Article Highlights
Aurora Circuits on Ultra-Heavy Copper PCBs
08/03/2020 | Dan Beaulieu, D.B. Management Group
I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week
07/31/2020 | Andy Shaughnessy, Design007 Magazine
8 Measures for Sales and Operations Planning in Turbulent Times, Part 3
07/30/2020 | Fane Friberg, CEPHAS
Rethinking Captive Manufacturing
07/30/2020 | I-Connect007 Editorial Team
Just Ask Happy: Monitoring Via Reliability on a Lot-by-Lot Basis
07/29/2020 | I-Connect007 Editorial Team

Latest Articles

Flexible Circuits and UAV Applications

The utility offered by flexible circuits in UAVs mimics the advantages that make it popular in other portable electronic applications: lightweight, thin, highly reliable, flexible during use, and an ability to electrically connect across multiple layers as part of a complete packaging interconnect solution.

iNEMI Managing Director: New, Disruptive Technology on the Horizon

Dr. Haley Fu, managing director of Asia Pacific for iNEMI, and Publisher Barry Matties spoke recently. Fu gave her overview of the last eight years with iNEMI along with her opinion of what the most significant changes have been, globally and for the Asia market in particular. She predicts that in the future, the PCB will probably adopt optical architectures instead of copper, because using copper for the trace means that the land space and the property will not satisfy the future high-speed data transport rate.

The Future of Nickel in Nickel/Palladium/Gold Final Finishes

Final finishes can be subdivided into metallic and organic finishes. For the purpose of this article, the focus will be on the metallic finishes using the combinations of nickel (Ni) and/or palladium (Pd) and/or gold (Au). Variations on this theme are used extensively in the electronics market of today. The Ni/Pd/Au mutations are the inevitable result of technical requirement changes coupled with true and perceived acceptance within the industry.

IPC Plating Sub-committee 4-14: Surface Finish Specifications

IPC specifications are reference documents to be called out by designers and OEMs. Designers may take exception with one or more items in the specification to ensure that the product meets the requirements of its intended use. The acronym AAUBUS (as agreed upon between user and supplier) is part of any specification. Specifications are consensus documents. They are agreed upon by a panel of interested industry participants composed of suppliers, manufacturers, assembly houses (CMs) and end-users. The IPC Plating Sub-committee 4-14 is no exception.

The Importance of Harmonized Standards that Benefit All

I-Connect007 Technical Editor Pete Starkey caught up with Amphenol applications engineer Sean Keating at IPC APEX EXPO. Keating explains his company’s commitment to proactive participation in the establishment of standards, his personal experience working on standards committees, and his view on the importance of harmonised global standards.

An Interview with Gardien Group’s Jason Fraser

Gardien Group CEO Jason Fraser talks to Dan Beaulieu about some of the latest developments at the company, some of the technology trends driving the company's strategies, as well as provides his outlook as to where the PCB industry is headed.

Being Flexible in a Rigid World

With double-digit growth in the foreseeable future, flexible printed circuits (FPC), have found a tremendous niche as an enabler for various electronic applications. This trend is expected to drive the need to increase productivity while improving performance and reducing costs. Of course, in order to sell flex, one must tackle the unenviable task of metalizing these often difficult-to-plate materials.

IMPACT 2015: An In-Depth Look

IPC understands that presenting a unified voice for the electronics industry is essential for advancing policies that affect the industry’s long-term future and strengthens the U.S. and global economy. That is why 22 IPC member-company executives descended on the nation’s capital for IMPACT 2015: IPC on Capitol Hill, IPC’s annual advocacy event.

Advances in Electronics Assembly Technology - SMART Group Seminar Preview

In a preview webinar to introduce the upcoming SMART Group seminar where the latest advances in assembly technology and reliability will be discussed by industry and subject experts, SMART Group Technical Committee members Charles Cawthorne from MBDA and Ian Fox from Controls and Data Services summarized the papers to be presented.

Material Witness: How About that Technical Roadmap!

You may remember the movie "What About Bob?" If you do, you may recall the scene in which Bob (Bill Murray) confronts his psychiatrist (Richard Dreyfuss) and emotes, “I need! I need! I need! Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!” As I thought recently about some of the drivers that IPC and others have incorporated into their technical roadmaps, I feel a bit like that befuddled psychiatrist.


