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OSP and Selective Electroless Nickel for Mixed-Metal Finish PWBs and BGA Substrates

The documentation relating to the requirements for alternative surface finishes have been well publicized at many industry forums. Pressure to eliminate lead in electronics assemblies is forcing fabricators and OEMs to reevaluate their surface finish and joint attachment procedures.

A Conversation with Andy Michniewicz

Gul Technologies (Gultech) is not your traditional offshore supplier. It is a true industry leader when it comes to technology. A few months ago, I sat down to talk with Mayne-McKenney’s Andy Michniewicz. His company represents Gultech here in North America and they were just starting a project to expand Gultech’s market reach on this side of the globe. I found that interview interesting enough that I wanted to follow up and see how things were going now that a few months have passed.

Optomec Partners with Ceradrop MGI Group

“Ceradrop has both leading-edge technology and global expertise in printed electronics and smart 3D printing, which make it an ideal partner for Optomec,” said Mike Kardos, Director of International Sales at Optomec. “We are looking forward to working with Ceradrop to expand our European marketing network for Aerosol Jet.”

MacDermid's Cullen Reflects on 20 Years in China

Recently, while in Shenzhen, China, Barry Matties had the chance to catch up with Don Cullen, the global marketing director at MacDermid Electronics Solutions. They sat down to discuss the many changes he's seen in China since his first visit there nearly 20 years ago, and the country's future.

A Cautionary Tale: Counterfeit Materials

John Ling of EIPC writes, "Risk from counterfeits wears many hats. There is reputational risk, which can be damaging; there is inherent safety risk, which could be fatal; and there is financial risk to the OEM, the PCB manufacturer, and the PCB broker. One way of minimising risk is by dealing direct."

Ventec USA Expands Sales Force

Ventec USA, a member of the Ventec International Group, leading manufacturer of high quality, high performance copper clad laminates and prepregs, is delighted to announce the appointment of two sales professionals to further augment its presence in the North American market.

DSG Invests in the Future

Mauro Dallora, COO of Dongguan Somacis Graphic PCB Co. Ltd (DSG) shares how they have increased revenue and share their plans to double it.

Polar Takes on China's Test Equipment Counterfeiters

Recently, while in China, Barry Matties spoke with Jonson Jiang, country manager of Polar Instruments. They discussed the company's latest impedance test equipment offerings and the challenges Polar faces in China, including companies that create counterfeits of their testing equipment. Can legitimate companies rely on China's government to fight counterfeiting?

Prototron Circuits to Exhibit at SMTA Rocky Mountain Expo

Dave Ryder, President of Prototron Circuits of Redmond Washington and Tucson Arizona announced recently that his company will be exhibiting at this year’s SMTA Rocky Mountain Expo and Technical Conference 2015 to be held on Wednesday, January 28th at the Champions Club &Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium in Denver Colorado.

Ventec Europe Continues Investment in FOD Elimination

In July, Technical Editor Pete Starkey checked out recent developments at Ventec Europe’s UK Distribution Centre. It was clear that continuing investment was being committed to the establishment and maintenance of meticulous cleanliness in the pre-preg handling areas. Pete recently followed up with Ventec's Mark Goodwin, who provides a company update.


Hybrid Material Technology Update

Hybrid technology (the mixing of dissimilar materials in a multilayer package) has been around for quite some time. These materials are typically PTFE-based for superior electrical performance. But these materials do not have the required mechanical attributes (flexural strength) to allow for proper assembly. Alan Cochrane of Multilayer, Irving, Texas, addresses hybrid materials in this white paper.

CES 2015: Robots and Dash Cams and Drones

An entire day at CES was spent seeing firsthand how some things that we considered toys just a year or two ago have become serious devices. Nn fact, they're far more powerful devices, and in some cases, perhaps the beginning of what was considered in the '50s and '60s to be Jetsons-era technology.

