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Plasma Applications in the PCB Industry

Plasma, which consists of ionized gas atoms, is the fourth state of matter. On Earth, plasma does not occur naturally, but it is sometimes visible at high altitudes as auroras. But off-planet, elsewhere in the universe, almost all visible matter is plasma. Plasma is a mixture of positively charged atomic hulls, free electrons, free radicals, and neutral particles; the total electrical charge is neutral, conductive, and highly reactive. Due to permanent recombination, plasma lights can come in different colors.

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.

I-Connect007 Survey Details Concerns About Future of Industry

I-Connect007 continues to monitor the current worldwide economic situation by seeking input from our market leaders. Here’s what we discovered: If you’re feeling the pressure, you’re not alone. In a recent survey, we asked about your primary concerns for the future of our industry. The number one concern (26%) indicated a belief that sales will be affected negatively in the coming months.

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.

Jolly Holden: Expert Insights Into Distance Learning and Webinars

With COVID-19 leading to increased distance learning throughout the U.S. and world, the I-Connect007 editorial team spoke with Jolly Holden, Ed.D., who is an expert on distance learning (and also Happy Holden’s brother). In this wide-ranging interview, they discuss what distant learning is, how to do it well, what not to do, differences between academic and job skills training, and much more.

Supply-chain Recovery: Plan for Now and the Future

We are living in unprecedented times related to the ongoing spread of the coronavirus and its impact on our day-to-day lives. Individuals, families, businesses, and entire communities have been affected in unparalleled ways. As difficult as the situation has become, it’s critical for business leaders to step forward. In a time of crisis, understanding current and future logistics capacity by mode—and their associated trade-offs—will be even more essential than usual.

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?”

The Direction of MacDermid Alpha’s Automotive Initiative

Nolan Johnson speaks with Lenora Clark about MacDermid Alpha’s automotive initiative, where her role fits into the company’s focus on supporting carmakers in various business areas, and where the future of automotive is heading.

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.

Alumni Week at IPC APEX EXPO 2020

When you see friends and colleagues just once a year, you would think there would be a lot of catching up to do. That’s not the case at IPC APEX EXPO. Greeting friends and colleagues is always like picking up a conversation you had with them yesterday. Everyone looks the same, acts the same (we age well and lightly!), and we talk about the same things with just slight modification—like a daily conversation would evolve.


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.

Inspiring Next-Generation Engineers Through STEM

Through the STEM Student Outreach Program, IPC invites high school students to visit IPC APEX EXPO for a day. Last year, they had about 100 participating students, and this year, it doubled. The program is designed to introduce students to our industry at a younger age. During one event planned for them, the students had a chance to participate in a hands-on soldering track, creating wearable buttons to take home with them.

Meet Sharon Cohen, I-Connect007 Columnist

Meet Sharon Cohen, one of our newest I-Connect007 columnists! Sharon’s columns will share Orbotech’s expert knowledge on how to maximize the value of manufacturing systems. Mr. Sharon Cohen is the president of Orbotech West, where he is responsible for the PCB division’s organization in North America and EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa).

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."

AT&S: Working With Designers on a Global Level

Barry Matties recently took a tour of AT&S’s Austrian factory, which is developing new circuit design strategies surrounding embedded and active components. Gerald Weis discusses the company’s focus on serving and educating PCB designers around the world, as well as their plans to embrace the latest technology and Industry 4.0 processes going forward.

‘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.

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.

Visit the Newcomers’ Lounge at IPC APEX EXPO

The Newcomers’ Lounge will open on February 2, will remain open through February 6, and is conveniently located near the technical conference and meetings area, where it will serve as a dedicated resource center for newcomers to get their questions answered and meet other newcomers. Use the lounge to take a break from the hustle and bustle of a busy day, catch up on emails, or grab a quick snack or refreshment.

CES 2020: Here We Are Again

Dan Feinberg shares highlights from probably the largest and most fascinating technology event globally—CES—which he has been attending and writing about CES for over 20 years. The progress that has taken place is immense, and the rate of change has also accelerated.

CIMS Galaxy: More Than an Inspection System

Editor Pete Starkey and Vladi discuss the newest CIMS AOI platform, Galaxy, which is more compact and more versatile than the previous Phoenix model. The Galaxy is scalable and can be equipped with more functions and connected to a variety of Industry 4.0 databases. Vladi explains that the Galaxy can be used for everything from inner layer inspection to final inspection, detecting defects down to 1 pixel. The system is available with multiple metrology options as well.