The Growing Role of the Added-Value PCB Distributor

Dan Beaulieu talks with Nesh Dholakia, president of Nujay. Value-add is not just for low-technology sourcing, but increasingly for high-technology multilayer as well as difficult-to-source technologies in low-cost areas domestically.

Splitting Hairs: The Manufacture of HDI and Substrate Test Fixtures

The HDI and substrate fixture technology is truly an art form. Long gone are the luxuries of just using a plated drill file on an old drill machine and automatically dropping pins. Even the multi-plate fixtures that are used today have no comparison to the critical manufacturing requirements of the HDI and substrate fixtures.

High-Density Interconnects: Enabling the Intelligence of Things

HDI layers and sub-composites with laser-drilled vias combined with stacked, copper-filled vias up to 16 layers have become the state-of-the-art in circuit design for the newest generation of mobile phones, wearable electronics, and IoT modules.

IPC Validation Services 2014

Guest Editor Judy Warner talks with IPC's Director of Validation Services, Randy Cherry. Randy has been busy since launching IPC's Validation Services a year ago, with 16 QML audits completed and rapidly growing interest shown at this year's show. Randy also discusses future plans for auditing to IPC intellectual property standards 1071A and 1072, as well as to PCB standard 6012.

Next-Generation Ultra-Thin HDI PCB Manufacturing Challenges

This article describes the recent challenges and developments in manufacturing ALV HDI technology to meet the needs for high volume, robust, reliable, and cost competitive solutions for electronic packaging.

A Conversation (and Day) with Joe Fjelstad, Part 5

Our five-part interview series with Verdant Electronics Founder Joe Fjelstad wraps up with a look back at the point when Fjelstad’s career began focusing on circuit board technology, and he details his patented Occam process, and why this game-changing, disruptive technology has yet to become standard practice in the industry. Also explained: Why Fjelstad has been referred to as an “iconoclastic polemicist,” and how a Native American story he heard long ago has resonated throughout his career and life.

Design Considerations: Flexible Circuit vs. Traditional PCB

The tactics for flexible circuit design don’t differ much from that of traditional PCBs. All of the typical specifications still apply and we add a few more things that require special attention. Cover layers require bigger openings than traditional solder mask, trace directions matter in the flex areas and miters should be round instead of angular.

A Conversation (and Day) with Joe Fjelstad Part 4

We continue the conversation as it turns to the more technically focused area of disruptive technology. The method Joe has been demonstrating for years now is one which is poised to offer dramatic increases in electronic reliability while decreasing overall cost through the elimination of solder--a cornerstone concept of what has been coined as Occam technology.

A Conversation (and Day) with Joe Fjelstad Part 3

In Part 3 of this interview series, Fjelstad divulges his interesting entry into the electronics manufacturing industry, including a brief diversion as a restaurateur. In this portion of the interview, the pair was touring the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum (home of the Spruce Goose) where Fjelstad spoke frankly about his experience in Vietnam and how it has shaped his view about war, which he shares. Finally, the importance of education was discussed, as well as India, and why the rest of the manufacturing world should be paying attention to them.

A Conversation (and Day) with Joe Fjelstad, Part 2

In Part 2 of this multi-part interview series, Verdant Electronics Founder and CEO Joe Fjelstad, and I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties discuss the future of what’s to come for the electronics industry, which, according to Fjelstad, has a lot to do with where we’ve just been in our quest for lead-free manufacturing. He also offers his view on the natural order of the evolution of personal political persuasions.


A Conversation (and Day) with Joe Fjelstad, Part 1

I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties and industry veteran Joe Fjelstad, CEO and founder of Verdant Electronics, met recently to spend a day together enjoying the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum (home of the Spruce Goose), located in the Oregon community of McMinnville. Their conversation ebbed and flowed between a wide variety of topics, from the electronics industry, to political shenanigans and the “war against failure.” In Part 1 of this multi-part series, Fjelstad introduces his “war against failure” idea, and what went terribly wrong in the advent of lead-free manufacturing.