CES Show Day One: IoT and 3D Printing Circuit Boards

Dan Feinberg gives his insights and observations on the show floor during the first day of CES 2015. From the Internet of Health and Fitness, to 3D printing of things such as musical instruments and truly printed circuits, Dan gives his take on some of the latest consumer electronics developments on display.

CES 2015: Preview and Predictions

Looking back over the last five years of CES and analyzing predictions and items featured by the large exhibitors, you'd likely assume the 2015 show would feature more advanced 3D TVs, as they were predicted to take over the market...wrong!

CES 2015: Preview and Predictions

Looking back over the last five years of CES and analyzing predictions and items featured by the large exhibitors, you'd likely assume the 2015 show would feature more advanced 3D TVs, as they were predicted to take over the market...wrong!

Top 10 Most-read PCB New Product Stories of 2014

The past year brought a wide variety of new products and technologies to our readers around the world. As part of our annual industry review, the editors at I-Connect007 have pulled together a list of the top 10 new products from the pages of PCB007.

PCBs for Medical Applications: A Designer's Perspective

This article from Kenneth MacCallum of Starfish Medical provides an overview of the medical device design process, the role of PCBs in that process and in modern medical devices, and includes design considerations and tips for incorporating PCBs into medical devices.

Japan PWB Market: 2015

The downturn in business for the Japanese PWB industry can be blamed on a domino effect. The rigid circuit board segment relied heavily on business from domestic electronics companies such as Panasonic, Sony, and Sharp. Unfortunately, these electronics giants continue to lose market share and the downturn in business directly impacts the PWB industry.

Japan PWB Market: 2015

The downturn in business for the Japanese PWB industry can be blamed on a domino effect. The rigid circuit board segment relied heavily on business from domestic electronics companies such as Panasonic, Sony, and Sharp. Unfortunately, these electronics giants continue to lose market share and the downturn in business directly impacts the PWB industry.

Noble Metal PCB Manufacturing for Direct Implants

The market for active implantable devices requires new strategies in designing and manufacturing the relevant components. The request for continuously smaller devices to achieve improved patient comfort with even higher functionalities also requires further miniaturization on PCBs.


2015 Outlook for the PCB Industry: A Global Perspective

The total value of global electronics production (excluding components) in 2013 was estimated at $1.5 trillion and the value of worldwide PCB production at $58 billion. In 2013 Asia (including Japan) accounted for 58% of worldwide electronics production, while Japan accounted for less than 5%, Europe (EU28) accounted for 15% and North America (U.S. and Canada) for 16.5%.

DSG Invests in ALTIX's New LED Exposure Machine

Giovanni Tridenti, president and CEO of DSG, and Sylvain Dromaint, sales and marketing director at ALTIX, join Guest Editor Bob Neves to discuss the partnership between their companies in the LED exposure machine market.

WKK Partners With ESI to Bring Top Tech to China

Hamed El Abd, WKK president, and Mike Jennings, director of marketing with ESI, join Barry Matties to discuss a partnership in which WKK will represent ESI's laser-based manufacturing equipment in Asia. El Abd says the partnership comes at the perfect time, as more and more customers are asking about implementing laser technology.

DSG, atg L&M Partner to Expand Technology in China

Giovanni Tridenti, CEO of DSG, and Sven Fleischer, vice president of sales, Greater China, atg Luther & Maelzer, join Guest Editor Bob Neves to discuss how the two companies expanded technology in the region. A large part of their success is due to the installation of a new automated test system that is the first of its kind in China.

Wearable Electronics Driving the Need for a New Level of Systems-in-Package Performance

The functionalities required by the evolution of electronics no longer necessarily scale according to Moore's Law. This suggests that miniaturization itself is no longer the sole vector, but that a complementary approach is emerging which combines functionality and form factor in a relationship which is becoming known as "More than Moore."

