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Show & Tell Magazine Now Available on Demand
05/04/2021 | I-Connect007 Editorial Team
I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week
04/30/2021 | Nolan Johnson, I-Connect007
EIPC Technical Snapshot: Supply Chain and Material Price Pressures
04/26/2021 | Pete Starkey, I-Connect007
Isola Releases IS550H Material
04/26/2021 | Nolan Johnson, I-Connect007
I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week
04/23/2021 | Andy Shaughnessy, I-Connect007
‘Can Do’ in CAM Outsourcing: CAM Engineering—Reducing Costs
While having on-demand capacity, improved automation, and fast turn-around are critical to any front-end engineering operation, achieving those goals with a cost-effective solution is imperative. Electronics are constantly under cost-reduction pressures. Functionality, capability, and complexity increase while costs decrease.
Golden Anniversary for EIPC at the 2018 Summer Conference
June marks the start of summer, and with that, the EIPC’s annual summer conference. Highlighted by its thought-provoking presentations, social outings and factory tours, the conference continues to be valuable and productive for attendees. This year should prove no different, with EIPC set to celebrate its 50th anniversary. I spoke with EIPC Executive Director Kirsten Smit-Westenberg about what can be expected from the upcoming conference in Düsseldorf, Germany.
Mark Thompson: What Designers Need to Know about Fab
Mark Thompson wants to help PCB designers. He’s seen it all in CAM support at Prototron Circuits: the incomplete or inaccurate data packages, boards that are unnecessarily complex or over-constrained, and so much more. Mark just returned to writing his popular Design007 Magazine column, The Bare (Board) Truth, which addresses questions such as, “What happens to your design at CAM?” I asked Mark to explain why it’s so important for designers to communicate with their fabricators, and why they need to get out of the office and visit a board shop every now and then.
AWE: Introducing the Augmented World Expo
The largest and most diverse event regarding the depth and breadth of technological progress and advancement is CES, which lets us get updates and allows us to focus on anything from drones to 3D additive PCB fabrication, from autonomous transportation and the degree of electronics in the newer and upcoming vehicles to the quantum computers and AI of the near future, from the forecasts found in science fiction of the ‘60s and ‘70s to the reality of 21st century technology.
Experts Discussion: What Does 5G Mean to Materials and EDA Tools?
Whether we’re ready for it or not, 5G technology is coming. We decided to speak with John Hendricks, market segment manager for wireless infrastructure at Rogers Corporation, and Ben Jordan, director of product and persona marketing for Altium, about the challenges related to 5G and what this means for PCB designers and fabricators.
RTW CPCA Show: AWP Discusses Whelen Engineering Project Success
At the recent CPCA Show 2018 in Shanghai, Jochen Zeller, vice president of AWP Group, speaks about the challenges impacting the wet processing part of the PCB manufacturing industry, such as the continuing miniaturization trend leading to finer widths and line spacings, as well as traceability.
Experts Discussion with John Talbot, Tramonto Circuits
For this first issue of Flex007 Magazine, we interviewed John Talbot, president and owner of Tramonto Circuits. Headquartered in metro Minneapolis, Minnesota, Tramonto manufactures flexible and rigid PCBs for a variety of industry segments. Editors Andy Shaughnessy, Patty Goldman and Stephen Las Marias asked John to discuss the challenges and opportunities in the world of flexible circuits, and some of the trends he’s seeing in this market.
Experts Discussion: The Flex Technologists Speak
For our first issue of the Flex007 Magazine, we invited a group of flexible circuit experts to discuss their work in this rapidly growing segment. Participants included Jonathan Weldon of DuPont, Mark Finstad of Flexible Circuit Technologies, and Scott McCurdy and Scott Miller of Freedom CAD. In a free-wheeling discussion with Andy Shaughnessy and Barry Matties, these technologists share their thoughts on the challenges and opportunities in flexible circuits, as well as what constitutes the cutting edge of flex right now.
Process Control for HDI Fabrication
A subject that gets very little discussion but is essential to the HDI process is automation. That is, the control of chemical concentrations in our many PCB processes and, especially, those that have been mechanized and can change very rapidly. HDI is one of those series of processes where control is the key to high yields.
