How to Dismantle a Nuclear Bomb
How do weapons inspectors verify that a nuclear bomb has been dismantled? An unsettling answer is: They don’t, for the most part. When countries sign arms reduction pacts, they do not typically grant inspectors complete access to their nuclear technologies, for fear of giving away military secrets.
IPC Panel on Bottom-terminated Components
During the IPC Summer Meetings in Raleigh, North Carolina, I sat down with Tom Rovere, a materials and process engineer at Lockheed Martin in Owego, New York. We explored a panel discussion on bottom-terminated components (BTCs) that Tom participated in as well as the challenges and issues related to BTCs and the important role that designers play in that process.
Additive Electronics Conference Set for October 2019
Tara Dunn, president of Omni PCB and I-Connect007 columnist, and Lenora Clark, director of autonomous driving and safety technology at MacDermid Alpha Automotive, discuss what can be expected from the upcoming Additive Electronics Conference in San Jose, California, the impetus and motivation behind the conference, and who can benefit the most from attending.
Meet Dr. Bill Cardoso, SMT007 Columnist
Dr. Bill Cardoso started his first company at age 17 in Brazil, selling it a few years later to work for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, where he led research in nuclear physics to build the equipment that discovered the Higgs Boson (and the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics). After 10 years at Fermilab, he moved from Chicago to sunny San Diego to start Creative Electron in his garage in 2008.
Meet Mike Hill, I-Connect007 Columnist
Mike Hill has been in the PWB fabrication industry for over 40 years. Throughout his career, he has been a member of IPC and participated in specification writing for both IPC and the military. Within IPC, he has received the President's Award, General Chairmanship, Committee Chairmanship, and many other recognitions. In his columns, Mike will help you better understand the requirements and how-to's for MIL-PRF-31032 certification for PWB fabrication.
The Role of Parylene Conformal Coatings in Next-gen Electronics
Designers and manufacturers of electronics are under pressure to make packages smaller, lighter, and more environmentally friendly, while ensuring that their new technologies perform reliably in their operating environments. This article takes a closer look at Parylene conformal coatings and the role they can play in helping manufacturers address current and future challenges in the electronics industry.
Extending Field of View in Advanced Imaging Systems
The military relies on advanced imaging systems for a number of critical capabilities and applications – from Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) and situational awareness to weapon sights. These powerful systems enable defense users to capture and analyze visual data, providing key insights both on and off the battlefield.
IPC Reliability Forum Wrap-up With Brook Sandy-Smith
I attended the recent IPC High-Reliability Forum and Microvia Summit in Baltimore, Maryland. The speakers and panelists focused on a variety of topics, but one issue that kept popping up was the failure of some microvias on military and aerospace PCBs. Fortunately, some smart technologists are focusing on determining the cause of these via failures. I asked Brook Sandy-Smith, IPC’s technical education program manager, to give us a quick wrap-up of this event.
26 Meters of Flex!
Barry Matties spoke with Philip Johnston, managing director of Trackwise Designs, about the company’s patented length-unlimited multilayer printed circuits aimed at replacing conventional wire harnesses. Originally created for the aerospace industry, Trackwise has since seen growing interest from a number of different industries. Jake Kelly, managing director and chairman of Viking Test Ltd., also joined the conversation to discuss the importance of having a flexible equipment supplier when dealing with such a unique technology.
IPC High-reliability Forum and Microvia Summit Review, Part I
The IPC High-Reliability Forum and Microvia Summit covered a broad range of topics related to reliability and provided interactive opportunities to share expert knowledge and experience in determining and understanding the causes of failure and selecting the best design rules, materials, processes, and test methods to maximise product reliability.
Crowded Congressional Calendar Affects Industry Priorities
More than five months remain in 2019, but U.S. congressional leaders are already running out of time as they face a long list of must-pass bills before year’s end. Although some of these bills do not affect the electronics industry, some of them do, and the overall agenda does affect the opportunities and risks we face.
