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Highlights on a Rousing Virtual IPC APEX EXPO 2021
04/14/2021 | Pete Starkey, I-Connect007
The Future Is Electric
04/13/2021 | KJ McCann and Brian Zirlin, Aurora Circuits
I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week
04/09/2021 | Andy Shaughnessy, I-Connect007
Technical Conference—Balancing Conventional and Disruptive Technologies
04/08/2021 | Matt Kelly, IPC
Book Review: Important Advice on a Well-Balanced Life
04/06/2021 | Dan Beaulieu, D.B. Management Group
Orbotech’s Strategic Decision for End-to-End Partnership Benefits Everyone
Barry Matties met with Sharon Cohen, president of Orbotech West, at productronica 2017 to discuss what’s new at Orbotech, specifically their shift to be more customer-centric and to provide regional coverage across the globe. He also discusses the current trends in the marketplace and Industry 4.0.
Entering—and Enjoying—the Industry
I was recently given the opportunity to write an article for our publication. Being somewhat new to this industry, I figured it would be a good idea to write an introduction on how I got into electronics—specifically the part most people my age don’t give thought to.
EIPC’s 2018 Winter Conference in Lyon, Review of Day 1
Venue for the 2018 EIPC Winter Conference was the splendid new Alstom Transport Information Solutions facility in Villeurbanne, in the Lyon metropolitan area of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in eastern France. An extremely popular event—117 delegates represented a total of 20 countries, unprecedented in recent years, and only just fitted into Alstom’s conference suite. Indeed, some were even standing at the back!
CircuitData: Creating an Open Source Language for PCB Data Exchange
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Elmatica CTO Andreas Lydersen on a subject of great interest to him and his supply chain, namely CircuitData. This open source language promises to greatly improve communication of details that can often be misinterpreted due to the differences in terminology used throughout the supply chain.
Who Really Owns the PCB Layout? Part 2
In Part 1 of this series, Paul Taubman made the bold statement that the PCB layout is just as much a mechanical effort as it is an electrical one. In Part 2, he threads the needle, explaining why he believes that a PCB truly a mechatronic design, and why mechanical engineers may be more prepared to take on the PCB layout.
Whelen Engineering and AWP Explain their Unique Collaboration
If there was a buzz word in the PCB hall at productronica this year, it was probably Whelen, as in Whelen Engineering and Alex Stepinski, VP of Whelen’s circuit board division.
Aismalibar on Laminates, Following the Market, and More
At productronica, Barry Matties, Andy Shaughnessy, and Patty Goldman of the 007 team sat down with Eduardo Benmayor, director general with Aismalibar, a laminate supplier currently focusing on thermal management for the LED and automotive markets.
EMA Cloud Lined with Capability
Editor Kelly Dack speaks with EMA Design Automation Marketing Manager Chris Banton about the company's new free cloud-based OrCAD schematic capture tool, OrCAD's design constraint manager, and the Sigrity electrical rule checker.
Rogers Continues Expansion into High-Speed Digital Materials
Mahyar Vahabzadeh discusses a paper presented by his colleague Dr. Allen Horn at DesignCon. He also explains some of the different characteristics Rogers has discovered as they move from RF into high-speed digital materials.
APCT’s Cartel Acquisition Adds Capacity, Technology and Certifications
APCT recently acquired Cartel Electronics and its affiliate, flex and rigid-flex maker Cirtech. During DesignCon 2018, I spoke with APCT President and CEO Steve Robinson about what this acquisition means for the San Jose-based fabricator.
CFX: Updates and Developments
In an interview with I-Connect007, she discusses the latest developments in the Connected Factory Initiative (CFX), the machine data interface standard that would enable manufacturers, equipment, device and software suppliers to achieve Industry 4.0 benefits, and CFX demos at IPC APEX EXPO 2018.
Equipment/Process Selection: Case Study of a DMADV Approach to PCB FAB Process Design
This article outlines the approach we took to designing this new phase of our commercial existence, which has now been spun off as a separate business unit known as Greensource Fabrication. This new business unit is expected to go live in 2018.
