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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.

Key Considerations When Choosing a Contract Manufacturer

Selecting a contract electronic manufacturer has traditionally involved a search overseas for the right compan--often in China or elsewhere in the Far East. Increasing labor and shipping costs are rendering the use of CEMs in the Far East less attractive, and a "Made in USA" approach is resonating positively in all sectors of the global economy.

Graphite-based Direct Metallization for Fabrication of Complex Interconnect Designs

According to author Michael Carano, colloidal graphite direct metallization processes have proven their usefulness as a replacement for electroless copper. Continuous improvements in the stability of the graphite dispersion has made the process an enabler for flex and HDI interconnect designs.

Cutting-edge Materials & Solutions from Aismalibar

Jeff Brandman, president, North America for Aismalibar, joins Guest Editor Mark Thompson to discuss a new line, Cobritherm HTC Ultra Thin, which features a 35-micron dielectric. He also talks about a new diamond-coated router that allows routing as fast as FR-4 and a 200 to 400% increase in productivity.

Bay Area Circuits: 39 Years and Still Growing

Stephen Garcia, president of Bay Area Circuits, joins Guest Editor Dan Beaulieu to discuss the longevity of his company--started by his grandfather in 1975, a move into a new facility in Freemont, California, and the drive to provide excellent customer service and fast turnarounds--some even the same day.

From Single-sided to HDI: The "Three Phone Call Method" Works

Author Dan Smith writes, "One experiences both extreme joy and anxiety when watching a prototype PCB being powered up for the first time. The test bench surrounding the new board resembles an operating room, with probes attached everywhere to an array of oscilloscopes, multimeters, and other indicators. The silence is broken by this electrical engineer when he erupts with the exclamation, "Wow! The circuit works!"

Modern Marketing Strategies with Omni PCB

Tara Dunn, president of Omni PCB, joins Guest Editor Judy Warner to discuss her company's marketing strategy to increase customer interaction through "Coffee Talks," a quick, fast resource where she sits down with industry experts to talk about materials selection, surface finishes, new materials, rigid-flex design, and much more.

Lead-free Reflow for High-layer-count PCBs

One of the most difficult printed circuit boards to adapt to Pb-free assembly processes is the high-layer count multilayer. Often, these multilayers have through-hole and hand-soldered components, and requirements for two or more rework cycles. One solution to this problem is to redesign the multilayer using current design rules and newer innovative fabrication technologies.

Lead-free Reflow for High-layer-count PCBs

One of the most difficult printed circuit boards to adapt to Pb-free assembly processes is the high-layer count multilayer. Often, these multilayers have through-hole and hand-soldered components, and requirements for two or more rework cycles. One solution to this problem is to redesign the multilayer using current design rules and newer innovative fabrication technologies.

Dave Sommervold on Thermal Substrate Materials Standards

Bergquist Company's Engineering Manager Dave Sommervold discusses the need for standards addressing thermal substrate materials and fabrication. He is part of a task group working on IPC-4105, a metal-based laminate standard, and IPC-6012, a metal-based addendum. The group is also in the process of creating thermal performance testing standards which will also address dielectric performance.

Kosmowski Demos Interdyne's New K6 Flying Wing Machine

Recently, PCB007 had the opportunity to visit Wojciech Kosmowski, CTO and chief designer of Interdyne's impressive new K6 Flying Wing drilling machine. He has been focused on improving machine dynamics to significantly increase productivity. His effort resulted in a unique new machine architecture, which he demonstrates in this video.

Testing Todd: Seven Tips for Choosing the Right Test Service

Do you need to go outside your company for your testing service? Maybe you have capacity issues, maybe your equipment is down, or maybe you just want an established back-up plan? Whatever the reason, it is very important to choose the right outside testing service because, ultimately, you're not just choosing an objective service provider; you're choosing a partner.

UL and Standards: Faster, Less Expensive

Doug Sober, IPC Hall of Fame member and standards engineer at Shengyi Technology, the largest copper-clad laminate maker in the world, joins Guest Editor Dan Feinberg to discuss time-to-market and the concerns over the cost of listing a copper-clad laminate and what the IPC's UL Task Group is doing to address these issues.