Insulectro Alliance with Freedom CAD

Ken Parent, Vice President of Sales at Insulectro, recently sat down with I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties for a quick chat about the strategic alliance that Insulectro is pursuing with Freedom CAD. Parent explains how this new strategic effort is working, and what it means for customers--and OEMs.

Benefits of Buying Certified Rebuilt Equipment Over New

ETI's Eric Winkler tells Guest Editor Steve Williams about ETI's expansion to four locations worldwide. ETI not only rebuilds PCB equipment but also tests, guarantees, and installs it for their customers, some of whom provide wish lists.

Building a Better Solder Mask & Legend - Layer by Layer

Camtek's VP of Functional Inkjet Technologies Dr. Boaz Nitzan talks with Guest Editor Kelly Dack about inkjet printing solder mask and legend. The technology uses the actual image of the board being processed, which means misregistration is eliminated.

Drill & Routing Process Experts

Ofer Ton, president of FASTechnologies talks with Guest Editor Steve Williams about drill room automation and the associated cost savings and productivity improvements.

Thermal Management for LED Lighting Applications

PCB substrates designed for thermal management have been around for a number of years, traditionally servicing power-related applications; however, there are now many more suppliers and substrates emerging to meet the growing demand from LED lighting products.

Growing Their Portfolio: Camtek’s One-Stop-Shop in Functional Inkjet Technology

I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties caught up with Dr. Boaz Nitzan, VP of Functional Inkjet Technologies at Camtek recently, and the two discussed the company’s expanding portfolio into inkjet printing system for PCB solder mask & legend. The new system is designed to replace conventional coating, drying, exposure and development processes currently used in PCB manufacturing.

An Optical Update with TTM

Barry Matties recently met with Marika Immonen, manager of R&D optical interconnects at TTM Technologies. They last spoke one year ago. This time, they discussed the optical project that she’s been leading, as well as the future of optical technology in the PCB industry.

Nine New Exciting Products Introduced

Insulectro's VP of Sales, Ken Parent, discusses new products including high-speed laminate, high-temp flex materials, LDI dry film, conformal back-up material for flex-rigid,and printed electronics materials that will enable new technology in the PCB world. He also talks about their "Accomplish Change Together" program.

Call to Action: Participation in Industry Specifications Development

Jim Monarchio,TTM's director of quality, encourages participation in IPC standards development, especially from those manufacturing PCBs. With technology changing so rapidly, involvement at all levels of the supply chain can help ensure specifications remain realistic.


Checking in with Fast Growing Bay Area Circuits

Stephen talks with Guest Editor Dan Beaulieu about what's new at BAC, including their new 3-D soldermask machine that cures as it prints. With over 60% of their business in quick turn prototypes, process speed is top priority.

ATG’s Swen Fleischer on China: the Market, the Future and CPCA

ATG Luther & Maelzer’s Swen Fleischer, vice president and GM of sales, Greater Taiwan/China, sat down with I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties at CPCA 2015. Among the several topics discussed are automation in China, the Chinese market in general and areas of future growth, and the effect of three major shows a year on the turnout at CPCA.

Understanding DFM and its Role in PCB Layout

DFM is short for “design for manufacturability.” It is the process of arranging a PCB layout topology to mitigate problems that could be encountered during the PCB fabrication and assembly processes required to manufacture an electronic system. Addressing fabrication issues is what’s known as design for fabrication (DFF), and addressing assembly issues during design is known as design for assembly (DFA).

Fire Retardancy: What, Why, and How

This article takes a critical look at all aspects of fire retardancy, starting with the need for fire safety, the function of a flame retardant, the reactive and additive flame retardant classes, major flame retardant compounds, toxicology and environmental impact of retardants--most especially Tetrabromobisphenol-A, which is the most widely used flame retardant in PCB materials--as well as European legislative directives.

Material Witness: Low-Flow Prepregs – Taming the Process

In this installment of Material Witness, Chet Guiles continues his discussion around Low-Flow Prepregs giving good advice about how to actually use these materials.

