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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.

Defining Customer-Supplier Relationships and Customer Satisfaction

Steve Williams, president of The Right Approach Consulting LLC, and a veteran executive in the PCB and EMS industries, speaks with the I-Connect007 team about customer-supplier relationships, and how you can ensure customer satisfaction.

Bridging Knowledge and Understanding of Thermal Management Materials

At IPC APEX EXPO recently, Pete Starkey and Ian Mayoh, Ventec International’s technical support manager, had a chance to sit down and discuss the I-Connect007 micro E-book: The Printed Circuit Designer's Guide to Thermal Management with Insulated Metal Substrates, of which Ian is a co-author.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Uyemura's Chemistry for ENIG, ENEPIG, and EPIG Apps

A unique deposition chemistry that combines immersion and reduction reactions to yield a gold finish with superior properties and controllability in ENIG, ENEPIG, and EPIG applications.

The Sum of All Parts: Defining Your Customer

These are the most typical ways in which someone will ask us who our customers are. Many times, the purpose is to see whether we work in the same spaces as them or as a way of gauging whether we are “worthy” enough of having them as a customer.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Benefits of Outsourcing CAM Operations to a Specialist Provider of Engineering Services

CEO Mehul Dave of Entelechy Global discusses the benefits of outsourcing CAM operations to a specialist provider of engineering services.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Benefits of Outsourcing Quality Assurance Options

Niraj Patel describes the benefits of outsourcing quality assurance operations, with specific reference to the alternative business models offered by Gardien for electrical testing.

The Selection of Chemical Etching Equipment for PCB Fabrication

Congratulations! Your process development team has completed its DOEs and is convinced they are ready to scale up. The facilities crew has found space for your new operation or, even better, your manufacturing team will have a newly-built building in which to locate the project.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Prototron Moves Offshore

Prototron's Dave Ryder and Russ Adams discuss the company's recent decision to begin manufacturing high-volume jobs overseas. They also discuss some of the partner shops' capabilities, including flex and rigid-flex, which were driven by customer demand.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Candor Industries' History and Advanced Circuit Constructions

Founder and president Yogen Patel shares Candor Industries' history and describes some of the non-standard approaches to PCB production the company uses to make advanced circuit constructions.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Insulectro Showcases New Low-Loss Materials

Norm Berry, director of laminates and OEM marketing for Insulectro, discusses the company's new low-loss products and resin systems that benefit high-speed, high-frequency PCB designs.

Book Recommendation: The One Percent Edge—Small Changes That Guarantee Relevance and Build Sustainable Success

Occasionally you read a book that truly makes a difference. I can tell I am reading a book like this one by how much longer it takes me to read it, but not because it’s boring or slow reading, certainly not! It’s because I stop constantly to jot down ideas in my notebook that stimulate me to come up with ideas that pertain to my own business.

New Year, New Equipment—Right?

This month, we will discuss the equipment purchasing decision-making process. How many of you can recall the earliest “dippy dunk” PCB shops, so-called because that’s exactly how it was done? There were no conveyorized lines, no automatic hoists, no load/unload stations, maybe not even a lab for analyzing the plating baths.

Entering—and Enjoying—the Industry

I was recently given the opportunity to write an article for our publication. Being somewhat new to this industry, I figured it would be a good idea to write an introduction on how I got into electronics—specifically the part most people my age don’t give thought to.

CircuitData: Creating an Open Source Language for PCB Data Exchange

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Elmatica CTO Andreas Lydersen on a subject of great interest to him and his supply chain, namely CircuitData. This open source language promises to greatly improve communication of details that can often be misinterpreted due to the differences in terminology used throughout the supply chain.

Whelen Engineering and AWP Explain their Unique Collaboration

If there was a buzz word in the PCB hall at productronica this year, it was probably Whelen, as in Whelen Engineering and Alex Stepinski, VP of Whelen’s circuit board division.

Equipment/Process Selection: Case Study of a DMADV Approach to PCB FAB Process Design

This article outlines the approach we took to designing this new phase of our commercial existence, which has now been spun off as a separate business unit known as Greensource Fabrication. This new business unit is expected to go live in 2018.

All the Details on IPC’s Emerging Engineer Program

Teresa Rowe and Nancy Jaster, in charge of IPC’s Emerging Engineer Program, explain to I-Connect007’s Patty Goldman and Jonathan Zinski how this novel approach to attracting and supporting young people works.

