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Flex Workshop Update With Joe Fjelstad and Anaya Vardya

When Anaya Vardya, president and CEO of American Standard Circuits, heard that Joe Fjelstad, founder and CEO of Verdant Electronics, was releasing an updated version of his flexible circuit technology workshop, he knew ASC had to be a sponsor. We recently asked Joe and Anaya to discuss the flexible circuit technology workshop, as well as the ongoing need for flex and rigid-flex training—even in the time of COVID-19—as the demand for flex continues to rise.

8 Measures for Sales and Operations Planning in Turbulent Times, Part 5

In this series, CEPHAS principal Fane Friberg highlights the interdependent elements of an effective S&OP process for leaders of supply chain management. While some companies tend to fall back on the status quo, Freiberg highlights why it’s critical to actually increase the frequency of the S&OP rather than decrease the operations. He has reviewed the importance of staying committed, strategic imperatives, participation, and technology. Today, he discusses rough-cut capacity planning.

8 Measures for Sales and Operations Planning in Turbulent Times, Part 4

In this series, CEPHAS principal Fane Friberg highlights the interdependent elements of an effective S&OP process for leaders of supply chain management. While some companies tend to fall back on the status quo, Freiberg highlights why it’s critical to actually increase the frequency of the S&OP rather than decrease the operations. He has reviewed the importance of staying committed, strategic imperatives, and participation. Today, he discusses technology.

I-Connect007’s Latest Innovation: Joe Fjelstad’s E-Workshop on Flexible Circuits

Denied the prospect of physically attending conferences, symposia, or live workshops by travel and social-distancing restrictions, Pete Starkey welcomed the opportunity to enjoy a privileged preview of I-Connect007’s latest innovation in technical webinars: a series of e-workshops on flexible circuit technology with the industry’s leading authority—Joe Fjelstad.

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

Say what you will about 2020, but it certainly isn’t boring. There’s a lot going on in the PCB world, and there’s something for everyone in this week’s top five picks. And it’s all positive, despite the lingering presence of COVID-19 and its aftereffects.

8 Measures for Sales and Operations Planning in Turbulent Times, Part 3

In this series, CEPHAS principal Fane Friberg highlights the interdependent elements of an effective S&OP process for leaders of supply chain management. While some companies tend to fall back on the status quo, Freiberg highlights why it’s critical to actually increase the frequency of the S&OP rather than decrease the operations. He has reviewed the importance of staying committed and strategic imperatives. Today, he discusses participation.

Rethinking Captive Manufacturing

Alex Stepinski and Whelen Engineering caught everyone’s attention a few years ago when they opted to make their own PCBs in an innovative captive facility: GreenSource Fabrication. Now, with the recent purchase of an equipment manufacturer, Alex is helping to design whole factory solutions for OEMs who are interested in bringing PCB fabrication in-house.

Just Ask Happy: Monitoring Via Reliability on a Lot-by-Lot Basis

We asked for you to send in your questions for Happy Holden, and you took us up on it! The questions you've posed run the gamut by covering technology, the worldwide fab market, and everything in between. How would you monitor microvia reliability on a lot-by-lot basis?

We Asked, and You Answered: What Makes a Strong Leader?

We reached out to our readers through a leadership survey, asking questions about the primary role of a leader, qualities of a leader, challenges facing today’s leaders, and important leadership lessons you’ve learned. Interestingly, several who responded want a leader who will listen to them. At the same time, one of the most important lessons they have learned was to be a better listener. “Listen. Listen. Listen. You are never the smartest person in the room even if you’re the CEO,” said one respondent.

Just Ask Happy: What Would You Change About the Industry?

We asked for you to send in your questions for Happy Holden, and you took us up on it! The questions you've posed run the gamut by covering technology, the worldwide fab market, and everything in between. What would you change about the industry?


8 Measures for Sales and Operations Planning in Turbulent Times, Part 2

In this series, CEPHAS principal Fane Friberg highlights the interdependent elements of an effective S&OP process for leaders of supply chain management. While some companies tend to fall back on the status quo, Freiberg highlights why it’s critical to actually increase the frequency of the S&OP rather than decrease the operations. His first focus was to stay committed to the process. Today, he discusses strategic imperatives.

