Article Highlights
Challenges of the 2022 PCB Market: The Party’s Over
08/08/2022 | Pete Starkey, I-Connect007
IPC's I-Connect007 Acquisition Update With John Mitchell
08/05/2022 | Nolan Johnson, I-Connect007
I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week
08/05/2022 | Nolan Johnson, I-Connect007
Q4 Concerns: Hold on to Your Hats
08/03/2022 | Shawn DuBravac, IPC
PCB Finance Class With Jeff De Serrano
07/28/2022 | Nolan Johnson, I-Connect007
PCB :: Associations

Latest Articles

IPC Education Foundation STEM Outreach

The IPC Education Foundation (IPCEF) hosted its annual STEM Outreach event on Thursday, January 27 at IPC APEX EXPO in San Diego. Due to COVID restrictions and regulations on field trips, the Foundation unfortunately could not host all the schools and students as initially planned, but we were thrilled to welcome nearly 80 students from e3 Civic High School, San Diego. The day was packed with several hands-on technical activities, career exploration, and industry engagement. The students participated in educational tracks with a focus on soldering, PCB design, a roundtable discussion, and a tour of the IPC APEX EXPO show floor.

The IPC STEM Event Inspires

Once again, IPC APEX EXPO featured its successful STEM event, organized by the IPC Education Foundation, and sponsored by several companies, including I-Connect007. The event had nearly 80 students in person for a hands-on introduction to our industry. After the welcoming comments, the students broke into groups for different activities. While some enjoyed a guided tour of the show floor, upstairs the other students learned how to solder. Then they rotated so that they all had the same opportunities.

PCB Adoption of Innovations

For North America, there is a growing need for more ultra-high density HDI capability. Some of the reasons for the slower adoption of SAP/HDI fabrication may rest with two obstacles: Subtractive processes have difficulty as they approach 50-micron traces and spaces (0.002”), and it is not clear what the total system acquisition costs will be for ultra-HDI.

DFM 101: Plating Methods

One of the biggest challenges facing PCB designers is not understanding the cost drivers in the PCB manufacturing process. This article is the latest in a series that will discuss these cost drivers (from the PCB manufacturer’s perspective) and the design decisions that will impact product reliability. There are two methods of plating copper on PCBs—pattern plating and panel plating. The panel plating method eliminates most of the copper plating distribution issues, but because it adds copper thickness to the base layer, it makes maintaining fine line definition and consistency difficult.

David Pogue Keynote Opens IPC APEX EXPO 2022

There were just a few empty seats in the huge, main lecture hall of the San Diego Convention Center on January 25 as IPC APEX EXPO welcomed the opening keynote speaker, science and tech writer David Pogue. Despite the early time of 8:30 a.m., the crowd enjoyed his topic, “Disruptive technology and how it will affect your business: What’s coming by 2026?” Pogue took us on a short journey through some of the technological innovations that continue to accelerate the transformation of our lifestyles and gave us a preview of how we might succeed in a world we’ve never seen before.

Automotive Initiatives Make Headway at IPC APEX EXPO

A significant number of automotive activities made notable strides at this year’s IPC APEX EXPO. Several committees dedicated to creating and updating automotive addenda for existing IPC standards, like assembly processes, PCB fabrication, and high-voltage cable, met and were led by companies like Toyota, Bosch, Continental, and Elmatica. Automotive dedicated groups, like the Cold Joining/Press-fit Task Group, also met and discussed inclusions in its next planned revision.

I-Connect007 Editor's Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

Like many of you, for the past few months, we’ve been busier than a farmer with two rattlesnakes and one shovel. As soon as we got home from IPC APEX EXPO 2022 we started work on our post-show publication, Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2022 Show & Tell Magazine. Now in its fifth year, Show & Tell is the best—and most exhaustive—source of in-depth information about IPC APEX EXPO. We published Show & Tell this week, and the response from industry leaders has been off the charts. Show & Tell gives the reader a taste of what it was like to be at the show, from ribbon-cutting and keynotes through the last conference classes.

