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Atotech Brings World-Class AHDI to the U.S.
12/06/2018 | I-Connect007 Editorial Team
Ventec's Marketing Strategy and Their Newly Appointed Technology Ambassador
12/05/2018 | Pete Starkey, I-Connect007
Meet All Flex’s New President and CEO Matt Keithly
12/04/2018 | I-Connect007 Editorial Team
Innovative PCB Processes are Lean and Green
11/29/2018 | Happy Holden, I-Connect007
GreenSource: The Future
11/26/2018 | Nolan Johnson, I-Connect007
Book Recommendation: Do Good—Embracing Brand Citizenship to Fuel Both Purpose and Profit
The best way to get your people engaged to is give them a mission that is bigger than the company. Now more than ever, people want to believe in things and causes that matter. They want to be proud of the company they work for.
5G—Generation after Generation
If you’re like me, you’ve probably heard of 5G, but you may not understand what all the fuss is about. First, 5G simply means fifth-generation mobile networks. The best way to understand what 5G is about is to understand all the other Gs, like 3G and 4G (we rarely hear about the early Gs!).
Catching up with Fineline-Global N. American CEO Eran Navick
After entering the North American marketplace just six months ago, printed circuit board provider Fineline-Global is making its mark. As the largest value-added PCB supplier in the world, Fineline prides itself on being any able to meet any challenge for any company in any part of the world. I recently had the chance to sit down with Eran Navick, the company’s North American CEO to catch up on how things are going.
May the G Force Be With You
We are about to begin the transition from the present cellular standard 4G LTE to the next generation, 5G. As in the past, most people will wonder, “What does 5G mean to me, and what is LTE anyway?” After all, if you can make your connection reliably and you can send and receive data at reasonable speeds, why should you really care?
The Institute of Circuit Technology Annual Symposium 2018
ICT technical director Bill Wilkie is well-known for choosing notable venues for Institute of Circuit Technology events, and his choice for this year’s Annual Symposium was the National Motor Museum, located in the village of Beaulieu in the heart of the New Forest, a national park in the county of Hampshire in Southern England. The region is known for its heathland, forest trails and native ponies.
Book Recommendation: Becoming Facebook—The 10 Challenges that Defined the Company That’s Disrupting the World
Besides being an excellent history book into one of the most fascinating companies in the world, it is also a great business book. Full disclosure, I wanted to read this book because I wanted to know the Facebook story. I did not expect any of the lessons in this book to apply to me and my own small business or the small businesses that I work with, but I was wrong. The book is filled with valuable lessons that can be applied to any company, no matter the size.
Day-to-Day: ZTE and the Potential Impending Trade War Saga
Nanya Technology, Taiwan's biggest DRAM chipmaker, will apply for a permit to provide chips to ZTE. The company said it has been notified about restrictions on shipments to ZTE, and that the ban would have limited effect on its operation. The company said on May 9 that it is preparing to apply for a permit to continue shipping chips to ZTE Corp. as export restrictions took a new turn due to a US-China trade spat.
The Augmented World Expo: Go XR or Become Extinct
Now on its ninth year, the Augmented World Expo (AWE USA) is perhaps the largest event for professionals focused on providing science fiction-like abilities through XR (cross reality) and associated wearable technology. This year’s event showcased over 100,000 square feet of exhibit space and featured numerous presentations and discussions covering topics ranging from the latest and greatest uses and devices for XR to the business of marketing and monetizing it.
‘Can Do’ in CAM Outsourcing: CAM Engineering—Reducing Costs
While having on-demand capacity, improved automation, and fast turn-around are critical to any front-end engineering operation, achieving those goals with a cost-effective solution is imperative. Electronics are constantly under cost-reduction pressures. Functionality, capability, and complexity increase while costs decrease.
Golden Anniversary for EIPC at the 2018 Summer Conference
June marks the start of summer, and with that, the EIPC’s annual summer conference. Highlighted by its thought-provoking presentations, social outings and factory tours, the conference continues to be valuable and productive for attendees. This year should prove no different, with EIPC set to celebrate its 50th anniversary. I spoke with EIPC Executive Director Kirsten Smit-Westenberg about what can be expected from the upcoming conference in Düsseldorf, Germany.
AWE: Introducing the Augmented World Expo
The largest and most diverse event regarding the depth and breadth of technological progress and advancement is CES, which lets us get updates and allows us to focus on anything from drones to 3D additive PCB fabrication, from autonomous transportation and the degree of electronics in the newer and upcoming vehicles to the quantum computers and AI of the near future, from the forecasts found in science fiction of the ‘60s and ‘70s to the reality of 21st century technology.