All the Details on IPC’s Emerging Engineer Program
Teresa Rowe and Nancy Jaster, in charge of IPC’s Emerging Engineer Program, explain to I-Connect007’s Patty Goldman and Jonathan Zinski how this novel approach to attracting and supporting young people works.
Solder Limits: Updates for the Age of Surface Mount
Solder limits are one of the fundamental parameters used when evaluating the PCB, solder resists, and metal-clad base materials for safety under the UL Recognition programme.
IPC APEX EXPO: App is Where It’s At
In an interview with I-Connect007, IPC Exhibits Manager Kim DiCianni discusses the IPC APEX EXPO 2018 app and how this powerful tool will keep attendees on track. She also highlights its usefulness for exhibitors.
The Best It’s Ever Been, Every Year: The Goal for IPC, Part 2
In the continuation of this interview, John Mitchell and Phil Carmichael discuss the areas of focus for IPC in the upcoming year, first and foremost being education and welcoming a new generation into the industry.
The Best It’s Ever Been, Every Year: The Goal for IPC, Part 1
The end of 2017 caps an exciting time for IPC and IPC China as membership has grown substantially, in part because of new offerings from the organization to its Asian members. Meeting with Barry Matties at HKPCA, John Mitchell and Phil Carmichael discuss the areas of focus for IPC in the upcoming year, first and foremost being education and welcoming a new generation into the industry.
Nano Dimension’s 3D Printing: Prototypes at the Push of a Button?
SICK AG is a global manufacturer of sensors and sensor solutions for industrial applications, with headquarters located in Waldkirch, Germany. After a demo of Nano Dimension’s new 3D printing machine at productronica, Barry Matties met with SICK’s Danny Wernet to discuss its pros and cons and get his overall impression of the technology. Are 3D prototypes really as simple as feeding in a Gerber file and pushing a button?
Staying Ahead of Market Trends Through Education
ESI equipment has been in high demand with the recent rise of flex and HDI. But when Barry Matties met with Patrick Riechel and John Williams at HKPCA, they explained that it is really ESI’s future protection and flexibility in the process that keeps them ahead of the market and allows for ongoing success.
PCB Cooling Strategies, Part 2
In many PCB designs, component placement plays a decisive role in PCB cooling. But for some boards with areas of high heat and high current, the designer may have to utilize heat sinks, fans, and/or water cooling technology. There are a variety of cooling and heat dissipation options available now, but thermal management research still has a long way to go.
A Sneak-Peek at IPC APEX EXPO 2018
IPC President and CEO John Mitchell gave I-Connect007 a sneak-peek at the upcoming IPC APEX EXPO, happening in February in San Diego. Mitchell provides a description of this year’s keynote, as well as a few new additions and areas of emphasis. It looks like it will be another packed house, with plenty to see, do, and learn about.
CES 2018: Disruptive Technologies and Fun PC Stuff
Two disruptive technologies that we have been covering for the last few years are 3D printing—especially as it pertains to PCB fab—and autonomous driving. 3D printing has been around for a few years, but it seems like 3D printers were introduced to CES very recently. This year there were almost 50 exhibitors showing their latest offerings. Most of them were in the LVCC in the north hall at the 3D Printing Marketplace.
Riding the Tsunami of Success in Asia
Since Phil Carmichael has overseen IPC Asia, the program and its membership have grown substantially, and with good reason. Phil met with Barry Matties at HKPCA to discuss how IPC offerings such as the QML program and helping suppliers become CSR compliant has allowed IPC to become a vital resource for suppliers in Asia.
Thermal Management Update with Doug Brooks
I had the opportunity to talk with our contributor Doug Brooks recently. He has been doing some research on temperature effects on PCB traces over the last few years, and I wanted to check the status of his latest thermal efforts. He discussed his work with Dr. Johannes Adam, why temperature charts based on a trace in isolation are inaccurate, and how the industry remained so wrong about PCB temperatures for so long.
Cicor’s Approach to Miniaturization: Cost of Function, and More
Barry Matties spoke with Karl Heinz-Fritz, VP of technology, about Cicor’s newest product line, which can shrink the size of a circuit by up to 40%, and the importance of measuring the cost of functionality.
