enhancements to their X-Line 3D in-line system for high-end inspection. He also discusses the benefits of the Stingray Detector option.

Optimal Electronics Sets Sight on Growth

In an interview with SMT Magazine, Dr. Ranko Vujosevic, CEO and CTO of Optimal Electronics, speaks about the latest technology developments at his company, and his plans to sustain growth. He also talks about his paper on lights-out electronics assembly, the technologies that would support this vision, and the ultimate goal of Industry 4.0.


Solder Preforms 101: Ask the Expert

At the recent SMTA International 2017 event, Jerry Sidone, product manager for the engineered materials at Alpha Assembly Solutions, speaks with I-Connect007 Managing Editor Patty Goldman about the voiding challenge, especially with bottom termination components, and how solder technologies from Alpha are helping PCB assemblers address this issue.

HDI Considerations: Interview with ACDi's Garret Maxson

Garret Maxson, manager of engineering services at American Computer Development Inc. (ACDi), discusses the PCB assembly challenges when dealing with high-density interconnect (HDI) boards, parameters to consider, and strategies to help facilitate a smooth assembly process when using HDI boards.

5 Simple Elements to Guarantee Outsourcing Success

Rather than viewing outsourcing as a way to offload unwanted tasks, OEMs should spend time carefully selecting and then maintaining a properly managed relationship with their chosen EMS partner. Here are five simple elements that you should focus on before, during and after an outsourcing strategy to guarantee it is a success.

Dealing with Vias-in-Pad

Screaming Circuits, a division of EMS firm Milwaukee Electronics, specializes in short-run, one-off, and prototype PCB assembly. In an interview with SMT Magazine, Duane Benson, CTO of Screaming Circuits, talks about the challenges when dealing with microvias and vias-in-pad from an assembly standpoint, and how in-circuit test issues, such as access to test points, can be addressed.

Two Prevalent Rework Heating Methods--Which One is Best?

There are two prevalent heating technologies in use throughout most electronic assembly operations for advanced component rework—the first method employs the use of hot air gas to heat up the component through the package, while the second much-used heating technology relies on infrared energy. This article highlights the pros and cons of the two methods, and discusses which one is the best to use for your application.

Reliability of ENEPIG by Sequential Thermal Cycling and Aging

Electroless nickel/electroless palladium/immersion gold (ENEPIG) surface finish for PCBs has now become a key surface finish that is used for both tin-lead and lead-free solder assemblies. This article presents the reliability of LGA component packages with 1156 pads assembled with tin-lead solder onto PCBs with an ENEPIG finish and then subjected to thermal cycling and then isothermal aging.

What Does an OEM Really Gain from Outsourcing their Manufacturing?

But what does an OEM really gain when they make the move from an in-house manufacturing operation to an outsourced one? This article looks at two key benefits OEMs stand to gain once they relinquish control and hand over their production responsibility to an EMS provider.

Creating the Perfect Solder Joint

From a visual standpoint, a good solder joint should be smooth, bright, shiny, clean, and have a nice concave solder fillet. But how do you ensure that inside those joints, good intermetallic bonds are formed? Solder joints play several different roles, and they represent several different opportunities to be a problem, a partial improvement, or a complete improvement. Since all solder joints aren’t created equal, the first step is to understand what is expected or required of that joint.

Cleaning Trends: The Challenges of Miniaturization and Proximity

At the recent SMTA International conference, I-Connect007 Managing Editor Patty Goldman caught up with Ram Wissel, VP of Global Technology at KYZEN, to talk about the latest cleaning challenges, and bringing Industry 4.0 into the world of cleaning in PCB assembly.

Soldering Tip: Key to Good Solder Joints

In an interview with SMT Magazine, Enrique Moreno, technical support engineer at JBC Soldering, discusses the key parameters to consider during hand soldering to achieve the perfect solder joint. He also talks about the the increasing move towards automation and robotics soldering.


Achieving the Perfect Solder Joint: The Many Perspectives on Soldering

For this month's issue of SMT Magazine, we brought several experts together to discuss the many aspects of soldering, from solder paste, to automation, inspection, and the challenges in achieving the perfect solder joint. We also talked about the strategies and parameters to consider to ensure reliable, good solder joints.