A Conversation with Karen McConnell—An Emerging Engineer Program Mentor
IPC’s Emerging Engineer program, launched in 2016, provides early career professionals an opportunity to learn from dedicated industry volunteers who participate in IPC standards development. IPC’s editorial staff had the opportunity to talk with one of those dedicated volunteers, mentor Karen McConnell, Senior Staff Engineer CAD CAM, Northrop Grumman, about why she participates as a mentor in IPC’s Emerging Engineer program.
The Power of Alignment: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the First Moon Landing
"We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too."
Dissecting the IPC Regional Survey on PCB Technology Trends
Sharon Starr, Denny Fritz, and Mike Carano talk about the global 2018 IPC Technology Trends Report released early this year—the size of the survey, how it was conducted, the general findings, and regional differences. They also shared their takeaways and regional insights, and the industry outlook over the next five to 10 years.
For Climbing Robots, the Sky's the Limit
Robots can drive on the plains and craters of Mars, but what if we could explore cliffs, polar caps and other hard-to-reach places on the Red Planet and beyond? Designed by engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, a four-limbed robot named LEMUR (Limbed Excursion Mechanical Utility Robot) can scale rock walls, gripping with hundreds of tiny fishhooks in each of its 16 fingers and using artificial intelligence (AI) to find its way around obstacles.
Saying Yes to Opportunities: IPC’s Emerging Engineer Program Offers Career Growth for Electronics Industry Newcomers
What makes the IPC Emerging Engineer Program a premier networking and career enriching program? IPC staff spoke to Emerging Engineer Kate Stees, materials and process engineer, Lockheed Martin, about her experience in the program and why she recommends it to other engineers.
Graphene Goes to Space
The experiment aims to test the possibilities of printing graphene inks in space. Graphene inks can be used in the production of batteries, supercapacitors, printed electronics, and more. If researchers are able to demonstrate how these inks work in space, astronauts could potentially print their own devices on the go, or they can repair electronics with graphene ink printers.
AWE 2019: Go XR, Be Awesome
Dan Feinberg attended and covered the recent 2019 Augmented World Expo (AWE) and conference in Santa Clara, California. The event featured the latest developments and technologies in augmented (AR), mixed (MR), virtual (VR), and extended virtual reality (many just call it all XR to make it simple). Here's a wrap-up of the event.
What Electronics Companies Need to Know About Environmental Product Requirements
The task of monitoring and complying with environmental, health and safety (EHS) rules that affect electronics companies and their products requires a watchful eye on all levels of government: local, state, national, and international.
IPC’s PCB Tech Trends Study Highlights Issues Impacting Fabricators
The 2018 survey results indicated the need for speed and low loss as critical functions of the materials chosen. This is the digital age, and with the Internet of Things, virtual and augmented reality, vehicle-to-vehicle communication, etc., the need for low-loss and ultra-low-loss materials continues to grow as a percentage of circuit boards fabricated.
IMPACT Washington, D.C. 2019 Recap: Leaders Call for Action on USMCA Trade Deal
Top executives from electronics companies across the United States were in Washington, D.C., last week to call on the Trump administration and Congress to support policies that will drive the electronics industry’s future growth in North America and worldwide.
NASA Awards Artemis Contract for Lunar Gateway Power, Propulsion
In one of the first steps of the agency’s Artemis lunar exploration plans, NASA announced the selection of Maxar Technologies, formerly SSL, in Westminster, Colorado, to develop and demonstrate power, propulsion and communications capabilities for NASA’s lunar Gateway.
FlexFactor Program Informs, Inspires, Attracts, and Recruits Talent
Barry Matties and Nolan Johnson speak with Brynt Parmeter, Emily McGrath, Clarence Chi, and Mikayla Ridi about the NextFlex program FlexFactor. This initiative aims to help high school and college students see potential futures in the advanced manufacturing sector and combat common misperceptions young people might have about modern-day manufacturing.
Communication and Information: Two Keys to Success
Nolan Johnson and Duane Benson, an I-Connect007 columnist and a representative from Milwaukee Electronics, discuss how assemblers can help their customers through submitting and maintaining accurate information, and engaging in open communication early and often about the highly important bill of materials.
