Article Highlights
The iNEMI 2019 Roadmap: Flexible Hybrid Electronics
06/04/2020 | Pete Starkey, I-Connect007
Plasma Applications in the PCB Industry
06/03/2020 | Nikolaus Schubkegel
Joe O’Neil: Green Circuits Running Strong Under Current Social Restrictions
06/01/2020 | Nolan Johnson, PCB007
Rogers Corporation Keeps Materials Moving
05/28/2020 | I-Connect007 Editorial Team
3D Additive Electronics Manufacturing: Are We Nearing an Inflection Point?
05/28/2020 | Dan Feinberg, I-Connect007

Latest Articles

IPC APEX EXPO Reflections

The sun may have risen and set on the 2020 edition of IPC APEX EXPO, but the developments from the week in San Diego certainly will linger with us for some time. Editor Nolan Johnson provides a summary of the events at IPC APEX EXPO 2020 in San Diego, California.

Phil Carmichael: IPC Asia Continues Solid Growth

Phil Carmichael, IPC president of Asia Pacific, talks with Barry Matties at the HKPCA show during the first week of December 2019 about the continued growth and increased engagement by Asian member companies with IPC, with over 320 members in standards committees now working on the development of the next-generation standards.

True or False: CFX Edition

Since the release of IPC-2591—Connected Factory Exchange (CFX), Version 1.0—there has been a lot of buzz regarding CFX within the industry from all segments. Still, with all of the buzz, there are also some misconceptions floating around the industry regarding CFX. David Bergman takes some of those statements, using feedback from Subcommittee members, and plays a little game of “True or False: CFX Edition.”

IPC APEX EXPO 2020: Day 2 Review

Wednesday at IPC APEX EXPO drew a fairly steady stream of attendees to the show floor. Exhibitors we spoke with said the visitors were ready to spend some money. Almost everyone said their company was having a good quarter and experiencing slow but consistent growth year over year.

AT&S: Working With Designers on a Global Level

Barry Matties recently took a tour of AT&S’s Austrian factory, which is developing new circuit design strategies surrounding embedded and active components. Gerald Weis discusses the company’s focus on serving and educating PCB designers around the world, as well as their plans to embrace the latest technology and Industry 4.0 processes going forward.

IPC APEX EXPO 2020: Day 1 Review

2020 was a special anniversary year for IPC APEX EXPO: “Celebrating 20 years of excellence in electronics” was the tagline. Pete Starkey provides a review of the Day 1 activities on the show floor and beyond.

‘A Night of Happy-ness’ and 2020 Good for the Industry Awards

The Horton Grand Hotel in San Diego was the site of “A Night of Happy-ness” on the evening of Monday, February 3, 2020. I-Connect007 transformed the Regal Ballroom into a cozy lecture hall with two key objectives: to award the I-Connect007 Good for the Industry awards, and to celebrate the life, achievements, and personality that is industry pioneer Happy Holden.

IPC APEX EXPO 2020 Dawns on San Diego

IPC APEX EXPO 2020 launched on Tuesday, February 4, and I-Connect007 started its exclusive coverage.

Upcoming IPC APEX EXPO Offers Sessions on 5G

Dave Hoover of TTM discusses the Sessions @ the Intersection set for IPC APEX EXPO 2020—specifically, the two-part session he will host around the topic of 5G and materials.

IPC Solder Stencil Task Group—Inviting OEM Input to IPC APEX EXPO Meeting

Jeff Schake of ASM Assembly Systems is chairman of IPC’s Solder Stencil Task Group. In this conversation with Nolan Johnson and Barry Matties, Jeff discusses what they will be meeting about at the upcoming IPC APEX EXPO.


Residual/Free TBBPA in FR-4

Sergei Levchik describes how testing has shown that FR-4 printed circuit boards do not contain free or residual tetrabromobisohenol-A (TBBPA).

Nolan’s Notes: IPC APEX EXPO 2020 Preview

IPC APEX EXPO is here again. If you have followed our coverage in SMT007 and Design007, then you’re probably laser-focused on the upcoming show. We have been previewing IPC APEX EXPO all month, and we’re excited to pass that information along to you within these pages. Here’s what we learned.