Chris Mitchell's Top 10 Takeaways from IPC APEX EXPO 2022

The recent surge in COVID cases provoked more than a few questions about what to expect at this year’s IPC APEX EXPO. But as I traversed the San Diego Convention Center last week, the top answer was clear: a lot of smiles! Sure, they were hidden behind masks, but they were evident in the eyes of everyone I met. Attendees were thrilled to be back together in person, sharing ideas as freely as elbow bumps. IPC is a community, and APEX EXPO is the place where we build it.

Alex Stepinski: Taking Control of Input Costs

Barry Matties and Nolan Johnson talk with Alex Stepinski about strategies to lower costs in brownfield facilities. Alex has extensive experience designing and optimizing manufacturing processes and is currently helping companies implement straightforward step-by-step solutions to move into smarter manufacturing across different industries.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO 2022: The Growing Demand for Automation

Guest editor Dick Crowe speaks with Jeff Brandman of Aismalibar North America about the growing demand for automation in PCB facilities. Jeff shares discusses a variety of Aismalibar's solutions for meeting this need, and he shares his thoughts on the rise of automation in this industry. If you were unable to attend IPC APEX EXPO 2022, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events in San Diego, from ribbon cutting to teardown.


Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO 2022: Supplying the U.S. Market for 30 Years

Ashley Steers of Electra Polymers shares his perspective with Pete Starkey about the company's history, including supplying the U.S. market for 30 years. They also discuss the latest trends in inkjet solder mask. If you were unable to attend IPC APEX EXPO 2022, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events in San Diego, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO 2022: High-Speed Materials

In this interview conducted by Editor Andy Shaughnessy, Deanna Bustamante of Arlon EMD shares her thoughts on the state of materials in the PCB industry. They also discuss the global high-speed materials market. If you were unable to attend IPC APEX EXPO 2022, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events in San Diego, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

Here in the Northern Hemisphere, we’re now closer to the equinox than to the solstice; change is in the air. Where I live in the Pacific Northwest, we’ve had unseasonably mild and sunny weather, teasing us that spring might be right around the corner. Change is in the air in our news feeds, too. This week, we bring you on-the-grow news from NCAB and Aegis, some market reports on smart manufacturing, and a widely read column on cybersecurity from Mehul Davé. Now that’s something to warm up to.

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2022: An Additive Printing Solution

Avi Greenberg of Orbotech, a KLA company, discusses how their solutions can help the ICS market and the many manufacturing challenges which impact quality and capacity. The conversation also covers an additive printing solution.

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2022: The Supply Chain and Markets

Pete Starkey interviews Mark Goodwin, COO of Ventec International, on the impact of the current supply chain condition. Their conversation also covers aerospace and the U.S. market. If you were unable to attend IPC APEX EXPO 2022, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events in San Diego, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2022: A New Direct Imaging System

Sylvain Dromaint of Altix gives Pete Starkey an update on the recent launch of their ADIX DUO direct imaging system and how it fits into the company’s roadmap. If you were unable to attend IPC APEX EXPO 2022, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events in San D+iego, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2022: Pluritec Expands Product Offerings

Lino Sousa, Vice President of Pluritec, speaks with Pete Starkey about their expansion into wet processing and spray coating, new process line integration solutions. If you were unable to attend IPC APEX EXPO 2022, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events in San Diego, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2022: Electronics Coating Quality Control

Dean Schmidt of Hitachi High-Tech Analytical Science talks with Nolan Johnson about the increasing need for more in-line automation for electronics manufacturers and the role that coatings analysis plays in this.If you were unable to attend IPC APEX EXPO 2022, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events in San Diego, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2022: High-Tech Rigid-Flex Boards and More

Jeff De Serrano, president of PCB Technologies for North America, and Editor Andy Shaughnessy discuss Jeff’s current quest to acquire a PCB fabrication facility. Just six months into his new position at PCB Technologies, Jeff explains his plans for the next few years, including the company’s focus on rigid-flex boards and their plans to invest heavily into high-tech substrates and microelectronics assembly.

