Article Highlights
ESI’s Chris Ryder: There’s More to Choosing a Laser Than You Think
01/16/2019 | Barry Matties, I-Connect007
CES Press Day: NVIDIA, Samsung, and Intel
01/11/2019 | Dan Feinberg, Technology Editor, I-Connect007
Agfa on Revolutionary Inkjet Solder Mask Applications
01/10/2019 | Pete Starkey, I-Connect007
Better to Light a Candle: Chapter One—Prepping the Next Generation
01/08/2019 | Marc Carter, Independent Contributor
Dan Feinberg: A CES 2019 Preview
01/08/2019 | Dan Feinberg, Technology Editor, I-Connect007
PCB :: Business

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Dispatches from CES 2019: The Future in the Kickoff

Press kickoff briefings at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) are no stranger to big claims and hyperboles. At the “CES 2019 Trends to Watch” presentation on Monday morning, Steve Koenig, Consumer Technology Association’s (CTA’s) VP of market research, made some pretty big claims about what we should expect to see at the show, but those claims don't seem at all to be hyperbolized.

CES Press Day: NVIDIA, Samsung, and Intel

Three major companies—NVIDIA, Samsung, and Intel—had lengthy, interesting presentations on CES press day, and each had with their own agenda.

Rainer Beerhalter Discusses His AltiumLive Munich Presentation

Rainer Beerhalter is a physicist, and according to his design bureau’s website, “founder, owner, and mastermind” of B GMBH. Rainer attended the first AltiumLive in Munich in 2017, and he’s returning to this year’s event in Munich January 15–17. I asked him to tell us about the class he’ll be teaching in Munich, and why he decided to come back for the sophomore AltiumLive show.

Dan Feinberg: A CES 2019 Preview

Dan Feinberg gets a first look at the new devices and technologies being shown this year at the innovation world's biggest expo. Read on.

Chris Nuttall Discusses NCAB Group's IPO and Future Plans

Editor Nolan Johnson sat down with Chris Nuttall, COO and VP of technology at NCAB Group, to discuss software tools, predictive reports, and the company's recent IPO.

The Shape of Things to Come: Curved, Flexible, Stretchable, and Three-Dimensional Electronics

The seamless integration of electronics into flexible, curved, and even stretchable surfaces is being requested for several markets, such as automotive (dashboards, lighting, sensors), smart buildings (lighting facades, air quality, solar panels), medical (health patches, X-ray, analysis), and smart clothing (position tracking, sports).

Top 10 Most-Read PCB007 Articles of 2018

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

Automation Attracts: The New Guard to PCB Fabrication

It only took a few seconds inside the GreenSource Fabrication plant for the I-Connect007 staff to realize just how different the facility is. The look and feel of the place, however, is just one difference; staffing the facility is unique as well.

Upcoming 2019 Trade Show Season in the USA

A look back at Dan Feinberg's predictions made a year ago, and a preview of what we might see at CES 2019 along with some new projections. CES—the first, largest, and most influential and predictive of global electronics trends of this group of trade shows.

Successful Flex Circuit Design and Processing Guidelines

With the use of sensors and technology in everything from mobile phones to refrigerators, automobiles, and wearable medical devices, circuit boards are a component in many different types of products. In today’s world of electronics, any product with an on-off switch contains a circuit board.


Tarja Rapala-Virtanen Discusses Appointment as EIPC Technical Director

Tarja Rapala-Virtanen discusses her role as the newly appointed technical director of EIPC, Michael Weinhold’s retirement and impact on her career, and the draw and success of EIPC conferences.

Technology Ambassador Alun Morgan

Barry Matties speaks with Alun Morgan about his new position as technology ambassador for Ventec International Group. In this position, Alun will use his wealth of knowledge and experience to inform the supply chain better when it comes to topics like thermal management and the sometimes shaky connection between designers and material suppliers.

Atotech Brings World-Class AHDI to the U.S.

During our walk-through of the GreenSource Fabrication facility with VP Alex Stepinski, he started the conversation on surface preparation and plating by saying, “We have Atotech horizontal production technology in place here. We’ve been running Atotech turnkey solutions for a while.

