Trends From the Show: Solder and Software


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In my role as a media representative, my perspective on IPC APEX EXPO may be a bit different from that of many attendees. Since the I-Connect007 team had the opportunity to talk to many attendees and exhibitors and listen to their stories over the course of the week, our view can be particularly wide. When I reflected on all the conversations, pieces from all throughout the week coalesced and provided a different understanding of and takeaway from the show.

To that end, I noted two distinct themes across all my conversations in San Diego: the first was iterative innovation over technological disruption, and the second was improved decision-making tools. I come to these themes after a process of distillation. Automotive, medical, and IoT were all hot topics, and OEMs are demanding higher densities and increased throughput (those two requirements are at odds with each other). In addition, semiconductor companies continue to shrink the silicon into smaller and smaller packages, and higher speed requirements are changing even the plating and manufacturing processes. In this Venn diagram of driving forces, what sits in the very center that’s an overlap of all the circles? Connecting the components to the board and getting smarter about the build processes.

Interestingly, this is where I saw the most activity in development. In the area of solder and soldering technologies, we heard about new developments in solder paste formulations, as well as new methods for application. The equipment manufacturers are finding plenty of opportunities to optimize throughput and precision in the applications, while solder paste manufacturers are working hand-in-hand to deliver a product that allows the new machinery to run at its best. Jetting seems to have found its time in the market, and work across the industry is underway to mature that technology. production managers can, at a minimum, wire up the critical equipment. Even the lowly flux needs to do more with less as components get smaller.

To read this entire article, which appeared in Show & Tell Magazine, click here.

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