Latest Articles

Just Ask Happy: Ranking the Top Countries by Fab Technology and Production

We asked for you to send in your questions for Happy Holden, and you took us up on it! The questions you've posed run the gamut, covering technology, the worldwide fab market, and everything in between. Enjoy.

I-Connect007 Leadership Survey: Valuable Lessons From Grandma

The I-Connect007 research team has been surveying readers on the topic of leadership as part of our ongoing planning for upcoming issues. As this response illustrates, great examples of leadership can be found everywhere—provided we're paying attention.

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

The common theme in this week’s Top 5 editor’s picks is “change.” We’re talking change in the form of forwarding process, achieving milestones, evolving, and improving metrics. This week’s picks are not only newsworthy but also captured reader attention based on metrics. If you haven’t read any other news items from the industry this week, I propose these five must-reads.

Nano Dimension Appoints LM Instruments to Market PCB/Hi-PEDs 3D-Printers

Nano Dimension Ltd., a leading Additively Manufactured Electronics (AME)/PE (Printed Electronics) provider, has signed an agreement with LM Instruments, which will represent Nano Dimension in the Mid-Atlantic States by marketing its 3D-Fabrication Machines for High-Performance Electronic Devices (Hi-PEDs).

Shaun Tibbals and Electra Polymer: Finding the Silver Linings in COVID-19

On July 8, Nolan Johnson spoke with Shaun Tibbals, sales and marketing director for Electra Polymers. Shaun discusses the Electra Polymer’s business outlook responses to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

Focus on the Impact of Data

Nolan Johnson recently spoke with Dana Korf about his experience with total quality management (TQM) throughout his career. Dana recommends not getting stuck on the process of collecting the data and documenting it, but instead to look at the impact. If you haven’t made an impact, then you haven’t done a good job.

Understanding MIL-PRF-31032, Part 1

Over the course of this series, Anaya Vardya will discuss topics such as MIL-PRF-31032 requirements, the quality plan, responsibilities of the Technical Review Board (TRB), and the testing and reporting requirements for the certified shop into the DLA.

Chris Hanson: New Ventec IMS Dielectrics Rated for Higher Temps

Andy Shaughnessy recently spoke with Chris Hanson, global head of IMS Technology for Ventec International Group. During their conversation, Chris discusses his group’s recent efforts to create new IMS materials, with a focus on dielectrics. As Chris explains, Ventec has developed several new dielectrics that can withstand much higher operating temperatures, one of which is UL-rated for a maximum operating temp of 155°C, which may be the highest for an IMS dielectric.

Just Ask Happy: Calculating Trace Temps in a Vacuum

We asked for you to send in your questions for Happy Holden, and you took us up on it! The questions you've posed run the gamut, covering technology, the worldwide fab market, and everything in between. Enjoy.

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

The USMCA trade agreement was just the tip of the iceberg in news affecting our industry this week. We also saw more young people getting involved in the industry, an HDP User Group webinar on automotive thermal issues, and more questions for our own Happy Holden—this time, on stacked microvia reliability, or the lack thereof.


Just Ask Happy: Two-Layer Low-Speed PCBs

We asked for you to send in your questions for Happy Holden, and you took us up on it! The questions you've posed run the gamut, covering technology, the worldwide fab market, and everything in between. Enjoy.

Catching Up With Fane Friberg: Supply Chain Management Expert

Dan Beaulieu recently spoke with Fane Friberg, principal at CEPHAS and a supply chain management expert, about how he started his company, as well as current market challenges he sees and what he thinks the future holds for companies—especially post-pandemic.

Materials for Automotive Applications: Thermal Management Issues

For Pete Starkey, the highlight of the recent HDP User Group Automotive Technology Webinar was Alun Morgan’s presentation on materials for automotive applications. This forward-looking informational session covered the latest developments in automotive standards and automotive electronic packaging.

