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A Guide to IPC Survey and Report Season
10/18/2017 | Patty Goldman, I-Connect007
HDI’s Beneficial Influence on High-Frequency Signal Integrity
10/17/2017 | Happy Holden, I-Connect007
Strategies for Developing Copper Plating Systems
10/16/2017 | Patty Goldman, I-Connect007
Book Recommendation: The Camino Way—Lessons in Leadership from a Walk Across Spain
10/16/2017 | Dan Beaulieu
Experts Discussion: Signal Integrity and Impedance Control
10/11/2017 | I-Connect007
Walt Custer Elaborates on his Annual IPC APEX EXPO Forecast Presentation
IPC APEX EXPO 2016 has come and gone, and this year, Walt Custer’s annual presentation forecasting the upcoming year for the industry was much anticipated, as always. I met up with Walt at the show to learn about his presentation and dig deeper into his findings.
Cost Saving Tips for PCB Fabrication
Money is the most common problem in any type of business, and many American companies are looking for ways to cut costs, but still make sure they turn a profit. They also want to ensure the quality of what they produce remains the same, or exceeds present quality, and in the electronics sector this is essential for staying in business.
IPC APEX EXPO: Insulectro's Newest Hire Discusses his Plans for Chemistry Group
Chris Hrusovsky joined Insulectro two days before this interview, but many technologists know him from his 30 years in the PCB industry. Hrusovsky discusses his career and the issues he plans to tackle as the new VP of sales for chemistry at Insulectro.
The Supplier View: An Interview with Hamed El Abd
I sat down with WKK’s Hamed el Abd at CPCA, where we discussed the show, the growing trend toward automation, as well as a few other topics, namely world politics and economics and how they relate to the PCB industry.
Dan Beaulieu's 'It’s Only Common Sense' Celebrates 500th Column
“We’d like to congratulate Dan on his 500th column,” said Publisher Barry Matties. “Dan is a strong advocate for smart business. We thank Dan and look forward to 500 more columns, and you can be sure that Dan will keep stirring the pot.”
Gene Weiner: Congrats to Dan Beaulieu on Column 500
Congratulations on achieving this milestone, Dan. Column 500 contains enough fodder for many months of discussion, investigation and recommendations.
PhiChem Open House a Success!
Delighted to be invited to an exclusive preview of the new PhiChem global headquarters and R&D centre in Shanghai’s Baoshan suburb, I joined the VIP group assembled at the PhiChem booth at the CPCA show, made welcome by PhiChem President Dr. Jin Zhang.
IPC APEX EXPO: How Entelechy Is Changing the Industry
Mehul Dave, CEO of Entelechy Global Inc., talks about the need for speed in front-end engineering as PCB fabricators are overwhelmed with overload from supporting the high-mix, low volume and QTA markets.
Lean Manufacturing and NPIP for Flexible Circuits
Many companies are familiar with lean manufacturing concepts and have successfully used these techniques to improve manufacturing processes. Lean techniques, while most often used in printed circuit fabrication and assembly operations, can also be applied to nonmanufacturing processes. One such process is new part number introduction (NPIP).
IPC APEX EXPO: Gardien Discusses Providing Test Solutions with an Integrated Partnership
Gardien's VP of Quality, Todd Kolmodin, tells Guest Editor Dan Beaulieu about their customer partnership program, helping to provide solutions to their customers' test and quality issues.
IPC APEX EXPO: Design Through Box-Build Strategy Works for PNC Inc.
Guest Editor Dan Beaulieu talks with PNC's production manager, Bhavesh Sangani, about PNC's "design through box-build" strategy along with their significant capital equipment purchases over the past few years for both PCB fabrication and assembly.
IPC APEX EXPO: Innovation in Surface Finishes from Uyemura
Uyemura Senior Strategic Account Manager John Meyers describes the company's innovation in surface finishes, particularly its ENEPIG chemistry. John also briefly discusses their new electroless copper process.
Punching Out! Putting Together the Deal Team
When preparing to sell, remember the old saying, “He who represents himself has a fool for a client.” While many owners might be tempted to go it alone, in my experience it pays to have a deal team to help prepare a company (and the owner) for a sale.
