Article Highlights
Atotech Brings World-Class AHDI to the U.S.
12/06/2018 | I-Connect007 Editorial Team
Ventec's Marketing Strategy and Their Newly Appointed Technology Ambassador
12/05/2018 | Pete Starkey, I-Connect007
Meet All Flex’s New President and CEO Matt Keithly
12/04/2018 | I-Connect007 Editorial Team
Innovative PCB Processes are Lean and Green
11/29/2018 | Happy Holden, I-Connect007
GreenSource: The Future
11/26/2018 | Nolan Johnson, I-Connect007

Latest Articles

The Time is Right in India

In an interview with Akshinthala Vijayendra of IPC India, he discusses India’s infrastructure under the direction of the new prime minister, where India currently stands versus China, and the pros and cons for any speculative companies deciding whether to expand into this country.

New Year, New Equipment—Right?

This month, we will discuss the equipment purchasing decision-making process. How many of you can recall the earliest “dippy dunk” PCB shops, so-called because that’s exactly how it was done? There were no conveyorized lines, no automatic hoists, no load/unload stations, maybe not even a lab for analyzing the plating baths.

Part 2: EIPC’s Winter Conference in Lyon, France: Day 2 Review

The final session, on European needs for new technology, product safety and training, was introduced and moderated by EIPC board member Dr. Michele Stampanoni, vice president of strategic sales and business development at Cicor Group.

EIPC’s Winter Conference in Lyon, France: Day 2 Review

The first day of the conference had started and ended in the dark—a long and technically intense day! After a convivial conference dinner and a good night’s sleep we were back on the bus, this time in daylight at the slightly later time of 8:00 a.m., for the journey from downtown Lyon back to Alstom’s conference facility in Villeurbanne, and it wasn’t raining. In fact, there was even some sunshine later in the day!

Blue Sky for Eagle Electronics

I recently had the opportunity to chat with the new director of sales and marketing at Eagle Electronics, Andy D’Agostino. I’ve visited Eagle before; they are endlessly busy, with good things going on, so I was happy when I learned that Brett McCoy was now COO and another fellow had taken over some of the sales and marketing activities. Andy comes with a wealth of experience and seems to have settled in nicely.

Orbotech’s Strategic Decision for End-to-End Partnership Benefits Everyone

Barry Matties met with Sharon Cohen, president of Orbotech West, at productronica 2017 to discuss what’s new at Orbotech, specifically their shift to be more customer-centric and to provide regional coverage across the globe. He also discusses the current trends in the marketplace and Industry 4.0.

EIPC’s 2018 Winter Conference in Lyon, Review of Day 1

Venue for the 2018 EIPC Winter Conference was the splendid new Alstom Transport Information Solutions facility in Villeurbanne, in the Lyon metropolitan area of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in eastern France. An extremely popular event—117 delegates represented a total of 20 countries, unprecedented in recent years, and only just fitted into Alstom’s conference suite. Indeed, some were even standing at the back!

CircuitData: Creating an Open Source Language for PCB Data Exchange

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Elmatica CTO Andreas Lydersen on a subject of great interest to him and his supply chain, namely CircuitData. This open source language promises to greatly improve communication of details that can often be misinterpreted due to the differences in terminology used throughout the supply chain.

Whelen Engineering and AWP Explain their Unique Collaboration

If there was a buzz word in the PCB hall at productronica this year, it was probably Whelen, as in Whelen Engineering and Alex Stepinski, VP of Whelen’s circuit board division.

Aismalibar on Laminates, Following the Market, and More

At productronica, Barry Matties, Andy Shaughnessy, and Patty Goldman of the 007 team sat down with Eduardo Benmayor, director general with Aismalibar, a laminate supplier currently focusing on thermal management for the LED and automotive markets.


CFX: Updates and Developments

In an interview with I-Connect007, she discusses the latest developments in the Connected Factory Initiative (CFX), the machine data interface standard that would enable manufacturers, equipment, device and software suppliers to achieve Industry 4.0 benefits, and CFX demos at IPC APEX EXPO 2018.

