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RTW IPC APEX EXPO: New Strategies in the U.S. for Eternal Photoresist

Bob Ferguson, CEO of Break Free Strategies and well-known industry executive, talks with Guest Editor Mike Carano (RBP Chemical Technologies) about his role in helping Eternal Materials position its photoresist technology to compete in the North American marketplace.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: APEX EXPO Wrap-up Roundtable

Publisher Barry Matties and Managing Editor Andy Shaughnessy join Bob Neves of Microtek Labs for a review of IPC APEX EXPO 2017 and a look at the state of the PCB industry.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Tara Dunn talks with Clark Webster from All Flex

Clark Webster discusses the increased need for high temperature, high speed materials, new developments in their assembly capabilities and the importance of working with your manufacturer for flex design.

Time-Lapse Video: The IPC APEX EXPO 2017 Show in Under Seven Minutes!

During IPC APEX EXPO 2017, we at I-Connect007 had our time-lapse camera running from setup to closing. The camera was positioned high in our studio, where we conducted our RealTimewith…IPC APEX EXPO video interviews, aimed down the main aisle.

Real Time with...IPC: Don Veri on Meyer Burger's Latest Inkjet Developments

Don Veri, sales and business development for Meyer Burger, discusses the company's newest inkjet technology, as well as their focus on printed electronics.

Patty's Perspective: New Technology Heading our Way— Faster than Ever!

As an excellent introduction to this issue, IPC’s John Mitchell gives us a wonderful overview of what emerging technology is and what we need to do to keep up. One thing he emphasizes is a trained and competitive workforce. Indeed, in our recent hiring survey we learned that an overwhelming percentage of you are concerned about a shortage of skilled and qualified people. John’s column is a great call to action.

Real Time with...IPC: IPC Market Research Update

Sharon Starr updated everyone on the Market Research services, industry forecasting and research projects her group publishes. She also mentioned a "call to action" for a meeting tomorrow with IPC members, seeking input on needed metrics for their new Pulse of the Industry program she will be rolling out this year, which will be a "Industry Health Scorecard".

Real Time with...IPC: American Standard Circuits Strives to Define the Future of PCB Technology

VP of Operations Olson discussed his company's wide range of technology and how they are poised to take on whatever their customers need.

Ladle on Manufacturing: Drilling Deep

Whether you stack high or drill thick panels, the dynamics of drilling are similar. When you overlay the outer-layer artworks you may notice that the holes on the exit side of the panel or stack have a much higher level of positional variation than the entry side holes.

Real Time with...IPC: MacDermid Enthone Positions Itself to Meet the Needs of the Electronics Supply Chain

Warren Kenzie, Technical Director at Macdermid Enthone, discusses with I-Connect007 Guest Editor Mike Carano the critical need to develop equipment sets that are properly designed to ensure optimal functioning of the production processes. He also noted the need to understand the relationship between materials, chemistry, equipment, and people.


Real Time with...IPC 2017 Videos Now Available for Viewing

Over 70 video interviews from the IPC APEX EXPO 2017 show in San Diego, CA are now available for viewing. See the opening ceremony, hear from suppliers and others on their new products, learn more about the HDP Users Group. Don't miss the videos by IPC President John Mitchell and his staff.

Catching up with…Prototron Tucson’s General Manager Kim O’Neil

Prototron’s Tucson Division serves as the company’s military defense division as well. They focus on mil-spec and aerospace work as well as special technology PCBs such as RF, microwave and flex circuits. During the past few months Kim 0’Neil and his team have been working on updating their mil-spec qualification from MIL-PRF-55110 to MIL-PRF-31032. Since Prototron is one of the first companies to make this transition, I wanted to talk to Kim about this accomplishment.

EIPC 2017 Winter Conference Review of Day 2

Almost everyone made it back to the conference room for the start of the second day of the EIPC Winter Conference in Salzburg, even those who had enjoyed the late networking session into the early hours!

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.

