Article Highlights
productronica 2017 Means Connecting to Global Customer Base for Circuit Automation
01/18/2018 | Patty Goldman, I-Connect007
In Terms of Experience, a 10,000-foot View of China
01/17/2018 | Barry Matties, I-Connect007
The Benefits of Coming Together to Form a Global Reach
01/16/2018 | Patty Goldman, I-Connect007
CES 2018, Augmented Reality and Much More
01/15/2018 | Dan Feinberg, FeinLine Associates, Inc.
It’s a Long, Winding and Exciting Road for Automotive Electronics
01/12/2018 | Patty Goldman, I-Connect007
PCB :: Suppliers

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productronica 2017 Means Connecting to Global Customer Base for Circuit Automation

Circuit Automation’s Tom Meeker joined me for a conversation at productronica 2017 in Munich, to update me about what the company has been doing in solder mask coating equipment.

In Terms of Experience, a 10,000-foot View of China

In the past 30+ years of PCB manufacturing in China, you would be hard-pressed to find someone more connected to the pulse of the Asian market than Gene Weiner. Barry Matties met with the industry veteran at HKPCA to get his take on the show, the current and future market conditions of China, and any effect the new U.S. administration might have on trade relations going forward.

The Benefits of Coming Together to Form a Global Reach

At productronica, MacDermid Enthone Electronics Solutions and Alpha Assembly Solutions had one large combined booth to promote the companies’ integration. Over a buttered pretzel (don’t knock it until you’ve tried it), we talked about the newly amalgamated company, something everyone in the company is quite enthusiastic about.

It’s a Long, Winding and Exciting Road for Automotive Electronics

It was truly a delight to talk with Alun Morgan at productronica this year. He may be the most enthusiastic person in the field of electronics that I have ever met, as you will certainly understand as you read this interview.

Getting the Heat Out

Increasing consumer demands for high performance and the need for high reliability in sectors such as automotive, LED lighting, and renewable energy mean that thermal management is now front and center on the priority list for PCB manufacturing.

CES 2018 Showstoppers: Launchit and Press Event

“ShowStoppers LaunchIt is about giving innovative entrepreneurs a shot at getting the attention of angel investors on the lookout for innovation and new ventures. It’s also about gaining additional visibility with other industry influencers and dealmakers, as well as with the press who are always looking for the ‘what’s new’ story at CES.”

Preview: CES 2018 Unveiled

The official CES events started only about 15 hours ago. I have already been to CES Unveiled, an amazing (but somewhat long) NVIDIA press event, and now the Panasonic press conference is soon to begin, launching the Press Day activities. So far, it’s been amazing!

Schmid: Bringing Integrated Solutions to the Market

With China’s recent shift towards quality, the next generation of PCB fabrication equipment must target yields and include the ability to track those yields, says Schmid’s Laurent Nicolet and Demitry Kostouros. Barry Matties recently sat down with these two gentlemen to talk more about the market shift and Schmid’s introduction of their new vertical line aimed at carving a niche in the market.

That’s Hot: Ventec’s Goodwin on Thermal Management

IPC’s fall committee meetings were held in conjunction with SMTA International, as has been the case for several years now. Patty Goldman sat in on some subcommittee meetings, including one on laminates, where she met up with Ventec COO Mark Goodwin for a discussion on thermal management from a laminate supplier’s perspective.

Lamination to Drilling in Minutes: It's New and it's Not

Barry Matties met with Lino Sousa at productronica to check out Pluritec’s new Pluricut HPL machine, which offers an all-in-one solution for flash routing, beveling, measuring, and corner routing. See this machine in action by viewing the attached video content.


Weiner’s World—December 2017

Hold on to your seats! 2018 will be a year full of rapid changes, surprises, and growth. M&A activities will flourish. The supply chain will suffer shortages and changes as demand increases, copycats will rush to market, and new markets and potential suppliers will vanish before they are established.

Automation and Traceability Critical for High-Throughput Probe Testing

Peter Brandt, atg’s director of sales for Europe, India and Japan, joined Barry Matties at productronica to share his views on regional variations in electrical testing requirements, automation, traceability, and how to anticipate and satisfy the future demands of the market. Group general manager Dr. Jochen Kleinertz also comments on the need for close cooperation with customers to guide the R&D effort.

