Article Highlights
How to Troubleshoot Your Testing Processes
07/22/2021 | Graham Naisbitt, Gen3 Systems
SMTA Offers New Membership Structure
07/07/2021 | I-Connect007 Editorial Team
IPC-WP-019: The How-to Behind the Cleanliness Requirements in IPC J-STD-001G
07/06/2021 | Debora Obitz, IPC
Cleanliness Behind Many Assembly Challenges
07/02/2021 | I-Connect007 Editorial Team
State of the Coating Industry
06/30/2021 | Phil Kinner, Electrolube

Latest Articles

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

In this week’s top five: a high profile surprise merger between Autodesk and Altium, which had been in the works, resolved this week; financial news from fabs and assemblers around the globe is reporting strong bookings and sales as the industry bounces back from pandemic-related shutdowns; component demands continue to exert pull pressures on the semiconductor suppliers, keeping the market (overly?) competitive pricewise. The tiles are indeed being stirred. Which pieces will you be dealt?

How to Troubleshoot Your Testing Processes

There are a multitude of electronic circuit assembly manufacturers, high-volume/low-product mix to low-volume/high-product mix. Only you will know where you are in that definition.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

Trade show season is around the corner, and we’re talking about real, in-person trade shows. The virtual shows served their purpose, and we may see more virtual shows in tandem with live events, but I’ll be glad to get back on the show floor and see what’s “really” going on out there. It's great to see IPC’s hand soldering competitions returning to Europe this fall.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

This may be a global industry, but the effect is very real: holidays in the U.S. will drive the industry news cycle. In fact, I can even (unscientifically) rank the major U.S. holidays by their silencing effect on the news. Christmas leads the way, of course, followed by New Year’s, Thanksgiving, Independence Day, Memorial Day, and Labor Day. Here's a wrap-up of the biggest stories of the past week, starting before Independence Day weekend.

SMTA Offers New Membership Structure

SMTA membership is being revamped for Jan 1 2022. This interview detals those changes with SMTA President Martin Anselm and Membership Vice President Rob Boguski.

IPC-WP-019: The How-to Behind the Cleanliness Requirements in IPC J-STD-001G

IPC-WP-019, “An Overview on Global Change in Ionic Cleanliness Requirements,” was initially released in August 2017. Eleven months after the release of the original IPC-WP-019, a revision of the white paper was released that aligned to the new cleanliness requirements forming the basis of IPC J-STD-001G Amendment 1.

Cleanliness Behind Many Assembly Challenges

Eric Camden says nobody knows your board like you do, so it’s time for assemblers to start doing their own cleanliness testing and due diligence, and stop relying on outside organizations to determine how clean their boards need to be.

State of the Coating Industry

Several trends have really stood out as the first half of 2021 comes to a close. First, 150°C appears to have become the “new normal” for the maximum required operating temperature of conformal coatings for automotive use. This is an increase from 85°C or 120°C on the last generation of products.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

This week, Nolan Johnson's top five includes two popular press releases on equipment purchases, plus a case study that details another company’s ROI from new equipment. We also bring you Pete Starkey’s latest EIPC webinar writeup, and a bit of historical controversy from Clyde Coombs.

A Framework for Large-Scale AI-Assisted Quality Inspection Implementation in Manufacturing Using Edge Computing

This paper discusses in detail the challenges in large-scale deployment of AI models for quality inspection operation and introduces a framework for large-scale AI-assisted quality inspection in manufacturing environment using edge computing architecture. The framework focuses on IT architectural decisions to fulfill the OT requirement, including user experience in the quality inspection ecosystem.


Excerpt: The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to... SMT Inspection: Today, Tomorrow, and Beyond, Chapter 5

Reliable AOI methods have become powerful, economical complements to traditional test strategies. AOI can be used successfully as a process monitoring tool for measuring printing, placement, and reflow performance. Yet, a single inspection system has limitations, especially when there is limited or no communication with the balance of the line. In this setup, it simply cannot optimize a printed circuit board assembly process. Equipment suppliers must cooperate to achieve communication for a zero-defect future.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

It’s summertime here in Atlanta. The masks are gone, and my Hawaiian shirts are back in rotation! It feels like we’re getting back to normal. Speaking of normal, it looks like DesignCon, PCB West, SMTA International, and IPC APEX EXPO are good to go; they’re set to be live, in-person events, just like in the “olden days” of early 2020.

ICAPE Group Offers Boots on the Ground Support in Asia

Nolan Johnson speaks with Roger Harts about some of the current complications around manufacturing electronics in China and how ICAPE Group works as a vital supplier partner to OEMs and companies hoping to manufacture in Asia.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

This week’s can’t miss news items touch all the bases—unlike Pittsburgh Pirates Rookie Ke’Bryan Hayes, who didn’t touch all the bases on Tuesday night’s game, and had his home run revoked.

The Role of 3,000 Committee Members

I believe the committee structure really shines as we are constantly striving to produce the best possible version of the standard and ensure consensus for best practices in each review cycle—currently every three years—for the industry. During the review cycle, users of the standard can submit comments on the document content which are then debated by the committee. The committee has A-Teams and Working Groups that the leaders can delegate to; these groups have members with relevant expertise to review particular areas of the document or individual comments. This gives us a two-fold bonus of having knowledgeable participants provide feedback and frequently passing on information to someone who may not know as much in that area.

Surface Prep vs. Cleaning

Nolan Johnson learns the differences between surface prep and cleaning in a discussion with cleaning expert Tom Forsythe of KYZEN, who says the two are not exactly one and the same with technical jargon around the topic varying from industry to industry.

Cleaning and Inspection

Today’s non-negotiable requirement is to produce objective evidence. As can be seen from Figure 1, the two tools that have been proven to be up to the task, are SIR followed by PICT. What can also be seen is the plethora of issues that must be addressed.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

In case you’ve been on the beach with an umbrella drink in your hand, in industry news we saw the soft opening of a new laminate facility and more M&A activity in the PCB fab segment. And we ran some really great content from our contributors, with articles on how to save your company money and how to save yourself time in the design cycle. Plus, Editor Nolan Johnson channels his inner John Updike with his review of one of the most popular manufacturing strategy books ever, three decades after its publication.

TIM: Thermal Interface Material in Power Electronics

The omnipresent trend in power electronics for higher performance in smaller spaces requires a quick, effective, and cost-efficient heat transfer, within and out of, highly compact power modules. A well-designed, heat management concept from the beginning of a new design guarantees a longer lifetime of the electronic components and, by that, higher quality of the whole electronic power module.

Excerpt: The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to… Smart Data

IoT applications are gathering huge amounts of real-time, shop-floor data constantly but collecting data simply is not enough—it needs to be used intelligently. Analytics is the application of statistics and other mathematical tools to business data to assess and improve practices.


A Review of ‘World-Class Manufacturing’

"World Class Manufacturing: The Lessons of Simplicity Applied" by Richard J. Schonberger was published in 1986 as part of the World Class Manufacturing (WCM) vanguard of the time. And yet, a careful read shows that even though many processes have changed, there are fundamental thought patterns that persist in electronics manufacturing.

IPC Committees as an Emerging Engineer

We are extremely fortunate to have some of the industry leaders participating in our committees. We also try to make the documents easier to understand with simple wording, so it’s easier to be translated and used globally.

Why You Should Get Involved in IPC Standards Development

From a business perspective, involvement in IPC standards is incredibly important. Usage of IPC’s globally accepted standards creates a level playing field in the electronics supply chain. The playing field, however, is only as level as the participants who are involved in the development of a standard.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

Summer is almost upon us. But it doesn’t look like there’s much of a summer vacation afoot for this industry. In the past week, we saw lots of traction with our coverage of everything from M&A activity and the supply chain shortage to challenges facing PCB designers, Spanish language training courses, and designing for semi-additive processes.

Medical, Defense Face Shortage of Multilayer Ceramic Capacitors

Industrial, medical, and military demand for high-quality, high-voltage multilayer ceramic capacitors (MLCCs) has been hit hard by a shift in production by the world’s largest MLCC manufacturers who are focusing on a seemingly insatiable demand for smaller, lower voltage—and in some way—lower-performance MLCCs.

IPC: Driving Our Industry for 64 Years

I have participated in many areas of IPC for several years, particularly the Government Relations Committee and the Suppliers Council. Now, there are many IPC committees, and most of them are focused on standards. Many IPC members take part in the committees—after all, electronic design and manufacturing standards is one of the key reasons IPC was founded. The results of the committees’ efforts represent a significant part of the value the IPC has contributed to the industry since it was founded in 1957.

Joe D’Ambrisi Discusses MacDermid Alpha's Acquisition of HK Wentworth

Element Solutions’ Executive Vice President Joe D’Ambrisi speaks with Nolan Johnson about MacDermid Alpha's recent acquisition of HK Wentworth. Joe shares some details on the transaction and outlines the expected benefits that come from bringing these two companies together.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

There is, increasingly, a sense of returning to “normal” daily life where I live. Of the state’s population, 35% have been immunized against coronavirus as of this week. Lockdowns are lifted, schools have partially reopened, and even some offices are staffing back up.

Get Involved with IPC’s EHS-Related Committees

Did you know that IPC members have several opportunities to learn about and get involved in policy debates about environment, health, and safety (EHS) issues? As a member-driven organization, IPC’s Government Relations (GR) team relies on the input of experts from member companies to ensure IPC’s advocacy activities reflect the industry’s priorities.

Excerpt—The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to... SMT Inspection: Today, Tomorrow, and Beyond, Chapter 4

Using the right 3D measurement technology will deliver accurate measurement data to help manufacturers streamline the SMT line and realize a zero defect production environment. The ability to generate reliable measurement data has given rise to the creation of measurement-based analysis and optimization solutions. With quality control capabilities and a full lineup of integrated inspection systems, the ideal software suite should tie everything together: SPI, AOI and other production machines, all supported by AI-powered analysis for fully automated control that boosts productivity and minimizes costs.


I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

Finally, it’s May. The snow has melted, the flowers are beginning to bloom, and summer is just around the corner. We’re slowly getting back to normal after the craziest year I can remember. And our industry is on the move! This week, we bring you a veritable seafood platter of articles and columns about PCB design, fabrication, and assembly.

IPC Technical Staff Liaisons—Your ‘Shepherds’ in the IPC Standards Development Process

If you have ever attended an IPC standards development meeting, whether it be in person or through a web meeting, then you’ve seen or heard us—that collection of IPC staff members within the IPC Technical Department that schedule the myriad face-to-face or online standards meetings taking place at annual IPC events or throughout the year. We’re the ones you hear from when IPC circulates a new standard working draft, promotes it to Final Draft for Industry Review (FDIR) for broader industry input, or notifies you that the document is ready for balloting towards release.

Excerpt: The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to… Smart Data, Chapter 3

There are many different and valid perspectives on the performance of a factory. For instance, the fact that the factory is on shutdown may be significant to a planner who is concerned with overall factory capacity. However, the shutdown is less significant to the production manager, who simply wants to know if the machines will run efficiently when they are scheduled to run.

Process Control in Solder and Reflow

Nolan Johnson speaks with KIC’s Miles Moreau to get his perspective on topics such as wave process inspection (WPI), wave solder, and vacuum reflow, and how they will fit into Industry 4.0 and smart factories.

An Inside Look at the IPC Committee Process

As IPC committee meetings were in full effect at this year’s APEX EXPO, Nolan Johnson and Barry Matties have a discussion with many of IPC’s directors and program managers—Teresa Rowe, Chris Jorgensen, Deb Obitz, John Perry, Andres Ojalill, and Patrick Crawford—to gain a better understanding of how committees work.

PRIDE Industries: A Nonprofit EMS and Staffing Firm Moves Into Mil-aero

PRIDE Industries is a contract manufacturing provider with a twist: The company provides training and coaching for job seekers with disabilities, including service-disabled veterans. If they don’t have openings in their Sacramento facility, they may have a job for you in one of 15 other states.

A Tribute to Dieter Bergman

In 1962, while at Philco Ford, Dieter became the company’s official representative to the IPC. Dieter tag-teamed with his friend and co-worker Gerald Ginsberg on the development of a prolific run of technical publications including a multilayer design standard and the massive binder known as the IPC-D-330 IPC Design Guide. For his standards contributions, Dieter received the IPC President’s Award in 1968, the same year he assumed chairmanship of the IPC Design Committee.

Show & Tell Magazine Now Available on Demand

IPC APEX EXPO 2021 is in the history books now. But as the paperboys used to say in the 1930s, you can still “read all about it” in Real Time With… IPC APEX EXPO 2021 Show & Tell Magazine! It’s all right here in one convenient publication: interviews with award winners, coverage of keynote speeches, show notes from our technical staff, thoughts from IPC Emerging Engineers, and much more

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

This week’s biggest news came in the form of industry briefings—there were a lot of them and the news was universally positive. The news you need to read for this week includes three reports from IPC detailing: the strength and risks in the global economic recovery; a strong EMS book-to-bill ratio; and strong North American PCB sales. Zeroing in on a single company, Apple reported a significant jump in revenue.

