PCB Builder Lets Customers Order Directly From Board Shops
On June 2, components distributor Digi-Key Electronics announced the release of PCB Builder, a tool that lets customers have PCBs shipped directly from the fabricator. PCB Builder also allows customers to perform file layer checks and receive instant quotes from multiple fabricators. Andy Shaughnessy spoke with Josh Mickolio, supplier business development manager for Digi-Key, about the development of PCB Builder and what this tool means to PCB designers and design engineers.
The iNEMI 2019 Roadmap: Flexible Hybrid Electronics
The emerging trend for “electronics on everything, everything with electronics” was the theme of iNEMI’s webinar presentation of the highlights of its recently published Flexible Hybrid Electronics Roadmap Chapter, delivered by Girish Wable, senior engineering services manager with Jabil. Pete Starkey provides an overview.
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.
SpaceX Manned Mission Promises More Success for Milaero and Electronics Manufacturing
On May 30, 2020, SpaceX became the first non-governmental organization to send human cargo into orbit and to a successful docking rendezvous with the International Space Station (ISS). On June 1, Nolan Johnson spoke with military/aeropace consultant and I-Connect007 columnist Mike Hill about the significance of this mission.
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.
Survey Results: Five Tips to Stay Safe at Work
Face masks, gloves, arrows on the floor, social distancing, working in shifts, working remotely—our work environment has been vastly altered over the past three months. How has it affected you and the people around you the most? Are you open to these changes or do you find yourself resisting the changes? Here are five powerful tips for staying safe at work, according to the latest I-Connect007 survey responses.
14 ‘Business as Usual’ Tips, Part 7
In this series, Dan Beaulieu will share 14 “business as usual” tips for selling without visiting customers during the COVID-19 outbreak. In this series finale, Dan explains the importance of keeping a sense of humor during times of crisis, and why this might be the perfect time to form a partnership with a company that sells a complementary type of technology.
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish: Same Industry, New Look
Learning a lesson from challenges is one thing, but implementing changes based on those lessons is quite another. I-Connect007 regularly surveys leaders in the electronics industry to bring you important and relevant information that helps you make better decisions. What lessons have you learned during the COVID-19 crisis, and what changes have you made?
IPC’s Shawn Dubravac: COVID-19 Outbreak Accelerates Industry Shifts Already Under Way
On May 19, Barry Matties spoke with Shawn Dubravac, chief economist for IPC. While discussing other topics, Matties asked for Dubravac’s perspective on shifts in the market, who observed that the recessionary trend might be behind us; the markets are already showing recovery. Still, it could take a year or so to fully recover.
14 ‘Business as Usual’ Tips, Part 5
In this series, Dan Beaulieu will share 14 “business as usual” tips for selling without visiting customers during the COVID-19 outbreak. In Part 5, he shares tips on continuing your professional development during this lockdown, while making sure to take much-needed time off to rest your mind.
IPC's Dr. John Mitchell: Leadership in Times of Crisis
On May 13, Dr. John Mitchell, IPC president and CEO, spoke with Barry Matties and Nolan Johnson in another installment in our series of industry updates. In this interview, Mitchell discussed the challenges of leadership in crisis situations.
14 ‘Business as Usual’ Tips, Part 4
In this series, Dan Beaulieu will share 14 “business as usual” tips for selling without visiting customers during the COVID-19 outbreak. In Part 4, Dan shares some age-old advice about running a business in turbulent times, including the need to dress for work and stay on a schedule, even while working from home.
Nolan's Notes: Sometimes, You Have to Shout ‘Stop the Presses!’
I-Connect007 was working diligently to research and report on “Going Green” for the April issue. Although it was a good topic, sometimes, the world has other plans. While going green was our original topic, current events demanded that we pivot, devoting this issue to the breaking news and changing dynamics COVID-19 has brought us.
I-Connect007 In-Depth: Averatek and RBP Chemical Ink Distribution Agreement
On April 30, 2020, Michael Carano, RBP Chemical Technology vice president, and John Johnson, Averatek vice president, spoke with I-Connect007’s Nolan Johnson about the new distribution agreement inked by the two companies. Carano and Johnson also talk in more detail about the A-SAP additive plating process developed by Averatek. The conversation included why Averatek and RBP have partnered to distribute chemistries related to Averatek's A-SAP process.
Freedom CAD’s Expert PCB Design Tips, Part 1
When you’re designing complex PCBs, knowledge truly is power. The more PCB design tips, tricks, and techniques you know, the better your cutting-edge designs will be. With that in mind, we’re bringing you a series of PCB design tips, courtesy of Freedom CAD Services.