CML Poised to Be ‘More Than a Manufacturer’

The I-Connect007 Editorial Team recently spoke with Chris Minard, director of business development at CML, about how CML’s business model has evolved and some of his insights about manufacturing trends around the globe right now.

I-007e Micro Webinars Releases Part 3 in ‘Coatings Uncoated!’ Series

Have you ever wondered about the process of corrosion and the formation of tin whiskers? The third episode of the popular webinar series, "Coatings Uncoated," is now available to view. Author of "The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to Conformal Coatings for Harsh Environments" and topic expert Phil Kinner from Electrolube shares highly focused educational information on conformal coating and encapsulation.

Kurt Palmer Takes on New Role as Burkle America President

During productronica 2019, Barry Matties chatted with Kurt Palmer about his new role as president of Burkle America, the work they do with Schmoll Maschinen, and why customers in North America must continue to invest to keep up with the technology and be profitable.

EIPC Winter Conference: Business, Technology, and Community

Managing Editor Nolan Johnson recently spoke with Kristen Smit-Westerberg about the upcoming EIPC Winter Conference, February 13−14, 2020, in Rotterdam.

Four Reasons to Choose Polycapillary Optics for XRF Coatings Analysis

As electronic components continue to shrink and increase in complexity, metal finishes on these components need to be plated onto smaller features. X-ray fluorescence (XRF) is a widely used technique for measuring coating thickness and material composition. X-ray fluorescence (XRF) is a widely used technique for measuring coating thickness and material composition because it’s non-destructive, fast and straightforward to use.

CES: The Main Halls

CES 2020 is now over, and the next round of shows is underway (NAMM is also over now, IPC APEX EXPO is next week, followed by AWE and others). CES displayed electronics related to gaming, monitors, computers, smartwatches, TVs, vehicles, cellphones, etc. However, the effect on the industry and the way we live will be felt until the next CES. The largest and most influential participants are usually found at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Fresh Thinking on the Logistics of Laminate Distribution

Mark Goodwin, COO of Europe and the Americas for Ventec International Group, sits down with Barry Matties to explain his approach to supply chain management, efficient distribution, and maintaining definitive product identity at every stage.

Flexibility Is Key to Direct Imaging Success

Brendan F. Hogan, managing director of MivaTek, explains that while each industry has its own set of requirements and difficulties, the lines between semiconductor and PCB markets are blurring, demanding more flexibility from equipment suppliers.


IPC APEX EXPO Technical Session Preview

Brook Sandy-Smith, IPC technical conference program manager, previews the technical side of IPC APEX EXPO 2020, which includes the customary technical sessions, but also some new wrinkles like the fundamentals program and “sessions @ the intersection” to encourage more interaction.

The IPC Education Foundation’s New Column

The IPC Education Foundation’s new column with I-Connect007 will feature Charlene Gunter du Plessis, Aaron Birney, and Corey Lynn. These IPC Education Foundation members will share updates on programs and activities here. Find out more about the authors below and read "Foundations of the Future" in the SMT007 Week Newsletter.

IPC Validation Services: What to Expect at IPC APEX EXPO 2020

IPC’s Randy Cherry previews what to expect from IPC APEX EXPO 2020, including a full line on display demonstrating CFX/Hermes, further development of the Validation Services program, as well as testimonials from member companies that have been participating in IPC’s new trusted supplier program to the Department of Defense (DoD).

IPC APEX EXPO Technical Conference, Featuring Fundamentals and the Intersection

IPC's Brook Sandy-Smith brings us a preview of the Technical Conference at IPC APEX EXPO 2020. In addition to the Sessions @ the Intersection and the Technical Conference, the Fundamentals Program is new at IPC APEX EXPO 2020. The program provides curated content for industry newcomers and anyone interested in a broader view through the many facets of electronics manufacturing. Attendees will learn important concepts, terminology, and background as preparation for the detailed content on new studies and technologies presented at the technical conference.

Streamlining Inspection and Verification

Barry Matties speaks with Vladi Kaplan, VP of marketing for CIMS, about the company’s newest verification station, the benefits operators will see from its colorized real-time video, and how it makes verification much faster and much more efficient for companies pushing 100% inspection.

