Article Highlights
I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week
08/12/2022 | Andy Shaughnessy, I-Connect007
Today’s M&A: Right on Target
08/09/2022 | Nolan Johnson, I-Connect007
Challenges of the 2022 PCB Market: The Party’s Over
08/08/2022 | Pete Starkey, I-Connect007
IPC's I-Connect007 Acquisition Update With John Mitchell
08/05/2022 | Nolan Johnson, I-Connect007
Q4 Concerns: Hold on to Your Hats
08/03/2022 | Shawn DuBravac, IPC
PCB :: Business

Latest Articles

Today’s M&A: Right on Target

In this enlightening conversation with M&A specialist Tom Kastner, Nolan Johnson learns that it’s a buyer’s market—and a seller’s market too. This sets up an interesting dynamic no matter which side you might be on. What trends are in play that have led to this situation and how can you make the most of it? Tom shares valuable insights that will get you thinking and planning your own strategies.

Challenges of the 2022 PCB Market: The Party’s Over

With his knowledgeable insight into the business and technology of the printed circuit industry, Dr. Shiuh-Kao Chiang, managing partner at Prismark Partners, has put a global perspective on the challenges of the 2022 PCB market. His presentation at the EIPC Summer Conference in Orebro, Sweden, on June 14 was eagerly awaited by an attentive audience, keen to share his vision. From his comments, it was clear that 2022 will be an interesting year and does not appear particularly friendly for the PCB business.

PCB Finance Class With Jeff De Serrano

Class is in session! PCB Technologies President Jeff De Serrano takes us through some of the struggles of the PCB industry over the past 30 years, how U.S. legislation seeks to level the playing field, and whether a “monopoly” of fabricators is healthy for our industry. In his chat with Nolan Johnson, Jeff gets out his investment playbook and talks strategy. Don’t miss this one.

A Primer on M&A With Tom Kastner

Tom Kastner of GP Ventures is a busy man these days. He’s been involved in several M&A deals, including a recent acquisition by Summit Interconnect. Tom spent some time with Dan Beaulieu, who often consults with PCB and PCBA companies, about what it looks like when a company is thinking of buying or selling—and how a consultant like Tom helps negotiate the best deal.

IPC Mexico Continues to Grow

IPC Mexico has been growing for the past few years, and it’s no wonder: Mexico has become a major hub in the world of PCB manufacturing, spurred in part by reshoring as companies pulled work back from China during the pandemic. As the country’s maquiladoras thrived, IPC began expanding the Mexican educational and training operations, and the group recently named Lorena Villanueva as director of IPC Mexico. Andy Shaughnessy and Barry Matties recently spoke with Lorena and IPC Vice President of Education David Hernandez about IPC Mexico’s growth, as well as the office’s plans to provide PCB manufacturers the training resources they need to succeed.

Catching Up with Prototron’s Lee Salazar: Sales in the New Frontier

In the business world, salespeople arguably were the most affected by the pandemic. These professionals had to be the most creative when trying to ply their trade. They had to work from home, make phone calls in lieu of face to face, and learn how to use social media networks and newsletters. This was all to reach their customers—who also were working from home. Even when they got vaccinated and managed to hit the road, they often found that their customers’ doors were closed and they were not allowed inside, if their particular contact was there at all. Many times, they had to resort to meeting their customers in parking lots or restaurants with outdoor dining. And guess what? It’s not even over yet. So, how does a salesperson create success when so much seems to have changed? I reached out to Lee Salazar of Prototron to learn how he met the challenges, and his tips for others who are moving forward.

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

In more than one conversation while discussing the industry this week, the themes have included industry turmoil, lots of business opportunities, and the urgent need to build out to meet changing demands. In fact, our July issue of PCB007 Magazine, which publishes later this month, will focus on these very topics. It’s definitely one not to be missed! These themes also emerged in this week’s top five news items as well. Top stories include an acquisition in the soldering machinery space, sales and service expansion in Mexico, industry data from SIA on semiconductor global sales data, and strong financial numbers from two China-based manufacturers. Now, with the U.S. Congress putting its focus on the PCB industry, things could really heat up. It’s going to be an interesting year.