Surprising European EMS Market Numbers

If you think market analysis is always correct and predict the future exactly, you are mistaken. The latest annual reports from EMS companies with manufacturing sites in Europe have changed the picture on the European EMS industry quite a bit and caught us by surprise. Yes, you read that correctly: SURPRISE.

Should I Involve My EMS Partner in DFM?

OEMs are seeking the support of EMS providers with more than just manufacturing, but with design elements too. One of the main design services EMS providers will be likely to offer is design for manufacture (DFM). This article highlights why engaging your EMS partner in DFM is worthwhile, and will be valuable in securing the longevity of your product.

Choosing Solder Processes: Getting It Right

In an interview with SMT Magazine, Ralf Wagenfuehr, plant manager at Rehm Thermal Systems, shares his insights on the topic of achieving the perfect solder joint, from the perspective of a reflow oven supplier. He also talks about the latest developments in reflow ovens aimed at addressing voiding in solder joints.

Moving Toward the Zero-Defect Line

During the recent NEPCON South China exhibition in Shenzhen, Olivier Pirou, chief operating officer of Vi TECHNOLOGY, talks about achieving the perfect solder joint from the point of view of an inspection systems provider, and how manufacturers can strategize to achieve a zero-defect line.

Spreading the Word about SMTA—One Local Show at a Time

Eileen Hibbler of TEK Products, who currently sits on the Board of Directors of SMTA and is the VP of Membership, talks about educating the people in the industry; the importance of the local shows; SMTA's university chapters and their initiatives; and how SMTA is reaching out to millennials.

Test Solutions Your EMS Partner Should Offer

When looking to outsource your manufacturing, you need to know that your chosen EMS partner has good test solutions in place so that they can produce consistent, high-quality products to your customers’ requirements. This article highlights the importance of test, and outlines the different types of test your EMS partner should offer.

Joining Forces: SMTA and the SMART Group in Europe

Tanya Martin, executive director at SMTA, and Keith Bryant, global director of sales for YXLON International and chairman of the SMART Group, speak with I-Connect007 Managing Editor Patty Goldman about the latest initiatives within their associations, and discuss some interesting news about an upcoming merger.

Counterfeit: A Quality Conundrum

The rise in the ingress of counterfeit materials into the supply chain has made them prolific, though yet, the extent is understated. What needs to be faced now is the need for incoming inspection, but at what cost to industry, and does anyone remember how to do it?

Rework and Reball Challenges for Wafer Level Packages

Amid the growing trend in package and PCB miniaturization, wafer-level packages (WLPs) have garnered recent popularity for their affordable cost, small footprint, and thin profile. Component suppliers must be prepared to support failure analysis for PCB-assembled WLPs, including fault isolation, nondestructive screening, as well as destructive analysis techniques.


Eight Factors a CEM Should Know About its Suppliers

Selecting a contract electronics manufacturer (CEM) that fits well with your outsourcing strategy can be a difficult and long process. But, by taking the time to research and investigate potential shortlisted partners, you are much more likely to reap the benefits further down the line.

Three Reasons to Use PCB Panel Routing Techniques

Most PCBs are individually routed—meaning they're not panelized. That doesn't mean that, sometimes, sending them to a PCB assembler in a panel isn't a good idea or even required. Generally, assemblers don't require panels, but there are some cases when they do.

RTW SMTAI: Mentor Eases Programming in Viscom Inspection Systems

Jesper Lykke, engineering manager for USA of Viscom AG, and Zac Elliott, technical marketing engineer at Mentor, speak with I-Connect007 Managing Editor Andy Shaughnessy about Viscom's adoption of the Valor Process Preparation and how it is helping users with their inspection programming.

Top Five BGA Challenges to Overcome

Higher reflow temperatures of lead-free rework increases the pressure for properly shielding the neighboring components. These developments are causing BGA rework challenges. This summary will discuss the most challenging aspects of BGA rework and options for solutions.