On Site at the CPCA Show 2016 International PCB Technology and Information Spring Forum
The first session of the CPCA Spring Forum 2016 was dedicated to UL Consumer Technology who took the opportunity to inform the audience around their exciting new services.
Patricia (Patty) Goldman Inducted into IPC Hall of Fame
We at I-Connect007 are thrilled that our own Patty Goldman has been awarded the highest level of volunteer recognition that IPC can give to an individual, the Raymond E. Pritchard Hall of Fame Award. The award is given in recognition of superior achievement, extraordinary contributions and distinguished service to IPC and the advancement of the electronics industry.
Happy’s Essential Skills: Design of Experiments
Design of experiments (DOE) is one of the most powerful and influential engineering tools for product yield improvements, new products or processes development, or for problem solving. As mentioned in my last column, process problems led me to a career in printed circuits, and quickly solving those problems led me to a bonus stock award and a great life. Even though I knew nothing about printed circuit manufacturing processes, I was able to quickly find the root causes of all the problems and fix them. My secret? Total quality control (TQC), statistics, and DOE.
Rex Rozario, Part 4: A 10,000-ft. view of his Business Ventures, the Industry, and Life
In our final installment, Rex describes the common thread woven through all of his successful business ventures and varied interests: confidence and the fortitude to follow his dreams until they are realized. Rex also takes a look back at the evolution of the global PCB industry, and explains his approach to profitability, which includes building (and rewarding) a successful team.
Rex Rozario, Part 3: The Future Beckons
In Part 3 of our multi-part interview with industry veteran Rex Rozario, we begin with the future. Having achieved success in China, could Rex and the Graphic team have their sights trained on the U.S.? Also in this installment, Rex weighs in on China’s future, and we discuss the value of automation. Is it for everyone?
Rex Rozario, Part 2: The Beat Goes on: New Developments at Exeter, the Music Scene, and China
In Part 2 of I-Connect007’s multi-part interview with PCB industry icon Rex Rozario, we continue to discover more about what has made Graphic PLC the company it is today. Rex explains the work they’re doing with Exeter University, Graphic’s success in China, and his own personal experience in the UK music scene.
Rex Rozario: The PCB Industry’s True Renaissance Man
In this exclusive multi-part interview that was conducted recently, I-Connect007's Barry Matties will introduce you to all of the people that Rex Rozario is, and where he, his team, and Graphic PLC are headed to next.
World Wide PCB on the “Purification” of the China Market, Industry Changes and More
Francis Tsoi of World Wide PCB Equipment tells Barry Matties that although growth in the China PCB market may be slowing, the government has used this time to transition the industry towards automation, better environmental regulations and the ability to make high-end PCBs in large volumes.
All About Flex: Three Emerging Trends That You Can Bet On
Flexible circuits are light weight, require minimal space, can be bent into “origami” shapes for adoption to a wide range of applications. These utilitarian features give electronic designers endless options for the new and exciting products that will soon become part of our everyday life.
Manufacturing Institutes Can Boost the Nation
In his most recent State of the Union address, President Obama highlighted a remarkable trend of recent years: the turnaround in many corners of America’s manufacturing sector. Nearly 900,000 new jobs have been created by U.S. manufacturers in the last six years.
The Sum of All Parts: The Cost of Quality
Throughout the decades, irrespective of industry or sector, markets have thrived on competition. They have, however, also relied upon some semblance of unity within their respective competitors. Industries rely upon their individual member companies’ ability to work together for the greater good.
The Institute of Circuit Technology Tewkesbury Seminar, 1st March 2016
The Annual General Meeting of the Institute of Circuit Technology (ICT) was held at Puckrup Hall, near Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire, England, on 1st March 2016, and was followed by a well-attended evening seminar with presentations on a novel laser-induced deposition process, an analysis of the market for PCBs, and a review of three development projects in which the Institute had participated. The programme was introduced and moderated by ICT Technical Director Bill Wilkie.
It’s Only Common Sense: Your Ads Need a Call to Action!
