Article Highlights
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

Latest Articles

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.

Zentech’s John Vaughan on the Mil/Aero Sector: “It’s Headed Up”

I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties and Zentech’s John Vaughan had a chance to discuss industry concerns within the mil/aero segment at IPC APEX EXPO 2015. The two also shared thoughts on the space industry, and Vaughan detailed Zentech’s involvement with National Manufacturing Day, a nationwide effort focused on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) that simultaneously brought high school students together with 1,600 manufacturing companies from around the U.S.

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.

Inkjet Solder Mask Becomes a Practical Reality

Inkjet solder mask has for many years been a distant, near-impossible, goal for the PCB industry. Hopes have been raised on several occasions, only to fade when the ink either won’t jet or won’t pass end-user qualification. It is now evident that Taiyo’s many years of development in cooperation with equipment manufacturers have resulted in a successful formulation.

21 Years of Growth: A-Gas Electronic Materials Has 2020 Vision

Technical Editor Pete Starkey recently sat down for an interview with Jonathan Sellars, managing director of A-Gas Electronic Materials, at the company’s new facility in Rugby, UK. The company is a distributor of specialist chemicals and processes for semiconductor, PCB, electronic and industrial metal finishing, photovoltaic and advanced packaging technology industries. Sellars outlined the history of the company, its business philosophy and its future plans.

Rex Rozario: Investing in Graphic PLC Through Technology and Capacity

I-Connect007 Tech Editor Pete Starkey and Graphic PLC Group Chairman Rex Rozario caught up at IPC APEX EXPO 2015. Among other items, the two discussed Graphic’s current expansion in size and equipment, as well as what Starkey describes as the company’s history of making good decisions.

Bernie Kessler: Pioneering Spirit Then and Now

I-Connect007’s Patty Goldman sat down with longtime friend and IPC Hall of Famer Bernie Kessler at IPC APEX EXPO 2015 in San Diego. Among other things, the two discussed the early days of IPC, and the beginnings of APEX EXPO.

Reliability Testing and Statistics

Current industry views on reliability consist of customer requirements and results based on a variety of reliability testing procedures. However, there is still no consensus within the industry as to what each of the reliability test protocols prove and when each test protocol has to be used.

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.

The Continuing Success Story of Lino's Mission

Lino's mission is following the plan. It's all about serving the customer and doing the best we can, Still having fun after 30 years in the industry.


Global Machine and Management and First EIE Strike Important Relationship

I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties sat down with Carl Spitko, senior technical advisor at Global Machine and Maintenance, and Jean Paul Birraux, marketing and sales manager at First EIE, for a frank discussion about the working relationship the two companies have forged, the value it brings to their global customers, and what challenges North American fabricators are faced with.

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.

Automation in Probe Testing Provides Throughput Benefits

The general migration from grid to prober for bare board testing continues, and even high-volume users now see the benefits of automation. Klaus Koziol explains how package testing is driving prober development.

How to Streamline PCB Thermal Design

Thermal issues with a PCB design are mostly determined during the component selection and layout phases. After this point, only remedial actions are possible if components are found to run too hot. John Parry discusses how addressing thermal issues early in PCB design, starting at the system or enclosure level, can help streamline the entire process.

Manz: A Total Process Solution

At the recent CPCA Show in China, I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties had a chance to speak with Alex Liu, the deputy general manager of the PCB business unit for Manz. Manz has focused on creating a process from direct imaging to wet processing. With more entrants into the direct imaging arena, Liu feels that this approach gives Manz and their customers an advantage.

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.

Realignment of N.A. Operations Meets Special Industry Needs

Warren Kenzie first joined MacDermid Technical Operations in 1994, and he now has overall responsibility for technology in North America.

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.

Upping the U.S. Service Level of Chinese Manufacturing

Eddie Tang of Glory Faith and Yash Sutariya, president of Alpha Circuit discuss the unique business relationship between their companies. Alpha provides consulting and technical service in North America for GF, including rework and emergency manufacturing capability in its North American plants.


Report: Big Changes at Eltek

Deputy CEO Roberto Tulman talks about the recent purchase of Eltek by Nistec, a large electronic manufacturing services provider in Israel. Nistec can now offer complete turnkey capability, from design through finished product.