I-Connect007 Editor's Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

This week’s picks comprise a potpourri of published articles, a hodgepodge of helpful hints, and a brood of business news. Our collection includes several interviews from IPC APEX EXPO; we filmed over 60 of these video interviews that week, all shot with our new anti-COVID protocol. The boom microphones, selected so that we wouldn’t have to attach clip-on mics to each interviewee, gave our booth/studio an air of 60 Minutes. But unlike what we see in most news shows, almost all the news at IPC APEX EXPO was positive as companies emerge from the pandemic with even more innovative software, services, and equipment than before. It’s looking like 2022 is going to be a really good year.


Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO 2022: Latest Trends in PCB Manufacturing Equipment

Torsten Reckert, president of all4-PCB, discusses their product lines with Andy Shaughnessy, I-Connect007 editor. In this conversation, they look at the latest trends and requirements from the industry. If you were unable to attend IPC APEX EXPO, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events in San Diego, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO 2022: New Materials for Additive Manufacturing

Trevor Polidore of Rogers Corporation and I-Connect007 Guest Editor Tara Dunn discuss the introduction of the new Rogers materials designed for use in 3D printing. They also look at the trends and challenges in materials for additive and semi-additive manufacturing. If you were unable to attend IPC APEX EXPO, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events in San Diego, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO 2022: Advanced Packaging Report

Matt Kelly, chief technologist at IPC, provides a quick assessment of IPC APEX EXPO 2022 as of end-of-day Wednesday. Matt reviews the technical programs and shares his thoughts on the importance of the continued evolution of the Factory of the Future. If you were unable to attend IPC APEX EXPO, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events in San Diego, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO 2022: Continuous Supply Chain

Nolan Johnson talks with North American distributor Shawn Stone of International Electronic Components (IEC) about their strategies for maintaining a continuous supply chain in the PCB industry. This doesn't look like a problem that's likely to go away anytime soon, and Shawn offers his thoughts on how his company is managing the solution. If you were unable to attend IPC APEX EXPO, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events in San Diego, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

The last time I was in this space, we were busy preparing for our extensive coverage of IPC APEX EXPO, so now I have the honors of compiling the news from the week following the event. We often use the phrase “busy news week” in these compendiums, but this week I have metrics—25% more news items published this week at I-Connect007 than our weekly average. All the more reason to read the website newsfeeds and newsletters, but also all the more reason for me to bring you the best of the best from the past week.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO 2022: Selecting the Right Base Material

Steven Sekanina, Isola’s director of High Speed Digital Products, helps launch their new book, “The Printed Circuit Designer’s Guide to… High Performance Materials.” Editor Andy Shaughnessy sat down with Steven to discuss the importance of selecting the right base material for your printed circuit board, and the criteria to consider when choosing high-speed PCB laminates. If you didn't make it to IPC APEX EXPO, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events in San Diego, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO 2022: Industry Icons Reflect

In this special interview, industry icons Technical Editor Happy Holden and Dick Crowe of Burkle North America reflect on and share a historical perspective from their many years in the industry. Dick also announced his retirement after nearly 60 years in the industry, and he discusses his plans for the future. If you didn't make it to IPC APEX EXPO 2022, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events in San Diego, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO: Fire Up the Inkjets

Technical Editor Pete Starkey sits down with Don Monn of Taiyo America to discuss the benefits of inkjet solder mask and how it helps streamline the manufacturing process. They also discuss the recent acquisition of Circuit Automation, a manufacturer of solder mask coating and vertical drying equipment. If you didn't make it to IPC APEX EXPO, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events in San Diego, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO: Update From PCBAA

PCBAA Chairman Travis Kelly sits down with Nolan Johnson to discuss the new association’s recent activities and plans for the future. The Printed Circuit Board Association of America is focused on advocating for manufacturing in America. If you didn't make it to IPC APEX EXPO, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events in San Diego, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO: Advocacy in Washington

Editor Nolan Johnson sits down for an interview with Chris Mitchell, Vice President of Global Government Relations at IPC. They discuss the industry's advocacy in Washington to educate Congress on our key issues, as well as the growth in global advocacy by IPC. If you didn't make it to IPC APEX EXPO, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events in San Diego, from ribbon cutting to teardown.


Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO: John Mitchell Shares Thoughts on the Show

John W. Mitchell, president and CEO of IPC, shares his thoughts with Barry Matties about the return of the in-person IPC APEX EXPO after a two-year hiatus. Watch this interview or view it on our show page. If you didn't make it to IPC APEX EXPO, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

We just wrapped up IPC APEX EXPO 2022, and I think it went better than anyone could have expected. I wasn’t sure the live show would actually take place. With the COVID protocols in California changing daily, no one knew for sure that a live show would even be allowed to open. But here's my picks for the week, both from the show and from the industry.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO: PCB Manufacturing Today

Dick Crowe speaks with Kurt Palmer, president of Burkle North America, about the trends he sees in PCB manufacturing today. From LDI to laser drills, they discuss a wide range of concerns and opportunities. If you didn't make it to IPC APEX EXPO, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

Day 3: Lots of Action in San Diego

The perfect San Diego weather on Wednesday morning ushered in another full day at IPC APEX EXPO 2022. IPC President and CEO John W. Mitchell’s keynote presentation offered a roadmap for the organization and the future of the electronics manufacturing industry. IPC runs on the contributions of its tireless volunteers, and a group of these engineers and technologists were honored at yesterday’s Awards Luncheon. The traffic on the show floor was steady most of the day, and we saw a constant stream of visitors in the I-Connect007 booth and studio.

Day 2: Keynotes, Competitions, and a Busy Show Floor

Here in San Diego for IPC APEX EXPO, Tuesday saw the keynote address from tech author David Pogue, the ribbon cutting ceremony for the EXPO, the designer’s competition, and a full day of exhibition. Committee work and technical programs continued. We’re here, covering all the events, of course. Pogue stopped by our booth after the keynote. Barry Matties and I interviewed Pogue; look for that interview in our upcoming special edition magazine, Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO Show & Tell.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO: New Book on Stackup Design

Your stackup is basically the heart of your design. Now, there's a great new eBook that answers all of your questions about designing the perfect stackup: "The Printed Circuit Designer's Guide to... Stackup Design," written by Bill Hargin of Z-zero. In this IPC APEX EXPO interview, Happy Holden speaks with Bill about the importance of this topic and what readers can learn in his new book. Look for it in the I-007eBooks library. If you didn't make it to IPC APEX EXPO, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

Day 1: It's Show Time!

IPC APEX EXPO officially opens today, and as Crosby, Still and Nash once sang, “It’s been a long time coming.” The last live IPC APEX EXPO was held two years ago and was—for many of us—the last trade show we would attend before the pandemic hit. A lot has changed since then. But not everything has changed. After spending a few days watching the exhibitors set up, I have to say that it looks a lot like the show floor always does at IPC APEX EXPO. I was surprised at the amount of capital equipment on the floor. I thought that exhibitors might have scaled back their spending, afraid that attendance might be light, but I saw no evidence of that. Companies came here ready to strut their stuff!

IPC APEX EXPO: We’re Back, Masked, and Ready for Business

I-Connect007 is here in San Diego, setting up our booth on the show floor for the exhibition portion of IPC APEX EXPO. Technical conferences and programs start today, and the show floor has filled with all the biggest names in our industry. Registration has been smooth and everyone seems to be wearing masks.

Getting the Most Out of IPC APEX EXPO 2022

It’s going to be a big deal for many of us to attend a large trade show like IPC APEX EXPO again. In fact, this was the last show I attended before locking down in early 2020—and that feels like a decade ago. With that in mind, going to IPC APEX EXPO this month will probably be the most important and valued trade show experience we have had in a very long time. We should all be doing everything we can to make this trade show experience as beneficial as possible. Here are some tips on how to make this show, as well as any other show you attend, a meaningful experience so that you will be sure to get a great return on your investment.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

Next week, we’ll be in San Diego. In fact, I fly down tomorrow morning to start preparations, along with most of the I-Connect007 team. The weather forecast says to expect sunny, with the occasional cloud, all week, with daytime temperatures around 70 degrees. That’ll be nice, as I’m sure COVID-related social distancing guidelines will encourage us to socialize outside as much as is feasible.