RTW SMTAI: EPTAC Discusses Manufacturing Training Trends

During SMTAI International 2017, Leo Lambert, vice president and technical director of EPTAC, discusses with I-Connect007 Managing Editor Andy Shaughnessy his company's recent expansion and the trends he's seeing in manufacturing training.

BTC and SMT Rework Challenges

In the assembly of bottom terminated components (BTC), the formation of voids has become a serious problem in many applications. In the SMT process, the reliability of solder joints becomes more of a concern, as less and less solder is allowed for each joint. The presence of voids can deteriorate the joint strength and eventually lead to joint failure.

RTW SMTAI: How Automation and Government Support Can Help Reshoring Drive

Alex Malek, vice president of sales and service for North America of SAKI, speaks with I-Connect007 Managing Editor Andy Shaughnessy about how automation and government investment can help bring back manufacturing jobs from overseas.

RTW SMTAI: AIM's Dr. Mehran Maalekian Speaks on New Alloys for Harsh Environments

Dr. Mehran Maalekian, R&D Manager at AIM Solder, speaks with I-Connect007 Managing Editor Andy Shaughnessy about new alloys that are targeted for high-temperature and demanding applications, particularly in harsh environments, where standard lead-free alloy such as SAC will not perform as well.

Is Hybrid Technology Gaining Momentum?

Over the past 20 years, ceramic hybrids have changed more and more to a backyard living in the European electronics industry, mainly driven by price pressure, specifically from the automotive electronics industry.

IPC’s David Bergman on Industry Training and Education

David Bergman, vice president of standards and technology at IPC, talks about the biggest issues facing the electronics manufacturing industry now. He also explains how the organization helps elevate the industry through its training, continuous education, and standards development.


How to Prevent Suspect Components from Entering Your Supply Chain

The success of any supply chain relies on quality and stability. If either of these elements are threatened, OEMs or their EMS provider will struggle to ensure supply chain excellence. Unfortunately, with the risk of counterfeit and other suspect components ever present, this can sometimes be difficult to achieve.

The Root Causes & Solutions for Warped PC Boards

There are two primary types of causes of board warping: process related at the fab or assembly shop, and layout related issues. If it's warped before assembly, it's between fab and layout. If it's flat before assembly and warped after, it's most likely between layout and assembly. That said, sometimes a fab problem won't show up until a pass through the reflow oven at your assembly partner.

RTW SMTAI: Alpha Discusses Solder Dross Reclamation

At the recent SMTA International 2017 exhibition in Rosemont, Illinois, Mitch Holtzer, director of Americas Reclaim Business of Alpha Assembly Solutions, talks with Managing Editor Andy Shaughnessy about the solder dross reclamation process, and discusses his new role in leading Alpha’s reclamation business.

Implementing a Capacity Planning Tool

One of the more common challenges we see in the EMS world is that through the outsourcing of their manufacturing, many OEMs have forgotten the fundamentals of supply chain management and expect quick turnaround on orders without taking into consideration the whole supply chain constraints or the impact of not providing accurate forecasts to the EMS partner.

RTW SMTAI: MIRTEC on Staying Ahead of the Curve

Brian D’Amico, president of MIRTEC, talks with I-Connect007 Managing Editor Andy Shaughnessy about some of the latest 3D AOI challenges, including dealing with highly reflective surfaces of solder joints or wafer-level die, which make it impossible to characterize in 3D. He says it's not just plain SMT boards anymore, but an integration of wafer-level manufacturing, which they see as coming down more and more.

RTW SMTAI: Gary Tanel Discusses How SMTA Helps the Industry Evolve

At the SMTA International 2017 exhibition in Rosemont, Illinois, Gary Tanel, president of the SMTA Dallas Chapter, speaks with I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties on a myriad of topics, including the goal of the SMTA as an industry association, and how it is helping the industry evolve. They also discussed challenges and strategies in bringing more young people to the industry.

Drying Boards after Rework Cleaning—To Do or Not to Do?

In cases where water soluble fluxes are being used in the rework process, in cases where the components need to have flux residues washed off, or in cases where the board needs to be cleaned with water for subsequent conformal coating touchup, proper drying and perhaps even bake out procedures need to be performed.