Foundations of the Future: Get More Engaged in 2020

Since the inception of the IPC Education Foundation in January 2019, the mission remains to create connections between electronics manufacturers and supply chain companies, academia and the emerging workforce. In this debut column, Charlene Gunter du Plessis describes plans for engaging in 2020, including scholarships and more, and the IPC APEX EXPO 2020 STEM Student Outreach event.

IPC APEX EXPO: Sessions @ the Intersection

In this short video, Brook Sandy-Smith, IPC’s technical conference program manager, explains how “the lntersection” will be a new meeting place In between this year's IPC APEX EXPO show floor and the technical conference available to attendees and the free sessions that are open to any registration type.

Alex Stepinski: GreenSource Fabrication Update

Alex Stepinski gives an update on GreenSource, their acquisition of AWP, and their move to full production after some delays. Barry Matties and Alex also discuss automation and the difficulties in hiring in the U.S. and announces the decision to go to market with their recycling equipment in 2020.

Logistics Are Frank Lorentz’s Passion

Recently, Barry Matties had the chance to visit Ventec International Group’s German facility in Kirchheimbolanden (KIBO), where he met Frank Lorentz, Ventec’s general manager for the location. Logistics are clearly Frank’s passion. He lives and breathes it. If you spend any amount of time with him, that is abundantly clear. This interview with Frank was conducted after a tour of the KIBO site.

Visit the Newcomers’ Lounge at IPC APEX EXPO

The Newcomers’ Lounge will open on February 2, will remain open through February 6, and is conveniently located near the technical conference and meetings area, where it will serve as a dedicated resource center for newcomers to get their questions answered and meet other newcomers. Use the lounge to take a break from the hustle and bustle of a busy day, catch up on emails, or grab a quick snack or refreshment.


The World of PCBs: Anything But Boring

Andy Shaughnessy had the chance to catch up with Megan Teta, CID+, product manager of design and education services at Insulectro. Megan explains why she’s excited to become more involved in training and why the world of PCBs is anything but boring, contrary to popular opinion.

CES: Sands Show Floor and ShowStoppers

Every year at CES, ShowStoppers and a similar event, Pepcom, demonstrate many new devices and technologies. Again, some will become devices we can’t live without, and some you will never hear about again. Seeing all of these new ideas is one of the highlights of attending CES. Enjoy this look at a potpourri of new, innovative high-tech products.

Chris Banton is Bullish on New Tech

Chris Banton is the director of marketing for EMA Design Automation. He and Andy Shaughnessy discuss the need to train the next generation of designers, advent technologies like AI and machine learning, and why companies like EMA are using these advancements to help designers with today’s complex PCBs.

Meet Two New CID Grads: Kalen Brown and Michael Steffen

At PCB West, I spoke with two newly minted Certified Interconnect Designers: Kalen Brown of EaglePicher and Michael Steffen of Crystal Group. After passing the CID exam, they attended the IPC Designers Council Executive Board Meeting, where the more “seasoned” veterans were very happy to meet them.

CFX Preview at IPC APEX EXPO 2020

The I-Connect007 Editorial Team chats with IPC’s Chris Jorgensen about the advances CFX has made in the past year and where the standard is in the standardization process. Chris also previews the CFX line that will be on display at the upcoming IPC APEX EXPO and shares IPC’s plans on educating and providing support solutions to potential users of CFX to implement it more easily.

CES Slideshow: The Future Is Now

During the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, the I-Connect007 Editorial Team met with some of the industry's top executives, managers, and engineers. Enjoy this slideshow from CES week.

CES 2020 Automotive: The Future Looks Like a Box

CES week has been true to the themes set forth by Steve Koenig on Sunday, and having spent most of Wednesday in the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center—the automotive pavilion—I can say that Koenig was right: the electric vehicle has reached an inflection point. And along with electric propulsion came autonomous operation.

Updates on Cleaning Standards and Committees

Graham Naisbitt of Gen3 discusses the changes he's seeing in cleaning, including how the WP-019 white paper has caused a closer look at electrochemical reliability. As a long-time head of committees, Graham also breaks down many of the topics he hopes are addressed at this year’s IPC APEX EXPO.