Do you advertise? Do you spend your hard-earned dollars trying to get your name out there, only to feel that you are just throwing your money down a rabbit hole? I bet your ads don’t promote anything that will get your customers to take action. Your ads should include a call to action.
Solder Mask for LED Applications: Formulation 101
In 2007, the United States passed legislation to phase out the manufacture and trade of incandescent light bulbs, the EU following passed similar legislation in 2009. The rest of the world has been following suit creating a huge opening in the lighting market for a technology to fill the gap.
Printing PCBs…In Your Office!
The days of producing a PCB prototype with a 3D printer may not be as distant as you think. I spoke with Simon Fried of Nano Dimension about how 3D printing is becoming a reality, and how this disruptive technology will change the way designers produce rapid prototypes.
Camtek Takes Inkjet Technology into the Future
I recently spoke with Amir Tzhori, vice president of the PCB (AOI) division of Camtek in China, about the current and future status of their solder mask and legend inkjet technology, Gryphon. Also, with automation so instrumental, we discussed a new automated robotic arm that can be attached to their AOI systems.
Gene Weiner discusses PhiChem's upcoming open house event at its global HQ and R&D center in Shanghai during SEMICON China 2016, CPCA 2016 and productronica China 2016. He also focuses on the IPC Ambassador Council's plans to produce an executive forum in conjunction with IPC APEX EXPO 2017, IPC's association with NextFlex, SEMI's launch of the ESiPAT SIG, and much more.
DuPont, Taconic and PFC Team Up For High-Speed Flex
At DesignCon, I sat down with three flex circuit specialists: Glenn Oliver of DuPont, Tom McCarthy of Taconic, and Steve Kelly of PFC Flexible Circuits. Our discussion covered a lot of territory, most notably the findings they described in the paper they were about to present later that day at DesignCon, and the future of flex, as they see it.
Copper Via-Fill Technology in Development
The use of via-in-pad technology is increasing rapidly in today’s PCB designs. The need for miniaturization, combined with the rapidly decreasing pitch of component footprints, drives printed circuit board designers here. Via-in-pad requires the vias to be filled, planarized and then over-plated with copper.
It's Only Common Sense: Make a Cool Million
It's Only Common Sense: Make a Cool Million What if your new boss offered you $1 million if you could triple your sales in 12 months? That’s right. What if your boss told you that on top of your normal salary and commissions, you could earn a cool million dollars to increase your sales three-fold? What would you do that you're not doing now?
New Material and Process Solutions for the Electronic Interconnection Industry
The manufacture of electronics has, for the last several decades, followed a production script that has changed little over time. The vast majority of printed circuits are still being manufactured and assembled using materials and processes that the pioneers of the early printed circuit industry would easily recognize.
The Quiet Mainstreaming of HDI Manufacturing
Advances in technology continue to push the envelope of what’s possible. And nowhere has the impact of those advances been felt more profoundly than in the evolution of the current class of mobile devices. Although design engineers have driven this evolution, primarily through addressing market demand for new form factor innovation, the push to meet the associated manufacturing challenges has been responsible for a revolution in PCB manufacturing.
Book Review: Meetings That Get Results
In this short but amazing book, Brian Tracy covers all types of meetings, from the large training sessions to the one-on-ones. He even describes how you should be sitting when having a one-on-one meeting (each of you at a corner of the table), how to get your point across, and how to listen.
Happy’s Essential Skills: Problem Solving
Related to TQC and a very important role of an engineer is solving problems. Using a problem solving methodology is a job that all engineers will use sooner or later, but if you are in product or process engineering in manufacturing, it will be sooner! This was the situation that introduced me to printed circuit manufacturing.
Punching Out: How to Sell Your PCB/Assembly Shop
You are thinking of selling your PCB or assembly shop. Perhaps you are contemplating retirement, you have no successors, and the thought of going to the office on Monday is driving you crazy. This column is designed to help your planning efforts. Future columns will go deeper into each subject.
