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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.

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.

Improving Copper Distribution in Pattern Plating Using Simulation Software

Technical Editor Pete Starkey had the opportunity to sit in on a webinar presented by Robrecht Belis, manager of the surface finishing business unit at Elsyca—a Belgian company specialising in the simulation of electrochemical processes.

An M&A Perspective on the Current Market

Barry Matties and Nolan Johnson spoke to Tom Kastner about what he sees from an M&A perspective in company leadership resistance to change, as well as the current state of the M&A market and how it’s been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Flexible Circuit Technologies: ‘We Do it All’

During IPC APEX EXPO 2020 in San Diego, Carey Burkett, VP of Flexible Circuit Technologies, sat down for an interview with Dan Beaulieu. The two discussed the company’s expansive growth, the current flex and rigid-flex landscape, and FCT’s drive to provide complete solutions from rigid and flex circuits through box build.

When Your Fabricator Is Late

The I-Connect007 Editorial Team recently had a wide-ranging discussion with John Watson, CID, of Legrand. Questions covered include, “What happens when your fabricator is late, whether it’s a prototype or volume production?” and, “What are the costs and ramifications up and down the chain?”

IPC’s Dr. John Mitchell Commends U.S. Manufacturers and Governors

On March 31, Dr. John Mitchell, IPC president and CEO, gave Barry Matties an update on the industry response to COVID-19 since their conversation on March 20. Mitchell provides an overall update on the industry, commending U.S. manufacturers for their proactive responses.

Todd Kolmodin: Gardien an Essential Business for U.S. DoD Work

Todd Kolmodin, VP of quality for Gardien Services USA, updates Nolan Johnson on Gardien’s operations. Specifics include Gardien’s certification as an essential business for U.S. Department of Defense work and an overview of the work and staffing policies in place at all of the company's facilities across the United States and the various work restrictions—all with the goal of “keeping the wheels turning” in the industry.

The Smart Factory: All the Bits and Bobs

“Smart factory” is another phrase that describes Industry 4.0 programs. These programs seem to have replaced CIM and CAM, but it did not make them obsolete. While these topics are getting a lot of press, there is nothing new about them. We have been on a journey to automate manufacturing since the mid-‘70s. What has evolved are faster and cheaper computers, and more complex and integrated networking.

Book Review: The 10 Stories Great Leaders Tell

Everyone is talking about stories, and rightfully so. Anyone who knows anything about marketing in the 21st century knows that the way to get into peoples’ heads is to tell them a story. Dan Beaulieu reviews Paul Smith's 'The 10 Stories Great Leaders Tell.'


One Year Later: IPC Education Foundation Update

In this video interview from IPC APEX EXPO, Aaron Birney, education program manager for the IPC Education Foundation, speaks with Guest Editor Steve Williams about the foundation's focus on STEM, its growth over the past year since launching at IPC APEX EXPO 2019, and how IPC members can get involved and sponsor student chapters.

Are Trade Shows at a Crossroads?

With the cancellation of this year’s E3 show, the biggest gamer conference, the event’s format is shifting to a more fluid, online communication method. This may be the wave of the future. Can you imagine if the COVID-19 outbreak had occurred just three months earlier? Would there have been a Consumer Electronics Show, DesignCon, or IPC APEX EXPO? If the coronavirus is still in play in six months, will these shows take place in 2021?

IPC APEX EXPO 2020 Attendees Speak: Tom Salmon

"I’m impressed by what I’ve seen and the variety of solutions. Industry 4.0 is still a big thing here," said Tom Salmon of SEMI. "I’m guessing just by the number of attendees that we took a little bit of a hit from the coronavirus. But most of the people I’ve talked to are happy with the meetings that they’re having with folks. Overall, it seems to be positive for everybody."

Catching up With Flexible Circuit Technologies

Dan Beaulieu catches up with Troy Koopman, president and co-founder of Flexible Circuit Technologies (FCT), and Carey Burkett, the company’s VP of business development. FCT is a full-service flex and rigid-flex supplier.

Advances in Substrates for Thermal Management

Pete Starkey and Eduardo Benmayor, general manager for Aismalibar, discuss ways in which insulated metal substrates have been modified to relieve stresses on the solder joints of high-end LED assemblies during thermal cycling. Eduardo also describes a range of thermally conductive FR-4 laminates that can be processed like standard FR-4 for applications where thermal dissipation can be maximized without changing the design.

