Article Highlights
I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week
07/01/2022 | Andy Shaughnessy, Design007 Magazine
EIPC Summer Conference 2022: Day 2 Review
06/29/2022 | Pete Starkey, I-Connect007
EIPC Summer Conference 2022: Day 1 Review
06/28/2022 | Pete Starkey, I-Connect007
Ventec’s Book on Thermal Management: The Summer Sequel You’ve Been Waiting For
06/24/2022 | I-Connect007
Catching up With Author Ed Chambliss: Fixing a ‘Broken’ Business Model
06/22/2022 | Dan Beaulieu, D.B. Management Group
PCB :: Materials

Latest Articles

EIPC Summer Conference, Berlin: Day 1

Berlin, capital of Germany and a world city of culture, politics, media and science, was the venue for the 2015 EIPC Summer Conference, which attracted delegates from sixteen countries, including Russia, Hong Kong, Japan, Israel, USA and Canada, as well as the European Union, to experience a programme of 21 technical presentations over two days. Also included was a visit to the Berlin laboratories of Fraunhofer Institute, Europe’s largest application-oriented research organisation.

Institute of Circuit Technology 41st Annual Symposium

ICT Technical Director Bill Wilkie has always excelled in locating interesting and unusual venues for the Institute of Circuit Technology Annual Symposium, and this year was no exception. For the 2015 event, the 41st, he chose the Black Country Living Museum, an open-air museum of rebuilt historic buildings in Dudley, in the West Midlands of England, home of the original Industrial Revolution.

Flexible and Stretchable Circuit Technologies for Space Applications

This article describes two original technologies developed at imec-CMST--the ultra-thin chip package (UTCP) and stretchable moulded interconnect (SMI)--and how they could be offering new form factors with increased functional density, as well as improved reliability in harsh environments .

The Composite Properties of Rigid vs. Multilayer PCBs

Most materials systems used in PWBs (aka PCBs) are composites of resins, fabric substrates and metal cladding. Each of these components has its own unique electrical and mechanical properties that contribute to the final characteristics of the finished laminates, prepregs and fabricated multilayer boards (MLBs). In most cases variables such as glass style and resin content have offsetting impacts on physical vs. electrical properties. Chet Guiles explains.

How to Make Mass Lam Outsourcing Successful

For PCB manufacturers in the United States and Europe, finding a suitable mass lam-outsourcing partner can be a challenge. In this interview with Option Technologies, a Ventec International Group company, I-Connect007 Technical Editor Pete Starkey and Option Managing Director Steve Law discuss the ins and outs of this specialist market.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

Catching Up with Standard Printed Circuits’ Bob Bormann

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

Are There Advantages to Changing Your Registration System?

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

Material Witness: Low-Flow Prepregs–Defining the Process

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

Reliability and Harmonization of Global Standards at Forefront of EIPC Efforts

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

Panasonic Meeting Market Needs with Higher-Performance Megtron 7

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

Help with Hard-to-Find Board Materials

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


2015 EIPC Winter Conference, Munich: Day 1 Review

Ninety delegates, eleven countries represented and a thought-provoking two-day programme on themes of reliability in PCB fabrication and assembly, copper cleaning and advanced material solutions, advanced imaging and soldermask, and how to make PCBs smart and ready for Industry 4.0. Add the further attractions of a keynote by Walt Custer and the chance to visit a military aircraft assembly plant: the formula for another highly successful EIPC Conference, this time close to Munich Airport.

OSP and Selective Electroless Nickel for Mixed-Metal Finish PWBs and BGA Substrates

The documentation relating to the requirements for alternative surface finishes have been well publicized at many industry forums. Pressure to eliminate lead in electronics assemblies is forcing fabricators and OEMs to reevaluate their surface finish and joint attachment procedures.

A Conversation with Andy Michniewicz

Gul Technologies (Gultech) is not your traditional offshore supplier. It is a true industry leader when it comes to technology. A few months ago, I sat down to talk with Mayne-McKenney’s Andy Michniewicz. His company represents Gultech here in North America and they were just starting a project to expand Gultech’s market reach on this side of the globe. I found that interview interesting enough that I wanted to follow up and see how things were going now that a few months have passed.

