Article Highlights
Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO 2023: Coating With Robotic Technology
02/01/2023 | Real Time with...IPC
The Impact of Chip Packaging
02/01/2023 | Charles E. Bauer, Ph.D., TechLead Corporation
Don't Blink: The IPC APEX EXPO Time-lapse
01/31/2023 | Nolan Johnson, I-Connect007
IPC APEX EXPO Wrap-up
01/30/2023 | Andy Shaughnessy, Design007 Magazine
NIST Resources for CHIPS Act Participants
01/27/2023 | Nolan Johnson, I-Connect007

Latest Articles

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO 2023: Coating With Robotic Technology

Paige Fiet sits down with Steve Keller of Taiyo America to discuss the benefits of using robotic technology such as Taiyo Circuit Automation's AT-100 for coating PCBs. If you were unable to attend IPC APEX EXPO 2023, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events in San Diego, from ribbon cutting to teardown.

The Impact of Chip Packaging

When talking about chip packaging impacts on substrates and electronic manufacturing services (EMS) providers, the focus mostly lies on large packages and very high I/O, fine pitch components; rightly so in most cases. However, several current packaging trends offer a new path forward to simplification and, thereby, cost reduction in both the printed wiring board (PWB) and EMS supply chains.

Don't Blink: The IPC APEX EXPO Time-lapse

It’s a tradition here at I-Connect007 to set up a time-lapse for IPC APEX EXPO. There’s something satisfying, mesmerizing even, to watch the show floor build out and see the moment when the doors open and visitors fill the exhibit hall. Based on what others have said over the years, I know I’m not the only one whose favorite part is when the carpet gets rolled out and the whole character of the exhibition changes. This time lapse starts on the Saturday prior and continues through the Thursday tear-down phase.

DFM 101: Final Finishes—Electrolytic Nickel/Gold

One of the biggest challenges facing PCB designers is not understanding the cost drivers in the PCB manufacturing process. This article is the latest in a series that will discuss these cost drivers (from the PCB manufacturer’s perspective) and the design decisions that will impact product reliability.

IPC APEX EXPO Wrap-up

IPC APEX EXPO 2023 is over, and I think it was a successful show no matter how you slice it. There was barely a break in traffic on the show floor on Tuesday and Wednesday, and even on Thursday I saw people sprinting to close one more deal. Some committee meetings had nearly 200 participants; the meetings I sat in on were anything but boring.

NIST Resources for CHIPS Act Participants

At the recent IPC Advanced Packaging Symposium, Dr. Frank W. Gayle, deputy director of the Advanced Manufacturing National Program Office, an interagency team with core staff hosted at the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), gave a presentation on the work NIST has recently undertaken in support of both the semiconductor and R&D sectors, and the CHIPS and Science Act.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

This week, the IPC APEX EXPO event has cast a long shadow across the news feeds. No, that’s not the right metaphor. No, not a shadow; shadows are dark. It would be more accurate to say IPC APEX EXPO cast a beam of illumination upon the news feeds for the electronics manufacturing industry. To that end, the APEX EXPO news makes a prominent appearance in this week’s editor’s picks.

Advanced Packaging Means Advanced Routing Issues

In today’s ever-shrinking world of electronics designs, the use of BGA parts with very fine pitch features is becoming more prevalent. As these fine-pitch BGAs continue to increase in complexity and user I/O (number of balls), the difficulty of finding escape routes and fan-out patterns increases. Additionally, with the shrinking of silicon geometry leading to both smaller channel length and increased signal integrity issues, some of the traditional BGA escape routing techniques will require a revisit and/or adjustment to allow for not only successful fan-out, but also successful functioning of the circuitry of the BGA design.

Bright Lights, Big City: STEM Event Kicks Off

The San Diego sun was warm and bright on Wednesday afternoon, but it didn’t stop the crowds from filling the aisles at IPC APEX EXPO 2023 for the trade show’s second official day. Technical conferences, professional development courses, and a keynote from IPC President and CEO John W. Mitchell kept attendees busy. But the real highlight of the day was upstairs where approximately 300 high school students from the local San Diego area rode buses to the San Diego Convention Center for a day full of activities meant especially for them.

Everyone Wants Change: Who Wants to Lead the Way?

