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.
Joe O’Neil: Green Circuits Running Strong Under Current Social Restrictions
On May 28, Joe O’Neil, CEO of Green Circuits, updated Nolan Johnson on how the company continues to operate during the COVID-19 restrictions. O’Neil reflects on the rapid chain of events this past March when lockdowns were instituted in the San Francisco Bay area. After a brief but rapid shutdown, Green Circuits was back up and in production.
IPC Europe Shares Technical Education and Standards Awareness
Against a background of COVID-19 uncertainty and unprecedented challenges, but recognizing the vital importance of continuing to educate engineers and share the knowledge and skills required to manufacture boards and assemblies of the highest yields and reliability, the IPC Europe team hosted a technical webinar for the European electronics industry, featuring the expertise of two of I-Connect007’s regular columnists: Mike Carano and Jan Pedersen. Pete Starkey provides an overview.
Koh Young Update With Quintin Armstrong
In this video interview from the show, Quintin Armstrong, Americas service and applications senior manager for Koh Young, updates Guest Editor Dick Crowe on Koh Young America's Technical Services Team, where the focus is on AOI of components and materials on the stuffed board, as well as demonstrations and training at their new facility in Duluth, Georgia.
SMTA Europe’s Electronics in Harsh Environments Conference and Exhibition: A Taste of Things to Come
SMTA Europe’s Electronics in Harsh Environments Conference has become a must-attend annual event; unfortunately, it also became another casualty of the COVID-19 lockdown. Scheduled to take place in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, from April 21–23, 2020, it has now been postponed until December 1–3. Pete Starkey reports on a preview seminar presented by SMTA Europe.
Stencil Cleaning Update With Tom Forsythe
In this video interview from the show, Pete Starkey and Tom Forsythe, executive VP of KYZEN, which celebrated its 30th anniversary, discuss the practicalities of stencil cleaning and describe the characteristics and capabilities of KYZEN's newest versatile stencil cleaning product.
PCB Surface Preparation Before Solder Mask on Non-copper Finishes
A circuit board is made of copper. Usually, final finishes are applied after the solder mask process. In some cases, for special applications, the final finish may be applied before solder mask. In this case, we have solder mask on ENIG or galvanic nickel-gold. It is also possible to have tin or tin-lead under solder mask; this was an old technology that no longer plays a role today.
Arlon Takes on High-Power Failure
In this video interview from IPC APEX EXPO, Pete Starkey and Dave Nelson, director of business development at Arlon Electronic Materials, explore causes of failure in high-power PCBs and explain how resin cracking during drilling can be overcoming using thermally conductive filled resin.
Technica and Wise Partner For Atmospheric Plasma Cleaning
In this video interview from IPC APEX EXPO, Technical Editor Pete Starkey speaks with Frank Medina, president and CEO of Technica USA, who introduces Massimo Passerini, VP of Wise, and the revolutionary Wonderwise system for cleaning double-sided atmospheric plasma.
The Smart Factory: All the Bits and Bobs
“Smart factory” is another phrase that describes Industry 4.0 programs. These programs seem to have replaced CIM and CAM, but it did not make them obsolete. While these topics are getting a lot of press, there is nothing new about them. We have been on a journey to automate manufacturing since the mid-‘70s. What has evolved are faster and cheaper computers, and more complex and integrated networking.
InduBond Gets Hot With Induction Heating Lamination
In this video interview from the show, Editor Nolan Johnson sat down to speak with Víctor Lázaro, InduBond’s R&D director and technical manager, about InduBond's latest technology for panel lamination utilizing induction heating. InduBond demonstrates a lamination oven on the IPC APEX EXPO show floor, as well as the advantages of the technology.
IPC APEX EXPO 2020 Attendees Speak: Heston Singh
"We have been coming here for many years, and we had another good experience this year," said Unitron's Heston Singh. "If it wasn’t good, we wouldn’t be coming back. They have products that are needed for this market, so we’ll be back every year."
Trends From the Show: Solder and Software
In my role as a media representative, my perspective on IPC APEX EXPO may be a bit different from that of many attendees. Since the I-Connect007 team had the opportunity to talk to many attendees and exhibitors and listen to their stories over the course of the week, our view can be particularly wide. When I reflected on all the conversations, pieces from all throughout the week coalesced and provided a different understanding of and takeaway from the show.