Atotech’s Uwe Hauf’s View of the Global Electronics Manufacturing Market

Uwe Hauf, VP of electronics for Atotech, and I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties sat down at CPCA 2015 for an illuminating discussion of the global market—what’s happening now, what is going to happen tomorrow, and a few things that won’t happen for at least 10 years, according to Hauf.

Interesting Nanomaterial-based Electronic Inks from Intrinsiq

Guest Editor Joe Fjelstad talks with Intrinsiq Material's CEO Sujatha Ramanujan about the various applications for their unique nano copper material. One application is as a paste for conductive via fill; another is to simply sinter the nano copper particles in an oven to create an ultra-thin copper foil.

Zentech’s John Vaughan on the Mil/Aero Sector: “It’s Headed Up”

I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties and Zentech’s John Vaughan had a chance to discuss industry concerns within the mil/aero segment at IPC APEX EXPO 2015. The two also shared thoughts on the space industry, and Vaughan detailed Zentech’s involvement with National Manufacturing Day, a nationwide effort focused on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) that simultaneously brought high school students together with 1,600 manufacturing companies from around the U.S.

eSurface Technology Partners with Laminate Suppliers

Innovative surface treatment is an enabler for fully additive circuit fabrication, and opens up new opportunities for ultra-thin copper technology.

Inkjet Solder Mask Becomes a Practical Reality

Inkjet solder mask has for many years been a distant, near-impossible, goal for the PCB industry. Hopes have been raised on several occasions, only to fade when the ink either won’t jet or won’t pass end-user qualification. It is now evident that Taiyo’s many years of development in cooperation with equipment manufacturers have resulted in a successful formulation.


21 Years of Growth: A-Gas Electronic Materials Has 2020 Vision

Technical Editor Pete Starkey recently sat down for an interview with Jonathan Sellars, managing director of A-Gas Electronic Materials, at the company’s new facility in Rugby, UK. The company is a distributor of specialist chemicals and processes for semiconductor, PCB, electronic and industrial metal finishing, photovoltaic and advanced packaging technology industries. Sellars outlined the history of the company, its business philosophy and its future plans.

Rex Rozario: Investing in Graphic PLC Through Technology and Capacity

I-Connect007 Tech Editor Pete Starkey and Graphic PLC Group Chairman Rex Rozario caught up at IPC APEX EXPO 2015. Among other items, the two discussed Graphic’s current expansion in size and equipment, as well as what Starkey describes as the company’s history of making good decisions.

Bernie Kessler: Pioneering Spirit Then and Now

I-Connect007’s Patty Goldman sat down with longtime friend and IPC Hall of Famer Bernie Kessler at IPC APEX EXPO 2015 in San Diego. Among other things, the two discussed the early days of IPC, and the beginnings of APEX EXPO.

Reliability Testing and Statistics

Current industry views on reliability consist of customer requirements and results based on a variety of reliability testing procedures. However, there is still no consensus within the industry as to what each of the reliability test protocols prove and when each test protocol has to be used.

ESI’s New Gemstone Changing the Rules for Laser

I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties sat down at CPCA 2015 with ESI’s Mike Jennings, who explained the company’s newest addition: Gemstone, an ESI-designed and manufactured laser system, with 10,000 guaranteed hours, which is poised to change the rules in flex and other printed circuit processing. Jennings also discusses ESI’s new relationship with WKK, and an increased presence in China.

The Continuing Success Story of Lino's Mission

Lino's mission is following the plan. It's all about serving the customer and doing the best we can, Still having fun after 30 years in the industry.

Global Machine and Management and First EIE Strike Important Relationship

I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties sat down with Carl Spitko, senior technical advisor at Global Machine and Maintenance, and Jean Paul Birraux, marketing and sales manager at First EIE, for a frank discussion about the working relationship the two companies have forged, the value it brings to their global customers, and what challenges North American fabricators are faced with.

Matrix Product Lines: Laminates and Drills

Fred reviews the Panasonic line of laminates, including high speed and flex materials. Hans discusses Jinzhou's new drill design for high aspect ratio drilling, as well as the opening of several high-tech re-pointing centers in North America.