Wearable Electronics: The Shape-shifting Future of Medical Devices

Imagine this scenario: You check in at the doctor's office. The receptionist hands you a small, self-adhesive patch that you wear on your skin and it instantly transmits all your vital healthcare data directly to the doctor--before you even get to the exam room. After a brief chat with the doctor, you're sent on your way with a clean bill of health--all accomplished during your lunch break. This is the future potential of flexible electronics in wearable medical devices.

Three Industry Giants From WKK Gather Around for Discussion

During the recent HKPCA show we sat down with Hamed El-Abd, Lionel Fullwood, and Gene Weiner. Our discussion covered an array of topics, from politics to new PCB factories and what it takes to stay competitive in today's market.

European Industry Leaders Discuss China Partnership

Rex Rozario, executive chairman of Graphic PLC, and Giovanni Tridenti, CEO of SOMACIS SpA, join guest editor Bob Neves to discuss the success of Dongguan SOMACIS Graphic PCB Co. Ltd. (DSG) in southern China. After nearly 10 years of cooperation and following the market, efficiency is still a priority and the company recently invested $10 million on new equipment, including LED direct imaging, AOI, drills, electrical test, and more.

Mentor: PCB Technology Leadership Award Winners

Continuing its tradition of promoting and recognizing PCB design excellence, Mentor has announced the winners of its 25th annual PCB Technology Leadership Awards. Started in 1988, this program is the longest running competition of its kind in the EDA industry. It recognizes engineers and designers who use innovative methods and design tools to address today's complex PCB systems design challenges and produce industry-leading products.

A Conversation with Gaby Waisman, Orbotech, Ltd.

During the recent HKPCA and IPC Show, held in Shenzhen, China, I sat down with Gabby Waisman, President, Orbotech Pacific. We discussed the exciting electronics market in Asia, the market for Laser Direct Imaging (LDI), AOI and AOR among other things.


A Conversation with Canice Chung, TTM Technologies

We had the opportunity to sit down with Canice Chung, Executive Vice President of TTM Technologies, Inc. to discuss the current trends and challenges of PCB Manufacturing in China.

The Challenges of Labeling for OSHA's Revised Hazard Communication Standard

Ongoing regulatory changes in the chemical industry, successful GHS compliance, and regional regulatory adherence all require rapid labeling changes to be deployed quickly throughout an organization. The ultimate goal is meeting the requirements presented by the GHS at the same time you deal with the complexity of labeling hazardous materials to protect all participants in the global supply chain.

A Conversation with Laurent Nicolet, Schmid Group

During the HKPCA & IPC Show 2014, Laurent Nicolet, VP - PCB Business Unit of Schmid Group took a few minutes to discuss the automation technology that was on display and share the changes he's seen in the China market.

Testing Todd: What is 4-Wire Kelvin?

"I've been asked many times, 'What is 4-Wire Kelvin?' So, this month I will explain the 4-Wire Kelvin Test and how it can help uncover defects that normally would go undetected in standard electrical test methodology," writes Columnist Todd Kolmodin.

The Smart Grid Opportunity

The growing demand for electrical power coupled with aging infrastructure is placing strain on the electrical power grid. In addition, migration of electric power generation to the periphery of the grid is presenting challenges for load balancing and synchronization. The continuing need for greater efficiency in electric power utilization and control also means that control systems are in the process of migrating toward individual loads.

Field Notes: Making the Impossible Possible

"eSurface is an additive (or embedded) process that may change the way many circuit boards are manufactured--particularly HDI boards and high-performance boards that are built for speed and require the highest levels of signal integrity," writes Columnist Judy Warner. She has met with key company leaders and shares all that she learned about this viable additive technology for the PCB industry.

Aerosol Jet Technology for Production Grade/Scale Printed Electronics

While traditional electronic products are the current beneficiaries of printed electronics, a new generation of smart devices with integrated sensors and antennas enabling the Internet of Things hold even greater potential for widespread adoption. This new generation of intelligent devices will require new manufacturing methods that can closely couple electronics onto mechanical structures.