Weiner’s World—January 2017

This month’s column is a bit shorter than usual as we prepare for next month’s IPC APEX EXPO and its Executive Forum for PCB fabricators and their supply chain. This month also marks the 65th anniversary of Epec LLC in New Bedford, Massachusetts. The company, founded in 1952, is the oldest printed circuit fabricator in North America. Half of its $50 million in sales is reported to be with printed circuits.

Electroplated Copper Filling of Through-holes: Influence on Hole Geometry

The process consists of a two-step acid copper plating cycle. The first step utilizes periodic pulse reverse (PPR) electroplating to form a conductive copper bridge across the middle of a through-hole and is followed by direct current electroplating to fill the resultant vias formed in the bridge cycle.

Trouble in Your Tank: Acid Copper Plating

Electroplating a printed circuit board is by no means a trivial task. Higher layer counts, smaller-diameter vias (through-hole and blind) as well as higher-performance material sets contribute to the greater degree of difficulty with today’s technology.

Help Wanted! Our 2017 Industry Hiring Survey

This month we conducted an industry survey on plans for hiring during the year. Included here is a summary of the results. We started by simply asking, “Do you plan to hire additional people this year?” More than half of the respondents answered yes while about a third said no—which we take as an optimistic sign that our industry plans to expand in 2017.

Study of Immersion Gold Processes Used for Both ENIG & ENEPIG

The use of electroless nickel/electroless palladium/immersion gold (ENEPIG) has been steadily increasing the past several years and benefits of the finish have now become well-known throughout the industry. The finish provides both reliable solder joints and wire bonds

Now is the Time for Comprehensive Tax Reform

Tax policy is among the most basic tools of any government to accomplish its objectives. From the private sector perspective, taxes are one of largest expenses of any business. But despite being such an important topic for government and business, there is widespread agreement that the U.S. federal tax code is a mess.


Catching up with…Nessis Inc. President Kathleen Niles

When I checked in on one of my old PCB sales associates recently, he told me that he had a new gig selling the latest and greatest new productivity software tools. He spoke so highly about Nessis Inc. and what their tools could do for companies, especially PCB shops, that I decided to learn more. I arranged to talk with Kathleen Niles, the co-founder and president of Nessis Inc. Here is a portion of that conversation.

Patty’s Perspective: Everything Old is New Again

This month’s issue is all about plating and surface finishes; long ago, that was pretty much my start in the world of printed circuits—wet processing. So this is kind of my home turf—and not, since I haven’t worked in wet processing for some…well, for many years. I’ve always expected that I could hop right back onto the plating room floor and pick right up where I left off all those years ago. Or could I? Have things changed much? Time to read on and see.

Understanding Rush PCB

I had an interesting interview recently with Rush PCB CEO Akber Roy, who goes by Roy. I was stunned by some of the things he told me about the Silicon Valley company, such as how Rush PCB can turn around full turn-key quotes in less than three hours. He also told me they can deliver full turn-key product in five days or less, sometimes three days.

WKK and Schmoll Join Forces in China

Tom Burkhardt of Schmoll Maschinen and Hamed El-Abd of WKK spoke with Publisher Barry Matties about the recently formed distribution partnership between the two companies and specifically how each company stands to benefit from this pairing.

Ladle on Manufacturing: Material Matters

Have you considered whether or not you could improve your multilayer yields by better use of your base materials? Perhaps the following could give you a few ideas of how this could help you.

CES 2017: Disruptive Technologies

Those of you that have read my previous columns covering CES 2017 know that at recent CES shows I have seen many drones, autonomous cars, IoT devices, robots, and many other items ranging from robots who stand in for your doctor to smart trash cans who tell you via Alexa, Google, or soon, Cortana on your own computer, that since you have thrown away two empty milk cartons in the last few days it may be time to order more milk; just say yes and consider it ordered.

Catching up with...Coast to Coast Circuits CEO Walt Stender

Coast to Coast is an independent American circuit board manufacturing company. Yes, the key word here is “independent.” After many mergers and acquisitions that have diminished the mil/aero PCB vendor base, there are only a handful of independent companies for our country’s defense and aerospace contractors to choose from.

