Article Highlights
The iNEMI 2019 Roadmap: Flexible Hybrid Electronics
06/04/2020 | Pete Starkey, I-Connect007
Plasma Applications in the PCB Industry
06/03/2020 | Nikolaus Schubkegel
Joe O’Neil: Green Circuits Running Strong Under Current Social Restrictions
06/01/2020 | Nolan Johnson, PCB007
Rogers Corporation Keeps Materials Moving
05/28/2020 | I-Connect007 Editorial Team
3D Additive Electronics Manufacturing: Are We Nearing an Inflection Point?
05/28/2020 | Dan Feinberg, I-Connect007
PCB :: Environmental

Latest Articles

Gene Weiner: Lessons Learned From COVID-19

Barry Matties speaks with Gene Weiner, president and CEO of Weiner International Associates, about the electronics industry’s continued operation under COVID-19 restrictions and some of the lessons learned during this pandemic. One such lesson: Companies and nations must do a better job of sharing information to help prevent this from happening again.

Averatek’s A-SAP Semi-additive Process Enables HDI

In this video interview from the show, columnist Tara Dunn spoke with Mike Vinson, president and COO of Averatek, who described the company's semi-additive process, A-SAP, with 25-micron features sizes and below, which enables high-density interconnections. Vinson also discusses the papers Averatek presented at IPC APEX EXPO 2020.

I-Connect007 COVID-19 Outbreak Research Survey Results

Our ongoing survey regarding the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak on the electronics industry has produced some interesting results. Here are some of the response highlights as of today. If you would like to make your voice heard, please take the survey.

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.

Show & Tell Feature: Happy’s Highlights

Happy Holden traveled to San Diego for IPC APEX EXPO 2020. He was happy to get out of Grand Rapids, where the temperature had dropped to 28 degrees. In this article, he describes some of the highlights of the show, from beginning to end.

Institute of Circuit Technology Spring Seminar 2020

Back to Meriden, the nominal centre of England where the daffodils were blooming. A good crowd made it to the spring seminar that followed the Annual General Meeting of the Institute of Circuit Technology (ICT), with five specialist presentations and excellent opportunities to network with their peers in the industry. Pete Starkey shares his overview of the event.

Shaun Tibbals Discusses Electra’s Continued Growth

In this video interview from the show, Guest Editor Dick Crowe speaks with Shaun Tibbals, sales and marketing director at Electra, about inkjet printing as opposed to conventional approaches, such as curtain coating and/or screen printing. Benefits involve the economical use of materials and zero VOCs. Shaun also explains the company's approach to serving the PCB and semiconductor segments.

IPC APEX EXPO 2020 Attendees Speak: Katie Carl

"We have a wide range of kids. All of them have some sort of interest in technology, which is why they wanted to come in general," said Katie Carl, a high school teacher escorting a group of kids at IPC APEX EXPO. "It’s neat when they start seeing how these technologies are created because a lot of them have seen robotics or have done a tiny bit of soldering with little circuits, but when they can see how those things are built and created in the industry, it makes it more applicable for them."

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.

IPC APEX EXPO 2020: Day 1 Review

2020 was a special anniversary year for IPC APEX EXPO: “Celebrating 20 years of excellence in electronics” was the tagline. Pete Starkey provides a review of the Day 1 activities on the show floor and beyond.


‘A Night of Happy-ness’ and 2020 Good for the Industry Awards

The Horton Grand Hotel in San Diego was the site of “A Night of Happy-ness” on the evening of Monday, February 3, 2020. I-Connect007 transformed the Regal Ballroom into a cozy lecture hall with two key objectives: to award the I-Connect007 Good for the Industry awards, and to celebrate the life, achievements, and personality that is industry pioneer Happy Holden.

IPC Solder Stencil Task Group—Inviting OEM Input to IPC APEX EXPO Meeting

Jeff Schake of ASM Assembly Systems is chairman of IPC’s Solder Stencil Task Group. In this conversation with Nolan Johnson and Barry Matties, Jeff discusses what they will be meeting about at the upcoming IPC APEX EXPO.

CML Poised to Be ‘More Than a Manufacturer’

The I-Connect007 Editorial Team recently spoke with Chris Minard, director of business development at CML, about how CML’s business model has evolved and some of his insights about manufacturing trends around the globe right now.

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.

IPC Validation Services: What to Expect at IPC APEX EXPO 2020

IPC’s Randy Cherry previews what to expect from IPC APEX EXPO 2020, including a full line on display demonstrating CFX/Hermes, further development of the Validation Services program, as well as testimonials from member companies that have been participating in IPC’s new trusted supplier program to the Department of Defense (DoD).

