Prices of Copper-Clad Laminates Continue to Rise
Forces within and outside the PCB industry have led to concerns over rising prices for raw materials of copper-clad laminates (CCL). Recently, two major explosions at epoxy resin plants in China had a great impact on domestic resin suppliers. Prices have risen steadily in 2020, with leading CCL manufacturers announcing price increases of 20-30% recently. As the cost of raw materials such as electronic copper foil, resin and glass fiber have risen, the cost for manufacturing CCL has taken off as well.
Use of IMS Thermal Materials in Multilayer Stackups for Power Applications
This roundtable discussion brings together the expertise of Ventec International Group’s Global Head of IMS Technology Chris Hanson and Technical Manager Denis McCarthy. Rax Ribadia of Excello Circuits provides hands-on fabrication experience from a specialist PCB manufacturer, and I-Connect007 editors Andy Shaughnessy and Pete Starkey contribute to a conversation that explores applications, materials, design considerations, and mechanisms of heat transfer.
IPS Expanding to Accommodate Growing Market
I recently had the opportunity to visit IPS in their Cedar City, Utah, facility, where Mike Brask, founder and president of IPS, shared his business strategy and gave me a tour of the expanding manufacturing facility. IPS produces a wide range of PCB manufacturing equipment, including plating, DES, VCM, VRPs, ventilation, and spare parts for older equipment.
EIPC Technical Snapshot: Automotive Technology
Although current circumstances have forced the postponement of its live conferences, seminars, and workshops, EIPC continues to provide a platform for the exchange and dissemination of the latest knowledge and technical information to the European interconnection and packaging industry. Pete Starkey details how its current series of technical snapshots, delivered in a webinar format, address technology challenges facing the automotive, telecom, and high-speed sectors of the industry.
Real Time with… SMTAI 2020: Technical Conference Review
SMTAI 2020, which was converted to a virtual event, took place from September 28–30. I attend every year, but since there was no keynote in the virtual format, I went straight to the technical conference. This event covered a broad range of topics related to everything in assembly. Over 90 technical presentations are available, but this report covers just some of the sessions I attended.
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).
Book Excerpt: Thermal Management With Insulated Metal Substrates, Part 2
The following is an excerpt from the second half of Chapter 1 of "The Printed Circuit Designer's Guide to... Thermal Management With Insulated Metal Substrates," written by Ventec International Group’s Didier Mauve and Ian Mayoh. In this free eBook, the authors provide PCB designers with the essential information required to understand the thermal, electrical, and mechanical characteristics of insulated metal substrate laminates.
Ucamco Harnesses Power of Artificial Intelligence
In this video interview from the show, Luc Maesen, Ucamco director, and Technical Editor Pete Starkey discuss how AI has been applied to help automate the CAM/CAD process, resulting in the company's IamCam system. This platform enables intelligence-aided manufacturing designed to lower costs while achieving fewer errors and faster delivery.
DIS: It’s All About Alignment
Jesse Ziomek, VP of sales for DIS, updates Pete Starkey on the capability of the company to achieve ultimate accuracy in layer-to-layer registration, not just in rigid multilayers, but also in flex and rigid-flex builds. Jesse also comments on keeping technology exciting enough to attract young engineers into the industry.
With DIS, Accurate Registration is Everything
In this video interview from the show, Technical Editor Pete Starkey and Jesse Ziomek, VP of sales for DIS, discuss how the company achieves ultimate accuracy in layer-to-layer registration, not just in rigid multilayers, but also in flex and rigid-flex builds. Jesse also comments on keeping technology exciting enough to attract young engineers into the industry.
2020 EIPC Winter Conference, Day 1
Pete Starkey recaps how the 2020 EIPC Winter Conference, held in mid-February, attracted around 90 delegates from a dozen European countries—as well as a few from North America—to an outstanding learning and networking experience for members of the PCB community. The theme of this year's event was: “The Needs for Next-Generation Electronic Devices and Changes in Fabrication Solutions for PCBs, PCBAs, Materials, and Technologies.”
Congratulations to Mike Carano! Dieter Bergman IPC Fellowship Award Recipient
Patty Goldman spoke with Mike Carano about being awarded the Dieter Bergman IPC Fellowship Award, what that means to him as someone who was inspired by Dieter, and after 40 years in the industry, what keeps him excited going forward. Talking with Mike, one can feel his enthusiasm for IPC and the industry, which is contagious.
