Article Highlights
The Growing Need for UHDI
11/30/2022 | I-Connect007 Editorial Team
3D Electronic Devices With Additive Manufacturing
11/29/2022 | Shavi Spinzi, Nano Dimension
Understanding the UHDI Market
11/28/2022 | I-Connect007 Editorial Team
Electronica 2022: Happy to Be Back in Munich
11/21/2022 | Pete Starkey, I-Connect007
Electronica: Picking Up Where We Left Off
11/18/2022 | Nolan Johnson, I-Connect007

Latest Articles

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!

IPC to Unveil New Member Magazine, ‘IPC Community’ at IPC APEX EXPO 2023

IPC, in partnership with IPC Publishing Group (I-Connect007) will unveil an exciting new publication, "IPC Community," at IPC APEX EXPO 2023, as a continuation of its commitment to better serve the electronics industry and provide additional value for IPC members.

Five Priorities for Implementing Direct Imaging Technologies

The circuit fabrication industry has always been the unsung hero of the electronics era. SPC, TQM, ISO, and 50 other acronyms have ruled the day to govern quality and process approaches. I’ve been in the industry for 39 years and I feel more like a craftsman than ever before—trying to figure out how to produce the impossible and maintain a profit. With smaller features, exotic materials, endless plating, and press cycles, the industry feels like it is in transition. Soon enough the lines between microelectronics and PCB will be forever blurred.


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

We’re officially in show season and Managing Editor Nolan Johnson just got back from SMTA International. As he says in his review, the show drew a sizeable crowd this year. With the pandemic in the rear-view window, let’s hope our trade shows are getting back to normal.

Optimize Your Etcher for Best Image Quality

When it comes to obtaining high-quality images, many different factors come into play. Typically, most of these factors come down to your imaging equipment and cleanroom; however, there are factors involved in the etching process that can affect the quality of your image. Here are five steps to ensure your etching process is optimized for the best image quality.

Custom Made: The Digital Factory Suite

Stefan Stefanescu is head of business development for Atotech’s industrial digital transformation solutions. Here, he discusses how the Digital Factory Suite (DFS) fits into a PCB fabricator’s workflow. The new software connects to the onsite production equipment and continuously collects process and equipment data. But it’s more than that, Stefan says. It’s a way to help customers increase productivity and take steps toward developing a smart factory.

Millennium Circuits on The Move

I recently met with Daniel Thau, CEO of Millennium Circuits Limited, at PCB West. This Pennsylvania-based PCB distributor has been on an expansion path lately, so I asked Daniel to introduce us to MCL and explain where the company is headed. As Daniel says, it’s all about impacting the world in a positive way.

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

Halloween is next Monday and parties will be taking place over the weekend, I’m sure. Here in the United States, at least, the “any-holiday-is-an-excuse-for-a-party” crowd has integrated Halloween, along with Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, and Cinco de Mayo into wide-ranging opportunities for themed revelry. The news this week has been a bit crazy as well, though certainly not alcohol-fueled. There was a lot of important news and narrowing it down to just five was thought-provoking yet ultimately rewarding. Here then, are the five top pieces of news you shouldn’t miss this week.

PCB Technologies Sees Substrates as a Foundation

In this interview, PCB Technologies CEO Oved Shapira discusses the company's move into advanced packaging and heterogenous integration. Shapira explains how substrates and advanced packaging fit into the PCB fab and assembly ecosystem, and makes the argument that an all-inclusive fabrication and assembly supplier can be of great value to customers in product development and small scale production.

EIPC Technical Snapshot: ‘Tremendous Uncertainty’ in Global PCB Marketplace

For the past two years, EIPC’s Technical Snapshot series has kept us extremely well-informed on developments in printed circuit materials and manufacturing technologies. But what is currently happening in the global PCB market, and how is Europe and the rest of the world affected by the current world situation? The 19th chapter (coincidentally on Oct. 19) in the series gave us a privileged opportunity to find out, as two leading industry analysts presented their observations and opinions in a webinar introduced and moderated by EIPC technical director Tarja Rapala-Virtanen.