What's Up in Scandinavia's EMS Industry?

Scandinavia, consisting of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland, is relatively small in regards to the overall European EMS revenues, and counts for less than 6% of the European EMS production value. Nevertheless, more than 160 companies offer EMS services, not to mention companies who only manufacture cable harnesses or just do design work, box building, and after-sales services.

Rework and Reliability: Less is More!

Circuit boards are not always perfect after reflow or wave soldering. Scrapping boards with one or two defects is expensive, so rework happens. A good concept for rework is less is more, especially less flux. Use as little rework flux as possible, as in the old Brylcreem ads, "Just a little dab'll do ya."

Does My Outsourcing Project Fit with the EMS Provider's Strategy?

Once a decision has been made to outsource your electronics manufacturing, the next step is to find a suitable partner. This article highlights some of the questions, checks and balances a good EMS company will carry out before deciding to quote or partner with an OEM. Hopefully, by providing this insight, you will be better placed to find the right supplier for your outsourcing project.


RTW NEPCON South China: Rehm on Machine Communications and Vacuum Technology in Reflow

Ralf Wagenfuehr of Rehm Thermal Systems speaks about the need for a common communications platform as the industry moves toward Industry 4.0. He also talks about how their new ViCON software can help manufacturers achieve the smart factory vision.

RTW NEPCON South China: Vermes Discusses Piezo Technology in Microdispensing

During the recent NEPCON South China event in Shenzhen, Juergen Staedtler, CEO of Vermes Microdispensing GmbH, discusses their latest innovations in microdispensing, and how their piezo technology is addressing the trend towards miniaturization in PCB assemblies.

A Look Into PCBA Rework and Repair

Despite the many technology advances in the SMT process, there will always be a need for rework and repair of PCB assemblies. Most especially as the industry trend continues towards finer pitch and spacing, smaller and smaller components, and increasing high-reliability requirements from customers.

RTW NEPCON South China: JBC Brings Digital Transformation to Hand Soldering Process

Enrique Moreno, technical support engineer at JBC Soldering SL, and I-Connect007 Managing Editor Stephen Las Marias discuss the latest developments in the hand soldering process, including robotics and automation. Moreno also talks about the opportunities in China, and why their Industry 4.0-enabled solutions are suitable for this market.

Should You Entrust Your EMS Provider With Your Supply Chain?

Managing your supply chain can be time consuming and expensive and, more importantly, it can distract you away from other key activities such as sales, marketing and product design. As an OEM, however, it's unlikely that your supply chain is a 'core' activity, that is, something that adds real value to your customers. So, what are your options?

Improving the Rework Process

An optimized SMT assembly process typically provides a yield of nearly 100%. Technology advancements—from the solder paste printing process, SPI, and parts placement, to reflow and wave soldering and AOI—have pushed the efficiency and accuracy of these steps in the SMT process such that a board assembly should be perfect at the end of the line. Still, EMS providers continually face the need to rework and repair PCBAs even after dialing in the perfect set-up.

The Past and the Future of the European EMS Industry

The EMS industry in Europe is still in a growth stage of its life cycle. This does not mean that there is enough space for everybody. Looking back over the past 10 years, we have seen tremendous changes in the number of companies, counting every separate legal entity.

House of Cards

With challenges like Industry 4.0 turning the manufacturing world upside down, we see solutions that are being quite brutally put together, through acquisition or partnership, which are expected to be perceived as being the solutions of tomorrow.

Cybersecurity: 4 Things OEMs Should Do to Protect Themselves

Manufacturing has been declared one of the top three most targeted industries for cyber attacks. While Industry 4.0 and expansion into cyber-physical systems will have a positive impact on the industry in terms of increasing efficiency, they open the door to even more security risks such as a hacker taking over production, or changing the output of the manufacturing process.

RTW NEPCON South China: Keith Bryant Discusses New Role and Goals at YXLON

Keith Bryant, the newly appointed Global Director of Electronics Sales at YXLON International, talks about his new role and goals at the company.