Nolan’s Notes: Driving Cost Out of the Supply Chain

Supply chain issues have become mainstream news as virtually all supply chains were affected in some manner by the pandemic lockdowns. The interactions of supply, demand, and distribution became a topic of scrutiny even for my 80-something parents; we all became experts at understanding supply chain when we had to explain exactly why toilet paper was peculiarly absent from store shelves, while there was plenty of liquor still available. The vagaries of the distribution chain for all sorts of daily necessities suddenly became our concern; we no longer could take the supply chain for granted.


Catching Up With Nova Engineering

When searching for companies to interview, I always look for something unique and that makes the company special. Truth be told, I am a collector of stories about good, well-run, unique companies that we can learn something from. Nova Engineering is one of those companies.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

This week, we bring you a wide swath of news, columns, and articles from the past week. Altium announced a new cloud platform that connects design stakeholders with users of its Altium 365 environment. Cadence Design Systems has acquired a company that develops computational fluid dynamics technology to help expand its system analysis offerings.

Hans-Peter Tranitz: Dieter Bergman IPC Fellowship Award Recipient

In this wide-ranging interview, Patty Goldman speaks with Continental Automotive’s Peter Tranitz about his IPC involvement with press-fit and other automotive standards which have earned him the coveted Dieter Bergman IPC Fellowship Award.

Excerpt—The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to... SMT Inspection: Today, Tomorrow, and Beyond, Chapter 3

Initiatives like the IPC Connected Factory Exchange (CFX) and IPC-Hermes-9852 underpin efforts within the industry to develop standards and help create a smart factory. These M2M communication standards, guided in part by Industry 4.0, are altering the manufacturing process by improving metrics such as first pass yield and throughput by applying autonomous process adjustments.

Excerpt: The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to… Smart Data, Chapter 2

Companies have been collecting data in large volumes. Highly varied data from manufacturing operations comes in quickly that needs to be validated, and its value prioritized so that it can be turned into something useful—transformed from big data to smart data. The amount of data available has grown exponentially into big data. Twenty years ago, a PCB work order resulted in 100 data records, megabytes of data; today, it is 10 billion records, terabytes of data. The investment in collecting this data and storing it is high. However, without a way to analyze the data, without analytics, it will not result in ROI.

Smart Is Not A Binary Concept

“Smart” is not simply an “on” or “off” state. Just like people, some solutions are “smarter” than others; as we see from the various ways of measuring intelligence within humans, there are many kinds of “smarts.” When looking to invest in a smart manufacturing strategy, the playing field is more complex than it may appear. We should first understand and define what “smart” means, to what extent it exists, and the other requirements and dependencies that are needed to get the best value from investment.

I-Connect007 'Just Ask' Q&A Compilation Available Now

Throughout 2020, we asked you to send us your questions for Happy Holden, John Mitchell, Joe Fjelstad, Tara Dunn, and Heidi Barnes. You all had plenty of questions for these industry experts. The following is a handy compilation of your questions and their answers.

A New Captive PCB Facility in the U.S.

Diane Maceri and Jessi Hall discuss how Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL) has been working with Alex Stepinski of GreenSource Fabrication to build their own captive PCB facility in Moscow, Idaho; the thought process behind that decision; and their involvement in the Managers Forum at IPC APEX EXPO 2021.

IBM Awarded Best Technical Paper at IPC APEX EXPO 2021

Nolan Johnson and Happy Holden speak with Sarah Czaplewski, whose team at IBM won the Best Technical Paper award at this year’s IPC APEX for “Signal Integrity, Reliability, and Cost Evaluation of PCB Interlayer Crosstalk Reduction.”

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

I’m sure it’s just me being hyperaware, but I can’t shake it: Mars is where it’s at right now. Is it just me, or do you get the same feeling from the news? There are the Mars rovers—three generations of them still rolling, now—and a drone helicopter winding up for a maiden flight any day now. But that’s not all. There’s SpaceX’s StarShip, rapid-prototyping its way into a manned flight to Mars. And NASA’s whole “return to the Moon” project is simply a shakedown for the U.S. government contractors’ Mars flight hardware, too.


Top Five Takeaways from IPC APEX EXPO 2021

IPC APEX EXPO 2021, which went all virtual this year, exemplified how the electronics industry has responded to the COVID-19 global pandemic: with resiliency, agility, and an unwavering commitment to build electronics better. APEX EXPO featured great content and robust discussions on topics of critical importance to the global electronics industry. From my vantage point leading IPC’s government relations programs, here are my top five takeaways from this year’s event.

Excerpt—The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to... SMT Inspection: Today, Tomorrow, and Beyond, Chapter 2

A limitation of many 3D optical inspection systems is the cycle time typically associated with processing millions of pixels to reconstruct a full 3D image using data captured from multiple channels. There should not be a compromise between 3D inspection and throughput. A successful inspection deployment should provide oversight for the process, not compromise, interrupt or slow that process.

Overcoming Component Selection and Sourcing Challenges

Most PCB designers know precisely how Captain James T. Kirk felt because we often feel the same way when starting a new design. We are launching into something that we ultimately don't know how it will turn out. We don't know the difficulties we'll face or problems we’ll need to fix. While we can control the design process and use our skills to make reasonable decisions, there are often huge hazards awaiting us in the "unknown." One worsening problem for all designers is component procurement.

Highlights on a Rousing Virtual IPC APEX EXPO 2021

What a week that was! I didn’t get to endure the 11-hour flight each way, neither did I need my comfy old shoes, but it certainly was a marathon event. And real-time-plus-six-hours gave me a few late nights, but it was such a meaningful experience, and well worth the effort!

My Thoughts From the Virtual Show

Gosh, I sure missed the live event! I listened in on several technical sessions, the awards ceremony, the keynotes, and the Hall of Fame management session. I tried a couple of professional development courses but got the frownie face on my screen and didn’t go back in. I have almost 90 days(!) to browse them to my heart’s content, so what the heck. There were good points and a few not so good things about this first ever virtual conference. You probably experienced some yourself.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

In this week’s roundup, we have news about a new DFM environment from Siemens EDA, a 2D field solver from Avishtech, and a milestone for the IPC-CFX-2591 QPL. We also have a great article by Calumet’s Audra Thurston, who points out the many advantages of a virtual trade show. And in his latest column, Denny Fritz explains why the DoD is now thinking like many U.S. OEMs—worrying about single-source components, for instance—but the stakes are much higher.

Polar Instruments Driven by Customer Demand

Andy Shaughnessy recently spoke with Geoffrey Hazelett, vice president of sales for Polar Instruments, about the virtual IPC APEX EXPO and the eventual return of live trade shows and conferences. They also discussed some of the company’s newest releases, many of which came about through customer demand.

Driving Down Cost in the Supply Chain

Driving cost out of the supply chain goes beyond reduction of raw material cost. Though many of the manufacturers today concentrate on negotiation with their raw material supplier(s) the hidden cost of internal supply chain goes undetected. To address the cost of the entire supply chain we should not only look at direct material cost but also the cost of internal supply chain. At Epoch we looked at four areas in particular which include: planning/tracking, storage/delivery, inventory management, and supplier relationships.

Technical Conference—Balancing Conventional and Disruptive Technologies

I thought the three keynotes given by IPC President and CEO John Mitchell, Industry Week Editor-in-Chief Travis Hessman, and IPC Chief Economist Shawn DuBravac, were spot on. They all spoke to the fact that the way products are conceived, designed, manufactured, and used is changing rapidly. While the keynotes had different focus areas, I noted an important similarity—they all underscored the need for increased industry collaboration to help bring the factory and supply chain of the future to life.

Excerpt: The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to... SMT Inspection: Today, Tomorrow, and Beyond, Chapter 1

Today, optical inspection systems are the preferred solution for in-line quality control in the SMT industry. Systems such as solder paste inspection (SPI) or automated optical inspection (AOI) systems for pre- and post-reflow are almost standard in every production facility.


Excerpt: The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to… Smart Data

Whenever we discuss data, keep in mind that people have been collecting data, verifying it, and translating it into reports for a long time. And if data is collected and processes are changed automatically, people still will be interpreting and verifying the accuracy of the data, creating reports, making recommendations, solving problems, tweaking, improving, and innovating. Whatever data collection system is used, any effort to digitalize needs to engage and empower the production team at the factory. Their role is to attend to the manufacturing process but also to act as the front line of communications and control.

What Makes a Great Supply Chain Manager?

Building a competitive and reliable supply chain is a critical success factor for any manufacturing business. This is especially true today, where we face constant volatility and disruption across global supply chains. In this environment, effective supply chain leadership is more critical than ever. So, what makes a great supply chain manager?

10 Ways to Identify Counterfeit ICs

How about a little refresher on some of the most effective techniques for component inspection using X-ray? While other visual inspection techniques provide important insight into component quality and authenticity, nothing exceeds X-ray inspection for fast, accurate, non-destructive evaluation. The following are 10 ways to identify a fake IC using X-ray.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

The Top 5 is labeled as “editor’s choice,” which is a good thing this week because if I were limited to just posting the five most viewed news items, this week’s list would be full of our own coverage for IPC APEX EXPO. Judging from the metrics, that content has been extremely popular.

Rooting Out an 'Us vs. Them' Mentality: An Interview with Laura Kriska

Earlier this year, I-Connect007 columnist Dan Beaulieu submitted a book review on "The Business of WE: The Proven Three-Step Process for Closing the Gap Between Us and Them in Your Workplace." As a follow up to that review, Dan has interviewed the book's author, Laura Kriska.

IPC Supporting Newcomers in the Industry: Notes from IPC APEX EXPO 2021

With the wrap-up of IPC APEX EXPO 2021, it was extremely gratifying to note the emphasis placed on getting young people involved to combat the “graying out” knowledge losses facing our industry. A part of that emphasis was reflected in the award ceremony on Tuesday, March 9, which featured some people you may have seen mentioned in my “Better to Light a Candle” columns.

Emerging Engineers: Raviteja Boyana

Recent engineering graduate Raviteja Boyana discusses IPC's Emerging Engineer program and the IPC Education Foundation Scholarship, along with his mentorship with Gen3's Graham Naisbitt. Ravi has already found a job in the industry with Maxim Integrated.

IPC CFX Update v1.3

By the time that you read this, version 1.3 of the CFX standard should have been published. There are some very interesting additions in this release, including messages for predictive maintenance and smart energy management. As CFX is an IPC standard, the industry is assured of open content, designed to evolve Industry 4.0 manufacturing for everyone.

PCB Sourcing Using PCQR2

In a global market, it is often difficult to determine the best PCB suppliers for your technology needs, while also achieving the lowest costs for your products. Considering each PCB supplier has their own niche in terms of equipment, process, and performance, uniform test data from the IPC-9151D Process Capability, Quality, and Relative Reliability (PCQR2) Benchmark Test Standard can help find the right source for the board based on its specific technology requirements.

KIC Adds Wave Process Inspection to Product Line

Miles Moreau, general manager for EMEA, Americas & Australia at KIC, shares some details on the new Wave Process Inspection (WPI) solution that KIC is currently rolling out. This solution brings real-time process control capabilities to wave soldering equipment, adding and extending capabilities.


Bringing New Talent To Our Industry

Joe O’Neil, chairman of the IPC Education Foundation, talks about the panel discussion with young engineers and how the education foundation is working to attract new students into our industry. This effort provides resources to educators and helps young engineers advance their careers.

Happy’s Play-by-Play of IPC APEX EXPO

This was the first time IPC had a virtual APEX EXPO. It went well, but I missed seeing everyone. On the other hand, all this material being available for 90 days certainly allows it to fit anyone’s schedule. I spent all week intently listening to the presentations.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

This week, we have a round-up of stories from around the industry, including a Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO interview with Ventec, an article by Tamara Jovanovic about eliminating “garbage in, garbage out,” a review of an EIPC webinar by Pete Starkey, and news about another trade show going virtual this summer. And last but certainly not least, we bring you our one-minute video salute to all the fantastic people in this industry who we’ve worked with for decades. Enjoy!

EIPC Technical Snapshot: 5G and Loss Minimisation

Bringing a specialised technical area into sharp focus, this month’s topic was “5G and the understanding of loss minimisation at the PCB level,” with papers on dielectric material, copper foil, and modelling solutions. The webinar was moderated by EIPC board member Paul Waldner managing director of Multiline International Europa, who admitted that he had managed to get a haircut especially for the occasion!

BTU Discusses Time-Saving New Technologies

Nolan Johnson and BTU's Rob DiMatteo drill down into the company's new capabilities in vacuum reflow and new technology for flux management, a system that greatly reduces downtime for cleaning and maintenance, among other benefits.

Achieving Growth in a Difficult Year: The Benefits of Global Supply Chain Management

Jack Pattie, president of Ventec USA, discusses the growth of the business, the strengthening of the operation, quality system accreditations, the advantages of building close working relationships with OEMs, and how a well-managed global supply chain has overcome some of the challenges and frustrations encountered during the past year.

I-Connect007 Video: A Salute to The Industry

I-Connect007 has produced this new one-minute video to acknowledge nearly 35 years of sharing your stories. In 1987 we launched our first industry publication and we have been dedicated to covering this industry ever since. We did not start out as publishers: in fact, our background was in printed circuit board fabrication. In 1987 there were still nearly 3,000 PCB shops in North America. At the time, profits were goods, trade events included giant industry parties (remember the extravagant hospitality suites in Anaheim?), and the industry was in a state of change.