Meet All Flex’s New President and CEO Matt Keithly

All Flex Flexible Circuits and Heaters recently appointed Matt Keithly as their new president and CEO. In this exclusive interview, Keithly discusses his background, the direction of the company, and topics related to flexible circuits and other areas of All Flex’s business.

Innovative PCB Processes are Lean and Green

Not much has changed in printed circuit multilayer manufacturing in the last 50 years except that the equipment is more mechanized and streamlined, the processes much more stable, and high-volume PCB manufacturing has moved to China.

Strategies to Manage Your China Business Through Turbulence

While the United States may be the world’s most open market, China remains the most competitive, and is still viewed by most U.S. and EU companies as the "last great opportunity for growth.” Many companies want to gain entry to the Chinese market share for their products or services. Thus, the competition for sales of products or services is correspondingly intense. Here's how to succeed in the world's second largest economy.

Increasing Productivity for Flex Fabricators

Barry Matties and Nolan Johnson of I-Connect007 met with Shane Noel and industry veteran Mike Jennings of ESI to discuss the introduction of their CapStone laser tool, a product aimed at doubling their flex circuit fabricators’ throughput. Mike also shares advice for fabricators who are looking to move into the ever-growing flex market.

Catching up with... HSIO Technologies President James Rathburn

Dan Beaulieu checked in with HSIO Technologies President James Rathburn recently to see what he and his team are up to and learned how they are using liquid crystal polymers and other materials to focus on increasing high-speed and high-density PCBs for uses in all markets.

Powering the Flexible World

From 2019 we will come to a world with flexible electronics and batteries to power these devices have attracted tremendous attention. These devices may require batteries with special mechanical properties or form factors.

Copper Pillar Plating Systems: High Speed, Low Heat

The industry is seeing ever-more stringent requirements of interconnect technologies (ICT) from die through final assembly, in particular digital and analog high frequencies, undistorted signal propagation and efficient heat propagation are concerned.


Additive Electronics: PCB Scale to IC Scale

SAP, mSAP, SLP—what kind of crazy acronyms have we adopted now, and how much do you really need to know? In terms of consumer electronics, there is a good chance that the smartphone attached to your hand at all times contains a PCB fabricated with this technology—or at the very least, the next-generation smartphone that you purchase will utilize mSAP technology.

RTW SMTAI: NCAB Discusses Its Sustainability Programs

Doug Drayer, General Manager, Central Region, at NCAB Group, details the company's three-pronged sustainability programs and ISO 26000. He also talks about the company’s recent successful listing in the Stockholm Stock Exchange, and the importance of working with the customers especially during the design process.

Smartphone Substrate-Like PCBs Will Revolutionize the IC Substrate and PCB Markets

The smartphone is one of the high value-add products that carries a very high demand for miniaturization. Customers expect larger screens, cameras with high resolution, and various other functions, in lighter and thinner phones.

The Changing Shape of the HDI Market

With more mobile device designers looking to utilize the benefits of FOWLP and other direct attach package types, a new generation of HDI PCBs is already in the market. Targeting less than 30 mm features and based on mSAP techniques, these substrate-like PCBs make use of the latest high-end manufacturing processes and materials, to enable the next evolution in advanced HDI boards.

GP Ventures’ Tom Kastner on PCB Mergers and Acquisitions

Tom Kastner, president of GP Ventures, he has his finger on the pulse of the industry's mergers and acquisitions (M&A) more than anyone. In this interview, Kastner provides insights on the right time to buy, how to evaluate your company's worth, and when it is too late.

Defense Speak Interpreted: Defense Electronic Supply Chain Issues

On October 5, 2018, the Department of Defense (DoD) highlighted issues with the release of the 146-page report “Assessing and Strengthening the Manufacturing and Defense Industrial Base and Supply Chain Resiliency of the United States” from President Donald J. Trump.

What's FLITE About? An Old Man's Observations

FLITE—Female Leaders in Tech, Everywhere—aims to raise the visibility of females in technology, manufacturing, and engineering by celebrating their achievements and learning from their experiences. I-Connect007 Technical Editor Pete Starkey sit in on FLITE's networking event at the recent What's New in Electronics (WNIE) Live show to find out more about this enterprise, which turned out to be an inspirational eye-opener.