IPC: Shawn DuBravac and Chris Mitchell on USMCA

On July 1, 2020, the USMCA trade act (United States-Mexico-Canada Act) phased in as a trade agreement guiding economic trade and growth in North America. Nolan Johnson spoke with both Shawn DuBravac, IPC’s chief economist, and Chris Mitchell, IPC’s vice president of global government affairs and an I-Connect007 columnist, about the impact of USMCA on North American electronics manufacturing.

Just Ask Happy: Stacked Microvia Reliability Issues

We asked for you to send in your questions for Happy Holden, and you took us up on it! The questions you've posed run the gamut, covering technology, the worldwide fab market, and everything in between. Enjoy.

Just Ask Happy: The Future of 3D Printing

We asked for you to send in your questions for Happy Holden, and you took us up on it! The questions you've posed run the gamut, covering technology, the worldwide fab market, and everything in between. Enjoy.

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

Updates on trade shows, conferences, and associations dominated industry news this past week. Some events are returning to a physical venue; others are opting for a virtual version in 2020. Add to that a spate of cross-association cooperative agreements and new programs for career development coming from multiple associations, and you’ve delivered four of my top five picks.

Just Ask Happy: The Future of Mechanical Blind, Buried Vias

We asked for you to send in your questions for Happy Holden, and you took us up on it! The questions you've posed run the gamut, covering technology, the worldwide fab market, and everything in between. Enjoy.

Just Ask Happy: The Proper Order of Design Techniques to Improve Connectivity

We asked for you to send in your questions for Happy Holden, and you took us up on it! The questions you've posed run the gamut, covering technology, the worldwide fab market, and everything in between.

Happy Holden Is Taking Your Questions Now

Happy Holden, the industry icon and “Father of HDI,” is ready to answer your questions! What have you always wanted to ask Happy, but never thought you'd have the chance? Now is your chance! Please take a few minutes to jot down your questions for Happy. A select group of answers will be published in upcoming editions of I-Connect007 magazines and newsletters.


Elmatica’s Didrik Bech Accepts Role as IPC Cybersecurity Task Group Vice-Chair

On June 18, Nolan Johnson spoke with Didrik Bech, Elmatica CEO and I-Connect007 columnist, who was recently selected as vice-chair for IPC’s Cybersecurity Task Group. During their conversation, Didrik outlined the task group’s mission statement and the target audience for its work. He also shared specific examples where cybersecurity is increasingly important to the electronics manufacturing industry globally.

Dr. Ron Lasky: A Solder Alloy and Solder Paste Overview

The I-Connect007 editorial team spoke with Dr. Ron Lasky about why the world has not embraced some of the exciting alloys that companies like Indium Corporation have developed. He also provides an overview of solder alloys, including the difficulty of qualifying SAC305.

Book Excerpt: Producing the Perfect Data Package, Part 2

The following is an excerpt from Chapter 2 of Mark Thompson's I-Connect007 eBook The Printed Circuit Designer’s Guide to... Producing the Perfect Data Package. Mark is in engineering support at Prototron Circuits and a Design007 Magazine columnist.

Dana Korf: What Fabricators Expect From Designers

Andy Shaughnessy and Barry Matties spoke with Dana Korf, former chief PCB technologist for Huawei and currently principal consultant of Korf Consultancy, about the breakdown in communication between manufacturers and designers. Dana discusses exactly what a fabricator expects from a PCB designer, why these expectations are often not met, and the need for designers to make mistakes so that they can learn from them.

MTV Offers Solder Paste Testing Solution

The miniaturization test vehicle (MTV) is a common benchmark test board that can gauge about 25 different paste properties and analyze how different solder pastes will perform in an assembly line. Chrys Shea details the work she’s done to develop and release the MTV.

Book Excerpt: Thermal Management With Insulated Metal Substrates, Part 2

The following is an excerpt from the second half of Chapter 1 of "The Printed Circuit Designer's Guide to... Thermal Management With Insulated Metal Substrates," written by Ventec International Group’s Didier Mauve and Ian Mayoh. In this free eBook, the authors provide PCB designers with the essential information required to understand the thermal, electrical, and mechanical characteristics of insulated metal substrate laminates.

