Designing With Tighter Tolerances
David Ledger-Thomas is a PCB design engineer with Honeywell Aerospace. He’s spent decades designing PCBs for a variety of applications, including defense, aerospace, computers, and high-performance audio. I asked David to share some of his thoughts on designing high-tech boards with increasingly finer spaces, traces and pitch.
Designers Notebook: Specifying Lead-Free Compatible Surface Finish and Coating for Solderability and Surface Protection
A majority of the components furnished for electronic assembly are designed for solder attachment to metalized land patterns specifically designed for each device type. Providing a solder process-compatible surface finish on these land patterns is vital; however, selection of the surface finish on the circuit structure, whether plated or coated, can be greatly influenced by the components’ terminal metalization and the specific alloy composition used for the assembly process.
The 21st Century PCB Factory– Designed to Eliminate Offshore Cost Advantages
Over 15 years have passed since North America and Europe ceased being the center of worldwide PCB fabrication and were supplanted by a Chinese market with low-cost labor, lax environmental requirements, and strong government support. In just a few short years, the superior offshore cost advantages of this new dynamic put volume PCB production in the West out of business, aside from the military and specialty technology applications contained in the few shops that continue to exist today.
Zentech’s Matt Turpin on IMPACT Washington, D.C.’s Benefits
At the recent IMPACT Washington, D.C. 2016 event in Capitol Hill, Matt Turpin, CEO of EMS firm Zentech discusses with I-Connect007's Patty Goldman his expectations on the event, its importance, and how, so far, it has helped the electronics manufacturing industry in the United States.
Against the Density Wall: Landless Vias Might be the Answer
I saw my first landless via multilayer while visiting NEC in Japan in 1985. You may not know much about landless vias. This has been a well-kept secret for the last 30 years, possibly because it is not permitted on military boards, and therefore, discouraged in all IPC standards. So when a company showed us their landless via boards, we said, "You can't do that!"
EIPC Summer Conference 2016, Day 2: Strategies to Maintain Profitability in the European PCB Industry
Delegates awoke to a gloomy Scottish morning on the second day of the EIPC Summer Conference 2016. One or two who maybe overindulged in the whisky on the previous evening had some difficulty in finding time for breakfast before the conference proceedings, but the atmosphere in the meeting room was brighter than the weather outside, as Professor Martin Goosey introduced the day’s programme.
Finessing Miniaturized Magnetics into the Microelectronics Mix
A newly-announced DARPA program is betting that unprecedented on-chip integration of workhorse electronic components, such as transistors and capacitors, with less-familiar magnetic components with names like circulators and isolators, will open an expansive pathway to more capable electromagnetic systems.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Bob Neves Talks Trends Driving Test Services in China
Bob Neves, chairman and CTO of Microtek Laboratories China, talks with I-Connect007 guest editor Dick Crowe about a variety of issues, including the growing automotive electronics and military/aerospace industries, and how companies in the US that are buying boards and assemblers buying their materials in China can benefit from his company's test services locally.
Ken Moffat of American Standard Circuits Talks Aerospace Accreditation, DfM, and More
At the recent SMTA West Penn Expo & Tech Forum, I had the opportunity to speak with Ken Moffat, of American Standard Circuits, based in Chicago. Among the topics we discussed was the importance of attending local chapter shows like this one, and ASC’s value-added services such as DfM, especially in the metal-backed and RF arenas.
EIPC Summer Conference 2016, Day 1: Strategies to Maintain Profitability in the European PCB Industry
Resplendent in the kilt, EIPC chairman Alun Morgan welcomed a large and enthusiastic gathering of printed circuit professionals from all over Europe and as far afield as the USA, Canada and Russia, to the EIPC Summer Conference 2016 in Edinburgh, Scotland's cosmopolitan capital city.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO: ACE's Alan Cable Discusses Benefits of Selective Soldering, and Need for Lead Tinning
Alan Cable, president of ACE Production Technologies, talks to I-Connect007 guest editor Mark Thompson about selective soldering and how it helps electronics assemblers overcome the high cost of labor.
Institute of Circuit Technology Annual Symposium
On June 1, Technical Director Bill Wilkie introduced the 42nd Annual Symposium of the Institute of Circuit Technology, at the Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham, UK, commenting upon the success of the recent Foundation Course and acknowledging the sterling efforts of his course tutors, although recognising that some of his longest-standing experts were now retiring.
What You Probably Don't Know About NASA
While at Maker Faire 2016 in San Mateo recently, I met with George Gorospe of NASA’s Ames Research Center to discuss his group’s recent findings and projects, NASA’s CubeSats and microsatellites, and what the commercialization of space travel means for the near future.