Building a Better Board: It Always Comes Back to Communication

For our experts meeting on the August’s theme of reliability, we reached out to Colonial Circuits and asked them to participate in a conference call with our I-Connect007 editorial team consisting of Dan Feinberg, Andy Shaughnessy, Patty Goldman, and Happy Holden. Joining the call from Colonial Circuits was Mark Osborn, president and CEO, Kevin Knapp, quality manager, and Rodney Krick, manufacturing manager.

From Trend to Game Changer: Which Technology Will Make the Cut?

At the recent EIPC Summer Conference, Hans Friedrichkeit of the PCB Network gave an engaging presentation on artificial intelligence and future technologies, which was well received by attendees. Who better than Hans to offer insight on which future megatrends might truly become game changers? Publisher Barry Matties sat down with Hans to get his take on trends such as 5G, autonomous cars and 3D printing.

Reliability Takes on a New Urgency

Consumers wanted a reliable car that wouldn’t break down on the road; a computer that wouldn’t crash; a phone network that wouldn’t drop our calls; the plane we were hurtling across the sky in to stay in the air and land safely, with the wheels down. In retrospect, those seem rather simple wants, and the industry certainly wants to deliver.


Atotech on Challenges and Opportunities in PCB Manufacturing

Abel Ruivo, Atotech Deputy Business Director of Electronics for Greater China, and Daniel Schmidt, head of Global Marketing for Electronics at Atotech Group, spoke with I-Connect007 about the various challenges of PCB manufacturing in China, as well as about the opportunities in the sector.

The Sum of All Parts: Factors of Reliability

A popular definition of reliability is “The quality of being trustworthy or of performing consistently well.” Upfront engineering is of utmost importance in developing a design that will endure its intended life cycle. On the other hand, the manufacturing of that design is just as critical.

Thermal Capabilities of Solder Masks: How High Can We Go?

This article focuses on three different coating material groups that were formulated to operate under high thermal stress and are applied at the printed circuit board manufacturing level. While used for principally different applications, these coatings have in common that they can be key to a successful thermal management concept especially in e-mobility and lighting applications.

IMPACT on DIVSYS and NWSC Crane

I-Connect007's Patty Goldman has known DIVSYS’ Stan Bentley for many years, having met when the company was called Diversified Systems and they made circuit boards and finished products at their facility in Indianapolis. They saw each other at IMPACT recently, and of course had to have a chat.

Solder Mask: You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby!

For the July 2018 issue of PCB007 magazine, I-Connect007's editing team met with Electra Polymers’ Shaun Tibbals and Antony Earl to discuss what’s new with solder mask, including direct imaging and inkjet printing of solder mask, and what PCB manufacturers and OEMs need to know.

Advanced Copper Plating Process for Any Layer Via Fill Applications with Thin Surface Copper

Copper-filled microvias are a key technology in HDI designs that have enabled increasing miniaturization and densification of printed circuit boards for the next generation of electronic products. Compared with standard PTHs, copper-filled vias provide greater design flexibility, improved signal performance, and can potentially help reduce layer count, thus reducing cost.

Book Recommendation: The Introvert’s Edge

This new book by Matthew Pollard banishes the notion that only extroverts can sell. Gone is the idea that the back slapping, glad handling, joke saying, method of selling is the only way to go.

Catching up with LiloTree’s Dr. Kunal Shah

Every so often, a new product comes around that promises to be a game changer and LiloTree has one of those products. Not only is it cyanide-free, it has the potential to save 40% on your entire ENIG process and is proving to be far more stable than traditional ENIG products.

An Owner’s Positive Take on IMPACT 2018: American Standard Circuits’ Founder & Chairman Gordhan Patel

During a full day at IMPACT 2018, I had a chance to speak with American Standard Circuits’ founder and chairman Gordhan Patel. We had much to talk about after listening to several speakers from the departments of Defense and Education, and the International Trade Administration.