RTW CPCA Show: AWP Discusses Whelen Engineering Project Success
At the recent CPCA Show 2018 in Shanghai, Jochen Zeller, vice president of AWP Group, speaks about the challenges impacting the wet processing part of the PCB manufacturing industry, such as the continuing miniaturization trend leading to finer widths and line spacings, as well as traceability.
Experts Discussion with John Talbot, Tramonto Circuits
For this first issue of Flex007 Magazine, we interviewed John Talbot, president and owner of Tramonto Circuits. Headquartered in metro Minneapolis, Minnesota, Tramonto manufactures flexible and rigid PCBs for a variety of industry segments. Editors Andy Shaughnessy, Patty Goldman and Stephen Las Marias asked John to discuss the challenges and opportunities in the world of flexible circuits, and some of the trends he’s seeing in this market.
Experts Discussion: The Flex Technologists Speak
For our first issue of the Flex007 Magazine, we invited a group of flexible circuit experts to discuss their work in this rapidly growing segment. Participants included Jonathan Weldon of DuPont, Mark Finstad of Flexible Circuit Technologies, and Scott McCurdy and Scott Miller of Freedom CAD. In a free-wheeling discussion with Andy Shaughnessy and Barry Matties, these technologists share their thoughts on the challenges and opportunities in flexible circuits, as well as what constitutes the cutting edge of flex right now.
Process Control for HDI Fabrication
A subject that gets very little discussion but is essential to the HDI process is automation. That is, the control of chemical concentrations in our many PCB processes and, especially, those that have been mechanized and can change very rapidly. HDI is one of those series of processes where control is the key to high yields.
ACE’s AccuWrap Simplifies Multiple Sequential Laminations with Blind Vias
At DesignCon 2018, I spoke with James Hofer, general manager for Accurate Circuit Engineering, a quick-turn fabricator based in Santa Ana, California. James gave me a preview of AccuWrap, a new type of processing technology that lets designers reduce the amount of copper during sequential laminations while still meeting IPC specs, which should be of great interest to RF designers.
Drilling and Routing Machines: Taking Control
Once driven by hardware, the controller industry for PCB drilling is now one being driven primarily by software, so says Holger Dornau, of SIEB & MEYER. Barry Matties sat down with Holger at the CPCA show in Shanghai to discuss CNC drilling and routing machine controllers and why It's becoming more and more important for fabricators to consider.
Future Automotive Requirements for PCBs
In the automotive electronics industry, a huge change in functional and environmental requirements will be visible during the next few years. This is driven by three major trends: connected mobility, automated mobility, and the increasing electrified mobility.
Triangle Labs: Covering the Niche Market of Large Boards
I recently had the opportunity to speak with John-Michael Gray, president of Triangle Labs. We had quite a discussion on their rather unique capability of building large-format PCBs and multilayers—perhaps the largest PCBs in the world.
Automotive, the Electronics Industry’s New Driver
The automobile industry is becoming a combination of most of the traditional electronics segments: It’s a consumer product with a computer, communications center, and a few medical monitoring-type tendencies (measuring your alertness, heart rate, etc.), all rolled (no pun intended) into one incredible machine that is influencing our industry as none other.
Autonomous Transportation: Using Disruptive Technologies to Create Social Disruption and Change
Those of us who have been driving for the last 50−60+ years have seen great change. At first, it was slow; we went from manual shift to automatic shift transmissions, then we started adding simple things such as FM radio (yes, that was a premium add-on in the early ‘60s), then air conditioning and power windows, fuel injection, cruise control, airbags, and in the last decade everything from GPS to LED lighting to automatic speed and distance control, back-up and surrounding cameras and so much more.
RTW CPCA: Fischer Discusses Automation, Industry 4.0
Dr. Wolfgang Babel, CEO and president of Helmut Fischer Group, speaks with Editor Stephen Las Marias about the latest improvements in their coating thickness test systems to help customers in their automation and Industry 4.0 journey.
Show & Tell: IPC Awards—Rewarding Tireless Efforts for the Good of the Industry
Every year IPC presents dozens of awards to committee members for their work completing standards and specifications and for other activities within the organization. However, a few awards are extra special and presented for extraordinary efforts, for long-time commitment to both IPC and the electronics industry.
The Direction of New Technology
I don’t have to tell you that things are changing fast in our industry. New tech seems to launch daily these days. How can we keep up? How can we even maintain? What’s coming next and how can we best prepare, in order to stay in the game?