Automation in Probe Testing Provides Throughput Benefits

The general migration from grid to prober for bare board testing continues, and even high-volume users now see the benefits of automation. Klaus Koziol explains how package testing is driving prober development.

How to Streamline PCB Thermal Design

Thermal issues with a PCB design are mostly determined during the component selection and layout phases. After this point, only remedial actions are possible if components are found to run too hot. John Parry discusses how addressing thermal issues early in PCB design, starting at the system or enclosure level, can help streamline the entire process.


Manz: A Total Process Solution

At the recent CPCA Show in China, I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties had a chance to speak with Alex Liu, the deputy general manager of the PCB business unit for Manz. Manz has focused on creating a process from direct imaging to wet processing. With more entrants into the direct imaging arena, Liu feels that this approach gives Manz and their customers an advantage.

HASLEN: A New High-Reliability Surface Finish for PCBs

The new surface finish HASLEN is a process that combines electroless nickel coating of PCBs with hot air solder levelling, very common processes used by most PCB manufacturers in the world. Solder levelling of electroless nickel is very difficult as very few solder fluxes are capable of removing the oxide layer from electroless nickel. This has been enabled by solder fluxes based on the novel liquids’ deep eutectic solvents.

Isola Launches Low-loss Laminate for 100 GB Ethernet Apps

I-Connect007 Technical Editor Pete Starkey and Isola’s Fred Hickman, senior director of high-speed digital products, spent time at IPC APEX EXPO 2015 talking about Isola’s recent launch of a low-loss, low-skew laminate prepreg. Hickman explains that the new material, Chronon, will be one of the enablers of 100GB Ethernet applications.

Realignment of N.A. Operations Meets Special Industry Needs

Warren Kenzie first joined MacDermid Technical Operations in 1994, and he now has overall responsibility for technology in North America.

Multek CTO Excited About the Challenges of the Fast-Moving Wearables Market

I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties and recently-appointed Multek CTO Dr. Joan Vrtis sat down at IPC APEX EXPO to discuss the rapidly evolving wearables market, especially for medical, and the myriad questions that must be addressed. Other topics include Multek’s contribution to the wearables industry and what it sees as the main challenges to putting their circuits into various applications.

Upping the U.S. Service Level of Chinese Manufacturing

Eddie Tang of Glory Faith and Yash Sutariya, president of Alpha Circuit discuss the unique business relationship between their companies. Alpha provides consulting and technical service in North America for GF, including rework and emergency manufacturing capability in its North American plants.

Report: Big Changes at Eltek

Deputy CEO Roberto Tulman talks about the recent purchase of Eltek by Nistec, a large electronic manufacturing services provider in Israel. Nistec can now offer complete turnkey capability, from design through finished product.

Raising a Unified Voice for an Advanced Manufacturing Economy

The electronics manufacturing industry is an important sector in the global economy, and John Hasselmann, VP of Government Relations at IPC, is an advocate for policies that will help our industry as well as the prosperity and welfare of billions of people.

Catching Up with Standard Printed Circuits’ Bob Bormann

Standard Printed Circuits is located in the tiny town of Sherburne in Upstate New York which is equidistant from the cities of Syracuse, Utica and Binghamton where they do a lot of business.

Steve Williams Discusses His New Company

Industry veteran Steve Williams shares about his new consulting company and what he can do for his clients, from specs and qualifications to training and teaching and how to successfully sell to CMs.


Hunter Technology on Design Operations and Business Strategies

Immediately following IPC APEX EXPO 2015, Guest Editor Kelly Dack paid a visit to Hunter Technology’s facility in Milpitas, California, where he interviewed Ian Grover, vice president of design engineering, and Chris Alessio, vice president of sales and programs. Discussed are Hunter’s design operations as well as the company’s overall business strategy.

No Substitute for Experience: Dan Beaulieu on EXPO, the Industry and I-Connect007

Industry veteran and consultant Dan Beaulieu, owner of DB Management, and I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties, sat down at IPC APEX EXPO to reminisce on Beaulieu’s more than four decades in the business, the trend toward a more marketing savvy industry and how strategic consulting often plays out for companies in this industry.

Are There Advantages to Changing Your Registration System?