Intelligent Healing for Complex Wounds
Blast injuries, burns, and other wounds experienced by warfighters often catastrophically damage their bones, skin, and nerves, resulting in months to years of recovery for the most severe injuries and often returning imperfect results.
Incoming CEO Steve Pudles on the Acquisition of Zentech
Nolan Johnson talks to Steve Pudles about the recent acquisition of Zentech Manufacturing Inc. by BlackBern Partners LLC and Zentech management. Steve, also an investor in Zentech, steps in as the incoming CEO of the new organization and discusses the deal, his new role, changes to management, and the company's plans post-sale.
Catching up With Darrel Yarbrough of YES
Yarbrough Electronic Sales (YES) is one of the fastest growing contract manufacturers in the Southwest. As people get to know them better, they are becoming the go-to company in their area. In this interview, long-time industry veteran Darrel Yarbrough, owner of YES, provides a background about the company, its capabilities, and his outlook for the industry.
Zentech's Mission-critical Tips for Program Success
Nolan Johnson and John Vaughan, I-Connect007 columnist and VP of sales and marketing at Zentech Manufacturing, discuss how to make customer programs successful through early communication, complete design packages, and more from a company servicing mission- and life-critical industries, including military, aerospace, and medical.
Super PCB's Jessica Zhang on LEDs and Other Trending Business Areas
In an interview with I-Connect007 at the recent West Penn SMTA Expo, Super PCB Program Manager Jessica Zhang provides an overview of the company and shares new business trends they're seeing, including LEDs, wearable devices, and more.
University Students Point to the Future in their Research
Cutting-edge automation, AI, machine learning, and Industry 4.0 are all part of the response to the increasing demands for printed circuit boards that are not only faster, smaller, and cheaper but also higher-frequency, lower-loss, more temperature tolerant, and higher reliability. In many cases, it will be unique and advanced research coming out of the university system that will help move the industry forward.
PCB Design Is All in the Family With Nicole Pacino
I shared a flight with Nicole Pacino on the way to Altium Live in Munich, and she mentioned that her father was speaking at the show. I went down the list of speakers, and it turned out that her dad is Mike Creeden of San Diego PCB. In Germany, I asked Nicole to tell us about how she got into this industry, and what we could do to draw more young people into this career.
Top 10 Most-Read SMT007 Articles for March
Starting this month, we will take a look back at the most popular SMT007 news, articles, interviews, and columns over the past 30 days. For the month of March, these are the top 10 most-read SMT007 articles. Check them out.
Nano Dimension Offers Update on Dragonfly 3D Printer a Year After Launch
The Nano Dimension Dragonfly 3D printer arrived in much fanfare a little over a year ago. The company has been selling them to customers around the world, many of whom are using them to print antennas, sensors, and PCBs. At AltiumLive in Munich, I asked Product Manager Robert Even to discuss what they’ve learned in the year since the Dragonfly debuted, and some potential uses for 3D printing technology.
Jennie Hwang: Get Ready for Disruptive Technologies
At IPC APEX EXPO 2019, Dr. Jennie S. Hwang, a columnist, author, and all-around an expert in PCB assembly, discusses some of the changes she has seen since joining the industry, and disruptive technologies that technologists we are going to have to face in the near future. Are you ready for the future?
SMTA Europe Electronics in Harsh Environments Conference 2019: A Preview
As a prelude to this year's Electronics in Harsh Environments conference, which will be held on April 2–4, 2019 in Amsterdam, Netherlands, SMTA Europe chairman Keith Bryant, supported by technical specialist Bob Willis, showcased the challenges and key issues faced by design and process engineers worldwide, in a webinar entitled "Harsh Environment Failures—Causes & Cures."
IPC Validation Services: New Programs and Updates
At the recent IPC APEX EXPO 2019 show, Randy Cherry, director of IPC Validation Services, gives Judy Warner an overview of a new IPC-1791 QML program focused on prime contractors and OEMs, and provides updates on existing programs.