ACE’s AccuWrap Simplifies Multiple Sequential Laminations with Blind Vias
At DesignCon 2018, I spoke with James Hofer, general manager for Accurate Circuit Engineering, a quick-turn fabricator based in Santa Ana, California. James gave me a preview of AccuWrap, a new type of processing technology that lets designers reduce the amount of copper during sequential laminations while still meeting IPC specs, which should be of great interest to RF designers.
Drilling and Routing Machines: Taking Control
Once driven by hardware, the controller industry for PCB drilling is now one being driven primarily by software, so says Holger Dornau, of SIEB & MEYER. Barry Matties sat down with Holger at the CPCA show in Shanghai to discuss CNC drilling and routing machine controllers and why It's becoming more and more important for fabricators to consider.
The Survey Said: Industry Optimistic After Strong 2017
During recent trade shows and conferences, we spoke with a variety of fabricators and assembly providers. They had one thing in common: Every company achieved strong growth in 2017, and shared a positive outlook about the future. This year, the industry is optimistic, driven by positive economic outlook, growing customer demand, and new technologies and vertical markets, among others.
ITEQ Ready for Autonomous and Electric Vehicles of the Future
During DesignCon 2018, I spoke with Tarun Amla, the executive vice president and CTO of ITEQ. We discussed ITEQ’s future plans, including the development of materials for cutting-edge technology needs, such as autonomous and electric vehicles, as well as 5G technology.
Geeking Out at Geek-A-Palooza MSP 2018
Kiersten Rohde, I-Connect007 editor, covers Geek-A-Palooza MSP 2018. Geek-A-Palooza "is a different kind of gathering that combines networking with a fun, relaxing atmosphere." This event provided an opportunity for local electronics geeks from every industry segment to gather for a professional social event that included great music, food, drinks, games, raffle prizes, and booths.
EDADOC: A Driving Force in China's Automotive Electronics Design
EDADOC is one of the biggest providers of PCB design and manufacturing services in China, with a long history in automotive electronics design and manufacturing. China Editor Edy Yu recently conducted an email interview with EDADOC R&D Technical Research Manager William Zhou and Brand Planning Specialist Wen Ling, who collaborated on their answers. We discussed the challenges related to designing and fabricating automotive PCBs, the opportunities in this segment, and the trends they see in the market for autonomous and electric vehicles.
Future Automotive Requirements for PCBs
In the automotive electronics industry, a huge change in functional and environmental requirements will be visible during the next few years. This is driven by three major trends: connected mobility, automated mobility, and the increasing electrified mobility.
Triangle Labs: Covering the Niche Market of Large Boards
I recently had the opportunity to speak with John-Michael Gray, president of Triangle Labs. We had quite a discussion on their rather unique capability of building large-format PCBs and multilayers—perhaps the largest PCBs in the world.
American Standard Circuits Discusses New RF/Microwave eBook
During DesignCon 2018, I met with Anaya Vardya and John Bushie of American Standard Circuits. Anaya and John recently co-wrote an eBook, published by I-Connect007, titled "The Printed Circuit Designer’s Guide to Fundamentals of RF/Microwave PCBs." We discussed their goals and the scope of this handy microbook, which features plenty of information that even high-speed digital designers can benefit from.
Automotive, the Electronics Industry’s New Driver
The automobile industry is becoming a combination of most of the traditional electronics segments: It’s a consumer product with a computer, communications center, and a few medical monitoring-type tendencies (measuring your alertness, heart rate, etc.), all rolled (no pun intended) into one incredible machine that is influencing our industry as none other.
Autonomous Transportation: Using Disruptive Technologies to Create Social Disruption and Change
Those of us who have been driving for the last 50−60+ years have seen great change. At first, it was slow; we went from manual shift to automatic shift transmissions, then we started adding simple things such as FM radio (yes, that was a premium add-on in the early ‘60s), then air conditioning and power windows, fuel injection, cruise control, airbags, and in the last decade everything from GPS to LED lighting to automatic speed and distance control, back-up and surrounding cameras and so much more.