Raising a Unified Voice for an Advanced Manufacturing Economy

The electronics manufacturing industry is an important sector in the global economy, and John Hasselmann, VP of Government Relations at IPC, is an advocate for policies that will help our industry as well as the prosperity and welfare of billions of people.

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.

Steve Williams Discusses His New Company

Industry veteran Steve Williams shares about his new consulting company and what he can do for his clients, from specs and qualifications to training and teaching and how to successfully sell to CMs.

Hunter Technology on Design Operations and Business Strategies

Immediately following IPC APEX EXPO 2015, Guest Editor Kelly Dack paid a visit to Hunter Technology’s facility in Milpitas, California, where he interviewed Ian Grover, vice president of design engineering, and Chris Alessio, vice president of sales and programs. Discussed are Hunter’s design operations as well as the company’s overall business strategy.

No Substitute for Experience: Dan Beaulieu on EXPO, the Industry and I-Connect007

Industry veteran and consultant Dan Beaulieu, owner of DB Management, and I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties, sat down at IPC APEX EXPO to reminisce on Beaulieu’s more than four decades in the business, the trend toward a more marketing savvy industry and how strategic consulting often plays out for companies in this industry.

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.

Trending at Freedom CAD: New Crop of Next‐Gen Designers

Scott McCurdy, director of sales and marketing at Freedom CAD Services, expresses his vision for what North America is bringing to the table in the world of circuit design. I‐Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties and McCurdy also discuss China, trends in product design, tools, and more.

Quality Assurance Through Testing

The PCB Magazine columnist Todd Kolmodin of Gardien Services discusses the challenges related to the electrical testing of high-density PCBs, and what is required to meet IPC and military specifications.

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.


Japan’s Thermosetting Plastics Association Represents at IPC APEX EXPO 2015

At the International Reception, held opening night of IPC APEX EXPO 2015, I-Connect Technical Editor Pete Starkey made the rounds and found some visitors from Japan, namely, Kazutaka Masaoka, from Thermosetting Plastics Association (JTPIA). In this brief interview conducted amongst the reception attendees, Masaoka-san and Starkey discuss Japanese vs. North American circuit board quality and business trends.

So Many Types of Test and Product Services, So Little Time

Guest Editor Dick Crowe talks with Rick Meraw, VP of Quality at Gardien Services about their testing services.

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.​

3D Printed Electronics: When & How?

Josh Goldberg, marketing specialist with Taiyo America, looks beyond fusion deposition modelling and considers what might be achievable in 3D printed circuit fabrication using UV curable materials and metallic powder laser sintering.

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.

Ready to Hire! Blackfox Provides IPC Class 3 Training to Veterans

I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties caught up with Al Dill, president and CEO of Blackfox Training Institute, for an in-depth discussion on Blackfox's expansion plans for North America (Tempe, Arizona and Guadalajara, Mexico) and Malaysia (Penang). Dill also describes the highly successful veteran’s training program, which is being spearheaded at the Blackfox headquarters in Longmont, Colorado.

Schmoll Keeping an Eye on the Future--and on LDI

In this interview, Thomas Kunz, who has been at the helm of Schmoll Maschinen as president since 1993, discusses the company’s lengthy history in mechanical engineering (more than 70 years!), current global scope, and what he sees as a steady progression in directions that make the most sense to customers, which includes laser direct imaging.​

Bob Neves Receives Award, Talks Bergman Tribute

I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties sat down with Bob Neves, one of the first recipients of the Dieter Bergman Fellowship award, to talk about the tribute held for Dieter on Wednesday night of IPC APEX EXPO 2015, and some of the reasons behind the newly created award.

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.

Bob Neves Receives Award, Talks Bergman Tribute

Barry Matties sat down with Bob Neves, one of the first recipients of the Dieter Bergman IPC Fellowship award, to talk about the tribute held for Dieter on Wednesday night of IPC APEX EXPO 2015, and some of the reasons behind the newly created award.


EPTAC Expansion Includes CID Curriculum

Leo Lambert, vice president and technical director of EPTAC, discusses EPTAC's latest expansion, which includes IPC's certified interconnect designer (CID) curriculum.