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.

CES Slideshow: The Future Is Now

During the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, the I-Connect007 Editorial Team met with some of the industry's top executives, managers, and engineers. Enjoy this slideshow from CES week.

Ivanka Trump CES Keynote: The Path to the Future of Work

The Palazzo Ballroom at the Venetian Hotel and Casino was the site for one of the most anticipated keynotes at CES on Tuesday afternoon. CTA CEO Gary Shapiro moderated a conversation with Ivanka Trump, advisor to the President of the United States. The two discussed the current state of the workforce, higher education, skills retraining, alternatives to university education, and immigration. These are all topics that have been under discussion within the electronics manufacturing industry for some time now.

Heading Into 2020 With Isola

Barry Matties recently spoke with Isola’s Travis Kelly, who has moved from acting CEO into the position of president and CEO. Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Sean Mirshafiei also joins the conversation as they share an update on the progress on the company’s new Arizona factory, as well as their views on the markets and technology trends.

What’s the SCOOP: Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year really is an amazing celebration with millions of workers returning to their families for the celebrations. But with the shutdown and mass migration come stress on infrastructure, supply chain and the whole manufacturing and fulfillment ecosystem. I asked a few Industry experts what they thought the key issues are and what advice they’d offer.


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.

Wi-Fi 6: Wired vs. Wireless

We all know that it makes no sense to get the latest device just because they come out with a new one every year. Sure, post-millennials tend to want a new phone every year, but most of us are well past that. However, as the competitive nature of the consumer tech industry continues to increase, the rate of change is also accelerating, as is the peer pressure to upgrade. Non-techies get new phones every year, techies get new CPU and GPUs every two years, average consumers get bigger and higher-res TVs every three years, and on it goes.

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.

The CPCA and China’s Electronic Circuit Industry: Past and Future

Wang Longji is the honorary secretary-general of the China Printed Circuit Association. He is a senior engineer and an industry leader and used to be the production manager of the first imported PCB manufacturing line in China. Mr. Wang is also a well-known child actor and a “national treasure;” one of his most famous characters was San Mao in “The Winter of Three Hairs.”

Pluritec Takes Industry 4.0 to the Next Level

Pete Starkey and Pluritec’s Nicola Doria, president and CEO, discuss how the structure of Pluritec has developed over the past few years, now including many respected brand names that are long familiar in the PCB fabrication segment. Doria also explains how the company is continuing its implementation of Industry 4.0 processes.

Nolan’s Notes: Clarity of Vision

In this issue, we update your prescription, clarify your vision of the industry, and bring your own perspective into view. With each interview, try on another outlook and look at the industry from another point of view.

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.


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.

Pollution Prevention Techniques: Rinse Water Reduction

There are five general categories of common techniques for pollution prevention in a PCB fabrication facility: new processes to replace sources of pollution; extend the bath’s life; rinse water reduction; dragout reduction; and ventilation reduction. While this list is not all-inclusive, it provides an overview of the types of technologies used around the world that are important to consider. This article, examines rinse water reduction.

Can E-waste and Metals Recovery Efforts Lower Environmental Risks and Liability?

Gold, palladium, silver, and other precious metals (PMs) in manufacturing wastes represent high value, but how PMs are recovered can pose environmental and liability issues. Aerospace and electronics manufacturers and suppliers, in particular, produce volumes of manufacturing wastes that contain varying levels of PMs.

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."

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.

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.

Why are PCBs Green?

Why are PCBs green? This is one of the questions I get asked when people ask of me what do I do for a living, especially after I explain that my company supplies the little green things that one will find in pretty much anything and everything you purchase today that you cannot eat or drink.


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.

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.

Aluminum Base Circuit Technology: Structures and Manufacturing Methods

Aluminum is an attractive material for use in the manufacturing of electronic assemblies due to its low cost, good thermal properties, and stability. But due to its innate thermal spreading ability, it's not easily used when solder is required to make interconnections to components. This article describes ways to manufacture electronic assemblies using aluminum as a base and eschewing the use of solder.

Sustainability: What and Why?

Joe Fjelstad writes, "The resources of our planet are limited and thus are diminishing as we continue to unleash and ramp-up a seemingly never-ending flow of products to both serve and amuse us with output of the global electronics industry likely to be nearing the top of the list of 'offenders.' In that regard, we are becoming victims of our own success, to one degree or another."
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