NovaCentrix Expands Solder Capabilities

Stan Farnsworth of NovaCentrix discusses how the company has expanded into electronics manufacturing in the past year with its photonic curing and soldering tools.

Advanced Inspection Solutions and Intelligent Factory Automation

Effective inspection is the key to advancing the quality of the manufacturing operation. With the benefit of AI to spot the early signs, any trends away from optimum can be resolved before they become problems. MIRTEC President Brian D’Amico explains.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

Last week was “APEX Week” and, unsurprisingly, the most popular news this week was APEX related (with one outlier, of course!) This week, the top five items you should follow lean strongly toward APEX interviews focusing on future trends. Remember, this year APEX offers on-demand access to the papers, presentations, events, keynotes, and forums. You can even register for post-show access.


Expanded Suite for Component Storage Needs

Super Dry’s Richard Heimsch will be showcasing the expanded suite of storage management controls as well as some long-term storage solutions at this year's event.

Cleaning is the New Standard

If you are interested in cleaning and the Process Ionic Contamination Test (PICT), then listen to Graham Naisbitt of Gen3 give his update on this standard.

Post-Show Interview with IPC President John Mitchell

In this relaxed wrap-up interview, John Mitchell shares his thoughts on this year’s virtual show with Barry Matties. Some of the emerging themes that came up include smart factory implementation and the increased traction for the emerging engineer program.

Solder Paste Innovations and Low-Temperature Assembly

Paul Salerno, MacDermid Alpha's Global Portfolio Manager SMT Assembly Solutions, discusses no-clean pastes designed to maximize electrochemical reliability with fine-pitch, low-standoff components and describes latest innovations in ultra-low-temperature soldering technology.

The Ongoing Need for Tribal Knowledge

IPC Hall of Fame recipients Bob Neves and Don Dupriest led a special event on the first day of IPC APEX EXPO 2021 called “Forgotten Tribal Knowledge with IPC Hall of Fame and Emerging Engineers.” In this interview, Bob discusses the ongoing need to harness tribal knowledge for the benefit of emerging engineers.

New Online Training Programs Enhance Delivery Options

Jahr Turchan, Blackfox's Director of Veteran Services & Advanced Manufacturing Programs, discusses how technical training programs pivoted in 2020 and how customers responded to their training needs throughout the year.

The Laser World is Rapidly Developing

Stephan Schmidt, LPKF president, discusses the LPKF laser 14x20” depaneling system. The company is also introducing automatic handling solutions, helping to fill the gap in automated SMT manufacturing lines.

Balver Zinn Group Mourns Loss of Managing Director Gregor Jost

It is with deep sorrow that Balver Zinn Josef Jost GmbH & Co. KG says goodbye to its managing director, Dipl.-ing. Gregor Jost.

APEX Thursday Keynote: Shawn DuBravac on a Data-driven Tech World

Shawn DuBravac, IPC chief economist, provided Thursday’s IPC APEX EXPO keynote address, “The Tech Industry in a Post-pandemic World.”

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

There was a lot going on in the industry this week, and most of it happened at the virtual IPC APEX EXPO. Sure, it wasn’t the same as being in San Diego, but the show went pretty well, especially for a first-time event. There were a few technical snafus, but the IPC technical staff was responsive and took care of most of the issues right away. As I said a few months ago, how would you like to be in trade show management during a pandemic? So, without further ado, here are my top five stories from the past week.


Lessons Learned During Pandemic Fuel KYZEN's Customer Support, Growth

Tom Forsythe shares how KYZEN applied pandemic experiences to their delivery of customer support. The company's R&D has continued, including AquaNox product line formulations for water soluble organic acids, where cleaning has historically not been necessary but now is increasingly required.

APEX Panel: Lessons Learned in Times of Crisis

During a crisis, communication among employees, customers and suppliers is key to keeping business operations running as smoothly as possible.This consensus came from a panel moderated by Mark Wolfe in the EMS portion of the Managers Forum on Monday, March 6, during the virtual IPC APEX EXPO 2021. Panelists were asked to speak about lessons learned during the pandemic and how it affected their business and employees.

IPC APEX EXPO 2021 Keynote: Travis Hessman on ‘The Great Digital Transformation’

Wednesday’s Premier Keynote at IPC APEX EXPO 2021 came from Travis Hessman, editor-in-chief of IndustryWeek, “a website and magazine dedicated to manufacturing leadership, operational excellence and the technologies that make it possible.” An energetic and animated presenter, a powerful storyteller and visibly passionate about digital manufacturing, Hessman made it clear at the outset that his goal was not to hype an already over-hyped industry, nor to focus on the technologies themselves, but to walk-through the process of transformation.

Real Time with...IPC APEX EXPO 2021: Optimizing Pin Inspection In Automotive With True3D Tech

Guest Editor Michael Ford and Gustavo Jimenez, Koh Young's sales manager for Northern Mexico, discuss some of the company's newest technologies, including True3D™ technology for pin inspection, which has proven popular with the automotive segment.

IPC Managers Forum: Packed With Useful Information

Gene Weiner of Weiner International Associates discusses the highlights of the IPC Managers Forum which took place on the first day of IPC APEX EXPO. The forum was filled with a variety of speakers covering a range of industry topics.

IPC Releases Free Smart Factory for Electronics Manufacturing Presentation

The IPC APEX EXPO 2021 Technical Program features a tract on the “Factory of the Future Implementation,” March 10-11. As part of that program, IPC has made available a free presentation and video from the Manufacturing Technology Center (MTC), a CFX Program member. In this presentation, Barry Maybank along with Naim Kapadia, MTC technology manager, explains the background of the MTC, one of seven high-value-manufacturing technology catapult centers established in the UK.

IPC APEX EXPO Keynote: John Mitchell on the State of the Industry

IPC President and CEO Dr. John Mitchell was the Monday keynote for the 2021 edition of IPC APEX EXPO. Delivered via video conference as a part of this year’s virtual format, Mitchell made good use of a panel approach. After opening remarks, Mitchell anchored an around-the-horn series of reports from IPC experts.

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2021: Developments in Digital Manufacturing

Michael Ford and Pete Starkey discuss the industry trend towards digital manufacturing, the latest in 3D CAD technology, ontological data and the benefits of the new IPC standard for digital twins.

IPC APEX EXPO 2021: The Complete Agenda

IPC APEX EXPO week kicks off today in a first-ever virtual format. The 24-page IPC APEX EXPO program of courses and conference events details the events, technical program, keynotes, and much more.

Virtual IPC APEX EXPO Kicks Off Today

There will be no long TSA lines, late flights, Uber rides, noisy hotel rooms, missing luggage, or aching feet...all things that we long for. Instead, we will be attending our first-ever online IPC APEX EXPO 2021 starting today. One key benefit with this year’s IPC APEX EXPO is your ability to choose what session you will see or not see, as the IPC will have the sessions available for 90 days after the show so that you can catch up on whatever you missed. Also, those on your team who normally do not travel to the event will now be able to take part.


I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

A perennial and yet irregular category on the popular game show Jeopardy is “potpourri.” My dad, as I was growing up, pronounced the word as “pot-poury.” It wasn’t until I was a sophomore in college that my girlfriend’s mom—who had a penchant for a soupcon of French euphemism in her tête-à-têtes—pronounced the word properly: “po-pu-ree.” Such are the risks of growing up just a bit rural.

Real Time With… Premium Sponsors Share ‘Top 5 Things You Need to Know’

As part of I-Connect007’s coverage of the IPC APEX EXPO 2021, four premium sponsors share their knowledge and expertise in the following categories.

Super Dry: Increasing Component Storage Needs

Nolan Johnson speaks with Super Dry’s Richard Heimsch about how the need for dry storage solutions has increased throughout the pandemic, including further demands for traceability and automation capabilities.

What Makes a Good Process Engineer?

Nolan Johnson recently spoke with Tuan Tran, director of customer solutions at Green Circuits, about what makes a successful process engineer. They also discuss a typical day in the life of a process engineer—from pre-manufacturing through post-DFM, for process improvement. As Tuan points out, there are a variety of paths to becoming a great process engineer.

Coming Out Ahead With Smart Processes

During a recent interview with Dr. Tim Rodgers that focused on supply chain management, the conversation also touched on smart factories. We’ve included Tim’s insights on smart processes here.

2020: A Year of Learning, Innovation for Taiyo America

Pete Starkey has a virtual visit with John Fix, director of Sales and Marketing at Taiyo America, where they discuss the changes taking place because of COVID-19 restrictions, and some of the new products Taiyo will be presenting at this year’s IPC APEX EXPO.

EIPC Technical Snapshot: Cleanliness

John Ling’s invitation to the fifth in EIPC’s series of Technical Snapshots was as droll as we have come to expect: “In these confined days of lockdown, and exhortations to stay at home and only go out for exercise, this only exercises the natural inclination to hop on a ‘plane to some sunshine.’ Although not the same as Factor 20, one of our webinars gives a high degree of protection from harmful ignorance, and you do not have to go out in the cold.”

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

We’re seeing an increase in optimism as more people are vaccinated and states under lockdown begin flipping open their shutters. This positive outlook is spreading, albeit slowly.

Finding Process Improvement Opportunities in Training

Nolan Johnson speaks with Leo Lambert of EPTAC about training the next generation out of high school and vocational schools, and how his company continues to improve processes, grow and adapt to changing requirements while fulfilling its mission to deliver technical certification training.

Predicting a ‘Roaring Twenties’ Innovation Boom

The 2020s have not started as anyone would have wished. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed weaknesses in supply chains and in global manufacturing, yet this could still be the most innovative decade ever.


Catching Up With Sean McConville, Niche Electronics

Dan Beaulieu catches up with Sean McConville, vice president of business development at Niche Electronics, who shares his background in the industry, the strengths of his company, and how the pandemic has affected its business.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

I’m following the landing procedures for NASA’s Perseverance Mars lander as I’m finishing my Top 5 list for the week. The successful landing of the lander seems a nice highlight for this week. Our global aerospace programs, both national and private enterprise, make these missions seem almost, almost routine. They are, as we all know, anything but routine. No surprise, then, that aerospace-related news percolated to the top of mind for our readers this week.

Footprints: A Distributor’s Perspective

No issue on footprints and library management would be complete without input from a component distributor. I recently interviewed Geof Lipman of Octopart; as director of operations for part data, he’s one of the brains behind the entire site. Geof explains how Octopart functions and manages millions of component data points, and he also discusses the current landscape of electronic components.

Jered Stoehr Discusses New Leadership Role at Milwaukee Electronics

On Friday, February 12, 2021, Nolan Johnson spoke with Jered Stoehr, incoming CEO at Milwaukee Electronics Corporation (MEC) about his new role. Jered steps in for his father, Michael Stoehr, after approximately 35 years of leadership from the elder Stoehr. In their conversation Jered provides Nolan with some additional detail to accompany the recent press announcement, including the timeline for the transition, how Jered prepared for this role, and what he sees as the agenda to grow and advance the business.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

We’re moving on into 2021, and there’s quite a bit going on in the world of PCB design, fabrication, and assembly. IPC APEX EXPO is fast approaching, and I know a lot of you will be attending, albeit virtually. In this week’s Top Five, columnist Eric Camden provides a how-to guide for PCBA technologists planning their IPC APEX EXPO schedule.

Building A Better, Brighter LED Headlamp with Top-Side Alignment Process (TAP)

An emerging trend in the automotive industry is the adoption of advanced LED headlamp lighting systems. These systems drive challenging placement requirements for LED packages. In this paper, we will review these unique challenges and discuss a novel approach to high-accuracy placement of LED packages enabling a scalable production solution.

Best Practices: Footprint Design and CAD Library Management

The I-Connect team spoke with Altium’s John Watson about the hurdles surrounding footprints and footprint design. John talks about how being proactive and improving the CAD library can better QC processes and help protect against footprint difficulties.

Joe Fjelstad's Book Review: The Innovators

"The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution" by Walter Isaacson is the best technology history book I have ever read, and at the same time one of the most engaging and entertaining. It is a forte of Isaacson to write biographies of great people. I have read his other books on DaVinci, Steve Jobs, Ben Franklin and Albert Einstein and found them equally brilliant. Isaacson has a number of other titles I have yet to get to in the future. He is a singularly great storyteller.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

Another active news week in the electronics industry! February is launching with a high-G burn, to be sure. And if you’re a fan of The Expanse, like I am, then you’ve probably already watched through to the Season 5 finale; this means you have attention to spare for industry news all of a sudden. And if you haven’t reached the current end of the line for The Expanse, then today’s list is just what you need while you catch up.

Making the Most of a Virtual Event

Nolan Johnson speaks with Alicia Balonek, senior director of tradeshows and events at IPC, about how both attendees and exhibitors can best prepare for this year’s virtual IPC APEX EXPO and breaks down some of the events you can look forward to at this year’s show.