HDI, A-SAP and mSAP: A Designer’s Point of View

HDI—high-density interconnect—designs require some different thinking on the part of the designer. One of the first things to consider is whether you need HDI, and if so, how much. The HDI option comes into play as soon as you purchase any components with 0.5 mm pin pitch. The number of these components and other specifications of your design will determine the amount of HDI you will need. Here’s a quick list of HDI options.

Forming Standards for Ultra HDI

To get the latest news about ultra high-density interconnections (UHDI), we checked in with Jan Pedersen, NCAB Group’s director of technology. Jan is co-chair of IPC D-33AP, and a great source of overall DFM expertise as well. We asked him to give us a snapshot of UHDI in the industry, where we’re headed, and what this means to PCB designers.

Taiyo’s Brian Wojtkiewicz Discusses Flex, HDI and More

Nolan Johnson spoke with Brian Wojtkiewicz at PCB West about Taiyo’s latest developments in solder mask technology. They discussed the company’s advances in flexible circuits, HDI, and much more. In particular, Brian discusses the importance of reliability in fabrication and assembly. "We’re always in the fabricators’ shops. I’m out in the field talking to them, helping the operators understand the process, and making things work better because then we don’t have issues down the road," he says.


Sunstone and I-007eBooks Launch Book on Designing for Reality

I-007eBooks is excited to announce the release of the latest title in its series for designers, The Printed Circuit Designer’s Guide to… Designing for Reality. This book covers both written and unwritten rules for how to create a realistic, manufacturable design.

A Sharper Image

We recently spoke with Loren Davidson, a senior manufacturing engineer at TTM Technologies in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. In this wide-ranging discussion, Loren details the medium-volume facility’s imaging processes and equipment, a variety of imaging tricks of the trade, and why it’s so important to make decisions based on solid statistical data.

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

Where did the year go? I can’t believe we’re planning our January and February issues now. It was 84 degrees most of last week in Atlanta, and now it’s 31. I guess I should take my Hawaiian shirts out of rotation! This week we have quite a variety of articles for you. It’s officially show time and the industry is back in business in a major way. We have some news coming out of last week’s advanced packaging event in Washington, D.C., and an article about navigating SMTA International, which opens on Halloween this year in Minneapolis. We have a great column on avoiding EMI with good routing strategies, and an article on electrically conductive inks. To top it off, I-Connect007 has published a new book, written by Matt Stevenson of Sunstone Circuits, that posits a new “design for”: Designing for Reality. If you’re a designer, isn’t designing for reality what it’s all about?

EMA Helps Ease Designers’ Supply Chain Woes

Supply chain issues are continuing to cause disruptions in our industry, though lead times have dropped from astronomical to merely troublesome. In this interview, Chris Banton, EMA Design Automation’s director of marketing, explains how Cadence’s software has evolved as designers’ needs have changed in the past few turbulent years, including providing designers with component availability data early in the process.

Q&A: The Learning Curve for Ultra HDI

For this issue on ultra HDI, we reached out to Tara Dunn at Averatek with some specific questions about how she defines UDHI, more about the company’s patented semi-additive process, and what really sets ultra HDI apart from everything else. Do designers want to learn a new technology? What about fabricators? We hope this interview answers some of those questions that you may be having about these capabilities and what it could mean for your designs.

PCB Legislative Update: HR 7677

Electronic industry association leaders like IPC, PCBAA, and USPAE have been trekking to Capitol Hill almost weekly this year to reinforce the dire state of the industry and seek additional co-sponsors for HR 7677, a bill supporting the American printed circuit board industry. However, with only 78 days until the end of the 117th Congress, it is not likely that anything will move by the end of this session.

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

I’ve been in Washington, D.C., most of this week, attending and reporting on the IPC Advanced Packaging Symposium. You’ll see more content from me in the weeks and months to come as I sort through and highlight the varied aspects of this ground-breaking event. If you’re in this industry, advanced packaging will affect you, make no mistake about it.