RTW NEPCON South China: KYZEN on Optimizing the Cleaning Process

At the NEPCON South China event happening this week in Shenzhen, China, Thomas Forsythe, executive vice president at KYZEN Corp., discusses the current cleaning challenges in the PCB assembly industry, and how manufacturers can optimize their cleaning process.

NEPCON South China 2017 Opens Today

NEPCON South China 2017, being held in conjunction with the Shenzhen Circuit Sourcing 2017 and Automotive World China, opens its doors today at the Shenzhen Convention and Exhibition Center to showcase nearly 600 companies catering to the electronics manufacturing industry. This year’s event, the largest ever in the show's 30-year history, features 45,000 square meters of exhibition space.

It was Acceptable in the Noughties

In many software products for manufacturing, the common approach previously was to show as many as possible, if not all, of the various data elements about products, machines and processes to engineers, who liked to feel totally in control of what they were doing. The need, however, to manage complex databases, to have detailed views of values and attributes of anything in the digital domain, rapidly became a major distraction to people performing their designated roles.

On the Smart Move: Industry 4.0 in Electronics Production

The industrial world is in motion, as we face a revolution in terms of processes, organizational structures, hardware and software in our companies. Many critics complain that terms like Industry 4.0 and smart factory are rather arbitrary and lack concrete meaning. That is correct. What is also true, however, is that technical progress always starts out with a vision, which is then put into concrete terms as time moves on.

Your 6-Point Guide to Finding the Right EMS Provider

If you have already outsourced part or all of your electronics manufacturing operation, then you'll already have a good understanding of what's expected. But, if you're looking to move EMS providers, then chances are something didn't go according to plan the first time. To avoid making the same mistake twice, or if you are considering outsourcing for the very first time, here are six points we recommend you consider to help find the right assembly partner for you.

Sourcing PCBA: Can Your EMS Supplier Do More?

You're in the market for some PCB assemblies for your new product and you need to find the right supplier. You've looked online, gotten recommendations from friends, and the choices are dizzying. Should you look domestically or overseas? What do you do now? Sourcing PCBA doesn't have to be difficult, but there are questions you need to answer.

The Ever Greener Grass

What we think we know is a less dynamic concept than actual reality. So many things progress so quickly, that we either as individuals or organizations, simply cannot keep up any longer. How then do we know whether the grass is really greener on the other side if we are not able to see clearly what is happening?

Empowering the Workforce Through Training: An Investment Return

Electronics manufacturers should take training seriously at all levels. To remain viable and competitive, it’s vital that they keep up with the latest technologies and practices in the electronics field. Perhaps more importantly, investment in employees keeps them engaged and excited in the performance of their daily work. Learning new methods and being exposed to new ideas is pivotal to personal growth.

What to Expect During the First Months of Trading with an EMS Provider

The start of an outsourcing partnership is an exciting time for an OEM, but it's also one that can be daunting. However much you've prepared for that big moment when you hand over responsibility for part or all of your manufacturing operation to your chosen EMS provider, it's still normal to question if you are making the right decision. This article explores five key areas that you and your chosen EMS partner should focus on during the initial months.

The EMS Skills Gap Epidemic

The manufacturing skills gap is real. Interviews with EMS industry executives across the country are united in their top concern for their businesses: finding new talent. Manufacturers can no longer afford to wait. It is time to educate and train the next generation of manufacturing.


6 Tips to Secure New Talent in Electronics Manufacturing

Closing the skills gap in engineering and electronics manufacturing is a topic that comes up for discussion time and time again. And many SMEs and large international companies within the industry have already taken positive steps to meet the demand for attracting and securing highly-skilled new talent.

Training and Education: Key to Improving Electronics Assembly

For this month's issue of SMT Magazine, we spoke with Luis Ramirez and Dan Prina of EMS firm MC Assembly to discuss the challenges of and strategies in improving the PCB assembly process from an EMS provider’s perspective. We also spoke with Manncorp's Tom Beck and Chris Ellis to get their viewpoints on the subject as an equipment provider.

