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Material Choices for High-Speed Flexible Circuits

Materials to make high-speed flexible circuits are now available from many material suppliers. In deciding which materials to test or use, remember the tradeoffs the suppliers made in categories we discussed: electrical properties, mechanical/flex properties, and ease of processing. A choice should only be made after considering these options. Remember with any new materials it is very important to find fabricators that are knowledgeable about processing these new materials.

IMPACT Washington 2017 Just Around the Corner

IPC's Government Relations team has worked around-the-clock to ensure that IMPACT Washington D.C. 2017 is the best yet. During this two-and-a-half day event, executives from IPC-member companies will have the opportunity to speak with leaders in Congress and the Administration in support of our common priorities.

Patty’s Perspective: Faster, Faster, Faster…or the Need for Speed, More Speed!

I wonder: Do we really need more speed in our connections? When will we hit that proverbial wall everyone worries about? Of course, if we want things like autonomous cars, intelligent robotics, and extended IoT, then we will continue to press forward—or rather you, the PCB manufacturer, designer, and supplier of high-speed materials will keep at it.

Fabricators Speak Out on High-Speed Materials

Recently, I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties and his editorial team joined with two PCB fabricators to discuss the state of advanced materials. The meeting included Gerry Partida, director of engineering at Summit Interconnect and Joe Menning, program manager at All Flex Flexible Circuits. The discussion centered on the processes, challenges, and procurement of high-speed materials, as well as need to work with customers during the design stage.

PCB Technology Requirements for Millimeter-Wave Interconnect and Antenna

The work done by Optiprint AG in support of MiWaveS substantiates that PCB technology can satisfy the engineering requirements for mmW circuitry providing the manufacturing capabilities can match the positional accuracy, feature tolerance and surface finish requirements.

Crucial Considerations for Building Flexible Heaters

An electronic heater is created by driving electric current through a resistive element. As the current is drawn through the element, some of the energy is expelled as heat. That heat can then be transferred to other surfaces with positive effects.

Capitol Connection: IMPACT Update—To CEOs on Why You Should Attend IMPACT Washington, D.C. 2017

Here at IPC, we place a high priority on making our presence known in the halls of government, because so many policy debates have a direct effect on the electronics manufacturing industry. IMPACT Washington, D.C. 2017 is a chance to join with fellow industry executives in advocating for better public policies for a stronger, more advanced manufacturing economy.

Mutracx Makes Green Operations Economically Viable

During IPC APEX EXPO, I sat down for an interview with with Jeroen de Groot, CEO of Mutracx. He detailed the company’s plans to install new equipment at a facility in Romania, and he explains why having a green manufacturing operation is not enough—it must also be economically feasible.

American Standard Circuits Discusses e-Book on Designing Flex and Rigid-Flex

American Standard Circuits is an industry leader when it comes to high-technology printed circuit boards, especially flex and rigid-flex printed circuit boards. So, it was natural that they would write about flex and rigid-flex for I-Connect007’s new “Guide to…” e-book series.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Sanjay Huprikar Lays Out Plans to Grow IPC Membership

Sanjay Huprikar, IPCs vice president of member success, discusses IPCs plans to expand membership around the world.


MACFEST: Benchmarking a New Solderable PCB Finish

New, innovative manufacturing procedures have been developed by the recently completed project, Manufacturing Advanced Coating for Future Electronics SysTems (MACFEST), which has been funded by several partners and the government’s Innovate UK.

RTW IPC APEX: HDPUG's Jack Fisher Discusses Updates on Optoelectronics Project

The HDPUG Optoelectronics project set out to demonstrate that optical waveguides incorporated within a backplane could benefit the system's interconnect topology. HDPUG facilitator Jack Fisher explains that a demonstrator has now been built and is currently under test at a number of leading OEMs.

Coast to Coast Circuits Talks Print-and-Etch Technology

I recently learned that a high-tech PCB supplier, Coast to Coast Circuits, had decided to provide their customers with quick-turn, high-value print-and-etch printed circuit boards. I talked with CEO Walt Stender and Marketing and Key Account Manager Michael Cisco, and I asked them to provide more details about this interesting decision.