Equipment/Process Selection: Case Study of a DMADV Approach to PCB FAB Process Design

This article outlines the approach we took to designing this new phase of our commercial existence, which has now been spun off as a separate business unit known as Greensource Fabrication. This new business unit is expected to go live in 2018.

All the Details on IPC’s Emerging Engineer Program

Teresa Rowe and Nancy Jaster, in charge of IPC’s Emerging Engineer Program, explain to I-Connect007’s Patty Goldman and Jonathan Zinski how this novel approach to attracting and supporting young people works.

Solder Limits: Updates for the Age of Surface Mount

Solder limits are one of the fundamental parameters used when evaluating the PCB, solder resists, and metal-clad base materials for safety under the UL Recognition programme.

IPC APEX EXPO: App is Where It’s At

In an interview with I-Connect007, IPC Exhibits Manager Kim DiCianni discusses the IPC APEX EXPO 2018 app and how this powerful tool will keep attendees on track. She also highlights its usefulness for exhibitors.

The Best It’s Ever Been, Every Year: The Goal for IPC, Part 2

In the continuation of this interview, John Mitchell and Phil Carmichael discuss the areas of focus for IPC in the upcoming year, first and foremost being education and welcoming a new generation into the industry.

The Best It’s Ever Been, Every Year: The Goal for IPC, Part 1

The end of 2017 caps an exciting time for IPC and IPC China as membership has grown substantially, in part because of new offerings from the organization to its Asian members. Meeting with Barry Matties at HKPCA, John Mitchell and Phil Carmichael discuss the areas of focus for IPC in the upcoming year, first and foremost being education and welcoming a new generation into the industry.

Staying Ahead of Market Trends Through Education

ESI equipment has been in high demand with the recent rise of flex and HDI. But when Barry Matties met with Patrick Riechel and John Williams at HKPCA, they explained that it is really ESI’s future protection and flexibility in the process that keeps them ahead of the market and allows for ongoing success.

A Sneak-Peek at IPC APEX EXPO 2018

IPC President and CEO John Mitchell gave I-Connect007 a sneak-peek at the upcoming IPC APEX EXPO, happening in February in San Diego. Mitchell provides a description of this year’s keynote, as well as a few new additions and areas of emphasis. It looks like it will be another packed house, with plenty to see, do, and learn about.

CES 2018: Disruptive Technologies and Fun PC Stuff

Two disruptive technologies that we have been covering for the last few years are 3D printing—especially as it pertains to PCB fab—and autonomous driving. 3D printing has been around for a few years, but it seems like 3D printers were introduced to CES very recently. This year there were almost 50 exhibitors showing their latest offerings. Most of them were in the LVCC in the north hall at the 3D Printing Marketplace.


Riding the Tsunami of Success in Asia

Since Phil Carmichael has overseen IPC Asia, the program and its membership have grown substantially, and with good reason. Phil met with Barry Matties at HKPCA to discuss how IPC offerings such as the QML program and helping suppliers become CSR compliant has allowed IPC to become a vital resource for suppliers in Asia.

Cicor’s Approach to Miniaturization: Cost of Function, and More

Barry Matties spoke with Karl Heinz-Fritz, VP of technology, about Cicor’s newest product line, which can shrink the size of a circuit by up to 40%, and the importance of measuring the cost of functionality.

productronica 2017 Means Connecting to Global Customer Base for Circuit Automation

Circuit Automation’s Tom Meeker joined me for a conversation at productronica 2017 in Munich, to update me about what the company has been doing in solder mask coating equipment.

In Terms of Experience, a 10,000-foot View of China

In the past 30+ years of PCB manufacturing in China, you would be hard-pressed to find someone more connected to the pulse of the Asian market than Gene Weiner. Barry Matties met with the industry veteran at HKPCA to get his take on the show, the current and future market conditions of China, and any effect the new U.S. administration might have on trade relations going forward.