Nolan Johnson recently met with Alun Morgan, technology ambassador at Ventec, and Ventec COO Mark Goodwin to discusses the industry’s determination to cling to outdated processes and standards, and some potential consequences. To maintain efficiency and keep pace with the market’s newest entries in Asia, Alun and Mark believe that legacy companies in the West must be open to challenging conversations that will require questioning old practices and revising those practices toward sustainability.


IPC APEX EXPO 2023: Face-to-Face Not Mask-to-Mask

It was a bright, sunny California day as IPC APEX EXPO officially opened its doors on Tuesday, Jan. 24 at the San Diego Convention Center. The Technical Conference began on the same day, while the program of standards meetings and professional development courses had been in progress since Saturday, Jan. 21. During the hustle and bustle of the show build-up over the weekend, it was clear to see that so many exhibitors had the confidence to bring so much major equipment and to invest in such spectacular booths to display it.

The Nuts and Bolts of Advanced Packaging

The I-Connect007 Editorial Team asked IPC Chief Technologist Matt Kelly: Will you help us understand what advanced packaging means? This informative conversation touched on topics for both assembly and board fabrication. To that end, we will present this conversation in two parts. In this issue of SMT007 Magazine, Matt helps define not only what advanced packaging is, but the approach EMS companies must take when looking ahead. Think it’s about just adding some new equipment and software? Think again. There are logistics, onboarding, and so much more.

Monday Recap: Optimism and Economics at IPC APEX EXPO

It was a packed house for two large events at IPC APEX EXPO 2023 on Monday, Jan. 23, as the EMS Leadership Summit was wrapped in the pale veil of caution, meanwhile hundreds more gathered to hear from IPC’s chief economist, Shawn DuBravac. At the EMS summit, the morning presenters from IPC all shared silver linings they saw inside the fading clouds of uncertainty.

It’s Here: The Launch of IPC Community Magazine

IPC Community Magazine launches today at IPC APEX EXPO 2023, both in digital and print form. It is now widely available for download at no cost. This magazine helps tell the stories of IPC, particularly for IPC members who use and interact with the trade organization. IPC worked closely with I-Connect007 (IPC Publishing Group) to develop the concept for the publication, and asked John W. Mitchell, president and CEO of IPC, to share a few thoughts as he looked at the magazine for the first time in print.

Classes and Meetings Under Way at IPC APEX EXPO

IPC APEX EXPO 2023 doesn’t officially kick off until Tuesday, but there’s plenty of action going on here at the San Diego Convention Center. Booths are sprouting up on the show floor, and exhibitors are starting to arrive. Upstairs, committee meetings have been taking place all weekend; the IPC-J-STD-001 and IPC-A-610 Joint Task Group, and IPC-A-600 and IPC-6012 Joint Task Group meetings, were abuzz with activity. The Professional Development classes began on Sunday, covering everything from design through assembly processes, flex and rigid-flex, and technologies of the future.

It’s All in the App

The IPC APEX EXPO mobile app provides everything attendees could possibly need for the event, including viewing exhibitors, sessions, speakers, and products. Need information on an exhibiting company? With the IPC APEX EXPO mobile app, you can look up exhibitors by company name and search by product category—it’s that simple.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

We’re in the middle of show season, and it certainly “shows.” Thank you very much. I’m here all week. Don’t forget to tip your wait staff. This week, we published a variety of articles, columns, and news items, and much of it centered on trade shows. Technical Editor Dan Feinberg brings us a report from CES 2023. IPC announced the winners of the Best Technical Paper awards for IPC APEX EXPO 2023. And we have an interview with Altium’s Rea Callender about the company’s educational efforts at APEX and around the globe.

Prepare for Next-level Professional Development at IPC APEX EXPO 2023

IPC APEX EXPO 2023 will offer a refreshed Professional Development Course program. This year’s conference includes something for everyone, including informative courses catering to technical managers ready to level up their careers. Thirty-six courses will be offered on Sunday, Jan. 22 and Monday, Jan. 23. Attendees will find both updated content from veteran instructors and innovative courses from new instructors.

Setting Expectations for IPC APEX EXPO's Women in Electronics Reception

Emily Calandrelli, IPC APEX EXPO’s opening keynote speaker and featured speaker of our Women in Electronics Reception, is an MIT-engineer turned Emmy-nominated science TV host. She’s the host and co-executive producer of “Emily’s Wonder Lab” on Netflix, she's featured as a correspondent on Netflix’s “Bill Nye Saves the World” and an executive producer and host of FOX's “Xploration Outer Space.”