Just Ask Happy: Is PCB Fab Returning to the U.S.?

We asked for you to send in your questions for Happy Holden, and you took us up on it! The questions you've posed run the gamut by covering technology, the worldwide fab market, and everything in between. Enjoy.

8 Measures for Sales and Operations Planning in Turbulent Times, Part 1

Through this COVID-19 experience, supply chain leadership has had to pay specific attention to fundamental business practices. One of the most critical aspects has been the sales and operation planning (S&OP)sessions. Unfortunately, some companies, due to the uncertain times, have S&OP practices from their standard business model. However, it is more critical during these times that the frequency of the S&OP increase versus decrease to help navigate the turbulent times of the business. My intent is to highlight the interdependent elements of an effective S&OP process.

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

This week’s top five is a smattering across the industry. There’s an update on an established vendor and a press release from a startup. Then, we have two columns: one on M&A, and the other on supply chain disruptions. Finally, I highlight an interview from a U.S. food distributor sales manager, shedding light on the similarities of supply chain interruption in all industries. It's quite an assortment, but what they all have in common is that readers found these items compelling.

Just Ask Happy: Manufacturing Issues From a Designer’s Viewpoint

We asked for you to send in your questions for Happy Holden, and you took us up on it! The questions you've posed run the gamut, covering technology, the worldwide fab market, and everything in between. Enjoy.

Find the Perfect Employee With D.B. Management Group

If you’re searching for the right person for an open job in the PCB industry, look no further than D.B. Management Group’s recruiting page in each of the I-Connect007 magazines.

Selling in a Post-COVID Environment, Part 2

Nolan Johnson continues his conversation with Penny Cole about how COVID-19 has affected her industry’s distribution channels and supply chain, as well as how she has adapted to the shifting dynamic as a salesperson.

Dale Smith and David Moody: Lenthor Pushing Limits of Flex Technology

Andy Shaughnessy recently spoke with Dale Smith and David Moody of Lenthor Engineering. Dale is Lenthor’s new chief technology officer, and David is the director of sales/marketing.

Selling in a Post-COVID Environment, Part 1

Nolan Johnson spoke with Penny Cole of Lotus Foods about how COVID-19 has affected her industry’s distribution channels and supply chain, as well as how she’s adapted to the shifting dynamic as a salesperson.

A New Job Is One Click Away at I-Connect007 Career Opportunities

In the pages of I-Connect007’s monthly magazines and newsletters, you’ll find job openings for positions that span the entire circuit board supply chain. Here’s a quick sample of available positions: chief technology officer, director of business development, senior process engineer, image department operator, development chemist, SMT field technician, and sales reps for territories that span the U.S.


Simulation Technology in Acid Copper Pattern Plating

PCB designers and CAM engineers may feel there is little they can do to achieve uniform finished copper thickness of PCB traces and holes. But in an illuminating discussion with Robrecht Belis, manager of surface finishing and e-coating with Elsyca NV in Belgium, Pete Starkey learned that nothing could be further from the truth, provided they act on time and use the right tools.

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

Like a bad penny, COVID-19 just keeps coming back and affecting the PCB industry. This week, we saw more industry events going fully virtual—a trend that’s likely to continue. But as Chris Mitchell explains, the COVID-19 outbreak is also forcing lawmakers and organizations to work together for the good of the U.S. electronics supply chain. Sometimes, it takes a crisis to make everyone cooperate, so let’s celebrate these little victories.

Cyberattack! Think It Couldn’t Happen To You? Think Again!

Eric Cormier and Dave Ryder of Prototron address the ransomware attack that locked them out of their system last December, bringing business to a screeching halt and forcing them into the arduous process of a full rebuild. With things finally starting to normalize, Eric and Dave now offer precautionary advice they’ve accumulated over the past six months.

Just Ask Happy: Electroless Copper vs. Direct Metallization

We asked for you to send in your questions for Happy Holden, and you took us up on it! The questions you've posed run the gamut, covering technology, the worldwide fab market, and everything in between. What do you think about electroless copper vs. direct metallization? Enjoy.