Isola: Evolving with the Market

In this interview from productronica 2017, Isola’s Karl Stollenwerk discusses the decline of the laminate market in Europe over the past 17 years, current demands on raw materials, and Isola’s new strategy to remain competitive.

Consulting in the Electronics Industry: Meet Francesca Stern

One of the best things about productronica was meeting people who I have corresponded with and those whose articles or presentations I have read or seen but have never actually had a chance to chat with. Francesca Stern is one such person, and it was a true pleasure to sit down and chat with her in the EIPC booth.

A Unique Norwegian Approach to Serving Customers

I met a lot of interesting people at productronica, with an assortment of different products on display. Such was my visit with Oyvind Tafjord, CEO of Visitech. His purpose at the show was to meet with his customers, so nothing unusual about that. But his customers also had booths (or stands, as they call them), which is an advantage for him, as he explains here.

AGFA: From Film to Inkjet Solder Mask

The productronica show was indeed filled with new technology, and it was great to meet with people and learn about it. This is precisely how I met AGFA’s Frank Louwet, who filled me in on the Dipamat inkjet solder mask they have been developing. It seemed an odd choice to go from film to solder mask, but as Frank explained, it makes perfect sense.

Ventec: Eye on the Future, with Automotive and Lighting Front and Center

Ventec’s Thomas Michels and Didier Mauve sat down with I-Connect007 Editors Patty Goldman and Pete Starkey and enjoyed an upbeat and enlightening conversation. Among the topics covered were the importance of working partnerships in maintaining supply chain continuity, market drivers for thermally conductive materials, and development of enabling technologies to support the automotive electronics revolution.

A Fresh Look at Outsourcing Solutions in Electrical Testing

In this interview conducted at productronica 2017, Gardien Group COO Roland Valentini describes to Pete Starkey the limitations of the traditional outsourcing model for electrical testing and explains the need for customised solutions directly catered to customers’ individual requirements.

Viking: Covering the Globe with Value-Added Services

In the final hours of productronica 2017, Barry Matties met with Jake Kelly of Viking to discuss the company’s value-added services, their growth in the India and America markets, and the UCE manufactured line they displayed at productronica.

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.


Pluritec Wants to Remove Human Factor from Solder Mask

Solder mask remains a relatively hands-on task, which can result in human error. But equipment manufacturer Pluritec wants to change that. At PCB West, I spoke with Pluritec Vice President of Sales Lino Sousa about the company’s new spray technology that can turn solder mask application into what is essentially a push-button operation.

HDI: Today, Tomorrow and the Future

For the November issue of The PCB Magazine, our editorial team interviewed some of the top HDI experts in the PCB supply chain. Joining us on the conference call were Steve Bird, PCB/flex technology manager at Finisar, and Tony Torres of APCT.

35 Years of HDI Fabrication Processes and Obstacles for Implementation

The electronics industry is the world’s largest and most robust market. It is also a bulwark of American creativity, with Silicon Valley as its origin and fortress.

HDI: Born in the USA and Making a Comeback

There is no denying that high-density interconnect (HDI) has been around a long time—over 25 years, believe it or not. From almost the moment of its conception in the U.S., the technology was adopted by and used almost exclusively in Asia.

Walt Custer’s Annual Update from productronica 2017

Industry consultant Walt Custer of Custer Consulting sat down with me at productronica 2017 to once again inform our readers with his yearly update and perspective on what’s happening in the industry. And guess what? It’s good news! Pertinent charts referenced in our conversation are included, but if you want more, Walt invites you to click the link at the end of this conversation and email him directly.

Video from productronica 2017: Electra Polymers Updates on the Latest Developments in DI Soldermask

From the show floor at productronica 2017, Electra Polymers' sales manager Ashley Steers discusses the state of the art in soldermask for direct imaging. Sales and marketing director Shaun Tibbals comments on developments in ink-jet soldermask, and opportunities in wafer-level packaging.