IPC APEX EXPO: App is Where It’s At

In an interview with I-Connect007, IPC Exhibits Manager Kim DiCianni discusses the IPC APEX EXPO 2018 app and how this powerful tool will keep attendees on track. She also highlights its usefulness for exhibitors.

The Best It’s Ever Been, Every Year: The Goal for IPC, Part 2

In the continuation of this interview, John Mitchell and Phil Carmichael discuss the areas of focus for IPC in the upcoming year, first and foremost being education and welcoming a new generation into the industry.

The Best It’s Ever Been, Every Year: The Goal for IPC, Part 1

The end of 2017 caps an exciting time for IPC and IPC China as membership has grown substantially, in part because of new offerings from the organization to its Asian members. Meeting with Barry Matties at HKPCA, John Mitchell and Phil Carmichael discuss the areas of focus for IPC in the upcoming year, first and foremost being education and welcoming a new generation into the industry.

A Sneak-Peek at IPC APEX EXPO 2018

IPC President and CEO John Mitchell gave I-Connect007 a sneak-peek at the upcoming IPC APEX EXPO, happening in February in San Diego. Mitchell provides a description of this year’s keynote, as well as a few new additions and areas of emphasis. It looks like it will be another packed house, with plenty to see, do, and learn about.

CES 2018: Disruptive Technologies and Fun PC Stuff

Two disruptive technologies that we have been covering for the last few years are 3D printing—especially as it pertains to PCB fab—and autonomous driving. 3D printing has been around for a few years, but it seems like 3D printers were introduced to CES very recently. This year there were almost 50 exhibitors showing their latest offerings. Most of them were in the LVCC in the north hall at the 3D Printing Marketplace.

CES 2018, Augmented Reality and Much More

The actual CES show is spread across many locations in Las Vegas. The main exhibit halls are at or near to the Las Vegas Convention Center with three buildings, two floors each, all filled with hundreds of booths. Then there is The Sands Convention Center with multiple halls filled to the brim and hotels with their own convention centers and floors of exhibitor suites. With almost 200,000 in attendance, all locations are very busy.

It’s a Long, Winding and Exciting Road for Automotive Electronics

It was truly a delight to talk with Alun Morgan at productronica this year. He may be the most enthusiastic person in the field of electronics that I have ever met, as you will certainly understand as you read this interview.

Getting the Heat Out

Increasing consumer demands for high performance and the need for high reliability in sectors such as automotive, LED lighting, and renewable energy mean that thermal management is now front and center on the priority list for PCB manufacturing.

CES 2018 Showstoppers: LaunchIt and Press Event

“ShowStoppers LaunchIt is about giving innovative entrepreneurs a shot at getting the attention of angel investors on the lookout for innovation and new ventures. It’s also about gaining additional visibility with other industry influencers and dealmakers, as well as with the press who are always looking for the ‘what’s new’ story at CES.”

Preview: CES 2018 Unveiled

The official CES events started only about 15 hours ago. I have already been to CES Unveiled, an amazing (but somewhat long) NVIDIA press event, and now the Panasonic press conference is soon to begin, launching the Press Day activities. So far, it’s been amazing!

Lamination to Drilling in Minutes: It's New and it's Not

Barry Matties met with Lino Sousa at productronica to check out Pluritec’s new Pluricut HPL machine, which offers an all-in-one solution for flash routing, beveling, measuring, and corner routing. See this machine in action by viewing the attached video content.

A Fresh Look at Outsourcing Solutions in Electrical Testing

In this interview conducted at productronica 2017, Gardien Group COO Roland Valentini describes to Pete Starkey the limitations of the traditional outsourcing model for electrical testing and explains the need for customised solutions directly catered to customers’ individual requirements.

RTW…HKPCA & IPC Show 2017 Highlights With Canice Chung

Canice Chung, chairman of the HKPCA, speaks with Managing Editor Stephen Las Marias about the record-breaking show, held this week in Shenzhen, China.