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

Market news was certainly big this week. While the U.S. stock market continues make some large swings, the PCB and PCBA are doing their own dance with the numbers. We’re still feeling the effects of the pandemic, but it seems to be more about playing catch up. Still, the industry is showing some instability, both in positive and negative ways.

The Survey Said: Why Don’t You Know Your Fabricator?

When we want to find out what challenges our readers are facing, we just ask. And they don’t mind sharing—the good, the bad, and the ugly. In a recent survey, we asked our PCB designer readers, “Why don’t you know who is going to manufacture your boards?” Here are some of more interesting replies we received, edited slightly for clarity. Do you see yourself in these replies?

Catching up With Author Ed Chambliss: Fixing a ‘Broken’ Business Model

I love books, especially good business books. In fact, I read three or four a week which I believe makes me a very discerning critic when it comes to ones with the right message. "A One-Legged Stool: How Shareholder Primacy Has Broken Business (And What We Can Do About It)" by Ed Chambliss is one that can help us in both business and life. It has the right message. This book is so timely and extremely important now because Chambliss brings to light one of the great wrongs in the thinking of the last century, an error that has broken business for the past 50 years—the idea that we are all in business to make money for our shareholders and (and all others, employees, customers, and vendors be damned). We all know where this has gotten us.


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

We’re still not officially into summer yet, but Atlanta is bringing the heat, baby! It’s hit 97 degrees a few times this week, and I now have a fan aimed right at my face. At least it’s nice and humid too. I’m glad I don’t wear make-up. And it’s been a hot week in the circuit board community. This week, Eltek reported a fire at a board shop in Israel, and Flex committed to building a 145,000-square-foor facility in Jalisco, Mexico to serve the electric and autonomous vehicle segment.

Siber Circuits Owner Responds to ‘Rep’ Column: Encourage Communication

Simon Etherington, president and owner of Siber Circuits, felt so strongly about Dan Beaulieu’s weekly column titled “Reps Need a Better Deal, Part 2” that he put fingers to the keyboard and expressed his thoughts as a response. Beaulieu frequently writes about sales and marketing topics, particularly the relationship between the sales rep and the principal. Dan has argued that there needs to be improved communication, better language in the contracts, and a sales rep that’s eager to earn. See what Simon had to say.

Review: Institute of Circuit Technology 2022 Annual Symposium

The British Motor Museum in Warwickshire, housing the world's largest collection of historic British cars, was venue for the 2022 Annual Symposium of the Institute of Circuit Technology on June 8, which attracted a substantial gathering of manufacturers and suppliers from the UK printed circuit industry. ICT chair Emma Hudson reflected upon lessons learned during the pandemic lock-down and how the industry has successfully adapted to circumstances. She commented that the UK’s PCB fabricators are extremely busy, as she introduced an outstanding conference programme including a keynote from the incomparable Happy Holden.

PCB Technologies' Subsidiary iNPACK to Exhibit at IMS Show

Jeff De Serrano, president of PCB Technologies USA, discusses the launch of their new company, iNPACK, which focuses on high-tech substrate technologies, microelectronics assembly, and electronics packaging. He details his plans to continue expanding InPack over the next year and to meet with customers and exhibit at the International Microwave Symposium Show in Denver June 19-24.

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

PCB fabrication is back in the news this week and posting high readership numbers as well. Among the most-read news, we see industry leaders changing roles, capital equipment shipment milestones, operational cost efficiencies, and, last but not least, cybersecurity.

Candor Nails the ROI With InduBond

Nolan Johnson follows up on his original interview with Sunny Patel, engineering manager at Candor Industries, about the economics of this new InduBond X-Press 360 lamination press. It sounds like Sunny has hit the “easy” button with the installation of this machine. Capabilities and energy use are two things that are significantly better, but has there been a positive impact on throughput? Sunny explains.

Surveying the Fab Landscape: Where to Find ROI

Torsten Reckert and the team at all4-PCB have a uniquely broad view of what’s happening in the industry. When we asked Reckert about the hottest areas for return on investment, his answers were insightful and sometimes surprising. Readers will note that this conversation includes multiple references to Alex Stepinski and his approach to developing paradigm-shifting processes at GreenSource Fabrication LLC. Reckert worked closely with Stepinski during his time at GreenSource, and just as Reckert is an expert on the current market, Stepiniski is a thought leader on how to optimize processes, making his mention in a return-on-investment conversation particularly valuable.