I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

This week, we have a variety of news and articles to share, and it’s all positive. We have a new president, and he’s pledging to help American businesses. December PCB sales were up 4.5% over the same period a year ago. Atotech is just about ready to launch an IPO. Sunstone has tweaked its free CAD tool, PCB123, to make it even easier for designers to receive their Gerber files. And columnist John Watson breaks down what we all learned during the chaos that was 2020.

Book Review: The Timeliest Read of 2021—The Business of WE

It’s only January, but this may be the timeliest book of the year, as well as the most important. Why? Because it deals with the issues that we are facing right here now. The gap that Kriska refers to is the one between black and white, men and women and as the title suggests “we and them.”

IPC’s Alicia Balonek Talks Trade Show News

Nolan Johnson discusses IPC APEX EXPO 2021 with Alicia Balonek, senior director of trade shows and events at IPC. Alicia provides an update on how IPC APEX EXPO will be structured in a virtual format, overviews the programming changes, and new additions designed to make IPC APEX EXPO the best virtual event possible.

5 Keys to Smart Process Success

Smart factories require the core underlying processes to be connected and “talking” to generate the data necessary to make real-time process decisions, that is, the IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things). In a truly connected factory, an ongoing continuous dialog between machines, business processes, suppliers and customers is happening in the background. This dialog is not only interactive, but proactive, as a constant stream of real-time data is tweaking and adjusting processes to drive improvement. It also provides time-critical information on how processes are operating, supply chain pipeline, and delivery status updates—all based on data.

Implementing Digital Twin Best Practices From Design Through Manufacturing Webinar Review

I-007e recently released a highly informative series of short webinars called Implementing Digital Twin Best Practices from Design Through Manufacturing presented by industry expert Jay Gorajia, the Director of Siemens Global Digital Manufacturing Services. The webinar is an excellent overview how data that is generated using a digital twin model can be effectively utilized to improve business execution using the Siemens tool suite.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

This week’s news gave off every indicator that we’ve started a new calendar year. The news channels were busy with changes in leadership—both corporate and governmental—and changes in ownership. Changes in representation, too. Honestly, it was hard to sort out the news to just five top items. Be that as it may, here are five things we think you ought to read, even if you read nothing else about the electronics manufacturing industry this week: tradeshow coverage, strategic acquisitions, market discussion, and governmental advocacy.

Tech 2 Tech: KYZEN’s Short Technical Sessions a Big Hit

Nolan Johnson gets an update from Tom Forsythe on KYZEN’s Tech 2 Tech sessions. These brief 15-minute sessions were set up during the pandemic by KYZEN for customers, prospects, and new engineers around cleaning, and have since found traction with their manufacturers, reps and distributors.

Your Greatest Competition is Yourself

It really doesn’t matter who you think your external competitors are, because the only competitor that really matters is you. Of course, you will look externally to stay on top of latest trends, but when it comes to competition, just competing with yourself is a win. When you look at yourself as your greatest competitor you will start with a huge advantage: you already have great intel on how “your competition” thinks. Ask yourself, “What can I do to displace my ‘competitor’ and create something much better?”

MivaTek’s New Technology and Market Drivers

I recently spoke with Brendan Hogan about the upcoming new product releases from MivaTek. The conversation flows naturally from the new product’s market drivers to the X=Xc – 1 idea that is at the core of the market drivers.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

Hard to believe that a year ago, I was getting ready to attend DesignCon and IPC APEX EXPO and wondering if this Novel Coronavirus was going to cut into attendance from the Pacific Rim. Now, we’re accustomed to virtual trade shows. They’re not ideal, but they’re the best we can do while meeting in person is not possible. We’ve learned to adapt.


CES Dispatches: Opening Day at Pepcom

On Monday, January 11, I attended the launch of the CES 2021. Well, more precisely, I attended the Pepcom program, one of the multitude of ways to connect with CES in the virtual environment. Pepcom is a regular at CES, functioning a bit like a show-within-a-show.

CES 2021: Just How Different Will It Be?

CES 2021 starts today and this year there is no need for an overpriced hotel room in Vegas, no long lines to get a taxi or board a bus, and no crowded exhibit halls (one good thing this year). On the other hand, you must decide ahead of time what you want to see and make a reservation or appointment if you wish to have time and access assured.

2021: The Year of X = Xc – 1

Throughout 2021, I-Connect007 will focus on our theme, “X = Xc – 1,” in which we will explore continuous improvement in a practical way. Get talking about continuous improvement as a business method and the conversation often hinges around large programs and grand transformations. “Company culture” and “corporate transformation” are terms that often appear in these conversations. Often, it seems, continuous improvement is simply a huge undertaking.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

It’s a new year, and time for new resolutions and new beginnings. “New year, new you” certainly is reflected in this past week’s news. We saw several announcements regarding mergers, acquisitions, and organizational changes, plus some government legislation to help kick off the new year. Based on viewing activity, readers were keen to keep up on the changes under way.

IPC CEO and President John Mitchell Discusses New Membership and Dues Structure

In this video, IPC CEO and President Dr. John Mitchell discusses the organization’s move from a site-based and enterprise membership dues structure to a company revenue-based model. Mitchell explains that this change will go into effect upon each member company’s renewal in 2021, and he points out that many of the existing member discounts will remain unchanged.

This Month in SMT007 Magazine: The Skilled Worker

Why do we train and educate our employees? Here, I will share my perspective based on what is happening in facilities trying to outsource their products, as I see that many companies are losing the tribal knowledge of how things are manufactured and the basic skills necessary to physically build a product.

Tales from a Trailblazer: An Interview with Christine Davis

Columnist Steve Williams recorded a series of interviews with new I-Connect007 columnist Christine Davis, president and founder of contract manufacturer CAMtek, who recently joined Zentech Bloomington. As a female business owner in a male-dominated industry, Christine has a unique perspective on what it takes to thrive in the electronics industry, and shares some of her stories and lessons learned along the journey.

This Month in SMT007 Magazine—Continuous Improvement: As Simple as X = Xc – 1

X=Xc – 1 is a conceptual equation for continuous improvement. You define X and work to reduce it by a factor of 1. This could be one work hour, one process step, one day less in a cycle, and so on. We recently met with Dr. Ron Lasky to discuss the concept of X=Xc – 1 and get his advice on generating enthusiasm among readers and the next generation about continuous improvement. As this discussion illustrates, many process improvements are small in scale, not yearlong, major efforts.

Top 10 Most-Read SMT Articles of 2020

As 2020 comes to a close, the I-Connect007 Editorial Team takes a look back at its most read articles. Here are the top 10 reads in SMT from the past year.

I-Connect Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

We always hear that the PCB industry is “mature,” full of people past their prime who don’t know how to change with the times. I think 2020 puts the lie to that idea. I’m honored to be a journalist covering such an amazing group of people. In the words of U2, “I will begin again.” Happy New Year!


I-Connect007 Wishes You a Happy New Year

Could there be a more welcome year in recent memory than 2021? If there’s one thing most of us can agree on, it’s that we want 2020 squarely in our rearview mirror as we speed ahead with a fresh, new start. This past year has brought with it much reflection, change and even some consternation. Thank you for taking this journey with us!

Chapter 1 Excerpt: The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to Process Validation

The original principle underlying the IPC’s ionic cleanliness requirement was that the mobility of surface ions, detectable from SIR measurements, would correlate to a maximum value of detectable ionic elements permissible on the circuit surface. The industry required a test that was both fast and accurate for process control. Thus, a simplified ion chromatograph that was able to detect ionic elements without differentiation was created.

Happy Holden Discusses His Favorite Career Moment

Managing Editor Nolan Johnson recently buttonholed Happy Holden and asked him to discuss the favorite moment of his career. To know Happy is to understand the full weight of his quiet influence on this industry. We’re delighted to share with you Happy’s reminiscence about spending time with his family at David Packard’s ranch while re-engineering the tank controls at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. As Happy explains, Packard may have been a billionaire and an ex-secretary of defense, but he still cleaned all of the fish that Happy’s kids caught on the ranch.

Book Excerpt: The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to Smart Data, Chapter 1

Accurate data is required to adjust processes and to ensure quality over time. This is difficult because not all data is in the same format, and not all sensors perform the same over time. How do you know what the best data to collect is and how to filter out the junk data from useful or smart data? This is not an easy task when the interfaces to data collection sources are complex, and they do not speak the same language, often requiring the vendor’s help to get data out of the machine and then spending time normalizing the data to turn it into something useful. This is a challenge for companies trying to set up a custom data collection system themselves.

Happy’s Essential Skills: Recruiting and Interviewing

Printed circuit manufacturing was not one of the jobs that electrical engineers in HP wanted to do. EEs were also not the best choice for printed circuit manufacturing because chemical engineers, chemists, and mechanical engineers had more skills useful to support the PCB manufacturing process. Therefore, I was authorized to recruit external hires. To recruit chemical engineers, we went to those universities noted for their focus on industries like electronics, process control, and environmental...

EIPC Technical Snapshot: PCB Surface Finishes

For the third in a series of Technical Snapshot webinars, EIPC chose to focus on PCB surface finishes, comparing specific properties, examining corrosion behaviour and discussing selection criteria for low-loss, high frequency applications.

John Watson Discusses His Favorite Career Moments

As we celebrate the holidays after a tumultuous year, it’s important to remember all of the good things in our lives. In this short video, Altium’s John Watson discusses a few of the moments that really stand out in his career: earning his IPC Certified Interconnect Designer credentials and designing his very first circuit board.

Happy Holidays from I-Connect007

The I-Connect007 team would like to wish you and your loved ones the happiest holiday season. Continue to stay safe and healthy as we head into 2021. Happy Holidays!

Book Excerpt: The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to Process Validation

It is assumed that readers are familiar with manufacturing electronic circuit assemblies in accordance with IPC-J-STD-001 or IEC 61189-1; both are titled “Requirements for Soldered Electrical and Electronic Assemblies.” In October 2018, IPC-J-STD-001 Revision G was amended and released with a new Section 8 of the document titled “Cleaning.” The change was primarily the removal of a “cleanliness” level of 1.56 mg/square cm of NaCl equivalence. This small change has great significance in relation to how companies ensure the electrochemical reliability of their products.

Batteries and Data Centers

The I-Connect007 team met with electrical engineer Mike Mosman, who has spent the majority of his career designing some of the country’s largest data centers. Mike recently sold his engineering company CCG Facilities Integration; he is now the vice president of electrical engineering in mission-critical facilities for Morrison Hershfield, and is still designing leading-edge data centers for large Internet companies. In this discussion, Mike explains how evolving battery technology and a strong demand are playing a key role in this area and others.


Meet Christine Davis, I-Connect007 Columnist

Meet Christine Davis, one of our newest columnists! Christine will share her expertise and lessons learned through her journey as one of the few women in the electronics industry to found and run her own company.

IPC Addresses Critical Industry Skills Gaps With Electronics Workforce Training

Over the past three decades, IPC standards and certification programs have played a critical role in protecting public safety and promoting excellence by ensuring the quality, reliability, and consistency of electronic products. In 2019, IPC worked with its global network of certification centers to certify over 108,000 individuals across 200 countries and 21 languages to seven IPC standards. The ubiquitous adoption of these programs speaks to the strong partnership forged between IPC and the electronics industry.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

Some years, the middle of December is marked by a distinct lack of news in PCB design, fabrication and assembly. Much of the industry often takes off around this time to get a head start on the holidays, or to squeeze in a much-needed vacation. But 2020 is not one of those years. Most of us aren’t traveling anywhere farther than the refrigerator this year, and everyone seems to still be working, albeit from their home offices. And companies in the PCB community continue to make news.

Dr. John Mitchell on IPC APEX EXPO Going Virtual

On Monday, December 14, 2020, Barry Matties and Dr. John Mitchell, IPC president and CEO, discussed last week’s decision to move IPC APEX EXPO to an all-virtual platform. In this interview, Dr. Mitchell confirms that IPC is committed to delivering a cutting-edge experience, including a strong technical program, exhibitor and visitor support, multiple keynotes and a wide variety of online networking events. Matties and Mitchell also analyze the challenges for IPC in hosting the show, as well as some of the unique opportunities that a virtual show presents for IPC and attendee alike.

Book Excerpt: The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to Smart Data

Whenever we discuss data, keep in mind that people have been collecting data, verifying it, and translating it into reports for a long time. And if data is collected and processes are changed automatically, people still will be interpreting and verifying the accuracy of the data, creating reports, making recommendations, solving problems, tweaking, improving, and innovating. Whatever data collection system is used, any effort to digitalize needs to engage and empower the production team at the factory. Their role is to attend to the manufacturing process but also to act as the front line of communications and control.

SMTA Europe Solder Finish Webinar Addresses Defects Causes and Cures

“What is your most common PCB problem?” A survey conducted by Bob Willis had revealed finish solderability to be the predominant contender, and it was clear that the choice of solderable finish applied to surface mount boards could have a significant effect on the assembly yield and cost of the final circuit. SMTA Europe organised an informative and enlightening webinar this month entitled “Guide to PCB Solder Finishes—Process Defects Causes and Cures,” with soldering specialist Bob Willis as presenter.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

This week’s mainstream news was dominated—well, my personalized online news feed was, at least—by ballistics. SpaceX was in the news daily for lobbing multiple pieces of iron, even as their CEO took his household suborbital, leaving California and touching down in Texas. Pandemic numbers charts continue their skyward trajectory worldwide. The ever-present military tests and technology demonstrations, seemed a bit more commonplace this week as well. Worldwide political news, in general, seemed to follow parabolic curves like an Australian boomerang, veering off in unexpected ways only to suddenly cut a curving path and return.