Flex: Just What the Doctor Ordered for Medical Devices
Medical devices represent one of the fastest growing electronic markets in the United States. The drive for reduced space and weight, added functionality, and reduced cost has driven the adoption of a wide array of custom flexible circuits. The design freedom offered by this three-dimensional interconnect supports the packaging design requirements for a myriad of diverse applications within the medical electronic market.
Japan’s MicroCraft on the Japanese Market, Technology, and More
Soichiro Fujita of MicroCraft sat for an interview recently, in which we discussed what the current PCB market looks like in Japan, from a Japanese supplier’s perspective. Fujita also shared the company’s strategies for combating copycat machines, and even copies of the copycats, which includes a healthy dose of acceptance. He also shared what technology trends he sees moving forward.
25 Essential Skills for Engineers
The 25 engineering skills are just my opinion; they are what I have observed to be the essential tools that engineers, including myself, needed to complete a project, develop a product, meet a schedule, or solve a problem. These were the important skills that got me the promotion, or the opportunity for a challenging job.
Striving for One-Stop Solutions, Manz Eyes U.S. Market
I recently spoke with Frank Baron of Manz AG about their transition from Asia into the European and North America marketplace, and how their recent acquisition of KLEO Halbleitertechnik and their LDI technology has helped turn Manz into a real one-stop solution.
The Pinless Registration System, Explained by DIS’ Bernd Gennat
I sat down at productronica recently with Bernd Gennat, VP sales Asia and Europe for Duetto Integrated Systems (DIS Inc), for an overview of the industry, including his company’s technology. Our discussion touched on trends in multilayer registration, market requirements in Europe compared with those in China, and the benefits of pinless over hard-tooled registration systems for current and future rigid, flex and flex-rigid constructions.
High-performance laminates are characterized as base materials that in one or more aspects exceed the performance of FR-4, CEM, or paper/phenolic laminates. In this article, Karl Dietz talks about the different types of laminates, their dielectric requirements, and how they are being manufactured.
What a Difference a Year Makes: Voxel8 and the 3D Printing Pioneering Spirit
At CES in Las Vegas in January, Dan Feinberg and I met with Michael Bell, co-founder of 3D printing company Voxel8, to get an update on their developments of the past year, where he sees the company going in the future and whether rapid prototyping might be a valid application for their machines.
Orbotech’s New Products and Equipment Offerings Highlighted at HKPCA
At the recent HKPCA show, members of the media and some of the leading figures at Orbotech joined together for a Q&A session to learn more about some of the company’s new product rollouts, how their vast equipment offering has set them up to take on Industry 4.0, and their best estimate on when we’ll see 3D printed circuit boards reach mass production levels.
ECI on the Many Benefits of Automated Process Lines
In this recent interview, I spoke with Peter Bratin, PhD, of ECI Technology about how PCB shops can benefit from upgrading the control and analysis of plating line solutions to 4.0 and how the data collected by these systems can help prevent future issues from occurring.
Catching up with…Tom Kastner
When is the right time to sell your board house? Who is going to buy it? What is a buyer looking for in a PCB fabrication business? These are questions I hear all the time particularly in the past few months as many owners are reaching an age when they are thinking about retirement.
Mr. Laminate Tells All: CEM-3 Reinvents Itself (Again)—or, Atari Game Boards on eBay?
CEM-3 was unusual as the reinforcement was a combination of woven fiber-glass fabric and fiber-glass paper. The resin system was a dicy-cured epoxy resin yielding a Tg the same as FR-4 at the time, of 110–120°C range. Because it was all epoxy and all fiberglass, the properties were electrically identical to those of FR-4.
What a Long, Strange Trip it’s Been—and It’s a Long Way from Being Over
Harvey Miller has been in the PCB industry for more than 40 years, and he’s probably seen it all. I recently sat down with Harvey at a wine bar in Palo Alto to learn more about his history in the industry and where he sees it going forward. Harvey arrived wearing jogging shorts and running shoes. No surprise after what his doctor recently shared with him.