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

This week, we bring you an article about manufacturing training for veterans, and a review of a great signal integrity webinar. IPC honors its A-Teams with the coveted Golden Gnome Awards, and Technica discusses various ways for fabricators to increase ROI. Dan Beaulieu has a review of a really cool book: Back to Human—How Great Leaders Create Connection in the Age of Isolation. In spite of all the meetings on Teams and Zoom, it’s easy to feel disconnected. But great leaders find a way to foster that connectivity.

Technica Heats Up ROI Discussion

The I-Connect007 Editorial Team speaks with Technica’s Frank Medina, Ed Carrigan, and Jason Perry about trending hotspots that provide the PCB fabricator a high return on investment (ROI). A theme that carries throughout the conversation is that traditional methods for calculating ROI are being replaced by models that include more qualitative factors.

PCB Technologies’ InPack to Focus on Miniaturization, Packaging

I recently spoke with PCB Technologies’ Jeff De Serrano, Yaniv Maydar, and Alon Menache about their new venture, InPack. They explain their plans to focus on advanced packaging, miniaturization, and other high-end technology, with much faster time to market, and they offer a view of the global market as well.


FIRST: Endorsed by Teachers and Students Alike

For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) is a robotics program at Oregon’s West Linn High School led by computer science and engineering teacher Tim Manes. Barry Matties caught up with Tim and his student team, 2BDetermined, at the FIRST Pacific Northwest District robotics event in Salem, Oregon. The team has excelled at the local and regional levels and was invited to participate in the world competition in April.

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

This week, we have some M&A news from Summit Interconnect, and a variety of columns. Chris Bonsell discusses the lack of preventive maintenance planning in PCB manufacturing, and Kelly Dack lays out some solder mask guidelines for PCB designers. Duane Benson helps make sense of the quoting process in a time of 50-week lead times, and Dan Beaulieu has a great review of a book about how shareholder policies have caused many of the problems we see in corporations today.

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

It certainly seems that our times continue to be interesting, don’t they? Just how many different flavors of supply chain disruption can we come up with? Investment on the supply side needs to increase, but the size of the labor force needs to increase even more, if we want to accomplish the task of the buildout itself, let alone running the facilities properly.

Book Review: 'Advocacy' by John Daly

I’ve always wondered why some great ideas succeed while others fail. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to be both a student of Dr. John Daly and to read his book on advocacy. I highly recommend checking out his YouTube videos as well. He’s an energetic and entertaining speaker.

Addressing the Gap in Process Performance

The first steps in process improvement are to determine what the gap is and why it happens. Having a process is not sufficient; the process needs to be effective as well. For those responsible for creating and maintaining processes, the ultimate goal is to create a procedure that becomes self-perpetuating, that seeps into the fabric of the company’s culture. For better or worse, plenty of procedures do indeed become ingrained in company culture. How does one go about ensuring that company culture is loaded with effective processes that deliver a positive outcome? That is the question, to be sure.

PCBAA Member Profile: Davy Nakada, Rogers Corporation

Our industry has suffered from a lack of visibility with policymakers. PCBAA brings many voices together so those in Washington realize what's at stake. Semiconductors have received the most attention in recent years while the domestic production of PCBs and related PCB materials continues to decline. We are now seeing legislative language supporting domestic production because of how PCBAA has educated lawmakers and policymakers on the PCB’s place in the microelectronics ecosystem.

FIRST Program Inspires Next Generation of Innovators

Today’s students grow up immersed in a world of technology, yet how many of them actually see themselves taking on careers that advance this science? Since many of the jobs for our future workforce haven’t even been created yet, what can be done to encourage students toward STEM careers? In this interview, Barry Matties speaks with Adrienne Collins, director of programs at FIRST Washington, about the success of a student robotics program that fosters innovation, builds problem solving skills, and cultivates a concept that most of us have never heard of—gracious professionalism. When you see the interplay of these skills in action, you are blown away. There’s a bright future ahead.

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

It’s been a busy week in this industry, and we have news and articles from the PCB design, fabrication, and assembly communities. The roller coaster ride continues, with whiplash-inducing news from IPC about March North American shipment—they’re up from February but down from the same period a year ago.