Show & Tell: IPC APEX EXPO 2018 is on the Books!
I-Connect007's Happy Holden reviewed the recently concluded IPC APEX EXPO 2018. Among the highlights: Less than 10% of all new orders arrive at the PCB fabricator’s facility with complete, accurate design data. Most have missing or incorrect data.
RTW CPCA: Fischer Discusses Automation, Industry 4.0
Dr. Wolfgang Babel, CEO and president of Helmut Fischer Group, speaks with Editor Stephen Las Marias about the latest improvements in their coating thickness test systems to help customers in their automation and Industry 4.0 journey.
Show & Tell: IPC Awards—Rewarding Tireless Efforts for the Good of the Industry
Every year IPC presents dozens of awards to committee members for their work completing standards and specifications and for other activities within the organization. However, a few awards are extra special and presented for extraordinary efforts, for long-time commitment to both IPC and the electronics industry.
Expert Discussion: Dan Feinberg on Automotive Electronics
A fixture at the Consumer Electronics Show, Dan Feinberg has been covering autonomous, hybrid and electric vehicles for years, along with the rapid growth of high-tech electronic gadgetry in traditional vehicles. In this freewheeling expert discussion, Dan spoke with Barry Matties, Patty Goldman, and Happy Holden about the future of auto electronics and what it all means to the PCB industry.
The Direction of New Technology
I don’t have to tell you that things are changing fast in our industry. New tech seems to launch daily these days. How can we keep up? How can we even maintain? What’s coming next and how can we best prepare, in order to stay in the game?
Unimicron Germany Rises from the Ashes with New Smart Factory
This is a review of the grand opening of Unimicron’s new smart factory in Geldern, Germany. A fire in a PCB shop is an experience we all dread, but still it happens, and the consequences can be devastating. In the early hours of December 28, 2016, the innerlayer production plant at RUWEL International in Geldern, Germany, caught fire and the whole factory and its contents were destroyed.
Porsche Engineering…by Design
Thomas Wischnack of Porsche Engineering is currently designing the high-power charging infrastructure that will go inside the next generation of automobiles. Thomas was a keynote speaker at AltiumLive 2017 in Munich, Germany. Barry Matties met with him to learn more about Porsche’s hardware and circuit development and what Porsche does to continually bring new designers into the fold.
Schmid Looks to the Future for Industry 4.0 and More
I met with Rüdiger Lange, CSO at Schmid Group, in their spacious, comfortable booth at productronica. We discussed the current capital equipment market and Schmid’s business direction for the future while watching some of their new technology in action.
SHOW & TELL: Bringing STEM Students to IPC APEX EXPO for a View of the Industry
On the last morning of IPC APEX EXPO 2018, we met with Nancy Jaster, IPC design programs manager and one of the driving forces behind IPC’s STEM Outreach program for high school students. We spoke about the students who were arriving on site at IPC APEX EXPO, and what the industry, and IPC, hoped to achieve with this valuable program.
Elga Europe Reality and Ultra-High-Resolution Photoresist
While walking around the PCB hall at productronica, I was approached by my good friend Gene Weiner. Gene emphatically directed me to the Elga booth to find out about their new extra-thick dry film that can image extremely fine features with a perfectly perpendicular sidewall. Elga Europe CEO Giorgio Favini filled me in on the details.
Setting the Record Straight: CEO Asher Levy on the Future of Orbotech
With the recent planned acquisition of Orbotech in place by maker KLA-Tencor, much of the industry has speculated about Orbotech’s future. Barry Matties spoke with CEO Asher Levy about what lies in store for the Orbotech group and, more specifically, their PCB division should the deal close.
GreenSource: Good for the Industry, Good for the World
Whelen Engineering has recently spun off their new printed circuit manufacturing facility to service the merchant market as a new business entity, GreenSource Fabrication LLC.
Everyone is a Customer; Everyone is a Supplier
We’ve all heard the cliché: What goes around, comes around. I’ve always felt that was especially true in our industry, with the frequent job changes people make—much accelerated in recent years but always a factor, since I can remember.