Decreasing Bend Radius and Improving Reliability- Part III

Application: Design guidelines to improve the flexibility and reliability of flexible circuits. Most issues that arise with flex circuits can be eliminated in the early stages of the design phase, and special planning must occur when the circuit is required to bend. Many novices will design a circuit that calls for bending the flex in too tight of a bend radius, which can cause damage to the circuit and lower the reliability of the end product.

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.

Industry Set for Shift to True 3D Printing and Photonics

Nolan Johnson sits down with Zach Peterson, owner of Northwest Engineering Solutions, who predicts two things that would challenge the current status quo for the PCB manufacturing industry: true 3D printing and additive, including discretes as well as the substrates and traces, and a completely different approach with photonics.

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.

Day 1 Coverage of International Electronics Circuit Exhibition in Shenzhen

The newly named International Electronics Circuit Exhibition, formerly known as the HKPCA Show, kicked off today in Shenzhen, China. This event is now part of a cooperation between the CPCA and HKPCA associations. This is the largest trade show serving the south China region, with 3,537 booths from 621 exhibitors this year.


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.

Atotech’s Graphite-based Process and Chemistries Portfolio

Dr. Brüning, global product director, desmear and metallization, and electronics consultant Johan Lundqvist, update Nolan Johnson on the ViaKing graphite-based direct metallization process and explain how it fits in with customer applications. They also discuss Atotech’s portfolio of various chemistries. Johan came to Atotech in August 2019 through the acquisition of J-KEM where he held the position of CEO. Johan stated, “We are pleased J-KEM has joined the Atotech family, as it makes sense for both sides.”

Calumet Electronics and Averatek Team Up on A-SAP

Nolan Johnson talks with Brian Hess of Calumet Electronics and Mike Vinson of Averatek about the new, insertable additive processes that the companies are working on together to help factories running primarily subtractive processes to quickly convert to very high-density interconnect (HDI) features, including trace and space from 2.5-mil line and space to 1-mil line and space and below.

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.

SMTAI 2019: Happy Holden’s On-the-Scene Report

Last week concluded the 2019 SMTAI conference in Rosemont, Illinois. Overall, I think the show was successful and covered all aspects of SMT processes.

The Institute of Circuit Technology Autumn Seminar

Meriden has been established as a popular Midlands venue for Institute of Circuit Technology (ICT) meetings. On September 19, a multitude of Fellows, Members, and Associates gathered for the Institute’s autumn seminar, which was organised and hosted by ICT Technical Director Bill Wilkie. The agenda included five informative technical presentations, describing current research and development on significant topics relevant to the industry.

Real Time with… SMTAI 2019 Slideshow

The SMTA International 2019 Conference and Exhibition closed last week on a high note. For those who were not able to attend the event, held at Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois, the slideshow contains a selection of photos from the exhibition show floor as well as the conference.

Additive Electronics Conference Set for October 2019

Tara Dunn, president of Omni PCB and I-Connect007 columnist, and Lenora Clark, director of autonomous driving and safety technology at MacDermid Alpha Automotive, discuss what can be expected from the upcoming Additive Electronics Conference in San Jose, California, the impetus and motivation behind the conference, and who can benefit the most from attending.

EIPC Summer Conference 2019, Day 2

In this article, EIPC Chairman Alun Morgan provides the highlights of the second day of the EIPC 2019 Summer Conference, which was held in the beautiful city of Leoben in central Austria. He also talks about key points of the numerous technical presentation at the conference.

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.


Identifying Product Board Class and Pre-quote Software

Deciding on the class of the final product will determine what files are needed for fabrication and assembly. It is critical to note that for a product to be built to any class level, it must be designed to that class level from its inception.

Stacked Microvia Reliability: Ongoing Work and Upcoming IPC Conference

One year ago, Happy Holden's review of the 2018 IPC High-Reliability Forum reported the presentation of J.R. Strickland and Jerry Magera, who described research at MSI Applied Technology into overcoming the risk of stacked microvia failures escaping standard quality assurance procedures. Their report provided a basis for the IPC white paper IPC-WP-023, which addressed reliability issues associated with stacked microvias and included data collected from several other printed circuit manufacturers.

SEMI’s Cristina Sandoval on Mentoring and Retaining Young Talent

Cristina Sandoval, manager of workforce development and university initiatives for the SEMI Foundation, discusses how two new programs, as well as a long-running high school STEM outreach program, are aiming to address the skills gap within the industry. Sandoval also explains SEMI’s efforts to prepare students to enter the workforce and continuing to develop talent as young professionals join the industry.