The Benefits of Coming Together to Form a Global Reach

At productronica, MacDermid Enthone Electronics Solutions and Alpha Assembly Solutions had one large combined booth to promote the companies’ integration. Over a buttered pretzel (don’t knock it until you’ve tried it), we talked about the newly amalgamated company, something everyone in the company is quite enthusiastic about.

CES 2018, Augmented Reality and Much More

The actual CES show is spread across many locations in Las Vegas. The main exhibit halls are at or near to the Las Vegas Convention Center with three buildings, two floors each, all filled with hundreds of booths. Then there is The Sands Convention Center with multiple halls filled to the brim and hotels with their own convention centers and floors of exhibitor suites. With almost 200,000 in attendance, all locations are very busy.

It’s a Long, Winding and Exciting Road for Automotive Electronics

It was truly a delight to talk with Alun Morgan at productronica this year. He may be the most enthusiastic person in the field of electronics that I have ever met, as you will certainly understand as you read this interview.

Getting the Heat Out

Increasing consumer demands for high performance and the need for high reliability in sectors such as automotive, LED lighting, and renewable energy mean that thermal management is now front and center on the priority list for PCB manufacturing.

CES 2018 Showstoppers: LaunchIt and Press Event

“ShowStoppers LaunchIt is about giving innovative entrepreneurs a shot at getting the attention of angel investors on the lookout for innovation and new ventures. It’s also about gaining additional visibility with other industry influencers and dealmakers, as well as with the press who are always looking for the ‘what’s new’ story at CES.”

Preview: CES 2018 Unveiled

The official CES events started only about 15 hours ago. I have already been to CES Unveiled, an amazing (but somewhat long) NVIDIA press event, and now the Panasonic press conference is soon to begin, launching the Press Day activities. So far, it’s been amazing!


Schmid: Bringing Integrated Solutions to the Market

With China’s recent shift towards quality, the next generation of PCB fabrication equipment must target yields and include the ability to track those yields, says Schmid’s Laurent Nicolet and Demitry Kostouros. Barry Matties recently sat down with these two gentlemen to talk more about the market shift and Schmid’s introduction of their new vertical line aimed at carving a niche in the market.

Lamination to Drilling in Minutes: It's New and it's Not

Barry Matties met with Lino Sousa at productronica to check out Pluritec’s new Pluricut HPL machine, which offers an all-in-one solution for flash routing, beveling, measuring, and corner routing. See this machine in action by viewing the attached video content.

Weiner’s World—December 2017

Hold on to your seats! 2018 will be a year full of rapid changes, surprises, and growth. M&A activities will flourish. The supply chain will suffer shortages and changes as demand increases, copycats will rush to market, and new markets and potential suppliers will vanish before they are established.

Automation and Traceability Critical for High-Throughput Probe Testing

Peter Brandt, atg’s director of sales for Europe, India and Japan, joined Barry Matties at productronica to share his views on regional variations in electrical testing requirements, automation, traceability, and how to anticipate and satisfy the future demands of the market. Group general manager Dr. Jochen Kleinertz also comments on the need for close cooperation with customers to guide the R&D effort.

Isola: Evolving with the Market

In this interview from productronica 2017, Isola’s Karl Stollenwerk discusses the decline of the laminate market in Europe over the past 17 years, current demands on raw materials, and Isola’s new strategy to remain competitive.

Consulting in the Electronics Industry: Meet Francesca Stern

One of the best things about productronica was meeting people who I have corresponded with and those whose articles or presentations I have read or seen but have never actually had a chance to chat with. Francesca Stern is one such person, and it was a true pleasure to sit down and chat with her in the EIPC booth.

A Unique Norwegian Approach to Serving Customers

I met a lot of interesting people at productronica, with an assortment of different products on display. Such was my visit with Oyvind Tafjord, CEO of Visitech. His purpose at the show was to meet with his customers, so nothing unusual about that. But his customers also had booths (or stands, as they call them), which is an advantage for him, as he explains here.