The March of Disruptive Technologies
There have always been disruptive technologies; thousands of years ago, fire totally disrupted the path of mankind. I have heard it said that truly disruptive technologies are like earthquakes on the seismographs of history.
Book Review: Questions That Sell
This is a great book to help salespeople learn how to win over their customers and an even better book for helping companies, particularly their inside salespeople, to create customers for life. Creating a customer-focused company is all about knowing everything possible about your customers and the best way to find out everything about your customers is to ask them.
Succeeding at the Velocity of Technology: An IPC APEX EXPO 2018 Wrap-Up
After many months of planning, IPC APEX EXPO 2018 proved to be a success. From revolutionary advancements displayed on the show floor to expert insights conveyed in technical conference sessions and professional development courses, IPC APEX EXPO provided the learning and connections that helped 4,574 attendees from 43 countries prepare for the future.
Understanding Your Customers
Understanding your customers may seem like a no-brainer, but conversations with company leaders across various industries the past five years have demonstrated to me just how difficult this can be in practice.
IPC 6012-DA Revisions: The Approach to Cleanliness, Thickness, Inspection, and Wicking
IPC’s Automotive Addendum task group was started in November 2014 and the first edition of IPC 6012-DA was released in April 2016. We are now working on the revised version, and expect a release in Q2 2018. As standards need to evolve, develop and follow the needs of the industry, this work is continuous.
CML’s Mission: Providing Solutions for Customers—Including the Right Supplier
During IPC APEX EXPO, I met with CML USA General Manager Ivan Wong, who was a first-time attendee at the San Diego event. CML is a worldwide PCB sourcing solutions provider with offices around the globe, but the company just recently entered the U.S. market. I spoke with Ivan about CML’s mission and the U.S. office’s plans.
Jan Pedersen: CircuitData Enhances Current Data Formats
During the Design Forum at IPC APEX EXPO 2018, Jan Pedersen, senior technical advisor for the PCB broker Elmatica, gave a presentation on CircuitData. The language is designed to help facilitate other design data transfer formats such as Gerber, ODB++, and IPC-2581. Jan spoke with Managing Editor Andy Shaughnessy and Contributing Technical Editor Happy Holden about how this open language works with the existing data formats, as well as the need to eliminate paper documents from design process, and how the industry can help shape this open-source language.
Martin Cotton Discusses Ventec’s New Book and Low-Loss Materials
During DesignCon 2018, Andy Shaughnessy sat down for an interview with Martin Cotton, director of OEM projects for Ventec. Martin was a PCB designer for years, so he has experience on both sides of the desk. They discussed Ventec’s reasons for coming to DesignCon, their expansion into low-loss materials, and Ventec’s new I-Connect007 book, The Printed Circuit Designer’s Guide to Thermal Management with Insulated Metal Substrates.
Catching up with Dan Thau of Millennium Circuits Limited
Millennium Circuits Limited is one of the fastest growing printed circuit board suppliers in our country today. Located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, this company has grown exponentially since it began some 12 years ago.
Conversations on the Floor: IPC APEX EXPO 2018
This year’s show was one of the best in recent history, both in attendance and enthusiasm. The exhibit floor was sold out, and every single person I talked to was extremely optimistic about business in 2018. What follows are a series of observations and excerpts from conversations I had with some of the most interesting people I met.
PCB Manufacturing (R)evolution in the Making
At the recent HKPCA and IPC Show 2017 in Shenzhen, China, I was able to interview Les Sainsbury, CEO, and Andrew Kelley, CTO, of XACT PCB, as well as Alex Stepinski, vice president of Whelen Engineering’s PCB Fab Business Unit, to discuss process evolution and technology developments in the PCB manufacturing industry.
The Vast Offerings in Laminate Technologies from TUC
While at IPC APEX EXPO a few weeks ago, I sat down with George Hsin, chief strategy officer for TUC Worldwide, and Alan Cochrane, president of TUC North America. I was interested in learning more about the company and their laminate products and Alan was happy to fill me in.
