Article Highlights
Kelvin Characterization to Accurately Predict Copper Thickness
07/01/2019 | Article by Brandon Sherrieb, Integrated Test Corporation
Emma Hudson: From Tomboy to Tech Lead
06/21/2019 | Gen3
IPC’s PCB Tech Trends Study Highlights Issues Impacting Fabricators
06/11/2019 | Michael Carano, RBP Chemical Technology
PCB Fabricators’ Tech Capabilities Exceed OEMs’ Needs in Many Areas
06/06/2019 | Dennis Fritz, Fritz Consulting
Laminate Suppliers Face Increasing Demands From Customers
06/04/2019 | Nolan Johnson, I-Connect007

Latest Articles

Dissecting the IPC Regional Survey on PCB Technology Trends

Sharon Starr, Denny Fritz, and Mike Carano talk about the global 2018 IPC Technology Trends Report released early this year—the size of the survey, how it was conducted, the general findings, and regional differences. They also shared their takeaways and regional insights, and the industry outlook over the next five to 10 years.

An Examination of Glass-fiber and Epoxy Interface Degradation in Printed Circuit Boards

Multilayer organic laminates, which make up over 90% of the interconnecting substrates in electronics (standard FR-4 represents 85% of the substrates used for laminates), can develop a loss of electrical insulation resistance between two biased conductors due to conductive filament formation.

PCB Reliability: Via Design

When considering the long-term reliability of a PCB, you must take into account any vias on your board. While an invaluable and essential part of board design, vias introduce weaknesses and affect solderability. This article will discuss vias, the potential concerns that are introduced into your board through their implementation, and how to minimize those concerns to acceptable levels.

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.

Conventional Exposing: Direct Imaging Solder Mask

When you compare direct imaging of solder mask with contact exposure of solder mask, the positive aspects and the advantages are clear. Without a doubt, direct imaging shortens the throughput time and eliminates artwork production. It also eliminates the costly measurement of the panels and manufacturing of artwork with different scaling factors.

Kelvin Characterization to Accurately Predict Copper Thickness

A few years ago at Integrated Test Corporation, we found that the reaction plan for void fallout at electrical test was ineffective and not standardized. Like many PCB manufacturing facilities (including a Sanmina shop that I used to work at), the reaction plan consisted of cross section analysis to determine the void type.

Virtual Verification Station From CIMS Enhances AOI Capabilities

At this year’s CPCA Show, CIMS Marketing and Technical Director Vladi Kaplan spoke to Barry Matties about a number of add-ons CIMS designed to further enhance their AOI capabilities and systems. He described their Virtual Verification Station (VVS), CIMS Quality Center (CQC), and Software Development Kit (SDK) as well as trends he sees with laser via inspection.

Technically Appropriate Material Choices Are Key to Success

Materials are no longer a passive part of the design; they play an active role in the manufacturability, reliability, and speed of a PCB. Editor Nolan Johnson and Mike Creeden, founder of San Diego PCB Design, discuss several key characteristics that designers should consider in their material selection process.

Emma Hudson: From Tomboy to Tech Lead

Interview between Emma Hudson and Gayle Paterson, founder of FLITE (Female Leaders in Tech, Everywhere).

Insulectro’s OEM Program: Time to ACT!

Ken Parent, Insulectro VP of sales and product management, discusses the current dynamics in the materials marketplace and how Insulectro is developing educational resources to help design teams and fabricators better understand the capabilities and features for the emerging laminate materials.


AWE 2019: Go XR, Be Awesome

Dan Feinberg attended and covered the recent 2019 Augmented World Expo (AWE) and conference in Santa Clara, California. The event featured the latest developments and technologies in augmented (AR), mixed (MR), virtual (VR), and extended virtual reality (many just call it all XR to make it simple). Here's a wrap-up of the event.

Microtek Labs: Providing Trusted Testing in the Chinese Market

On a recent visit to Microtek Laboratories' Changzhou facility, Barry Matties, publisher, and Edy Yu from the I-Connect007 China team spoke with chairman and CTO Bob Neves about the changes he has seen living and doing business in China over the past 15 years, and the increased importance of standards and testing as China moves into manufacturing more high-reliability products.

Digital Twin Drives Design in the Smart Factory

New product realization and design for manufacturing and assembly has now started to become more visible as a program that can improve a company’s time to market and lower product costs. This is one of the main focuses of Industry 4.0 for the smart factory. Many programs are underway by numerous companies, and what is now needed is a framework to coordinate the application of these programs.