NCAB Group on Supply Chain Issues
In an interview with I-Connect007, Wayne Antal, a key account manager with NCAB Group, discusses supply chain issues, the effect he sees on PCB fabrication channels, and how his customers are adapting to the new business dynamics.
Gene Weiner on the IPC APEX EXPO 2019 Automotive Executive Forum
Dan Feinberg spoke with Gene Weiner, president and CEO of Weiner International Associates, about IPC's history of forums, his thoughts on the Executive Forum on Advancing Automotive Electronics at IPC APEX EXPO 2019, and how the IPC Hall of Famers and the industry can help improve forum success.
Inspiring the Next Generation of Industry Leaders: IPC STEM Student Outreach Program
At IPC APEX EXPO 2019, I-Connect007 Managing Editor Patty Goldman spoke with Colette Buscemi, IPC's senior director for education programs, about the success and expansion of the IPC STEM Student Outreach Program, activities and scholarship opportunities for students through sponsor support—including I-Connect007—and feedback she received on the event.
NCAB Group on Supply Chain Issues
Wayne Antal, a key account manager with NCAB Group, discusses supply chain issues, the effect he sees on PCB fabrication channels, and how his customers are adapting to the new business dynamics. This is part one of a two-part conversation with Antal.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO 2019: Lenthor Discusses Facility Expansion and New Equipment
Rich Clemente, general manager of Lenthor Engineering, discusses with Dan Feinberg, I-Connect007 Guest Editor, the company’s expansion and new facility and equipment. He also talks about his outlook for the electronics manufacturing industry in North America.
Can E-waste and Metals Recovery Efforts Lower Environmental Risks and Liability?
Gold, palladium, silver, and other precious metals (PMs) in manufacturing wastes represent high value, but how PMs are recovered can pose environmental and liability issues. Aerospace and electronics manufacturers and suppliers, in particular, produce volumes of manufacturing wastes that contain varying levels of PMs.
Award-winning Koh Young Process Optimizer
Joel Scutchfield, sales director with Koh Young America, discusses the company's outlook and new product offerings for 2019, including their Koh Young Process Optimizer (KPO), which won an award at IPC APEX EXPO 2019 for the process control software category.
Super Dry Storage Options to Manage Intermetallic Growth
Guest Editor Kelly Dack speaks with Richard Heimsch, director of Super Dry, about some of the differences between storing components and other materials for assembly floor storage versus long-term storage, and how Super Dry can help combat intermetallic growth.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Zentech on the Fourth Pillar of DoD Acquisitions, and NIST
Steve Williams speaks with John Vaughan, VP of sales and marketing for Zentech, about their dominance in the military/aerospace market sector, the new "fourth pillar of DoD acquisitions," and how companies that do not take the NIST initiative seriously will be quickly left behind.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO 2019: Taiyo Discusses New Solder Masks and Photoimageables
Donald Monn, Midwest regional sales manager for Taiyo America, turns the tables on I-Connect007 Technical Editor Pete Starkey and quizzes him about his knowledge of Taiyo's new crack-resistant white solder mask for automotive, and the company's standard photoimageables re-formulated for laser direct imaging (LDI) that avoid the need for UL requalification.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO 2019: Ventec's Goodwin on Global Technology Directions
Mark Goodwin, Ventec International Group CEO EMEA and USA, comments on technology directions globally and in the North American market. He also explains how Ventec's quality accreditations, technical expertise, and flexible manufacturing capacity continue to strengthen their leading position.
CES 2019: More Show Floor Favorites
In my final piece covering CES 2019, I will review more automotive technology, updates on 3D printing, and some trending devices such as smartwatches and new computer components for those that either need or just want to have extremely powerful and impressive-looking computers.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO 2019: Ventec Highlights Core Solutions for Thermal Management
Jack Pattie, president of Ventec International Group, speaks with I-Connect007 Guest Editor Kelly Dack about the many heat issues associated with circuit boards right now—whether in general applications, power applications, PCs—as everyone demands smaller, faster, and more powerful systems.