Altium Focuses on Design Education

Altium keeps its eyes on the designers of the future. The company has been working with colleges and universities for years, providing free seats of Altium Designer for the next generation of PCB designers and design engineers. At IPC APEX EXPO 2023, Altium will be providing software for the finalists in the IPC Design Competition just as it did last year. They offer a variety of other educational programs as well, including Upverter classes and a design competition that aims to address environmental change. Here, Rea Callender, Altium’s VP of education, discusses its educational programs and plans for the week of the show.


I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

“New year, new you.” That tagline seems to be everywhere right now. All five must-reads this week reflect this theme. Does this apply to you and your company? We have quite a duke’s mixture of articles. We’ve got AT&S outlining their market position on advanced packaging, and Auburn University doing research on smart manufacturing processes. Keysight is coordinating practical 6G research in Europe, Technica shares where they see the market growing, and SEMI adds new members to a key board responsible for market guidance. These five stories drew a lot of reader attention this week.

The Battle of the Boards

Last year, IPC held its first-ever design competition at IPC APEX EXPO in San Diego. PCB designers from around the world competed in a series of heats during the months before the show, culminating in a showdown on the show floor between the top three finalists. Rafal Przeslawski, now with AMD, took home the top prize last year. This year, the competition is back for its sophomore year. I asked Patrick Crawford, manager of design standards and related programs for IPC, to “layout” the details on the design contest, including lessons learned in 2022 and what’s new for the 2023 competition.

Shawn Dubravac: What’s New in Tech

As the world grapples with issues like climate change, consumers and manufacturers are increasingly looking for ways to reduce environmental impact. This has led to a focus on fostering innovation in sustainable materials, renewable energy sources, and recyclable components. One example is CarbonX, a new carbon material composed of nano-sized carbon filaments that could help tire makers meet the increasing demand for sustainability. Technology will play a pivotal role in this transformation and one sector set to see tremendous change is the auto industry.

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2023: Jesse Session Talks R&D at Taiyo

Nolan Johnson checks in with Taiyo America’s Technical Manager, Jesse Session, about the new and exciting developments cooking in Taiyo’s R&D department. The company’s groundbreaking inkjet solder mask product line is expanding to meet the needs of customers looking for updated color options that retain the same quality standards and reliability that have come to define Taiyo’s offerings.

Turn E-textiles Concepts Into Real-World Products

IPC E-Textiles 2023 is an international forum for materials suppliers, product designers, manufacturers, technical experts, and company executives from around the world to collaborate on all areas of the supply chain for e-textiles technologies in the fashion design, health and medical, sports and athletics, automotive, and military and aerospace sectors. It takes place Monday, Jan. 23, in conjunction with IPC APEX EXPO. This year’s event will feature informative and engaging presentations encompassing all areas of e-textiles, Q&A discussions with presenters, and a panel discussion on the economic and business aspects of e-textiles.

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO: Technica Keeps the Heat on a Hot Market

As the leader of a firm representing multiple equipment and supplies manufacturers in both the EMS and PCB fab markets, Technica USA president and CEO, Frank Medina, has a commanding view of what’s happening in the industry. In this Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO 2023 preview, Nolan Johnson asks Frank what’s hot in the industry, and what visitors can expect to see from Technica at IPC APEX EXPO in San Diego.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

The youngsters are back in school, and we’re all back to work. The water is back on for most of us in Atlanta; when temps dropped down to 8 degrees Fahrenheit, our pipes started bursting left and right. After a Christmas dinner with no water, I have a new appreciation for H2O. It’s been a busy week, and we published a variety of articles, columns, and news items. In this week’s top five, we have news about the market in Southeast Asia, a look at what the CHIPS Act really entails, a deep dive into CMMC, and a peek at how printed electronics developers are using flexible circuit concepts to facilitate PEC. We also say goodbye to a Top Gun PCB designer who left us way too soon.