CODE Takes Next Steps toward More Sophisticated, Resilient, and Collaborative Unmanned Air Systems
DARPA’s Collaborative Operations in Denied Environment (CODE) program seeks to help the U.S. military’s unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) conduct dynamic, long-distance engagements of highly mobile ground and maritime targets in denied or contested electromagnetic airspace, all while reducing required communication bandwidth and cognitive burden on human supervisors.
Global Technology Development: HDP User Group European Meeting 2016
Delighted and honoured to be invited again to attend the open session of the High Density Packaging User Group (HDPUG) European Meeting, I made my way to the picturesque Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, a tiny principality bordered by Belgium, France and Germany, and ranked among the world's top-three nations in both wealth and wine consumption, to learn about the latest in collaborative research and development by member companies engaged in the manufacture of products utilising high-density electronic packages.
Accelerating Complex Computer Simulations: Thinking beyond Ones and Zeros
Whether designed to predict the spread of an epidemic, understand the potential impacts of climate change, or model the acoustical signature of a newly designed ship hull, computer simulations are an essential tool of scientific discovery.
IMPACT Washington, D.C. 2016: Industry Leaders Advocate for a Pro-Manufacturing Policy Agenda
IPC places a high priority on educating government officials about key policy issues of importance to the electronics industry. That’s why top executives from leading electronics companies gathered in Washington, D.C. recently for “IMPACT Washington, D.C. 2016.”
Beyond FR-4: High-Performance Materials for Advanced Designs, Part 1
In the past 40-plus years of PCB manufacturing, the primary material of choice has overwhelmingly been e-glass supported FR-4 resin laminates. This is due to the excellent dimensional stability and reasonably acceptable thermal performance (based on glass transition temperature [Tg] and decomposition temperature [Td]). In general, these materials exhibit impressive performance and excellent cost for a wide range of applications.
Rogers: 'To PIM-test Our Material, You Have to Build a Circuit'
Passive intermodulation (PIM) is a circuit anomaly that has been occurring in cellular base station antennas, causing tremendous frustration and cost to antenna OEMs. As the supplier of the materials being used by these OEMs, Rogers Corp., and more specifically, Product Manager Tony Mattingly, must come up with a solution.
Today’s MilAero Options, Part 1: 'Pride Goeth Before...'
Historians, with their 20/20 hindsight, often write about the inevitable decline and fall of kingdoms, empires, religions, organizations, governments, and all the other permanent structures we humans build.
IPC President John Mitchell on the Past, Present, and Future, Part 1
We conducted this interview with IPC President John Mitchell on the show floor at IPC APEX EXPO to discuss the event, the changes on the IPC board, and the key metrics that IPC uses to measure their own performance and effectiveness. John also invites the industry to a unique challenge.
Catching up with…PNC: Open House Planned for May
I’m a great believer in open houses. Any time customers and vendors get together to learn and talk about what they can do for each other it’s a good thing. That’s why, when I heard that PNC, in Nutley, New Jersey, planned to hold an open house on May 20, I wanted to learn more about it. So I called my friend Sam Sangani, the company’s owner, to learn more about it.
Karl's Tech Talk: Green Legislation and the Impact on Electronic Materials and Processes
In general, “green” and “environmentally friendly” refer to manufacturing that involves the replacement of toxic substances with less toxic materials, the elimination of materials or processing steps, less consumption of chemicals (i.e., more efficient or higher yield processing), reduction of water use, reduction of energy use, less space requirement (i.e., smaller equipment footprint), recycling, and on-site recovery of materials.
Catching up with…Fastrak Manufacturing’s Phil Guzman
Fastrak Manufacturing is one of those companies that focus on solving problems, tough problems, problems that other companies cannot solve. Technically a contract manufacturer, Fastrak is much more than that, working with companies who have an engineering/manufacturing problem to solve, or with inventors trying to get a new product developed, manufactured and out to the market in a limited amount of time.
IPC APEX EXPO: Blackfox Celebrating 20 Years of Providing Quality Training
Sharon Montana-Beard, vice president of sales and operations at Blackfox, talks with I-Connect007's Andy Shaughnessy about the company's 20th year in business, their recent partnership with Pace, as well as their latest developments and activities.
Walt Custer Elaborates on his Annual IPC APEX EXPO Forecast Presentation
IPC APEX EXPO 2016 has come and gone, and this year, Walt Custer’s annual presentation forecasting the upcoming year for the industry was much anticipated, as always. I met up with Walt at the show to learn about his presentation and dig deeper into his findings.
IPC APEX EXPO: Acromag Discusses Newly Launched Electronic Contract Manufacturing Division
Acromag’s David Wolfe and Stacy Moore talk with I-Connect007’s Andy Shaughnessy about the company’s newly launched electronic contract manufacturing division, and the services it will offer to industries including telematics, military, aerospace, and automotive.