Training Is Hard, But It’s Also Soft

There is a disconnect in many manufacturing companies. This article is not about that disconnect, but rather a topic that gets clouded and the objectives made more difficult by that prevalent disconnect. Business owners, vice presidents, and operational executives are expected to have a vision for the company strategy. But what is not always fully known is the broad strokes of how to get there.

Lorain County Community College’s Successful MEMS Program

The I-Connect007 editorial team had the pleasure of an extended and detailed conversation with Johnny Vanderford and Courtney Tenhover from Lorain County Community College (LCCC). Vanderford and Tenhover are at the heart of the microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) program at LCCC that is emerging as a model for a successful technical higher-education program. This conversation was lively, and the enthusiasm at LCCC is infectious, as it should be; their results are impressive.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

Around the holidays, we often see a slowdown in PCB design and manufacturing news. But this holiday season, there’s been no rest for the newsmakers in our industry! In the last week, our daily and weekly newsletters have been chock-full of breaking news and up-to-the-minute technical information that readers like you rely upon every day.


Siemens and Computrol: Achieving Operational Excellence in Electronics Manufacturing

I-Connect007’s Happy Holden and Nolan Johnson speak with Zac Elliott, technical marketing engineer at Siemens Digital Industries Software, and Farid Anani, VP of operations at Computrol, about how to achieve operational excellence in electronics manufacturing. They start by discussing the dynamic wherein automation projects may initially create islands of automation and the need to eventually connect those islands to achieve even greater operational efficiencies. The discussion then moves to how to make the data smarter and more useful for analysis and optimization.

Catching up With VRI’s Sérgio Rosendal Ribeiro

Dan Beaulieu speaks with Sérgio Rosendal Ribeiro of VRI, a Brazilian PCBA company entering the North American market, who is about to open up a location in Florida. They also discuss the overall business climate in South America.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

Well, it’s the last Friday in November. On any normal year in the U.S., this would be “Black Friday” because, for many retailers, the kickoff to the holiday season’s shopping spree is the source for most of the operating income for the year. While it remains to be seen how exactly how much traditional in-store and online retailing will rake in, with the varied pandemic lockdowns, it’s clear that readers wanted to get the latest electronics industry sales numbers!

Our Thanksgiving Wish

As we take time to observe this holiday, the I-Connect007 team wishes to offer our thanks to you, our global readers and contributors: designers, fabricators, engineers, assemblers, quality and process control gurus, chemists, physicists, supervisors, managers, entrepreneurs, business owners, standards writers, industry experts, and more. You breathe life into the vital, thriving, world-changing electronics industry. You are the real story.

Catching up With QCMS General Manager Rick McAnally

Founded in 2007, QCMS is one of the more interesting EMS companies on the East Coast. They are actually a sister company to Niche Electronics located in Pennsylvania. Dan Beaulieu interviews QCMS General Manager Rick McAnally.

Part 12 of Siemens’ Digital Twin Webinar Series: MES and Enterprise Systems

I-007e Micro Webinars recently released a free, on-demand series titled “Implementing Digital Twin Best Practices From Design Through Manufacturing” with Siemens' Jay Gorajia. To conclude the series, in Part 12, Gorajia discusses, “Integrating Valor Solutions as Part of MES and Enterprise Systems."

Mentor’s User2User Conference Focuses on Semiconductor Development

Mentor conducted its annual User2User Conference virtually this year on November 10. In a departure from past U2U conferences, this event was focused primarily on developing semiconductor advances. Happy Holden reports on all the details.

KYZEN’s Popular Cleaning Series Continues

Wondering what to look for in a PCB cleaning agent? In just 10 minutes, you will learn from Jack Reinke what impacts your waste stream as part of the latest installment of KYZEN’s Tech2Tech series. This special webinar is held live at two times: 7:18 a.m. and 5:33 p.m. PST December 3, 2020.

The Heterogeneous Integration Roadmap for Aerospace and Defense

Most people in the semiconductor industry are familiar with the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS), which provided guidance for the industry starting in 1991 (as the National Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors). As the benefits of Moore’s Law became more difficult and more expensive to achieve, the organization decided to publish a final version in 2016. The baton was handed to the Heterogeneous Integration Roadmap (HIR), with the realization that heterogeneous integration—assembling different types of devices rather than monolithic fabrication—is an important enabler for continued progress in the semiconductor industry.

PC Technological Advances in 2020

With CES quickly approaching, which is perhaps the largest technology event globally that is also going virtual this year, key component and sub-assembly companies are not waiting to announce their next generation of components. Dan Feinberg details new components and performance advances, as well as why you should consider building your own PC.


I-Connect007 Editor's Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

In my top five picks, we have news about columnist Tara Dunn moving to Averatek to work with their A-SAP additive processes, and an interview with Audrey Sim regarding the “hybrid” model adopted by the HKPCA for its upcoming Electronic Circuits World Convention. We also have a compilation of the questions that readers have asked Joe Fjelstad and news about DownStream Technologies adding support for flex, rigid-flex, and embedded component designs. Finally, we share a review of some of KYZEN’s new training sessions on cleaning electronic assemblies—virtual courses that pack a lot of information into 15-minute snapshots. Knowing how tight everyone’s schedules are now, 15-minute events might be the ticket.

Just Ask Joe Fjelstad: The Exclusive Compilation

We asked for you to send in your questions for Joe Fjelstad, and you took us up on it! We know you all enjoyed reading these questions and answers, so we’ve compiled all of them into one article for easy reference. We hope you enjoy having another bite at the apple. And if you’d like to hear more from Joe, view his column series “Flexible Thinking.”

High-Tech, High-Value Cleaning Answers Made Easy With KYZEN’s Tech-2-Tech

Tech-2-Tech offers a wide-ranging selection of well-chosen topics, covering diverse aspects of selecting, evaluating, operating, and maintaining cleaning processes. These were clearly explained in a series of focused 15-minute sessions, each one presented by a different member of KYZEN’s team of industry experts. It’s amazing how much practical information can be effectively transferred and explained in a 15-minute slot.

SMTA Europe Webinar: What Is a Good Solder Joint, and How Can Solder Joints Be Tested?

What is a good solder joint? And how can they be tested not only for purposes of process characterisation, optimisation, monitoring, and control but also for ensuring their long-term reliability? Pete Starkey details a webinar organised by the Europe Chapter of SMTA that was presented by Bob Willis, an expert in soldering, assembly technologies, and failure analysis.

Part 11 of Siemens’ Digital Twin Webinar Series: Data-Driven Manufacturing

I-007e Micro Webinars recently released a free, on-demand series titled “Implementing Digital Twin Best Practices From Design Through Manufacturing” with Siemens' Jay Gorajia. In Part 11, Gorajia discusses, “Data-Driven Manufacturing: Making Big Data Into Smart Data.”

The Test Connection’s Bill Horner Remembered

Bill Horner, the founder of The Test Connection Inc. and a well-respected engineer, passed away on September 21, 2020. He was 81 years old.

electronica Virtual 2020: Automotive Conference Keynotes

While not the same as battling with the traffic to catch the early flight to Munich, followed by an S-Bahn into the city and a crowded U-Bahn to the Messe, electronica 2020 went virtual. Pete Starkey details the Automotive Conference—an event he was particularly keen to attend.

I-Connect007 Editor's Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

My last turn to select the top five editor’s picks was just before the triple-threat Halloween holiday (full moon, blue moon, and on a Saturday). Now that it’s my turn again, it falls the mega-superstitious Friday the 13th. You’re not triskaidekaphobic, are you?

Manufacturers Weigh in on Made-in-America Debate

As the U.S. grapples with who will take the helm of the U.S. presidency, electronics manufacturers around the country are grappling with which policies and ideas would promote growth and innovation in the sector. Many agree that a push for “made in America” policies and incentives might be useful. Often, they point to similar initiatives used by other countries, including China and India.

Part 10 of Siemens’ Digital Twin Webinar Series: Inventory Management

I-007e Micro Webinars recently released a free, on-demand series titled “Implementing Digital Twin Best Practices From Design Through Manufacturing” with Siemens' Jay Gorajia. In Part 10, Gorajia looks at “Inventory Management in the Warehouse and on the Shop Floor.” Material accounts for 80% of PCB assembly costs. If not managed correctly, margins can be cut even further.


I-Connect007 Editor's Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

This past week, we published a variety of articles, interviews, and columns—and readers definitely made their favorites known. There was good news about hiring and staffing. (In case you were wondering, there are quite a few open positions in this industry right now.) We touched base with a pair of young engineers to get their thoughts on what it’s like for recent grads working in the PCB manufacturing community. We learned about a company’s new program that can help take some of the stress out of NPI. We also launched a new chapter in our “Just Ask” series, this time starring columnist Tara Dunn. And there was sad news that a contract manufacturer’s chairman had just passed away.

Part 9 of Siemens’ Digital Twin Webinar Series: Intelligent Data Acquisition and Normalization

I-007e Micro Webinars recently released a free, on-demand series titled “Implementing Digital Twin Best Practices From Design Through Manufacturing” with Siemens' Jay Gorajia. In Part 9, Gorajia’s topic is “Intelligent Data Acquisition and Normalization.” He asks, “With the considerable investment in automation of the PCB assembly process, why is it a challenge to get data from the production line?”

Real Time with… AltiumLive 2020: OSV Project—From Zero to Ventilator PCBs in Record Time

Andy Shaughnessy recently spoke with Chris Denney, CTO of Worthington Assembly, about his role in the Open Source Ventilator project, which he discussed during a panel at AltiumLive with partners Dugan Karnazes of Velocity Research and Rob Cooke of Calumet Electronics. Chris explains how many of the normal hurdles disappeared once the focus on revenue was removed from the equation, and the ventilator PCBs were designed and manufactured in record time.

Survey Results: ‘Are You Currently Hiring?’

The I-Connect007 research team invited readers to share their thoughts on what's happening with staffing and retention to help prepare for an upcoming issue on this important topic. Here, we delve into the first question, "Are you currently hiring?"

This Month in SMT007 Magazine: Test and Measurement in a Smart Factory

Nolan Johnson spoke with MIRTEC President Brian D’Amico about how the role of test and measurement equipment is changing in the smart factory and how shops can adjust to make use of the new technology. D’Amico shares this insight: “While approximately 90% of U.S. electronics manufacturers recognize the potential of Industry 4.0 to improve productivity, many are slow to adopt smart factory solutions within the manufacturing process.”

Real Time with… AltiumLive 2020: Vince Mazur Previews New Design Rule Features

Altium Technical Marketing Manager Vince Mazur discusses his presentation at the recent AltiumLive, which focused on updates to Altium Designer's approach to creating design rules and constraints. Vince explains that these features will be more intuitive for the user, and the update, which is currently in beta, will be released in the future. The company is shifting from “rule-centric” design rules features to capabilities that are more “design-centric,” with applicable rules for each object available at one click.

I-Connect007 Editor's Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

Welcome to the Halloween issue of the I-Connect007 Top Five Editor’s Picks! This year’s Halloween lands on a doozy of a day. Astronomers among us will, undoubtedly, already have noticed that not only does the spooky holiday fall on a Saturday night, but it also falls exactly on a full moon—and a Blue Moon, at that! The last time a Halloween Blue Moon occurred in all time zones was in 1941. As if there weren’t enough “ghoulishness” already, 2020 delivers yet another rare occurrence.

Reducing Flux Splatter in Sensors and Camera Modules

With the increased use of electronics in new technology areas, flux formulations are being developed to address the new and existing requirements. For sensors and camera modules used for Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) and internet of things (IoT) applications, there is a demand for no-clean flux formulations in lead-free solder paste, which can reduce flux splattering during reflow.

Real Time with… Altium Live Europe 2020: Rick Hartley’s Secrets of PCB Optimization

As Lawrence Romine said in his introduction, “There’s that moment when you sit in the crowd and hear Mr. Rick Hartley speak that you know you’ve arrived in PCB design.” With 50 years in the industry focused on circuit and PCB design—and as a specialist in EMI, noise, and signal integrity issues—Rick Hartley was invited to talk about PCB optimization. Pete Starkey provides an overview of the presentation.

IPC Standards Development: Business Challenges and an Inside View

With increasing frequency, standardising the standards, such as ISO 9201, imposes certain rules that must be met to ensure “fair play” amongst the supply chain. There will be those familiar with hearing about “false positives/negatives” and “never trust the salesman,” so mitigating these is no easy task. However, there is the chance for each 5-30 Task Group to review industry requirements and set out the work program for the ensuing period. With that in mind, much of what follows is based on comments we learn about from our industry around the world, many of whom are not yet IPC members. Yes, this is a membership recruitment drive, unashamedly, as well as a search for volunteers willing to help create the standards of tomorrow.