July PCB007 Magazine Preview: Rethinking Manufacturing

This issue is an exploration of the rethinking currently underway across the industry. Our conversations on rethinking manufacturing include re-imagining wet processes, additive, and subtractive processes. We also explore rethinking the tools available to your incoming CAM department in the form of best practices for landing pads, the advantages of the new VeCS technology, and more information on Elsyca’s sophisticated CAM analysis software. This issue provides some insight into the Chinese industry’s recovery within the global marketplace (as reported by Prismark) and takes you through a real-world example of how ransomware can be a serious threat to your business.

Just Ask Happy: Ranking the Top Countries by Fab Technology and Production

We asked for you to send in your questions for Happy Holden, and you took us up on it! The questions you've posed run the gamut, covering technology, the worldwide fab market, and everything in between. Enjoy.

I-Connect007 Leadership Survey: Valuable Lessons From Grandma

The I-Connect007 research team has been surveying readers on the topic of leadership as part of our ongoing planning for upcoming issues. As this response illustrates, great examples of leadership can be found everywhere—provided we're paying attention.

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

The common theme in this week’s Top 5 editor’s picks is “change.” We’re talking change in the form of forwarding process, achieving milestones, evolving, and improving metrics. This week’s picks are not only newsworthy but also captured reader attention based on metrics. If you haven’t read any other news items from the industry this week, I propose these five must-reads.

Nano Dimension Appoints LM Instruments to Market PCB/Hi-PEDs 3D-Printers

Nano Dimension Ltd., a leading Additively Manufactured Electronics (AME)/PE (Printed Electronics) provider, has signed an agreement with LM Instruments, which will represent Nano Dimension in the Mid-Atlantic States by marketing its 3D-Fabrication Machines for High-Performance Electronic Devices (Hi-PEDs).

Shaun Tibbals and Electra Polymer: Finding the Silver Linings in COVID-19

On July 8, Nolan Johnson spoke with Shaun Tibbals, sales and marketing director for Electra Polymers. Shaun discusses the Electra Polymer’s business outlook responses to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.


Focus on the Impact of Data

Nolan Johnson recently spoke with Dana Korf about his experience with total quality management (TQM) throughout his career. Dana recommends not getting stuck on the process of collecting the data and documenting it, but instead to look at the impact. If you haven’t made an impact, then you haven’t done a good job.

Understanding MIL-PRF-31032, Part 1

Over the course of this series, Anaya Vardya will discuss topics such as MIL-PRF-31032 requirements, the quality plan, responsibilities of the Technical Review Board (TRB), and the testing and reporting requirements for the certified shop into the DLA.

Chris Hanson: New Ventec IMS Dielectrics Rated for Higher Temps

Andy Shaughnessy recently spoke with Chris Hanson, global head of IMS Technology for Ventec International Group. During their conversation, Chris discusses his group’s recent efforts to create new IMS materials, with a focus on dielectrics. As Chris explains, Ventec has developed several new dielectrics that can withstand much higher operating temperatures, one of which is UL-rated for a maximum operating temp of 155°C, which may be the highest for an IMS dielectric.

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

The USMCA trade agreement was just the tip of the iceberg in news affecting our industry this week. We also saw more young people getting involved in the industry, an HDP User Group webinar on automotive thermal issues, and more questions for our own Happy Holden—this time, on stacked microvia reliability, or the lack thereof.

Just Ask Happy: Two-Layer Low-Speed PCBs

We asked for you to send in your questions for Happy Holden, and you took us up on it! The questions you've posed run the gamut, covering technology, the worldwide fab market, and everything in between. Enjoy.

Catching Up With Fane Friberg: Supply Chain Management Expert

Dan Beaulieu recently spoke with Fane Friberg, principal at CEPHAS and a supply chain management expert, about how he started his company, as well as current market challenges he sees and what he thinks the future holds for companies—especially post-pandemic.

Materials for Automotive Applications: Thermal Management Issues

For Pete Starkey, the highlight of the recent HDP User Group Automotive Technology Webinar was Alun Morgan’s presentation on materials for automotive applications. This forward-looking informational session covered the latest developments in automotive standards and automotive electronic packaging.