Deciphering Your Chinese PCB Supplier

Not knowing who you are buying from can present a host of problems that will end up coming out of your pocket and have a direct impact on your clients’ satisfaction. Faulty boards, suppliers refusing to refund money, upfront payment made for boards that never arrive, and delivery issues are the most popular problems I hear.

electronica 2014: The "Spark" Returns

A spark returned to Munich's Deutsches Museum during electronica 2014--perhaps not quite the jolt visitors fortunate enough to witness the spectacular high-voltage display in person experienced, but a spark nonetheless.

Thin PCBs for Smart Phones: Technology and Reliability Considerations

The next generation of smartphones will demand very thin multilayer boards to reduce product thickness. This paper shows three different manufacturing approaches which can be used for very thin, any-layer build-ups. The technological approaches are compared on reliability level--the any-layer copper filled microvia technology which is to be considered state-of-the-art for high-end phones and the ALIVH-C/G technology well established in Japan.


ASC Making All the Right Moves

"American Standard Circuits is always on the move and making improvements: From hiring the right people to buying the right equipment to investing in the right technologies. This company is one of the few investing in R&D. It is willing to work with customers on new products and technologies and will take on board projects no other company has successfully built," comments Columnist Dan Beaulieu.

ASC Making All the Right Moves

"American Standard Circuits is always on the move and making improvements: From hiring the right people to buying the right equipment to investing in the right technologies. This company is one of the few investing in R&D. It is willing to work with customers on new products and technologies and will take on board projects no other company has successfully built," comments Columnist Dan Beaulieu.

Thin PCBs for Smart Phones: Technology and Reliability Considerations

The next generation of smartphones will demand very thin multilayer boards to reduce product thickness. This paper shows three different manufacturing approaches which can be used for very thin, any-layer build-ups. The technological approaches are compared on reliability level--the any-layer copper filled microvia technology which is to be considered state-of-the-art for high-end phones and the ALIVH-C/G technology well established in Japan.

3D LDS Components: New Opportunities in PCB Layout and Production

"One clear trend has dominated electronic and mechatronic products for many years: Components must get smaller in size while also packing in more functions. Manufacturers in the communications technology sector are under tremendous pressure to continuously launch new products on the market at shorter and shorter intervals..." writes LPKF's Malte Borges.

Book Review: The New Corporate Facts of Life

If you're doing the same things that you've always done in the same way you've always done them you're doomed to fail says author Diana Rivenburgh. The world changes and it's your job to change with it.

Aluminum Base Circuit Technology: Structures and Manufacturing Methods

Aluminum is an attractive material for use in the manufacturing of electronic assemblies due to its low cost, good thermal properties, and stability. But due to its innate thermal spreading ability, it's not easily used when solder is required to make interconnections to components. This article describes ways to manufacture electronic assemblies using aluminum as a base and eschewing the use of solder.

Aluminum Base Circuit Technology: Structures and Manufacturing Methods

Aluminum is an attractive material for use in the manufacturing of electronic assemblies due to its low cost, good thermal properties, and stability. But due to its innate thermal spreading ability, it's not easily used when solder is required to make interconnections to components. This article describes ways to manufacture electronic assemblies using aluminum as a base and eschewing the use of solder.

Amitron: Success Via Diversification & India Expansion

Tom Massman, account manager at one of the largest privately-owned board shops in the country, Amitron, joins Editor Ray Rasmussen to discuss how diversified offerings have accelerated growth. The company's facility in India, designed for inline production runs, offers three-week turnaround at costs that rival those found in China.

Buying in China: Pitfalls From Expat PCB Sales Manager

With China becoming a manufacturing superpower, companies can buy boards that are cheaper than ever before. And, because of the Internet, many companies can buy directly from China from anywhere in the world--but it comes at a cost. While prices in China are low, many quality, return/exchange, payment, shipping, and language issues need to be understood when working with them.