PCB Cooling Strategies, Part 1
With the development of communication and IT industries and the ever-increasing demand for information analysis, many chip makers have racked their brains trying to provide customers with better technology, such as increased computing power and storage capacity of chips as well as diversifying their product offerings.
productronica 2017 Means Connecting to Global Customer Base for Circuit Automation
Circuit Automation’s Tom Meeker joined me for a conversation at productronica 2017 in Munich, to update me about what the company has been doing in solder mask coating equipment.
In Terms of Experience, a 10,000-foot View of China
In the past 30+ years of PCB manufacturing in China, you would be hard-pressed to find someone more connected to the pulse of the Asian market than Gene Weiner. Barry Matties met with the industry veteran at HKPCA to get his take on the show, the current and future market conditions of China, and any effect the new U.S. administration might have on trade relations going forward.
The Benefits of Coming Together to Form a Global Reach
At productronica, MacDermid Enthone Electronics Solutions and Alpha Assembly Solutions had one large combined booth to promote the companies’ integration. Over a buttered pretzel (don’t knock it until you’ve tried it), we talked about the newly amalgamated company, something everyone in the company is quite enthusiastic about.
Dr. Johannes Adam Gets Hot on Thermal Management
Thermal management expert Johannes Adam, PhD, was kind enough to take the train from his home in Leimen, Germany to meet with me during productronica in Munich. He is the creator of TRM (Thermal Risk Management) software and contributor, with Douglas G. Brooks, of "PCB Trace and Via Currents and Temperatures: The Complete Analysis, 2nd Edition." He’s also working on his own book on thermal management. Johannes sat down for an interview, and I asked him to share his views on the current state of thermal management for PCBs, and what the industry can do to put the spotlight on what’s hot in PCBs.
CES 2018, Augmented Reality and Much More
The actual CES show is spread across many locations in Las Vegas. The main exhibit halls are at or near to the Las Vegas Convention Center with three buildings, two floors each, all filled with hundreds of booths. Then there is The Sands Convention Center with multiple halls filled to the brim and hotels with their own convention centers and floors of exhibitor suites. With almost 200,000 in attendance, all locations are very busy.
Mike Jouppi Discusses his Drive for Better Thermal Data
If you mention thermal management in a group of PCB designers and design engineers, Mike Jouppi’s name usually pops up. Mike is an engineer and founder of the Thermal Management LLC consulting firm. He spent years updating IPC’s charts on current-carrying capacity, which had been unchanged since the 1950s. I recently caught up with Mike and asked him to give us his views on the state of thermal management, as well as the tools and standards related to thermal design.
It’s a Long, Winding and Exciting Road for Automotive Electronics
It was truly a delight to talk with Alun Morgan at productronica this year. He may be the most enthusiastic person in the field of electronics that I have ever met, as you will certainly understand as you read this interview.
Getting the Heat Out
Increasing consumer demands for high performance and the need for high reliability in sectors such as automotive, LED lighting, and renewable energy mean that thermal management is now front and center on the priority list for PCB manufacturing.
CES 2018 Showstoppers: LaunchIt and Press Event
“ShowStoppers LaunchIt is about giving innovative entrepreneurs a shot at getting the attention of angel investors on the lookout for innovation and new ventures. It’s also about gaining additional visibility with other industry influencers and dealmakers, as well as with the press who are always looking for the ‘what’s new’ story at CES.”
Preview: CES 2018 Unveiled
The official CES events started only about 15 hours ago. I have already been to CES Unveiled, an amazing (but somewhat long) NVIDIA press event, and now the Panasonic press conference is soon to begin, launching the Press Day activities. So far, it’s been amazing!
Schmid: Bringing Integrated Solutions to the Market
With China’s recent shift towards quality, the next generation of PCB fabrication equipment must target yields and include the ability to track those yields, says Schmid’s Laurent Nicolet and Demitry Kostouros. Barry Matties recently sat down with these two gentlemen to talk more about the market shift and Schmid’s introduction of their new vertical line aimed at carving a niche in the market.
That’s Hot: Ventec’s Goodwin on Thermal Management
IPC’s fall committee meetings were held in conjunction with SMTA International, as has been the case for several years now. Patty Goldman sat in on some subcommittee meetings, including one on laminates, where she met up with Ventec COO Mark Goodwin for a discussion on thermal management from a laminate supplier’s perspective.