Weiner’s World – March 2017

The CPCA show held at the China International PCB And Assembly Show was moderately busy even though the new venue was not quite ready (no escalators, the "water closets" not fully finished, the heat was only on for a few hours one day). It showcased products for PCB Manufacturing, Electronic Assembly Materials and Manufacturing Services.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: atg Luther & Maelzer's Fully Automated Probe Testing for High-Throughput HDI PCB Production

Klaus Koziol, director of sales at atg Luther & Maelzer, explains the rationale behind the development of the newly-introduced A8A from atg and discusses how the latestinnovations in high-accuracy automatic testing deliver high throughput whilst retaining the flexibility of flying-probe techniques.

Stretching Beyond Flex

Emerging end-use electronic applications are driving dramatic innovations in circuit board and interconnection technology. New form factors, functionality and durability requirements are challenging the status quo for the PCB industry and pushing design, material and process development to the limit.

A Conversation with Gene Weiner

In a discussion following the PCB Executive Forum at IPC APEX EXPO in February, Gene Weiner opened up to Barry Matties and Patty Goldman on the state of the North American electronics industry supply chain and the importance of cooperative efforts up and down that supply chain.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: New Dimensions in Fine-Pitch Probe Testing from Microcraft

MicroCraft introduces two new product lines. Regional Sales Manager Jesse Ziomek describes a flying-probe tester capable of hitting 0.4 mil pads at 2 mil pitch without sacrifice of testing speed, and a digital ink-jet printer able to print both solder resist and legend in the same cycle.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Updates on Formulations for Direct Imaging and Inkjet Technologies

Chris Wall, technical director and Shaun Tibbals, sales and marketing director at Electra Polymers, review latest developments in digital imaging technologies for solder resist. Multi-wave direct imaging systems give more scope to the ink supplier to optimize formulation and offer improved flexibility of operation to the user.

Capitol Connection: Drumroll, Please…Announcing the IPC Government IMPACT Awardees

Government relations are essential to our industry as many of the policy debates taking place will have long-lasting impact on our industry. Tax and regulations reform, immigration, and environmental regulations are up for debate and it is time for our industry to take a seat at the table.


EIPC Workshop on PCB BioMEMS

The Premier Inn conference centre at Heathrow Airport was the venue for the EIPC workshop on PCB BioMEMS. What, I hear you ask, is a PCB BioMEMS? This is an abbreviation for biomedical (or biological) microelectromechanical systems, otherwise known as lab-on-chip.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: ERP System Helps Gardien Ensure Global Consistency in Quality Assurance Services

How does a global provider of quality assurance services to the PCB industry give its customers the peace of mind that no matter where they utilize its services that they will always be to the same consistent high standard? Gardien Global VP of Quality Rick Meraw explains the benefits of an in-house-developed ERP system in driving efficiency and best practice throughout the organization.

Mike Carano on the First PCB Executive Forum Held at IPC APEX EXPO 2017

When John Mitchell came on board as president of IPC, he decided to tap the members of the Raymond E. Pritchard Hall of Fame for suggestions and advice. So he established the IPC Ambassador Council and tasked them to create special programs for IPC conferences. It is this group of people who put together the recent PCB Executive Forum that was presented at IPC APEX EXPO 2017.

Inkjet Printing Solder Mask

Known for their film-based products, AgfaGevaert has turned its focus to the difficult task of inkjet printing solder mask by partnering with solder mask expert Electra Polymers. Sitting down with Frank Louwet and Mariana Van Dam of Agfa Specialty Products, Publisher Barry Matties and Technical Editor Pete Starkey learn more about the partnership and where they currently stand in the development of what will be a definite game changer.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: John Davignon Offers HDPUG Update

The HDPUG (High-Density Packaging User Group) is an industry consortia designed to leverage members expertise to solve a variety of problems and issues affecting the electronics industry. Recent examples include the publication of project for the effects on back drilling on PTH reliability and reliability of press fit technology.