Cleaning that Matters

James Yeoh, executive director of Zestron Precision Cleaning Sdn Bhd, discusses the challenges in the cleaning industry, and strategies that can help manufacturers address those issues. He also covers the need for continuous education when it comes to cleaning, and how automation can ensure the stability of cleaning systems.

Soldering Fumes in Electronics Manufacturing: Damaging Effects and Solutions for Removal

No matter which soldering process you analyze, all of them have one aspect in common: They produce airborne pollutants, which may have a negative impact on employees, plants and products as well. This article discusses the damaging effects of soldering fumes, and solutions for their removal.

Verification of Inspection Results: Local, Central, Global?

With the need for flexibility in production processes amid increasing globalized manufacturing strategies, manufacturers should consider powerful inspection tools that not only provide central verification of numerous lines in local and overseas production sites, but also with a comprehensive presentation of inspection results.

QFN Center Pads on PCBs

Not all QFNs come with an exposed metal pad underneath, but most do, and that can still cause problems with reflow solder. The pad itself isn't the problem, but improper solder paste stencil layer design can be.

Process Step Elimination: Driven by Cost and Efficiency, Enabled by Process and Materials Innovation

Electronics manufacturing has evolved from the early days of hand soldering and wave soldering to the more modern SMT process. But while most modern electronics are produced using the SMT process, there are still some mixed technology applications that need both the SMT process and the wave soldering process. This article looks into the pin-in-paste (PiP) process, which enables the soldering of through-hole components during SMT processing, and eliminates the need for the wave process.

How Much of My Electronics Manufacturing Should I Outsource?

Once you have decided to outsource to an EMS partner, you need to think about how much of your existing operation you plan to relinquish. This article looks at four distinct areas OEMs outsource—procurement, assembly, test and logistics—explores the benefits associated with relinquishing each of these, and highlights a number of questions that must be considered before any final decision is made.

The Need for Assembly Training and Education

While investing in the latest technologies and having a systems-based approach in your assembly processes are important, the key factors that will make you successful in your continuous improvement goal are the skills, training, and education of your workforce. However you look at it, the human factor remains a critical issue when it comes to your overall efficiency.

X-Ray Inspection of Lead and Lead-Free Solder Joints

As aerospace companies consider the shift to lead-free solder alloys and glues, concerns have been raised about whether their current X-ray inspection and quality-control procedures will still be valid. With lead solder, joints are easily interpreted by the operator or the system imaging software because lead provides excellent image contrasts due to relatively high X-ray absorption compared to that of PCB and component materials. Will this hold true as they shift to lead-free solder compounds?


Pillarhouse International's Allan Jiang Discusses Selective Soldering Developments

At the recent NEPCON China event in Shanghai, Allan Jiang, sales manager at Pillarhouse International, discusses with I-Connect007 Managing Editor Stephen Las Marias some of the challenges in selective soldering, and technology developments to address these issues.

4 Ways Your EMS Partner Can Respond to Supply Chain Disruption

When disruptions to the electronic component supply chain occur, they are painful. Lead-times can extend overnight, prices can treble, and in some cases, parts are placed on allocation or discontinued altogether. These concerns amplify the need for EMS firms to have practices in place for dealing with supply chain disruption. This article discusses four ways your EMS partner can mitigate risks to your supply chain.

Counterfeit Electronic Components Identification: A Case Study

Counterfeit electronic components are finding their way into today's defense electronics. The problem gets even more complex when procuring diminishing manufacturing source parts. This article provides a brief introduction to counterfeit prevention and detection standards, particularly as they relate to the aerospace and defense sector.

Perspectives from a First-Timer

Brad Heath, president and CEO of EMS company VirTex, is a first-time attendee of IMPACT Washington D.C. In an interview with I-Connect007 Managing Editor Patty Goldman, he talks about his impressions of the recent IMPACT Washington D.C. event, and how he thinks the industry benefits from such meetings with the policy makers in the government.

STI Electronics' Dave Raby Shares His Insights on IMPACT Washington DC 2017

During the recent IMPACT Washington D.C. 2017 event, I-Connect007 Managing Editor Patty Goldman caught up with Dave Raby, president and CEO of EMS firm STI Electronics, to discuss about the event and their meetings with representatives of the government that came over to hear what the collective electronics manufacturing industry has to say.