Characteristics of New Electroless Au/Pd/Au Process for Fine-Line Applications

The characteristics of electroless gold/palladium/gold (IGEPIG) deposit, which has been newly developed for fine-line application as electroless nickel-phosphorus (EN) free, has been compared with that of conventional electroless Ni-P/Pd/Au (ENEPIG) deposit and electroless Pd/Au (EPIG) deposit.


Book Recommendation: The Age of Agile—How Smart Companies are Transforming the Way Work Gets Done

This new book by Stephen Denning addresses the issue of change and adaptability like no other book I have read thus far…and I read a lot of business books! Centering on meeting the challenges of new and often changing business environments and how to meet them, the author’s focus on agility runs from the power of smaller teams that are focused on solving problems quickly while eschewing the normal bureaucratic road blocks that have been in place for decades.

CPCA 2018 Seminar Overview

I had the good fortune to speak at a seminar sponsored by the CPCA and organized by the China Team of I-Connect007 in Shanghai. This full-day seminar was on one of today’s hot topics, “Automation in PCB Manufacturing.”

MacDermid Enthone Talks Wet Processing Trends in 2018

I-Connect007’s Patty Goldman, Barry Matties, Andy Shaughnessy, and Happy Holden were recently joined by MacDermid Enthone team members Jordan Kologe, technical marketing specialist; Ted Antonellis, applications manager for electronics specialties; and Don Cullen, marketing director for electronics solutions and MacDermid performance solutions. The discussion topic was the wet processing end of PCB manufacturing.

MIVA Technologies’ Explosive Growth Shows No Signs of Slowing Down

MIVA Technologies is a leading equipment builder for direct imaging technologies in the circuit board and microelectronics space. The company’s head of its business development group, Brendan Hogan, sat down for an interview to provide some background and where the company’s specialties lie.

Book Recommendation: The Excellence Dividend—Meeting the Tech Tide with Work That Wows and Jobs That Last

If you wait for a Tom Peters book the way some people (myself included) wait for a new Stephen King novel, then you’re in luck because Tom finally has a new book and it’s a winner. This book covers a myriad of topics in pure Tom Peters fashion. Who but Peters could bring good old meat and potatoes common sense logic to this fast-moving new world order of social media and techno faux-communications?

EIPC 50th Anniversary Conference: Alun Morgan Announcement

As the 2018 EIPC 50th Anniversary Conference came to a close in Dusseldorf, Germany, Barry Matties met with Chairman Alun Morgan to look back at how far the EIPC has come in the past 50 years and say goodbye to Michael Weinhold, longtime director and industry veteran, who announced his retirement at this year’s event.

EIPC 50th Anniversary Conference Day 1: The Past, the Present and the Future, Pt. 1

Just like old times—meeting with John Ling, with whom I had previously travelled to industry events for over two decades, and who still carries the role of EIPC marketing manager, to fly together from Birmingham UK to Dusseldorf in Germany for the EIPC 50th Anniversary Summer Conference.

Michael Weinhold: Time to Say Goodbye

This year’s EIPC summer conference marked the 50th anniversary for the organization, and with it, the retirement of longtime EIPC member and industry leader Michael Weinhold. I spoke with Michael on his 50+ years in the industry, and on behalf of everyone at I-Connect007, we wish Michael a pleasant retirement and the best going forward.

Flex Time: Why is Rigid-Flex So Expensive?

One question that I hear fairly often, particularly after an initial quotation, is “Why is rigid-flex so expensive?” In this article, I’ll share with designers the cost drivers in rigid-flex relative to standard rigid boards and flex circuits with stiffeners. A typical rigid-flex PWB will cost about seven times the cost of the same design on a hard board, and two to three times an equivalent flex circuit with stiffeners.

Book Recommendation: Listen Up or Lose Out

There can never be enough books about the art and virtue of listening. As a sales trainer, I've learned that there is nothing more challenging than teaching people how to be quiet and listen. So, it was with great anticipation that I read this new book by the Boltons. Never has there been a better time to try to teach people, not just salespeople to turn down the devices, focus, and start intentionally listening to one another.