Ray Pritchard Looks Back at IPC’s Beginning and His Role in Getting it Started

I have known Ray Pritchard for a long time—as long as I’ve been involved with IPC, in fact. He directed the organization for 35 years before turning over the reins. One could say he grew up with the organization—or vice versa. Ray was always a bundle of energy and still is, still joking and warm, a great people person, and I am sure he had a little something to do with the spirit of camaraderie and cooperation that is the hallmark of the IPC we know today.

The Wide World of Flex

In one sense the flexible circuit industry has remained amazingly stable. Polyimide remains the workhorse dielectric film; imaging is done by exposing a pattern on a photosensitive film; copper is subtractively removed from a patterned substrate; and crylic adhesive is commonly used to laminate polyimide coverlay as an insulation. But there have also been some rather dramatic changes...

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: ELCINA Inducted as a Member of WECC

WECC, the World Electronics Circuits Council, brings together industry trade associations worldwide to address issues of global importance. Secretary General Rex Rozario introduces Paresh Vasani, Honorary Secretary of ELCINA, the electronics industry association representing 300 companies in India, newly inducted as a member of WECC, and they discuss the significance of the relationship in the light of rapidly accelerating growth of electronics manufacturing in India.

The Near and Far Future for Orbotech and Inspection

Orbotech’s PCB Division President Arik Gordon and I spoke in detail about the company’s newest developments in automated optical shaping (AOS), Orbotech’s unique culture and commitment to R&D, and what he expects to see in the near future for the inspection industy.

RTW CPCA: Helmut Fischer Discusses Solutions Approach in PCB Measurements

Dr. Wolfgang Babel, CEO and president of Helmut Fischer Group, discusses Industry 4.0, automation, and advanced solutions in PCB measurements.


RTW IPC APEX EXPO: HDPUG Discusses the Impact of Copper Bonding Treatment on Signal Integrity

Jim Fuller, vice president of engineering and technology development at Sanmina, gives an insight on how HDPUG, the High Density Packaging User Group, shares the experience and resources of member companies to tackle projects and get results, and reviews the study of the effect of copper bonding treatment on signal integrity.

Capitol Connection: Direct Legislative Action—IMPACT Washington, D.C. 2017

This ties in to why IPC–Association Connecting Electronics Industries invests so much into our government relations efforts. We place a high priority on government relations because so many public policy debates have large impacts on our industry. Our members continue to value our advocacy efforts on issues such as taxes, regulations, immigration and the environment.

Stay Flexible!

Now, isn’t that the mantra we all hear today? For me, it’s Tai Chi to maintain physical flexibility. But of course, that is not what we’re here for. We’re talking flexible circuits including all the variations of same, which is why we called this issue “The Wide World of Flex.” Because the world of flex is broad—and it’s rapidly getting wider.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: American Standard Circuits Focuses on the Microwave Market

John Bushie, director of technology with American Standard Circuits, talks about the microwave market with Guest Editor Judy Warner. The discussion ranges from material types to market demand to the need for PCB designers to work closely with their board supplier.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Ventec Talks Benefits of High-Level OEM Tech Team

Managing Director of Ventec Europe, Thomas Michels comments upon the complementary non-copper-clad-laminate, one-stop-shopping opportunities that have resulted from the merger of the TMT business with the Ventec operation, and discusses the benefits of a strong integrated supply chain and a high-level team of OEM applications specialists in building long-term partnerships between Ventec and its customers.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Schmoll and Taiyo America Partner to Speed Up Solder Mask Development

How to accelerate the development of specialist direct-imaging solder resists to suit the requirements of the Asian and North American markets? Jesse Session, technical manager at Taiyo America, describes how close collaboration between ink formulator and equipment supplier enables the optimization to be achieved most effectively.