Happy Anniversary, Gerber Format: Looking Ahead to Digital Innovation
This year, we celebrate the 55th anniversary of the introduction of the Gerber machine language format. We can thank H. Joseph Gerber, the man who took manual PCB design to the next level with the automated photoplotter, for giving us this format in 1964. Gerber immigrated to the United States in 1940 with his mother following the death of his father during the Holocaust. Gerber started Gerber Scientific Instrument Company in 1948 to commercialize his first patented invention—the variable scale.
ESI’s Chris Ryder: There’s More to Choosing a Laser Than You Think
At the recent HKPCA show, I sat down with ESI’s Chris Ryder, director of product management—HDI—to discuss considerations for choosing a new laser system, and how ESI uses its decades of flex and rigid-flex drilling experience to help guide customers in their decision-making process.
Dock Brown on Succeeding at Failure Analysis
Dock Brown of DfR Solutions gave a keynote speech at SMTAI, “Requirements for Both Cleaning and Coating to Building Medical Hardware.” Barry Matties and Happy Holden sat down with Dock to discuss the current trends he sees in failure analysis, the concept of “rules versus tools,” and how predictive engineering software used early in the design cycle can help predict failures in components and microvias and drive cost down.
Randy Burcham Discusses New Techniques for BOM, Daughterboards
During AltiumLive, I spoke with IOTA Engineering's Randy Burcham, who taught several classes during the event. He explained his methodology for filtering BOM data as well as his new approach to working with daughterboards and how he was up and running on Altium tools after only three days.
Defense Speak Interpreted: PERM—Pb-free Electronics Risk Management
In this column, we explore PERM—the Pb-free Electronics Risk Management Consortium. No, the group members do not all have curly hair! The name was chosen around 2008 by a group of engineers from aerospace, defense, and harsh environment (ADHE) organizations.
Martyn Gaudion on Signal Integrity Modelling and Stackup Tools
The accuracy of signal integrity modelling continues to improve, and stackup tools are becoming widely used, which now include material suppliers' datasheet information. During the recent electronica show in Munich, Germany, Martyn Gaudion, managing director at Polar Instruments, explained how Polar often serves as a bridge between PCB design and fabrication, and why educating his customers is so critical.
Space Communications and Navigation: Supporting Exploration
NASA spacecraft have studied Earth and the surrounding universe for more than 60 years, making ground-breaking discoveries and enabling human exploration. From hundreds, thousands and millions of miles away, these spacecraft must send their critical information back to Earth and the scientists who can use it.
Ventec's Marketing Strategy and Their Newly Appointed Technology Ambassador
At electronica 2018, Mark Goodwin, chief operating officer at Ventec International Group, discusses the company’s marketing strategy along with their newly appointed technology ambassador, Alun Morgan, and how he sees the world.
Tempo Automation's Open House Raises the Curtain in San Francisco
Based in San Francisco, Tempo Automation specializes in rapid PCB assembly and on low volume production for a wide range of board complexities. It recently held an open house at its brand-new facility in the South of Market (SoMa) district—which is normally restricted under customer non-disclosure agreements as well as International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) regulations—to customers, vendors, local designers, and government officials.
150+ Years of Experience: Reflections with Three Industry Icons
You would be hard-pressed to find a more knowledgeable and experienced group than that of Gary Ferrari, Gene Weiner, and Happy Holden. In a brief interview with Barry Matties, these three industry icons consider the past, present, and future state of electronics manufacturing while also offering advice to the newest generation of manufacturers.
DARPA Unveils 2019 AI Colloquium
Throughout DARPA’s history, artificial intelligence (AI) has been an important area of groundbreaking research and development (R&D). In the 1960s, DARPA researchers completed some of the foundational work in the field, leading to the creation of expert systems, or the first wave of AI technologies.
Christine Pearsall on Tempo Automation and PCB West
Christine Pearsall, senior director of marketing for Tempo Automation, discusses with Consulting Technical Editor Tim Haag what services Tempo Automation provides, what attracts engineers and designers most to the company, and what events they plan to attend in the upcoming year.