Why Procuring Flexible Printed Circuitry is Different

Flexible printed circuit (FPC) specifications and quality controls tend to be too tight; FPC is, by nature, a flexible, easily formed product of thin sheets of plastic film and metal foils bonded together with flexibilized adhesives. It is not carved out of billets of metal in a machine shop and it is not reasonable to assign thousandths-of-an-inch tolerances to every dimension.

Advanced Coatings & Surface Preps from Uyemura USA

Don Walsh, director of operations at Uyemura USA, joins Guest Editor Kelly Dack to discuss his company's finishing technology solutions, including PCB finishes, ENIG, ENEPIG, ENEG, ENAG, and much more. The company has just installed its first Nanofics system in Connecticut for plasma work and is ready to produce sample parts.

IPC Printed Electronics Standards Update

Josh Goldberg, marketing specialist with Taiyo America, joins Editor Andy Shaughnessy to discuss specialty materials in printed electronics and how they are being applied to new technologies. Goldberg is also chair of the IPC Printed Electronics Committee and talks about the association's work to define materials, substrates, design and testing rules, and more.

Rex Rozario: A History of Graphic PLC and the PCB Industry

CEO and founder of UK-based Graphic PLC Rex Rozario joins Guest Editor Dan Beaulieu to discuss his beginnings in the electronics industry in 1953, the creation of Graphic PLC, and the fact that his company is the only surviving original PCB fabricator left in the UK. Rozario also discusses working with Dr. Paul Eisler to develop the plated through-hole and flush bonding.

Design for Excellence and "Creovation"

The goal of the innovation process is to create value and minimize failure by truly understanding the customer and markets and by not creating a solution in search of a problem. So how does this tie into design for excellence (DFX)?

IPC APEX EXPO Panel Discussion: Has Offshoring Lost Its Luster?

Don't miss today's featured panel discussion, "Has Offshoring Lost its Luster?" Moderator Steve Williams is joined by panelists Dan Beaulieu of DB Management and Joe Fjelstad of Verdant Electronics.

Panel Discussion: Has Outsourcing Lost its Luster?

Moderator Steve Williams joins panelists Dan Beaulieu of D.B. Management and Joe Fjelstad, founder and president of Verdant Electronics, for the Prototron Circuits-sponsored IPC APEX EXPO 2014 panel, "Has Outsourcing Lost its Luster?" The group discusses the changes happening in the electronics industry and the reasons companies are making their way back to the United States.

It's Only Common Sense: Things Are Looking Up

Looking around our industry lately, I sense that it's changing right before our very eyes. I've seen evidence in the past several months that things are changing and, for the most part, changing for the better.

Panel Discussion: What's New in Flex?

Moderator Joe Fjelstad, founder of Verdant Electronics, joins panelists Al Wasserzug, senior business development manager at Cirexx, and Michael Jawitz, a member of the Research and Technical Group at Boeing, for The PCB List-sponsored IPC APEX EXPO 2014 panel, "What's New in Flex?" The group discusses flex opportunities in the U.S., new industry applications, and much more.

NCAB Expands U.S. Presence, Acquires M-Wave

One of the world's largest suppliers of PCBs, NCAB Group, has acquired 100% of M-Wave International, LLC's PCB Division. Bob Duke, former president of M-Wave's PCB Division, commented, "Being selected by NCAB to be a part of their U.S. team is a great compliment. As the PCB supply market continues to evolve, I felt this was an excellent time for M-Wave to expand its resources."

Kolmodin on Testing and New PCB Mag Column

Todd Kolmodin, Gardien Group's vice president of quality, joins Guest Editor Dan Beaulieu to discuss his newest venture: A monthly column for The PCB Magazine called "Testing Todd." Kolmodin encourages readers to challenge his ideas and solutions; to write in and give opinions or suggest column topics for future issues.

EPTE Newsletter from Japan: Anytime, Everywhere

Ten years ago it was difficult to find WiFi service in public areas throughout Japan. Nowadays, we can find WiFi signals in almost any public place, including airports, train stations, hotels, shopping malls, restaurants, and more. WiFi service is now even offered on airplanes!