RTW CPCA Show 2017: ESI Discusses Latest Innovations in Laser Drilling

At the recent CPCA Show 2017 in Shanghai, China, Mike Jennings, director of marketing for flex and interconnect products at Electro Scientific Industries Inc. (ESI), highlights their expertise in laser drilling, as well as being the first roll-to-roll capable UV laser drill provider. He also talks about their recently released RedStone PCB laser processing system, a low cost-of-entry solution for FPC manufacturers considering the adoption of laser processing for flex PCB.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: The Power of Synergies with MacDermid Enthone and Alpha Assembly Solutions

Don Cullen, global director of marketing communications with MacDermid Enthone, and Tom Hunsinger, VP global marketing with Alpha Assembly Solutions explain the structure of MacDermid Performance Solutions, which combines the former MacDermid, Enthone and Alpha Assembly Materials businesses to provide PCB and EMS industries with enhanced innovation and service throughout the supply chain, with unified sales strategies and improved processes.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Taiyo Discusses Option for PCB Heat Dissipation—Thermally Conductive Solder Resist

Conventional solder resists are relatively poor conductors of heat, but dense PCB assemblies generate heat that needs to be dissipated by all means possible. Don Monn, business development and European sales manager for Taiyo America, introduces a ceramic-filled formulation that increases thermal conductivity by a factor of 10 or more.

Industry 4.0–Inkjet Technology is Changing the World of PCB Manufacturing

When the Germans coined the term Industry 4.0 back in 2011, it wasn’t clear to many what it actually stood for. Although the debate about all the nuances of the term’s meaning is still ongoing, one aspect of it is undisputed: The “computerization of manufacturing” is at the heart of it.


RTW IPC APEX EXPO: IPC Validation Services Update

Randy Cherry, IPC's Director of Validations Services speaks with Guest Editor Judy Warner. Randy gives an update on the QML and QPL programs, including updates on the newest QPL program for copper clad laminates. They also discuss the growing value of industry engagement with VS as the number of certified facilities increases.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Ventec Discusses CCL Supply Chain Issue

Mark Goodwin, COO of USA and Europe for Ventec International Group, and Jack Pattie, CEO of Ventec USA, discuss the effect of current material issues on the supply chain for copper-clad laminate, comment upon prospects for the future and stress the importance of customer-supplier relationships in forecasting and planning requirements.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Orbotech Tackles Next-Gen Interconnection Density

Orbotech West President Sharon Cohen explains the company structure and philosophy—translating ideas into reality - and how, by understanding the issues driving PCB technology, Orbotech is able to provide the imaging and inspection tools to meet the needs of next-generation interconnection density.

Eagle Electronics: Success through 'Building Everything'

During a recent visit to Chicago, Editors Andy Shaughnessy and Patty Goldman stopped by Eagle Electronics just outside of Chicago. Chief Operating Officer Brett McCoy gave them a tour of the facility, and spoke about the company’s plans for the future, and why Eagle is bucking the niche market trend and manufacturing a wide variety of PCBs.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Lenthor Engineering Updates Rigid-Flex Capabilities

Lenthor's CFO Oscar Akbar and EMS Manager Matt Kan tell Guest Editor Kelly Dack about the growing flex market and Lenthor's strategy to grow with it.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Prototron's Russ Adams on their 30th Year

Prototron's Russ Adams and Editor Kelly Dack discuss the company’s 30th year in business and their latest endeavors to meet their customer’s needs. Don't miss this chance to hear Kelly sing "Happy Birthday."

The Power of Three: A Solder Mask Solution for North America

Technology and process developments in mature industries like the printed wiring board industry are not always easy. Many new products are evolutionary enhancements of existing processes. Often, these developments enhance the process and improve overall process control.

Rogers' John Ranieri Discusses 92ML Conductive Epoxy Materials for Power Electronics

John Ranieri, Business Development Manager for Rogers Corporation, sat down for an interview with me at IPC APEX EXPO in San Diego. He discussed Rogers’ 92ML™ series of thermally conductive epoxy materials, and some of the challenges facing technologists in the power electronics market.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Candor Industries' Unique Capabilities Through an Alternative PCB Manufacturing Process

Sunny Patel, Technical Sales Manager with Candor Industries, tells Guest Editor Kelly Dack about their unique manufacturing method that not only improves PCB process turnaround time but also yields much tighter design constraint quality.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Changing Drilling With Perfect Point Drill and Jinzhou Precision Tech

Shane Stewart VP of sales for Perfect Point and Michael Kwok for Jinzhou spoke about their newest drills. A change in the stucture of the bit itself results in a cleaner hole and a better positional accuracy.