Ivanka Trump CES Keynote: The Path to the Future of Work

The Palazzo Ballroom at the Venetian Hotel and Casino was the site for one of the most anticipated keynotes at CES on Tuesday afternoon. CTA CEO Gary Shapiro moderated a conversation with Ivanka Trump, advisor to the President of the United States. The two discussed the current state of the workforce, higher education, skills retraining, alternatives to university education, and immigration. These are all topics that have been under discussion within the electronics manufacturing industry for some time now.

CES 2020: Here We Are Again

Dan Feinberg shares highlights from probably the largest and most fascinating technology event globally—CES—which he has been attending and writing about CES for over 20 years. The progress that has taken place is immense, and the rate of change has also accelerated.


Engaging STEM Students at IPC APEX EXPO 2020

At this year’s IPC APEX EXPO, you’re likely to see quite a few high school students moving amongst all the normal show activities thanks to the IPC APEX EXPO STEM Outreach Program. Launched two years ago at IPC APEX EXPO 2018, the 2020 version of the STEM Outreach Program will be larger and more immersive than ever before.

Heading Into 2020 With Isola

Barry Matties recently spoke with Isola’s Travis Kelly, who has moved from acting CEO into the position of president and CEO. Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Sean Mirshafiei also joins the conversation as they share an update on the progress on the company’s new Arizona factory, as well as their views on the markets and technology trends.

What’s the SCOOP: Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year really is an amazing celebration with millions of workers returning to their families for the celebrations. But with the shutdown and mass migration come stress on infrastructure, supply chain and the whole manufacturing and fulfillment ecosystem. I asked a few Industry experts what they thought the key issues are and what advice they’d offer.

Ledia 6 Direct Imaging System Offers Enhanced Speed and Precision

Technical Editor Pete Starkey recently met with Ucamco’s Michel Van den heuvel, imaging product group director, to discuss the benefits of the Ledia 6 direct imaging system, which was introduced earlier this summer and features scan-alignment and improvements in registration and positioning accuracy.

How to Become a Certified IPC Trainer

The Blackfox Certified IPC Trainer (CIT) programs are best suited for experienced and skilled electronics technicians, engineers, and supervisors who have the will and passion to teach and train colleagues about the quality standards of IPC. They also provide successful candidates with a credential that confirms their knowledge and understanding of IPC quality systems.

Top 10 Most-Read Design Articles of 2019

As we move into 2020, we took a look back at the most popular Design007 articles of the past year. Here for your enjoyment are the Top 10 most-read Design007 articles of 2019.

Top 10 Most-Read Design Columns of 2019

As we move into 2020, we took a look back at the most popular Design007 columns of the past year. Here for your enjoyment are the Top 10 most-read Design007 columns of 2019.

Clean vs. No-clean: A Generational Difference

Tom Forsythe, executive VP of KYZEN, discusses what readers should know about cleaning as reliability expectations continue to increase. He also explains what is driving the new interest in cleaning and why engineers from the no-clean generation may not even realize they need to learn more about cleaning.

MacroFab: Manufacturing Digitized

MacroFab CEO Misha Govshteyn explains how a digital manufacturing platform connected to a network of vetted partner factories can help eliminate a lot of variability from the fabrication process.

Wi-Fi 6: Wired vs. Wireless

We all know that it makes no sense to get the latest device just because they come out with a new one every year. Sure, post-millennials tend to want a new phone every year, but most of us are well past that. However, as the competitive nature of the consumer tech industry continues to increase, the rate of change is also accelerating, as is the peer pressure to upgrade. Non-techies get new phones every year, techies get new CPU and GPUs every two years, average consumers get bigger and higher-res TVs every three years, and on it goes.


UV-curable Materials and Conformal Coatings

Pete Starkey and Phil Kinner, global business and technical director, coatings division, Electrolube, discuss the characteristics and benefits of the company’s new UV-cured conformal coatings. Phil also describes the development of coatings for critical avionics applications and Electrolube’s collaboration with the U.K. National Physical Laboratory to establish a new condensation test.

Insulectro Works to Bridge the Fabricator/Designer Gap

Barry Matties sat down with Insulectro’s Megan Teta and Mike Creeden to discuss trends they see in the materials market and how they’re working to bridge the gap between fabrication and design, including helping designers understand what they can do to make a board more manufacturable.