EIPC Winter Conference: Business, Technology, and Community

Managing Editor Nolan Johnson recently spoke with Kristen Smit-Westerberg about the upcoming EIPC Winter Conference, February 13−14, 2020, in Rotterdam.

Streamlining Inspection and Verification

Barry Matties speaks with Vladi Kaplan, VP of marketing for CIMS, about the company’s newest verification station, the benefits operators will see from its colorized real-time video, and how it makes verification much faster and much more efficient for companies pushing 100% inspection.

Logistics Are Frank Lorentz’s Passion

Recently, Barry Matties had the chance to visit Ventec International Group’s German facility in Kirchheimbolanden (KIBO), where he met Frank Lorentz, Ventec’s general manager for the location. Logistics are clearly Frank’s passion. He lives and breathes it. If you spend any amount of time with him, that is abundantly clear. This interview with Frank was conducted after a tour of the KIBO site.

Ledia 6 Direct Imaging System Offers Enhanced Speed and Precision

Technical Editor Pete Starkey recently met with Ucamco’s Michel Van den heuvel, imaging product group director, to discuss the benefits of the Ledia 6 direct imaging system, which was introduced earlier this summer and features scan-alignment and improvements in registration and positioning accuracy.

How to Become a Certified IPC Trainer

The Blackfox Certified IPC Trainer (CIT) programs are best suited for experienced and skilled electronics technicians, engineers, and supervisors who have the will and passion to teach and train colleagues about the quality standards of IPC. They also provide successful candidates with a credential that confirms their knowledge and understanding of IPC quality systems.


The Viability of a Cyanide-free Immersion Gold Bath

The Tianjin chemical blast in August 2015 sensitized the Chinese authorities to the use of cyanide in production. As a consequence, the authorities have introduced licensing with regard to the use of cyanide. In turn, this has motivated Chinese PCB manufacturers to ask suppliers for a competent cyanide-free immersion gold solution (CNF Au).

The ICT 2019 Christmas Seminar

Since 2016, the Institute of Circuit Technology (ICT) has held its northern area Christmas seminar at the Majestic Hotel in Harrogate—the elegant and historic English spa town in North Yorkshire. Pete Starkey provides an overview of this popular ICT event.

Electra Polymers: Inkjet Soldermask is Ready, Reliable and Green

Editor Pete Starkey and Tibbals discuss Electra Polymers’ move into the inkjet soldermask market, and some of the challenges and benefits of this technology. Tibbals explains how inkjet soldermask can enable end-users to improve reliability of the final product, for instance, because this additive process allows manufacturers to control the thickness of soldermask around vias and BGAs and eliminating trapped chemistry in undercut areas.

Conductivity Laminate for High-frequency Applications

Editor Pete Starkey and Vitali Judin discuss how Rogers Corporation has responded to demands for high thermal conductivity combined with low loss in high-power RF applications with the newly launched. The PTFE-based TC350 Plus is capable of handling temperatures above 125°C and draws upon Rogers’ long experience with the TC350 material line-up.

Sunstone Circuits on Staffing Trends in the Digital Age

Sheri Kuretich, human resources manager, and Nancy Viter, VP of operations, of Sunstone Circuits speak with Nolan Johnson about what they see from the perspective of a prototyping shop, the current state of the hiring market, and how they have used ISO 9000 as an information repository to pass technical knowledge from experienced employees to newer ones.

Industry Wind Vane: Future Development Through the 2019 HKPCA Show

The annual HKPCA Show, which has been renamed the 2019 International Electronics Circuit Exhibition (Shenzhen), will be held from December 4–6 at the Shenzhen Convention and Exhibition Center. This year’s exhibition will be jointly organized by the Hong Kong Printed Circuit Association (HKPCA) and the China Printed Circuit Association (CPCA) and will provide a more efficient business platform for all visitors. The PCB007 China Team interviewed a representative from the HKPCA about the exhibition, the industry’s current situation, and future developments.

5G is Coming With Quantum-Level Advances and Features

I am sure that, by now, all of you have heard about 5G (the fifth-generation of mobile phone and data communication standards). I am also relatively sure that many of you think that this means neat, new cellphone features, and perhaps more texting and selfie abilities. While that may be true, getting a new cellphone for those reasons would be like getting a new car because you want a different color.