Microvias Can Be Stacked in Certain Package Densities

Summit Interconnect’s Gerry Partida recently spoke with the I-Connect007 Editorial Team about his research into root causes of weak microvias. Rather than a single manufacturing process cause, Gerry suggests that microvia reliability is the culmination of several material interactions and that contrary to popular belief, microvias can still be stacked in small, tight packaging densities. He highlights the need for simulation, as well as some of his findings that he plans to publish in a paper at IPC APEX EXPO 2023.

IPC Advanced Packaging Symposium: An Urgent Need to Support Global Efforts

After two days of presentations, panel discussions, and impromptu hallway conversation at the IPC Advanced Packaging Symposium, one thing became clear: There is an urgency to support advanced packaging in all regions across the globe. The symposium, Oct. 11-12 in Washington, D.C., concluded with what seemed to be a great deal of expanded perspective for those who attended.

IPC Symposium: U.S. Must Address Critical Gaps in Advanced Packaging Needs

There is a significant capability gap in advanced substrate packaging in North America, forcing all semiconductors to be packaged in Asia and leaving North America at risk in its supply chain. This was a common theme during a two-day IPC Advanced Packaging Symposium, which launched yesterday at the Kimpton Monaco hotel in Washington, D.C.


Lessons Learned: Breaking Down the Four Types of Communication

Kelly Dack and Nolan Johnson explore the silver linings from the past two years, especially the importance of good communication. These skills are—as they have always been—key to the success of the project. But how do you define the best methods for communication? Kelly breaks down four personality types and why it’s important to recognize how one person differs from another. When you better understand how a person thinks, your level of effective communication increases exponentially.

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

It’s been a busy week for I-Connect007. Managing Editor Nolan Johnson and I covered PCB West at the Santa Clara Convention Center, and, as you’ll see in my article below the place was packed. We have an article about SMTA International, scheduled for the end of October. I think the trade show season is looking good into 2023. People are done with COVID shutdowns and ready to get back to live trade shows and conferences. We’ll be in Minneapolis to bring you the latest news and technical information. We also have a news report about the European Union committing to craft its own version of America’s CHIPS Act. There’s a great interview with Dana Korf and John Strubbe about the latest innovations in materials at TUC. And columnist Paige Fiet explains why she is committed to making manufacturing “cool” again to help recruit and retain young technologists.

From the Floor at PCB West 2022

Though the organizers of PCB West had soldiered through in delivering a conference every year during the pandemic, the virtual and hybrid models just did not quite meet the requirements for a technical conference. To be fair, the limitations weren’t PCB West’s fault; the shortcomings came from the show’s virtual environments, not the host. All the more encouraging, then, that the 2022 edition of PCB West was back in bloom.

Catching Up With Author Michael Kurland

"Broken to Better: 13 Ways Not to fail at Life and Leadership" is simply one of the best books I’ve read this year. In fact, I was so impressed that I decided to reach out to the author, Michael Kurland, to talk about his book, what led him to write it, and what we should all learn from it. Michael was gracious enough to take time out of his busy schedule to share his thoughts on building his business and why he wrote a book about it. I think you will find it provocative and thought provoking.

Korf and Strubbe: Material Witnesses

Recently, columnist Dana Korf has been working with Taiwan Union Technology Corporation (TUC), one of the largest providers of copper-clad laminate and mass lamination services in the world. We spoke with Dana about the trends he sees in materials at TUC and around the globe, why copper is still king, as well as some potential non-traditional materials that may see growth soon. Dana invited John Strubbe, TUC VP of technology, to join in the conversation.

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

This week, our five must-reads include the IPC report on the EMS industry and a report on ICs for the automotive market. Add to that Lockheed’s highest powered DoD laser yet, IPC’s APEX keynote announcement, and—for you conference and expo junkies—a calendar of upcoming industry events. I can’t help but notice that much of our news is about, well, something new. In this case, my editor’s picks for the week capture new technology, new perspectives, new ways to communicate content, and new developments that we can expect to see in our future daily life. To borrow a phrase from the TV show “Firefly,” everything is “shiny” this week. I will be at PCB West, the IPC Advanced Packaging symposium, SMTA International, and electronica. If you see me, say hello, and share something cool about the part of the industry you’re in.