Video from productronica 2017: DIS Improves Registration of Flex and Rigid-Flex PCBs

From the show floor at productronica 2017, we stopped by the DIS booth for a conversation with Tony Faraci. Here, he explains how DIS has tackled the challenges of handling and alignment of flex-rigid multilayer builds (especially cut-out pre-preg layers and packing pieces) and automated what was previously an operator-dependent manual process.

Video from productronica 2017: Taiyo America Highlights Ink-Jettable Solder Mask

After a long-term program of cooperative development, evaluation and qualification, Taiyo America’s solvent-free ink-jet solder mask formulation is working successfully in a technically demanding production environment. Don Monn recounts his experiences from the show floor at productronica 2017.

Video from productronica 2017: Rogers Discusses Trends Driving Growth

Dirk Lefelon, European sales manager for Rogers Corporation, discusses his group’s final 2017 results. He also explains what the new year will bring, including increased investment in capacity for the European market, especially for the automotive segment.

The PCB Norsemen: Industry 4.0, AI and CircuitData

As automation works its way onto the shop floors, it still struggles to replace humans in the supporting roles, such as designers, purchasers, brokers, and back-office staff. Where automation on the shop floor replaces humans in doing repetitive manual tasks, the supporting roles (at least some of them) require intelligence to understand and utilise information.


Catching up with…Brigitflex

Today, Brigitflex is building unique custom-made boards for companies all over the world, from large defense and aerospace companies to small incubator companies inventing new products. They have become well-known as the shop to go to when nobody else can solve your problems.

The History of Predictive Engineering

It all started in 1983, at HP, when I complained to our group's vice president that our W. Edwards Deming and Total Quality Management (TQM) Six Sigma training was being concentrated in PCB manufacturing. We had eliminated final inspection and instead placed quality in the hands of the operators with a final electrical test. The electrical test was governed by what we learned from Deming.

Final Finishes: Taking Gold Thickness into Account

Martin Bunce was one of several people from MacDermid Enthone who presented at SMTA International this year. He sat down with me for a chat about his paper on final finishes, particularly with regard to controlling gold thickness.

Strategies for Developing Copper Plating Systems

I-Connect007's Patty Goldman met with Dr. Albert Angstenberger, global technology manager for metallization with MacDermid Enthone Electronics Solutions, while at SMTA International. He presented a most interesting paper on copper pillar plating systems that we hope to publish in The PCB Magazine sometime in the future.

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.

Predictive Engineering: Happy Holden Discusses True DFM

Happy Holden has been involved in DFM for over 45 years, since he first started working at HP and optimized their PCB design and manufacturing processes. Naturally, for this issue, Barry Matties and Andy Shaughnessy made it a priority to get Happy’s thoughts on DFM, and what true DFM entails.

Institute of Circuit Technology Hayling Island Seminar 2017

This year’s event had a well-chosen and varied programme featuring presentations on process chemistry and R&D consortia, a discussion of controversial standards proposals and a review of the experiences of commissioning new technology in a start-up factory.

Catching up with FineLine Global

With locations all over the world and technology offerings covering all technologies, I wanted to see for myself what this “broker on steroids” was all about—how they got started and how they grew. So I was delighted to have a conversation with Eli Ikan, Fineline Global’s General Manager.

RTW SMTAI: What's New at MacDermid Enthone

Jim Hartzell of MacDermid Enthone explains the responsibilities of his new position servicing the end-user as part of a group that deals directly with OEMs. He also discusses MacDermid's steady growth and some of the hotter market segments, as well as a variety of new product offerings.

The State-of-the-Art in PCB Pre-production Engineering

If there’s one benefit of old age, it’s being able to remember the introduction to our industry of technologies that may be taken for granted by the present generation, but were revolutionary at the time. I can recall the history of Ucamco as far back as the late 1980s when, as one of the very early adopters of the DISC laser plotter and its associated electronic PCB front-end tooling system, our company gained entry to a spectacular new world of pre-production engineering capability.


Ventec Shares Their Insights on the Laminate Market, Part II

The discussion on laminates and markets with Ventec’s Mark Goodwin continues as he talks about the importance of service, where Ventec is headed, and offers some advice on partnering with your supplier.