Schmoll Talks Technology

Schmoll’s Thomas Kunz and I had a chat recently at the HKPCA show. In our short discussion, we covered several topics, including Schmoll’s approach to the U.S. market, their work in direct imaging, and the nature of their relationship with ink suppliers.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Impact of Cross-Hatched Ground Planes on HF Electrical Performance of Flex Circuits

The HDPUG High-Frequency Flex project is studying the effect of different design features, specifically cross hatched ground planes, on signal integrity for flexible printed circuit boards operating at frequencies up to 20 GHz. Jonathan Weldon, RF Applications Engineer at DuPont Electronic Materials, discusses some of the results of the program.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Arlon's Partnership With Doosan Brings Benefits All Around

The recent distribution agreement between Arlon EMD and Doosan Electro-Materials enables the supply and technical support of Doosan’s flexible laminates and high-Tg FR-4 and halogen-free materials into North America to complement Arlon’s established range of polyimide and specialty materials for the military, avionics and space market segments. Arlon vice president Brad Foster explains the opportunities and benefits.

Imagineering CEO Khurrum Dhanji Discusses New AS9100 Guidebook

I have had many conversations with Imagineering President and CFO Parvin Dhanji, and CEO Khurrum Dhanji, and I always come away very impressed with their dedication to their community, associates and their customers. That’s why it was no surprise to me that they teamed with I-Connect007 to publish this long overdue guide to AS9100.

Weiner’s World—February 2017

IPC APEX EXPO 2017 was the best in five or more years. The 60th annual meeting drew a crowd. The meetings were good. The mood was upbeat. There were reports of new orders from Asia as well as the Americas, and news of increasing business from the show floor. IPC membership was up in all its regions to more than 4,000.

Vertical Conductive Structures–a New Dimension in High-Density Printed Circuit Interconnect

From our previous conversations, I knew that Joan Tourné was working on a novel high-density interconnection concept. Having eagerly awaited the chance to discuss the technology in detail, I was delighted when he contacted me to confirm that his IP had been secured and that he could now talk openly about VeCS, the Vertical Conductive Structure designed to provide a cost-effective alternative for complex fan-out from fine-pitch grid array components.

CPCA Moves into New Venue for 2017 Show

I-Connect007 China Editor Edy Yu recently interviewed Jin Zhang, CPCA Secretary General, via e-mail. They discussed the upcoming CPCA Show, scheduled for March 7-9, and some recent changes, including the move to a new venue for this year’s annual event.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: John C. Maxwell Leadership Training Discussion

Steve Williams discusses his recent certification as a Maxwell Leadership coach and speaker. The discussion centers on the need for leadership development at all levels of an organization. As many companies have found, supervisors are often promoted for their tactical ability, but without the necessary supervisory skills.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: New Strategies in the U.S. for Eternal Photoresist

Bob Ferguson, CEO of Break Free Strategies and well-known industry executive, talks with Guest Editor Mike Carano (RBP Chemical Technologies) about his role in helping Eternal Materials position its photoresist technology to compete in the North American marketplace.

RTW IPC APEX EXPO: APEX EXPO Wrap-up Roundtable

Publisher Barry Matties and Managing Editor Andy Shaughnessy join Bob Neves of Microtek Labs for a review of IPC APEX EXPO 2017 and a look at the state of the PCB industry.


RTW IPC APEX EXPO: Tara Dunn talks with Clark Webster from All Flex

Clark Webster discusses the increased need for high temperature, high speed materials, new developments in their assembly capabilities and the importance of working with your manufacturer for flex design.

Time-Lapse Video: The IPC APEX EXPO 2017 Show in Under Seven Minutes!

During IPC APEX EXPO 2017, we at I-Connect007 had our time-lapse camera running from setup to closing. The camera was positioned high in our studio, where we conducted our RealTimewith…IPC APEX EXPO video interviews, aimed down the main aisle.