Training the Future Manufacturing Labor Force

To better understand what’s needed for upskilling your labor force in today’s job climate, we reached out to Sunstone Circuits, a PCB fabricator in the Pacific Northwest. We posed our set of questions to individuals in three departments to hear their perspectives depending on what area they work in. The following are the questions and answers from Michael Connella, operations manager; Matt Stevenson, vice president of sales and marketing; and Debra Coburn, human resources manager.

Material Application for Mini Backlight Unit

In 1980, about 90% of the materials used to make PCBs was FR-4. As time went by, technology developed, and electronic devices relentlessly integrated into every area of our lives. The constant acceleration of upgrading meant endless challenges and opportunities for CCL suppliers. Wazam New Material Co. Ltd. is a CCL supplier that strives to be attentive to the needs of its end customers and provide comprehensive solutions. One example is the mini backlight unity (MBLU) application material.


Engineering RF Dielectric Material to Enable 5G/6G Antenna Devices

Accurate characterization of frequency-dependent inhomogeneous dielectric material properties is key to the optimal design of high performance and cost-effective PCB antennas. These antennas will be required to enable the plethora of devices forecasted for 5G/6G communication. Therefore IT-88GMW, an advanced resin system reinforced with tightly woven thin glass fibers has been formulated to improve the Q-factor of interconnects and passive components fabricated on PCB laminates.

Uncovering the Electronics Ecosystem

Nolan Johnson speaks with Will Marsh, vice president of TTM Technologies and president of the Printed Circuit Board Association of America, about the work the PCBAA has been doing in Washington, D.C., to get the industry better recognized by the country’s decision-makers. Marsh is optimistic, not only about the companies and individuals joining the effort, but in the recognition by Capitol Hill to secure the nation’s defense systems.

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

Spring has definitely sprung, and the trade show season continues to roll right along. Managing Editor Nolan Johnson just returned from DesignCon 2022, and as he says in his review, the attendance was up from last year’s event, which had been at the McEnery Convention Center in the waning days of the pandemic. I hope we’re getting back to normal, whatever that means. This week, we have a few articles about Industry 4.0, as well as a column on setting your priorities. We have a cool article about methods for measuring the breakdown of resins during multiple thermal laminations, and a conversation with an EMS company president who realized that he was actually running a data collection firm that happened to make circuit boards. Can you say the same about your own company?

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

According to a quick look at history.com, “Some historians speculate that April Fools’ Day dates back to 1582, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar. In the Julian Calendar, as in the Hindu calendar, the new year began with the spring equinox around April 1.” All well and good, but why April Fools’? “People who were slow to get the news or failed to recognize that the start of the new year had moved to January 1 and continued to celebrate it during the last week of March through April 1 became the butt of jokes and hoaxes and were called “April fools.”

EIPC Technical Snapshot: High-end PCB Market Requirements and Technology Trends

The European Institute for the PCB Community (EIPC) continues to provide an efficient platform for following and pursuing new developments. Its Technical Snapshot webinar has become established as a must-attend monthly event, and consistently delivers essential information of the highest calibre and relevance. The 16th in the series on March 23 focused on market requirements and technology trends at the high end of the PCB and semiconductor packaging industries, with two eminent speakers.

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

It’s been a crazy week, with lots of bad news coming out of Ukraine. (I’m a news junkie by trade, but I confess that some days I just unplug from the news completely to avoid overdosing on negativity.) And, as you might have guessed, this is all having ill effects on our electronics supply chain, which is already stretched thin. This is reflected in our IPC news item that shows an uptick in PCB sales in February, but a drop in bookings YOY, in part due to the trouble in Eastern Europe. But there’s positive news in this week’s top reads. We have a NextFlex article about an innovative flexible technology called flexible hybrid electronics (FHE) and a great interview by Dan Beaulieu. We also have a column by Travis Kelly, who discusses PCBAA’s efforts to lobby for American manufacturing in Washington. And last but not least, let’s welcome our two newest columnists, Paige Fiet and Hannah Nelson, who discuss their excitement about entering this industry.

David Pogue: Is the Fear of Change Holding Us Back?

David Pogue, an American technology and science writer and TV presenter, sat down with the I-Connect007 Editorial Team after his keynote presentation at IPC APEX EXPO to talk about today’s technology, the breakthroughs that have shaped our current landscape, and whether fear of change and innovation is what’s keeping us from the next technological revolution. What do you think?