EIPC 50th Anniversary Conference Day 2: The Past, the Present and the Future, Pt. 2

Alun Morgan wrapped-up the proceedings, thanking delegates for their attention, speakers for sharing their knowledge and sponsors for their generous support. Special thanks and good wishes to Michael Weinhold for his enormous contribution over the years, and to Kirsten Smit-Westenberg and Carol Pelzers for their calm and professional organisation and management of another superb event.

Book Recommendation: Customer Service Training 101

No matter what business you are in, whether it be retail or B2B, you’re going to be able to benefit from everything in this book. It is without a doubt the best customer service training book on the market today.

Flying Probe Testing: It’s about Speed and Stability Says MicroCraft

The I-Connect007 team had the pleasure of meeting with Takayuki Hidehira at the MicroCraft booth at productronica, where they had on display their new eight-probe flying tester, fully equipped with autoloader and new ease-of-use software. Takayuki discusses where flying probe testers currently stand in the market and MicroCraft’s observation of the rise of captive PCB shops in Japan.

Catching up with… Artnet Pro

I recently sat down with Artnet Pro Co-owner Meir Polack to discuss his company's move to represent Altix in North American, South America and parts of Asia. Artnet has traditionally sold pre-owned Orbotech and Camtek equipment, especially LDIs, but due to the increasing competitiveness of this high-end market they decided to seek out the best alternative in new DI equipment.

EIPC 50th Anniversary Conference Day 1: The Past, the Present and the Future, Pt. 2

Part 2 of I-Connect007 Technical Editor Pete Starkey's article on the recent EIPC 50th Anniversary Conference in Dusseldorf, Germany, continues with recap of technical presentations by Emma Hudson, Shannon Juan, Alex Ippich, and Russell Morgan. Read on.

Book Recommendation: Combo Prospecting

Tony J. Hughes has come up with a series of unique techniques combining social media and traditional methods to get to the right people with the right message using the right techniques.

RMAs: Negative Experience or Valuable Opportunity?

Non-conforming material that is sent back by the customer can easily be interpreted as a negative experience. However, if it is perceived as an opportunity to learn and support the customer it becomes a much more pleasant and satisfying endeavor.

Excerpts from Prismark’s Presentation at CPCA 2018

Prismark Partners LLC presented a detailed report at the recent CPCA meeting and show in Shanghai, China, on the challenges and opportunities for the PCB market. Part of the discussion was on 5G and is excerpted here with permission.

Book Recommendation: Do Good—Embracing Brand Citizenship to Fuel Both Purpose and Profit

The best way to get your people engaged to is give them a mission that is bigger than the company. Now more than ever, people want to believe in things and causes that matter. They want to be proud of the company they work for.

Catching up with Fineline-Global N. American CEO Eran Navick

After entering the North American marketplace just six months ago, printed circuit board provider Fineline-Global is making its mark. As the largest value-added PCB supplier in the world, Fineline prides itself on being any able to meet any challenge for any company in any part of the world. I recently had the chance to sit down with Eran Navick, the company’s North American CEO to catch up on how things are going.


May the G Force Be With You

We are about to begin the transition from the present cellular standard 4G LTE to the next generation, 5G. As in the past, most people will wonder, “What does 5G mean to me, and what is LTE anyway?” After all, if you can make your connection reliably and you can send and receive data at reasonable speeds, why should you really care?

Book Recommendation: Becoming Facebook—The 10 Challenges that Defined the Company That’s Disrupting the World

Besides being an excellent history book into one of the most fascinating companies in the world, it is also a great business book. Full disclosure, I wanted to read this book because I wanted to know the Facebook story. I did not expect any of the lessons in this book to apply to me and my own small business or the small businesses that I work with, but I was wrong. The book is filled with valuable lessons that can be applied to any company, no matter the size.

APCT Moves into Rigid-Flex with Cartel, Cirtech Acquisition

When I spoke with APCT President Steve Robinson a year ago, he said he was interested in adding flex and rigid-flex capabilities, and working closely with designers and engineers. With the recent acquisition of Cartel and their subsidiary Cirtech, APCT now has a flex and rigidflex facility, along with military and aerospace certifications. At DesignCon 2018, I asked Steve to discuss these acquisitions and what they mean for APCT and their customers.