The PCB Dinosaurs Get New Life at IPC APEX EXPO 2018
The Order of the PCB Dinosaurs (originally called the PWB Dinosaurs—the sign of a true dino) was born because of a comment almost 20 years ago by my good friend Bernie Kessler. Back in the day, when suppliers like us became IPC members, we could only be associate members; unlike fabricators, we could not serve on the board and we could not lead key committees.
From Math to Marketing: Orbotech CMO’s Worldview of the Industry
Barry Matties met with Orbotech’s corporate VP of Business Development and CMO, Lior Maayan, in Shenzhen and spoke about the next-generation processes currently challenging Orbotech's R&D team. Most notable among them are additive technologies like the automated optical shaping solution, and the growth of MSAP, flex, and HDI.
A Discussion About Everything Under the Sun
From flex circuits to HDI, Industry 4.0, leading market drivers, and materials—this wide-ranging discussion with Sunshine Global Circuits CTO David Aldape highlights the latest and future developments, challenges, and opportunities in the PCB manufacturing industry.
One Great Customer Service Story
Over the years I have been involved with many customers and many rescue missions. A rescue mission occurs when a shop screws up so much and hurts the customer so badly they have to do something extraordinary to get the customer out of hot water and not lose the account.
ESI Targets Growing HDI Space
At the recent HKPCA and IPC Show 2017 in Shenzhen, China, Chris Ryder, director of product management for HDI at Electro Scientific Industries Inc. (ESI), discusses how laser-based processing is addressing the challenges in HDI development, and MSAP technology and its impact on the PCB industry.
Julie Ellis: TTM’s Interface Between Designer and Fabricator
As a field application engineer for TTM, Julie Ellis sees the problems that can occur between circuit board designers and manufacturers. Barry Matties spoke with Julie at the AltiumLive event in Munich about the age-old problem of throwing designs “over the wall,” the trend towards HDI, and what advice she would give new designers.
Show & Tell: IPC APEX EXPO 2018 Opening Keynote Review
The first keynote speech of IPC APEX EXPO 2018 was presented by Jared Cohen, head of Google’s Jigsaw team of engineers, researchers, and geopolitical experts. He explained that Jigsaw builds products not only to tackle global security challenges, but also to support free expression and access to information, especially in repressive societies.
What Happens to Our Industry Without a Skilled Workforce?
I’d like to discuss a critical issue facing our industry – the skills gap – and IPC’s commitment to supporting its members as we collectively seek to find solutions.
South African Electronics Industry Going Strong
EDA Technologies is a South African company that offers PCB design engineering services, mainly for the domestic electronics market, which makes up a surprising 12.5% of South Africa’s GDP. Barry Matties recently spoke to founder Nechan Naicker about the benefits of outsourcing to South Africa, the market segments they service there, and any advice he had to offer from his 20+ years in the industry.
Show & Tell: Corporate Awards Bestowed by IPC
Every year IPC recognizes two companies that have made significant contributions to IPC and the electronics industry. These awards are named after industry executives who were themselves significant and outstanding contributors: one for a PCB fabricator company and one for an electronics manufacturing services (EMS) company. This year’s recipients were Northrop Grumman and Rockwell Collins, respectively.
Weiner’s World—March 2018
SEMICON China 2018 was amazing in its size and attendance. More than 1,000 exhibitors filled an event record of more than 74,000 square meters of exhibition space—the size of nearly 10 professional soccer fields. This year's theme was "collect, collaborate, innovate."
RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Arlon Achieves IPC Validation Services Accreditation
John Wright, quality manager at Arlon Electronic Materials, discusses how the company recently achieved IPC validation services accreditation.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO: IPC Solutions Program—Transportation and Workforce Development Initiatives
Sanjay Huprikar, IPC's VP of solutions, discusses the IPC solutions program, including transportation and workforce development initiatives.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Matrix Discusses Advanced Automation Equipment
Matrix's Fred Long discusses advanced automation equipment for the PCB industry, including new cleaning technology for panels and dry film laminating equipment.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Ucamco's New Tools for Designers, Fabricators
European Editor Pete Starkey and Ucamco partner Luc Maesen discuss Ucamco's newest solutions for PCB designers and fabricators, YELO (Yield Enhancing Layout Optimizer) and Communic8tor. Both of these products were recently launched for users in the North American market.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Bowman—XRF Equipment, New IPC 4552A Spec, and How They Go to Market
Tom Leone, president, and Zach Dismukes, sales and support engineer from Bowman, discuss their XRF equipment, the new IPC 4552A spec, and how they go to market.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Rogers' High-Frequency/High-Temp Substrates
Tony Mattingly, senior product manager at Rogers Corporation, discusses the company's new substrates for high-frequency/high-temperature applications.