Survey: Complete, Accurate Design Data Tops List of Fab Expectations
In a recent survey, we asked PCB designers about expectations, particularly fabricators’ expectations of their PCB designer customers. The overwhelming majority (84%) of respondents indicated that a fabricator’s primary expectation of a designer is a complete, accurate data package.
Happy’s Smart Factory Protocol Primer
The smart factory concept is built upon data interchange as the foundation. There has been much development in the area of industrial and manufacturing data protocols over the years, stretching back into the 1960s. This article by Happy Holden surveys what are considered the most common protocols in use in the electronics manufacturing industry today, including IPC-CFX/ Hermes, OML, SECS/GEM, and MAPS.
Photography Slideshow by Columnist Mehul Davé
At I-Connect007, we like to work hard, play hard, and highlight our contributors. Mehul J. Davé is a great example of someone who is passionate about the industry as well as his other interests outside of work—especially photography. Here, we feature some of his work.
Aurora Circuits’ Chris Kalmus Offers PCBs for Ventilators at No Charge
Electronics manufacturers continue to step up to the plate during these uncertain times. In this interview, Dan Beaulieu speaks with Chris Kalmus, owner of Aurora Circuits in Aurora, Illinois, who announced on April 24 that his company would be offering PCBs for ventilators free of charge.
What It Takes to Be a Milaero Supplier, Part 3
The decision to pursue military and aerospace (milaero) certification impacts every facet of the organization, and not every shop is prepared to make this transformation. In Part 3, Anaya Vardya explores what it takes to be a milaero supplier in the areas of purchasing and quality.
14 ‘Business as Usual’ Tips, Part 1
In this series, Dan Beaulieu will share 14 “business as usual” tips for selling without visiting customers during the COVID-19 outbreak. In Part 1, he shares two tips that highlight ways to keep your name in front of your customers, no matter what.
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.
Jolly Holden: Expert Insights Into Distance Learning and Webinars
With COVID-19 leading to increased distance learning throughout the U.S. and world, the I-Connect007 editorial team spoke with Jolly Holden, Ed.D., who is an expert on distance learning (and also Happy Holden’s brother). In this wide-ranging interview, they discuss what distant learning is, how to do it well, what not to do, differences between academic and job skills training, and much more.
Supply-chain Recovery: Plan for Now and the Future
We are living in unprecedented times related to the ongoing spread of the coronavirus and its impact on our day-to-day lives. Individuals, families, businesses, and entire communities have been affected in unparalleled ways. As difficult as the situation has become, it’s critical for business leaders to step forward. In a time of crisis, understanding current and future logistics capacity by mode—and their associated trade-offs—will be even more essential than usual.
Accurate Circuit Engineering Staying Ahead of the COVID-19 Curve
On April 16, Andy Shaughnessy spoke with Accurate Circuit Engineering’s James Hofer. James provided an update on the company’s responses to the challenges of fabricating PCBs while much of the country is under COVID-19 quarantine. James explained that he is dedicated to keeping his employees safe and healthy while continuing to meet the needs of his customers, many of whom are medical and military OEMs. He also discussed his current workload, which includes one customer developing a ventilator that can serve four patients at the same time.
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.
Flexible Circuit Technologies: ‘We Do it All’
During IPC APEX EXPO 2020 in San Diego, Carey Burkett, VP of Flexible Circuit Technologies, sat down for an interview with Dan Beaulieu. The two discussed the company’s expansive growth, the current flex and rigid-flex landscape, and FCT’s drive to provide complete solutions from rigid and flex circuits through box build.
Dr. John Mitchell: IPC’s Ongoing Efforts Related to COVID-19
On April 14, IPC president and CEO, Dr. John Mitchell, described IPC’s ongoing efforts related to COVID-19 with I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties. From a standpoint approximately 30 days into the U.S. shutdown, Mitchell reported that 94% of the executives attending the executive forum are expressing concern. He also outlined many of the chaotic drivers and influences in the industry, including shifting over to different, mandated products; supply shortages; potential declining demand for normal products; and increased shipping costs. Worker and staffing shortages have also become an emerging concern.
Ucamco Harnesses Power of Artificial Intelligence
In this video interview from the show, Luc Maesen, Ucamco director, and Technical Editor Pete Starkey discuss how AI has been applied to help automate the CAM/CAD process, resulting in the company's IamCam system. This platform enables intelligence-aided manufacturing designed to lower costs while achieving fewer errors and faster delivery.