Lamination to Drilling in Minutes: It's New and it's Not
Barry Matties met with Lino Sousa at productronica to check out Pluritec’s new Pluricut HPL machine, which offers an all-in-one solution for flash routing, beveling, measuring, and corner routing. See this machine in action by viewing the attached video content.
Weiner’s World—December 2017
Hold on to your seats! 2018 will be a year full of rapid changes, surprises, and growth. M&A activities will flourish. The supply chain will suffer shortages and changes as demand increases, copycats will rush to market, and new markets and potential suppliers will vanish before they are established.
The Impact of HDI on PCB Power Distribution
A key aspect of HDI technology is the use of microvias. For reference, the IPC HDI Design Committee has identified microvias as any hole equal to or less than 150 microns. Multiple types of HDI stack-ups associated with blind and buried microvias can be used to meet the density and cost requirements for today’s products. Design teams should develop stack-ups in conjunction with the fabricator to minimize cost and meet signal integrity requirements.
Automation and Traceability Critical for High-Throughput Probe Testing
Peter Brandt, atg’s director of sales for Europe, India and Japan, joined Barry Matties at productronica to share his views on regional variations in electrical testing requirements, automation, traceability, and how to anticipate and satisfy the future demands of the market. Group general manager Dr. Jochen Kleinertz also comments on the need for close cooperation with customers to guide the R&D effort.
Isola: Evolving with the Market
In this interview from productronica 2017, Isola’s Karl Stollenwerk discusses the decline of the laminate market in Europe over the past 17 years, current demands on raw materials, and Isola’s new strategy to remain competitive.
Heat Transfer and Thermal Conductivity: The Facts
In my first two columns, I presented a broad introduction to the subject of thermal management of electronic circuits. This month I’m taking a closer look at thermal interface materials—how they can be applied to achieve efficient heat transfer, and the significance of bulk thermal conductivity in relation to heat transfer and thermal resistance.
Consulting in the Electronics Industry: Meet Francesca Stern
One of the best things about productronica was meeting people who I have corresponded with and those whose articles or presentations I have read or seen but have never actually had a chance to chat with. Francesca Stern is one such person, and it was a true pleasure to sit down and chat with her in the EIPC booth.
A Unique Norwegian Approach to Serving Customers
I met a lot of interesting people at productronica, with an assortment of different products on display. Such was my visit with Oyvind Tafjord, CEO of Visitech. His purpose at the show was to meet with his customers, so nothing unusual about that. But his customers also had booths (or stands, as they call them), which is an advantage for him, as he explains here.
HDI PCBs: Make the Right Choice from Design to Volume
Modern electronic products are expected to offer evermore advanced functions, while the products themselves are becoming increasingly smaller. There are two key factors for the successful production of HDI PCBs: first, making the right choices at the design stage, and then carefully choosing the factory that can support the specific technical demands of the project. NCAB Group COO Chris Nutall explains.
AGFA: From Film to Inkjet Solder Mask
The productronica show was indeed filled with new technology, and it was great to meet with people and learn about it. This is precisely how I met AGFA’s Frank Louwet, who filled me in on the Dipamat inkjet solder mask they have been developing. It seemed an odd choice to go from film to solder mask, but as Frank explained, it makes perfect sense.
Ventec: Eye on the Future, with Automotive and Lighting Front and Center
Ventec’s Thomas Michels and Didier Mauve sat down with I-Connect007 Editors Patty Goldman and Pete Starkey and enjoyed an upbeat and enlightening conversation. Among the topics covered were the importance of working partnerships in maintaining supply chain continuity, market drivers for thermally conductive materials, and development of enabling technologies to support the automotive electronics revolution.
A Fresh Look at Outsourcing Solutions in Electrical Testing
In this interview conducted at productronica 2017, Gardien Group COO Roland Valentini describes to Pete Starkey the limitations of the traditional outsourcing model for electrical testing and explains the need for customised solutions directly catered to customers’ individual requirements.