ICAPE: Solutions With No Limits

Over the past five years, ICAPE Group has strongly focused on analyzing the complex needs of the market to provide worldwide solutions for customers whose needs range from simple to very complex technologies. The services provider has done this by putting offices in key strategic locations—particularly China—with staff that understand the nuances of language and culture. These types of decisions make an important difference when it comes to getting customers exactly what, and when, they need it. Yann Duigou, CMO, and Bingling Li Sellam, VP of Northern Europe, share their secrets for success.

Ventec: Contextualizing the CHIPS Act

Nolan Johnson hears from Alun Morgan, Technology Ambassador at Ventec, and Mark Goodwin, Ventec’s COO, about the benefits and risks posed by new PCB-oriented legislation in the U.S. and Europe. Faced with a rapidly consolidating industry, especially in the face of mounting pressure from the Russia-fueled energy crisis, government intervention is a welcome prospect—as long as legislators are committed to addressing the full scope of the issue, including the supply chain’s migration to Asia. Ventec is hopeful that, having been called on to educate government officials on the challenges facing the industry, they will help spur future legislative changes that will protect and grow the industry’s interests.

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2023: Burkle Preps for Biggest Show Ever

Andy Shaughnessy recently spoke with Kurt Palmer, president and CEO of Burkle North America, about the company’s plans for IPC APEX EXPO 2023. Kurt discusses some of the equipment that will be on display in their booth, representing Schmoll Maschinen, and why Burkle is bringing more staffers than ever before to San Diego for the first post-pandemic show without mask requirements.


Preventing De-wetting Defects In Immersion Tin Soldering

Immersion tin is well accepted as a high-reliability final finish in the industry. Due to its excellent corrosion resistance, it exhibits major market shares, particularly in the automotive industry. During the soldering process, an intermetallic compound (IMC) is formed between copper and tin. One remaining concern in the industry is the potential impact of the IMC on the solderability of the final finish. In this article, typical failure modes in soldering immersion tin are described and correlated to potential root causes for the defects.

IPC APEX EXPO 2023 Special Session Sneak Peek

The IPC APEX EXPO 2023 Technical Conference at the San Diego Convention Center will feature two hot topics—Advanced Packaging and e-Mobility/EV Automotive—in custom and curated Special Sessions on Thursday, Jan. 26. Please plan your travel accordingly to attend these exciting sessions.

I-Connect007 Editor's Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

Just because it’s a holiday week doesn’t mean the news is slow. Okay, maybe a little bit slower than normal, but “slower” can also be the same as “fast, just less fast.” We’re going a bit deeper into the list for our must-reads looking for high-impact hard news. I mean, you’ve all read the curated stuff already, no sense rehashing that. In fact, I’ll even throw in a bonus news item just because there was some good stuff this week. Have a great New Year’s weekend.

'Happy New Year' Celebrations Around the World

New Year’s Eve is tomorrow, and 2023 is around the corner. Where did the time go? That’s the $64,000 question. We celebrate New Year’s Day, in part, to help us mark the passage of time—sort of a shared experience for the human race. Humans have been celebrating New Year’s Day for thousands of years, but the party really took off in 45 BC, after Julius Caesar revamped the Roman calendar. From that point until the middle of the 18th century, New Year’s Day in Europe fell on a variety of days, including Dec. 25, March 1, and March 25. Andy Shaughnessy gives us the details.

Reconnecting the Social Network

If the past two years have emphasized anything, it would be the importance and value of face-to-face networking at events. Face-to-face interactions help create lasting relationships with new connections and help strengthen existing relationships with industry friends and colleagues. Thousands of industry leaders, manufacturing innovators, and subject matter experts from across the globe will convene in San Diego for IPC APEX EXPO 2023, making it the place to be to help you connect with representatives from the entire electronics manufacturing supply chain. We have a full line-up of networking events planned for IPC APEX EXPO 2023 that you don’t want to miss.

The Five Most-read Design007 News of 2022

Each December, we like to look back at the most popular articles of the past 12 months. You never know which article is going to blow up like a Harry Styles album. So, grab some leftover ham and hang out with us for a while. For your holiday enjoyment, here’s a blast from the past: the top five most-read Design007 articles of 2022.

Essemtec: Manufacturing Moves In-house

Pete Starkey talks with Kevin Domancich at Essemtec at electronica 2022 about the company integration within Nano Dimension and how the two companies have pioneered an exciting new end-to-end manufacturing solution that helps customers speed up production, cut costs, and keep their proprietary materials secure. In a world where time to market has become a priority consideration, this universal system has the potential to revolutionize the industry.