This Month in PCB007 Magazine: Lessons Learned From Past Applications of TQM

Nolan Johnson spoke with Dan Feinberg about his experiences with TQM while serving as president of Dynachem and Morton Electronic Materials in the ‘90s. In this interview, Dan explains how TQM can sometimes be misidentified as a philosophy instead of a set of tools and processes focused on accomplishing business goals.

Walt Custer’s EIPC Business Outlook Webinar: ‘You Can’t Sugarcoat This Stuff!’

In normal circumstances, it would have been the time of year for the EIPC Summer Conference, and Walt Custer would have opened the proceedings with his business outlook for the global electronics industry. However, circumstances were far from normal. Pete Starkey discusses some of the takeaways from Custer's global business outlook webinar, organized by EIPC.

Dan Beaulieu, Part 2: Marketing in Uncertain Times

Dan Beaulieu, president of D.B. Management and an I-Connect007 columnist, and Nolan Johnson return for a second conversation on sales and marketing in the current business environment. In this conversation, Nolan asked Dan about the “wait and see” attitude some industry professionals have been leaning on during the second quarter of 2020.

TQM: The Tyranny of the Urgent

The I-Connect007 editorial team recently spoke with Dr. Ron Lasky about what’s stopping companies from improving their processes, especially regarding productivity.


Dan Beaulieu, Part 1: Lead Generation

Dan Beaulieu, president of D.B. Management and an I-Connect007 columnist, spoke with Nolan Johnson on the importance of continuing to generate leads and new customers. Beaulieu addressed concerns about market uncertainty, shared some real-world examples of mistakes, and made a strong case that sales and marketing is a process that must be constantly ongoing to keep a full funnel of customers and business.

June PCB007 Magazine on TQM: A Preview

The June issue of PCB007 Magazine will be published next week. Can’t wait to download it? Enjoy this preview of how we arrived at the topic of TQM, as well as what you can expect to read inside. One gem: Happy Holden retrieves some of W. Edwards Deming’s lost chapters after uncovering pre-publication drafts of the 1985 Deming book that Happy received as a training handout at Hewlett-Packard from Deming himself.

The iNEMI 2019 Roadmap: Optoelectronics

Continuing the series of webinars highlighting recently-published chapters of iNEMI’s 2019 Roadmap—the comprehensive guidebook to the future goals and needs of the electronics manufacturing industry—the installment on optoelectronics examined and discussed data transmission by optical technology. Pete Starkey provides an overview.

Where The Jobs Are: The I-Connect007 Help Wanted Pages

If you’re looking for a career in the PCB industry—design, fabrication, or assembly—the I-Connect007 Career Opportunities section, jobconnect007.com, is the first place you should look. Right now, there are job openings for positions that span the entire circuit board supply chain, and you can submit your resume directly to the hiring managers by clicking on the ad.

PCB Builder from Digi-Key Lets Customers Order Directly From Board Shops

On June 2, components distributor Digi-Key Electronics announced the release of PCB Builder, a tool that lets customers have PCBs shipped directly from the fabricator. PCB Builder also allows customers to perform file layer checks and receive instant quotes from multiple fabricators. Andy Shaughnessy spoke with Josh Mickolio, supplier business development manager for Digi-Key, about the development of PCB Builder and what this tool means to PCB designers and design engineers.

The iNEMI 2019 Roadmap: Flexible Hybrid Electronics

The emerging trend for “electronics on everything, everything with electronics” was the theme of iNEMI’s webinar presentation of the highlights of its recently published Flexible Hybrid Electronics Roadmap Chapter, delivered by Girish Wable, senior engineering services manager with Jabil. Pete Starkey provides an overview.

Book Excerpt: Producing the Perfect Data Package

The following is an excerpt from Chapter 1 of Mark Thompson's I-Connect007 eBook "The Printed Circuit Designer’s Guide to... Producing the Perfect Data Package." Mark is in engineering support at Prototron Circuits and a Design007 columnist.