Photonics Systems Looks to Expand Its PCB Capabilities

Pulsed-laser equipment manufacturer Photonics Systems looks to expand its capabilities to the PCB industry. Barry Matties sat down with Antonio Schmidt and Kurt Weber to talk about the company’s transition and the challenges they’ve faced thus far as they continue to build and extend their brand into a new market segment.

Quality by Design

The design team’s files and the accompanying documentation is the real-world implementation plan to turn the OEM’s concepts and marketing research into a viable, physical, competitive product. Unless manufacturing defies the build instructions from the designers, the product will only be as manufacturable as the design files themselves.

ICT 45th Annual Symposium Review

The Institute of Circuit Technology (ICT) held its 45th annual symposium on June 4, 2019 in Dudley at the Black Country Museum—a symbol of the spirit of innovation in engineering technology and the entrepreneurial and manufacturing skills that had established that region’s supremacy in leading the original Industrial Revolution. Here's a recap of the events and presentations at the symposium.

IPC’s PCB Tech Trends Study Highlights Issues Impacting Fabricators

The 2018 survey results indicated the need for speed and low loss as critical functions of the materials chosen. This is the digital age, and with the Internet of Things, virtual and augmented reality, vehicle-to-vehicle communication, etc., the need for low-loss and ultra-low-loss materials continues to grow as a percentage of circuit boards fabricated.

DuPont on Materials Challenges and New Opportunities

John Andresakis, senior marketing technologist in the Interconnect Solutions (ICS) Group of DuPont, and Jonathan Weldon, RF applications engineer also in ICS at DuPont, spoke with the I-Connect007 editorial team about trends the company is seeing, what challenges their customers are facing with materials today, and future opportunities with new technologies, including 5G, electric cars, IoT, and more.

Creating Stability in Materials Chaos

Nolan Johnson and Tony Senese—manager, business development group, Panasonic EMBD—discuss the evolution of the materials marketplace over the years from a time when the market aligned for the rise of Panasonic’s MEGTRON 6 to the ever-changing materials industry of today. With the ramp-up to 5G and everyone pushing product development, Tony describes a chaotic materials market flooded with new companies and materials.

PCB Fabricators’ Tech Capabilities Exceed OEMs’ Needs in Many Areas

Some interesting differences showed up in the board property data reported by the OEMs and PCB fabricators that participated in IPC’s PCB Technology Trends 2018 study.


Laminate Suppliers Face Increasing Demands From Customers

As a global laminate supplier with a large product offering, TUC is at the forefront of the growing customer demands that stem from a number of market segments pushing next-generation products. In an interview with Nolan Johnson, TUC North American President Alan Cochrane talks about the company’s shift toward trending areas and how strategies like the adoption of thinner glass styles have helped make it all possible.

Orbotech Celebrates Success of Orbotech Diamond and Discusses Future Trends

At the recent CPCA Show in Shanghai, Orbotech celebrated having over 100 of their Orbotech Diamond™ direct imaging machines in the marketplace. Barry Matties caught up with Meny Gantz—VP of marketing for Orbotech’s PCB division—to talk about the drivers behind the success of Orbotech Diamond systems before turning the conversation toward the future and Industry 4.0.

IMPACT Washington, D.C. 2019 Recap: Leaders Call for Action on USMCA Trade Deal

Top executives from electronics companies across the United States were in Washington, D.C., last week to call on the Trump administration and Congress to support policies that will drive the electronics industry’s future growth in North America and worldwide.

Isola on Adapting Processes to Meet Customer Needs

In an interview with I-Connect007, Sean Mirshafiei, chief sales and marketing officer for Isola, discusses the company’s perspective on material market trends and how they are adapting product development processes to respond to new customer needs.

Electrolytic Plating: Filling Vias and Through-holes

The continuously evolving electronics industry environment is causing the development of various electrolytic copper processes for different applications over the past several decades. This article describes the reasons for development and a roadmap of dimensions for copper-filled through-holes, microvias, and other copper-plated structures on PCBs.

