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.
'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.
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.
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?
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.
Catching up with Prototron Circuits Tucson GM Kim O’Neil
This has been an exciting year for Prototron, which has achieved Mil-PRF-31032 and gone into the flex business. Most recently, Prototron received word that they had achieved their AS9100 Rev D, which made me want to check in with Kim O'Neil and find out more.
Strategies for Compliance with DoD Regulations Including ITAR and DFARS
ITAR is usually the topic when compliance with DoD regulations is discussed. But what about DFARS? This article will examine strategies one can implement to ensure that one is compliant with all DoD regulations, by analyzing internal and external factors in relation to procurement and compliance, and by asking the vital questions: what, how, where and to whom?
IMPACT Interview: Shane Whiteside, Summit Interconnect
During Tuesday night’s dinner at IMPACT Washington, D.C. 2017, I-Connect007's Patty Goldman had a chance to talk with Shane Whiteside, Summit Interconnect’s president and CEO.
Punching Out! Mid-2017 Report on the State of the N.A. PCB M&A Market
One of the most popular questions we receive concerns the market for M&A. Here is our take on the current market for PCB shops in North America. In general, the PCB market in North America is not growing, which means that to grow, shops either must take market share from others, or grow through acquisitions.
ECWC 14 Wrap-Up with Tim Lee and Happy Holden
Minsu (Tim) Lee is the secretariat of the ECWC 14 Worldwide Printed Circuit Conference, which recently concluded in Seoul, South Korea. Tim is also the program manager of the Korean Printed Circuit Association. We had a few minutes together after the conference ended to review the week’s events and the Korean PCB industry. Tim also focused on the ongoing situation with North Korea, which resulted in many Chinese paper contributors being denied visas for ECWC 14.
High-Frequency, High-Speed: an Opportunity for China CCLs to Lead
As a leading Chinese CCL manufacturer, Shengyi Technology has invested 250 million RMB in 2016, for the new Jiangsu Shengyi Special PCB Co. Ltd. facility, which will make high-frequency, high-speed CCL product. We invited Lin Xia, senior marketing director of Guangdong Shengyi Technology Co. Ltd., and assistant general manager of Suzhou Shengyi Sci-Tech Co. Ltd. He will be focusing on why high-frequency high-speed CCL is a good opportunity for China manufacturers to become a worldwide leader in this arena.
The Sales Survival Handbook: Cold Calls, Commissions, and Caffeine Addiction—The Real Truth About Life in Sales
Imagine a sales book written by Jerry Seinfeld and you’ll get a good idea of what this book is like. Filled with all kinds of valuable advice, including everything from cold calling to handling rejection, the author uses humor to make us laugh at ourselves while learning how to be better salespeople.
Patty's Perspective: What Happens in Washington Doesn’t Stay in Washington—It Reaches All of Us
I went to my second IMPACT Washington, D.C. event this year (May 1–3) and, as much as I applauded last year’s event, this one far surpassed it—just ask anyone who was there. In this month’s issue, a special section on IMPACT backs that claim.
Mr. Laminate Tells All: PTFE is About to be Banned by IEC TC111
There, I said it. Technical Committee 111 of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is preparing to effectively ban PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) materials from electronics. As history goes, the electronics industry has focused on only two of the four halogens (bromine and chlorine) to be limited in order to be called “halogen-free” or more accurately “low-halogen.” But now, fluorine is being dragged down too, just because of its location in the periodic table.
I-Connect Survey on Process Step Elimination: What is More Important for Productivity?
Is utilizing the best technology out there the most important factor in improving productivity? Or is it automating certain, if not all, processes in your production? What about employee morale, what is its impact on the overall productivity of your line?
Megasonic Acoustic Surface Treatment Process for Enhanced Copper Electrodeposition in Via Interconnects
A printed circuit board is populated with a multitude of electro-mechanical components plus various active and passive devices such as transistors, capacitors, inductors and resistors, which enable the functionality and assembly of the PCB. Increasing the density of the components on the surface of a board enables greater functionality and use.
Designing with Ultra-Thin Flexible Printed Circuit Boards
Designing with flexible PCBs is not much different from doing the same with rigid boards, except that the designer must account for the mechanical complexity associated with flex circuits. For instance, a flexible PCB can tear if flexed beyond its capability during installation. Therefore, it is very important to create a mechanical model of the PCB and test it for a proper fit, before taking up the electrical design.