A Conversation with EIPC Executive Director Kirsten Smit-Westenberg

The EIPC booth was a busy place during productronica, with several members and other organizations headquartered there, resulting in a constant stream of people stopping by to visit, get information and study the upcoming conference agendas. Overseeing the big, and even the little things, was Executive Director Kirsten Smit-Westenberg, who made sure important questions got answered, people stayed hydrated, and EIPC’s magnetic pins found homes on shirt collars.

Papandrew Leads Advanced Circuits’ New Offshore Division

Advanced Circuits is one of the largest PCB manufacturers in the United States. Now, the company is expanding the range of its services with the launch of its new Offshore Division. Recently, the company hired PCB veteran Greg Papandrew to lead the new division and help the company meet buyers’ demand for offshore PCB sourcing.

Walt Custer’s Annual Update from productronica 2017

Industry consultant Walt Custer of Custer Consulting sat down with me at productronica 2017 to once again inform our readers with his yearly update and perspective on what’s happening in the industry. And guess what? It’s good news! Pertinent charts referenced in our conversation are included, but if you want more, Walt invites you to click the link at the end of this conversation and email him directly.

Book Recommendation: Find the Fire

This is a fabulous book for whenever you get the blahs! You know what I’m talking about. There are times when you just cannot get out of your own way, and everything you try to do gets stuck in park and you just can’t understand how you ever got anything done in the first place.

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

Make no mistake about it: This is not just the story of one company, but rather one that describes the many challenges that all companies face and must overcome to be successful.

Video from productronica 2017: Rogers Discusses Trends Driving Growth

Dirk Lefelon, European sales manager for Rogers Corporation, discusses his group’s final 2017 results. He also explains what the new year will bring, including increased investment in capacity for the European market, especially for the automotive segment.

Book Recommendation: Profitable Podcasting—Grow Your Business, Expand Your Platform, and Build a Nation of True Fans

There is no doubt that we are living in a world of content marketing. If we want to get our company’s message out there we must not only know how to develop great content, but come up with the best ways to get it out into the stratosphere. Many of more experienced marketing people have missed this meeting.

Signal Integrity: The Experts Weigh In

When we began planning the October issue on signal integrity, we arranged a conference call with a variety of industry experts. Mike Steinberger of SiSoft, Mark Thompson of Prototron Circuits, and Yogen and Sunny Patel of Candor Industries joined editors Andy Shaughnessy, Patty Goldman, Happy Holden and Publisher Barry Matties on the call for a spirited discussion about the challenges related to signal integrity and some of the tricks of the trade for helping ensure SI.

Steve’s Particular Set of Skills (to become a World-Class Quality Manager)

Being a quality professional today is nothing like it was 20 or 25 years ago; on a personal level, I can attest to this fact. It is no longer adequate to appoint a quality manager simply based on a person’s command of acceptance criteria and industry specifications; in the 21st century, a truly hybrid executive is needed.


We talk with owners a lot about the possible sale of their businesses. Here are the top 10 questions asked by PCB/PCBA shop owners about the process.

AltiumLive Summit—Munich, Germany, Part 2

Pete Starkey continues with his review of the AltiumLive PCB Design Summit held recently in Munich, Germany. The second day commenced with a new product launch. “Working together is hard” it read on the screen. Statistics indicated that 33% of new products were late getting to market, of which 28% were late due to insufficient collaboration, and up to 50% of potential revenue could be lost through being late to market. Then the screen read “NEXUS makes it easy!”

Leveraging Industry Shows to Create a Presence

At the recent SMTA International show in Rosemont, Illinois, I had an opportunity to meet with Mark Osborn, president and owner of Colonial Circuits, based in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Colonial Circuits is a supplier of PCBs, mainly for the defense industry.

New I-Connect007 Team Members Tour American Standard Circuits

Recently, Anaya Vardya, CEO of American Standard Circuits, invited two of I-Connect007’s newest team members, IT coordinator Jonathan Zinski and Editor Kiersten Rohde, to tour his facility in West Chicago, Illinois. Happy Holden, resident PCB expert, also joined the newbies on their field trip to ASC. In the following articles, Jonathan and Kiersten describe their experience touring ASC. Special thanks to Anaya for hosting the I-Connect007 team.

Planning a PCB: Signal Integrity and Controlled Impedance Considerations

Knowledge and experience are the two key elements when planning a PCB. Today’s PCB designers must have far more knowledge and understanding of the PCB production process than in the past. This is especially important when they plan and how they plan the stackup, via span, routing and power distribution.