Michael Carano: A Focus on Process Control, Part 2

In this second half of our conversation, Michael Carano discusses some of the metrics that fabricators need to consider before investing in new processes, especially process control technologies, and some of the challenges board shops face updating brownfield sites.

Catching Up With John Johnson, New Director of Business Development at ASC

It’s always good to catch up with old friends, especially when you can start working together. I recently spoke with my friend John Johnson, who has joined American Standard Circuits as the director of business development. At ASC, John will be using the Averatek A-SAP process that he was previously involved with. He shares some of his background and provides insight on the best ways to use this semi-additive PCB fabrication process that opens the capability window for forming trace and space.

Book Excerpt: The Electronics Industry’s Guide to… The Evolving PCB NPI Process

The Electronics Industry’s Guide to… The Evolving PCB NPI Process is the first book in I-Connect007’s new The Electronics Industry’s Guide to… technical series. This valuable resource is for all segments of the electronics interconnect industry. What follows is an excerpt from Chapter 1: 'How the NPI Process Has Changed and Where We're Going'.

The New World Order of JIC

The great business thought leader Margaret Heffernan commented that we are changing from just-in-time (JIT) to just-in-case (JIC). As we’ve worked our way through the issues of the past two years, the world is changing from a complicated to a complex system, and we must be prepared to face the challenges it brings. To survive today, we need the JIC mentality. We must be prepared for the unexpected. No longer can we rely on cycles and patterns to predict the future, or what we might be able to handle based on what that future brings. Now we must prepare for the unexpected. We must be flexible and able to adapt to whatever comes our way.


A Focus on Process Control, Part 1

Michael Carano is a noted subject matter expert with respect to process control, electroplating and metallization technology, surface finishing, and reliability. So, it was only natural that we sat down to talk about mechanizing an existing facility given today’s fickle environment. Will any of the CHIPS funding trickle down to bare board fabrication? What process can be adjusted on the factory floor? The focus needs to be more than just on manufacturing and getting work out the door, he says, but also process control.

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

It’s officially fall now, and in Atlanta the temperature has plummeted to the mid-80s. We’ve all bumped our air conditioners up to 74 degrees. That means it’s trade show season, and I’ve been busy looking for my suitcase. This week, we have an assortment of news about associations, education, and advocacy, as well as another installment of our Printed Electronics Roundtable. And if you’re looking for a job, you are in luck; our jobConnect007 section is chock-full of open positions at all levels in this industry.

Pack Your Bags! We’ve Got Your Trade Show Calendar Here

It’s officially fall, and that means it's time to start planning your trade show attendance. To help you make decisions about when and where to go, we’ve put together a list of industry trade shows. It has been two long years with no or few in-person trade shows, and we’ve felt it. So, now we’re back in business and ready to hit the road. Do you have a show or conference to add to our list? Let us know!

IPC: Companies Are Intentional About Tracking Environmental and Social Risks

Leading companies in the electronics manufacturing industry are highly intentional about their environmental, social and governance (ESG) priorities, with climate change and energy use among the most closely scrutinized issues, an IPC analysis shows. As part of IPC’s ESG for Electronics initiative, IPC is interested in developing resources for members on the most common ESG methods and priorities of leading companies across the electronics value chain. In support of this, IPC has preliminarily analyzed the ESG reports of approximately a dozen companies in selected portions of the industry.

EIPC Technical Snapshot: Novel Laser-based Manufacturing Processes in Automotive Electronics

“Summer is over, now it's back to work!” This was the opening line of the invitation to the 18th EIPC Technical Snapshot webinar, Sept. 14, following the theme of advances in automotive electronics technology, introduced and moderated by EIPC President Alun Morgan. The first presentation, entitled "The fully printed smart component—combining additive manufacturing and sensor printing," came from Jonas Mertin, a thin-film processing specialist at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology.

The Brave New World of the CTO

In this conversation with the I-Connect007 Editorial Team, Alex Stepinski shares his insight on how to automate the PCB fab. Spoiler alert: It doesn’t start with new equipment and panel handlers; it’s much more strategic than that. Alex details the new role of a chief technology officer in the 21st century and cautions that we don’t have nearly enough of them in the industry. The focus, he says, should be on statements of work rather than so much on skilled labor. He also hopes this is just the beginning of more important conversations like these.