The Role of Industry Associations in Training and Education

Industry associations, such as the IPC and the SMTA, help advance the electronics manufacturing industry through standardization, training, education, advocacy, and interaction through trade events, exhibitions and symposiums. They help members to become aware of the latest technology developments happening in their industry verticals, and of the market trends shaping the direction of the industry.

Using Lead-Free BGAs in a Tin/Lead Soldering Process

Several electronic market segments, such as those electronics used in harsh environments or that have life/system critical functionality, remain exempt from lead-free material restrictions such as the RoHS legislation. While these market segments can use solder containing lead, it is increasingly difficult to procure advanced components in non-ROHS compliant configurations. This article discusses several aspects of having lead-free BGA components in a tin/lead soldering process.

Thermal Indicator Technology for Aerospace Wire Harness Assemblies

Thermal indicator technology was developed into solder sleeves many years ago and has proven to be an effective means of providing visual indication of a reliable solder joint. This article talks about the two types of thermal indicators used in aerospace applications today, and the many benefits that this type of technology.

Mil/Aero Assembly Success

Davina McDonnell, director of marketing at Michigan-based EMS firm Saline Lectronics, discusses the latest technology and business trends driving the military and aerospace industries, the challenges in these markets—including supply chain issues such as obsolete parts and counterfeit components—and their strategies to stay ahead of the competition.

Field Failure is Not an Option

Audra Gavelis of IEC Electronics Corp. discusses the current challenges in electronics assembly for the military and aerospace markets and the new requirements they are getting from their customers. She also talks about strategies in dealing with component obsolescence and lifecycle issues, and new compliance issues that contract manufacturers are facing.


Four Ways to Buy Electronic Components and the Pros and Cons of Each

When you buy electronic components, there are a number of different supplier types available to you or your EMS partner. From dealing direct with an electronic manufacturer through to using brokers, there are benefits and pitfalls associated with each.

An Alternative Approach to Vertical Integration in Manufacturing

The days of OEMs owning large vertically integrated manufacturing assets are gone and will probably never return. Oddly, the large vertically integrated manufacturing capability of the OEMs started to be dismantled by the emergence of the EMS companies. Now, some of these same EMS companies are adopting the same, vertically integrated solutions themselves.

The Importance of Training for your Organization

In our recent survey on assembly training and education, another question we asked is about the importance of training to your organization. Around 85% of our respondents consider training really important to their workforce. In fact, the majority of respondents—47%—say it is very important.

Using Paste Flux for Rework

When using a hot air or IR rework system where the reflow cycle is mimicking the original SMT reflow profile, and when using flux for re-attachment, paste flux otherwise known as gel or tacky flux is the correct type of flux to use. Due to its high viscosity and tack properties, paste flux prevents components from being moved during hot-air reflow while being able to remain active for the complete time-temperature period.

Does Your EMS Provider Have an Industry 4.0 Roadmap?

At its simplest level, the Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0, is about automation and connectivity. This should lead to faster, more efficient manufacturing--and therefore advantageous pricing. Additionally, it might also mean that products can be made in a different way. For example, new processes might allow late customization or configuration, faster delivery, or enhanced quality.

The Importance of Supplier Training

The human factor remains a critical issue when it comes to the overall efficiency of your PCB assembly lines. But how do you make sure your operators, engineers and supervisors have the proper knowledge and skill sets to perform at their peak levels, day in and day out?

Today’s Mil/Aero Enemies: Counterfeits, Obsolescence and Failure

The need for high-reliability electronics, components and assemblies that can perform in harsh operating conditions involving extreme temperatures, vibration, and moisture continue to challenge electronics assembly providers catering to the military and aerospace markets. These are on top of current manufacturing issues such as the miniaturization of products, shrinking component sizes, higher density board assemblies, and the obsolescence of electronic components.

Is Configure to Order Manufacturing the Right Strategy for Me?

This article looks at what the term Configure to Order (CTO) means, the importance of supply chain management, where responsibilities lie when setting up new agreements with an EMS provider, and some of the benefits OEMs can expect to see when adopting a CTO strategy.