EIPC Winter Conference, Day 1

EIPC Chairman Alun Morgan writes about the highlights of and the technical discussions at the recent EIPC Winter Conference held in Milan last February 14–15.

Flex/MSTC Joint Conference: A Collaborative Week in Monterey

Collaboration filled the air at the Hyatt Regency in Monterey, California, as the 18th annual Flex/Mems&Sensors technical conference brought flex technology and sensor experts and 550+ attendees together to network and share ideas from February 18–21, 2019.

Institute of Circuit Technology Evening Seminar

The Institute of Circuit Technology hosted its first 2019 seminar at the Woodland Grange Hotel in Royal Leamington Spa in the Midlands of England on February 26. The diverse programme of four presentations was introduced by ICT Chairman Andy Cobley, a professor at Coventry University, who stood in for Bill Wilkie, who had been taken ill at short notice.

Inspiring the Next Generation of Industry Leaders: IPC STEM Student Outreach Program

At IPC APEX EXPO 2019, I-Connect007 Managing Editor Patty Goldman spoke with Colette Buscemi, IPC's senior director for education programs, about the success and expansion of the IPC STEM Student Outreach Program, activities and scholarship opportunities for students through sponsor support—including I-Connect007—and feedback she received on the event.

Book Review: GAP Selling

Get ready for the ride of your life because this book will rock your world. It is the best book on selling that I’ve read in 10 years, and I read all of them. This book debunks all of the so-called “axioms” about selling that you have heard throughout your career. The author “Keenan” (don’t ask, I didn’t) handles all of that sticky stuff that slows down—nay, just about kills—your sales effort.

AltiumLive Munich: Day 2 Keynotes

Having enjoyed the conference dinner and robot battles of the previous evening, a good night’s sleep, and a hearty breakfast, Altium’s family of over 220 electronics engineers and designers eagerly returned to the conference room. Many jostled to secure the best seats for the second day of the European AltiumLive design summit in Munich, keen to make the most of the “learn, connect, and get inspired” opportunity it offered.

The Sun Rises on IPC APEX EXPO 2019

It's sunrise on Monday in San Diego, and IPC APEX EXPO at the San Diego Convention Center is already abuzz with activity. The exhibition hall setup is on schedule to open for business tomorrow morning, January 29th, 2019.


STEM: The Future of Our Industry

Facing a growing shortage of talented labor with which to fill the employment positions in America, IPC is working to help solve this problem. Colette Buscemi, senior director of IPC’s education programs, is encouraging IPC members to better engage pre-college and post-secondary college students at the local level. Barry Matties spoke with Colette about the educational programs IPC has put in place to invest in future generations, including the STEM program at this year’s IPC APEX EXPO.

CES 2019 Showstoppers, the Show Floor, and Some Neat Stuff

CES 2019 is over, and those of us who spent four to five days trying to see and hear as much as possible are in recovery mode. There were over 182,000 attendees, and 6,600 of us were media all trying to get to as much of the 2.9-million-square-feet exhibit space as possible.

Rainer Beerhalter Discusses His AltiumLive Munich Presentation

Rainer Beerhalter is a physicist, and according to his design bureau’s website, “founder, owner, and mastermind” of B GMBH. Rainer attended the first AltiumLive in Munich in 2017, and he’s returning to this year’s event in Munich January 15–17. I asked him to tell us about the class he’ll be teaching in Munich, and why he decided to come back for the sophomore AltiumLive show.

Better to Light a Candle: Chapter One—Prepping the Next Generation

There has been a considerable amount of (electronic) ink and words shared in our industry bemoaning the graying-out of our industry and the growing shortage of skilled people at all levels. (See the May 2017 PCB007 Magazine column “Help Wanted—and How!” for just one example). As is usually the case, though, when all is said and done, more has been said than done.

RTW SMTAI: John Mitchell Updates on IPC's Education Efforts

Dr. John Mitchell, president and CEO of IPC, sits down with I-Connect007 Managing Editor Nolan Johnson to discuss IPC's recent work in education and workforce engagement, as well as the latest developments in their certification program.

AltiumLive 2018 a Mecca for PCB Designers

AltiumLive 2018 San Diego is now in the history books. This is the second annual AltiumLive (North America), and it was even better than the first. With nearly 300 hundred participants, from all parts of the country and industry, the event was a huge success.