Part 8 of Siemens’ Digital Twin Webinar Series: On-Demand Machine Part Data

I-007e Micro Webinars recently released a free, on-demand series titled “Implementing Digital Twin Best Practices From Design Through Manufacturing” with Siemens' Jay Gorajia. In Part 8, Gorajia addresses, “On-Demand Machine Part Data for PCB Assembly Equipment.”

How to Benefit From Robotic Soldering Processes

Webinars are in vogue! But in Pete Starkey's experience, the master of the technical webinar with many years’ experience of delivering first-rate events is Bob Willis—electronics assembly specialist, soldering expert, and provider of training and consultancy in electronics manufacture. Here, Pete recaps Bob’s presentation on the upcoming robotic soldering experience.

Electronics Additive Manufacturing for Defense and Space

At the SMTA Additive Electronics TechXchange, Dr. Kourtney Wright spoke about Lockheed’s DoD work and explained why Lockheed is interested in additive. Nolan Johnson shares the highlights.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

After a crazy year like this, we shouldn’t be surprised that this trade show season is unlike any other. Here’s one of the many “silver linings” of 2020: We actually dodged a bullet earlier this year when COVID-19 hit after most of our industry’s big events had taken place. In this week’s top five, we have an assortment of trade show and conference news items, plus a few examples of technological trends and innovation.

Northrop Grumman: 3D Nanomaterials May Counter Gaps in Additive Supply Chain

The best technology is dead in the water if your domestic supply chain won’t support it. That was just one of the takeaways from Dr. Judy Dickson’s talk during the SMTA Additive Electronics TechXchange. In her presentation, titled “Advanced PWBs: A Collaboration Between Design, Operations, and the Supply Chain,” Dickson, a senior principal systems engineer at Northrop Grumman Mission Systems, laid out the many challenges her department faces in fielding HDI advanced packaging into the next decade. Most of these challenges are related to sourcing the necessary materials in the U.S.

Just Ask Greg: Advice on Purchasing SMT Stencils

We asked you to send in your questions for Happy Holden, Joe Fjelstad, Eric Camden, and John Mitchell in our “Just Ask” series. Now, Greg Smith, an SMT007 columnist, gets a chance to answer a question.

Part 7 of Siemens’ Digital Twin Webinar Series: Optimizing Inspection and Test Engineering

Have you ever wondered what digital twin is, how it's used, and its benefits? Are you interested in learning ways to optimize and streamline how data flows from design, production planning, process engineering, and manufacturing? Then this micro webinar series is for you! Throughout this 12-part series, Jay Gorajia from Siemens Industries Software describes how to leverage the digital twin concept—from design to production planning and process engineering—through manufacturing execution and supply chain. The goal of the series is to define a blueprint for organizations seeking to digitalize and optimize their design to manufacturing processes and manufacturing operations.

SMTA Additive TechXchange Keynote: An Outlook on Advanced PCB Fab

Organised as a virtual event by Lenora Clark of ESI Automotive and Tara Dunn of Omni PCB, SMTA’s Additive TechXchange addressed additive technology specifically in the context of the electronics industry. Pete Starkey details the keynote presentation, an outlook on advanced printed circuit board fabrication, from Jeff Doubrava, managing partner at Prismark Partners.

90% Solder Dross Recovery: Eliminate Waste, Save Money

The impact of 90% solder dross recovery can have a substantial impact on reducing waste and increasing cost savings. Nolan Johnson recently spoke with Jay Hardin, MS2® product manager at P. Kay Metal, about the process and benefits of efficient solder dross recovery, as well as product roadmaps, the soldering machine market, and raw materials supply chain for solder alloy manufacturing. As Jay says, “For many companies, the savings are in the thousands or millions” of dollars.

I-Connect007 Editor's Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

Trade shows and technical conferences haven’t died; they’ve just moved online. The trade show season continues in virtual full force this week, and event coverage dominates the top five this week. Surprisingly, I don’t see events as this week’s theme. No, this week’s theme is “pundits.” We have Walt Custer’s industry outlook, seven experts on additive electronics, a designers conference keynote, and the IPC’s government relations expert. Don’t get me wrong: These folks are asked to speak to the industry for a good reason. They know their subject matter, and they present it skillfully. This week’s top five picks are worth reading.


Just Ask Paul: Automotive and Lead-Free Solders

We asked you to send in your questions for Happy Holden, Joe Fjelstad, Eric Camden, John Mitchell, and Greg Smith in our “Just Ask” series. Now, MacDermid Alpha Electronics Solutions’ Paul Salerno gets a chance to answer a question. Paul Salerno is a global portfolio manager for SMT applications focused on the automotive and consumer market segments. He holds a bachelor’s degree in materials engineering as well as an MBA in finance and marketing from Rutgers University.

Part 6 of Siemens’ Digital Twin Webinar Series: Single CAM Solutions

I-007e Micro Webinars recently released a free, on-demand series titled “Implementing Digital Twin Best Practices From Design Through Manufacturing” with Siemens' Jay Gorajia. In part 6, Gorajia discusses a “Single CAM Solution for All Process Engineering Tasks.”

Real Time with… SMTAI 2020: Women’s Leadership Program Cruises Through Important Topics

The virtual environment didn’t stop a large gathering of women (and men) from learning, sharing, and enjoying the Women’s Leadership Program during SMTAI 2020. Michelle Te shares her experience.

I-Connect007 Editor's Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

It’s showtime! This past week, we saw quite a bit of news about virtual trade shows. It’s great to see show managers pivot from live, in-person events to virtual shows with only a few months to make it all happen. How would you like to be a show manager today?

Virtual SMTAI 2020 Offers a Primer for Trade Show Managers

I really must hand it to Tanya Martin and Ryan Flaherty for pulling off something as audacious as a virtual version of SMTA International, which took place in cyberspace on September 28–30. SMTA did it in record time. A few months ago, SMTAI was still slated to be a live event in metro Chicago. When COVID-19 travel restrictions made a live event impossible, they stopped on a dime, switched to a virtual event, and never looked back.

Real Time with… AltiumLive 2020: Greg Ziraldo on a New Approach to DFM

Andy Shaughnessy speaks with Greg Ziraldo, senior director of operations at Advanced Assembly, about his AltiumLive panel, "Design With Manufacturing." Greg discusses things that designers and electrical engineers should keep in mind regarding assembly during the design process, as well as a few ideas that he hopes attendees will take away.

Part 5 of Siemens’ Digital Twin Webinar Series: Managing the Digital Thread

I-007e Micro Webinars recently released a free, on-demand series titled “Implementing Digital Twin Best Practices From Design Through Manufacturing” with Siemens' Jay Gorajia. In part 5, Gorajia discusses “Managing the Digital Thread From Design to PCB Assembly Engineering.”

Real Time with… SMTAI 2020: Full List of Interviews With Industry Leaders

The virtual SMTA International Electronics Exhibition took place on September 28–30, and I-Connect007 is here to provide you with comprehensive coverage of the event. We’ve assembled the full list of show-related interviews from before, during, and after SMTAI 2020 with the industry’s top executives, engineers, and managers—all without leaving your office. Visit Real Time with… SMTAI 2020 to view our video series, photo gallery, and more.

Real Time with… SMTAI 2020: Reflections on the Technical Conference

This year’s SMTA International Conference and Exposition went virtual! Pete Starkey explains how the SMTA team did a fine job in difficult circumstances to present an interactive show and technical conference. Here, he highlights four of the papers that particularly caught his interest.

Combatting Thermal Challenges With TRM Software

Johannes Adam is the creator of a simulation tool called Thermal Risk Management (TRM) used to help PCB designers and design engineers predict hot spots on the board before during layout. He and Douglas Brooks, founder of UltraCAD Design, have used the tool to produce several technical articles and a book on the subject. In this interview, they tackle the biggest misconceptions they see from designers and engineers who deal with thermal management issues.


Programs for Veterans: A Blackfox Update

At IPC APEX EXPO 2020, I spoke with Al Dill, president and CEO of Blackfox, about the Evolution Foundation, a nonprofit program to assist veterans with training and assistance into civilian tech jobs. Here, we get an update from Dill, Jahr Turchan, director of veteran services and advanced manufacturing programs, and Sharon Montana-Beard, VP and director of sales and operations, on Blackfox’s programs for veterans.

My Experience at SMTAI 2020 Virtual

Denny Fritz shares his experience while attending SMTAI, concentrating on the exhibition portion of the virtual show. He also compliments SMTA on organizing and operating the virtual event.

Real Time with… SMTAI 2020: Technical Conference Review

SMTAI 2020, which was converted to a virtual event, took place from September 28–30. I attend every year, but since there was no keynote in the virtual format, I went straight to the technical conference. This event covered a broad range of topics related to everything in assembly. Over 90 technical presentations are available, but this report covers just some of the sessions I attended.

Just Ask John Mitchell: The Exclusive Compilation

We asked for you to send in your questions for IPC President and CEO John Mitchell, and you took us up on it! We know you all enjoyed reading these questions and answers, so we’ve compiled all of them into one article for easy reference. We hope you enjoy having another bite at the apple. And if you’d like to hear more from John Mitchell, view his column series “One World, One Industry.”

Real Time with… SMTAI 2020: SMTA Announces Members of Distinction Annual Awards

SMTA recognized exceptional individual and corporate members for their immeasurable contributions to the association since 1994. And while the SMTA International Technical Committee announced the best presentation and paper awards from the 2019 conference on March 18, 2020, recipients were also recognized at SMTAI 2020.

Real Time with...SMTAI 2020: Seika’s Preparation Pays Off

Nolan Johnson and Seika Machinery’s Michelle Ogihara, senior sales and marketing manager, catch up on SMTAI 2020. Michelle shares her team’s generally positive experience in preparing for the exhibition, details the new products on display in the Seika virtual booth, and describes an experience from SMTAI that could have only happened at a virtual event like this.

I-Connect007 Editor's Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

Most all the action this week involved the STMA International Conference and Exposition. I-Connect007’s Real Time with… video interviews generally led the way for views and clicks. In each item, the intent was to make things better in some fashion. Whether it was pivoting on trade show delivery, optimizing the metalization process in the fab, adding more AI to manufacturing capital equipment, unifying and furthering the concept of the digital twin concept, or responding to company growth by upgrading systems with the help the equipment manufacturers, all these news items speak to being adaptable and forward-thinking.

Stop Relating Trace Temperature to Current Density

Many design engineers and even many software suppliers make the significant mistake of equating changes in trace or via temperature with current density. This is incorrect at best and dangerous at worst. There is little if any correlation between temperature and current density. Current and trace dimensions (among other things) are the relevant variables, but current density is not. I hope by the end of this article you will see why. Here are four illustrations that will help you understand this.

Real Time with...SMTAI 2020: Creative Electron Moves Toward Autonomous Systems

Andy Shaughnessy recently spoke with Dr. Bill Cardoso, CEO of Creative Electron, a provider of advanced X-ray inspection systems. Bill discusses some of the new technologies the company will demonstrate in their virtual booth at SMTAI, including a next-generation X-ray parts counter and a new software platform that offers better automation than ever. He also explains the company’s plan to migrate from automation to autonomous systems by using AI to help remove humans from the process.

Real Time With… SMTAI 2020: Mixing It Up in the Virtual Marketplace

SMTAI 2020 wrapped up on September 30, 2020, completing its three-day run on a virtual platform. This format was uncharted territory for SMTA, exhibitors, presenters, and attendees alike. It is remarkable—and a credit to the organization in the face of a pandemic—that SMTA chose to jump to a virtual format when it could have been so very easy to simply cancel the event altogether. SMTA showed its commitment to the technical conference participants by ensuring their research would publish as intended, as well as to the sponsors and exhibitors who support the event through underwriting and participation.


Manufacturing Test Strategy Tools: Part 4 of Siemens’ Digital Twin Webinar Series

I-007e Micro Webinars recently released a free, on-demand series titled “Implementing Digital Twin Best Practices From Design Through Manufacturing” with Siemens' Jay Gorajia. In Part 4, Gorajia discusses “Manufacturing Test Strategy Tools in the Hands of Designers.”

Manufacturing Test Strategy Tools: Part 4 of Siemens’ Digital Twin Webinar Series

I-007e Micro Webinars recently released a free, on-demand series titled “Implementing Digital Twin Best Practices From Design Through Manufacturing.” Each of the 12 segments can be viewed in about five minutes. In Part 4, Jay Gorajia discusses “Manufacturing Test Strategy Tools in the Hands of Designers.”

Real Time with...SMTAI 2020: MacDermid Alpha’s Single-Step Metalization Paper

Nolan Johnson talks with MacDermid Alpha Electronics Solutions about a new process for filling through-holes with copper in a single step. Carmichael Gugliotti, the primary author and an applications specialist, and Richard Bellemare, director of electrolytic metalization, address why this new process matters and what’s in Gugliotti’s technical paper presentation for SMTAI.

Real Time with...SMTAI 2020: STI Electronics Brings Training to the Show

Nolan Johnson talks training with David Raby, president and CEO of STI Electronics. David walks Nolan through STI’s role as a provider of training and EMS services, and the two talk about the strategic need for training and skilled staff in manufacturing. Dave outlines what visitors can find in the company’s virtual booth, and the two conclude by discussing hot topics in training.