I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties recently had a conversation with DIS's Tony Faraci at IPC APEX EXPO 2015, to learn more about their pinless registration system. What was most interesting to Barry are the potential advantages a pinless system offers and if so, why the process has not been widely adopted.

Trending at Freedom CAD: New Crop of Next‐Gen Designers

Scott McCurdy, director of sales and marketing at Freedom CAD Services, expresses his vision for what North America is bringing to the table in the world of circuit design. I‐Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties and McCurdy also discuss China, trends in product design, tools, and more.

Quality Assurance Through Testing

The PCB Magazine columnist Todd Kolmodin of Gardien Services discusses the challenges related to the electrical testing of high-density PCBs, and what is required to meet IPC and military specifications.

Material Witness: Low-Flow Prepregs–Defining the Process

Let’s try to define “low flow” in terms that will make sense to both suppliers and users of the products. A low-flow prepreg is a prepreg that flows sufficiently to wet out and adhere to bonding surfaces and to fill inner layer copper details, but does not flow so much as to fill in cut-out areas in a heat sink or run unevenly out of the interface between rigid and flexible elements of a rigid-flex PWB.

Japan’s Thermosetting Plastics Association Represents at IPC APEX EXPO 2015

At the International Reception, held opening night of IPC APEX EXPO 2015, I-Connect Technical Editor Pete Starkey made the rounds and found some visitors from Japan, namely, Kazutaka Masaoka, from Thermosetting Plastics Association (JTPIA). In this brief interview conducted amongst the reception attendees, Masaoka-san and Starkey discuss Japanese vs. North American circuit board quality and business trends.

So Many Types of Test and Product Services, So Little Time

Guest Editor Dick Crowe talks with Rick Meraw, VP of Quality at Gardien Services about their testing services.

Reliability and Harmonization of Global Standards at Forefront of EIPC Efforts

At IPC APEX EXPO 2015, I-Connect007 Technical Editor Pete Starkey caught up with EIPC's Michael Weinhold and Alun Morgan, who were happy to discuss both recent and ongoing focuses for EIPC, namely, reliability. Also touched on was the importance of the alignment of global standardization processes, especially for Asia.​

3D Printed Electronics: When & How?

Josh Goldberg, marketing specialist with Taiyo America, looks beyond fusion deposition modelling and considers what might be achievable in 3D printed circuit fabrication using UV curable materials and metallic powder laser sintering.


Panasonic Meeting Market Needs with Higher-Performance Megtron 7

I-Connect Technical Editor Pete Starkey sat down with Panasonic’s Tony Senese and Tomoyuki Abe at IPC APEX EXPO 2015 in San Diego--and high-speed digital materials, particularly those with very low-loss characteristics, was the focus of their discussion. Also noted were the positive responses from chemical process suppliers, and the realistic length of a product development cycle.

Ready to Hire! Blackfox Provides IPC Class 3 Training to Veterans

I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties caught up with Al Dill, president and CEO of Blackfox Training Institute, for an in-depth discussion on Blackfox's expansion plans for North America (Tempe, Arizona and Guadalajara, Mexico) and Malaysia (Penang). Dill also describes the highly successful veteran’s training program, which is being spearheaded at the Blackfox headquarters in Longmont, Colorado.

Schmoll Keeping an Eye on the Future--and on LDI

In this interview, Thomas Kunz, who has been at the helm of Schmoll Maschinen as president since 1993, discusses the company’s lengthy history in mechanical engineering (more than 70 years!), current global scope, and what he sees as a steady progression in directions that make the most sense to customers, which includes laser direct imaging.​

Bob Neves Receives Award, Talks Bergman Tribute

I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties sat down with Bob Neves, one of the first recipients of the Dieter Bergman Fellowship award, to talk about the tribute held for Dieter on Wednesday night of IPC APEX EXPO 2015, and some of the reasons behind the newly created award.

Help with Hard-to-Find Board Materials

Material lead-times of up to 40 days for specific PTFE laminates can present real problems when prototyping microwave boards to meet NPI deadlines. James Hofer explains how Accurate Circuit Engineering work closely with their customers to select alternative materials with comparable dielectric characteristics to recover project timelines.
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