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

“You are the average of the five people that you spend the most time with.” This saying is attributed to Jim Rohn, and I couldn’t help thinking of that quote as I put together this week’s listings. Hear me out: 1) There are five items on our list; 2) These items zoomed to the top based on reader interest; 3) Every single one of these news items has an “association” association—IPC, iNEMI, SMTA, and NextFlex are all represented in what you, dear reader, chose to explore this last week.

Pricing Strategies With Michael Carano

We recently spoke with longtime I-Connect007 columnist Michael Carano, vice president of quality at Averatek, about pricing strategies for PCB fabricators. We’re seeing some movement in this segment as fabricators, already dealing with some of the tightest profit margins around, find themselves having to either raise their prices or trying to massage more revenue out of their already streamlined processes. We asked Michael for some pricing strategies for fabricators, and he shared a range of options for today’s manufacturers who aren’t afraid to rethink their processes and try new ideas. And, as he says, people will still pay good money for a quality, reliable PCB.

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

It feels like the first day of school. It’s September, and we’re all officially back at our desks, workstations, or kitchen tables. Even Les Vacances is over. Oui, c’est vrai! But instead of facing new teachers, we have to deal with diverse market forces, supply chain issues, and technology that never seems to stop evolving. Of course, that’s what makes this industry so interesting, isn’t it?

Will Marsh: CHIPS Act Update

Now that the CHIPS Act has become law, Nolan Johnson reconnects with PCBAA President Will Marsh to ask the question: What now? Will brings Nolan up to speed on the initial stages of implementation and administration, and provides more insight on the Supporting American Printed Circuit Boards Act of 2022.


Ventec Thermal Management Book Excerpt: Chapter 1

Regarding basic principles of thermal dissipation there are three ways of dissipating energy: Conduction, convection, and radiation. The integrated metal substrate (IMS) printed circuit boards rely predominantly on heat conduction all the way through the different layers of the substrates from a hot point (the base of the component) to a cold point (the furthest surface of the metal base) and, usually, thereafter, through a dissipator.

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

The CHIPS Act continues to captivate the attention of industry insiders, as evidenced by the reader interest in our U.S. legislation coverage. When talking with all of you, we hear a wide range of opinion regarding the CHIPS Act funding, ranging from enthusiasm to cynicism—sometimes in the same conversation with the same person. You can expect ongoing coverage as news continues to unfold. Advanced packaging and the CHIPS Act are increasingly being linked together on the printed circuit side of the industry conversation. Perfect timing, then, that IPC is hosting a symposium on advanced packaging October 11-12 in Washington, D.C.

Material Conservation: The PCB Designer's Role

During these times of supply chain uncertainty, many product developers are considering new ways to conserve materials—from laminates to components, layer reduction, and everything in between. Barry Matties and Happy Holden recently spoke with Alun Morgan, president of EIPC and technology ambassador for Ventec, about material conservation strategies for today’s PCB designers and design engineers. Alun explained why this may be the perfect time to educate PCB designers about conserving materials: When a model is broken, the people involved are much more open to new ideas.

FCT: Powerful Growth in the Flex Segment

After the initial impact of the global pandemic led to a somewhat flat 2020, Carey Burkett, vice president of Flexible Circuit Technologies, explains how the company’s growth took off in 2021, positioning it well for industry trends that continue to show great promise in medical, automotive, consumer, and more. In this interview, Carey breaks down the reasons behind the company’s recent success and how R&D, and a new Zhuhai facility, have positioned them for continued growth.

Alun Morgan: Price Increases Are Here to Stay

Barry Matties and Nolan Johnson recently spoke with Alun Morgan, technology ambassador at Ventec International Group and president of EIPC, about global supply chain challenges, as well as efforts by government and industry to mitigate some of these issues. Alun discusses the need to have more than one source, pricing strategies for fabricators who are facing increases in costs across the supply chain, and why we all need to work together to help the industry in times like this.