Kelly Dack Teases AltiumLive 2022

AltiumLive 2022 is just around the corner! Editor Nolan Johnson chats with Guest Editor and columnist Kelly Dack, one of the event hosts for AltiumLive Connect 2022. Kelly updates Nolan on the latest about the upcoming AltiumLive virtual conference, what's on the agenda, how it's connected with IPC APEX EXPO, and what attendees can expect to find.

Catching Up With RBP Chemical and Schlötter

It’s always great to see two very good companies form a mutually beneficial alliance. I was lucky enough to watch this particular strategic partnership come to fruition this year between RBP Chemical and Schlötter. I wanted to talk to both companies, so I sat down with Matthias Hampel, global executive representative-PCB and electronics at Schlötter, and Ernest Litynski, president of RBP Chemical Technology, to get the inside story.

Technology and Development Prospects for the European Marketplace

Nolan Johnson speaks with Tarja Rapala-Virtanen technical director of the EIPC who breaks down the current state of the European market and which technologies and market segments are seeing growth.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

We’re driving headlong into 2022, and there’s a lot going on in the world of PCB design, fabrication, and assembly. It’s trade show season now. IPC APEX EXPO starts in less than two weeks, and we’re all getting ready for what is, for many, the first trade show in years. Do you know where you put your business cards after your last show in 2020? I keep half a box of biz cards in my glove compartment; I’m not going to make that mistake again.

Real Time With... IPC APEX EXPO: ICAPE Group Gears up For Show Time

ICAPE Group's Marc L'Hoste speaks with Editor Nolan Johnson in this pre-show interview. Marc is the vice president of Western Americas, and he outlines what visitors can expect to learn about in the ICAPE booth, including manufacturing facilities recently added to the portfolio, new technologies, and a new corporate branding. If you can’t make it to IPC APEX EXPO, don’t worry. We’ll be bringing you interviews with the engineers, managers and technologists who are making a difference in our industry.

Living in a Material World: High-Speed Design Strategies

Any discussion about high-speed PCB design techniques would be incomplete without considering the properties and requirements of the materials. Your material selection drives much of your design strategy when you’re operating at 28 gigabits per second or faster. We recently spoke with high-speed design expert Lee Ritchey of Speeding Edge, and electronic materials veteran Tarun Amla of Avishtech and Thintronics, about the relationship between advanced PCB materials and high-speed design techniques. They discuss the challenges facing designers and engineers working with materials at speeds that were considered unreachable not long ago, and what designers need to know about material selection as board speeds continue rising toward the stratosphere.

CES 2022: Half Virtual, Still Valuable, and Here’s Why

Another CES has wrapped up, and while not fully back to its glittery self, the show still managed to create quite a buzz in the electronics world. Attendance was about half of its typical 150,000 as hundreds of companies still touted their wares and I’m excited to share with you what I discovered. I reported on the show from the safety of my home office, which was a bit of a letdown because I really enjoy walking the aisles of the show, visiting the exhibits of both large and small companies.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO: Taiyo Focuses on Collaboration

Don Monn, Midwest regional sales director at Taiyo America, reviews the progressive adoption of inkjet solder mask technology while acknowledging that liquid photoimageable mask continues as the mainstream process, with new developments in double-sided coating and vertical drying equipment. He comments on how Taiyo’s collaborative relationships with suppliers and customers have enabled logistics to be successfully managed through difficult times.

Sunstone Growing With Supply Chain Strategies

Barry Matties and Nolan Johnson talk to Sunstone Circuits’ Matt Stevenson, Kelly Atay, and Dawn DelCastillo about the current supply chain challenges and how they are adapting. They also share insights on market conditions, including trends in reshoring and marketing strategies related to reshoring.

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2022: Blackfox Mixes It Up with Training Opportunities

Andy Shaughnessy speaks with Jamie Noland, master IPC trainer and marketing manager for Blackfox Institute, about current and upcoming training opportunities and what you can expect from them at the show. Blackfox has expanded its offerings to reach a wider audience, including some very basic classes for beginners.


Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO: Burkle Has a Sharper Image

Kurt Palmer, president of Burkle North America, speaks with Editor Nolan Johnson about the latest advancements in imaging and the equipment that Burkle will be demonstrating at IPC APEX EXPO in San Diego. If you can’t make it to IPC APEX EXPO, don’t worry. We’ll be bringing you interviews with the engineers, managers and technologists who are making a difference in our industry.

Happy Holden’s Five Must-Reads of 2021

Over the past year, I-Connect007 has published more than 4,000 news items, nearly 300 articles, and 350 columns from the leading expert voices in the industry. We also have interviewed dozens of fabricators, assemblers, and designers on the most relevant and pressing topics in the ever-evolving printed circuit board industry. So, it only made sense to ask Happy Holden about his picks for the best reads at I-Connect007 in 2021.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

No matter how you look at it, we’re already off to a roaring start in 2022. Here on the West Coast of the U.S., heavy and persistent rains are doing what they can to fix years of drought through the southwest United States. The eastern seaboard is seeing plenty of rainy weather as well. As they say on the salt containers: When it rains, it pours. That adage is rather true in the news of the industry this week. Therefore, my must-reads include a celebration of longevity in business, the launch of our next space telescope, and the sale of equipment for the printing of electronics. On a more circumspect note, we also bring you the IPC’s report on rising material and labor costs, and an article on cybersecurity.

CES 2022 Has Begun, But Not as Expected

This annual consumer electronics show in Las Vegas, which went virtual last year, still touts more than 2,200 exhibitors, but some of the biggest companies have modified their plans, and even the show itself is shorter. Many major exhibitors like Microsoft, Google, AMD, and Intel have either canceled or modified their in-person CES plans. Preshow events like CES Unveiled and the CES Media Days were still planned for Jan. 3 and 4, and Showstoppers will proceed. The change in the show's length follows two weeks of companies announcing their pivot to virtual-only plans for CES 2022.

A Tour of the New Isola Factory: Investing in North America

Barry Matties recently toured Isola’s new 118,000-square-foot low-volume, high-mix manufacturing facility in Chandler, Arizona. The facility’s construction began in 2020 and, like many building projects, was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Building a new factory during the pandemic was certainly a challenge but the team persevered and the new greenfield facility is now operating to meet the needs of the North American market. During the tour, Barry met with Travis Kelly, Ed Kelley, Sean Mirshafiei, Jenny Inocencio, and Walt Niziolek. They covered a range of topics, including lab operations, hiring, the supply chain, R&D, and the concept of the new facility. The factory was designed to extensively utilize automation to improve efficiencies and, as Travis Kelly stated, “to de-risk the labor shortage issue.”

Jackie Mattox Keynotes Women in Electronics Reception

Named one of the Top 21 female influencers in 2021, Jackie Mattox started her career in the electronics industry during her college years at a small rep firm in Southern California, where she worked her way into the roles of sales and distribution manager and took a passionate interest in strategic key account management. Jackie graduated from California State UniversityNorthridge with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication/journalism. Jackie has always had a heart for people and especially for women’s issues, along with a dedication to personal and professional leadership development.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

I’m starting to get more and more out-of-office replies. Are you reading this on your phone while standing in line at Best Buy? But if you’re reading this, here’s to you! It’s been a pretty good year—much better than last year, though that’s a fairly low bar to clear. It’s a mixed bag this week, with news about trade shows, along with articles and interviews focusing on everything from education to methods for dealing with supply chain issues by staying flexible and taking action earlier in the process.

Catching Up with Allen Keeney of Johns Hopkins University

I have always been fascinated by research labs, especially those tied to major universities. These are the true leaders of innovation and invention and at the very top of the PCB industry. So, when I met Allen Keeney, chief engineer of the Advanced Electrical Fabrication Group at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, I jumped at the chance to talk with him. You will enjoy this look at another facet of our PCB industry.