Catching up with…Brigitflex

Today, Brigitflex is building unique custom-made boards for companies all over the world, from large defense and aerospace companies to small incubator companies inventing new products. They have become well-known as the shop to go to when nobody else can solve your problems.

RTW SMTAI: NCAB's Perspectives on HDI and Miniaturization

John Piccirilli of NCAB Group discusses the trends in HDI and miniaturization he's seeing around the world. He also talks about other interesting technologies such as metal-backed PCBs and stretchable materials.

Book Recommendation: Lead Right for Your Company’s Type

Why couldn’t a guy who had been successful at Apple be a dismal failure at Penney’s? Why do certain people who were great at one company be terrible at leading another company? Give up? It’s simple: All companies are different and what works with one company will not necessarily work for another.

Rex Rozario’s Next Big Thing, Part 2

In Part 2 of this two-part series, the conversation continues with Rex Rozario and Michael Caines as they discuss the ups and downs of creating their magnificent Lympstone Manor hotel and restaurant. The conversation ranges from dealing with budget and inclement weather to working with investors and the building itself to the joy of seeing the project come together beautifully.

Rex Rozario’s Next Big Thing, Part 1

Barry Matties joins Rex Rozario at Lympstone Manor, one of Rex’s investments outside of the electronics industry. The property, once an old country house in the Exeter countryside, has been transformed into a splendid hotel and restaurant. Joining them is Michael Caines, a Michelin Star chef from the UK who is heading the project.

PCB Signal Integrity Optimization Using X-ray Metrology

It happens again. A new backbone router/switch build or a line card upgrade is approaching completion when something goes wrong. The system won’t operate at the targeted data rate. Deadlines are looming and the root cause of the problem is buried somewhere in a big rack of electronic components.

Book Recommendation: The Camino Way—Lessons in Leadership from a Walk Across Spain

When someone sent me this book, I was puzzled. How was reading a book about a religious pilgrimage going to help me with my business? It didn’t take long for me to realize that reading The Camino Way was tremendously helpful to my leadership business education. Author Victor Prince uses the backdrop of his own pilgrimage along the Camino Way to give leadership lessons.

Experts Discussion: Signal Integrity and Impedance Control

When the content gathering for an issue on signal integrity and controlled impedance was officially underway, our I-Connect007 editorial team’s first stop was an “experts discussion” with industry experts: Mike Steinberger of SiSoft, Mark Thompson of Prototron Circuits, and Yogen and Sunny Patel of Candor Industries. This teleconference call was a whirlwind at times, but we captured valuable information that we have distilled here, for our readers.

IPC Status Update: Training, Standards, and More!

At the recent IPC Fall committee meetings that are co-located with the SMTA International conference and show, IPC’s president and CEO, John Mitchell, sat down for a chat with me for an update on what’s happening at IPC.

Patty's Perspective: (Signal) Integrity for All

Our topic this month is signal integrity, certainly a common one in our industry. Signal integrity is achieved by controlling impedance, so my advice is to do that. There, I’m done. Just kidding…of course I’m not done. But if you are in PCB manufacturing and you think this is just a design problem and doesn’t concern you, please think again.

Institute of Circuit Technology Hayling Island Seminar 2017

This year’s event had a well-chosen and varied programme featuring presentations on process chemistry and R&D consortia, a discussion of controversial standards proposals and a review of the experiences of commissioning new technology in a start-up factory.

Catching up with FineLine Global

With locations all over the world and technology offerings covering all technologies, I wanted to see for myself what this “broker on steroids” was all about—how they got started and how they grew. So I was delighted to have a conversation with Eli Ikan, Fineline Global’s General Manager.

RTW SMTAI: What's New at MacDermid Enthone

Jim Hartzell of MacDermid Enthone explains the responsibilities of his new position servicing the end-user as part of a group that deals directly with OEMs. He also discusses MacDermid's steady growth and some of the hotter market segments, as well as a variety of new product offerings.

RTW SMTAI: Prototron Continues its Growth

Dave Ryder and Russ Adams of Prototron Circuits discuss the firm's 30th anniversary and their continued growth. Prototron recently hired several new staff members, and the company still has one open position to fill.