Book Recommendation: Simply Brilliant—Powerful Techniques to Unlock your Creativity and Spark New Ideas

This is more than a brainstorming book, much more. In his new book, Schroeder teaches the reader not only how to brainstorm in a group, but also how to come up with ideas as an individual.

Catching up with…LinkedIn Expert Bruce Johnston

My friend and business associate Bruce Johnston was named one of the LinkedIn Thought Leaders—The USA & Canada List (100+) by Andy O’Hearn, an expert LinkedIn coach and social media analyst. When you consider that there are over 467 million LinkedIn members, being in this list of approximately 100 is a pretty big deal.

CES 2017: Press Day, Launch.It and Showstoppers

Before the show opens, CES provides two days and evenings not open to the general attendees, to enable companies, large and small, an opportunity to present their new offerings to the press. These opportunities range from small meetings with individual members of the trade press to huge events such as those presented by Samsung, Asus, Sony, Intel, Panasonic and others, with literally several hundred in attendance.


Emmy Ross Discusses the New I-Connect007 E-Book Series

One thing that is long overdue in our industry is a series of guidebooks focused on helping companies with all their needs, from qualifications like AS9100 and Mil-P-31032 to various technologies, heavy copper, rigid-flex and microvias. I-Connect007 is now providing our industry with an entire series of these guidebooks, starting with the first book, "The Printed Circuits Buyers Guide to… AS9100 Certification." Authored by Imagineering Inc., this book educates readers about the AS9100 quality standard, and explains how to earn this certification.

Five New Books that Will Change Your Perspective on Sales and Marketing

In honor of the December topic of sales and marketing of The PCB Magazine, I’m providing a review of five books that can directly influence the way we think about sales, marketing, customers and customer service.

CES Unveiled: Press Day and the NVIDIA Keynote

CES Unveiled exhibitors range from well-known companies such as: Lenovo, showing their latest high-end (and very impressive) notebooks, tablets and all in one computers; Ampad, with their new series of very capable fast and long range routers; and Thrustmaster, showcasing their virtual reality-ready gaming peripherals. Additionally, there are many previously almost unknown companies exhibiting many IoT items.

On Location at HKPCA: IPC’s Mitchell and Carmichael on Asia, the Global Industry Outlook, and Trump

While in Shenzhen, China recently, with the PCB industry’s biggest trade show as a backdrop, Publisher Barry Matties sat down once again to interview IPC President John Mitchell and IPC Asia President Phil Carmichael. This time they discussed trends they’re seeing in the Asia-Pacific region and what a Trump presidency means to the industry.

Catching up with...M&A Expert Tom Kastner

If you want to know what is going on in our industry when it comes to mergers and acquisitions, there is no better person to turn to than Tom Kastner. Whenever I want to verify a rumor of a company being bought or sold, Tom is the first person I call, and unless he is under an NDA, he will fill me in. In this, our latest discussion, we talked about the PCB industry’s M&A activity in 2016 and what Tom expects to see in 2017.

CES 2017: Preview and a Projection for the Future

Well here we are again; one more year has gone. Think back to one year ago and look at all that has happened, including recent political happenings, technical advances in 3-D printing and manufacturing, and the huge improvement in display technology, what with OLED and HDR putting everyday 4K displays into the background and driving the proverbial nail in 3D TVs.

Catching up with…Dr. Anthony Caputo

I met Dr. Anthony Caputo last year while helping one of my clients secure some strong engineering talent. Anthony had been reading my columns and reached out to me since he was looking for a new opportunity in a high-tech printed circuit board facility. Once I read his CV and saw his credentials, I jumped at that chance to help this talented young man.

Weiner’s World

Rather than joining the annual forecast fray by attempting to provide guidance or guesses as to the outlook for the PCB and electronic assembly businesses in 2017, I thought I would provide a different year-end assessment. Here are a few thoughts for the New Year and beyond from a long-term colleague and friend of the past half century, Harvey Miller, electronics market researcher, consultant and founder of Fabfile Online.