Unimicron Germany Rises from the Ashes with New Smart Factory
This is a review of the grand opening of Unimicron’s new smart factory in Geldern, Germany. A fire in a PCB shop is an experience we all dread, but still it happens, and the consequences can be devastating. In the early hours of December 28, 2016, the innerlayer production plant at RUWEL International in Geldern, Germany, caught fire and the whole factory and its contents were destroyed.
Schmid Looks to the Future for Industry 4.0 and More
I met with Rüdiger Lange, CSO at Schmid Group, in their spacious, comfortable booth at productronica. We discussed the current capital equipment market and Schmid’s business direction for the future while watching some of their new technology in action.
SHOW & TELL: Bringing STEM Students to IPC APEX EXPO for a View of the Industry
On the last morning of IPC APEX EXPO 2018, we met with Nancy Jaster, IPC design programs manager and one of the driving forces behind IPC’s STEM Outreach program for high school students. We spoke about the students who were arriving on site at IPC APEX EXPO, and what the industry, and IPC, hoped to achieve with this valuable program.
Elga Europe Reality and Ultra-High-Resolution Photoresist
While walking around the PCB hall at productronica, I was approached by my good friend Gene Weiner. Gene emphatically directed me to the Elga booth to find out about their new extra-thick dry film that can image extremely fine features with a perfectly perpendicular sidewall. Elga Europe CEO Giorgio Favini filled me in on the details.
Setting the Record Straight: CEO Asher Levy on the Future of Orbotech
With the recent planned acquisition of Orbotech in place by maker KLA-Tencor, much of the industry has speculated about Orbotech’s future. Barry Matties spoke with CEO Asher Levy about what lies in store for the Orbotech group and, more specifically, their PCB division should the deal close.
GreenSource: Good for the Industry, Good for the World
Whelen Engineering has recently spun off their new printed circuit manufacturing facility to service the merchant market as a new business entity, GreenSource Fabrication LLC.
Everyone is a Customer; Everyone is a Supplier
We’ve all heard the cliché: What goes around, comes around. I’ve always felt that was especially true in our industry, with the frequent job changes people make—much accelerated in recent years but always a factor, since I can remember.
The March of Disruptive Technologies
There have always been disruptive technologies; thousands of years ago, fire totally disrupted the path of mankind. I have heard it said that truly disruptive technologies are like earthquakes on the seismographs of history.
Book Review: Questions That Sell
This is a great book to help salespeople learn how to win over their customers and an even better book for helping companies, particularly their inside salespeople, to create customers for life. Creating a customer-focused company is all about knowing everything possible about your customers and the best way to find out everything about your customers is to ask them.
Understanding Your Customers
Understanding your customers may seem like a no-brainer, but conversations with company leaders across various industries the past five years have demonstrated to me just how difficult this can be in practice.
IPC 6012-DA Revisions: The Approach to Cleanliness, Thickness, Inspection, and Wicking
IPC’s Automotive Addendum task group was started in November 2014 and the first edition of IPC 6012-DA was released in April 2016. We are now working on the revised version, and expect a release in Q2 2018. As standards need to evolve, develop and follow the needs of the industry, this work is continuous.
CML’s Mission: Providing Solutions for Customers—Including the Right Supplier
During IPC APEX EXPO, I met with CML USA General Manager Ivan Wong, who was a first-time attendee at the San Diego event. CML is a worldwide PCB sourcing solutions provider with offices around the globe, but the company just recently entered the U.S. market. I spoke with Ivan about CML’s mission and the U.S. office’s plans.
Catching up with Dan Thau of Millennium Circuits Limited
Millennium Circuits Limited is one of the fastest growing printed circuit board suppliers in our country today. Located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, this company has grown exponentially since it began some 12 years ago.
Conversations on the Floor: IPC APEX EXPO 2018
This year’s show was one of the best in recent history, both in attendance and enthusiasm. The exhibit floor was sold out, and every single person I talked to was extremely optimistic about business in 2018. What follows are a series of observations and excerpts from conversations I had with some of the most interesting people I met.
PCB Manufacturing (R)evolution in the Making
At the recent HKPCA and IPC Show 2017 in Shenzhen, China, I was able to interview Les Sainsbury, CEO, and Andrew Kelley, CTO, of XACT PCB, as well as Alex Stepinski, vice president of Whelen Engineering’s PCB Fab Business Unit, to discuss process evolution and technology developments in the PCB manufacturing industry.