IPC APEX EXPO From a College Student’s Perspective

My name is Hannah Nelson, and I am currently a junior electrical engineering major at Valparaiso University. I was given the honor and privilege to attend the IPC APEX EXPO as the new student director on the IPC Board of Directors. The student director position is used as a voice on the board for all IPC student chapters. It is a way to bridge the barrier between the educational system and the electronics industry and bring students toward the Factory of the Future. By attending APEX EXPO, I was given the opportunity to expand my knowledge regarding the needs of students who are heading into the industry.

IPC Student Director: Three Things IPC APEX EXPO Taught Me

IPC APEX EXPO 2022 was my first in-person APEX EXPO event, and it surely did not disappoint. The show this year was packed with high quality technical courses, engaging professional development courses and, of course, an admirable show floor exhibition. This year APEX EXPO really resonated with me, and I would like to leave you with three insights I learned while attending.

Conversations With Two IPC President’s Award Winners

We interviewed two of this year’s IPC President’s Awards, Joe Kane of BAE Systems and Zhiman (Susann) Chen of Zhuzhou CRRC Times Electric Co., Ltd. The IPC President’s Award is given to IPC members who have exhibited ongoing leadership in IPC and have made significant contributions of their time and talent to the association and the electronics interconnect industry. The award is a personal honor to recognize the winners’ selfless dedication to the electronics industry in terms of their time, expertise, and leadership.


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

In the news this week we found a synchrony of topics. Much of the world is aware of the speaking points from U.S. President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address this past Tuesday. In that speech, President Biden talked prominently about U.S. legislation in process to bring more technology manufacturing back to the states. In fact, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger was not only an invited guest, but was referred to directly in the speech as a positive example. I can only assume that President Biden meant that moment to be a motivator for other CEOs in the industry.

Joe O’Neil Joins Illustrious Group of IPC Hall of Famers

The IPC Raymond E. Pritchard Hall of Fame Award is given to individuals in recognition of the highest level of achievement, extraordinary contributions, and distinguished service to IPC and in the advancement of the industry, including the creation of a spirit of mutual esteem, respect, and recognition among members consistent with the goals and mission of the IPC on a long-term basis. This is the highest level of recognition that IPC can give to an individual and is based on exceptional merit over a long-term basis (the operative word being long term).

Where Have All the Board Shops Gone?

When I look at the landscape of U.S.-based PCB fabricators, the title of this article reminds me of a 1960s protest song. If you don’t remember the song or that era, you have some interesting research to do. As well, a Hank Williams Jr. song comes to mind, “All my rowdy friends have settled…” Seriously, I am pleased to see many of my old friends taking advantage of the present opportunities.

EIPC Technical Snapshot: A European Roundup

Although it was originally proposed to hold a one-day face-to-face EIPC conference in Frankfurt, travel restrictions in Germany made this impractical. But the Technical Snapshot webinar format has proved so successful that it was decided to run an extended version as an alternative—two sessions, with three presentations each. It worked extremely well. The carefully selected program on February 23 featured excellent speakers, and seamless organisation added up to an outstanding event.

DFM 101: Plating Methods

One of the biggest challenges facing PCB designers is not understanding the cost drivers in the PCB manufacturing process. This article is the latest in a series that will discuss these cost drivers (from the PCB manufacturer’s perspective) and the design decisions that will impact product reliability. There are two methods of plating copper on PCBs—pattern plating and panel plating. The panel plating method eliminates most of the copper plating distribution issues, but because it adds copper thickness to the base layer, it makes maintaining fine line definition and consistency difficult.

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

Like many of you, for the past few months, we’ve been busier than a farmer with two rattlesnakes and one shovel. As soon as we got home from IPC APEX EXPO 2022 we started work on our post-show publication, Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2022 Show & Tell Magazine. Now in its fifth year, Show & Tell is the best—and most exhaustive—source of in-depth information about IPC APEX EXPO. We published Show & Tell this week, and the response from industry leaders has been off the charts. Show & Tell gives the reader a taste of what it was like to be at the show, from ribbon-cutting and keynotes through the last conference classes.

