A Salute to Process Engineers


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It seems very appropriate, coming on the heels of IPC APEX EXPO 2016, that the focus of our April issue is process engineering. I believe process engineers (and process engineer types) are the worker bees of IPC (and obviously of the companies they work for). If they don’t actually write the standards and specifications or present the technical papers, they most certainly are doing the work behind the scenes—running tests, gathering data, coming up with new ideas, developing new products, making existing products work better, and so forth.

The interesting thing about process engineering in our industry is that you don’t have to be a degreed engineer. You just have to be willing to take on the problem solving and troubleshooting that is involved in making things work—in this case, the PCB shop and its product. No easy task, believe me (I’ve been there), but the intrigue and the never-ending variety of problems, often brought on by the increasing complexity of PCBs, is probably what lured all of us in in the first place and keeps the job interesting and challenging—and makes it tough to leave. How many people do you know who have left the industry and found themselves drawn back in?

Getting back to the recent IPC conference and show, it was and is quite an event, as those in attendance can tell you. Between myriad subcommittee meetings, keynotes, a couple dozen technical paper sessions and the exhibition, one finds too much to do and way too little time to do it—and this year we had a lot of ground to cover. We certainly got plenty of walking in at the Las Vegas Convention Center; some people reached their 10,000 steps by noon!

In the meantime, though, there were more exhibitors than ever (though the PCB corner seemed smaller than ever) and there were many very interesting technical sessions where attendance was SRO. We hope to bring you some of those presentations in future issues of The PCB Magazine. The conference had special meaning to me, as I was inducted into IPC’s Hall of Fame at the Tuesday luncheon, a huge honor and one I am still trying to believe really happened. I am now an IPC Ambassador!

Read the full article here.

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the April 2016 issue of The PCB Magazine.

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