Supplier Spotlight: American Standard Circuit’s AS9100 Journey

I had the privilege of working with American Standard Circuits (ASC) over the past year with their successful pursuit of AS9100 quality management system certification. The company has chosen to share their approach, lessons learned and benefits gained by going through this formidable process.

TTM President Thomas Edman on the Global PCB Market, Technology, and More

The TTM and Viasystems merger put the PCB industry on notice last year when it created one of the biggest powerhouses in the world. At this year’s HKPCA and IPC show, Barry Matties met with TTM Technologies President and Chief Executive Officer, Thomas Edman to get his views on the market, technology, the culture of TTM and even the Trump effect.


Book Recommendation: Leading the Unleadable—How to Manage Mavericks, Cynics, Divas, and Other Difficult People

This is the book you’ve been looking for. I approached this book with a bit of trepidation. I wasn’t sure what this was going to be about. But being inquisitive, I decided to give it a read. It was the subtitle "How to Manage Mavericks, Cynics, Divas, and other Difficult People" that got to me.

Real Time With...HKPCA & IPC Show 2016: Rogers Discusses 5G, Power Electronics Trends

At the recent HKPCA and IPC Show 2016 in Shenzhen, China, John Ranieri of Rogers Corp. speaks with I-Connect007's Stephen Las Marias about the 5G trend and thermal management issues in power electronics and how they will impact PCB materials requirements.

'Can Do' in CAM Outsourcing: CAM Engineering – Automation

As volume production in PCB has shifted significantly to Asia, manufacturers in Europe and North America have been focusing on high technology, quick-turn, prototype, and lower-volume production.

Ladle on Manufacturing: Making Suppliers Work for You

Every company has its own way of doing things. For some, the engineering team develops a detailed specification for the equipment they would like to purchase and this is put out to multiple suppliers for tender, along with full documentation for the commercial terms that will apply to the purchase. At the other end of the scale, a machine inquiry can be a simple phone call: “How much for a new machine?”

Real Time With...HKPCA & IPC Show 2016: Orbotech Highlights Need for Industry 4.0

Orbotech's Shavi Spinzi speaks with Editor Stephen Las Marias about the latest trends happening in the PCB manufacturing industry, and the market growth drivers. He explains why the PCB manufacturing industry needs to move to Industry 4.0, and discusses how Orbotech can help them in their Industry 4.0 journey.

Innovative Use of Vias for Density Improvements

In today’s fast-paced global, economic environment—which requires constant innovation, upskilling, and performance improvements— there is a need for increasing density. The classic way to increase density is to reduce the trace and spacing.

Patty’s Perspective: Everything You Want to Know about Vias but Were Afraid to Ask

Regarding our survey on vias, almost 85% of our respondents said they used blind/buried vias. And since 15% of those answering were either suppliers or consultants, it seems that approximately 100% use the B/Bs. OK then, on to a tougher question. We then asked how often, and it turns out that “use” covers everything from rarely to pretty much all the time, with a definite undercurrent of “because we have to.”

New Tools Mean More Designer Control for High-Speed PCBs

In the last hour of the electronica exhibition in Munich, Pete Starkey finally got the opportunity to sit down with Martyn Gaudion, Managing Director of Polar Instruments. They discussed the changing state of PCB design, and how the newest software tools allow PCB designers and engineers to have more control when designing high-speed PCBs.

Real Time with...HKPCA & IPC Show 2016 Slideshow - Day 1

The International Printed Circuit & APEX South China Fair 2016, presented by HKPCA and IPC, kicked off this week in Shenzhen, China. The theme of this year’s event is “Global Wisdom Shaping the Future.”