Ventec Shares Their Insights on the Laminate Market, Part I

I-Connect007’s Barry Matties sat down with the COO of Ventec USA/Europe, Mark Goodwin, to discuss the laminate market as a whole, the market segments behind that growth, and how Ventec has positioned itself in the thermal management space.

High-Throw DC Acid Copper Formulation for Vertical Continuous Electroplating Processes

The electronics industry has grown immensely over the last few decades owing to the rapid growth of consumer electronics in the modern world. New formulations are essential to fit the needs of manufacturing printed circuit boards and semiconductors.

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.

NEPCON South China 2017 Opens Today

NEPCON South China 2017, being held in conjunction with the Shenzhen Circuit Sourcing 2017 and Automotive World China, opens its doors today at the Shenzhen Convention and Exhibition Center to showcase nearly 600 companies catering to the electronics manufacturing industry. This year’s event, the largest ever in the show's 30-year history, features 45,000 square meters of exhibition space.

Compliance Management: The Defining Factor Between Success and Failure

Compliance management in the defense industry can be the defining factor between financial success and costly mistakes. This short article highlights some of the risks and implications of failing to comply with U.S. Defense export and import regulations.

IMPACT Interview: Tony Revier, Uyemura

One of the best parts of IMPACT for me is meeting and getting to know people in our industry that I haven’t met before. While hors d’oeuvres were coming around before the Tuesday evening awards dinner, I found a quiet corner to talk with Uyemura USA President and CEO Tony Revier.

The Speed of Nouya: Interview with Bao Xinyang of Shanghai Nanya

The theme of the June issue of PCB007 China Magazine is "High-Speed Materials." As is becoming more widely understood, domestic material supply is the only way for China’s high-frequency, high-speed circuit board industry to grow.

A Conversation with New Isola Chief Revenue Officer Michael White

In a recent conference call with Isola’s new Chief Revenue Officer Michael White, I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties, and Managing Editor Patty Goldman gained a deeper understanding of the internal reorganization happening right now with Isola and Mike’s plans for Isola’s marketing team.

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.


Review of the 2017 IPC Reliability Forum

IPC continues to lead our industry by example with their inaugural Reliability Forum, held in Chicago in April. The event was focused on manufacturing high-performance products and featured industry royalty from both a speaker and audience standpoint.

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?

Better Together: How HDP User Group Showcases the Industry’s Best Side

HDPUG is a non-profit trade organization comprised of members from top companies in the electronics industry, from materials suppliers and manufacturers, to OEMs and end users. Key activities include collaborating on issues facing multiple industries and bringing people together on projects who might not have met otherwise. Barry Matties met HDPUG’s European representative and project facilitator Alun Morgan at the recent EIPC Summer Conference to learn more about the group and current projects.

Global Impact on European PCB Fabrication: EIPC Summer Conference 2017, Day 2

The second day saw the conference room full once more, the late networking session in the bar having resulted in no significant casualties, and I was pleased to accept the invitation to moderate the first session, on processes and materials for flexible PCBs.

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.

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.

Weiner’s World—May 2017

China’s central bank is effectively anchoring the yuan to the dollar, a policy twist that has helped stabilize the currency in a year of political transition and market jitters about China’s economic management. The yuan weakened more than 6% against the dollar in 2016; this year, it is up roughly 1%, and the expectation that the currency will fluctuate—a gauge known as implied volatility—is around its lowest in nearly two years.

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.

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.

'Flexdude' Tom Woznicki Celebrates Company’s 25th Anniversary

Twenty-five years ago, Tom “Flexdude” Woznicki got laid off. A lot of people did, back during the mini-recession that helped bring Bill Clinton into the White House. So, he launched his own flex circuit design bureau and never looked back. Since then, he’s designed flex circuitry for everything under the sun, including the Mars Rover; the flex circuits he designed are visible in many of the Rover photos. I ran into Tom at DesignCon 2017 and we discussed the benefits of flex circuits, the expansion of the flex market, and his company’s first quarter-century in operation.


Mutracx Makes Green Operations Economically Viable

During IPC APEX EXPO, I sat down for an interview with with Jeroen de Groot, CEO of Mutracx. He detailed the company’s plans to install new equipment at a facility in Romania, and he explains why having a green manufacturing operation is not enough—it must also be economically feasible.