Let’s Get Technical

IPC members are constantly working to move the electronics industry forward by developing new technologies, innovative processes, and testing methods—and working to find solutions to known technical challenges. The IPC APEX EXPO Technical Conference is the premier forum in North America where these challenges, solutions, and innovations are shared among colleagues and competitors alike.

The Five Most-read Design007 Articles of 2022

Each December, we like to look back at the most popular articles of the past 12 months. You never know which article is going to blow up like a Blake Shelton album. So, put on your ugliest holiday sweater and prop up that iPad. For your holiday enjoyment, here’s a blast from the past: the top five most-read Design007 articles of 2022.

The Most-read I-Connect007 Articles of 2022

Each December, we like to look back at the most popular articles of the past 12 months. You never know which article is going to blow up like an Avril Lavigne album. So, grab a cup of eggnog and curl up by the fire! For your holiday enjoyment, here’s a blast from the past: the top five most-read I-Connect007 articles of 2022.


I-Connect007 Editor's Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

In this week leading up to Christmas, we have a little bit of everything. Pete Starkey has a review of the most recent EIPC Technical Snapshot, while Tom Kastner discusses the dwindling number of PCB companies in North America. Are we really down to 170 companies? IPC reports that North American PCB sales up 26.1% in November YOY, and the book-to-bill is dead-on at 1.00. Cybord CEO Zeev Efrat explains how his company can provide 100% component inspection. And I have an interview with a student I ran into at PCB Carolina who is working toward his “dream job” on being a technician. As Alex Barile says, he’d hate to work at a desk all day; he likes to install equipment.

Workflow Challenges in Fabrication

Paul Cooke, the senior director of business development for Ventec International Group, is presenting a class at IPC APEX EXPO 2023 that looks at workflow challenges in fabrication, and the myriad drivers that can affect yield, reliability, and cost. Here he discusses the details of this Professional Development course, what he hopes attendees will take away, and why designers and design engineers would benefit from this class.

EIPC Technical Snapshot: ‘There Is No Green Without Digital’

Introduced and moderated by EIPC’s Emma Hudson, the 20th EIPC Technical Snapshot focused on sustainability, specifically on environmental issues impacting the electronics industry. The first speaker was Pia Tanskanen, head of environment at Nokia in Finland. A pioneer in mobile telecom, Nokia is primarily a network hardware and software provider, committed to reducing the environmental impact of its products, operations, manufacturing, and supply chains, with sustainability a key component of the company’s strategy.

Candor: UHDI Under Development

Candor Industries is a PCB fabricator investing in UHDI fabrication capabilities in Canada. To support advanced packaging, as well as the current pace of IC process shrinks, PCB fabrication capabilities must shrink to keep up. Sunny Patel, Candor’s technical sales manager, brings us up to speed on what Candor has learned in their journey to add UHDI. What we gain from this interview is that, while certainly not insignificant, the stretch to add UHDI may be not as far as one might think.

MKS Discusses the Cutting Edge of Technology

During a recent tour of the MKS facility in Beaverton, Oregon, I met with Todd Templeton, Chris Ryder, Kyle Baker, and Martin Orrick. As a reminder, MKS acquired ESI in 2019 and has retained the ESI brand. In this interview, they explain their approach to HDI and ultra HDI, the current state of base materials, and what the future looks like on the cutting edge of technology.

The First India Pavilion

For the first time, IPC APEX EXPO will host an “India Pavilion,” showcasing 16 Indian companies promoting India’s electronics manufacturing capabilities. The initiative was undertaken by the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India, and implemented by the Indian government agency, Electronics and Computer Software Export Promotion Council (ESC) India.

Taiyo: Reopening Europe for Solder Mask

Nolan Johnson and Stuart Down discuss Taiyo’s partnership with Ventec and how both companies are leveraging their expertise to blaze a trail into the European PCB market. Stuart shares his outlook on the market and the unique challenges posed by global political instability and supply chain constraints, as well as how Europe’s evolving chemical regulations have impacted solder mask formulation. With their sights set on ramping up manufacturing capabilities, Taiyo sees a secure path forward to establishing a sizeable market presence in this promising region.