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.
DIS: It’s All About Alignment
Jesse Ziomek, VP of sales for DIS, updates Pete Starkey on the capability of the company to achieve ultimate accuracy in layer-to-layer registration, not just in rigid multilayers, but also in flex and rigid-flex builds. Jesse also comments on keeping technology exciting enough to attract young engineers into the industry.
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.
IPC Education Foundation: STEM and Online Learning Resources
Nolan Johnson recently caught up with Charlene Gunter du Plessis, senior director of the IPC Education Foundation, about how the COVID-19 outbreak is affecting the IPCEF, including how they are continuing to connect with IPC Student Chapter members and seek industry support. Charlene also discussed the increased usage of IPCEF’s online educational modules and shares STEM resources.
Panasonic: From Hardware to Solutions and Data
In this video interview from the show, Managing Editor Nolan Johnson speaks with Sean Murray—director of sales, service, operations, and logistics process automation at Panasonic—about the company's focus on software and information management on top of their long history in hardware and equipment.
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.
IPC Standards Work Continues to Move Forward
On April 3, 2020, Teresa Rowe, IPC’s director of assembly and standards technology, and David Bergman, vice president, spoke with Barry Matties about ongoing standards activities during the global COVID-19 outbreak. Rowe and Bergman reported that, where one might think that standards committees would be negatively affected, standards work seems to be going stronger than ever.
Averatek’s A-SAP Semi-additive Process Enables HDI
In this video interview from the show, columnist Tara Dunn spoke with Mike Vinson, president and COO of Averatek, who described the company's semi-additive process, A-SAP, with 25-micron features sizes and below, which enables high-density interconnections. Vinson also discusses the papers Averatek presented at IPC APEX EXPO 2020.
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.
The Formation of the Printed Circuit Engineering Association
Patty Goldman spoke with Gary Ferrari, FTG Corporation, at IPC APEX EXPO 2020 about the formation of the Printed Circuit Engineering Association, which—having been started two months ago—has attained lots of interest from the industry. The PCEA hopes to bring together designers, engineers, fabricators, assemblers through local chapters to focus mainly on education and learning.
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.
Siemens and Valor: Two Complementary DFM Technologies
Before IPC APEX EXPO kicked off, Andy Shaughnessy attended a Siemens seminar in San Diego on smart manufacturing for electronics and the integration of technologies from Siemens’ digital industry software and Valor. Afterward, Andy spoke with Andy Farrington, director of portfolio development for the Americas, about the event, as well as some of the hot topics and solutions that the speakers addressed.
IPC’s Dr. John Mitchell Commends U.S. Manufacturers and Governors
On March 31, Dr. John Mitchell, IPC president and CEO, gave Barry Matties an update on the industry response to COVID-19 since their conversation on March 20. Mitchell provides an overall update on the industry, commending U.S. manufacturers for their proactive responses.
Industry Outlook With Siemens’ Fram Akiki
In this video interview from the show, Editor Dan Feinberg speaks with Fram Akiki, VP of electronic and semiconductor industries for Siemens, about the biggest challenges in the electronics industry. They also discuss major industry trends, including smart connected devices used in autonomous transportation and robotics, increased complexity, and a reduced time to market.
Advances in Medical Diagnostics Using LoC and LoPCB Technologies
Several techniques for detection and diagnosis of COVID-19 are currently under development, some of which may detect the novel virus exclusively; others may also detect strains that are genetically similar. A detection kit recently announced uses technology based on a portable lab-on-chip (LoC) platform capable of detecting, identifying, and differentiating MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV, and COVID-2019 in a single test.
With DIS, Accurate Registration is Everything
In this video interview from the show, Technical Editor Pete Starkey and Jesse Ziomek, VP of sales for DIS, discuss how the company achieves ultimate accuracy in layer-to-layer registration, not just in rigid multilayers, but also in flex and rigid-flex builds. Jesse also comments on keeping technology exciting enough to attract young engineers into the industry.
Dan Beaulieu: Adapting to New Methods at D.B. Management
In this audio interview, Nolan Johnson gets an update from Dan Beaulieu, a 40+ year veteran of the electronics manufacturing industry and an industry consultant for 25+ years. Dan shares an update on current business operations for D.B. Management, including how—like his clients—he may be at home, but it's still business as usual. Dan also offers his perspective on how our industry will weather and emerge from this challenging time.