How 3D Printing Will Impact PCB Fabrication

In the near future, we will enter an era where electronic devices are printed, rather than assembled. They will be fabricated layer-by-layer as a single object, rather than assembled from separate mechanical, electrical, and optical parts. This article finds out the implications 3D printing will have on PCB manufacturing.

Cadence’s Brad Griffin Digs Deep Into DDR

During DesignCon 2015, our roving reporter, Kelly Dack, stopped by to visit with Brad Griffen in the Cadence booth. What follows is their very interesting conversation that revolves around the evolution of DDR.

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.

It's Only Common Sense: Looking Good!

You should be constantly thinking how your company presents itself to the outside world: what it looks like when you walk through it, what it sounds like when customers call in. Does your company appear to be a well-run lucrative company or does it look like a company on its last legs, ready to go out of business?

California Congressman Mike Honda Discusses American Manufacturing

Barry Matties, Publisher of I-Connect007, sat down with Congressman Honda, who represents District 17 in the Silicon Valley, and talked with him about American manufacturing, infrastructure, education and some of the current thinking in America. According to Honda, "The policies we pass and the things we do in D.C. that negatively impact our economy...a lot of those guys who don’t support some of the positive things we want to see happen don’t really understand that it impacts their districts, their social services, health and business."

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.

Optomec Partners with Ceradrop MGI Group

“Ceradrop has both leading-edge technology and global expertise in printed electronics and smart 3D printing, which make it an ideal partner for Optomec,” said Mike Kardos, Director of International Sales at Optomec. “We are looking forward to working with Ceradrop to expand our European marketing network for Aerosol Jet.”

N.A. PCB Business Growth Flat in 2014

"PCB business in North America was virtually flat in 2014 compared to the previous year," said IPC's Sharon Starr. "Sales ended the year less than one percentage point below 2013, while orders finished the year just 0.6% above 2013. Strong orders in the fourth quarter have kept the book-to-bill ratio solidly in positive territory, which bodes well for sales growth in 2015."


MacDermid's Cullen Reflects on 20 Years in China

Recently, while in Shenzhen, China, Barry Matties had the chance to catch up with Don Cullen, the global marketing director at MacDermid Electronics Solutions. They sat down to discuss the many changes he's seen in China since his first visit there nearly 20 years ago, and the country's future.

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.

DSG Invests in the Future

Mauro Dallora, COO of Dongguan Somacis Graphic PCB Co. Ltd (DSG) shares how they have increased revenue and share their plans to double it.

Polar Takes on China's Test Equipment Counterfeiters

Recently, while in China, Barry Matties spoke with Jonson Jiang, country manager of Polar Instruments. They discussed the company's latest impedance test equipment offerings and the challenges Polar faces in China, including companies that create counterfeits of their testing equipment. Can legitimate companies rely on China's government to fight counterfeiting?

Polar Takes on China's Test Equipment Counterfeiters

Recently, while in China, Barry Matties spoke with Jonson Jiang, country manager of Polar Instruments. They discussed the company's latest impedance test equipment offerings and the challenges Polar faces in China, including companies that create counterfeits of their testing equipment. Can legitimate companies rely on China's government to fight counterfeiting?

Prototron Circuits to Exhibit at SMTA Rocky Mountain Expo

Dave Ryder, President of Prototron Circuits of Redmond Washington and Tucson Arizona announced recently that his company will be exhibiting at this year’s SMTA Rocky Mountain Expo and Technical Conference 2015 to be held on Wednesday, January 28th at the Champions Club &Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium in Denver Colorado.

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.

CES 2015: Preview and Predictions

Looking back over the last five years of CES and analyzing predictions and items featured by the large exhibitors, you'd likely assume the 2015 show would feature more advanced 3D TVs, as they were predicted to take over the market...wrong!

Japan PWB Market: 2015

The downturn in business for the Japanese PWB industry can be blamed on a domino effect. The rigid circuit board segment relied heavily on business from domestic electronics companies such as Panasonic, Sony, and Sharp. Unfortunately, these electronics giants continue to lose market share and the downturn in business directly impacts the PWB industry.