Aismalibar: Cooling Off With Thermal Interface Materials

Pete Starkey stops by the Aismalibar booth at electronica to hear from Uwe Lemke about the company’s plans to further expand its footprint in the Chinese PCB market and how evolving e-mobility constraints have propelled a growing demand for materials that can address electrical isolation and thermal conductivity concerns in high voltage battery systems. As always, Aismalibar is up to the task, having developed a new thin fluid coating technology that boosts the performance and reliability of any interface using the same foil-based technology that has long defined its impressive line of product offerings.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

The holiday season is in full swing for most of us; no matter which holiday you choose to recognize here in the second half of December, it’s almost certain that your routine has some level of interruption to it right now. Chances are, you might not be consuming as much of your usual diet of industry news and information, what with all the holiday treats and traditional meals to be consumed instead. That, gentle reader, is why we bring you this week’s Top 5 editor’s picks–your slimmed down version of the news, leaving you more time for the other delights of the season. So without further ado, we bring you the five news items you really should make room for this week.

A New Gathering Place for Designers

IPC APEX EXPO started out as a show for the PCB manufacturing community, but it’s grown beyond that. This year, there’s more design curriculum at the show in San Diego than ever before. IPC instructor Kris Moyer has been instrumental in leading the organization’s efforts around PCB design and design engineering curriculum. So, I asked him the million-dollar question.


EIPC: Europe’s Energy Disadvantage

EIPC’s Alun Morgan details the unsettling realities facing the European PCB industry due to the current war in Ukraine, and outlines steps that the EIPC plans to take to help raise awareness of the possible perils the industry might face as a result. Alun says, "It's possible that we may get more supply chain back in Europe, but that won’t happen overnight."

ICT Christmas Seminar 2022: The Caliber of a ‘World Cup’ Event

Regardless of the potential distraction of the international football match between England and Wales in the World Cup competition, an enthusiastic crowd of PCB fans gathered in Meriden UK for the Institute of Circuit Technology Christmas Seminar, an eagerly-awaited networking opportunity that included a face-to-face industry welcome event and an outstanding technical programme. Guest speakers highlighted new technology in selective solder nozzles, flexible circuits, industry cooperation, and a greener future by recycling PCBs.

Rogers: Bringing New Materials to Light

Pete Starkey stopped by the Rogers booth at electronica to hear from Dr. Vitali Judin, the new business development manager at Rogers, on how the well-respected company is making a splash with new high frequency materials meant to address the rapidly evolving needs of the additive manufacturing sector. Rogers determined that digital light processing (DLP) 3D printing technique brought the combination of speed and resolution necessary to make additive manufacturing reasonably scalable, then partnered with Fortify to bring the processing consistency needed for the RF industry. With so many potential applications for this newly adapted technology, Rogers hopes to create a full slate of additive manufacturing materials for use in this sector and beyond.

Industry Innovation Starts Here

If it isn’t clear already, your money, time, and effort will be well spent attending IPC APEX EXPO in January. Here, we’ve outlined the top six reasons that this event will be the highlight of your year. We’ve done all we can to make the event not only memorable, but a show that allows you to connect with industry peers, learn how to enhance your skills, help advance the industry, and discover new insights on products and strategies from industry innovators.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

We’re into December, and the new year is around the corner. Things are looking pretty good for our industry. Trade show attendance is back up to pre-COVID levels, and a lot of companies are having banner years. Has the virtual trade show gone the way of the dodo bird? Let’s hope! This week, our must-reads include articles and news items on the decline of R&D, STEM education for kids, why vias do not heat up, the need for more DFT, and the lack of movement toward intelligent data transfer. Designers just love their Gerbers, but Dana Korf has a few ideas about how to make Gerbers obsolete.

Polar Instruments: Simulating PCB Potentialities

Nolan Johnson checks in with Polar’s Martyn Gaudion on the evolving needs of global PCB manufacturing markets in a post-pandemic world, where generating accurate PCB specification documentation is essential to successfully navigating today's rampant supply chain constraints. Polar has positioned itself to meet these needs through agile software product developments that allow OEMs and fabricators to simulate material interactions and end-product specifications, including in-demand features like a comprehensive "structure view" that allows users to visualize all the transmission lines on a given a PCB. Though keeping pace with the demands of a rapidly growing industry has been challenging, Polar's commitment to innovation has kept its software suite ahead of the curve.