New CEO Jeff Waters Outlines his Roadmap for Isola
Jeff Waters, Isola’s newly appointed CEO and president, comes to the laminate supplier after more than 25 years in the semiconductor industry, working for companies like Texas Instruments and National Semiconductor. Only a few days into his new job, I met with Jeff to discuss the transition and what we can expect from Isola under his leadership.
New Year, New Outlook for the Electronics Manufacturing Industry
As an advocate for the electronics manufacturing industry, my job is to educate and encourage policymakers to create a favorable legislative and regulatory environment for advanced manufacturing to grow and succeed. From that perspective, I think we should be proud of the significant progress we made in several areas in 2015.
All About Flex: Flexible Circuit Antennas
In our world of fabricating custom electronics, a circuit can generally be defined as “a path between two or more points along which an electrical current is carried.” The printed circuit board industry designs and fabricates an incredibly diverse set of rigid and flexible circuits. But it is also true this industry produces many parts that do not carry current between discreet points.
In Their Words: The China Printed Circuit Association (CPCA)
I-Connect007 recently asked a number of printed circuit associations around the world to tell us about their organizations via a questionnaire. Here are the responses from CPCA Secretary General Miss Jin Zhang.
How North American Fabricators Benefit from Attending HKPCA
Two New Englanders in Shenzhen. It sounds like the title of a play, doesn’t it? Headlining the bill is Peter Bigelow of IMI, who explains to me why even small American manufacturers benefit from attending large Chinese shows like the HKPCA. He’s joined by fellow New Englander Alex Stepinski of Whelen Engineering, who discusses drill concepts and the transition to zero discharge.
In Their Words: Hong Kong Printed Circuit Association (HKPCA)
Recently, we sent a questionnaire to a number of printed circuit associations around the world, asking them to tell us a little about their organizations. With the annual HKPCA & IPC show having just ended, this information provided by HKPCA is especially interesting.
Happy’s Essential Skills: The Need for Total Quality Control (Six Sigma and Statistical Tools), Part 2
The statistical representation of Six Sigma describes quantitatively how a process is performing. To achieve Six Sigma, a process must not produce more than 3.4 defects per million opportunities. A Six Sigma defect is defined as anything outside of customer specifications. A Six Sigma opportunity is then the total quantity of chances for a defect.
The Fascinating Possibilities of Medical Electronics
I see the medical electronics industry today as overlapping several of the traditional market divisions—computer (from the doctor’s office to you to the hospital to caregivers), communications (think of it as “telehealth”), consumer (it’s for us, right?), industrial equipment and of course medical. And who knows when it will also encompass automotive and milaero? But let’s not forget security, since equipment and wearables are definitely part of the Internet of Things.
In Their Words: The IPCA–India Printed Circuit Association
To better understand the many associations serving the global electronics industry, I-Connect007 conducted many interviews for this month’s issue, as well as distributed several questionnaires, one of which was to IPCA (India Printed Circuit Association). The IPCA is not part of IPC, though the two associations do collaborate. Secretary K. S. Babu responded on behalf of IPCA President Viral Bhulani.
Is IPC the Past or the Future of our Industry?
In the electronics industry, there seems to be an infinite number of trade organizations, each with their own special niche and purpose. It can be challenging from the outside to understand why they each exist and how they fit together.
Facing Incredible Times: Robin Taylor's Vision of the Future
The highlight of the “Speakers’ Corner” at the 2015 productronica trade fair in Munich was the presentation by Robin Taylor of Atotech entitled, “Facing Incredible Times Where the Only constant is Change,” in which Taylor took a step back from his everyday marketing and technical sales management responsibilities to contemplate what might happen in the substrate business over the coming decade, in light of current trends and developments and drivers for the longer term.
Are Local Industry Events the New Social Media?
I love social media marketing. I discovered, quite by accident, that I am actually pretty good at it, too. It all started about five years ago, when marketing was unexpectedly thrust upon me in order to support my sales efforts, while working for a small PCB manufacturer in Southern California. Until then, I had no experience with social media platforms apart from posting the occasional family photo on Facebook.