Chris Mitchell's Top 10 Takeaways from IPC APEX EXPO 2022

The recent surge in COVID cases provoked more than a few questions about what to expect at this year’s IPC APEX EXPO. But as I traversed the San Diego Convention Center last week, the top answer was clear: a lot of smiles! Sure, they were hidden behind masks, but they were evident in the eyes of everyone I met. Attendees were thrilled to be back together in person, sharing ideas as freely as elbow bumps. IPC is a community, and APEX EXPO is the place where we build it.

Alex Stepinski: Taking Control of Input Costs

Barry Matties and Nolan Johnson talk with Alex Stepinski about strategies to lower costs in brownfield facilities. Alex has extensive experience designing and optimizing manufacturing processes and is currently helping companies implement straightforward step-by-step solutions to move into smarter manufacturing across different industries.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO 2022: High-Speed Materials

In this interview conducted by Editor Andy Shaughnessy, Deanna Bustamante of Arlon EMD shares her thoughts on the state of materials in the PCB industry. They also discuss the global high-speed materials market. If you were unable to attend IPC APEX EXPO 2022, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events in San Diego, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

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

Here in the Northern Hemisphere, we’re now closer to the equinox than to the solstice; change is in the air. Where I live in the Pacific Northwest, we’ve had unseasonably mild and sunny weather, teasing us that spring might be right around the corner. Change is in the air in our news feeds, too. This week, we bring you on-the-grow news from NCAB and Aegis, some market reports on smart manufacturing, and a widely read column on cybersecurity from Mehul Davé. Now that’s something to warm up to.


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

This week’s picks comprise a potpourri of published articles, a hodgepodge of helpful hints, and a brood of business news. Our collection includes several interviews from IPC APEX EXPO; we filmed over 60 of these video interviews that week, all shot with our new anti-COVID protocol. The boom microphones, selected so that we wouldn’t have to attach clip-on mics to each interviewee, gave our booth/studio an air of 60 Minutes. But unlike what we see in most news shows, almost all the news at IPC APEX EXPO was positive as companies emerge from the pandemic with even more innovative software, services, and equipment than before. It’s looking like 2022 is going to be a really good year.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO 2022: Latest Trends in PCB Manufacturing Equipment

Torsten Reckert, president of all4-PCB, discusses their product lines with Andy Shaughnessy, I-Connect007 editor. In this conversation, they look at the latest trends and requirements from the industry. If you were unable to attend IPC APEX EXPO, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events in San Diego, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

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

The last time I was in this space, we were busy preparing for our extensive coverage of IPC APEX EXPO, so now I have the honors of compiling the news from the week following the event. We often use the phrase “busy news week” in these compendiums, but this week I have metrics—25% more news items published this week at I-Connect007 than our weekly average. All the more reason to read the website newsfeeds and newsletters, but also all the more reason for me to bring you the best of the best from the past week.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO 2022: Selecting the Right Base Material

Steven Sekanina, Isola’s director of High Speed Digital Products, helps launch their new book, “The Printed Circuit Designer’s Guide to… High Performance Materials.” Editor Andy Shaughnessy sat down with Steven to discuss the importance of selecting the right base material for your printed circuit board, and the criteria to consider when choosing high-speed PCB laminates. If you didn't make it to IPC APEX EXPO, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events in San Diego, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO: Advocacy in Washington

Editor Nolan Johnson sits down for an interview with Chris Mitchell, Vice President of Global Government Relations at IPC. They discuss the industry's advocacy in Washington to educate Congress on our key issues, as well as the growth in global advocacy by IPC. If you didn't make it to IPC APEX EXPO, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events in San Diego, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO: John Mitchell Shares Thoughts on the Show

John W. Mitchell, president and CEO of IPC, shares his thoughts with Barry Matties about the return of the in-person IPC APEX EXPO after a two-year hiatus. Watch this interview or view it on our show page. If you didn't make it to IPC APEX EXPO, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

Day 3: Lots of Action in San Diego

The perfect San Diego weather on Wednesday morning ushered in another full day at IPC APEX EXPO 2022. IPC President and CEO John W. Mitchell’s keynote presentation offered a roadmap for the organization and the future of the electronics manufacturing industry. IPC runs on the contributions of its tireless volunteers, and a group of these engineers and technologists were honored at yesterday’s Awards Luncheon. The traffic on the show floor was steady most of the day, and we saw a constant stream of visitors in the I-Connect007 booth and studio.