Day-to-Day: ZTE and the Potential Impending Trade War Saga

Nanya Technology, Taiwan's biggest DRAM chipmaker, will apply for a permit to provide chips to ZTE. The company said it has been notified about restrictions on shipments to ZTE, and that the ban would have limited effect on its operation. The company said on May 9 that it is preparing to apply for a permit to continue shipping chips to ZTE Corp. as export restrictions took a new turn due to a US-China trade spat.

The Augmented World Expo: Go XR or Become Extinct

Now on its ninth year, the Augmented World Expo (AWE USA) is perhaps the largest event for professionals focused on providing science fiction-like abilities through XR (cross reality) and associated wearable technology. This year’s event showcased over 100,000 square feet of exhibit space and featured numerous presentations and discussions covering topics ranging from the latest and greatest uses and devices for XR to the business of marketing and monetizing it.

‘Can Do’ in CAM Outsourcing: CAM Engineering—Reducing Costs

While having on-demand capacity, improved automation, and fast turn-around are critical to any front-end engineering operation, achieving those goals with a cost-effective solution is imperative. Electronics are constantly under cost-reduction pressures. Functionality, capability, and complexity increase while costs decrease.

Golden Anniversary for EIPC at the 2018 Summer Conference

June marks the start of summer, and with that, the EIPC’s annual summer conference. Highlighted by its thought-provoking presentations, social outings and factory tours, the conference continues to be valuable and productive for attendees. This year should prove no different, with EIPC set to celebrate its 50th anniversary. I spoke with EIPC Executive Director Kirsten Smit-Westenberg about what can be expected from the upcoming conference in Düsseldorf, Germany.

AWE: Introducing the Augmented World Expo

The largest and most diverse event regarding the depth and breadth of technological progress and advancement is CES, which lets us get updates and allows us to focus on anything from drones to 3D additive PCB fabrication, from autonomous transportation and the degree of electronics in the newer and upcoming vehicles to the quantum computers and AI of the near future, from the forecasts found in science fiction of the ‘60s and ‘70s to the reality of 21st century technology.

RTW CPCA Show: AWP Discusses Whelen Engineering Project Success

At the recent CPCA Show 2018 in Shanghai, Jochen Zeller, vice president of AWP Group, speaks about the challenges impacting the wet processing part of the PCB manufacturing industry, such as the continuing miniaturization trend leading to finer widths and line spacings, as well as traceability.

Experts Discussion: The Flex Technologists Speak

For our first issue of the Flex007 Magazine, we invited a group of flexible circuit experts to discuss their work in this rapidly growing segment. Participants included Jonathan Weldon of DuPont, Mark Finstad of Flexible Circuit Technologies, and Scott McCurdy and Scott Miller of Freedom CAD. In a free-wheeling discussion with Andy Shaughnessy and Barry Matties, these technologists share their thoughts on the challenges and opportunities in flexible circuits, as well as what constitutes the cutting edge of flex right now.


Process Control for HDI Fabrication

A subject that gets very little discussion but is essential to the HDI process is automation. That is, the control of chemical concentrations in our many PCB processes and, especially, those that have been mechanized and can change very rapidly. HDI is one of those series of processes where control is the key to high yields.

The Survey Said: Industry Optimistic After Strong 2017

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

Geeking Out at Geek-A-Palooza MSP 2018

Kiersten Rohde, I-Connect007 editor, covers Geek-A-Palooza MSP 2018. Geek-A-Palooza "is a different kind of gathering that combines networking with a fun, relaxing atmosphere." This event provided an opportunity for local electronics geeks from every industry segment to gather for a professional social event that included great music, food, drinks, games, raffle prizes, and booths.

Future Automotive Requirements for PCBs

In the automotive electronics industry, a huge change in functional and environmental requirements will be visible during the next few years. This is driven by three major trends: connected mobility, automated mobility, and the increasing electrified mobility.

Automotive, the Electronics Industry’s New Driver

The automobile industry is becoming a combination of most of the traditional electronics segments: It’s a consumer product with a computer, communications center, and a few medical monitoring-type tendencies (measuring your alertness, heart rate, etc.), all rolled (no pun intended) into one incredible machine that is influencing our industry as none other.
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