Book Summary: The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to…Process Validation

The latest book in I-Connect007’s "The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to…" series is authored by Gen3’s Graham Naisbitt. With his deep background in process validation and standards work, Naisbitt is uniquely qualified to explore achieving acceptable electrochemical reliability using both CAF and SIR testing. This eBook is a perfect present for the holidays.

Utilizing AI in CAD Library Development

Nolan Johnson speaks with Chico Wu of Footprintku, a company using artificial intelligence (AI) to help fill gaps in CAD library development by partnering with design teams on things like addressing resource shortages and automating custom design rulesets while also eliminating other manual steps in the process.

BTU Discusses its Next-generation Flux Management System

At productronica 2019, Nolan Johnson spoke with Peter Franklin, managing director of BTU Europe, about BTU’s next-generation solder reflow flux management system—Aqua Scrub. A winner of the show’s Global Technology Award for Soldering, Peter breaks down the specifics of what makes Aqua Scrub such an intriguing technology.

CIMS Galaxy: More Than an Inspection System

Editor Pete Starkey and Vladi discuss the newest CIMS AOI platform, Galaxy, which is more compact and more versatile than the previous Phoenix model. The Galaxy is scalable and can be equipped with more functions and connected to a variety of Industry 4.0 databases. Vladi explains that the Galaxy can be used for everything from inner layer inspection to final inspection, detecting defects down to 1 pixel. The system is available with multiple metrology options as well.

Decreasing Bend Radius and Improving Reliability- Part III

Application: Design guidelines to improve the flexibility and reliability of flexible circuits. Most issues that arise with flex circuits can be eliminated in the early stages of the design phase, and special planning must occur when the circuit is required to bend. Many novices will design a circuit that calls for bending the flex in too tight of a bend radius, which can cause damage to the circuit and lower the reliability of the end product.

The Viability of a Cyanide-free Immersion Gold Bath

The Tianjin chemical blast in August 2015 sensitized the Chinese authorities to the use of cyanide in production. As a consequence, the authorities have introduced licensing with regard to the use of cyanide. In turn, this has motivated Chinese PCB manufacturers to ask suppliers for a competent cyanide-free immersion gold solution (CNF Au).

A Walking Tour of Viking Test With Jake Kelly

In this video walking tour of the Viking Test booth at productronica 2019, Managing Director Jake Kelly walks us down the line of Viking's universal film stripper.

Practical Verification of Void Reduction Method for BTC Using Exposed Via-in-pad

The method explored in this article regards the use of exposed via-in-pad. A dedicated test vehicle was designed for two types of QFN components. The main variables accounted for were the component size, number of exposed vias in the thermal pad, via pitch, via size, and solder paste coverage. The responses sought in this experiment include a thermal pad void level and solder wicking down the via barrel with resulting solder protrusion on the opposite side of the PCB.


The ICT 2019 Christmas Seminar

Since 2016, the Institute of Circuit Technology (ICT) has held its northern area Christmas seminar at the Majestic Hotel in Harrogate—the elegant and historic English spa town in North Yorkshire. Pete Starkey provides an overview of this popular ICT event.

The Future of the World Is Truly in the Hands of Our Youth

At I-Connect007, we are proud to once again sponsor the STEM Outreach Program at the upcoming IPC APEX EXPO 2020. Another way we support our youth is by sharing the stories of young people who are doing amazing things. Dylan Nguyen is a great student, musician, and creative thinker. Recently, he shared with me the details of his school science fair project, “Kite: Powering the Future,” which solved a problem that he faced. Dylan is a leader with a bright future, and the world is lucky to have kids like him.

Designing for Complex PCBs

The I-Connect007 editorial team sat down with Freedom CAD’s Scott Miller to talk about the industry’s demand for more increasingly complex PCBs, and the challenges this presents. They also discuss Freedom CAD’s in-house training programs, the company’s recent book authored by Scott, and why communication is such an important tool in a PCB designer’s toolbox.