AGFA: From Film to Inkjet Solder Mask

The productronica show was indeed filled with new technology, and it was great to meet with people and learn about it. This is precisely how I met AGFA’s Frank Louwet, who filled me in on the Dipamat inkjet solder mask they have been developing. It seemed an odd choice to go from film to solder mask, but as Frank explained, it makes perfect sense.

Ventec: Eye on the Future, with Automotive and Lighting Front and Center

Ventec’s Thomas Michels and Didier Mauve sat down with I-Connect007 Editors Patty Goldman and Pete Starkey and enjoyed an upbeat and enlightening conversation. Among the topics covered were the importance of working partnerships in maintaining supply chain continuity, market drivers for thermally conductive materials, and development of enabling technologies to support the automotive electronics revolution.

A Fresh Look at Outsourcing Solutions in Electrical Testing

In this interview conducted at productronica 2017, Gardien Group COO Roland Valentini describes to Pete Starkey the limitations of the traditional outsourcing model for electrical testing and explains the need for customised solutions directly catered to customers’ individual requirements.


Viking: Covering the Globe with Value-Added Services

In the final hours of productronica 2017, Barry Matties met with Jake Kelly of Viking to discuss the company’s value-added services, their growth in the India and America markets, and the UCE manufactured line they displayed at productronica.

Institute of Circuit Technology Harrogate Seminar 2017

A return to the historic spa town of Harrogate in Yorkshire, England for the Institute of Circuit Technology Northern Seminar, to enjoy a diverse programme of presentations on safety standards, research in selective metal deposition, and developments in imaging and inspection techniques.

Full-Service Plating at Hofstetter

While strolling the aisles at productronica, I happened upon the booth of Hofstetter Plating. I was not familiar with this PCB company so I stopped to chat. It turns out they aren’t exactly a PCB fabricator, but provide a comprehensive plating service in Europe and occasionally beyond that, offering several exotic and unique plating processes.

RTW…HKPCA & IPC Show 2017 Highlights With Canice Chung

Canice Chung, chairman of the HKPCA, speaks with Managing Editor Stephen Las Marias about the record-breaking show, held this week in Shenzhen, China.

RTW HKPCA & IPC Show 2017: IPC Asia’s Philip Carmichael on the Changes in PCB Value Chain

During the 2017 International Printed Circuit & APEX South China Fair (HKPCA & IPC Show 2017) in Shenzhen, IPC Asia President Philip S. Carmichael speaks with I-Connect007 Managing Editor Stephen Las Marias about the move in the value chain that’s driving the electronics manufacturing industry forward.

Pluritec Wants to Remove Human Factor from Solder Mask

Solder mask remains a relatively hands-on task, which can result in human error. But equipment manufacturer Pluritec wants to change that. At PCB West, I spoke with Pluritec Vice President of Sales Lino Sousa about the company’s new spray technology that can turn solder mask application into what is essentially a push-button operation.

HDI: Today, Tomorrow and the Future

For the November issue of The PCB Magazine, our editorial team interviewed some of the top HDI experts in the PCB supply chain. Joining us on the conference call were Steve Bird, PCB/flex technology manager at Finisar, and Tony Torres of APCT.

35 Years of HDI Fabrication Processes and Obstacles for Implementation

The electronics industry is the world’s largest and most robust market. It is also a bulwark of American creativity, with Silicon Valley as its origin and fortress.

A Conversation with EIPC Executive Director Kirsten Smit-Westenberg

The EIPC booth was a busy place during productronica, with several members and other organizations headquartered there, resulting in a constant stream of people stopping by to visit, get information and study the upcoming conference agendas. Overseeing the big, and even the little things, was Executive Director Kirsten Smit-Westenberg, who made sure important questions got answered, people stayed hydrated, and EIPC’s magnetic pins found homes on shirt collars.

