Article Highlights
From Trend to Game Changer: Which Technology Will Make the Cut?
09/13/2018 | Barry Matties, I-Connect007
Mechanism and Mitigation of Nickel Corrosion in ENEPIG Deposits
09/11/2018 | George Milad, Jon Bengston and Don Gudeczauskas, UYEMURA
Ventec Keeps 'Shaking Things Up' with tec-speed 20.0
09/10/2018 | Barry Matties, I-Connect007
PCBs Are Moisture-Sensitive Devices
09/07/2018 | Richard Heimsch, SUPER DRY
Reliability Takes on a New Urgency
09/05/2018 | Patty Goldman, I-Connect007
PCB :: Business

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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.

Autonomous Transportation: Using Disruptive Technologies to Create Social Disruption and Change

Those of us who have been driving for the last 50−60+ years have seen great change. At first, it was slow; we went from manual shift to automatic shift transmissions, then we started adding simple things such as FM radio (yes, that was a premium add-on in the early ‘60s), then air conditioning and power windows, fuel injection, cruise control, airbags, and in the last decade everything from GPS to LED lighting to automatic speed and distance control, back-up and surrounding cameras and so much more.

Show & Tell: IPC Awards—Rewarding Tireless Efforts for the Good of the Industry

Every year IPC presents dozens of awards to committee members for their work completing standards and specifications and for other activities within the organization. However, a few awards are extra special and presented for extraordinary efforts, for long-time commitment to both IPC and the electronics industry.

The Direction of New Technology

I don’t have to tell you that things are changing fast in our industry. New tech seems to launch daily these days. How can we keep up? How can we even maintain? What’s coming next and how can we best prepare, in order to stay in the game?


Schmid Looks to the Future for Industry 4.0 and More

I met with Rüdiger Lange, CSO at Schmid Group, in their spacious, comfortable booth at productronica. We discussed the current capital equipment market and Schmid’s business direction for the future while watching some of their new technology in action.

GreenSource: Good for the Industry, Good for the World

Whelen Engineering has recently spun off their new printed circuit manufacturing facility to service the merchant market as a new business entity, GreenSource Fabrication LLC.

Everyone is a Customer; Everyone is a Supplier

We’ve all heard the cliché: What goes around, comes around. I’ve always felt that was especially true in our industry, with the frequent job changes people make—much accelerated in recent years but always a factor, since I can remember.

The March of Disruptive Technologies

There have always been disruptive technologies; thousands of years ago, fire totally disrupted the path of mankind. I have heard it said that truly disruptive technologies are like earthquakes on the seismographs of history.

Book Review: Questions That Sell

This is a great book to help salespeople learn how to win over their customers and an even better book for helping companies, particularly their inside salespeople, to create customers for life. Creating a customer-focused company is all about knowing everything possible about your customers and the best way to find out everything about your customers is to ask them.

Succeeding at the Velocity of Technology: An IPC APEX EXPO 2018 Wrap-Up

After many months of planning, IPC APEX EXPO 2018 proved to be a success. From revolutionary advancements displayed on the show floor to expert insights conveyed in technical conference sessions and professional development courses, IPC APEX EXPO provided the learning and connections that helped 4,574 attendees from 43 countries prepare for the future.

IPC 6012-DA Revisions: The Approach to Cleanliness, Thickness, Inspection, and Wicking

IPC’s Automotive Addendum task group was started in November 2014 and the first edition of IPC 6012-DA was released in April 2016. We are now working on the revised version, and expect a release in Q2 2018. As standards need to evolve, develop and follow the needs of the industry, this work is continuous.

CML’s Mission: Providing Solutions for Customers—Including the Right Supplier

During IPC APEX EXPO, I met with CML USA General Manager Ivan Wong, who was a first-time attendee at the San Diego event. CML is a worldwide PCB sourcing solutions provider with offices around the globe, but the company just recently entered the U.S. market. I spoke with Ivan about CML’s mission and the U.S. office’s plans.

Catching up with Dan Thau of Millennium Circuits Limited

Millennium Circuits Limited is one of the fastest growing printed circuit board suppliers in our country today. Located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, this company has grown exponentially since it began some 12 years ago.