Rex Rozario, Part 4: A 10,000-ft. view of his Business Ventures, the Industry, and Life
In our final installment, Rex describes the common thread woven through all of his successful business ventures and varied interests: confidence and the fortitude to follow his dreams until they are realized. Rex also takes a look back at the evolution of the global PCB industry, and explains his approach to profitability, which includes building (and rewarding) a successful team.
IPC APEX EXPO: Glenn Oliver on His IPC 'Best Paper' on High-Frequency Materials
Glenn Oliver of DuPont discusses his award-winning paper, “Round Robin of High-Frequency Test Methods by IPC-D24C Task Group." Co-authors include Jonathan Weldon of DuPont, John Andresakis of Park Electrochemical, Chudy Nwachukwu of Isola, John Coonrod of Rogers Corporation, David L. Wynants of Taconic Advanced Dielectric Division, and Don DeGroot of Connected Community Networks. The paper looks at high-frequency offerings from a variety of materials providers.
Rex Rozario, Part 3: The Future Beckons
In Part 3 of our multi-part interview with industry veteran Rex Rozario, we begin with the future. Having achieved success in China, could Rex and the Graphic team have their sights trained on the U.S.? Also in this installment, Rex weighs in on China’s future, and we discuss the value of automation. Is it for everyone?
Rex Rozario, Part 2: The Beat Goes on: New Developments at Exeter, the Music Scene, and China
In Part 2 of I-Connect007’s multi-part interview with PCB industry icon Rex Rozario, we continue to discover more about what has made Graphic PLC the company it is today. Rex explains the work they’re doing with Exeter University, Graphic’s success in China, and his own personal experience in the UK music scene.
Mining Everyday Technologies to Anticipate Possibilities
For decades, U.S. national security was ensured in large part by a simple advantage: a near-monopoly on access to the most advanced technologies. Increasingly, however, off-the-shelf equipment developed for the transportation, construction, agricultural and other commercial sectors features highly sophisticated components, which resourceful adversaries can modify or combine to create novel and unanticipated security threats.
Robots: Eliminating the First Contact with an Enemy Force
"We should be thinking about having a robotic vanguard, particularly for maneuver formations," said Dr. Bob Sadowski. "There's no reason why the first contact with an enemy force should be with a man-platform, because it means that platform is at the greatest risk."
DuPont, Taconic and PFC Team Up For High-Speed Flex
At DesignCon, I sat down with three flex circuit specialists: Glenn Oliver of DuPont, Tom McCarthy of Taconic, and Steve Kelly of PFC Flexible Circuits. Our discussion covered a lot of territory, most notably the findings they described in the paper they were about to present later that day at DesignCon, and the future of flex, as they see it.
How a NASA Team Turned a Smartphone into a Satellite Business
Satellites aren’t small or cheap. The Solar Dynamics Observatory launched by NASA in 2010 weighs about 6,800 pounds and cost $850 million to build and put into orbit. Even the satellites built under NASA’s Discovery Program, aimed at encouraging development of low-cost spacecraft, still have price tags beyond the reach of smaller companies or research organizations.
High-performance laminates are characterized as base materials that in one or more aspects exceed the performance of FR-4, CEM, or paper/phenolic laminates. In this article, Karl Dietz talks about the different types of laminates, their dielectric requirements, and how they are being manufactured.
Fabrication Drawings and Electrical Test— Reading the Fine Print
When a new PCB design is born, designers envision what the product will provide when completed. Whether the product is for the consumer, aerospace, military, medical or countless other markets, the designers—or more likely, the customers—expect certain deliverables on the commodity they wish to purchase.
EMS: Quo Vadis? (Where are You Going?)
In an industry that is constantly changing, EMS providers have reinvented themselves to stay relevant and fuel profitable growth. In this article, Integrated Micro-Electronics Inc.'s Frederick Blancas talks about five of the many transformation trends happening in the EMS industry, and how they are pushing the industry to continue to evolve, progress and advance.
Mission Teams Prepare for Critical Days
Moments after Sentinel-3A separates from its rocket, a team of European mission control specialists will assume control, shepherding the newMoments after Sentinel-3A separates from its rocket, a team of European mission control specialists will assume control, shepherding the new spacecraft through its critical first days in space. spacecraft through its critical first days in space.
Happy’s Essential Skills: The Need for Total Quality Control (Six Sigma and Statistical Tools), Part 2
The statistical representation of Six Sigma describes quantitatively how a process is performing. To achieve Six Sigma, a process must not produce more than 3.4 defects per million opportunities. A Six Sigma defect is defined as anything outside of customer specifications. A Six Sigma opportunity is then the total quantity of chances for a defect.