FlexFactor Program Informs, Inspires, Attracts, and Recruits Talent

Barry Matties and Nolan Johnson speak with Brynt Parmeter, Emily McGrath, Clarence Chi, and Mikayla Ridi about the NextFlex program FlexFactor. This initiative aims to help high school and college students see potential futures in the advanced manufacturing sector and combat common misperceptions young people might have about modern-day manufacturing.

Are Regional Differences in PCB Technology as Great as We Think?

We keep hearing that Asia is all consumer and automotive electronics and North America and Europe are all high reliability/long life. The findings in IPC’s PCB Technology Trends 2018 study show that these regions are not as different as expected, and the differences we do see are interesting.

Barbara Bracken Discusses ICAPE's New Facility

During the recent SMTA Atlanta show, Andy Shaughnessy sat down for an interview with Barbara Bracken, sales manager for Texas for the ICAPE Group. Barbara explained why ICAPE is much more than a PCB broker; the company now owns its own assembly facility in the U.S. and can assembly boards in the U.S. or China.

Growing Opportunities with 3D Printed Electronics

Dr. Kurt Christenson, senior scientist at Optomec, discusses the company’s Aerosol Jet technology, which eliminates the need for wire bonding by printing interconnects on 3D surfaces. Christenson also explores the current state of the technology and highlights the market segments and applications with the most to benefit from being able 3D print electronic components, such as resistors, capacitors, antennas, and transistors.

DuPont on New Beginnings and Empowering the Industry

Andy Kannurpatti gives the I-Connect007 team an overview of the latest news from DuPont Electronics and Imaging, including investments toward the new production assets in Ohio, Silicon Valley Technology Center, and other facilities. He also details how the company is engaging OEMs and PCB fabricators and design teams, as well as some exciting business updates coming this spring and summer.


Making Materials Succeed: Past, Present, and Future Trends

Tony Senese, manager for the business development group at Panasonic EMBD, gives Nolan Johnson an overview of materials and components as well as changing business models and methods to make materials succeed and how to stay profitable.

Alun Morgan on the Future of PCB Materials

The I-Connect007 editorial team asked Alun Morgan, technology ambassador for Ventec International Group, to discuss materials at a high level. Our conversation delivered a detailed overview of the current state of the electronics industry.

New Technical Director and Upcoming 2019 EIPC Summer Conference

Tarja Rapala-Virtanen is the newest technical director for the EIPC. I-Connect007's Nolan Johnson and long-time EIPC conference attendee Pete Starkey discuss her new role, the upcoming summer conference in Leoben, Austria, and the program in place for the June conference.

Vertical Conductive Structures, Part 1: Rethinking Sequential Lamination

Sequential lamination, as it is used today in high density interconnect (HDI) and derivative technologies, is constrained by the fact that one cannot plate a blind hole deeper than the diameter of the hole. A larger hole allows processes to plate deeper. In fact, this manufacturing constraint has made it a challenge even to reliably plate and process blind holes up to a 1:1 aspect ratio.

Averatek on the Future of Additive and Semi-additive Processing

Averatek’s President and COO Mike Vinson talks with Barry Matties about the benefits semi-additive and additive processing can bring to the shop floor as well as some of the current challenges and limitations that continue to leave many manufacturers hesitant to implement the technology.

Export Controls in Flux

U.S. export control rules have changed significantly over the last decade, and more changes are expected as policymakers tackle the treatment of new and foundational technologies and respond to geopolitical developments.

Creating Smart Surfaces with Electronic Functionality

Of all of the technical user presentations I attended at the AltiumLive design summit in Munich, the one I found most fascinating introduced an innovative technology that encouraged a bit of lateral thinking and appealed to my creative side: the IMSE, or injection-moulded structural electronics.

Super PCB's Jessica Zhang on LEDs and Other Trending Business Areas

In an interview with I-Connect007 at the recent West Penn SMTA Expo, Super PCB Program Manager Jessica Zhang provides an overview of the company and shares new business trends they're seeing, including LEDs, wearable devices, and more.

Patty's Perspective: From Start to Finish

Our goal in this month's issue of Flex007 Magazine is to provide insights into how best to accomplish the seemingly daunting task of designing flexible and rigid-flex circuits—and with a new and different design each time. A lot of it boils down to one factor: working with your supplier and customer.

Alun Morgan on Thermal Management and LEDs in Automotive

Guest Editor Judy Warner met with Alun Morgan, technology ambassador for Ventec International Group, to discuss topics addressed at the Automotive Executive Forum that took place at IPC APEX EXPO 2019. Morgan describes his presentation and findings centered around thermal management in automotive, specifically LEDs, as well as the unique set of growing thermal management challenges Tier 1 suppliers are now facing in the automotive sector.