PCB Manufacturing (R)evolution in the Making

At the recent HKPCA and IPC Show 2017 in Shenzhen, China, I was able to interview Les Sainsbury, CEO, and Andrew Kelley, CTO, of XACT PCB, as well as Alex Stepinski, vice president of Whelen Engineering’s PCB Fab Business Unit, to discuss process evolution and technology developments in the PCB manufacturing industry.


The PCB Dinosaurs Get New Life at IPC APEX EXPO 2018

The Order of the PCB Dinosaurs (originally called the PWB Dinosaurs—the sign of a true dino) was born because of a comment almost 20 years ago by my good friend Bernie Kessler. Back in the day, when suppliers like us became IPC members, we could only be associate members; unlike fabricators, we could not serve on the board and we could not lead key committees.

From Math to Marketing: Orbotech CMO’s Worldview of the Industry

Barry Matties met with Orbotech’s corporate VP of Business Development and CMO, Lior Maayan, in Shenzhen and spoke about the next-generation processes currently challenging Orbotech's R&D team. Most notable among them are additive technologies like the automated optical shaping solution, and the growth of MSAP, flex, and HDI.

A Discussion About Everything Under the Sun

From flex circuits to HDI, Industry 4.0, leading market drivers, and materials—this wide-ranging discussion with Sunshine Global Circuits CTO David Aldape highlights the latest and future developments, challenges, and opportunities in the PCB manufacturing industry.

One Great Customer Service Story

Over the years I have been involved with many customers and many rescue missions. A rescue mission occurs when a shop screws up so much and hurts the customer so badly they have to do something extraordinary to get the customer out of hot water and not lose the account.

ESI Targets Growing HDI Space

At the recent HKPCA and IPC Show 2017 in Shenzhen, China, Chris Ryder, director of product management for HDI at Electro Scientific Industries Inc. (ESI), discusses how laser-based processing is addressing the challenges in HDI development, and MSAP technology and its impact on the PCB industry.

Show & Tell: IPC APEX EXPO 2018 Opening Keynote Review

The first keynote speech of IPC APEX EXPO 2018 was presented by Jared Cohen, head of Google’s Jigsaw team of engineers, researchers, and geopolitical experts. He explained that Jigsaw builds products not only to tackle global security challenges, but also to support free expression and access to information, especially in repressive societies.

What Happens to Our Industry Without a Skilled Workforce?

I’d like to discuss a critical issue facing our industry – the skills gap – and IPC’s commitment to supporting its members as we collectively seek to find solutions.

Show & Tell: Corporate Awards Bestowed by IPC

Every year IPC recognizes two companies that have made significant contributions to IPC and the electronics industry. These awards are named after industry executives who were themselves significant and outstanding contributors: one for a PCB fabricator company and one for an electronics manufacturing services (EMS) company. This year’s recipients were Northrop Grumman and Rockwell Collins, respectively.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Arlon Achieves IPC Validation Services Accreditation

John Wright, quality manager at Arlon Electronic Materials, discusses how the company recently achieved IPC validation services accreditation.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: IPC Solutions Program—Transportation and Workforce Development Initiatives

Sanjay Huprikar, IPC's VP of solutions, discusses the IPC solutions program, including transportation and workforce development initiatives.


RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Bowman—XRF Equipment, New IPC 4552A Spec, and How They Go to Market

Tom Leone, president, and Zach Dismukes, sales and support engineer from Bowman, discuss their XRF equipment, the new IPC 4552A spec, and how they go to market.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Perfect Point’s Recently Developed Coating Technology for Small Drills

VP Shane Stewart describes some recently developed coating technology for small drills that helps improve debris removal and aspect ratio drilling capability.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Insulectro Discusses Importance of Helping PCB Shops

Chris Hunrath, VP of technology at Insulectro, discusses their recent expansion of inventory, especially substrate materials, the need for quick access, and the importance of working closely with their customers and OEMs.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Catching Up with Cirexx International

Philipp Menges, president of Cirexx International, discusses yearly company updates and growing markets, including automotive, medical, and military.

Catching up with ACT-USA President Jack Gemmell

ACT-USA is one of the best value-added PCB distributors in the country today. Focused on providing their North American customers with boards as well as heavy copper boards they have steadily broadened their vendor base since their inception in 1994.
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