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Highlights on a Rousing Virtual IPC APEX EXPO 2021
04/14/2021 | Pete Starkey, I-Connect007
The Future Is Electric
04/13/2021 | KJ McCann and Brian Zirlin, Aurora Circuits
I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week
04/09/2021 | Andy Shaughnessy, I-Connect007
Technical Conference—Balancing Conventional and Disruptive Technologies
04/08/2021 | Matt Kelly, IPC
Book Review: Important Advice on a Well-Balanced Life
04/06/2021 | Dan Beaulieu, D.B. Management Group
Novel High-Performance Substrate for Stretchable Electronics
A cornerstone feature of any viable stretchable material is its ability to return to zero after stretching. This article talks about a new transparent, high-performance thermal setting stretchable material that could open doors to a range of new and innovative products.
Wearable Technology and Flexible Circuits
Flexible circuits are an ideal fit for wearable technology. Wearable electronics need to be light, dense and bendable. While what is currently considered standard flexible circuit technology is more than adequate for many the wearable products, there are requirements that may be pushing the boundaries a bit.
American Standard Circuits’ Unique Offerings Contribute to Long-term Success
At the recent IMS RF and microwave show in Phoenix, Arizona, Anaya Vardya, CEO of American Standard Circuits, sat down with I-Connect007's Barry Matties to discuss the current market trends, the company's recent equipment investments, and where American Standard Circuits' growth will likely come from.
A New Source for Laser Drills
Publisher Barry Matties recently visited the West Coast offices of Nano System Inc. to catch up with Sam Sekine, formerly of Hitachi. Nano System is a new company focused on producing and selling laser drill systems to the PCB industry. In this interview, Mr. Sekine discusses his staff, the company’s technology, and Nano System’s strategy for the future.
A High-Reliability, Stress-free Copper Deposit for FPC, Polyimide and Rigid-Flex
Conventional electroless copper systems often required pretreatments with hazardous chemicals or have a small process window to achieve a uniform coverage without blistering. To overcome the challenge of metallizing smooth surfaces, a new stress-free electroless copper was developed to serve this important sector of the printed circuit industry.
Flexible Circuit Materials for High-Temperature Applications
To meet the increasing needs for flexible circuit materials for high-temperature applications, new test methods will need to be developed. These new methods will assign new ratings that are consistent with actual performance.
How to Successfully Purchase PCBs
How do you go about purchasing reliable and durable PCBs at the lowest possible cost? A key success factor is to provide the prospective suppliers with accurate and clear specifications, and to keep a close eye on the quality of the boards once they are in production.
New Embedded Component Standard Finalized
Solberg Technical Consulting's Vern Solberg talks to I-Connect007 about the recently launched standard, the IPC-7092, which focuses on embedded component technology. According to Solberg, this new standard took the earlier standards involved with passive devices, and combined it with standards on newer technologies using active devices, to help form components that can be manufactured and placed on layers within the PCB.
HDPUG Demonstrates Benefits of Cooperative R&D
The High Density Packaging User Group (HDPUG) is a member-driven, non-profit, project-oriented industry consortium that addresses the integration of new electronics component packaging and interconnection technologies into the supply chains of its member companies.
eSurface Breaking Down Barriers for Murrietta
Murrietta Circuits is the first facility in North America successfully processing PCBs made with the eSurface technology. Andy Murrietta talks with Guest Editor Judy Warner about the key benefits, including greatly improved line geometry, trace tolerance, and peel strength.
HDPUG and High-Frequency Test Methodologies
CEO Brian Butler talks with Guest Editor Bob Neves about the HDP User Group, an industry consortium that is developing test methodologies and programs. Brian decribes three of the current subcommittees: Material Characterization; Back Drill, having to do with defect detection and reliability; and Copper Surface Roughness.
The Flex-to-Fit Approach
The flex-to-fit concept reminds us that creativity and engineering go hand-in-hand. When there is not ample space for a conventional approach, this process, which is the convergence of the mechanical world and the electronics world, results in the ability to design a flexible circuit along the contour of an existing, irregularly shaped structure.
Electroplating Through-Holes with Different Geometry: A Novel and High-Productivity Process
Microfill through-hole fill electrolytic copper is a new process designed to offer outstanding through-hole fill, particularly for substrates intended for use as core layers in build–up applications, producing planar, solid copper plugs in high-volume production plating equipment. This article describes a novel copper through-hole fill electroplating process designed for use with insoluble anodes and direct current (DC) rectification.
Flexible, Stretchable, and Wearable: If You Can Dream it, You Can Create it!
We originally intended the June issue of The PCB Magazine to be centered on flexible circuits, but it quickly became apparent that we needed to broaden the scope and include all (well, at least some) of the new and exciting things going on these days in the world of flexible everything. As such, we have garnered a trove of authors, with much information to impart on the above mentioned.
Optimization of Acid Copper Electrodeposition Processes for High-Throwing Power DC Plating
One of the three most fundamental aspects of printed circuit fabrication is the metallization and electroplating of throughhole vias and blind via interconnections. In this article, Michael Carano writes about the strategies in optimizing acid copper electrodeposition processes for high-throwing power DC plating.
ENEPIG: The Plating Process
In this article, George Milad talks about the complexity of the ENEPIG process, how it works, its requirements and the critical parameters that must be maintained in the ENEPIG line. He writes that shops that have good engineering and documentation of the manufacturing process, coupled with a dedicated, experienced ENEPIG operator that is backed by a capable analytical laboratory, run defect-free ENEPIG day in and day out.
Precision Back-drilling High-Speed PCBs? No Problem!
Grant Christiansen of Schmoll Maschinen discusses the latest developments for high-speed back-drilling, particularly for the North American market. He stresses the importance of both software and machine capability, along with working closely with the customer.
Polar Talks Impedance and Insertion Loss Testing
Product Specialists Michael Bode and Geoffrey Hazlett join Guest Editor Dan Feinberg to talk about controlled impedance and insertion loss testing.
NEPCON China 2015 a Resounding Success in Shanghai
The three-day event was a complete success, bringing together nearly 22,000 trade visitors and high-quality buyers, as well as 450 leading brand names from 22 countries and regions worldwide. NEPCON China keeps up with market trends and gathers resources from all stakeholders to present a comprehensive event that covers SMT, new electronics materials, soldering, dispensing, electronics automation, measurement and other innovative technologies and products across the world.
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.
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