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.

University Students Point to the Future in their Research

Cutting-edge automation, AI, machine learning, and Industry 4.0 are all part of the response to the increasing demands for printed circuit boards that are not only faster, smaller, and cheaper but also higher-frequency, lower-loss, more temperature tolerant, and higher reliability. In many cases, it will be unique and advanced research coming out of the university system that will help move the industry forward.

American Standard Circuits' Ken Moffat on Flex and Rigid-flex Business

Ken Moffat is the director of business development at American Standard Circuits, where covers a fairly broad territory from his base in Toronto throughout Canada and parts of the U.S. from east to west. In an interview with I-Connect007 at the recent West Penn SMTA Expo, Ken talks about the state of the flex and rigid-flex industry.

Book Recommendation: Seven Stories Every Salesperson Must Tell

Seven Stories Every Salesperson Must Tell is a great book for technical people to learn the art of storytelling and anyone else who wants to tell better stories.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Orbotech West on Supporting Customer Needs

Orbotech West President Sharon Cohen speaks with Kelly Dack about Orbotech West’s restructuring to better support customer needs, their customer monitoring center, and hints at the capabilities of new products coming soon.

U.S. Tax Law Boosts Growth, But Uncertainties Loom

Monday, April 15 was the deadline for millions of Americans to file their income tax returns, so this is a good time to review the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) as well as the current tax policy landscape and how these rules are affecting the electronics industry.

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.

Advance Your Company Through Automation

At the recent IPC APEX EXPO 2019, Yash Sutariya discusses with Patty Goldman the labor shortage he has experienced in the Detroit area, the impact automation can have in the manufacturing process, and other strategies to advance your company.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO 2019: MivaTek Discusses Flatbed LED Direct Imaging Systems

Brendan F. Hogan, managing director for MivaTek Global, and Chris Hrusovsky, VP of business development, give Pete Starkey their outlook on the market for flatbed LED direct imaging systems, report spectacular sales success, and describe their new introductions for large-format, dual-tray and microelectronics systems.

Ventec Focuses on High-mix Manufacturing

The I-Connect007 team recently toured Ventec International Group’s Suzhou factory where a modern, flexible manufacturing concept designed for fast delivery is enhancing their established volume manufacturing of specialty, high-reliability epoxy laminates and prepregs. Read on to know more about Ventec's ongoing investment in the facility to offer flexible world-class high-mix manufacturing capabilities for polyimide, thermal management, low-loss, and signal integrity material solutions.


ITEQ’s Tarun Amla Discusses 5G Inflection Points

ITEQ Corporation Executive VP and CTO Tarun Amla discusses effects of 5G on materials and shares general observations on the 5G rollout at DesignCon. He also talks about the challenges for their customers, and how they help them address their issues.

Staying Current on Flex Manufacturing is Smart Business

Brendan Hogan, managing director of smart electronics manufacturer MivaTek Global, discusses how to better design for flex, and ways designers can stay current on manufacturing technology that can impact their flex boards.

Brexit Postponed Amid Political Gridlock; Industry Disruptions in Store

The United Kingdom’s effort to leave the European Union, known by the nickname “Brexit,” is bogged down in political uncertainty, which in turn is creating disruptions in the global economy.

EIPC Winter Conference, Day 2

After the papers from the first day of the EIPC Winter Conference in Milan on February 14–15, the delegates were hosted at a reception and plant tour of Elga Europe at their nearby production facility. Here's a recap of the events and highlights of the Day 2 of the conference.

Automation on Full Display at Recent China Exhibitions

With the rising cost of labor in China, the growing demand for automation has never been stronger. At the recent productronica China 2019, and accompanying shows, one hall was packed full of automation technology. This video gives you a glimpse into what was on display… and the new workforce.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO 2019: Miraco Discusses Flexible Circuit Products and Offerings

Jason Michaud is the vice president of sales and marketing at Miraco Inc. In this interview, Michaud discusses with Joe Fjelstad the history of the company, and their flexible circuit products and offerings. He also talks about how they are helping customers improve their product designs.