2015 Outlook for the PCB Industry: A Global Perspective

The total value of global electronics production (excluding components) in 2013 was estimated at $1.5 trillion and the value of worldwide PCB production at $58 billion. In 2013 Asia (including Japan) accounted for 58% of worldwide electronics production, while Japan accounted for less than 5%, Europe (EU28) accounted for 15% and North America (U.S. and Canada) for 16.5%.

DSG Invests in ALTIX's New LED Exposure Machine

Giovanni Tridenti, president and CEO of DSG, and Sylvain Dromaint, sales and marketing director at ALTIX, join Guest Editor Bob Neves to discuss the partnership between their companies in the LED exposure machine market.

Three Industry Giants From WKK Gather Around for Discussion

During the recent HKPCA show we sat down with Hamed El-Abd, Lionel Fullwood, and Gene Weiner. Our discussion covered an array of topics, from politics to new PCB factories and what it takes to stay competitive in today's market.

Mentor: PCB Technology Leadership Award Winners

Continuing its tradition of promoting and recognizing PCB design excellence, Mentor has announced the winners of its 25th annual PCB Technology Leadership Awards. Started in 1988, this program is the longest running competition of its kind in the EDA industry. It recognizes engineers and designers who use innovative methods and design tools to address today's complex PCB systems design challenges and produce industry-leading products.

A Conversation with Gaby Waisman, Orbotech, Ltd.

During the recent HKPCA and IPC Show, held in Shenzhen, China, I sat down with Gabby Waisman, President, Orbotech Pacific. We discussed the exciting electronics market in Asia, the market for Laser Direct Imaging (LDI), AOI and AOR among other things.

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.

A Conversation with Laurent Nicolet, Schmid Group

During the HKPCA & IPC Show 2014, Laurent Nicolet, VP - PCB Business Unit of Schmid Group took a few minutes to discuss the automation technology that was on display and share the changes he's seen in the China market.

Thin PCBs for Smart Phones: Technology and Reliability Considerations

The next generation of smartphones will demand very thin multilayer boards to reduce product thickness. This paper shows three different manufacturing approaches which can be used for very thin, any-layer build-ups. The technological approaches are compared on reliability level--the any-layer copper filled microvia technology which is to be considered state-of-the-art for high-end phones and the ALIVH-C/G technology well established in Japan.

ASC Making All the Right Moves

"American Standard Circuits is always on the move and making improvements: From hiring the right people to buying the right equipment to investing in the right technologies. This company is one of the few investing in R&D. It is willing to work with customers on new products and technologies and will take on board projects no other company has successfully built," comments Columnist Dan Beaulieu.

ASC Making All the Right Moves

"American Standard Circuits is always on the move and making improvements: From hiring the right people to buying the right equipment to investing in the right technologies. This company is one of the few investing in R&D. It is willing to work with customers on new products and technologies and will take on board projects no other company has successfully built," comments Columnist Dan Beaulieu.


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.

Disrupting PCB Imaging with Inkjet Technology: Challenges & Opportunities Explained

Why are 95% of the circuit boards driving digital devices still imaged with film, the same way they have been for the past 50 years? This paper from Henk-Jan Zwiers of Mutracx will address this question by exploring the challenges of digital PCB imaging and the emergence of inkjet imaging, a technology that has the potential to revolutionise the industry.

Electrical Testing of Passive Components

This paper, from a group of authors from Gardien Services, discusses the new processes required by electrical test centers and labs and how the ET arena has adapted to provide accurate testing of buried resistors and accommodate the buried capacitive cores to not receive false errors from the grid testers and flying probes.

Why Companies Fail at Social Media and What to Do About It

Sales executives should embrace social media more than anyone in a company, but this usually isn't the case. Done well, social media is a means of communicating a company's story to a wide network of people, raising awareness and credibility amongst prospective customers, and solidifying the company as a viable option for when a prospect needs the company’s product or service.

Printed Electronics in Perspective

A significant amount of press coverage has been given to printed electronics over the last several years. What appears to have precipitated the explosion of interest in the middle of the last decade was a report that suggested PE would dominate electronic production by the mid-2020s with an annual market of over $300 billion. Joe Fjelstad takes a closer look.
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