The Vast Offerings in Laminate Technologies from TUC
While at IPC APEX EXPO a few weeks ago, I sat down with George Hsin, chief strategy officer for TUC Worldwide, and Alan Cochrane, president of TUC North America. I was interested in learning more about the company and their laminate products and Alan was happy to fill me in.
The PCB Dinosaurs Get New Life at IPC APEX EXPO 2018
The Order of the PCB Dinosaurs (originally called the PWB Dinosaurs—the sign of a true dino) was born because of a comment almost 20 years ago by my good friend Bernie Kessler. Back in the day, when suppliers like us became IPC members, we could only be associate members; unlike fabricators, we could not serve on the board and we could not lead key committees.
From Math to Marketing: Orbotech CMO’s Worldview of the Industry
Barry Matties met with Orbotech’s corporate VP of Business Development and CMO, Lior Maayan, in Shenzhen and spoke about the next-generation processes currently challenging Orbotech's R&D team. Most notable among them are additive technologies like the automated optical shaping solution, and the growth of MSAP, flex, and HDI.
A Discussion About Everything Under the Sun
From flex circuits to HDI, Industry 4.0, leading market drivers, and materials—this wide-ranging discussion with Sunshine Global Circuits CTO David Aldape highlights the latest and future developments, challenges, and opportunities in the PCB manufacturing industry.
One Great Customer Service Story
Over the years I have been involved with many customers and many rescue missions. A rescue mission occurs when a shop screws up so much and hurts the customer so badly they have to do something extraordinary to get the customer out of hot water and not lose the account.
ESI Targets Growing HDI Space
At the recent HKPCA and IPC Show 2017 in Shenzhen, China, Chris Ryder, director of product management for HDI at Electro Scientific Industries Inc. (ESI), discusses how laser-based processing is addressing the challenges in HDI development, and MSAP technology and its impact on the PCB industry.
Show & Tell: IPC APEX EXPO 2018 Opening Keynote Review
The first keynote speech of IPC APEX EXPO 2018 was presented by Jared Cohen, head of Google’s Jigsaw team of engineers, researchers, and geopolitical experts. He explained that Jigsaw builds products not only to tackle global security challenges, but also to support free expression and access to information, especially in repressive societies.
What Happens to Our Industry Without a Skilled Workforce?
I’d like to discuss a critical issue facing our industry – the skills gap – and IPC’s commitment to supporting its members as we collectively seek to find solutions.
Show & Tell: Corporate Awards Bestowed by IPC
Every year IPC recognizes two companies that have made significant contributions to IPC and the electronics industry. These awards are named after industry executives who were themselves significant and outstanding contributors: one for a PCB fabricator company and one for an electronics manufacturing services (EMS) company. This year’s recipients were Northrop Grumman and Rockwell Collins, respectively.
Weiner’s World—March 2018
SEMICON China 2018 was amazing in its size and attendance. More than 1,000 exhibitors filled an event record of more than 74,000 square meters of exhibition space—the size of nearly 10 professional soccer fields. This year's theme was "collect, collaborate, innovate."
RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Arlon Achieves IPC Validation Services Accreditation
John Wright, quality manager at Arlon Electronic Materials, discusses how the company recently achieved IPC validation services accreditation.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO: IPC Solutions Program—Transportation and Workforce Development Initiatives
Sanjay Huprikar, IPC's VP of solutions, discusses the IPC solutions program, including transportation and workforce development initiatives.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Matrix Discusses Advanced Automation Equipment
Matrix's Fred Long discusses advanced automation equipment for the PCB industry, including new cleaning technology for panels and dry film laminating equipment.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Bowman—XRF Equipment, New IPC 4552A Spec, and How They Go to Market
Tom Leone, president, and Zach Dismukes, sales and support engineer from Bowman, discuss their XRF equipment, the new IPC 4552A spec, and how they go to market.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Rogers' High-Frequency/High-Temp Substrates
Tony Mattingly, senior product manager at Rogers Corporation, discusses the company's new substrates for high-frequency/high-temperature applications.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Perfect Point’s Recently Developed Coating Technology for Small Drills
VP Shane Stewart describes some recently developed coating technology for small drills that helps improve debris removal and aspect ratio drilling capability.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Insulectro Discusses Importance of Helping PCB Shops
Chris Hunrath, VP of technology at Insulectro, discusses their recent expansion of inventory, especially substrate materials, the need for quick access, and the importance of working closely with their customers and OEMs.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Catching Up with Cirexx International
Philipp Menges, president of Cirexx International, discusses yearly company updates and growing markets, including automotive, medical, and military.