IPC: Shawn DuBravac and Chris Mitchell on USMCA

On July 1, 2020, the USMCA trade act (United States-Mexico-Canada Act) phased in as a trade agreement guiding economic trade and growth in North America. Nolan Johnson spoke with both Shawn DuBravac, IPC’s chief economist, and Chris Mitchell, IPC’s vice president of global government affairs and an I-Connect007 columnist, about the impact of USMCA on North American electronics manufacturing.

Just Ask Happy: Stacked Microvia Reliability Issues

We asked for you to send in your questions for Happy Holden, and you took us up on it! The questions you've posed run the gamut, covering technology, the worldwide fab market, and everything in between. Enjoy.

Just Ask Happy: The Future of 3D Printing

We asked for you to send in your questions for Happy Holden, and you took us up on it! The questions you've posed run the gamut, covering technology, the worldwide fab market, and everything in between. Enjoy.


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

Updates on trade shows, conferences, and associations dominated industry news this past week. Some events are returning to a physical venue; others are opting for a virtual version in 2020. Add to that a spate of cross-association cooperative agreements and new programs for career development coming from multiple associations, and you’ve delivered four of my top five picks.

Just Ask Happy: The Future of Mechanical Blind, Buried Vias

We asked for you to send in your questions for Happy Holden, and you took us up on it! The questions you've posed run the gamut, covering technology, the worldwide fab market, and everything in between. Enjoy.

Just Ask Happy: The Proper Order of Design Techniques to Improve Connectivity

We asked for you to send in your questions for Happy Holden, and you took us up on it! The questions you've posed run the gamut, covering technology, the worldwide fab market, and everything in between.

Happy Holden Is Taking Your Questions Now

Happy Holden, the industry icon and “Father of HDI,” is ready to answer your questions! What have you always wanted to ask Happy, but never thought you'd have the chance? Now is your chance! Please take a few minutes to jot down your questions for Happy. A select group of answers will be published in upcoming editions of I-Connect007 magazines and newsletters.

Elmatica’s Didrik Bech Accepts Role as IPC Cybersecurity Task Group Vice-Chair

On June 18, Nolan Johnson spoke with Didrik Bech, Elmatica CEO and I-Connect007 columnist, who was recently selected as vice-chair for IPC’s Cybersecurity Task Group. During their conversation, Didrik outlined the task group’s mission statement and the target audience for its work. He also shared specific examples where cybersecurity is increasingly important to the electronics manufacturing industry globally.

This Month in PCB007 Magazine: Lessons Learned From Past Applications of TQM

Nolan Johnson spoke with Dan Feinberg about his experiences with TQM while serving as president of Dynachem and Morton Electronic Materials in the ‘90s. In this interview, Dan explains how TQM can sometimes be misidentified as a philosophy instead of a set of tools and processes focused on accomplishing business goals.

Walt Custer’s EIPC Business Outlook Webinar: ‘You Can’t Sugarcoat This Stuff!’

In normal circumstances, it would have been the time of year for the EIPC Summer Conference, and Walt Custer would have opened the proceedings with his business outlook for the global electronics industry. However, circumstances were far from normal. Pete Starkey discusses some of the takeaways from Custer's global business outlook webinar, organized by EIPC.

Dan Beaulieu, Part 2: Marketing in Uncertain Times

Dan Beaulieu, president of D.B. Management and an I-Connect007 columnist, and Nolan Johnson return for a second conversation on sales and marketing in the current business environment. In this conversation, Nolan asked Dan about the “wait and see” attitude some industry professionals have been leaning on during the second quarter of 2020.

Dan Beaulieu, Part 1: Lead Generation

Dan Beaulieu, president of D.B. Management and an I-Connect007 columnist, spoke with Nolan Johnson on the importance of continuing to generate leads and new customers. Beaulieu addressed concerns about market uncertainty, shared some real-world examples of mistakes, and made a strong case that sales and marketing is a process that must be constantly ongoing to keep a full funnel of customers and business.