Alun Morgan's productronica Slide Show

I-Connect007 has been bringing you interviews with a variety of technologists who attended last month's productronica show in Munich, Germany. As part of our continuing coverage of productronica 2021, we present this exclusive slide show of photos taken by our good friend Alun Morgan, technology ambassador for Ventec International Group and a fantastic photographer in his own right. Rumor has it that Lufthansa made him buy a separate seat for that giant camera of his.

Technical Track Opportunities at IPC APEX EXPO 2022

Matt Kelly, IPC chief technologist, discusses the growth of the technical conference tracks in this year’s IPC APEX EXPO program, as well as market dynamics that are influencing the topics presented at this year’s event. "We are thrilled with the number of abstract submissions we have received. As of today, we have over 150 submissions, which may be the highest number we’ve ever received. It shows the appetite and the interest people have to present and share their knowledge."


On the (Show) Road Again

Much has happened the past two years—politically, technically, and socially—that has greatly changed the path forward from what we had envisioned before the pandemic. Finally, here we are again, on the road between two full, in-person exhibition and technology events, AWE and CES. And what is the metaverse? Meta means transcendence and verse means universe, so we are approaching the capability of entering a virtual universe that is not reality but does exist outside of reality. What does that mean? It’s not just the future of Facebook, although Facebook and other social media sites will play a major role. In my opinion, the metaverse is a combination of the real world that you and those you communicate with occupy, while the XR world is generated by your devices.

Agfa Taking Leap to Digital Platform

I-Connect007 Technical Editor Pete Starkey spoke with Agfa Business Unit Manager Frank Louwet ahead of last month’s productronica show in Europe. They discuss the company’s desire to reduce its carbon footprint and the benefits of this change, particularly with a move to digital inkjet printing, and describes some of the company’s newest products. As Louwet explains, "Our claim is 'Grow your business, not your footprint.' By going digital you can grow your business without having to increase your waste materials, your processing chemicals, your water, and even your floor space."

Insulectro Passionate About Educational Programs

Ken Parent, Chris Hunrath, and Michelle Walsh discuss their educational and training vision, programs that they are bringing to the industry, and why. There’s a gap, they say, in the talent pool from entry level to engineers. “There’s a huge demand now,” says Chris Hunrath. “The quicker we can fill that gap and train new people, the more PCBs can be built and more of the new products and technology will be accepted into the industry.” We are living in a people-constrained business today.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

Right now, it seems that almost everyone I know is talking about the future. Doesn’t matter whether it’s with my family, loved ones, friends, industry colleagues, or neighbors I meet on the street, conversations are almost entirely forward-looking. This being the holiday season, some reminiscing is to be expected, but I’m just not hearing it in the chatter all around me–this year is different somehow. And it shows in this edition of my must-reads for the week as well. This week we bring you forward-looking discussions with ,,,

The Mission of the New Printed Circuit Board Association of America

Barry Matties recently met with Travis Kelly to discuss the formation of the Printed Circuit Board Association of America (PCBAA), a consortium of U.S.-based companies he chairs to support U.S. domestic production of PCBs. PCBAA was established on three pillars, and Travis explains how they intertwine with each other—and with other similar organizations in the industry.

IPC APEX EXPO 2022: What to Expect Regarding COVID Restrictions

As IPC is adhering to California Department of Public Health Guidelines, proof of COVID vaccination or a negative test will be required to attend IPC APEX EXPO 2022. IPC has partnered with InHouse Physicians (iHP) for attendees to upload their proof of vaccine or negative COVID test results in advance of arrival at IPC APEX EXPO. Once information is uploaded via the iHP link, a trained medical professional will review the information within 24 hours and provide an email confirmation with a green check mark indicating they’ve been cleared for entry.

Industry Market Drivers, Inflation, and the Supply Chain

In this wide-ranging interview, Shawn DuBravac, chief economist for IPC, discusses a variety of market drivers and pressures that are affecting PCB manufacturing and assembly. He also shares his thoughts on the relationship between inflation, wages, and the current supply chain challenges—and what all this may mean to your bottom line in 2022.