OEM Press Systems: New CEO, New Technology

CEO Rob Henderson and Sales Manager Mary Quinlan of OEM Press Systems join Editor Andy Shaughnessy to discuss the company's improved process control capability to give engineers better data collection and database integration--everything an engineer needs to control the PCB lamination process.

AT&S Continues Growth; FY2013/14 Sales Up 9%

The company's sales for the financial year 2013/14 reached EUR 590 million, an increase of approximately 9% on the previous year's total. "I am delighted that we have been able to achieve consistent growth and continuous improvements in our profitability in a challenging economic environment over the past few years," explained CEO Andreas Gerstenmayer.

Drilling Systems Reinvented

Mike Jennings, vice president of Interdyne Systems, joins Guest Editor Kelly Dack to discuss his company's reinvention of the drilling machine. He argues that systems developed 25 years ago just won't cut it with today's technology. Interdyne began the process by adapting a technique of building a wing from the aerospace industry to create the Flying Wing.

Dick Crowe Hands Reins to New Burkle CEO

Chairman Dick Crowe and President Helfried Weinzerl of Burkle join Guest Editor Dan Feinberg to discuss Crowe's "retirement" after 30 years in the industry and Weinzerl's move from the capital equipment industry to PCB electronics. Crowe is confident in the transition and excited for the future of the company.

The Impact of Miniaturization on Fab Processes

Brian Nelson, NPI Manager at Sanmina, joins Editor Andy Shaughnessy to discuss the impact of miniaturization on fabrication. He reveals that the small parts are not what's stressing the system--it's ball grid array. Nelson suggests that subtractive processes will eventually have to give way to additive processes to find success.

LinkedIn Changes Everything for B2B Sales

LinkedIn is a database of all--or so close to all that it makes no difference--of the B2B prospects that a company would want to know about. Every customer is there along with clues on how to address them.

IPC India Planing May APEX EXPO

David Bergman, vice president of international relations at IPC, and A. Vijayendra, managing director of IPC India, join Guest Editor Dick Crowe to discuss the creation of the association in 2010 and the upcoming APEX India, May 19-22, 2014, in Bangalore. Vijayendra and his team take global programs and finds ways to tailor them for local demand and education.

Thermally Conductive Substrates & Thermal Management

Ventec's Ian Mayoh reviews the status of thermally conductive printed circuit substrate options in terms of performance, construction and processing, and future developments. With particular reference to insulated metal cored substrates, he explores the mechanical, thermal performance, and cost considerations when selecting an appropriate IMS material for a particular application.

Sustainability: What and Why?

Joe Fjelstad writes, "The resources of our planet are limited and thus are diminishing as we continue to unleash and ramp-up a seemingly never-ending flow of products to both serve and amuse us with output of the global electronics industry likely to be nearing the top of the list of 'offenders.' In that regard, we are becoming victims of our own success, to one degree or another."

Book Review: Delight Your Customers

Dan Beaulieu writes, "I'm a sucker for books about customer service. I look for and read them every chance I get and this is one of the better ones, especially when you take into consideration how well written and organized it is."

Ultra-flat, No-Profile ED Copper Foils for High-speed Digital PCBs

As our planet becomes more interconnected, the infrastructure needed to capture and work with increasing amounts of data must respond and deliver faster results. To cope with an increased demand for improved resin systems with better electrical properties, many new dielectrics have already been introduced to the market, and many others are at their final development stage.

Social Media 101: Eight Website Questions Answered

For now, forget Twitter and Facebook. Forget YouTube and LinkedIn. Forget Google Plus and Pinterest. Forget Slideshare. The absolute first thing you need to succeed in social media is a good website.

thePCBlist: A Global Directory for PCB Manufacturing

Patty Goldman, project manager for thePCBlist, joins Guest Editor Dan Beaulieu to discuss the benefits of this global directory. Work on building thePCBlist started two years ago and the project went live just nine months later. The directory now features detailed information for 1,900 PCB manufacturers. OEMs, designers, EMS providers, and more use the list to find the perfect manufacturer to fit their needs.