Catching up with ACT-USA President Jack Gemmell
ACT-USA is one of the best value-added PCB distributors in the country today. Focused on providing their North American customers with boards as well as heavy copper boards they have steadily broadened their vendor base since their inception in 1994.
Institute of Circuit Technology Meriden Seminar, 2018
The Institute of Circuit Technology returned to Meriden, traditionally regarded as the centre of England, for its Annual General Meeting, which was followed by a technical seminar of five presentations, introduced as ever by Technical Director Bill Wilkie.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO: IPC—Industry Trends Moving Forward
Sharon Starr, director of market research for the IPC, discusses industry trends moving forward covering both EMS and PCB. She also mentions the upcoming studies IPC will be conducting in 2018.
Defining Customer-Supplier Relationships and Customer Satisfaction
Steve Williams, president of The Right Approach Consulting LLC, and a veteran executive in the PCB and EMS industries, speaks with the I-Connect007 team about customer-supplier relationships, and how you can ensure customer satisfaction.
Three New Mars2020 Rover Technologies: What Powers the “Body Parts” on the Mars2020 Rover?
The Mars2020 Rover Mission, designed by JPL, is the next NASA Mars Exploration Program mission that is planned to launch in 2020. Some goals of the mission include to check for past signs of life, to help prepare for manned Mars missions, and to collect soil samples and cache them on the surface for potential return to Earth by a future mission.
Bridging Knowledge and Understanding of Thermal Management Materials
At IPC APEX EXPO recently, Pete Starkey and Ian Mayoh, Ventec International’s technical support manager, had a chance to sit down and discuss the I-Connect007 micro E-book: The Printed Circuit Designer's Guide to Thermal Management with Insulated Metal Substrates, of which Ian is a co-author.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Ventec's Jack Pattie on New Materials, Industry Upswing
Ventec International Group’s Jack Pattie comments on continuing growth in sales, investment in manufacturing and distribution, and new product developments in polyimides, no-flow pre-pregs and thermally conductive materials.
A Plug-in that Connects CAD Software to 3D Printer
Nano Dimension's DragonFly 2020 Pro 3D Printer is a highly accurate and versatile inkjet deposition and curing system for printing professional multilayer circuit boards, structural electronics and antennas. In a sweeping discussion with Nano Dimension USA President Simon Fried, all my questions were answered about this innovative technology.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Uyemura's Chemistry for ENIG, ENEPIG, and EPIG Apps
A unique deposition chemistry that combines immersion and reduction reactions to yield a gold finish with superior properties and controllability in ENIG, ENEPIG, and EPIG applications.
The Sum of All Parts: Defining Your Customer
These are the most typical ways in which someone will ask us who our customers are. Many times, the purpose is to see whether we work in the same spaces as them or as a way of gauging whether we are “worthy” enough of having them as a customer.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Benefits of Outsourcing CAM Operations to a Specialist Provider of Engineering Services
CEO Mehul Dave of Entelechy Global discusses the benefits of outsourcing CAM operations to a specialist provider of engineering services.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Annual Update for IPC Validation Services
Randy Cherry, director of validation services, provides an annual update for IPC validation services, including QML and QPL supplier listings.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Benefits of Outsourcing Quality Assurance Options
Niraj Patel describes the benefits of outsourcing quality assurance operations, with specific reference to the alternative business models offered by Gardien for electrical testing.
The Selection of Chemical Etching Equipment for PCB Fabrication
Congratulations! Your process development team has completed its DOEs and is convinced they are ready to scale up. The facilities crew has found space for your new operation or, even better, your manufacturing team will have a newly-built building in which to locate the project.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Prototron Moves Offshore
Prototron's Dave Ryder and Russ Adams discuss the company's recent decision to begin manufacturing high-volume jobs overseas. They also discuss some of the partner shops' capabilities, including flex and rigid-flex, which were driven by customer demand.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Candor Industries' History and Advanced Circuit Constructions
Founder and president Yogen Patel shares Candor Industries' history and describes some of the non-standard approaches to PCB production the company uses to make advanced circuit constructions.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Insulectro Showcases New Low-Loss Materials
Norm Berry, director of laminates and OEM marketing for Insulectro, discusses the company's new low-loss products and resin systems that benefit high-speed, high-frequency PCB designs.
Book Recommendation: The One Percent Edge—Small Changes That Guarantee Relevance and Build Sustainable Success
Occasionally you read a book that truly makes a difference. I can tell I am reading a book like this one by how much longer it takes me to read it, but not because it’s boring or slow reading, certainly not! It’s because I stop constantly to jot down ideas in my notebook that stimulate me to come up with ideas that pertain to my own business.
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