Catching up With Midstate Electronics
Dan Beaulieu recently sat down with Susan Matteo, Joan Allen, and Gerri Wooten from Midstate Electronics’ sales team to discuss their company, how long they have been in business, the key ingredients to their longevity and success, and how they see the market today in general. Midstate offers everything from multilayer PCBs to flex and rigid-flex circuits and PCB assembly.
Rogers Continues to Grow and Adapt
In this video interview from the show, Guest Editor Judy Warner and Tony Mattingly, senior product manager at Rogers Corporation, discuss the state of materials at the company, as well as the Rogers innovation centers the company has opened recently.
Insulectro: Educating Designers About High-Speed Materials
In this video interview from the show, Ken Parent, Insulectro's VP of sales and product manager, speaks with Guest Editor Kelly Dack about the company's efforts to educate engineers and designers about materials and their options and availability. Insulectro has held a series of PCB design classes and plans to keep educating designers about these high-speed materials.
Ventec’s Materials are Enablers for 5G, Industry 4.0
In this video interview from the show, Technical Editor Pete Starkey and Ventec COO for Europe and the Americas Mark Goodwin discuss Ventec’s latest high-speed, low-loss, high-frequency materials as enablers for 5G and Industry 4.0.
IPC APEX EXPO 2020 Attendees Speak: Brian Wojtkiewicz
"It seems they are all pursuing digital imaging; whether it’s direct imaging exposure or inkjet solder mask, they’re all going that direction, and it’s not just the big customers; small customers are doing the same," said Taiyo's Brian Wojtkiewicz. "They’re investing money, which is good. New investment is what has been lacking for a couple of years."
Taiyo America Brings New Ideas to Solder Mask Development
During the show, Technical Editor Pete Starkey and Don Monn, Midwest regional sales director at Taiyo America, discuss the company’s progress with the establishment of inkjet solder mask as a production reality, now with OEM approvals. Monn also addresses the development of crack-resistant white solder mask and new screen-printable formulations with very high thermal conductivity.
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).
Burkle North America: New Equipment and ‘New Blood’ in the Industry
During the show, Guest Editor Dick Crowe and Kurt Palmer, president and CEO of Burkle North America, discuss Kurt's career history and responsibilities in his present role. Palmer also details the equipment that the company is exhibiting on the show floor, and the palpable excitement that veteran technologists feel this year seeing younger engineers and students attending IPC APEX EXPO 2020. There’s a lot of “new blood” in the industry, as Palmer explains.
IPC APEX EXPO 2020 Attendees Speak: Sheryl Long
"It’s a great place to see our customers and other friendly faces," said Sheryl Long, global marketing communications manager for Rogers Corporation. "The traffic has been a little slow this year, but it’s a great place to meet everybody at one spot and to get together and talk about what’s going on in the industry.
American Standard Circuits: Strong Focus on Military and Aerospace
During IPC APEX EXPO 2020, Joe Fjelstad speaks with Anaya Vardya, president and CEO of American Standard Circuits. In this interview, Anaya shares a variety of recent business updates. He also highlights the company's flex technology and I-Connect007 eBooks on flex and rigid-flex fundamentals, as well as RF and microwave PCBs.
Kurt Palmer Takes on New Role as Burkle America President
During productronica 2019, Barry Matties chatted with Kurt Palmer about his new role as president of Burkle America, the work they do with Schmoll Maschinen, and why customers in North America must continue to invest to keep up with the technology and be profitable.
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.
Fresh Thinking on the Logistics of Laminate Distribution
Mark Goodwin, COO of Europe and the Americas for Ventec International Group, sits down with Barry Matties to explain his approach to supply chain management, efficient distribution, and maintaining definitive product identity at every stage.
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.
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.
InduBond: Magnetic Induction Lamination
In this video interview, part of the productronica 2019 coverage, we spoke with Víctor Lázaro, R&D manager and technical director at Indubond. Víctor describes Indubond’s innovative methods for heating the boards to effect lamination through magnetic induction. Victor discusses the energy and operational efficiency that an induction method brings to the equipment: thermal profiles.
Future Trends in Flying Probe Testing
Peter Brandt, director of sales for Europe and Japan at atg, sits down with Pete Starkey and Barry Matties, gives his views on market requirements and testing technologies, and explains how flying probe testing is becoming the industry standard at all levels of production—and in many cases, the only practicable solution.