Papandrew Leads Advanced Circuits’ New Offshore Division

Advanced Circuits is one of the largest PCB manufacturers in the United States. Now, the company is expanding the range of its services with the launch of its new Offshore Division. Recently, the company hired PCB veteran Greg Papandrew to lead the new division and help the company meet buyers’ demand for offshore PCB sourcing.


HDI: Born in the USA and Making a Comeback

There is no denying that high-density interconnect (HDI) has been around a long time—over 25 years, believe it or not. From almost the moment of its conception in the U.S., the technology was adopted by and used almost exclusively in Asia.

Walt Custer’s Annual Update from productronica 2017

Industry consultant Walt Custer of Custer Consulting sat down with me at productronica 2017 to once again inform our readers with his yearly update and perspective on what’s happening in the industry. And guess what? It’s good news! Pertinent charts referenced in our conversation are included, but if you want more, Walt invites you to click the link at the end of this conversation and email him directly.

Video from productronica 2017: Electra Polymers Updates on the Latest Developments in DI Soldermask

From the show floor at productronica 2017, Electra Polymers' sales manager Ashley Steers discusses the state of the art in soldermask for direct imaging. Sales and marketing director Shaun Tibbals comments on developments in ink-jet soldermask, and opportunities in wafer-level packaging.

Video from productronica 2017: DIS Improves Registration of Flex and Rigid-Flex PCBs

From the show floor at productronica 2017, we stopped by the DIS booth for a conversation with Tony Faraci. Here, he explains how DIS has tackled the challenges of handling and alignment of flex-rigid multilayer builds (especially cut-out pre-preg layers and packing pieces) and automated what was previously an operator-dependent manual process.

Book Recommendation: Find the Fire

This is a fabulous book for whenever you get the blahs! You know what I’m talking about. There are times when you just cannot get out of your own way, and everything you try to do gets stuck in park and you just can’t understand how you ever got anything done in the first place.

Book Recommendation: Becoming Facebook—The 10 Challenges that Defined the Company That’s Disrupting the World

Make no mistake about it: This is not just the story of one company, but rather one that describes the many challenges that all companies face and must overcome to be successful.

Video from productronica 2017: Taiyo America Highlights Ink-Jettable Solder Mask

After a long-term program of cooperative development, evaluation and qualification, Taiyo America’s solvent-free ink-jet solder mask formulation is working successfully in a technically demanding production environment. Don Monn recounts his experiences from the show floor at productronica 2017.

Video from productronica 2017: Rogers Discusses Trends Driving Growth

Dirk Lefelon, European sales manager for Rogers Corporation, discusses his group’s final 2017 results. He also explains what the new year will bring, including increased investment in capacity for the European market, especially for the automotive segment.

Book Recommendation: Profitable Podcasting—Grow Your Business, Expand Your Platform, and Build a Nation of True Fans

There is no doubt that we are living in a world of content marketing. If we want to get our company’s message out there we must not only know how to develop great content, but come up with the best ways to get it out into the stratosphere. Many of more experienced marketing people have missed this meeting.

The PCB Norsemen: Industry 4.0, AI and CircuitData

As automation works its way onto the shop floors, it still struggles to replace humans in the supporting roles, such as designers, purchasers, brokers, and back-office staff. Where automation on the shop floor replaces humans in doing repetitive manual tasks, the supporting roles (at least some of them) require intelligence to understand and utilise information.


Steve’s Particular Set of Skills (to become a World-Class Quality Manager)

Being a quality professional today is nothing like it was 20 or 25 years ago; on a personal level, I can attest to this fact. It is no longer adequate to appoint a quality manager simply based on a person’s command of acceptance criteria and industry specifications; in the 21st century, a truly hybrid executive is needed.

PCB/PCBA M&A Top 10 FAQs

We talk with owners a lot about the possible sale of their businesses. Here are the top 10 questions asked by PCB/PCBA shop owners about the process.