Advanced UV Lasers for Fast, High-Precision PCB Manufacturing

For more than 30 years, lasers have played a significant role in the manufacturing of PCBs. It is not a coincidence that electronic devices have, at the same time, become increasingly miniaturized. The ability to tightly focus a laser beam much smaller than a mechanical tool has been an enabler of such dense, compact circuitry; and the elimination of consumables such as drilling and routing bits has reduced manufacturing costs.


Aismalibar on Markets, Materials, and the Increase in Copper Prices

As a European laminate provider specializing in insulated metal substrates and thermal management, Aismalibar is often put in the demanding position of catering to some of Europe’s toughest customers, including the automotive industry. Pete Starkey and Barry Matties caught up with Director General Eduardo Benmayor at the most recent Electronica trade show to learn more about the company and get his take on the current state of the IMS marketplace.

Weiner’s World

Here we go again! The winter holiday (and trade show) season is upon us! Electronica's mood was upbeat. Next, the Asia and San Diego shows. We just received word as we were preparing for our trip to next month's HKPCA/IPC event in Shenzhen China that the CPCA (China Printed Circuit Association) show suddenly changed its March 2017 date and venue. Meanwhile, the HKPCA show, now billed as our industry's largest event, will have nearly 550 exhibitors—of which 20% are new.

KCE Group: A Thailand-Based PCB Manufacturer with a Growing Global Footprint

Recently, while at electronica in Munich, Germany I-Connect007's Judy Warner met KCE America President Rick Rhodes, and Joe Yeo of KCE Group. They discuss the unique challenges and opportunities that come with the rigorous automotive market, and explain why they continue to enjoy explosive growth.

A Scientific Response to Mr. Laminate Tells All

We read with interest Doug Sober’s recent Mr. Laminate Tells All column, "The Certification of IPC-4101D Polyimide Base Materials: Buyer Beware." The article raises interesting questions about the IPC 4101 classification system, primarily, how is a pure resin defined?

Rogers on the Booming Wireless Infrastructure Market

With the advent of 5G and next generation antennas, the already booming wireless infrastructure market is slated for continued growth through 2021, and as the primary material supplier for this sector, Rogers Corp. must continue to meet the technological demands of the Verizons and AT&Ts of world.

Walt Custer’s Global Market Outlook

With 2016 winding down, Walt Custer shared his end-of-the-year market research data with me at the recent electronica trade show in Munich, Germany. In our interview, Walt breaks down his findings and offers insight into the changing trends as we head into 2017.

Mr. Laminate Tells All: The Certification of IPC-4101D Polyimide Base Materials: Buyer Beware

At the most recent IPC meeting held in Rosemont, Illinois, one of the hot topics of discussion at the Laminate and Prepreg Subcommittee was the three polyimide specification sheets. The header portion for the three polyimide-based copper-clad laminates and prepregs are shown in Figure 1, for easy comparison of polyimide grades.

Rogers Highlights Thermally Enhanced 92ML Materials at electronica

I met with Rogers Corporation Business Development Manager John Ranieri at Electronica recently. Ranieri’s professional focus is on the 92ML series of laminate, prepregs, and IMS, which was highlighted at the Munich show. The 92ML products are geared for the power electronics marketplace where thermal management is a major concern.

HKPCA’s Daniel Chan on China’s PCB Manufacturing and Technology Landscape

Editor Edy Yu recently spoke with Daniel Chan, executive director of the Hong Kong Printed Circuit Association (HKPCA). Chan possesses more than 25 years of experience in global business management with strong leadership influencing suppliers and internal clients in business strategy and transformation.

electronica 2016 Impressions

Germany’s third-largest city, and capital of the southeastern state of Bavaria, Munich was once more host to electronica, which can justifiably claim to be the world’s leading trade fair for electronic components, systems and applications.


Streamline Circuits: The Importance of Being a Sales-Driven Organization

I recently had the pleasure of catching up with Tom Doslak, senior VP of sales and marketing for Streamline Circuits. We discussed how the company got started, technologies that seem to be driving the marketplace, critical equipment for today’s PCB fabricator, and how being a customer-centered, sales-driven organization serves as the key to their success.