What's FLITE About? An Old Man's Observations

FLITE—Female Leaders in Tech, Everywhere—aims to raise the visibility of females in technology, manufacturing, and engineering by celebrating their achievements and learning from their experiences. I-Connect007 Technical Editor Pete Starkey sit in on FLITE's networking event at the recent What's New in Electronics (WNIE) Live show to find out more about this enterprise, which turned out to be an inspirational eye-opener.

Succeeding at the Velocity of Technology: An IPC APEX EXPO 2018 Wrap-Up

After many months of planning, IPC APEX EXPO 2018 proved to be a success. From revolutionary advancements displayed on the show floor to expert insights conveyed in technical conference sessions and professional development courses, IPC APEX EXPO provided the learning and connections that helped 4,574 attendees from 43 countries prepare for the future.

Institute of Circuit Technology Harrogate Seminar 2017

A return to the historic spa town of Harrogate in Yorkshire, England for the Institute of Circuit Technology Northern Seminar, to enjoy a diverse programme of presentations on safety standards, research in selective metal deposition, and developments in imaging and inspection techniques.

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!”


Weiner’s World—August 2017

IPC is planning to hold a special meeting on automotive electronics for senior executives during IPC APEX EXPO 2019. The meeting will be planned and produced by the IPC Ambassador Council. Its presentations will feature senior members of the entire automotive electronics supply chain.

Global Impact on European PCB Fabrication: EIPC Summer Conference 2017, Day 1

Electronics industry professionals from 13 countries, mainly from Europe and Scandinavia, others from the USA, but some from as far away as India and Japan, gathered in Meriden, the centre of England, for the EIPC Summer Conference.

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."

American Standard Circuits Discusses e-Book on Designing Flex and Rigid-Flex

American Standard Circuits is an industry leader when it comes to high-technology printed circuit boards, especially flex and rigid-flex printed circuit boards. So, it was natural that they would write about flex and rigid-flex for I-Connect007’s new “Guide to…” e-book series.

EIPC 2017 Winter Conference Review of Day 1

Themed to address the question: “The Future Needs of the Global Electronics Industry: What Solutions will Europe Provide?" the conference was a truly international event, attracting delegates from thirteen countries, to hear a well-chosen programme of twenty presentations in five sessions, introduced by EIPC Chairman Alun Morgan.

TTM SJ Hosts IPC Designers Council Meeting

The Silicon Valley Chapter of the IPC Designers Council was treated to a delicious barbecue lunch on October 13 at TTM’s San Jose facility. About 20 PCB designers and support professionals gathered for the tri-tip lunch-n-learn conference.

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.

Alun Morgan on the EIPC Summer Conference 2016

Each year, the EIPC puts on two conferences for their members. I recently attended their summer conference in Edinburgh and had a chance to speak with EIPC President Alun Morgan about the topics covered at the conference and the connectedness and networking that is always present at EIPC events.

Book Review: Beating the Workplace Bully

There’s the woman who conned her co-worker into buying her coffee on the first day and then made it a daily event. Or the boss who was always threatening to fire his staff and telling them, “There’s blood in the water.” Or the supervisor who told her new employee on the first day that it was not her choice to hire her, because she had only worked in a small firm and “did not have the sophistication this corporate position needs. You don’t even dress properly.” This great book is full of such terrible people.

Flex Talk: Inaugural West Coast Geek-A-Palooza a Fun-filled Success!

Geek-A-Palooza kicked off the 2016 schedule May 12 in Irvine, California. Historically, Geek-A-Palooza has been held in Minneapolis but is expanding this year to include Orange County and Boston as well.


All About Flex: Flexible Circuits and Kaizen Events

All Flex uses a variety of different tools and techniques in its continuous improvement efforts. A Kaizen event or Blitz is one technique that has resulted in significant improvements in our yields, productivity and customer satisfaction.

Happy’s Essential Skills: Technical Writing

Technical writing is one of those topics that they don’t really talk about in college—at least not where I went. Writing and English has never been a strong like of mine compared to science and math. So I did my required time in English and wrote my lab reports the best I knew how.

Interview with Dean Kamen, Segway Inventor and Founder of FIRST

One of the keynote speakers at this year’s IPC APEX EXPO 2016 was Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway and hundreds of other innovative devices. But perhaps most importantly, Kamen is the founder of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), which is recognized as the leading not-for-profit STEM engagement program for kids worldwide.

Book Review: Mark Goulston’s “Talking to Crazy”

We call know crazy. We all know people who are somewhat irrational or even completely bonkers! But we don’t know how to deal with them, right? Well, put that in the past tense. We did not know how to deal with them until this new book came along.

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.”
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