MacDermid Focuses on OEM Needs

Lenora Toscano, MacDermid's director of OEM applications, joins Editor Ray Rasmussen to discuss how her division works to discover what challenges OEMs are currently facing, and what their future needs will be, to build a better pipeline--formulating chemicals and processes to benefit the entire industry.


EPTE Newsletter: Japanese Economy Shrinks by 30%

The yen's depreciation does not strengthen exporting power for the Japanese electronics industry. What's scarier is that more than one-third of the fortune made in Japan during the last half century (about US $5 trillion) was lost through currency depreciation. Japan has lost its buying power.

Hybrid Systems for Organic and Printed Electronics

The organic and printed electronics industry is on the upswing. That is what the first OE-A Business Climate Survey shows. One central point that helps the industry grow and develop is hybrid systems, as identified by the latest edition of the OE-A Roadmap. Hybrid systems combine classical silicon and PE components. That opens up new possibilities for the PCB industry.

Disrupting PCB Imaging with Inkjet Technology: Challenges & Opportunities Explained

Why are 95% of the circuit boards driving digital devices still imaged with film, the same way they have been for the past 50 years? This paper from Henk-Jan Zwiers of Mutracx will address this question by exploring the challenges of digital PCB imaging and the emergence of inkjet imaging, a technology that has the potential to revolutionise the industry.

Piezoelectric, Pyroelectric, and Ferroelectric Materials for Printed Electronics

One of the main cost-saving goals for PE is to move toward a fully additive printing process--the material is only printed in the places where it is functional. There is no masking process where material is removed after etching. This lowers labor and material costs and also allows for the device to be manufactured with roll-to-roll processes.

Book Review: Super Communicator

One of the greatest gifts anyone can have is the ability to communicate. This is especially true when it comes to subjects like technology.

Candor Develops Positive Photoresist

Sunny Patel, technical sales manager at Candor Industries, discusses his company's new positive-acting liquid photoresist process. The process, which Patel says Candor has perfected, has opened up new areas of business and improved overall quality.

Printed Electronics 2014: World Standardization Effort

It is the assessment of IPC that printed electronics is at the stage of development where widely accepted international standards, based on consensus by experts from many viewpoints and many countries, could aid global adoption of this technology as an additional tool widely available for the fabrication of electronic apparatus.

Conductive Ink Market: Photovoltaic and Touch Screen Sectors

The photovoltaic market is a large, addressable market, which is growing again after several years of difficulty, when the prices crashed from $3.5/W in 2008 to $0.75/W in 2012. This period of overcapacity was characterised by many companies going bankrupt, closing, or selling. However, the market is showing signs of recovery.

High Demand Requires PCB Perfection

Rikard Wallin, managing director of NCAB Group Sweden, gives an insight on how extra effort will make everything perfect and ensure product success.

Electrical Testing of Passive Components

This paper, from a group of authors from Gardien Services, discusses the new processes required by electrical test centers and labs and how the ET arena has adapted to provide accurate testing of buried resistors and accommodate the buried capacitive cores to not receive false errors from the grid testers and flying probes.


Electrical Testing of Passive Components

This paper, from a group of authors from Gardien Services, discusses the new processes required by electrical test centers and labs and how the ET arena has adapted to provide accurate testing of buried resistors and accommodate the buried capacitive cores to not receive false errors from the grid testers and flying probes.

Why Companies Fail at Social Media and What to Do About It

Sales executives should embrace social media more than anyone in a company, but this usually isn't the case. Done well, social media is a means of communicating a company's story to a wide network of people, raising awareness and credibility amongst prospective customers, and solidifying the company as a viable option for when a prospect needs the company’s product or service.

Printed Electronics in Perspective

A significant amount of press coverage has been given to printed electronics over the last several years. What appears to have precipitated the explosion of interest in the middle of the last decade was a report that suggested PE would dominate electronic production by the mid-2020s with an annual market of over $300 billion. Joe Fjelstad takes a closer look.