AltiumLive Frankfurt 2019: Happy Holden Keynote

Nobody left early! Altium had wisely kept Happy Holden’s keynote presentation on “PCB Trends that Will Impact Your Future” until the end of the final day of the AltiumLive 2019 European PCB Design Summit in Frankfurt, Germany. Pete Starkey presents the highlights of Happy's presentation.

Electra Polymers: Inkjet Soldermask is Ready, Reliable and Green

Editor Pete Starkey and Tibbals discuss Electra Polymers’ move into the inkjet soldermask market, and some of the challenges and benefits of this technology. Tibbals explains how inkjet soldermask can enable end-users to improve reliability of the final product, for instance, because this additive process allows manufacturers to control the thickness of soldermask around vias and BGAs and eliminating trapped chemistry in undercut areas.

The CPCA and China’s Electronic Circuit Industry: Past and Future

Wang Longji is the honorary secretary-general of the China Printed Circuit Association. He is a senior engineer and an industry leader and used to be the production manager of the first imported PCB manufacturing line in China. Mr. Wang is also a well-known child actor and a “national treasure;” one of his most famous characters was San Mao in “The Winter of Three Hairs.”

Pluritec Takes Industry 4.0 to the Next Level

Pete Starkey and Pluritec’s Nicola Doria, president and CEO, discuss how the structure of Pluritec has developed over the past few years, now including many respected brand names that are long familiar in the PCB fabrication segment. Doria also explains how the company is continuing its implementation of Industry 4.0 processes.

Indium Discusses New Materials and Plans for 2020

Editor Nolan Johnson sits down with Nash and Mackie to discuss Indium’s focus on creating innovative products for the 5G, automotive, semiconductor, and high-reliability segments. Mackie offers a preview of Indium’s plans for 2020 and beyond, including lead-free drop-in sintering materials that can be dispensed and printed more quickly than ever before.

Industry Set for Shift to True 3D Printing and Photonics

Nolan Johnson sits down with Zach Peterson, owner of Northwest Engineering Solutions, who predicts two things that would challenge the current status quo for the PCB manufacturing industry: true 3D printing and additive, including discretes as well as the substrates and traces, and a completely different approach with photonics.

LA/Orange County SMTA Expo and Tech Forum Review

Dan Feinberg recently attended the LA/Orange County SMTA Expo and Tech Forum, which was held in Long Beach, California. He provides an overview of the activities, from the show floor to the presentations.


AltiumLive Frankfurt 2019: Carl Schattke Keynote

“How many here can remember manually taped artworks?” No more than three hands were raised in an audience of over 230 at the AltiumLive 2019 European PCB Design Summit in Frankfurt, Germany, as IPC Advanced Certified Interconnect Designer Carl Schattke introduced his keynote, entitled “Making and Breaking the Rules.” Schattke had learned PCB layout as his father’s apprentice, hand-taping several hundred PCB designs in the 1970s.

Nolan’s Notes: Clarity of Vision

In this issue, we update your prescription, clarify your vision of the industry, and bring your own perspective into view. With each interview, try on another outlook and look at the industry from another point of view.

Day 1 Coverage of International Electronics Circuit Exhibition in Shenzhen

The newly named International Electronics Circuit Exhibition, formerly known as the HKPCA Show, kicked off today in Shenzhen, China. This event is now part of a cooperation between the CPCA and HKPCA associations. This is the largest trade show serving the south China region, with 3,537 booths from 621 exhibitors this year.

Conductivity Laminate for High-frequency Applications

Editor Pete Starkey and Vitali Judin discuss how Rogers Corporation has responded to demands for high thermal conductivity combined with low loss in high-power RF applications with the newly launched. The PTFE-based TC350 Plus is capable of handling temperatures above 125°C and draws upon Rogers’ long experience with the TC350 material line-up.

Atotech’s Graphite-based Process and Chemistries Portfolio

Dr. Brüning, global product director, desmear and metallization, and electronics consultant Johan Lundqvist, update Nolan Johnson on the ViaKing graphite-based direct metallization process and explain how it fits in with customer applications. They also discuss Atotech’s portfolio of various chemistries. Johan came to Atotech in August 2019 through the acquisition of J-KEM where he held the position of CEO. Johan stated, “We are pleased J-KEM has joined the Atotech family, as it makes sense for both sides.”
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