The Importance of Conformal Coating, Now and in the Future

At the SMTA Michigan Expo and Tech Forum, held in Grand Rapids on May 11, Technical Editor Happy Holden spent a few minutes with AIM Solder’s Technical Marketing Manager Tim O’Neill to discuss O’Neill’s presentation on the topic of conformal coating over no-clean fluxes.

EMS Firm Tsukiden Electronics Seeing More Business in Prototypes

At the recent Philippine Semiconductor and Electronics Convention and Exhibition (PSECE) held in Manila, Karen Flordiles, marketing supervisor at EMS firm Tsukiden Electronics Philippines Inc., talks about their customers' changing requirements and their manufacturing challenges. She also discussed new opportunities they are seeing in the EMS sector.


Technology Enabler Highlights Benefits of Having Design Services for an EMS Firm

At the 14th Philippine Semiconductor and Electronics Convention and Exhibition (PSECE) held last week in Manila, Robin Ramiso, design and development manager at Technology Enabler, discusses their activities, and the benefits of having a design services team for an EMS company with I-Connect007 Managing Editor Stephen Las Marias.

A New Player in the Philippine EMS Industry

There's a new EMS player in town. Come August 2017, Artem Global, a startup EMS firm in the Philippines, will start manufacturing operations, with services ranging from PCB assembly to box build, and even turnkey services. I-Connect007 Managing Editor Stephen Las Marias caught up with Artem Managing Director Art Ledonio at last week's PSECE event in Manila.

How Important DFM is for Your Electronics Assembly Partner

Each OEM will have their own set of criteria when it comes to selecting an appropriate EMS provider. But where does design for manufacture (DFM) support come into play? Is it a priority? Should it be? And what benefits does this service have to offer the OEM? This article explores some of the benefits DFM offers OEMs and how this service can help realize elements of an outsourcing strategy.

Assembly Training and Education

Even if your PCB assembly process is optimized, there is always room for improvement. And no matter how successful your company has been in the past, you just can’t rest on your laurels. It is always in your best interest to strive towards a better operations model. We've created a survey to help us gauge the importance of training and education in your workforce, and the benefits that you get in ensuring that your operators and engineers have the most current knowledge and skill sets.

Solder Ball Joint Reliability with Electroless Ni/Pd/Au Plating – Influence of Electroless Pd Plating Film Thickness

This paper investigated the influence of Pd film thickness in electroless Ni/Pd/Au plating on the solder ball joint reliability. It was found out that the shape and thickness of the intermetallic compounds (IMCs) are among the key factors that affect solder joint reliability after multiple reflow cycles and thermal aging, respectively.

High-Volume Test Strategies

In an interview with I-Connect007 during the recent NEPCON China event in Shanghai, Siegmund Hornig, director of global sales for Europe and Asia, for production board test division at Teradyne discusses the new testing demands from customers, and strategies to help them address their high-volume test requirements.

Koh Young Discusses Latest 3D AOI Innovations

Koh Young Technology's Scott Kim, overseas sales team manager, talks about the latest challenges and developments happening in inspection technologies, the new demands and requirements from customers, as well as the key factors to consider when it comes to buying inspection systems.

How to Make a Bad First Impression with an EMS Provider

Like any relationship, starting off on the wrong foot when finding an EMS provider can quickly trip you up and become painful in the long term. Regardless of the 'why', here are some good examples of what not to do when first approaching a potential EMS provider. This way, you can make sure that you don't end up wasting valuable time and effort finding the wrong EMS provider for your business.

AOI Capabilities Study with 03015 Components

More EMS companies are implementing AOI into their SMT lines to minimize repair costs and maintain good process and product quality, especially for new component types. This project focuses on the testing of 03015 components, which is challenging for AOI.

3D Inspection is the Way to Go

In an interview with SMT Magazine during NEPCON China, Guido Bornemann, head of sales in Asia for Viscom, discusses how inspection technology is keeping up with the latest requirements and demands from customers. He also explains why 3D technology is the best inspection technology to utilize in electronics assembly.


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