Weiner’s World – March 2017

The CPCA show held at the China International PCB And Assembly Show was moderately busy even though the new venue was not quite ready (no escalators, the "water closets" not fully finished, the heat was only on for a few hours one day). It showcased products for PCB Manufacturing, Electronic Assembly Materials and Manufacturing Services.

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.

A Conversation with Gene Weiner

In a discussion following the PCB Executive Forum at IPC APEX EXPO in February, Gene Weiner opened up to Barry Matties and Patty Goldman on the state of the North American electronics industry supply chain and the importance of cooperative efforts up and down that supply chain.

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.

EIPC Workshop on PCB BioMEMS

The Premier Inn conference centre at Heathrow Airport was the venue for the EIPC workshop on PCB BioMEMS. What, I hear you ask, is a PCB BioMEMS? This is an abbreviation for biomedical (or biological) microelectromechanical systems, otherwise known as lab-on-chip.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: ERP System Helps Gardien Ensure Global Consistency in Quality Assurance Services

How does a global provider of quality assurance services to the PCB industry give its customers the peace of mind that no matter where they utilize its services that they will always be to the same consistent high standard? Gardien Global VP of Quality Rick Meraw explains the benefits of an in-house-developed ERP system in driving efficiency and best practice throughout the organization.

Mike Carano on the First PCB Executive Forum Held at IPC APEX EXPO 2017

When John Mitchell came on board as president of IPC, he decided to tap the members of the Raymond E. Pritchard Hall of Fame for suggestions and advice. So he established the IPC Ambassador Council and tasked them to create special programs for IPC conferences. It is this group of people who put together the recent PCB Executive Forum that was presented at IPC APEX EXPO 2017.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: John Davignon Offers HDPUG Update

The HDPUG (High-Density Packaging User Group) is an industry consortia designed to leverage members expertise to solve a variety of problems and issues affecting the electronics industry. Recent examples include the publication of project for the effects on back drilling on PTH reliability and reliability of press fit technology.

The Near and Far Future for Orbotech and Inspection

Orbotech’s PCB Division President Arik Gordon and I spoke in detail about the company’s newest developments in automated optical shaping (AOS), Orbotech’s unique culture and commitment to R&D, and what he expects to see in the near future for the inspection industy.


RTW CPCA: Helmut Fischer Discusses Solutions Approach in PCB Measurements

Dr. Wolfgang Babel, CEO and president of Helmut Fischer Group, discusses Industry 4.0, automation, and advanced solutions in PCB measurements.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Ventec Talks Benefits of High-Level OEM Tech Team

Managing Director of Ventec Europe, Thomas Michels comments upon the complementary non-copper-clad-laminate, one-stop-shopping opportunities that have resulted from the merger of the TMT business with the Ventec operation, and discusses the benefits of a strong integrated supply chain and a high-level team of OEM applications specialists in building long-term partnerships between Ventec and its customers.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Schmoll and Taiyo America Partner to Speed Up Solder Mask Development

How to accelerate the development of specialist direct-imaging solder resists to suit the requirements of the Asian and North American markets? Jesse Session, technical manager at Taiyo America, describes how close collaboration between ink formulator and equipment supplier enables the optimization to be achieved most effectively.

RTW CPCA Show 2017: ESI Discusses Latest Innovations in Laser Drilling

At the recent CPCA Show 2017 in Shanghai, China, Mike Jennings, director of marketing for flex and interconnect products at Electro Scientific Industries Inc. (ESI), highlights their expertise in laser drilling, as well as being the first roll-to-roll capable UV laser drill provider. He also talks about their recently released RedStone PCB laser processing system, a low cost-of-entry solution for FPC manufacturers considering the adoption of laser processing for flex PCB.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: The Power of Synergies with MacDermid Enthone and Alpha Assembly Solutions

Don Cullen, global director of marketing communications with MacDermid Enthone, and Tom Hunsinger, VP global marketing with Alpha Assembly Solutions explain the structure of MacDermid Performance Solutions, which combines the former MacDermid, Enthone and Alpha Assembly Materials businesses to provide PCB and EMS industries with enhanced innovation and service throughout the supply chain, with unified sales strategies and improved processes.
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