Viking: Covering the Globe with Value-Added Services
In the final hours of productronica 2017, Barry Matties met with Jake Kelly of Viking to discuss the company’s value-added services, their growth in the India and America markets, and the UCE manufactured line they displayed at productronica.
Institute of Circuit Technology Harrogate Seminar 2017
A return to the historic spa town of Harrogate in Yorkshire, England for the Institute of Circuit Technology Northern Seminar, to enjoy a diverse programme of presentations on safety standards, research in selective metal deposition, and developments in imaging and inspection techniques.
Who Really Owns the PCB Layout?
In order to understand the current climate, we have to look at the division of labor that took place in electronic design about 40 years ago. The labor was divided into two processes, with the first being the design itself. This process was (and still is) owned by the electrical engineers. Though circuit design has changed, the methods for representing the circuit have not. Paul Taubman of Nine Dot Connects explains.
Full-Service Plating at Hofstetter
While strolling the aisles at productronica, I happened upon the booth of Hofstetter Plating. I was not familiar with this PCB company so I stopped to chat. It turns out they aren’t exactly a PCB fabricator, but provide a comprehensive plating service in Europe and occasionally beyond that, offering several exotic and unique plating processes.
RTW…HKPCA & IPC Show 2017 Highlights With Canice Chung
Canice Chung, chairman of the HKPCA, speaks with Managing Editor Stephen Las Marias about the record-breaking show, held this week in Shenzhen, China.
RTW HKPCA & IPC Show 2017: IPC Asia’s Philip Carmichael on the Changes in PCB Value Chain
During the 2017 International Printed Circuit & APEX South China Fair (HKPCA & IPC Show 2017) in Shenzhen, IPC Asia President Philip S. Carmichael speaks with I-Connect007 Managing Editor Stephen Las Marias about the move in the value chain that’s driving the electronics manufacturing industry forward.
Pluritec Wants to Remove Human Factor from Solder Mask
Solder mask remains a relatively hands-on task, which can result in human error. But equipment manufacturer Pluritec wants to change that. At PCB West, I spoke with Pluritec Vice President of Sales Lino Sousa about the company’s new spray technology that can turn solder mask application into what is essentially a push-button operation.
HDI: Today, Tomorrow and the Future
For the November issue of The PCB Magazine, our editorial team interviewed some of the top HDI experts in the PCB supply chain. Joining us on the conference call were Steve Bird, PCB/flex technology manager at Finisar, and Tony Torres of APCT.
35 Years of HDI Fabrication Processes and Obstacles for Implementation
The electronics industry is the world’s largest and most robust market. It is also a bulwark of American creativity, with Silicon Valley as its origin and fortress.
Cannonballs, eBooks, and Signal Integrity
I-Connect007 editors Andy Shaughnessy and Pete Starkey recently met with Polar Instruments Managing Director Martyn Gaudion at productronica. They discussed the success of "The Printed Circuit Designer’s Guide to…Secrets of High-Speed PCBs," the ongoing challenge of facilitating communication between designers and fabricators, and the influence of chemical bond-enhancement processes on insertion loss.
Bay Area Circuits Updates InstantDFM Tool
Bay Area Circuits is on a quest to help PCB designers and design engineers. For the past few years, the company has been holding facility tours and open house events to help designers understand more about the fabrication process. Now, Bay Area Circuits has upgraded its free design tool, InstantDFM.com, which allows customers and non-customers alike to check manufacturability and request pricing of their jobs. At PCB West, Andy Shaughnessy spoke with President Stephen Garcia and COO Brian Paper about the new tool update, and some of the other services they offer for PCB designers.
A Conversation with EIPC Executive Director Kirsten Smit-Westenberg
The EIPC booth was a busy place during productronica, with several members and other organizations headquartered there, resulting in a constant stream of people stopping by to visit, get information and study the upcoming conference agendas. Overseeing the big, and even the little things, was Executive Director Kirsten Smit-Westenberg, who made sure important questions got answered, people stayed hydrated, and EIPC’s magnetic pins found homes on shirt collars.