Vertical Conductive Structures, Part 4: Tuning Your Signal Performance

The objective of this article is to demonstrate the possibility of using a stitching element as an alternative to the point-to-point connections that are used with traditional via technology. Point-to-point connections have the best performance in terms of signal integrity (one via less in the connection that distorts the signal). A via is mainly a capacitive element that causes signal loss/ dispersion.

Communication, Part 6: The Importance of Technology Fit

In the final installment of this series on how PCB fabricators and designers can better communicate, Bob Chandler from CA Design and Mark Thompson from Prototron Circuits discuss the importance of “technology fit” and how this concept impacts the synergy of the two parties involved.

Solder Mask Tack Dry

As a general rule, the tack-dry temperature should be as low as possible; in other words, it should only be as high as necessary. If the temperature is too low, the evaporation rate for the solvent will be to slow, and the solder mask will not dry in a reasonable amount of time. If the temperature is too high, however, the dry time certainly will be excellent, but it could create a solder mask lock-in with repercussions by the developing time.


Future of 'Substances and Materials in Products' Data Exchange Formats as Standards

This article provides a simplified, state-of-the-art description of the data exchange formats for standards covering substances and materials reporting in products and processes. It also reviews existing issues and new challenges shared with end users of the standards and companies represented by their trade associations with some solution proposals they could discuss.

IPC Reliability Forum Wrap-up With Brook Sandy-Smith

I attended the recent IPC High-Reliability Forum and Microvia Summit in Baltimore, Maryland. The speakers and panelists focused on a variety of topics, but one issue that kept popping up was the failure of some microvias on military and aerospace PCBs. Fortunately, some smart technologists are focusing on determining the cause of these via failures. I asked Brook Sandy-Smith, IPC’s technical education program manager, to give us a quick wrap-up of this event.

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?

Imagineering CEO Khurrum Dhanji Discusses New AS9100 Guidebook

I have had many conversations with Imagineering President and CFO Parvin Dhanji, and CEO Khurrum Dhanji, and I always come away very impressed with their dedication to their community, associates and their customers. That’s why it was no surprise to me that they teamed with I-Connect007 to publish this long overdue guide to AS9100.

Supplier Spotlight: American Standard Circuits' AS9100 Journey

I had the privilege of working with American Standard Circuits (ASC) over the past year with their successful pursuit of AS9100 quality management system certification. The company has chosen to share their approach, lessons learned and benefits gained by going through this formidable process.

All About Flex: Flex Circuit Specifications for Commercial and Military Applications

Applications across the various markets for printed circuit boards can have significantly different specifications and performance requirements. Circuits for toys and games logically have lower performance requirements than those used in medical devices. IPC-6013 is an industry-driven specification that defines the performance requirements and acceptance features for flexible printed circuit boards.

IPC-1782 Standard for Traceability Supporting Counterfeit Components

Traceability has grown from being a specialized need for certain safety critical segments of the industry, to now being a recognized value-add tool for the industry as a whole. This article discusses the IPC-1782 project, which aims to create a single flexible data structure that can be adopted for all levels of traceability that are required across the industry.

All About Flex: Lead-Free Soldering Flexible Circuits

Ever since the European community adopted the RoHS directive in 2006, the U.S. electronics industry has been steadily increasing its use of lead-free solder. Medical was the first U.S. industry to go totally lead-free. Today, a significant percentage of electronics soldering is done with lead-free solder.

Let's Talk Testing: Does your Product have a Military Application?

Just like any other industry segment within the circuit board world, the military sector has its own share of documents…and likely many more than most! These documents have been developed over the years to guide, shape, and test anything and everything that might go into a jet fighter, a radar system, a warship, a weapons system, etc.

All About Flex: FAQs on RoHS for Flex Circuits

In 2003, the European Union (EU) adopted a standard called the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS), which restricts the use of certain materials in electronic products and electronic equipment. The intent is to reduce the environmental impact of known hazardous materials and has driven changes in manufacturing processes and materials used to manufacture a wide array of electronic products.


Karl's Tech Talk: Green Legislation and the Impact on Electronic Materials and Processes

In general, “green” and “environmentally friendly” refer to manufacturing that involves the replacement of toxic substances with less toxic materials, the elimination of materials or processing steps, less consumption of chemicals (i.e., more efficient or higher yield processing), reduction of water use, reduction of energy use, less space requirement (i.e., smaller equipment footprint), recycling, and on-site recovery of materials.