Making Microstrip Coupled Circuits Work

Microstrip transmission lines are widely used throughout the high-frequency industry, for both active and passive circuits. They are building blocks for many components, including couplers, filters, resonators, and power dividers/combiners, along with various coupled features formed from microstrip lines that help transfer energy from one point in the circuit to another.

Device Embedding in PCBs: Evolution or Revolution?

The embedding of components in electronic interconnection structures has been carried out for more than 30 years, and while different technologies have developed and were technically successful, history has shown that these embedding developments did not result in a sustainable success over a longer period of time.

RF Capacitor Material for Use in PCBs

Using ceramic-filled organic-based composite material, the authors successfully achieved low DF of ~0.002 at GHz frequencies, higher dielectric strength, and better TCC by optimizing size of the filler and controlling its distribution in the polymer matrix. This material can be applicable for use in discrete RF components or embedded within the packaging substrate as an embedded RF capacitor material.

Electra Polymers: REACH-Compliant Soldermasks; The Big 3-0

UK-based Electra Polymers' Sales and Marketing Director Shaun Tibbals joins Guest Editor Dick Crowe to discuss his company's 30 years in the industry and how a market shift toward direct imaging has created an opportunity to optimize the company's soldermask.

IPC Strengthens Position in China with HKPCA

The 2014 theme, "Building Through Resilience," conveys what the industry is seeing in China. Philip Carmichael, president of IPC Greater China, says, "Steady growth, new technology, and the resilience to take on new challenges in the competitive global printed board industry are all part of China's business environment."

Book Review: Nonstop Sales Boom

"If you plan to buy, read, study, teach from, and hand out just one book this year, it must be 'Nonstop Sales Boom: Power Strategies to Drive Consistent Growth Year After Year' because it has everything you need to be a successful sales manager, salesperson, sales team, and company," writes Columnist Dan Beaulieu.

MorTech's CircaPrint: Advantage for Smaller PCB Shops

Praveen Arya, owner of Canadian Circuits, and Lino Sousa, president of MorTech, join Guest Editor Dan Beaulieu to discuss the advantages of MorTech's low-cost digital ink jet printer. The CircaPrint offers the industry the first three-color (black, white, and yellow) digital Legend printer for small- to medium-sized PCB shops.


Basic Principles of Polymer Thick Film Flexible Circuits

Polymer thick film circuits are similar to their rigid and flexible counterparts; however, because of the materials and processes, they have their own very specific design rules. Because most PTF processing is most commonly based on screen printing technology, the limits of design are intrinsically linked to the printed ink's processing considerations and limitations.

Hybrid Stretchable Circuits on Silicone Substrate

When rigid and stretchable components are integrated onto a single elastic carrier substrate, large strain heterogeneities appear in the vicinity of the deformable-non-deformable interfaces. In this paper, the authors report on a generic approach to manufacture hybrid stretchable circuits where commercial electronic components can be mounted on a stretchable circuit board.

The Effect of Low-frequency Ultrasound on Catalysed Electroless Copper Plating

Many potential benefits are found in the application of ultrasound to an electroless process. The Functional Materials Applied Research Group at Coventry University has carried out a three-year project funded by IeMRC, which investigated the effects of ultrasound on electroless and immersion plating processes.

Solving DAM Problems: Does Corporate Lean Work?

Authors McQuarrie and Shaw write, "Can Lean work with a corporate Lean manager? Not really. The plant manager has to be the change agent--the true leader of any important mission." They have developed what they call PowerLean to differentiate the process from corporate Lean.

Copper Filling of Blind Microvias and Through-holes Using Reverse-pulse Plating

This article, from a trio of authors at Atotech Germany, describes the different techniques of via filling and their characteristics and points points out the advantages of reverse pulse plating and how the technology has been modified to approach new market requirements such as thicker core substrates and laser drilling of through holes.
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