Plasma Applications in the PCB Industry

Plasma, which consists of ionized gas atoms, is the fourth state of matter. On Earth, plasma does not occur naturally, but it is sometimes visible at high altitudes as auroras. But off-planet, elsewhere in the universe, almost all visible matter is plasma. Plasma is a mixture of positively charged atomic hulls, free electrons, free radicals, and neutral particles; the total electrical charge is neutral, conductive, and highly reactive. Due to permanent recombination, plasma lights can come in different colors.

SpaceX Manned Mission Promises More Success for Milaero and Electronics Manufacturing

On May 30, 2020, SpaceX became the first non-governmental organization to send human cargo into orbit and to a successful docking rendezvous with the International Space Station (ISS). On June 1, Nolan Johnson spoke with military/aerospace consultant and I-Connect007 columnist Mike Hill about the significance of this mission.

Joe O’Neil: Green Circuits Running Strong Under Current Social Restrictions

On May 28, Joe O’Neil, CEO of Green Circuits, updated Nolan Johnson on how the company continues to operate during the COVID-19 restrictions. O’Neil reflects on the rapid chain of events this past March when lockdowns were instituted in the San Francisco Bay area. After a brief but rapid shutdown, Green Circuits was back up and in production.


The iNEMI 2019 Board Assembly Roadmap

iNEMI continues to publish chapters of its 2019 Roadmap and recently presented an overview of its Board Assembly Roadmap Chapter in a webinar prefaced by Grace O’Malley, vice president of global operations. The new chapter is just the latest addition to this global effort from 23 working groups contributing expert input from all aspects of the electronics industry.

Autodesk’s Fusion 360 Merges ECAD, MCAD

Andy Shaughnessy spoke with Autodesk’s Matt Berggren about the company’s Fusion 360 EDA tool and the new capabilities added to the software. Matt explains how Fusion 360 blends ECAD and MCAD functionality in one environment and at an affordable price, and why he believes it will help round out Autodesk's electronic portfolio with end-to-end capabilities.

Rogers Corporation Keeps Materials Moving

The I-Connect007 editorial team spoke with Roger Tushingham of Rogers Corporation about the company’s current priorities with everything that’s been changing recently, including his perspective on the distributing and manufacturing trends he sees as a global supplier.

3D Additive Electronics Manufacturing: Are We Nearing an Inflection Point?

Recently, Dan Feinberg was invited to attend a detailed and broadly informative webinar by nScrypt titled “The Strength of 3D-Printed Electronics," which covered the status and advances in the use of 3D printing for electronic device design and manufacture. nScrypt is an Orlando-based company founded in 2002 that focuses on 3D printing. Here’s what Dan learned from each of the speakers.

Survey Results: Five Tips to Stay Safe at Work

Face masks, gloves, arrows on the floor, social distancing, working in shifts, working remotely—our work environment has been vastly altered over the past three months. How has it affected you and the people around you the most? Are you open to these changes or do you find yourself resisting the changes? Here are five powerful tips for staying safe at work, according to the latest I-Connect007 survey responses.

14 ‘Business as Usual’ Tips, Part 7

In this series, Dan Beaulieu will share 14 “business as usual” tips for selling without visiting customers during the COVID-19 outbreak. In this series finale, Dan explains the importance of keeping a sense of humor during times of crisis, and why this might be the perfect time to form a partnership with a company that sells a complementary type of technology.

Happy Holden Book Excerpt: CIM & Automation Strategy

The following is an excerpt from Chapter 1 of Happy Holden’s I-Connect007 eBook Automation and Advanced Procedures in PCB Fabrication. In this book, Happy explains fabrication automation with illustrative examples and anecdotes from his decades as a mechanization leader.

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish: Same Industry, New Look

Learning a lesson from challenges is one thing, but implementing changes based on those lessons is quite another. I-Connect007 regularly surveys leaders in the electronics industry to bring you important and relevant information that helps you make better decisions. What lessons have you learned during the COVID-19 crisis, and what changes have you made?