Test and Inspection: Competitive Advantage and Cost of Doing Business

In this interview, Charlie Capers of Zentech breaks down the changing requirements he’s seeing in test and inspection in the industry, and the growing importance of investing in testing for the future growth and success of your company. According to Capers, "When you collect statistics on defects, you will start to see a trend that says, for example, we’ve got a lot of shorts and opens, meaning that our solder paste process is not tight. If you’re collecting statistics and really studying them, you will see trends in your processes."

Test and Inspection: Far Beyond Opens and Shorts

Gardien Vice President Todd Kolmodin talks about test and inspection market drivers from his perspective as a test service provider. Andy Shaughnessy and Happy Holden go down the “microvia rabbit hole” with Todd, as well as explore how OEM design requirements are driving test and inspection functionality and processes. When board layer counts and feature densities force longer test times, the tradeoffs to profitability for manufacturers become time and accuracy. Minimizing time while maximizing accuracy calls for new methods, which Kolmodin explains.

ICT Autumn Seminar Review: Live in 2021!

Faced with the choice between a real or virtual event, Bill Wilkie took a calculated risk. It has been many long months since members of the Institute of Circuit Technology had gathered together under one roof, but a fair-sized bunch of industry stalwarts braved the weather and the threat of COVID, descended on the Manor Hotel in Meriden, UK, on Nov. 30, and applauded Bill’s decision to go live. They were not disappointed; the program was superb, the atmosphere upbeat, and the networking opportunity priceless.


John Mitchell: Focus on the Future

In a far-ranging interview, Dr. John Mitchell and Barry Matties discuss the upcoming IPC APEX EXPO, IPC programs, and the challenges (and opportunities) facing our industry. If you think Dr. Mitchell's assessment would be pessimistic, you'd be wrong. We’re an industry that enjoys and needs to work together, and we’ve been held at bay for too long. "Throughout 2021, at every conference I’ve attended, people are really excited about seeing each other again," said Mitchell. "And since APEX EXPO is one of the premier events for the industry, that is the thing I’m happiest about—getting people back together again, getting them excited."

EMS Leadership Summit Expands Its Reach

Nolan Johnson talks with Tracy Riggan, senior director of solutions, and Mark Wolfe, executive EMS advisor, both at IPC. They discuss details for the EMS Leadership Summit planned for IPC APEX EXPO 2022, how the summit program has changed from years past, and who should attend. Hint: Directors and above, along with any “rising star” managers. "It’s important in those discussions to have a wide breadth of ideas and learnings from different levels and roles of organizations," said Riggan. "We’re expanding that conversation by bringing in younger leaders, maybe those in management positions staged to be the next presidents and vice presidents of their organizations."

Altix Discusses Trends in U.S., European and Asian Markets

In this interview with European Editor Pete Starkey, Altix President Jerome Van Straaten, and Sales and Marketing Director Frederic Baradel discuss their strategies for addressing customers in the U.S. Europe, and Asia, as well as the trends they're seeing in technology around the globe. Check back for more coverage of productronica, as well as news about the upcoming conferences and trade shows in 2022.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

It hardly feels like the end of 2021, but here we are, looking at a new year and IPC APEX EXPO and AltiumLive coming up in less than two months. If you don’t count days lost during the holidays, it’s more like one month before showtime. Hey, at least we have some live events to attend now. This week, we have some association and trade show news, as well as articles on data management and the diminished role of U.S. chip makers in the global electronics supply chain. We’re almost behind the eight-ball here, folks, and we can’t build chip factories overnight. Let’s get a move on!

EIPC Technical Snapshot Review: Semi-additive Processes

The development of ultra-high-density PCBs and packaging substrates using semi-additive and additive manufacturing processes was the theme of the 13th Technical Snapshot webinar presented by EIPC on November 24. It was introduced and moderated by technical director Tarja Rapala-Virtanen. Daniel Schulze, application engineering manager at Dyconex in Switzerland, gave the opening presentation, “Advanced high density rigid packaging substrates for RF and miniaturization.” He explained that with their long-established capabilities in ultra-high-density PCBs in flex, rigid-flex and rigid multilayer technologies, it was logical for Dyconex to apply their expertise to the development of specialist IC substrates.
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