Groundbreaking Developments at liloTree

I was introduced to liloTree and Chief Scientist Kunal Shah by Joe Fjelstad. It seems this small company (with Intel as part of its pedigree) has developed a novel ENIG process that just may shake up the regular chemistry suppliers. This new process is described as cost-effective and ecofriendly while completely eliminating black pad and brittle solder joints.

Leveraging Industry Shows to Create a Presence

At the recent SMTA International show in Rosemont, Illinois, I had an opportunity to meet with Mark Osborn, president and owner of Colonial Circuits, based in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Colonial Circuits is a supplier of PCBs, mainly for the defense industry.

New I-Connect007 Team Members Tour American Standard Circuits

Recently, Anaya Vardya, CEO of American Standard Circuits, invited two of I-Connect007’s newest team members, IT coordinator Jonathan Zinski and Editor Kiersten Rohde, to tour his facility in West Chicago, Illinois. Happy Holden, resident PCB expert, also joined the newbies on their field trip to ASC. In the following articles, Jonathan and Kiersten describe their experience touring ASC. Special thanks to Anaya for hosting the I-Connect007 team.

Planning a PCB: Signal Integrity and Controlled Impedance Considerations

Knowledge and experience are the two key elements when planning a PCB. Today’s PCB designers must have far more knowledge and understanding of the PCB production process than in the past. This is especially important when they plan and how they plan the stackup, via span, routing and power distribution.

Catching up with…Brigitflex

Today, Brigitflex is building unique custom-made boards for companies all over the world, from large defense and aerospace companies to small incubator companies inventing new products. They have become well-known as the shop to go to when nobody else can solve your problems.

RTW SMTAI: NCAB's Perspectives on HDI and Miniaturization

John Piccirilli of NCAB Group discusses the trends in HDI and miniaturization he's seeing around the world. He also talks about other interesting technologies such as metal-backed PCBs and stretchable materials.

Final Finishes: Taking Gold Thickness into Account

Martin Bunce was one of several people from MacDermid Enthone who presented at SMTA International this year. He sat down with me for a chat about his paper on final finishes, particularly with regard to controlling gold thickness.

Book Recommendation: Lead Right for Your Company’s Type

Why couldn’t a guy who had been successful at Apple be a dismal failure at Penney’s? Why do certain people who were great at one company be terrible at leading another company? Give up? It’s simple: All companies are different and what works with one company will not necessarily work for another.


Rex Rozario’s Next Big Thing, Part 2

In Part 2 of this two-part series, the conversation continues with Rex Rozario and Michael Caines as they discuss the ups and downs of creating their magnificent Lympstone Manor hotel and restaurant. The conversation ranges from dealing with budget and inclement weather to working with investors and the building itself to the joy of seeing the project come together beautifully.

Rex Rozario’s Next Big Thing, Part 1

Barry Matties joins Rex Rozario at Lympstone Manor, one of Rex’s investments outside of the electronics industry. The property, once an old country house in the Exeter countryside, has been transformed into a splendid hotel and restaurant. Joining them is Michael Caines, a Michelin Star chef from the UK who is heading the project.

A Guide to IPC Survey and Report Season

IPC Director of Market Research Sharon Starr found time to discuss the recently conducted and published surveys and research reports and a few others still in the works. These reports are free to survey participants, which is certainly a great incentive for taking the time to complete them. (Hint: That’s a call to action for those of you sitting on the sidelines.)

HDI’s Beneficial Influence on High-Frequency Signal Integrity

The increasingly widespread use of finepitch ball-grid array (BGA), chip scale packaging (CSP), and other evolving technology form-factors means that new fabrication techniques must be used to create printed circuit boards (PCBs).

Strategies for Developing Copper Plating Systems

I-Connect007's Patty Goldman met with Dr. Albert Angstenberger, global technology manager for metallization with MacDermid Enthone Electronics Solutions, while at SMTA International. He presented a most interesting paper on copper pillar plating systems that we hope to publish in The PCB Magazine sometime in the future.
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