EIPC's New Tagline and electronica 2016 Reflections

EIPC Technical Director Michael Weinhold and Editor Pete Starkey discuss the significance of EIPC's new tagline, 'The European Electronics Association'.

Let's Talk Testing: Vias for Dummies

In simple terms, a circuit board is but a composition of things designed to be connected and not. The number of layers and number of connections make no real difference as the geometry shapes the landscape.

What’s New with IPC’s Validation Services

During this year’s IPC Fall Committee Meetings, held in conjunction with SMTAI in Chicago, I met with my friend Randy Cherry, director of IPC Validation Services. Since the inception of Validation Services three years ago, I’ve conducted video interviews with Randy at IPC APEX EXPO, and I've been tracking the growth and progress of this program. I decided that this would be a great opportunity to do a mid-year check-up on IPC’s Validation Service programs.

Catching Up (Literally) with Uyemura’s George Milad at SMTAI 2016

I managed to catch up with George Milad of Uyemura at the recent SMTA International conference, which wasn’t easy to do. But he did take a few minutes to fill me in on his schedule for the week and it sure was packed—with a tutorial, presentations and IPC committee meetings.

World Mastery: Automotive Electronics Driving Business Growth

I-Connect007’s Pete Starkey is in the booth of China PCB manufacturer World Mastery to speak with Thomas Ip, Director of Sales and Marketing, about their manufacturing capabilities, and their key industry segments in Europe.

EIPC's Alun Morgan Holds Forth on electronica

EIPC’s Alun Morgan and Editor Pete Starkey discuss electronica's rise to prominence as the best place to meet not just EIPC members but also a broad spectrum of the value chain—designers through OEMs.

IPC’s President on IPC EDGE: Cutting Edge and Education

Chatting with IPC President John Mitchell is always a good time—he never fails to be upbeat and full of ideas, and his eagerness to fill us in on what’s happening with IPC was evident during our recent interview at the IPC Fall Committee Meetings, co-located with SMTAI in late September.

Ventec International Group Celebrates the 10-year Anniversary of Ventec Europe

Ventec International Group celebrates the 10-year anniversary of Ventec Europe today at electronica 2016, in Munich, Germany... See video slideshow!

Ventec Talks Strategies to Gain Market Share

At electronica 2016 in Munich, Germany, Tamara den Daas, OEM global account manager at Ventec International Group, speaks with I-Connect007’s Pete Starkey about Ventec Europe’s 10th anniversary, as well as the relevance of electronica for the company. She also discusses Ventec's strategies for gaining market share through PCB designers on the OEM side.


Tech Talk: 225 Tech Talks—1995 to 2016

Checking back on Tech Talk Nos. 100 and 200, which reflected on past and anticipated future changes in electronic packaging, I noted the production shift to Asia, followed by the relocation of the supplier base, and, more recently, the design of electronic devices.

Ventec Sees Growth in Automotive Electronics

Didier Mauve, sales and marketing manager for Ventec Europe, talks with Editor Pete Starkey during electronica 2016 about how the automotive electronics industry is driving growth for the company.

Lessons in Leadership From My Father

When I was asked to contribute an article for this issue on leadership, I thought it was an opportune time since my Dad, Nagji Sutariya, had recently passed away. I had spent nearly every daylight hour with him since I started working with him at Saturn in 2001.

One World, One Industry: Six Leadership Lessons from 20 Years in the Electronics Industry

The orchestra conductor is an apt metaphor for the successful leader. Effective leadership often boils down to the ability to inspire others (the symphony) to their best work, while keeping and driving the overall vision of the organization (the musical score).

Made in Brazil: Leadership Lessons from the Rio Olympics 2016

This month’s column is not about PCB technical stuff; instead, it’s about some valuable lessons I have learned this summer during that most fantastic of events, the Olympics. What I have learned can now be applied to PCBs and how we can transform a glass-reinforced laminate or any other bare material into an incredibly useful product that will make the difference in every single life of this planet.
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