Dan Beaulieu's 'It’s Only Common Sense' Celebrates 500th Column

“We’d like to congratulate Dan on his 500th column,” said Publisher Barry Matties. “Dan is a strong advocate for smart business. We thank Dan and look forward to 500 more columns, and you can be sure that Dan will keep stirring the pot.”

IPC APEX EXPO: IPC's Fern Abrams Provides Updates on RoHS, REACH Directives

Fern Abrams, director of regulatory affairs and government relations at IPC, discusses with I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias the latest updates on the changes happening in the RoHS and REACH directives this year, as well as IPC's new initiatives and advocacies.

It’s Only Common Sense: Your Ads Need a Call to Action!

Do you advertise? Do you spend your hard-earned dollars trying to get your name out there, only to feel that you are just throwing your money down a rabbit hole? I bet your ads don’t promote anything that will get your customers to take action. Your ads should include a call to action.

Book Review: Meetings That Get Results

In this short but amazing book, Brian Tracy covers all types of meetings, from the large training sessions to the one-on-ones. He even describes how you should be sitting when having a one-on-one meeting (each of you at a corner of the table), how to get your point across, and how to listen.

Beyond Design: Plane Crazy, Part 2

In my recent four-part series on stackup planning, I described the best configurations for various stackup requirements. But I did not have the opportunity to delve into the use of planar capacitance to reduce AC impedance at frequencies above 1GHz, which is the region wherein bypass and decoupling capacitors dramatically lose their impact. In this column, I will flesh out this topic, and consider the effects of plane resonance on the power distribution network (PDN).

The Value of IPC’s Validation Services

I recently spent a little time with IPC Director of Validation Services Randy Cherry, learning more about this relatively new program and how it was evolving. I also wanted to make sure that it was something that the industry wanted and felt a need for. Randy is on top of just about everything, it turns out, and provided great detail on the various aspects of this arm of IPC, including the newest program, Standards Gap Analysis.

CES 2016 Wrap-Up, Part 2: The Road Less Traveled

There was plenty to see on the show floor at CES 2016. But we found an entirely new universe of products to learn about and explore. We found such a dimension in the semi-private suites located on the upper floors of the Venetian, the Westgate, Mandalay Bay and other hotels. I'll spend a day in these suites next year!

iNEMI: Leading the Way to Successful Electronics Manufacturing

iNEMI CEO Bill Bader talks about the consortium’s goals and mission, its collaborative projects, as well as its roadmap for the electronics manufacturing industry. Bader also highlights iNEMI’s milestones in line with the major trends that have happened in the electronics industry, including the transition to lead-free, addressing tin whisker growth, and the move towards HFR-free PCB materials.

Becoming an Automotive Supplier—Proceed with Caution

Possibly further fueling a growing desire in our industry towards participating in the automotive electronics sector have been further technology advancements in automobiles, as well as a tear in Tesla's stock price and headlines. But before you make that plunge to becoming an automotive supplier, we need to talk about liabilities.


Fire Retardancy: What, Why, and How

This article takes a critical look at all aspects of fire retardancy, starting with the need for fire safety, the function of a flame retardant, the reactive and additive flame retardant classes, major flame retardant compounds, toxicology and environmental impact of retardants--most especially Tetrabromobisphenol-A, which is the most widely used flame retardant in PCB materials--as well as European legislative directives.

Quality Assurance Through Testing

The PCB Magazine columnist Todd Kolmodin of Gardien Services discusses the challenges related to the electrical testing of high-density PCBs, and what is required to meet IPC and military specifications.

A Cautionary Tale: Counterfeit Materials

John Ling of EIPC writes, "Risk from counterfeits wears many hats. There is reputational risk, which can be damaging; there is inherent safety risk, which could be fatal; and there is financial risk to the OEM, the PCB manufacturer, and the PCB broker. One way of minimising risk is by dealing direct."

Thin PCBs for Smart Phones: Technology and Reliability Considerations

The next generation of smartphones will demand very thin multilayer boards to reduce product thickness. This paper shows three different manufacturing approaches which can be used for very thin, any-layer build-ups. The technological approaches are compared on reliability level--the any-layer copper filled microvia technology which is to be considered state-of-the-art for high-end phones and the ALIVH-C/G technology well established in Japan.
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