June PCB007 Magazine on TQM: A Preview

The June issue of PCB007 Magazine will be published next week. Can’t wait to download it? Enjoy this preview of how we arrived at the topic of TQM, as well as what you can expect to read inside. One gem: Happy Holden retrieves some of W. Edwards Deming’s lost chapters after uncovering pre-publication drafts of the 1985 Deming book that Happy received as a training handout at Hewlett-Packard from Deming himself.


The iNEMI 2019 Roadmap: Optoelectronics

Continuing the series of webinars highlighting recently-published chapters of iNEMI’s 2019 Roadmap—the comprehensive guidebook to the future goals and needs of the electronics manufacturing industry—the installment on optoelectronics examined and discussed data transmission by optical technology. Pete Starkey provides an overview.

Where The Jobs Are: The I-Connect007 Help Wanted Pages

If you’re looking for a career in the PCB industry—design, fabrication, or assembly—the I-Connect007 Career Opportunities section, jobconnect007.com, is the first place you should look. Right now, there are job openings for positions that span the entire circuit board supply chain, and you can submit your resume directly to the hiring managers by clicking on the ad.

PCB Builder from Digi-Key Lets Customers Order Directly From Board Shops

On June 2, components distributor Digi-Key Electronics announced the release of PCB Builder, a tool that lets customers have PCBs shipped directly from the fabricator. PCB Builder also allows customers to perform file layer checks and receive instant quotes from multiple fabricators. Andy Shaughnessy spoke with Josh Mickolio, supplier business development manager for Digi-Key, about the development of PCB Builder and what this tool means to PCB designers and design engineers.

The iNEMI 2019 Roadmap: Flexible Hybrid Electronics

The emerging trend for “electronics on everything, everything with electronics” was the theme of iNEMI’s webinar presentation of the highlights of its recently published Flexible Hybrid Electronics Roadmap Chapter, delivered by Girish Wable, senior engineering services manager with Jabil. Pete Starkey provides an overview.

SpaceX Manned Mission Promises More Success for Milaero and Electronics Manufacturing

On May 30, 2020, SpaceX became the first non-governmental organization to send human cargo into orbit and to a successful docking rendezvous with the International Space Station (ISS). On June 1, Nolan Johnson spoke with military/aerospace consultant and I-Connect007 columnist Mike Hill about the significance of this mission.

Joe O’Neil: Green Circuits Running Strong Under Current Social Restrictions

On May 28, Joe O’Neil, CEO of Green Circuits, updated Nolan Johnson on how the company continues to operate during the COVID-19 restrictions. O’Neil reflects on the rapid chain of events this past March when lockdowns were instituted in the San Francisco Bay area. After a brief but rapid shutdown, Green Circuits was back up and in production.

Rogers Corporation Keeps Materials Moving

The I-Connect007 editorial team spoke with Roger Tushingham of Rogers Corporation about the company’s current priorities with everything that’s been changing recently, including his perspective on the distributing and manufacturing trends he sees as a global supplier.

3D Additive Electronics Manufacturing: Are We Nearing an Inflection Point?

Recently, Dan Feinberg was invited to attend a detailed and broadly informative webinar by nScrypt titled “The Strength of 3D-Printed Electronics," which covered the status and advances in the use of 3D printing for electronic device design and manufacture. nScrypt is an Orlando-based company founded in 2002 that focuses on 3D printing. Here’s what Dan learned from each of the speakers.

14 ‘Business as Usual’ Tips, Part 7

In this series, Dan Beaulieu will share 14 “business as usual” tips for selling without visiting customers during the COVID-19 outbreak. In this series finale, Dan explains the importance of keeping a sense of humor during times of crisis, and why this might be the perfect time to form a partnership with a company that sells a complementary type of technology.

Happy Holden Book Excerpt: CIM & Automation Strategy

The following is an excerpt from Chapter 1 of Happy Holden’s I-Connect007 eBook Automation and Advanced Procedures in PCB Fabrication. In this book, Happy explains fabrication automation with illustrative examples and anecdotes from his decades as a mechanization leader.


IPC’s Shawn Dubravac: COVID-19 Outbreak Accelerates Industry Shifts Already Under Way

On May 19, Barry Matties spoke with Shawn Dubravac, chief economist for IPC. While discussing other topics, Matties asked for Dubravac’s perspective on shifts in the market, who observed that the recessionary trend might be behind us; the markets are already showing recovery. Still, it could take a year or so to fully recover.