New Tool Provides Successful Visual Inspection of Space Station Robot Arm
As NASA takes a break in RRM operations, it’s looking back on past achievements and celebrating one of its latest accomplishments - the successful inspection of Canadarm2, the International Space Station’s (ISS) robotic arm. In time, this visual inspection capability may help future servicing ventures at other orbits inspect for damage and failures on their spacecraft.
Counting Photons…How Low Can You Go?
The process of detecting light—whether with our eyes, cameras or other devices—is at the heart of a wide range of civilian and military applications, including light or laser detection and ranging (LIDAR or LADAR), photography, astronomy, quantum information processing, medical imaging, microscopy and communications.
A Conversation with IPC President and CEO John Mitchell
I-Connect007's Patty Goldman was able to sit down with John Mitchell, president and CEO of IPC, to discuss the organization and where we are going as an industry. We discussed IPC’s four aspirational goals—standards, education, advocacy and solutions—as well as short-term goals. We also talked a bit about going virtual and becoming paperless.
IPC: Connecting Electronics Industries
John Mitchell, president and CEO of IPC—Association Connecting Electronics Industries, provides the basic overview of the association—its goals and basic mission, activities, and how it best serves its membership. He also provides a snapshot of how IPC promotes technology development in the industry through standardization.
Alpha Talks Challenges of Solder Recycling
Jason Fullerton, customer technical support engineer with Alpha, talked with I-Connect007's Patty Goldman about his presentation on recycling solder and why doing this in-house is not a good idea. He also discussed about the new, smaller particle solder pastes and about Alpha’s recycling program that is really beneficial to their customers.
Spinoff 2016 Highlights Space Technologies Used in Daily Life on Earth
NASA technology is all around us, turning trash into oil, saving women from a deadly complication of childbirth, and putting the bubbles in beer. These technologies and more are featured in the 2016 edition of NASA’s annual Spinoff publication, highlighting the many places NASA shows up in daily life and the aeronautics and space programs where the innovations got their start.
The Associations Issue
Well, it’s the end of the year. How did that happen? It really is true that every year goes by a little faster. You young whippersnappers out there won’t know what I’m talking about, but just you wait and see. We changed it up for our December issues this year. Instead of doing a year-end review, we decided to devote this month to our associations and trade organizations—at least some, because when you start poking around, you will find there are scads of them.
Honeywell Paper Investigates Avionics Vibration Durability
Dr. Joseph Juarez, principal mechanical engineer at Honeywell International, discusses with I-Connect007's Andy Shaughnessy his SMTA paper, which addresses avionics vibration durability between tin-lead and lead-free solder, the years of testing he conducted, the importance of doing a good soldering job, and some of the surprising findings of his research.
The Opportunities for Plasma Processing
Pete Starkey interviewed Andre Bodegom, managing director of Netherlands-based Adeon Technologies B.V., about their long relationship with Nordson MARCH, typical applications for plasma equipment, and what the most challenging materials are from the point of view of plasma processing in the PCB industry.
NASA's SOHO Celebrates 20 Years of Space-based Science
After 20 years in space, ESA and NASA’s Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, or SOHO, is still going strong. Originally launched in 1995 to study the sun and its influence out to the very edges of the solar system, SOHO revolutionized this field of science, known as heliophysics, providing the basis for nearly 5,000 scientific papers. SOHO also found an unexpected role as the greatest comet hunter of all time—reaching 3,000 comet discoveries in September 2015.
Advancing the Design and Modeling of Complex Systems
Complex interconnected systems are increasingly becoming part of everyday life in both military and civilian environments. In the military domain, air-dominance system-of-systems concepts, such as those being developed under DARPA’s SoSITE effort, envision manned and unmanned aircraft linked by networks that seamlessly share data and resources in real time.
Tremol SMD Talks EMS Trends and Industry Outlook
At the recent productronica 2015 event in Munich, Germany, I interviewed Kiril Yanneff, CEO of Bulgaria-based EMS firm Tremol SMD about the electronics manufacturing landscape in east Europe and his outlook for the industry. He also spoke about the significance of automating production lines.
CDR, Orange Rockets and a Sense of 'Since'
Already in 2015, the Space Launch System team has done things like successfully fired an incredibly powerful qualification test version of the solid rocket boosters, completed an entire series of full-duration tests of a RS-25 core stage engine, built a structural test article of the first flight’s upper stage and filled a factory floor with 50 barrels, rings and domes, all 27.6 feet around, all waiting to be stacked into sections of the core stage.
American Standard Circuits Taking Business to New Heights
PCB007 Managing Editor Patty Goldman sat down with American Standard Circuits President Anaya Vardya at the recent SMTAI show and conference in Rosemont, IL. Anaya wanted to share all the great new things going on at his company. Among the topics they discussed: new equipment, new processes, new people, and what it all means for ASC’s growth.