Bridging the Customer-Supplier Gap
For the February issue of Design007 Magazine, we interviewed Nolan Johnson of Sunstone Circuits, and Dan Beaulieu of DB Management—our regular columnist—on the topics of knowing your customers, the challenges in dealing with customers, and providing excellent customer satisfaction.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Perfect Point’s Recently Developed Coating Technology for Small Drills
VP Shane Stewart describes some recently developed coating technology for small drills that helps improve debris removal and aspect ratio drilling capability.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Insulectro Discusses Importance of Helping PCB Shops
Chris Hunrath, VP of technology at Insulectro, discusses their recent expansion of inventory, especially substrate materials, the need for quick access, and the importance of working closely with their customers and OEMs.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Catching Up with Cirexx International
Philipp Menges, president of Cirexx International, discusses yearly company updates and growing markets, including automotive, medical, and military.
Catching up with ACT-USA President Jack Gemmell
ACT-USA is one of the best value-added PCB distributors in the country today. Focused on providing their North American customers with boards as well as heavy copper boards they have steadily broadened their vendor base since their inception in 1994.
Institute of Circuit Technology Meriden Seminar, 2018
The Institute of Circuit Technology returned to Meriden, traditionally regarded as the centre of England, for its Annual General Meeting, which was followed by a technical seminar of five presentations, introduced as ever by Technical Director Bill Wilkie.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO: IPC—Industry Trends Moving Forward
Sharon Starr, director of market research for the IPC, discusses industry trends moving forward covering both EMS and PCB. She also mentions the upcoming studies IPC will be conducting in 2018.
Defining Customer-Supplier Relationships and Customer Satisfaction
Steve Williams, president of The Right Approach Consulting LLC, and a veteran executive in the PCB and EMS industries, speaks with the I-Connect007 team about customer-supplier relationships, and how you can ensure customer satisfaction.
MakeHarvard 2018: The Super Bowl of Makeathons
The inaugural MakeHarvard event was everything one would expect from the title, and more. Sunstone Circuits’ Nolan Johnson and Dustin Jablonski served as both mentors and competition judges. Sunstone sponsored a prize for the best feats of reverse engineering and documentation. Sunstone’s reverse engineering competition was one of the most hotly contested. Judging was based on creativity, depth, technical difficulty, usability, scalability, and value to society.
Three New Mars2020 Rover Technologies: What Powers the “Body Parts” on the Mars2020 Rover?
The Mars2020 Rover Mission, designed by JPL, is the next NASA Mars Exploration Program mission that is planned to launch in 2020. Some goals of the mission include to check for past signs of life, to help prepare for manned Mars missions, and to collect soil samples and cache them on the surface for potential return to Earth by a future mission.
Bridging Knowledge and Understanding of Thermal Management Materials
At IPC APEX EXPO recently, Pete Starkey and Ian Mayoh, Ventec International’s technical support manager, had a chance to sit down and discuss the I-Connect007 micro E-book: The Printed Circuit Designer's Guide to Thermal Management with Insulated Metal Substrates, of which Ian is a co-author.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Ventec's Jack Pattie on New Materials, Industry Upswing
Ventec International Group’s Jack Pattie comments on continuing growth in sales, investment in manufacturing and distribution, and new product developments in polyimides, no-flow pre-pregs and thermally conductive materials.
A Plug-in that Connects CAD Software to 3D Printer
Nano Dimension's DragonFly 2020 Pro 3D Printer is a highly accurate and versatile inkjet deposition and curing system for printing professional multilayer circuit boards, structural electronics and antennas. In a sweeping discussion with Nano Dimension USA President Simon Fried, all my questions were answered about this innovative technology.
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