Real Time with… SMTAI 2020: First-Time SMTAI Exhibitor Datest

Nolan Johnson speaks with Robert Boguski, president of first-time SMTAI exhibitor Datest. Rob brings Nolan up to speed on the company’s suite of services as a contract test facility and outlines the information that will be available in the Datest virtual booth at SMTAI.

Real Time with... SMTAI 2020: First-Day Wrap-Up

SMTA International 2020 kicked off on Monday morning with attendees and exhibitors mingling and chatting about the latest SMT products and services—virtually, of course. Debbie Carboni, former SMTA VP of Expos, reported that there were “only a few hiccups,” which were addressed quickly and effectively. “This is much better than any other virtual event I have participated in,” she said.

Just Ask John Mitchell: Plans For Knowledge Transfer?

First, we asked you to send in your questions for Happy Holden, Joe Fjelstad, and Eric Camden in our “Just Ask” series. Now, it’s IPC President and CEO John Mitchell’s turn! A regular PCB007 columnist, John focuses on many of the challenges affecting the global electronics industry supply chain. Over the years, he has served as an engineer, manager, and executive at a variety of companies and organizations. We hope you enjoy “Just Ask John.”

Real Time with...SMTAI 2020: The Test Connection Celebrates 40 Years

Andy Shaughnessy spoke with Bert Horner, VP of engineering support for The Test Connection, about the company’s plans for the upcoming SMTAI virtual show. Bert explains that The Test Connection will address their core competency, engineering, and test services, as well as design tools, such as ASTER Technologies’ DFT analyzer TestWay and the SMH FlashRunner test programmer. He also notes a few of the positive things that the company learned during the COVID-19 lockdown and how the family firm celebrated its 40th anniversary this year.

Just Ask John Mitchell: Global Book-to-Bill Number

First, we asked you to send in your questions for Happy Holden, Joe Fjelstad, and Eric Camden in our “Just Ask” series. Now, it’s IPC President and CEO John Mitchell’s turn! A regular PCB007 columnist, John focuses on many of the challenges affecting the global electronics industry supply chain. Over the years, he has served as an engineer, manager, and executive at a variety of companies and organizations. We hope you enjoy “Just Ask John.”

Virtual SMTA International 2020 Opens Today

SMTA International 2020 kicks off today, and I-Connect007 will bring you complete coverage of this brand-new, virtual event through Real Time with… SMTAI 2020. The virtual SMTAI Electronics Exhibition runs through September 30. Throughout the week, we’ll be capturing and featuring video interviews with the industry’s top executives, engineers, and managers. Stay up to date with the latest developments in the SMT community—all without leaving your office.


Real Time with...SMTAI 2020: How to Network Virtually at the Show

Nolan Johnson networks with SMTA’s Tamara Shephard, membership engagement manager, and Karlie Severinson, events and administrative manager. Shephard and Severinson share how SMTAI has built multiple platforms to bring attendees, exhibitors, and presenters together. SMTAI will host networking opportunities on the virtual show floor to connect to exhibitors, multiple servers on Discord to connect technical program participants, live social events hosted on Zoom, and general social media outreach using the hashtag #SMTAI2020.

Real Time with...SMTAI 2020: The Latest in Test and Inspection From MIRTEC

Brian D’Amico, president of MIRTEC, shares an SMTAI 2020 update with Nolan Johnson. They discuss what visitors can expect to find at MIRTEC’s virtual booth, the current business environment for test and inspection equipment, and how the company has adapted their demonstration and evaluation processes to fit in inside current COVID-19 business protocols.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

In this week’s picks, we bring you news about the upcoming SMTA International 2020, IPC’s plans for the fall, a move for Burkle North America’s headquarters, and advice on how to select the correct CAD tool. And we have the first installment of our newest series: “Just Ask John Mitchell.”

Real Time with...SMTAI 2020: SelecTech - Flooring Solutions That Won’t Give You Static

Tom Ricciardelli, president and CEO of SelecTech, talks about technical flooring solutions with Nolan Johnson. Ricciardelli discusses some of the challenges to keeping a grounding floor working in a facility and brings Johnson up to speed on how the company’s flooring systems can be installed without factory downtime.

Real Time with… SMTAI 2020: Cimetrix’s Universal Translator—Sapience for Industry 4.0

Ranjan Chatterjee—vice president of smart factory solutions for Cimetrix—and Nolan Johnson discuss new developments in the Sapience product. Chatterjee teases some of the new features in Sapience for Industry 4.0 and shares that smart factory implementation is becoming increasingly quick and straightforward with Cimetrix’s approach to automation. Chatterjee also outlines what exhibit visitors can expect to find in the company’s booth.

Just Ask John Mitchell: Advice on Selling Tech in Asia

First, we asked you to send in your questions for Happy Holden, Joe Fjelstad, and Eric Camden in our “Just Ask” series. Now, it’s IPC President and CEO John Mitchell’s turn! A regular PCB007 columnist, John focuses on many of the challenges affecting the global electronics industry supply chain. Over the years, he has served as an engineer, manager, and executive at a variety of companies and organizations. We hope you enjoy “Just Ask John.”

Optimize Your PCB DFM Processes: Part 3 of Siemens’ Digital Twin Webinar Series

I-007e Micro Webinars recently released a free, on-demand series titled “Implementing Digital Twin Best Practices From Design Through Manufacturing.” Each of the 12 segments can be viewed in about five minutes.

Real Time with...SMTAI 2020: MacDermid Alpha’s Flash Etching Electroplating Paper

I-Connect007’s Nolan Johnson catches up with Sean Fleuriel, a chemist for MacDermid Alpha Electronics Solutions, and Richard Bellemare, director of electrolytic metalization, to discuss the SMTAI technical paper presented by Fleuriel, titled, “Pit Resistant Acid Copper Electroplating Process for Flash Etching.” Fleuriel and Bellemare highlight the challenges, processes, and conclusions from the paper, as well as which PCB fabricators are most likely to benefit from this new process.

Real Time with...SMTAI 2020: Aegis' Ontology Drives Digital Twin Process

Andy Shaughnessy speaks with Michael Ford, senior director of emerging industry strategy for Aegis Software, about its newest concept—Ontology—which the company will discuss during SMTAI. He also explains how Ontology relates to the company’s existing MES products, as well as how it dovetails with the digital twin process.

Catching up With Cabletree’s Thomas Chang

Dan Beaulieu has always been interested in exploring the wire harness and cable areas business, so he jumped at the chance to talk with Thomas Chang, the president and owner of Cabletree. Here, they discuss the cable assembly segment and how Cabletree serves EMS companies.


Just Ask John Mitchell: Greenfield Capacity in North America?

First, we asked you to send in your questions for Happy Holden, Joe Fjelstad, and Eric Camden in our “Just Ask” series. Now, it’s IPC President and CEO John Mitchell’s turn! A regular PCB007 columnist, John focuses on many of the challenges affecting the global electronics industry supply chain. Over the years, he has served as an engineer, manager, and executive at a variety of companies and organizations. We hope you enjoy “Just Ask John.”

Real Time with… SMTAI 2020: SCHUNK Brings New Router to SMTA International

Nolan Johnson connects with SCHUNK Electronic Solutions’ Tom Herndon, regional sales manager, to discuss the company’s upcoming exhibits at SMTAI. Tom shares what visitors to SCHUNK’s booth can expect to find, including a virtual walking tour of the company’s headquarters facility in Germany. Tom also previews SCHUNK’s newest router, ideal as an entry-level router for shops looking to upgrade or automate.

Just Ask John Mitchell: Emerging Engineers and Managers

First, we asked you to send in your questions for Happy Holden, Joe Fjelstad, and Eric Camden in our “Just Ask” series. Now, it’s IPC President and CEO John Mitchell’s turn! Today, John answers this question: Does IPC have an interest in emerging managers, as well as emerging engineers?

Real Time with… SMTAI 2020: Insituware Offers Handheld Process Controls for the Smart Factory

Nolan Johnson speaks with Insituware CEO and Chief Engineer Michael Frederickson. Insituware’s expertise in materials control and measurement brings some innovative new handheld measurement devices to the manufacturing floor. Mike and Nolan discuss how these new devices contribute to accuracy, compliance, and real-time process optimization—all key factors in the smart factory environment. Mike also teases what the company will demonstrate in their virtual booth at SMTAI.

Just Ask John Mitchell: Are IPC’s Positions Dictated by Politics?

First, we asked you to send in your questions for Happy Holden, Joe Fjelstad, and Eric Camden in our “Just Ask” series. Now, it’s IPC President and CEO John Mitchell’s turn! A regular PCB007 columnist, John focuses on many of the challenges affecting the global electronics industry supply chain. Over the years, he has served as an engineer, manager, and executive at a variety of companies and organizations. We hope you enjoy “Just Ask John.”

I-Connect007 Editor's Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

Two weeks ago, when it was my turn to pick the top 5, I made a comment about themes. I’m making a stretch here, but this week’s theme is technical education. Three out of the five most popular news items this last week reported on upcoming technical events or publications.

Mentor and Z-zero Collaborate on New Stackup Tool

I recently spoke with Max Clark, business unit manager with Mentor, a Siemens Business, and Z-zero founder Bill Hargin about the newly formed partnership that resulted in a new stackup tool that Mentor is now selling worldwide. Fun fact: Hargin used to work for Mentor as part of the HyperLynx team, which now has an interface with Z-planner Enterprise. Talk about coming full circle.

Just Ask Eric: Nano-Coating on Stencils?

First, we asked you to send in your questions for Happy Holden and Joe Fjelstad in our “Just Ask” series. Now, it’s Eric Camden’s turn! A regular SMT007 columnist, Eric is a lead investigator at Foresite Inc., an analytical testing and consulting laboratory. As a reliability expert, Eric has worked with many large OEMs and contract manufacturing companies to optimize their manufacturing processes. Today's question involves the use of nano coatings on stencils.

Real Time with…SMTAI 2020: SMTA International Goes Virtual

Nolan Johnson connected with three SMTA principals—KYZEN’s Debbie Carboni, SMTA’s Ryan Flaherty, and Rockwell’s Greg Vance—to discuss the upcoming 2020 SMTA International (SMTAI) event, the first major electronics manufacturing conference and exhibition to go virtual this year. The panel gives an overview of exhibits, technical conference presentations, and professional networking in this new format. and provides some coaching on how to to get the most from this virtual event.

Real Time with…SMTAI 2020: Koh Young on New Products and the Role of AI

Nolan Johnson speaks with Joel Scutchfield, director of sales for the Americas, about Koh Young's exhibit at SMTAI. Scutchfield outlines all the new products being displayed in the virtual booth and discusses the increased role that the company sees for AI in their products and the smart factory flow.


I-007e Micro Webinars Releases Part 2 in ‘Implementing Digital Twin’ Series

I-007e Micro Webinars recently released a free, on-demand series titled “Implementing Digital Twin Best Practices From Design Through Manufacturing.” Each of the 12 segments can be viewed in about five minutes.

Real Time with…SMTAI 2020: KYZEN on How Maximized Stencil Life Improves Yields

KYZEN Executive Vice President Tom Forsythe shares company updates on stencil cleaning with Nolan Johnson. KYZEN recently announced its newest stencil cleaning product—KYZEN E5631. Forsythe details how the product is best used, as well as the benefits it brings to maximizing stencil life and improving manufacturing yields.

Just Ask Eric: Selecting the Right Lead-Free Solder for Your Application

First, we asked you to send in your questions for Happy Holden and Joe Fjelstad in our “Just Ask” series. Now, it’s Eric Camden’s turn! A regular SMT007 columnist, Eric is a lead investigator at Foresite Inc., an analytical testing and consulting laboratory. As a reliability expert, Eric has worked with many large OEMs and contract manufacturing companies to optimize their manufacturing processes and assist with the identification of electronic hardware failures utilizing various analytical techniques. He also specializes in optimizing PCBA processes and identifying hardware failures through analysis. We hope you enjoy “Just Ask Eric.”

I-Connect007 Editor's Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

This week, we have a little bit of everything. There’s quite a bit of new technology news, along with an I-Connect007 eBook on thermal design techniques, trade show talk, and an interesting take on trading in capital equipment. We’ve been following the “digital twin” for the past few years, and when Siemens released a webinar on the topic this week, Happy Holden got a sneak peek and wrote a review that turned out to be one of our most popular recent articles.

What Is Digital Twin Technology, and Why Is It So Important?

Happy Holden describes how Siemens' 12-part webinar series, “Implementing Digital Twin Best Practices From Design Through Manufacturing,” is an excellent series designed to educate the electronic manufacturing engineer on the progress of using a digital thread to improve products and performance.

NVIDIA’s Three Next-Generation GPUs Excite Consumers

Finally, the product release that many had been waiting for. NVIDIA recently announced its next-generation RTX 3000 Series GPUs, and the stated capabilities are amazing. Dan Feinberg has all of the details.

Catching up With Nate Doemling, New CEO of IMS

Dan Beaulieu recently interviewed Nate Doemling with Intelligent Manufacturing Solutions (IMS) in New England about his new role at the company. After serving on the IMS board of directors for several months, Doemling joined the company as CEO in January 2020.