Day 2: Keynotes, Competitions, and a Busy Show Floor

Here in San Diego for IPC APEX EXPO, Tuesday saw the keynote address from tech author David Pogue, the ribbon cutting ceremony for the EXPO, the designer’s competition, and a full day of exhibition. Committee work and technical programs continued. We’re here, covering all the events, of course. Pogue stopped by our booth after the keynote. Barry Matties and I interviewed Pogue; look for that interview in our upcoming special edition magazine, Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO Show & Tell.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO: New Book on Stackup Design

Your stackup is basically the heart of your design. Now, there's a great new eBook that answers all of your questions about designing the perfect stackup: "The Printed Circuit Designer's Guide to... Stackup Design," written by Bill Hargin of Z-zero. In this IPC APEX EXPO interview, Happy Holden speaks with Bill about the importance of this topic and what readers can learn in his new book. Look for it in the I-007eBooks library. If you didn't make it to IPC APEX EXPO, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

Day 1: It's Show Time!

IPC APEX EXPO officially opens today, and as Crosby, Still and Nash once sang, “It’s been a long time coming.” The last live IPC APEX EXPO was held two years ago and was—for many of us—the last trade show we would attend before the pandemic hit. A lot has changed since then. But not everything has changed. After spending a few days watching the exhibitors set up, I have to say that it looks a lot like the show floor always does at IPC APEX EXPO. I was surprised at the amount of capital equipment on the floor. I thought that exhibitors might have scaled back their spending, afraid that attendance might be light, but I saw no evidence of that. Companies came here ready to strut their stuff!


Catching Up With RBP Chemical and Schlötter

It’s always great to see two very good companies form a mutually beneficial alliance. I was lucky enough to watch this particular strategic partnership come to fruition this year between RBP Chemical and Schlötter. I wanted to talk to both companies, so I sat down with Matthias Hampel, global executive representative-PCB and electronics at Schlötter, and Ernest Litynski, president of RBP Chemical Technology, to get the inside story.

Real Time With... IPC APEX EXPO: ICAPE Group Gears up For Show Time

ICAPE Group's Marc L'Hoste speaks with Editor Nolan Johnson in this pre-show interview. Marc is the vice president of Western Americas, and he outlines what visitors can expect to learn about in the ICAPE booth, including manufacturing facilities recently added to the portfolio, new technologies, and a new corporate branding. If you can’t make it to IPC APEX EXPO, don’t worry. We’ll be bringing you interviews with the engineers, managers and technologists who are making a difference in our industry.

Living in a Material World: High-Speed Design Strategies

Any discussion about high-speed PCB design techniques would be incomplete without considering the properties and requirements of the materials. Your material selection drives much of your design strategy when you’re operating at 28 gigabits per second or faster. We recently spoke with high-speed design expert Lee Ritchey of Speeding Edge, and electronic materials veteran Tarun Amla of Avishtech and Thintronics, about the relationship between advanced PCB materials and high-speed design techniques. They discuss the challenges facing designers and engineers working with materials at speeds that were considered unreachable not long ago, and what designers need to know about material selection as board speeds continue rising toward the stratosphere.

Sunstone Growing With Supply Chain Strategies

Barry Matties and Nolan Johnson talk to Sunstone Circuits’ Matt Stevenson, Kelly Atay, and Dawn DelCastillo about the current supply chain challenges and how they are adapting. They also share insights on market conditions, including trends in reshoring and marketing strategies related to reshoring.

Happy Holden’s Five Must-Reads of 2021

Over the past year, I-Connect007 has published more than 4,000 news items, nearly 300 articles, and 350 columns from the leading expert voices in the industry. We also have interviewed dozens of fabricators, assemblers, and designers on the most relevant and pressing topics in the ever-evolving printed circuit board industry. So, it only made sense to ask Happy Holden about his picks for the best reads at I-Connect007 in 2021.

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

No matter how you look at it, we’re already off to a roaring start in 2022. Here on the West Coast of the U.S., heavy and persistent rains are doing what they can to fix years of drought through the southwest United States. The eastern seaboard is seeing plenty of rainy weather as well. As they say on the salt containers: When it rains, it pours. That adage is rather true in the news of the industry this week. Therefore, my must-reads include a celebration of longevity in business, the launch of our next space telescope, and the sale of equipment for the printing of electronics. On a more circumspect note, we also bring you the IPC’s report on rising material and labor costs, and an article on cybersecurity.