IPC’s Shawn Dubravac: COVID-19 Outbreak Accelerates Industry Shifts Already Under Way

On May 19, Barry Matties spoke with Shawn Dubravac, chief economist for IPC. While discussing other topics, Matties asked for Dubravac’s perspective on shifts in the market, who observed that the recessionary trend might be behind us; the markets are already showing recovery. Still, it could take a year or so to fully recover.

14 ‘Business as Usual’ Tips, Part 6

In this series, Dan Beaulieu will share 14 “business as usual” tips for selling without visiting customers during the COVID-19 outbreak. In Part 6, he shares two tips for taking care of your mental health during these uncertain times.


Survey: Lessons Learned in Unparalleled Times

Parents often share nuggets of wisdom with their children in hopes that they won’t repeat past mistakes. But what do our electronics industry leaders want to share about lessons learned during the COVID-19 crisis?

14 ‘Business as Usual’ Tips, Part 5

In this series, Dan Beaulieu will share 14 “business as usual” tips for selling without visiting customers during the COVID-19 outbreak. In Part 5, he shares tips on continuing your professional development during this lockdown, while making sure to take much-needed time off to rest your mind.

IPC's Dr. John Mitchell: Leadership in Times of Crisis

On May 13, Dr. John Mitchell, IPC president and CEO, spoke with Barry Matties and Nolan Johnson in another installment in our series of industry updates. In this interview, Mitchell discussed the challenges of leadership in crisis situations.

14 ‘Business as Usual’ Tips, Part 4

In this series, Dan Beaulieu will share 14 “business as usual” tips for selling without visiting customers during the COVID-19 outbreak. In Part 4, Dan shares some age-old advice about running a business in turbulent times, including the need to dress for work and stay on a schedule, even while working from home.

Flexible Circuit Technologies Adds Johnson Company as a Product Representative

Nolan Johnson spoke with Carey Burkett, VP of business development at Minneapolis-based Flexible Circuit Technologies. FCT recently signed a sales representation agreement authorizing Johnson Company to represent FCT in the Midwest region of the U.S.

14 ‘Business as Usual’ Tips, Part 3

In this series, Dan Beaulieu will share 14 “business as usual” tips for selling without visiting customers during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Nolan's Notes: Sometimes, You Have to Shout ‘Stop the Presses!’

I-Connect007 was working diligently to research and report on “Going Green” for the April issue. Although it was a good topic, sometimes, the world has other plans. While going green was our original topic, current events demanded that we pivot, devoting this issue to the breaking news and changing dynamics COVID-19 has brought us.

Happy Holden's Essential Skills: Online Instruction and Distance Learning

Online courses have become increasingly available and popular. For this to be effective, specific requirements must be met for courses taken or produced over the internet in order to provide the user with a positive experience. Read Happy Holden's updated article from his series on 25 essential skills for engineers.

I-Connect007 In-Depth: Averatek and RBP Chemical Ink Distribution Agreement

On April 30, 2020, Michael Carano, RBP Chemical Technology vice president, and John Johnson, Averatek vice president, spoke with I-Connect007’s Nolan Johnson about the new distribution agreement inked by the two companies. Carano and Johnson also talk in more detail about the A-SAP additive plating process developed by Averatek. The conversation included why Averatek and RBP have partnered to distribute chemistries related to Averatek's A-SAP process.

I-Connect007 Survey: Lessons Learned During COVID-19 Lockdown

In a recent survey, we asked I-Connect007 readers about lessons that they and their companies have learned since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Survey respondents were asked to pick up to three areas of business operations where the most important lessons have been learned.


14 ‘Business as Usual’ Tips, Part 2

In this series, Dan Beaulieu will share 14 “business as usual” tips for selling without visiting customers during the COVID-19 outbreak. In Part 2, he highlights using online tools.