Book Recommendation: Upside—Profiting from the Profound Demographic Shifts Ahead
If you want to know what is going to happen in the future, you can forget the crystal ball and the Tarot cards because all you need is this new book by generational researcher Kenneth Gronbach. This book is readable and interesting, despite the sound of the subject matter, which sounded as dry as the Arizona desert.
The Significance of the PCB in the Value Chain of the European EMS Industry
At SMT Nuremberg, Pete Starkey meets with Dieter Weiss, who comments upon the significance of the PCB in the value chain of the European EMS industry, and looks to a future where we embrace an open-minded attitude and a willingness to work together.
Book Recommendation: The Inspiration Code—How the Best Leaders Energize People Every Day
Regardless of who you are, what you have done, where you have been, or where you are in your life journey, this book can help you to be inspirational. Not all of us are inspirational by nature; most of us are just regular people who have led regular lives. For the most part, we have done nothing dramatic enough to be inspirational just by our very existence.
Mitch Altman Discusses Bringing Youth into the PCB industry
Publisher Barry Matties is joined by Mitch Altman, creator of TV-B-Gone, a device that can turn off TVs in public, and co-founder of Noisebridge, an educational hackerspace based in San Francisco. In this interview, they discuss the importance of bringing youth into the PCB industry and how Noisebridge has inspired people of all ages to get started creating their own electronics.
Embedded Technology: It’s All Around Us
In the early ‘80s, the PCB company I worked for was testing some of the first material for buried resistors. I can’t recall what customer it was for, or how far along the project got, but over the years it seemed like the technology was slow to be adopted and perhaps ahead of its time.
A Conversation with an Industry Twenty-Something
At a recent SMTA Expo, I met with Matt Hammesfahr, a salesperson with Amitron. Matt is young, by our industry standards—in his midtwenties. Just a few years out of college, Matt holds a business degree and is already a top salesman with the company. Here’s one of those twenty-somethings we keep saying we want to attract to our industry. How did this happen? I had to get the story.
How to Find –and Retain– the Right People for the Right Jobs
I sat down recently with Rebecca Brennan, director of human resources, and Aimee Miller, director of corporate communications for Compunetics and Compunetix. I already knew a little bit about their programs, having spent time at Compunetics in past years. I was looking forward to learning more about their methods.
HDP User Group 2017 European Meeting Highlights Technology Progress
The conference facility at the offices of Oracle, in the royal burgh of Linlithgow in West Lothian, Scotland, was the venue for the 2017 European meeting of the High Density Packaging User Group. I was delighted and privileged to be invited once again to sit in on the open session, an intense programme of technical presentations and discussions, project reviews, status updates and new project proposals.
David Dibble on the Hiring Process: Getting the Most From Systems Excellence
If this is the first time you’ve heard the name David Dibble, or his company, Dibble Leaders, then you’re in for a treat. David is one of our industry’s foremost thought leaders when it comes to systems optimization and leadership development. He has worked with many companies, both in our industry and in the medical field. From starting his own PCB company and growing it into a successful firm, David has a record of success.
Innovator Bob Tarzwell Retires From PCB Industry to Focus on New Career in Art
I have known Bob Tarzwell for more than 18 years, since he first called me looking for some help with his company. His first words to me were, “Hi, my name is Bob Tarzwell and I own a shop in Carleton Place, Ontario. I need your help."
Growth Ahead for Flexible Hybrid Electronics Industry
According to Zion Research, “global demand for the flexible electronics market was valued at $5.13B in 2015 and is expected to generate revenue of $16.5B by 2021, growing at a CAGR of slightly above 21% between 2016 and 2021.” Key elements of the market, in the view of most analysts, include flex displays, sensors, batteries, and memory.
Help Wanted With IMI’s Peter Bigelow
In preparation for this month’s topic, especially what companies in our industry are currently experiencing when it comes to finding and hiring the right people, I sought out Peter Bigelow, president and CEO of circuit board fabricator IMI Inc. We spoke in February at IPC APEX EXPO.
Deep Into Technology at Compunetics
There aren’t many printed circuit companies in my neck of the woods. There is one, however, that has always fascinated me, and that is Compunetics, in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Pittsburgh. Having worked with them on the electrophoretic photoresist, a PPG product, many years ago, it was great to stop by and catch up with CTO Tim Schmitt and Technical Applications Manager Jesse Ward, along with General Manager Burhan Capar, a relative newbie to the company.