Real Time with...IPC: Don Veri on Meyer Burger's Latest Inkjet Developments

Don Veri, sales and business development for Meyer Burger, discusses the company's newest inkjet technology, as well as their focus on printed electronics.

Patty's Perspective: New Technology Heading our Way— Faster than Ever!

As an excellent introduction to this issue, IPC’s John Mitchell gives us a wonderful overview of what emerging technology is and what we need to do to keep up. One thing he emphasizes is a trained and competitive workforce. Indeed, in our recent hiring survey we learned that an overwhelming percentage of you are concerned about a shortage of skilled and qualified people. John’s column is a great call to action.

Real Time with...IPC: IPC Market Research Update

Sharon Starr updated everyone on the Market Research services, industry forecasting and research projects her group publishes. She also mentioned a "call to action" for a meeting tomorrow with IPC members, seeking input on needed metrics for their new Pulse of the Industry program she will be rolling out this year, which will be a "Industry Health Scorecard".

Real Time with...IPC: American Standard Circuits Strives to Define the Future of PCB Technology

VP of Operations Olson discussed his company's wide range of technology and how they are poised to take on whatever their customers need.

Ladle on Manufacturing: Drilling Deep

Whether you stack high or drill thick panels, the dynamics of drilling are similar. When you overlay the outer-layer artworks you may notice that the holes on the exit side of the panel or stack have a much higher level of positional variation than the entry side holes.

Real Time with...IPC: MacDermid Enthone Positions Itself to Meet the Needs of the Electronics Supply Chain

Warren Kenzie, Technical Director at Macdermid Enthone, discusses with I-Connect007 Guest Editor Mike Carano the critical need to develop equipment sets that are properly designed to ensure optimal functioning of the production processes. He also noted the need to understand the relationship between materials, chemistry, equipment, and people.

Real Time with...IPC 2017 Videos Now Available for Viewing

Over 70 video interviews from the IPC APEX EXPO 2017 show in San Diego, CA are now available for viewing. See the opening ceremony, hear from suppliers and others on their new products, learn more about the HDP Users Group. Don't miss the videos by IPC President John Mitchell and his staff.

Catching up with…Prototron Tucson’s General Manager Kim O’Neil

Prototron’s Tucson Division serves as the company’s military defense division as well. They focus on mil-spec and aerospace work as well as special technology PCBs such as RF, microwave and flex circuits. During the past few months Kim 0’Neil and his team have been working on updating their mil-spec qualification from MIL-PRF-55110 to MIL-PRF-31032. Since Prototron is one of the first companies to make this transition, I wanted to talk to Kim about this accomplishment.


EIPC 2017 Winter Conference Review of Day 2

Almost everyone made it back to the conference room for the start of the second day of the EIPC Winter Conference in Salzburg, even those who had enjoyed the late networking session into the early hours!

EIPC 2017 Winter Conference Review of Day 1

Themed to address the question: “The Future Needs of the Global Electronics Industry: What Solutions will Europe Provide?" the conference was a truly international event, attracting delegates from thirteen countries, to hear a well-chosen programme of twenty presentations in five sessions, introduced by EIPC Chairman Alun Morgan.

Weiner’s World—January 2017

This month’s column is a bit shorter than usual as we prepare for next month’s IPC APEX EXPO and its Executive Forum for PCB fabricators and their supply chain. This month also marks the 65th anniversary of Epec LLC in New Bedford, Massachusetts. The company, founded in 1952, is the oldest printed circuit fabricator in North America. Half of its $50 million in sales is reported to be with printed circuits.

Electroplated Copper Filling of Through-holes: Influence on Hole Geometry

The process consists of a two-step acid copper plating cycle. The first step utilizes periodic pulse reverse (PPR) electroplating to form a conductive copper bridge across the middle of a through-hole and is followed by direct current electroplating to fill the resultant vias formed in the bridge cycle.

Trouble in Your Tank: Acid Copper Plating

Electroplating a printed circuit board is by no means a trivial task. Higher layer counts, smaller-diameter vias (through-hole and blind) as well as higher-performance material sets contribute to the greater degree of difficulty with today’s technology.
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