14 ‘Business as Usual’ Tips, Part 6

In this series, Dan Beaulieu will share 14 “business as usual” tips for selling without visiting customers during the COVID-19 outbreak. In Part 6, he shares two tips for taking care of your mental health during these uncertain times.

Survey: Lessons Learned in Unparalleled Times

Parents often share nuggets of wisdom with their children in hopes that they won’t repeat past mistakes. But what do our electronics industry leaders want to share about lessons learned during the COVID-19 crisis?

14 ‘Business as Usual’ Tips, Part 5

In this series, Dan Beaulieu will share 14 “business as usual” tips for selling without visiting customers during the COVID-19 outbreak. In Part 5, he shares tips on continuing your professional development during this lockdown, while making sure to take much-needed time off to rest your mind.

IPC's Dr. John Mitchell: Leadership in Times of Crisis

On May 13, Dr. John Mitchell, IPC president and CEO, spoke with Barry Matties and Nolan Johnson in another installment in our series of industry updates. In this interview, Mitchell discussed the challenges of leadership in crisis situations.

14 ‘Business as Usual’ Tips, Part 4

In this series, Dan Beaulieu will share 14 “business as usual” tips for selling without visiting customers during the COVID-19 outbreak. In Part 4, Dan shares some age-old advice about running a business in turbulent times, including the need to dress for work and stay on a schedule, even while working from home.

Flexible Circuit Technologies Adds Johnson Company as a Product Representative

Nolan Johnson spoke with Carey Burkett, VP of business development at Minneapolis-based Flexible Circuit Technologies. FCT recently signed a sales representation agreement authorizing Johnson Company to represent FCT in the Midwest region of the U.S.

14 ‘Business as Usual’ Tips, Part 3

In this series, Dan Beaulieu will share 14 “business as usual” tips for selling without visiting customers during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Happy Holden's Essential Skills: Online Instruction and Distance Learning

Online courses have become increasingly available and popular. For this to be effective, specific requirements must be met for courses taken or produced over the internet in order to provide the user with a positive experience. Read Happy Holden's updated article from his series on 25 essential skills for engineers.

I-Connect007 In-Depth: Averatek and RBP Chemical Ink Distribution Agreement

On April 30, 2020, Michael Carano, RBP Chemical Technology vice president, and John Johnson, Averatek vice president, spoke with I-Connect007’s Nolan Johnson about the new distribution agreement inked by the two companies. Carano and Johnson also talk in more detail about the A-SAP additive plating process developed by Averatek. The conversation included why Averatek and RBP have partnered to distribute chemistries related to Averatek's A-SAP process.


I-Connect007 Survey: Lessons Learned During COVID-19 Lockdown

In a recent survey, we asked I-Connect007 readers about lessons that they and their companies have learned since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Survey respondents were asked to pick up to three areas of business operations where the most important lessons have been learned.

A Sustainable Supply Chain for Lowest Total Cost

Kennedy outlines the sustainabilty challenges facing an OEM when choosing a fabricator. The idea of "green" extends into the supply chain as well.

Aurora Circuits’ Chris Kalmus Offers PCBs for Ventilators at No Charge

Electronics manufacturers continue to step up to the plate during these uncertain times. In this interview, Dan Beaulieu speaks with Chris Kalmus, owner of Aurora Circuits in Aurora, Illinois, who announced on April 24 that his company would be offering PCBs for ventilators free of charge.

What It Takes to Be a Milaero Supplier, Part 3

The decision to pursue military and aerospace (milaero) certification impacts every facet of the organization, and not every shop is prepared to make this transformation. In Part 3, Anaya Vardya explores what it takes to be a milaero supplier in the areas of purchasing and quality.

14 ‘Business as Usual’ Tips, Part 1

In this series, Dan Beaulieu will share 14 “business as usual” tips for selling without visiting customers during the COVID-19 outbreak. In Part 1, he shares two tips that highlight ways to keep your name in front of your customers, no matter what.
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