Are Trade Shows at a Crossroads?
With the cancellation of this year’s E3 show, the biggest gamer conference, the event’s format is shifting to a more fluid, online communication method. This may be the wave of the future. Can you imagine if the COVID-19 outbreak had occurred just three months earlier? Would there have been a Consumer Electronics Show, DesignCon, or IPC APEX EXPO? If the coronavirus is still in play in six months, will these shows take place in 2021?
2020 EIPC Winter Conference, Day 2
Rested and refreshed, delegates returned to the conference room for the second day of the 2020 EIPC Winter Conference in Blijdorp, Rotterdam, South Holland. Pete Starkey provides an overview of the presentations and activities from Day 2.
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.”
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.
CB Tech and Technica Tout Titan’s Traits
During the show, Technical Editor Pete Starkey met with Frank Medina, president and CEO of Technica USA, and Harry Kok, international sales director at CB Tech. They discuss the features of the CB Tech Titan direct imaging system, which has very high throughput capability with best-in-class registration consistently maintained from the beginning to the end of the batch. Kok also explains how the Titan fits in with CB Tech’s ongoing plans for 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: 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."
Solder in PCBA: Can’t Live Without It... or Can We?
For most of its historical use in electronics, the solder alloy of choice was tin-lead, either an Sn60/Pb40 alloy or the Sn63/ Pb37 eutectic version of the tin-lead alloy. These two alloys were the workhorses of the industry. They were both well understood in terms of their processing and reliability—that is, until the advent of lead-free, a well-meaning but ill-conceived and poorly executed conversion, forced on the industry by the European Union in 2006.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO: John Mitchell Discusses the Show's Evolution
During IPC APEX EXPO, Technology Editor Dan Feinberg spoke with John Mitchell, CEO and president of IPC, about the event’s evolution from a strictly PCB show into a miniature Consumer Electronics Show, including new ideas and prototypes. They also discussed several new IPC initiatives, including IPC Design.
‘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.
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.
CES: The Main Halls
CES 2020 is now over, and the next round of shows is underway (NAMM is also over now, IPC APEX EXPO is next week, followed by AWE and others). CES displayed electronics related to gaming, monitors, computers, smartwatches, TVs, vehicles, cellphones, etc. However, the effect on the industry and the way we live will be felt until the next CES. The largest and most influential participants are usually found at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
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.
Flexibility Is Key to Direct Imaging Success
Brendan F. Hogan, managing director of MivaTek, explains that while each industry has its own set of requirements and difficulties, the lines between semiconductor and PCB markets are blurring, demanding more flexibility from equipment suppliers.
Streamlining Inspection and Verification
Barry Matties speaks with Vladi Kaplan, VP of marketing for CIMS, about the company’s newest verification station, the benefits operators will see from its colorized real-time video, and how it makes verification much faster and much more efficient for companies pushing 100% inspection.
Logistics Are Frank Lorentz’s Passion
Recently, Barry Matties had the chance to visit Ventec International Group’s German facility in Kirchheimbolanden (KIBO), where he met Frank Lorentz, Ventec’s general manager for the location. Logistics are clearly Frank’s passion. He lives and breathes it. If you spend any amount of time with him, that is abundantly clear. This interview with Frank was conducted after a tour of the KIBO site.
The World of PCBs: Anything But Boring
Andy Shaughnessy had the chance to catch up with Megan Teta, CID+, product manager of design and education services at Insulectro. Megan explains why she’s excited to become more involved in training and why the world of PCBs is anything but boring, contrary to popular opinion.
CES: Sands Show Floor and ShowStoppers
Every year at CES, ShowStoppers and a similar event, Pepcom, demonstrate many new devices and technologies. Again, some will become devices we can’t live without, and some you will never hear about again. Seeing all of these new ideas is one of the highlights of attending CES. Enjoy this look at a potpourri of new, innovative high-tech products.
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.
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.
BTU Discusses its Next-generation Flux Management System
At productronica 2019, Nolan Johnson spoke with Peter Franklin, managing director of BTU Europe, about BTU’s next-generation solder reflow flux management system—Aqua Scrub. A winner of the show’s Global Technology Award for Soldering, Peter breaks down the specifics of what makes Aqua Scrub such an intriguing technology.
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.