Improving Tech Support During a Pandemic

Koh Young’s Quintin Armstrong, senior manager of technical services and applications for the Americas, discusses the work that has been going on at the company around field support, including pre- and post-sales support training, and how those areas have been affected by COVID-19.

I-Connect007 Editor's Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

When compiling my Top Five, I tend to let the reader views guide my choices. Oh, sure, sometimes a news item is significant well beyond the reads it receives; that’s why this is an editor’s picks, not a strict Top Five. Still, readership habits inform my choices. That makes it even more interesting when a week demonstrates a theme so convenient as to seem contrived. Take this week, for example. In this week’s top five, four of the top five are news reports on mil-aero topics. You, dear readers, gobbled up the military and aerospace news this week. The outlier is, as we all would expect, a conference report from our very own Pete Starkey.

Promoting a Circular Economy in Electronics Manufacturing

The sixth international Electronics Goes Green Conference was held as an online virtual. Pete Starkey provides a recap of the event, which provided insight into innovative eco-design and extended reliability from the perspective of iNEMI’s roadmap.


This Month in SMT007 Magazine: Robustness Is Not the Same as Reliability

Bob Neves discusses a disconnect he sees in reliability testing between what’s being tested and what happens out in the field, as well as why most reliability tests these days should instead be considered robustness tests.

Organizational and Team Management in Times of Change

Ross Berntson, president and COO of Indium Corporation, shares his perspective, thoughts, and lessons learned on managing his global organization as Indium Corporation responds to health issues, market demand shifts, and organizational change. This interview was conducted in May 2020.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

This week, we have quite a potpourri for you. There's good news about the PCB market. And as this year continues to surprise us at every turn, companies are discovering the true nature of their leaders. Todd Kolmodin has a great column about bosses and leaders and why the two words are not synonymous. Not to be outdone, columnist Barry Olney found a way to explain the wavelength of electromagnetic energy by using a chocolate bar and a microwave oven. We also have great articles by Sagi Reuven and Pete Starkey.

An EMS Perspective on Inventory Management

Foad Ghalili of Epoch International discusses the inventory management practices the company has in place between its two facilities in Fremont, California, and Dalian, China; and how upgrading to an electronic management system made maintaining a much larger inventory possible.

Real Stories of Applied Advanced Analytics in the Electronics Manufacturing Smart Factory

The smart factory is starting to become a reality, as part of the overarching Industry 4.0 paradigm. With the technology enablers, such as industrial IoT (IIoT) and cloud computing, electronics manufacturing operational technology (OT) are on a converging course with traditional information technology (IT). Beyond the challenges of data acquisition and transformation, the true “proof in the pudding” is in the quick ROI from advanced analytics. We will share examples of successful, profitable implementation of applied machine learning (ML) in the electronics manufacturing line, where measurement science meets data science.

Catching up With VirBELA’s Glenn Sanford

Have you been disappointed by trade shows and conferences being canceled or postponed? Have you wondered how some of these events are going virtual? Dan Beaulieu speaks with Glenn Sanford, chief strategy officer of VirBELA, about the company’s platform and its impact on events.

Just Ask Joe: The Occam Process

First, we asked you to send in your questions for Happy Holden. Now, it’s Joe Fjelstad’s turn! Inventor, columnist, instructor, and founder of Verdant Electronics, Joe has been involved with rigid PCBs and flexible circuits for decades, and he’s ready to share some of his knowledge with our readers. We hope you enjoy “Just Ask Joe.”

Increase Traceability, Prevent Counterfeiting

Michael Ford, senior director of emerging industry strategy for Aegis Software and I-Connect007 columnist, speaks about the increasing importance of traceability in manufacturing and throughout the supply chain, including how it affects such areas as counterfeit components and inventory management.

I-Connect007 Survey on Leadership: More Important Now Than Ever

The I-Connect007 research team recently conducted a survey on leadership, covering everything from leadership qualities to stories and lessons learned from inspirational leaders. Read what respondents from the industry had to share on the topic of leadership.

Just Ask Joe: The Land Warrior Project

First, we asked you to send in your questions for Happy Holden. Now, it’s Joe Fjelstad’s turn! Inventor, columnist, instructor, and founder of Verdant Electronics, Joe has been involved with rigid PCBs and flexible circuits for decades, and he’s ready to share some of his knowledge with our readers. We hope you enjoy “Just Ask Joe.”


Just Ask Joe: Automotive Conformal Coatings

First, we asked you to send in your questions for Happy Holden. Now, it’s Joe Fjelstad’s turn! Inventor, columnist, instructor, and founder of Verdant Electronics, Joe has been involved with rigid PCBs and flexible circuits for decades, and he’s ready to share some of his knowledge with our readers. We hope you enjoy “Just Ask Joe.”

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

This week, the top five is full of progress in technology and financial performance. It’s more evidence that the electronics industry, at its core, continues to thrive.

Got a Question? Just Ask Joe!

A few months ago, we launched our “Just Ask” series with Happy Holden. Many readers took us up on it, sending all manner of questions for happy to answer. Now, Joe Fjelstad—inventor, technologist, author, and Flex007 columnist—is getting in on the action. Here’s your chance to pick Joe’s brain. What’s the one question about this industry that you’ve always wanted to ask Joe?

Coping With COVID-19: AMI’s Greg Boyd

In this second installment in a series of interviews where Dan Beaulieu asks companies how they are managing in these difficult times—in short, how they are coping with COVID-19, he speaks with Greg Boyd, president of AMI located in Winthrop, Maine.

This Month in PCB007 Magazine: Blue Box—Leading a Cleaning Revolution

Jim Metropoulos, CEO and founder of Blue Box, talks about the innovative foam solution he developed to clean the coils of HVAC systems in large facilities, ranging from casinos and manufacturing plants to some of the top hospitals in the country.

The Pros and Cons of Working Remotely

For this issue of Design007 Magazine, Managing Editor Andy Shaughnessy asked Patrick Crawford if IPC had any insight into how the “new normal” of working from home has impacted their members. Here is what the IPC technical staff had to say about the advantages and disadvantages of working remotely, as well as working with IPC volunteers who are new to working from the dining room table.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

This week’s picks include a little of everything. We have an interview with the founder of Avishtech, a new EDA software company that has a spin on field solvers and stackup tools. We also have an interview with Mike Carano, who discusses the need for mentors. Then, there’s news about partnership between Koh Young and Mentor, and an iNEMI "best practices" guide for disinfecting your facility. Finally, we've compiled all of the "Just Ask Happy" entries into a single document for your viewing pleasure. Happy Friday!

Just Ask Happy: The Exclusive Compilation

We asked for you to send in your questions for Happy Holden, and you took us up on it! We loved them so much, and we know that you did too, so we’ve compiled all 21 questions and answers into one document for easy reference.

Coping With COVID-19: Niche Electronics’ Frank Bowman

How are companies coping with COVID-19? In the first of a series of short interviews, Dan Beaulieu asks Frank Bowman, president of both Niche Electronics and QCMS, how he's managing during the pandemic.

W. Edwards Deming’s Lost Chapters Recovered

I was cleaning up my bookcase recently and came across a tired, dog-eared set of papers that was Dr. Deming’s initial draft of his book "On The Management of Statistical Techniques for Quality and Productivity," which I received when he came to HP to lecture about quality and productivity on March 11, 1981.


I-Connect007 Editor's Choice: 5 Must-Reads for the Week

Nolan Johnson's top 5 picks this week include the SpaceX Dragon splashdown, the Mars 2020 mission’s Ingenuity helicopter—featuring an interview with the carbon fiber company that built the helicopter’s landing gear—and the U.S. Air Force’s efforts to secure space systems with the help of volunteer hackers. Readers also responded to news from IPC and iNEMI, and blockchain turned out to be hugely popular.

8 Measures for Sales and Operations Planning in Turbulent Times, Part 5

In this series, CEPHAS principal Fane Friberg highlights the interdependent elements of an effective S&OP process for leaders of supply chain management. While some companies tend to fall back on the status quo, Freiberg highlights why it’s critical to actually increase the frequency of the S&OP rather than decrease the operations. He has reviewed the importance of staying committed, strategic imperatives, participation, and technology. Today, he discusses rough-cut capacity planning.

This Month in SMT007 Magazine—IBM: Supply Chain Blockchain

IBM’s Michelle Lam and Christophe Begue, along with Nolan Johnson, discuss the basics of blockchain, and how it enables a more secure and traceable supply chain. They also address some of the applications for this technology and what the future holds.

Goodwinds Composites: Putting a Helicopter on Mars

On July 30, 2020, Nolan Johnson spoke with Leland Holeman and Amelia Cook, the owners of Goodwinds Composites. While Goodwinds may be a small business, they still pack a heavy punch in the carbon fiber fabricating business. Case in point, the NASA Perseverance Mars rover mission, which had just launched as we captured this interview, carries a helicopter (named Ingenuity) in its payload and contains custom parts fabricated by Goodwinds.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

Say what you will about 2020, but it certainly isn’t boring. There’s a lot going on in the PCB world, and there’s something for everyone in this week’s top five picks. And it’s all positive, despite the lingering presence of COVID-19 and its aftereffects.

Just Ask Happy: Monitoring Via Reliability on a Lot-by-Lot Basis

We asked for you to send in your questions for Happy Holden, and you took us up on it! The questions you've posed run the gamut by covering technology, the worldwide fab market, and everything in between. How would you monitor microvia reliability on a lot-by-lot basis?

Just Ask Happy: What Would You Change About the Industry?

We asked for you to send in your questions for Happy Holden, and you took us up on it! The questions you've posed run the gamut by covering technology, the worldwide fab market, and everything in between. What would you change about the industry?

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

This week’s top five is a smattering across the industry. There’s an update on an established vendor and a press release from a startup. Then, we have two columns: one on M&A, and the other on supply chain disruptions. Finally, I highlight an interview from a U.S. food distributor sales manager, shedding light on the similarities of supply chain interruption in all industries. It's quite an assortment, but what they all have in common is that readers found these items compelling.

Just Ask Happy: Manufacturing Issues From a Designer’s Viewpoint

We asked for you to send in your questions for Happy Holden, and you took us up on it! The questions you've posed run the gamut, covering technology, the worldwide fab market, and everything in between. Enjoy.

Find the Perfect Employee With D.B. Management Group

If you’re searching for the right person for an open job in the PCB industry, look no further than D.B. Management Group’s recruiting page in each of the I-Connect007 magazines.


Selling in a Post-COVID Environment, Part 2

Nolan Johnson continues his conversation with Penny Cole about how COVID-19 has affected her industry’s distribution channels and supply chain, as well as how she has adapted to the shifting dynamic as a salesperson.

Selling in a Post-COVID Environment, Part 1

Nolan Johnson spoke with Penny Cole of Lotus Foods about how COVID-19 has affected her industry’s distribution channels and supply chain, as well as how she’s adapted to the shifting dynamic as a salesperson.

A New Job Is One Click Away at I-Connect007 Career Opportunities

In the pages of I-Connect007’s monthly magazines and newsletters, you’ll find job openings for positions that span the entire circuit board supply chain. Here’s a quick sample of available positions: chief technology officer, director of business development, senior process engineer, image department operator, development chemist, SMT field technician, and sales reps for territories that span the U.S.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

Like a bad penny, COVID-19 just keeps coming back and affecting the PCB industry. This week, we saw more industry events going fully virtual—a trend that’s likely to continue. But as Chris Mitchell explains, the COVID-19 outbreak is also forcing lawmakers and organizations to work together for the good of the U.S. electronics supply chain. Sometimes, it takes a crisis to make everyone cooperate, so let’s celebrate these little victories.

Handling Supply Chain Disruption in Silicon Valley

Nolan Johnson spoke with Najat Badriyeh, CEO and president of Naprotek, about the current state of the supply chain as a contract manufacturer in Silicon Valley, adjustments the company has made, and what she anticipates for the future.

Cyberattack! Think It Couldn’t Happen To You? Think Again!

Eric Cormier and Dave Ryder of Prototron address the ransomware attack that locked them out of their system last December, bringing business to a screeching halt and forcing them into the arduous process of a full rebuild. With things finally starting to normalize, Eric and Dave now offer precautionary advice they’ve accumulated over the past six months.

I-Connect007 Leadership Survey: Valuable Lessons From Grandma

The I-Connect007 research team has been surveying readers on the topic of leadership as part of our ongoing planning for upcoming issues. As this response illustrates, great examples of leadership can be found everywhere—provided we're paying attention.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

The common theme in this week’s Top 5 editor’s picks is “change.” We’re talking change in the form of forwarding process, achieving milestones, evolving, and improving metrics. This week’s picks are not only newsworthy but also captured reader attention based on metrics. If you haven’t read any other news items from the industry this week, I propose these five must-reads.

Navigating the Current Supply Chain

Robb Engle, executive VP of Sono-Tek, and Nolan Johnson discuss what the company has seen as far as supply chain challenges and changes to respond to in the past few months in response to COVID-19 and its related effects.

Understanding MIL-PRF-31032, Part 1

Over the course of this series, Anaya Vardya will discuss topics such as MIL-PRF-31032 requirements, the quality plan, responsibilities of the Technical Review Board (TRB), and the testing and reporting requirements for the certified shop into the DLA.


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