This Month in SMT007 Magazine: How Engineers Can Use SPI Tools for Verification

Koh Young’s Ray Welch and Brent Fischthal detail how engineers can work with SPI tools to verify how small they can go in component size with their solder paste application, and how the company’s SPI equipment is helping not only to verify but also to help drive the development collaboration between solder paste and stencil printer manufacturers, and inspection tools and software.

A Sustainable Supply Chain for Lowest Total Cost

Kennedy outlines the sustainabilty challenges facing an OEM when choosing a fabricator. The idea of "green" extends into the supply chain as well.

iNEMI’s PCB Roadmap Explained

In an informative and enlightening webinar, iNEMI Project Manager Steve Payne was joined by Isola Group CTO Ed Kelley to explain, review, and discuss the details of the recently published “iNEMI 2019 Roadmap for Organic PCBs.” Pete Starkey provides an overview.

Freedom CAD’s Expert PCB Design Tips, Part 1

When you’re designing complex PCBs, knowledge truly is power. The more PCB design tips, tricks, and techniques you know, the better your cutting-edge designs will be. With that in mind, we’re bringing you a series of PCB design tips, courtesy of Freedom CAD Services.

Survey: Complete, Accurate Design Data Tops List of Fab Expectations

In a recent survey, we asked PCB designers about expectations, particularly fabricators’ expectations of their PCB designer customers. The overwhelming majority (84%) of respondents indicated that a fabricator’s primary expectation of a designer is a complete, accurate data package.

Happy’s Smart Factory Protocol Primer

The smart factory concept is built upon data interchange as the foundation. There has been much development in the area of industrial and manufacturing data protocols over the years, stretching back into the 1960s. This article by Happy Holden surveys what are considered the most common protocols in use in the electronics manufacturing industry today, including IPC-CFX/ Hermes, OML, SECS/GEM, and MAPS.

Photography Slideshow by Columnist Mehul Davé

At I-Connect007, we like to work hard, play hard, and highlight our contributors. Mehul J. Davé is a great example of someone who is passionate about the industry as well as his other interests outside of work—especially photography. Here, we feature some of his work.

Aurora Circuits’ Chris Kalmus Offers PCBs for Ventilators at No Charge

Electronics manufacturers continue to step up to the plate during these uncertain times. In this interview, Dan Beaulieu speaks with Chris Kalmus, owner of Aurora Circuits in Aurora, Illinois, who announced on April 24 that his company would be offering PCBs for ventilators free of charge.

What It Takes to Be a Milaero Supplier, Part 3

The decision to pursue military and aerospace (milaero) certification impacts every facet of the organization, and not every shop is prepared to make this transformation. In Part 3, Anaya Vardya explores what it takes to be a milaero supplier in the areas of purchasing and quality.


Improving Copper Distribution in Pattern Plating Using Simulation Software

Technical Editor Pete Starkey had the opportunity to sit in on a webinar presented by Robrecht Belis, manager of the surface finishing business unit at Elsyca—a Belgian company specialising in the simulation of electrochemical processes.

I-Connect007 Survey Details Concerns About Future of Industry

I-Connect007 continues to monitor the current worldwide economic situation by seeking input from our market leaders. Here’s what we discovered: If you’re feeling the pressure, you’re not alone. In a recent survey, we asked about your primary concerns for the future of our industry. The number one concern (26%) indicated a belief that sales will be affected negatively in the coming months.

14 ‘Business as Usual’ Tips, Part 1

In this series, Dan Beaulieu will share 14 “business as usual” tips for selling without visiting customers during the COVID-19 outbreak. In Part 1, he shares two tips that highlight ways to keep your name in front of your customers, no matter what.

An M&A Perspective on the Current Market

Barry Matties and Nolan Johnson spoke to Tom Kastner about what he sees from an M&A perspective in company leadership resistance to change, as well as the current state of the M&A market and how it’s been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

MFLEX Increases Growth

Happy Holden recently spoke with Jay Desai of MFLEX about the latest flex work the company has been doing and its aim to transition toward more automation and a smart factory approach.
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