Book Review: The Printed Circuit Designer’s Guide to…Executing Complex PCBs
If you are serious about designing complex PCBs (most designs today are far from elementary) and even more serious about doing it right the first time, then this is the book for you. Loaded with guidelines for designing cutting-edge PCBs, this book is filled with real-world examples and tips, tricks, and techniques by some of Freedom CAD’s most experienced designers.
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.
Why Does the PCB Industry Still Use Gerber?
Every so often, I hear technologists ask why so many PCB designers still use Gerber. That is a fair question. Ucamco has over 35 years of experience in developing and supporting cutting-edge software and hardware solutions for the global PCB industry. Our customers—small, medium, and large PCB fabricators—include the electronics industry’s leading companies, and many of them have been with us for over 30 years. We are dedicated to our industry and excellence in everything we do, which includes our custodianship of the Gerber format.
Meet George Milad, I-Connect007 Columnist
Meet George Milad, one of our newest I-Connect007 columnists! George’s columns will cover PCB plating, IPC specifications, and more. George is the recipient of the 2009 IPC President’s Award, chairs the IPC Plating Committee, and is a permanent member of the IPC Technical Activities Executive Committee.
Communication, Part 3: Why Do Board Shops Ask So Many Questions?
In Part 3, Bob Chandler from CA Design and Mark Thompson from Prototron Circuits speak with Steve Williams about the importance of preparing, sending, and receiving comprehensive (and ideally, perfectly complete) design data packages. If you’ve ever wondered why the CAM department asks you so many questions, read on.
Communication, Part 2: Design Data Packages
The first part of this six-part series highlighted ways that PCB fabricators and designers can better communicate, starting with how to qualify a board shop. In Part 2, Bob Chandler and Mark Thompson talk about the importance of preparing, sending, and receiving comprehensive (and ideally, perfectly complete) design data packages.
New High-speed 3D Surface Imaging Technology in Electronics Manufacturing Applications
Line confocal sensors—and scanners based on them—are used in the imaging of surfaces, transparent materials, and multi-layered structures in various metrology and inspection applications on discrete parts, assemblies, webs, and other continuous products. Line confocal sensors operate at high speed and can be used to scan fast-moving surfaces in real-time as well as stationary product samples in the laboratory.
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.
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.
Selecting the Proper Flex Coverlayer Material
Coverlayers are polymer materials used to cover and protect the copper traces of the flex circuit product. There are a number of different options available for protecting the circuits, and they serve different design requirements in terms of cost, performance, and flexural endurance optimization. When specifying the choice, it is critical to call out not just the type of coverlayer material but also the thickness requirement. This can be very important in certain types of constructions, especially when a flex circuit will experience dynamic flexing during use.
Chemcut: Wet Processing Equipment for the Long Haul
Chemcut CEO and General Manager Rick Lies speaks about the growth he has seen in the marketplace over his 18 years in the industry, and how Chemcut has been able to remain competitive in the PCB and photochemical milling spaces. Jerry Reitz, Chemcut’s HES manager, also addresses the current shift towards zero-discharge facilities.
The Advantages of Non-sludge Acid Copper Products
Mike Wood, technical director with Cerambus Asia Pacific, discusses the acid copper product from Cerambus Technology Inc. that doesn't generate sludge during the plating process and operates at higher production output by using higher current density. He talks about why this is important for the state of the vertical continuous plating (VCP) market in Asia, and the trends he’s seeing in that space.
Focusing on Surface Sensitivity for Reliability
At the recent IPC High-Reliability Forum and Microvia Summit, Customer Applications Scientist Elizabeth Kidd and Sales Engineer Alex Bien, both of BTG Labs, discuss with Andy Shaughnessy their presentation on the challenges of working with highly sensitive surfaces, such as the risk of contamination. They also talked about the various surface characterization techniques that BTG Labs uses to identify such contaminants.
Solder Mask Curing: UV Bump Overview
Ultraviolet (UV) bump, also called UV cure, is a processing step in which the solder mask pattern is irradiated with ultraviolet and infrared light. This step is performed with special equipment that is built as a continuous flow system, which consists of a conveyor belt and tubular UV lamps mounted above and below the belt. Read on to find out more about this process.