The Value of Process Engineering in PCB Manufacturing

The PCB manufacturing cycle involves a series of interdependent processes starting from raw material and ending with the finished product. Successful PCB manufacturing shops coordinate, control and constantly upgrade their processes to meet the ever-changing market demands.

'Can Do' in CAM Outsourcing

Time-to-market has been the mantra for every successful technology company. The best among them have strong and integrated supply chains that march to the drum of the OEMs and EMS providers that bring that technology to market. A big part of that success, especially in North America and Europe, is the ability for PCB manufacturers to turn around complex PCBs very quickly. The hallmark of PCB production in these higher-tech, higher-cost regions is flexibility and responsiveness.

High-Throw DC Acid Copper Formulation for Vertical Continuous Electroplating Processes

The electronics industry has grown immensely over the last few decades owing to the rapid growth of consumer electronics in the modern world. New formulations are essential to fit the needs of manufacturing printed circuit boards and semiconductors.

Hamed El-Abd: A New Beginning, Part 2

In Part 2 of this interview with Hamed El-Abd, Barry Matties continues the conversation as Hamed recalls witnessing the growth of China through the past 30 years. We also learn what Hamed plans to do in his retirement and it doesn't involve being static!

Hamed El-Abd: A New Beginning, Part 1

While in China recently, Barry Matties joined longtime I-Connect007 friend and contributor Hamed El-Abd of WKK to congratulate him on his upcoming retirement. They reflected on his time spent in the industry, specifically in China, how far it’s come, and where it might be headed next.

Cycle Time Reduction Through W.O.R.C.

Lean, theory of constraints (ToC), quick response manufacturing (QRM), cross-training, and staticstical process control (SPC) are powerful, tried and true methodologies for process improvement. However, these tools are rooted in high-volume manufacturing environments and don’t always play nice in a high-mix, low volume (HMLV) operation. The new W.O.R.C. manufacturing strategy was specifically developed to overcome these shortcomings while capitalizing on their strengths.

Whelen Engineering, Two Years Later

If you know anything about this unusual (and extremely private) company, you probably read it right here at I-Connect007. Whelan Engineering’s truly unique PCB manufacturing operation is the result of a company initiative to bring their PCB needs back into the States—and do so at a cost savings. It has been quite a success, largely due to the efforts of brainchild Alex Stepinski, now VP−PCB at Whelen. The company is still in the thick of manufacture, includingan expansion of the PCB facility.

Compliance Management: The Defining Factor Between Success and Failure

Compliance management in the defense industry can be the defining factor between financial success and costly mistakes. This short article highlights some of the risks and implications of failing to comply with U.S. Defense export and import regulations.

IMPACT Interview: Tony Revier, Uyemura

One of the best parts of IMPACT for me is meeting and getting to know people in our industry that I haven’t met before. While hors d’oeuvres were coming around before the Tuesday evening awards dinner, I found a quiet corner to talk with Uyemura USA President and CEO Tony Revier.

Patty's Perspective: How do You Define Process Step Elimination and Automation?

This month, we can call our theme PSE&A—a fancy acronym for process step elimination and automation. Sounds straightforward, but what exactly do we mean by “process step elimination?” Does it refer to shortening the numerous steps involved in making a printed circuit board? There sure are a lot of them, but they all must be necessary—or why would we have them?

Catching up with American Standard Circuits’ Joe Nickerson

Dan Beaulieu had the chance recently to sit down with Camtech Technologies founder and President Joe Nickerson, now the newly appointed American Standard Circuits’ VP of sales, to discuss Camtech Technologies and his new role with American Standard Circuits. It was an interesting talk.

IMPACT Interview: Anaya Vardya, American Standard Circuits

I-Connect007's Patty Goldman spoke with Anaya Vardya, president and CEO of American Standard Circuits, a few days after the conclusion of IMPACT, especially wanted his views as a first-timer there.

Victory Giant Technology: The Qualified Forerunner of PCB Smart Factories

The topic of the July issue of PCB007’s China Online Magazine is “Automatic PCB Factories,” focusing on the pressures of cost, delivery time and process, and the irreversible trend toward automated PCB factories. Centering on this theme, we interviewed Andy Zhou, COO of Victory Giant Technology (HuiZhou) Co. Ltd., the first domestic PCB manufacturer who carries out large-scale implementation of intellectualization throughout the factory.
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