A Cautionary Tale: Counterfeit Materials

John Ling of EIPC writes, "Risk from counterfeits wears many hats. There is reputational risk, which can be damaging; there is inherent safety risk, which could be fatal; and there is financial risk to the OEM, the PCB manufacturer, and the PCB broker. One way of minimising risk is by dealing direct."

Ventec USA Expands Sales Force

Ventec USA, a member of the Ventec International Group, leading manufacturer of high quality, high performance copper clad laminates and prepregs, is delighted to announce the appointment of two sales professionals to further augment its presence in the North American market.

Ventec Europe Continues Investment in FOD Elimination

In July, Technical Editor Pete Starkey checked out recent developments at Ventec Europe’s UK Distribution Centre. It was clear that continuing investment was being committed to the establishment and maintenance of meticulous cleanliness in the pre-preg handling areas. Pete recently followed up with Ventec's Mark Goodwin, who provides a company update.

A Conversation with Canice Chung, TTM Technologies

We had the opportunity to sit down with Canice Chung, Executive Vice President of TTM Technologies, Inc. to discuss the current trends and challenges of PCB Manufacturing in China.

Aluminum Base Circuit Technology: Structures and Manufacturing Methods

Aluminum is an attractive material for use in the manufacturing of electronic assemblies due to its low cost, good thermal properties, and stability. But due to its innate thermal spreading ability, it's not easily used when solder is required to make interconnections to components. This article describes ways to manufacture electronic assemblies using aluminum as a base and eschewing the use of solder.

Basic Principles of Polymer Thick Film Flexible Circuits

Polymer thick film circuits are similar to their rigid and flexible counterparts; however, because of the materials and processes, they have their own very specific design rules. Because most PTF processing is most commonly based on screen printing technology, the limits of design are intrinsically linked to the printed ink's processing considerations and limitations.

Graphite-based Direct Metallization for Fabrication of Complex Interconnect Designs

According to author Michael Carano, colloidal graphite direct metallization processes have proven their usefulness as a replacement for electroless copper. Continuous improvements in the stability of the graphite dispersion has made the process an enabler for flex and HDI interconnect designs.


Lead-free Reflow for High-layer-count PCBs

One of the most difficult printed circuit boards to adapt to Pb-free assembly processes is the high-layer count multilayer. Often, these multilayers have through-hole and hand-soldered components, and requirements for two or more rework cycles. One solution to this problem is to redesign the multilayer using current design rules and newer innovative fabrication technologies.

What is DFM, Really?

Mark Thompson relates, "The term "design for manufacturability" has been used for many years now, but does everyone really understand this concept? For instance, do you design for 10%? Do you design for a specific manufacturer's capabilities, therefore making you less likely to seek alternative fabricators? How are your drawings worded?"

Ventec USA Prepares for Growth

Technical Editor Pete Starkey writes, "IPC APEX EXPO 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada, gave me the opportunity to catch up with Ventec USA President Jack Pattie and to meet the recently-appointed General Manager of the Ventec Fullerton Southern California facility Ray Young. The pair also gave an update on current developments and future company plans."

Viking Moves On

Technical Editor Pete Starkey says the warmth of the welcome at Viking more than compensated for a three-hour trek through the traffic and southern England's miserable weather: "There was a buzz of excitement about the place and the development workshop was a hive of activity, with a crowd gathered around the CircaPrint digital ink-jet printer, the print-head scanning smoothly in a glow of purple light."

Isola Group SARL to Purchase Gividi-Italy

Isola Group announces the acquisition of the assets and intellectual property of Gividi-Italy, a specialty manufacturer of fiber-glass cloth for the PCB industry. The company, located in Monza, Italy, has revenue of over $20 million, and will report to Isola Europe. The acquisition will be completed during April 1, though terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
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