A Deeper Look at the CHIPS Act Investment

In this interview with Chris Peters at U.S. Partnership for Assured Electronics (USPAE), Nolan Johnson seeks for better understanding regarding the implications of funding the CHIPS Act. Frankly, where and how will the $52 billion be spent? Who will decide how the funds are allocated? And surprisingly, who will benefit the most from this boost into the microelectronics industry?

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

This week we have quite a variety of articles for you. There has been so much electronics industry news coming out of Washington, D.C., that it can be hard to keep track of what’s going on. So, Editor Michelle Te compiled a handy-dandy reference guide to recent legislation news, including our exclusive coverage. We need to keep an eye on these senators and representatives. They’ve been talking about the importance of our industry for the past year, but this is an election year, after all. They’ve been known to say one thing and do another.

I-Connect007 eBook Introduction: The Evolving NPI Process

Thanks to marketing and advances in technology, we have all come to expect that the electronic products we buy will be closely aligned to our individual and specific lifestyle or business requirements. This expected variability, in personal function and style, as well as regulatory compliance and a changing global economic landscape, has made designing and producing new products a challenging prospect. And, on top of the resulting “high-mix, low-volume” production cycles, increasingly more products contain electronic components in varying levels that heighten the complexity of design and manufacturing.

Happy’s Design Tips for Material Conservation

For this issue, Happy Holden provided a range of options for designers who are seeking to conserve materials in their next design. He also offered an example of the relative cost index, or RCI, that he developed at HP exclusively for PCB design. With this RCI, designers can figure out the relative cost of a new design compared to an eight-layer through-hole board. We hope you can use this handy formula on your next design job.

Board Pricing Challenges and Opportunities

The cost of everything is on the way up, and fabricators are feeling the squeeze. They may hesitate to raise their prices because they don’t want to scare off business, but what options do they have? We asked James Hofer, general manager of Accurate Circuit Engineering, to weigh in with his thoughts on this conundrum.


What’s Going On in Congress? Your Handy Guide to PCB Legislation Headlines

We know you have so many questions about what the legislation means for you. Will there be funds to expand or upgrade my facilities? What about tax breaks? How will my specific needs be known? What will the current legislation mean for U.S. vs. China relations? Use this handy guide to get caught up, sort out the CHIPS from the USICAs, and be that someone who talks knowledgably at dinner parties.

IPC Advanced Packaging Symposium to Draw Industry, Government Representatives

Nolan Johnson speaks with IPC’s Chris Mitchell, vice president of global government relations, and Matt Kelly, chief technologist, about the inaugural IPC Advanced Packaging Symposium, scheduled for October 11-12, 2022 in Washington, DC. In this conversation, Mitchell and Kelly detail the symposium's objectives, presenters, and the value to both fabricators and assemblers in attending.

Unimicron July Sales Up 29% YoY

Taiwan-based printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturer Unimicron Technology Corp. has posted July sales of NT$11.78 billion ($390.77 million at $1:NT$30.14), down by 4.4% from the previous month but up by 29% year-on-year.

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

Can it be Friday already? Seems like I’ve just barely put away my Tuesday dishes. Some weeks, I wonder where my days went as they fly by so fast I hardly even realize it. As I looked back through the news for the week, it was clear why everything went so fast: There was a lot going on. The news this week had a nice feel to it. It seems like the industry is starting to gain some traction again with shows, mergers and acquisitions, and companies getting to do those “extras” that they wanted to do before the pandemic reared its ugly head. It had a little of that “back to normal” feel, even if we aren’t quite there yet. What do you think? Are we normal yet?

Time for a Price Hike?

If you manage a fabrication facility, we don’t envy you. You’re being hit on all sides with price increases, you’re traditionally leery of raising your own prices, but you must do something. Do you raise prices, trying to squeeze out more efficiency, or is it some combination of both? We asked Prototron President Dave Ryder and I-Connect007 columnist Dan Beaulieu to share their thoughts on the current fab pricing environment, the need for greater cooperation, and some pricing strategies for fabricators who are nervously eyeing their bottom line.
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