Papandrew Leads Advanced Circuits’ New Offshore Division
Advanced Circuits is one of the largest PCB manufacturers in the United States. Now, the company is expanding the range of its services with the launch of its new Offshore Division. Recently, the company hired PCB veteran Greg Papandrew to lead the new division and help the company meet buyers’ demand for offshore PCB sourcing.
Nancy Jaster Brings Manufacturing, Design Background to Designers Council
Nancy Jaster was recently named the head of the IPC Designers Council. At the recent AltiumLive 2017 event, I spoke with Nancy about her unique background in both design and manufacturing, and how she hopes to use that experience and mindset to revitalize the Designers Council going forward, particularly with the International and student chapters. We also discussed her plans to bring more young people, particularly women, into the industry.
Zuken Teams With Nano Dimension for 3D Printing Design Flow
At PCB West, Zuken shared a booth with Nano Dimension. Zuken has been working with Nano Dimension for some time, and adding support for 3D printing and nanotechnology to its design tool platforms. I sat down with Zuken’s Humair Mandavia and Nano Dimension’s Simon Fried to learn more about this alliance, and to find out more about this odd-looking box being demonstrated in Zuken’s booth.
HDI: Born in the USA and Making a Comeback
There is no denying that high-density interconnect (HDI) has been around a long time—over 25 years, believe it or not. From almost the moment of its conception in the U.S., the technology was adopted by and used almost exclusively in Asia.
Walt Custer’s Annual Update from productronica 2017
Industry consultant Walt Custer of Custer Consulting sat down with me at productronica 2017 to once again inform our readers with his yearly update and perspective on what’s happening in the industry. And guess what? It’s good news! Pertinent charts referenced in our conversation are included, but if you want more, Walt invites you to click the link at the end of this conversation and email him directly.
Video from productronica 2017: Karel Tavernier on Ucamco's New Communic8tor
European Editor Pete Starkey and Ucamco Managing Director Karel Tavernier discuss Ucamco’s cloud-based Communic8tor platform which facilitates two-way communication between the CAM engineer and the PCB designer, or any other party involved in the manufacturing process. This gives real-time access to image data and annotations, enabling queries to be resolved, changes to be approved, and a full communications history to be maintained.
Video from productronica 2017: Electra Polymers Updates on the Latest Developments in DI Soldermask
From the show floor at productronica 2017, Electra Polymers' sales manager Ashley Steers discusses the state of the art in soldermask for direct imaging. Sales and marketing director Shaun Tibbals comments on developments in ink-jet soldermask, and opportunities in wafer-level packaging.
Video from productronica 2017: DIS Improves Registration of Flex and Rigid-Flex PCBs
From the show floor at productronica 2017, we stopped by the DIS booth for a conversation with Tony Faraci. Here, he explains how DIS has tackled the challenges of handling and alignment of flex-rigid multilayer builds (especially cut-out pre-preg layers and packing pieces) and automated what was previously an operator-dependent manual process.
Book Review: Find the Fire
This is a fabulous book for whenever you get the blahs! You know what I’m talking about. There are times when you just cannot get out of your own way, and everything you try to do gets stuck in park and you just can’t understand how you ever got anything done in the first place.
Book Review: Becoming Facebook—The 10 Challenges that Defined the Company That’s Disrupting the World
Make no mistake about it: This is not just the story of one company, but rather one that describes the many challenges that all companies face and must overcome to be successful.
Video from productronica 2017: Taiyo America Highlights Ink-Jettable Solder Mask
After a long-term program of cooperative development, evaluation and qualification, Taiyo America’s solvent-free ink-jet solder mask formulation is working successfully in a technically demanding production environment. Don Monn recounts his experiences from the show floor at productronica 2017.
Video from productronica 2017: Rogers Discusses Trends Driving Growth
Dirk Lefelon, European sales manager for Rogers Corporation, discusses his group’s final 2017 results. He also explains what the new year will bring, including increased investment in capacity for the European market, especially for the automotive segment.
Book Review: Profitable Podcasting—Grow Your Business, Expand Your Platform, and Build a Nation of True Fans
There is no doubt that we are living in a world of content marketing. If we want to get our company’s message out there we must not only know how to develop great content, but come up with the best ways to get it out into the stratosphere. Many of more experienced marketing people have missed this meeting.
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