A Tour of the New Isola Factory: Investing in North America

Barry Matties recently toured Isola’s new 118,000-square-foot low-volume, high-mix manufacturing facility in Chandler, Arizona. The facility’s construction began in 2020 and, like many building projects, was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Building a new factory during the pandemic was certainly a challenge but the team persevered and the new greenfield facility is now operating to meet the needs of the North American market. During the tour, Barry met with Travis Kelly, Ed Kelley, Sean Mirshafiei, Jenny Inocencio, and Walt Niziolek. They covered a range of topics, including lab operations, hiring, the supply chain, R&D, and the concept of the new facility. The factory was designed to extensively utilize automation to improve efficiencies and, as Travis Kelly stated, “to de-risk the labor shortage issue.”

Jackie Mattox Keynotes Women in Electronics Reception

Named one of the Top 21 female influencers in 2021, Jackie Mattox started her career in the electronics industry during her college years at a small rep firm in Southern California, where she worked her way into the roles of sales and distribution manager and took a passionate interest in strategic key account management. Jackie graduated from California State UniversityNorthridge with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication/journalism. Jackie has always had a heart for people and especially for women’s issues, along with a dedication to personal and professional leadership development.

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

I’m starting to get more and more out-of-office replies. Are you reading this on your phone while standing in line at Best Buy? But if you’re reading this, here’s to you! It’s been a pretty good year—much better than last year, though that’s a fairly low bar to clear. It’s a mixed bag this week, with news about trade shows, along with articles and interviews focusing on everything from education to methods for dealing with supply chain issues by staying flexible and taking action earlier in the process.

Catching Up with Allen Keeney of Johns Hopkins University

I have always been fascinated by research labs, especially those tied to major universities. These are the true leaders of innovation and invention and at the very top of the PCB industry. So, when I met Allen Keeney, chief engineer of the Advanced Electrical Fabrication Group at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, I jumped at the chance to talk with him. You will enjoy this look at another facet of our PCB industry.


Alun Morgan's productronica Slide Show

I-Connect007 has been bringing you interviews with a variety of technologists who attended last month's productronica show in Munich, Germany. As part of our continuing coverage of productronica 2021, we present this exclusive slide show of photos taken by our good friend Alun Morgan, technology ambassador for Ventec International Group and a fantastic photographer in his own right. Rumor has it that Lufthansa made him buy a separate seat for that giant camera of his.

Technical Track Opportunities at IPC APEX EXPO 2022

Matt Kelly, IPC chief technologist, discusses the growth of the technical conference tracks in this year’s IPC APEX EXPO program, as well as market dynamics that are influencing the topics presented at this year’s event. "We are thrilled with the number of abstract submissions we have received. As of today, we have over 150 submissions, which may be the highest number we’ve ever received. It shows the appetite and the interest people have to present and share their knowledge."

Insulectro Passionate About Educational Programs

Ken Parent, Chris Hunrath, and Michelle Walsh discuss their educational and training vision, programs that they are bringing to the industry, and why. There’s a gap, they say, in the talent pool from entry level to engineers. “There’s a huge demand now,” says Chris Hunrath. “The quicker we can fill that gap and train new people, the more PCBs can be built and more of the new products and technology will be accepted into the industry.” We are living in a people-constrained business today.

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

Right now, it seems that almost everyone I know is talking about the future. Doesn’t matter whether it’s with my family, loved ones, friends, industry colleagues, or neighbors I meet on the street, conversations are almost entirely forward-looking. This being the holiday season, some reminiscing is to be expected, but I’m just not hearing it in the chatter all around me–this year is different somehow. And it shows in this edition of my must-reads for the week as well. This week we bring you forward-looking discussions with ,,,

The Mission of the New Printed Circuit Board Association of America

Barry Matties recently met with Travis Kelly to discuss the formation of the Printed Circuit Board Association of America (PCBAA), a consortium of U.S.-based companies he chairs to support U.S. domestic production of PCBs. PCBAA was established on three pillars, and Travis explains how they intertwine with each other—and with other similar organizations in the industry.
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