Rockwell Collins’ Doug Pauls Discusses Volunteering, Mentoring and Their Road Show
I was happy to see Rockwell Collins’ Doug Pauls receive IPC’s Raymond E. Pritchard Hall of Fame award at IPC APEX EXPO, well-deserved for him, and I wanted to chat with him about it. As with so many conversations at the conference this year, the talk quickly turned to inspiring interested young people in our “graying” industry. We also discussed the nature of volunteering and what we get out of it.
Ding Cheng of BYD Electronic: Embracing the FPC Factory Model of the Future
The topic of the third issue of PCB007 China Magazine is "The Wide World of Flex." Around this theme, we asked one of the leaders of China's FPC industry, Ding Cheng, general manager of the FPC Division of Shenzhen BYD Electronic Parts Company, to share his perspective about trends in flex, and where he thinks that market is headed in the future.
Executive Agent for PCB and Electronic Interconnect Technology PrCB Trust Accreditation
The DoD mandate for trust in the PrCB supply chain is mirrored in DoDI 5200.44, which states: “Employ protections that manage risk in the supply chain for components or subcomponent products and services (e.g., integrated circuits, FPGAs, PrCBs) when they are identifiable (to the supplier) as having a DoD end-use.” In response to congressional and DoD directives, the PrCB EA proposed pursuing a trust accreditation program for PrCB suppliers.
Weiner’s World—April 2017
China’s economy accelerated for a second straight quarter as investment picked up, retail sales rebounded, and factory output accelerated in March. Gross domestic product increased 6.9% in the first quarter from a year earlier, compared with a 6.8% median estimate in a Bloomberg survey.
Material Choices for High-Speed Flexible Circuits
Materials to make high-speed flexible circuits are now available from many material suppliers. In deciding which materials to test or use, remember the tradeoffs the suppliers made in categories we discussed: electrical properties, mechanical/flex properties, and ease of processing. A choice should only be made after considering these options. Remember with any new materials it is very important to find fabricators that are knowledgeable about processing these new materials.
Patty’s Perspective: Faster, Faster, Faster…or the Need for Speed, More Speed!
I wonder: Do we really need more speed in our connections? When will we hit that proverbial wall everyone worries about? Of course, if we want things like autonomous cars, intelligent robotics, and extended IoT, then we will continue to press forward—or rather you, the PCB manufacturer, designer, and supplier of high-speed materials will keep at it.
Fabricators Speak Out on High-Speed Materials
Recently, I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties and his editorial team joined with two PCB fabricators to discuss the state of advanced materials. The meeting included Gerry Partida, director of engineering at Summit Interconnect and Joe Menning, program manager at All Flex Flexible Circuits. The discussion centered on the processes, challenges, and procurement of high-speed materials, as well as need to work with customers during the design stage.
Coast to Coast Circuits Talks Print-and-Etch Technology
I recently learned that a high-tech PCB supplier, Coast to Coast Circuits, had decided to provide their customers with quick-turn, high-value print-and-etch printed circuit boards. I talked with CEO Walt Stender and Marketing and Key Account Manager Michael Cisco, and I asked them to provide more details about this interesting decision.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO: atg Luther & Maelzer's Fully Automated Probe Testing for High-Throughput HDI PCB Production
Klaus Koziol, director of sales at atg Luther & Maelzer, explains the rationale behind the development of the newly-introduced A8A from atg and discusses how the latestinnovations in high-accuracy automatic testing deliver high throughput whilst retaining the flexibility of flying-probe techniques.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Updates on Formulations for Direct Imaging and Inkjet Technologies
Chris Wall, technical director and Shaun Tibbals, sales and marketing director at Electra Polymers, review latest developments in digital imaging technologies for solder resist. Multi-wave direct imaging systems give more scope to the ink supplier to optimize formulation and offer improved flexibility of operation to the user.
Capitol Connection: Drumroll, Please…Announcing the IPC Government IMPACT Awardees
Government relations are essential to our industry as many of the policy debates taking place will have long-lasting impact on our industry. Tax and regulations reform, immigration, and environmental regulations are up for debate and it is time for our industry to take a seat at the table.