R&D Takes Back Seat Amidst Chip Shortage—But It Shouldn’t

As the global chip shortage continues, companies may be tempted to put research and development on the backburner to conserve capital and prioritize production. A primary area of focus has been on increasing production capabilities to meet demand. In this drive to increase capacity, R&D has fallen to the wayside as some companies consider scaling back to refocus on the expansion of manufacturing capacity at current technology nodes. This is a hard choice to make for any company, and even R&D giants like Apple, known for its dedicated investments in innovation, have had to cut R&D budgets below original projections.

Trailblazing Substrates in PCB Fabrication

Todd Brassard, vice president and COO at Calumet Electronics, participated not only in the IPC Advanced Packaging Symposium in Washington, D.C., Oct. 11-13, but also met with congressional staffers at the Capitol during his visit. Todd does not back down from a challenge, and the one in front of him is no different. It’s why his company is at the forefront of the conversation, and he plans to keep it that way.

ICAPE: Staying on Top During ‘Interesting’ Times

Recently, we met with Nathan Martin, group purchasing director; Jean-Christophe Miralles, supply chain director for Europe and U.S., and Lea Maurel, Americas marketing manager. This wide-ranging conversation dug into market drivers, supply chain challenges and how ICAPE creates consistency on its manufacturing floor. Complementing the supply chain control is ICAPE’s engineering experise, which it uses to increase customer yields and quality. Corporate sustainability is a key strategic initiative for ICAPE, and it was enlightening to learn just how holistic ICAPE’s approach to sustainability is.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

Normally, the holiday season is a slow(ish) news time, but this year just feels different. My opinion is that the technology industry banked up a whole bunch of innovations and new products during the pandemic disruptions, which are coming to market as quickly as possible. The November/December news is full of technology discussion, as my selections this week clearly demonstrate.


Randy Faucette Discusses PCB Carolina’s Explosive Growth

One of the fastest-growing tabletop shows is PCB Carolina, which is held at NC State University in Raleigh. Each year, the show draws more exhibitors than the venue hall can hold, pushing some exhibitors out into the lobby. And this year, the number of registered attendees broke the 1,000 mark for the first time. At PCB Carolina, I spoke with Randy Faucette, the founder of the Research Triangle Park design bureau Better Boards, which organizes this annual tradeshow and conference, and I asked him to share the secret to this show’s expansion.

The Growing Need for UHDI

Jan Pedersen of NCAB Group is deeply involved in IPC standards development surrounding ultra HDI and keeps his finger on the pulse of the industry surrounding this type of fabrication. With Asia still dominating this area, Jan sees the need for U.S. and European PCB fabricators to make the investment if they want to stay competitive.

Excerpt: The Evolving PCB NPI Process, Chapter 2

Managing the supply chain for electronics manufacturing has always been challenging. About 70-80% of the cost of building an electronic product is for the parts, while the remaining cost is in the process to assemble and test the product. However, during the worldwide pandemic, the strain on the overall supply chain for any product has been stretched to the breaking point. When supply of toilet paper, hand towels, and sanitizer is disrupted and cannot be found on the grocery store shelves, one could imagine the challenges in a similarly disrupted supply chain of efficiently acquiring complex electronic components.

3D Electronic Devices With Additive Manufacturing

Imagine fabricating PCBs without the hassle of drilled vias and metal plating. Imagine PCBs with near-perfect registration. If we take it to the next stage, imagine drawing electronics in 3D space. There is a way to do all this with additively manufactured electronics (AME). We just need to start to think in 3D. This will allow us to abandon the 2D limitations that we have become so used to and expand our horizons so that we can climb to higher levels of performance. In this article, I will explore the two fundamental capabilities that are the cornerstones for drawing electronics in 3D space, which is where AME technology and 3D design capabilities converge.

Understanding the UHDI Market

The more we investigate UHDI in the current market, the more advanced packaging becomes a part of the conversation. Yet there are so many questions to be answered. The I-Connect007 Editorial Team met with Calumet’s Todd Brassard and Meredith LaBeau recently to get answers to these questions and find out where the UHDI market is headed.