The Impact of Miniaturization on Fab Processes

Brian Nelson, new product introduction manager at Sanmina Corporation, joins Editor Andy Shaughnessy to talk about how BGAs are "stressing the system." Nelson says miniaturization stresses the dimensional limitations of what can be done in a subtractive process. He says additive process will be the future.

Ventec USA Prepares for Growth

Technical Editor Pete Starkey writes, "IPC APEX EXPO 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada, gave me the opportunity to catch up with Ventec USA President Jack Pattie and to meet the recently-appointed General Manager of the Ventec Fullerton Southern California facility Ray Young. The pair also gave an update on current developments and future company plans."

Using Flex in High-Speed Applications

This article from DuPont's Glenn Oliver, focuses on flexible circuit technology; specifically, the material properties that account for the broader use of flexible circuits in high-frequency and high-speed applications.

Make The Most of High-Frequency Laminates with Resistive Foil

Resistive foils can reduce the discrete component device count, free up real estate, and improve assembly processes. Many high-frequency circuit applications rely on resistive foils as termination resistors for transmission lines or matching resistors for power dividers. Planar resistor technology offers many advantages compared to alternative resistor technologies.

Vern Solberg Gives IPC-7092 Embedded Standard Update

Industry expert and long-time IPC Technical Committee Member Vern Solberg joins Guest Editor Dick Crowe to discuss embedded component technology and IPC-7092, a standard that began life three years ago as a way to give designers and manufacturers better guidance on how to develop a board with embedded technology.

The Application of Spherical Bend Testing to Predict Safe Working Manufacturing Process Strains

The authors describe an extensive "Spherical Bend Test" program to assess lead-free compatible materials and area array packages. This work has confirmed "pad crater/pad lift" as the dominant failure mode in lead-free materials in agreement with observations from multiple streams of field returned product.

PCB Auditing at the Next Level

Rob Scott, president of Next Level PCB, joins Guest Editor Kelly Dack to discuss measuring the capabilities of suppliers to ensure companies are getting what they pay for. Scott says a true in-depth audit involves a personal visit to investigate processes, procedures, certification, and much more.

IPC, ITI to Address Environmental Compliance Requirements

IPC and the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) will host a series of seminars on "Critical and Emerging Environmental Product Requirements" this May. The seminars, to be held in the Boston, Silicon Valley, Phoenix, and Chicago areas, will feature well-known United Kingdom regulators, Steve Andrews and Chris Smith.

Laminate Technical Support for OEM Designers from Isola

Richard Pangier, senior director for OEM marketing at Isola, joins Guest Editor Joe Fjelstad to discuss how his company has a dedicated group to help OEMs and designers figure out material options to address thermal reliability and signal integrity test needs. Isola also works with fabricators to make sure its laminate materials are easy to process and ready for next-generation designs.

Key Factors Influencing Laminate Material Selection for Today's PCBs

Recently, a flurry of new and promising laminate materials have entered the market, coming from the four corners of the world. Sanmina's Steve Iketani and Brian Nelson offer their take on materials, from FR-4 to low-Df/Dk laminates, and much more.

Sticking to His Roots Earns Carano IPC Hall of Fame Nod

"The president of my company said I should get involved with IPC, so I went to a TMRC meeting," Mike Carano said. "I thought it was the coolest thing, it was a great place to network and the view of things happening around the world that influenced our business was really something. I got information that would have cost thousands of dollars and taken days of effort if I could have found it at all."

Sunstone on New Initiatives and Lean Focus

Matt Stevenson, marketing manager at Sunstone Circuits, joins Editor Ray Rasmussen to discuss the company's new initiatives: A new, upgraded website; easier quoting and an on-time guarantee; and new equipment at its facility. He reports that six employees have graduated a college-based Lean leadership academy allowing for a reduction in waste and a savings of nearly $100K a year.

Smart Data Transfer Formats Automate CAM/CAD Design to Fabrication

With ever-increasing functionality, density, and complexity, fabricators and assembly houses must look for new ways to meet demands for high quality and on-time delivery. Because the data transfer process has a lot of manual input, human errors often creep into the process. Fabricators estimate that about one-quarter of all Gerber file sets received have errors of one form or another.
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