Robots, Wearables and Implanted Devices in the Age of Bionic Health
If you are an electronics manufacturer and you ask your business bankers where their market research suggests growth will come from, they will almost certainly identify medical electronics as a key growth area. For the past five years, the segment has enjoyed something close to 6% CAAGR with acceleration predicted in the short term and remains one of the few areas where the U.S. is a net exporter of products.
Book Review: The Inventor’s Dilemma: The Remarkable Life of H. Joseph Gerber
Everyone in the PCB industry should read this book. All of us who have used “Gerbers” for our entire career should take a moment and thank the man, H. Joseph Gerber, who changed our industry for the better. This masterfully written extensive biography by his son, David Gerber, is a must-read for anyone who is interested in an inventor who escaped the Nazis and put a proverbial dent in the universe.
Catching up with David Gerber
Speaking with David Gerber, the son of noted inventor and PCB industry innovator Joseph Gerber, about his new book, "The Inventor’s Dilemma: The Remarkable Life of H. Joseph Gerber," was one of the highlights of my career.
First EIE and CCI Eurolam on Direct Imaging, Printers and Partnership
In this interview, Gregory Stoeckli, CEO of First EIE, shares the realities of direct imaging requirements, while Lawson Lightfoot of CCI Eurolam discusses the success of the new distribution partnership the two companies have formed. Something we all agreed upon: A somewhat slower machine that is both highly flexible and affordable is a great fit for high-mix, low-volume producers.
Working for the Industry: Renee Michalkiewicz, NTS
I spent some time with my friend and former colleague Renee Michalkiewicz, vice president and general manager at NTS Baltimore, formerly Trace Laboratories. I was interested in Renee’s views on IPC and the Technical Activities Executive Council, of which she is currently the chairman, a position I held some years ago.
All About Flex: High-Temperature Performance Flexible Circuits
Markets requiring thermal exposure at elevated temperatures include down-hole oil drilling, semiconductor processing, medical diagnostics and a multitude of military/aerospace requirements. But a limitation of flexible circuitry has been performance at extremely high temperatures.
Insulated Metal Base Circuits — an Enabling Technology for Power Electronics
The use of structural metal in the manufacture of electronic circuits has been a part of the electronics’ industry technology toolkit for many decades. For example, metal chassis structures were required and used in the early days of the electronics industry to both support the weight and handle the heat generated by the vacuum tube components that were the transistors of their day.
A Conversation with IPC's President John Mitchell
I recently met with IPC President John Mitchell at the HKPCA show in Shenzhen, China to discuss a variety of topics, such as the China market, what’s stopping PCB manufacturing from coming back to America, education, 3D printing and what the association has planned for 2016.
Uyemura USA’s George Milad on Updating Final Finish Specs
George Milad talked about his subcommittee and what they have accomplished in a relatively short period of time. Their modus operandi of conference calls on a biweekly basis may be of interest to other committees and subcommittees that want to improve their turnaround time and get something done quickly.
The Value of IPC’s Validation Services
I recently spent a little time with IPC Director of Validation Services Randy Cherry, learning more about this relatively new program and how it was evolving. I also wanted to make sure that it was something that the industry wanted and felt a need for. Randy is on top of just about everything, it turns out, and provided great detail on the various aspects of this arm of IPC, including the newest program, Standards Gap Analysis.
An Interview with Gene Weiner at HKPCA
Barry Matties and Stephen Las Marias recently met with industry veteran Gene Weiner, president of Weiner International Associates to get his take on the HKPCA show, industry trends and his outlook for 2016.
WKK's Hamed El-Abd on the Current State of China
In the world of real estate, the key term might be “location,” but in manufacturing today, it’s automation, automation, automation. I had the opportunity to interview WKK’s Hamed El-Abd at the recent HKPCA show, who discussed the company’s entry into the direct imaging market and how certain areas of the Chinese market are being flooded by a staggering amount of Chinese equipment manufacturers.
Optima Discusses Advantages of In-line AOI
At the recent HKPCA & IPC APEX South China Fair, I spoke with Gillad Galor, founder and general manager of AOI maker Optima LTD, about the his company's technology, and what's driving product innovation in the AOI space. He also talked about the benefits of in-line AOI systems.
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