An Opportunity to Give Thanks

I-Connect007 wants to take this opportunity to give thanks to so many people that make "the magic" happen day in and day out. Thanksgiving is a time, of course, to give thanks for the bounty that we enjoy, and that couldn't be truer each day for the support we receive in editorial, advertising, and marketing of our daily, weekly, and monthly publications. It's a pleasure to contribute to the industry—and to receive contributions. Read our Thanksgiving message and then enjoy your turkey day.

My Experience With Maxwell

I was first introduced to James Maxwell in 1967 as a college student. I had to decide whether I would take the Maxwell fields course or the switching and coding course. Being a chemical engineering major with a co-major in control theory, I had heard about the trials and tribulations of the infamous Maxwell fields course.

Web vs. Direct Imaging

As flexible printed circuits (FPC) continue making waves in PCB manufacturing, the Altix team of Alexis Guilbert, Damien Boureau, and Alexandre Camus look at today’s use cases for FPCs, and detail the finer points of roll-to-roll technology vs. direct imaging. For example, how long can a flexible circuit be? Which technology works best with extremely long circuits, and how does a customer know which one to use? The I-Connect007 Editorial Team explores these trending topics and what it means for PCB manufacturers.

Electronica 2022: Happy to Be Back in Munich

As we stepped out of the hotel into the drizzling rain, we were relieved that it wasn’t snow. Looking down the escalator into the U2 platform in Munich’s Hauptbahnhof central station early on the morning of Tuesday, Nov. 15 and observing the mass of humanity pushing and shoving to cram into trains to the exhibition centre, it appeared that a significant proportion of the international electronics industry had gathered to attend electronica 2022, co-located with SEMICON Europa and recognised as the world’s leading trade fair and conference for electronics.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

We’re heading into the holiday season, and tradeshow season is in full swing. Managing Editor Nolan Johnson and technical editor Pete Starkey have spent the week in Munich covering electronica, and apparently the attendance was wunderbar. COVID still persists, but everyone is ready to return to some normalcy. There’s a lot going on in our industry. In this week’s roundup, we have articles on everything from rigid-flex to the supply chain, as well as a primer on the role of physics in PCB design. As we move into the new year, you should check out this Top 10 list of tech trends for 2023, courtesy of Gartner.


Electronica: Picking Up Where We Left Off

The productronica/electronica pairing of trade shows is an experience unlike any other; anyone who has ever attended is likely to back me up on that claim. This year’s iteration of electronica, taking place in Messe Munich, Nov. 15-18, is no exception. I-Connect007 was onsite to gather the news and share our impressions of the show. First, the show’s attendance was rumored to be in the 60,000+ range. This number sure seemed to be reasonable given the crowd sizes we witnessed.

Catching up with ASC’s Bob Duke

Bob Duke has been involved in global sourcing for over 20 years, and by global sourcing, it’s far beyond basic PCBs and PCBAs. Bob was doing this sort of thing before it was cool. He has been involved in everything from metal and plastic fabrication to cables and wire harnesses— just about anything an electronics customer might need. So, when American Standard Circuits started a new division to expand its global sourcing solutions, it was no surprise that CEO Anaya Vardya tapped his long-time friend Bob Duke to lead the way. I sat down to have a talk with Bob about this new division and his plans for the future.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

The industry news cycle seems to be picking up speed lately. Of course, 30 days into the quarter is about when public companies announce their results, and in the midst of this worldwide financial situation, we’ve got all eyes on anything coming out from our counterparts in the industry. I’ve noticed that global corporate results (Nan Ya PCB and TTM, in particular) do seem to be on everyone’s radar. In addition to financial news, trade shows are popping back up around the world—Europe, India, and a special report from editor Andy Shaughnessy, who took his own road trip to Raleigh, reporting on PCB Carolina, which had its own heyday this year.

MKS' Atotech Embracing Digital Solutions for PCB Fabrication

‌MKS' Atotech continues to develop and release digital solutions within the Atotech product portfolio. In this conversation Stefan Stefanescu and Nolan Johnson, they discuss the work MKS' Atotech is engaged in, the problems to be solved, how this work will improve customer operations.

PCB Carolina Breaks Attendance Record

PCB Carolina has been growing consistently for the past decade, and this year the show reached a milestone: more than 1,000 attendees. Yesterday, the show was the busiest I’ve ever seen it; I almost had to park off the NC State University campus. Fortunately, I’m an expert at “the parking lot game.” I waited until a guy was leaving and then I sniped his spot. Bam!
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