Hardware and Software in Smart Factories

As smart factories become a part of the present rather than a thing of the future, we will all need to become familiar with related concepts and components. This article is dedicated to various automation protocols, including some new ones just coming on the market, and covers hardware, such as PLCs and machine interfaces, as well as software and network protocols, such as MAPS, SECS/GEM, OML, CFX, IPC-2541, and custom software.

CPCA Show and productronica China 2019 Review

It was a busy week in China for the electronics industry. With multiple trade shows and conferences going on simultaneously in Shanghai, including the CPCA Show 2019, productronica China, SEMICON China, electronica China, and FPD China, it appears from the crowds that the market is strong in the region.

Meyer Burger on Inkjet Technology and Digital Printing Benefits

Don Veri, sales and business development manager for Meyer Berger, discusses some of the challenges fabricators face in adopting inkjet technology, the benefits they can expect once it’s deployed in their facility, and the advantages of digital printing in solving problems on the shop floor.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO 2019: MacDermid Alpha Discusses Recent Company Rebranding

Senior VP Joseph D’Ambrisi of MacDermid Alpha Electronics Solutions speaks with Steve Williams about the recent rebranding of the business, and the benefits to their customers.


Smart Factories: More Than Robots

The acceptance of smart factories is a global movement across multiple industries. Even materials and chemistries are aligning with a move toward further automation, which allows equipment manufacturers to capture and store more data, and software layers to perform more detailed analysis, prediction, and optimization.

TTM to Exhibit at SAE WCX 2019

TTM Technologies, Inc. will be exhibiting at the Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress Experience 2019 (SAE WCX), booth 2234.

TTM on Flex and Rigid-flex PCB Challenges

One of the biggest bareboard manufacturers in the world, TTM Technologies has seen a recent surge in flex and rigid-flex demands from their customers. In this interview, Clay Zha, Vice President of Technology Solutions of TTM’s Mobility business unit, and VP of Corporate Marketing Winnie Ng discuss the differences in manufacturing flex versus traditional PCBs, and the increasing need for rigid-flex HDI boards.

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.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO 2019: Arlon Discusses Investments and Important Role of a Niche Supplier

Arlon Electronic Materials President Brad Foster sits down with Nolan Johnson to discuss capital investments the company is making in business expansions and upgrades, and the important role a niche supplier plays in the North American quick-turn electronics market.

NCAB Group on Supply Chain Issues

In an interview with I-Connect007, Wayne Antal, a key account manager with NCAB Group, discusses supply chain issues, the effect he sees on PCB fabrication channels, and how his customers are adapting to the new business dynamics.

Perspectives on Supply Chain Ripples

The ripples start at the very front of the process when the engineering and design team make their first choices about the performance characteristics for their project, then select components to fit their performance windows.

The Smart Factory IQ Test

Let's see how prepared you are to talk about Industry 4.0. The following 12-question test will measure how much you know about smart factory concepts and philosophies. Since the concept of a smart factory is larger than the electronics manufacturing industry and encompasses the entire supply chain, the terms and concepts here are also more global in nature.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO 2019: Ucamco Discusses Latest Evolution of PCB Software

Ucamco Managing Director Karel Tavernier speaks with Dan Feinberg about their aim of automating the CAM process as much as possible. He also discusses the recent evolution of their PCB software.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO 2019: Insulectro Sees Growth and Opportunities in Printed Electronics

Judy Warner speaks with Tim Redfern, Insulectro president, and Kevin M. Miller, VP of sales, about growth in the printed electronics market, the direction Insulectro is going, and opportunities for North American PCB suppliers. They note that the company will increase their focus and investment in the printed electronics market.


RTW IPC APEX EXPO 2019: Limata Unveils Exciting Developments in LDI

Lino Sousa, sales, Limata, explains to Pete Starkey the latest developments in Limata’s laser direct imaging technology, which eliminates the need to change the solder mask.

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.

Accelerating and Disrupting Innovation: The Tesla Story

The time was right for Tesla to bring new thinking into the concept of electric transportation when the company observed the quantum shift in battery technology from lead-acid to lithium-ion that had been driven by developments in portable consumer electronics.

Chemical Recycling as Part of a Zero-effluent Strategy

Green manufacturing methodologies for PCBs are becoming a global shift. Green efforts have been underway in the European Union for quite some time. Likewise, in the United States, new PCB manufacturers are building zero-waste, zero-effluent facilities and gaining certification as such.

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.
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