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December 2010
Get Onboard the Fineline Express!
In this issue, we shine a spotlight on the challenges and solutions related to printing increasingly miniaturized, complex applications.
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November 2010
Corrosion Defense.

Our feature article this month comes from a team of experts at Alcatel-Lucent: "Creep Corrosion of OSP and ImAg PWB Finishes."

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October 2010
The Ugly Truth Inside: Unmasking a Counterfeit BGA. Learn the latest tricks of component counterfeiters, and discover the inspection techniques that companies must employ to stay one step ahead of the "bad guys" in our industry.
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September 2010
Cool It! Beating the Heat with Thermal Innovation. Learn how our featured authors evaluated a group of micro-filled conductive adhesives modified with nanoparticles for use as thermal interface materials (TIM).
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August 2010
Making Lean a Part of Your Company's DNA - I-Connect007 takes SMT magazine under its wing.
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December 2011
The December issue is our 2011 Review. In this issue, our experts take a look back at 2011 and gaze into their crystal balls to give you a glimpse into 2012
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November 2011
This edition focuses on topics related to management. One of the best definitions of management is "The responsibility for and control of a company or similar organization." Your company"s success depends upon your management skills.
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October 2011
Efficiency: Streamlining Your Productivity. The ant is one of nature’s most efficient creatures and serves as a model for humans to try to live up to.
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Sept. 2011
The Supply Chain -- Keeping Your Ducks in a Row is Not Child's Play. The "ducky" issue covers the serious subject that can make or break your company.
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August 2011
High-Reliability Electronics: It's a Matter of Life or Death. Manufacturers of mission-critical PCBs face a plethora of challenges. If you’re assembling high-reliability PCBs, this edition of SMT is required reading.
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July 2011
Thermal Management Forecast: Hot and Getting Hotter! For many of today’s higher-tech applications, good thermal management practices can make the difference between an assembly that works and one that fails in the field.
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June 2011
The Advanced Packaging Technology issue. Previously found in the most bleeding-edge assemblies, stacked packages, WLCSPs, SiPs and FBGAs are showing up in an ever- increasing number of mainstream applications.
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May 2011
Military & Aerospace: What it Takes to Thrive. Mil/aero work brings with it a host of often-complex technological issues, not to mention business-related hurdles.
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April 2011
This issue features the IPC APEX EXPO New Product Showcase 2011. In addition to highlighting the new tools, equipment and materials being shown at APEX, we also point out the most exciting of these new products.
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March 2011
Medical Electronics: The Micro and Macro World. In this issue, we offer a healthy dose of information for the medical manufacturer.
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February 2011
The Greening of the Supply Base. With regulations changing almost daily, even the “greenest” company has a tough time staying in compliance worldwide.
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January 2011
The Market in 2011: Handhelds Lead the Way. The transformation of the market is upon us.
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December 2012
The December issue of SMT Magazine examines the best and worst of 2012 with a focus on plans for improvement in 2013.
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November 2012
This month we "Asked the Brain" for an EMS Industry Forecast
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October 2012
Green Electronics is the theme for this month. Industry experts weigh in to keep you to date with the latest changes.
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September 2012
How Clean IS Clean?
Today, largely due to assembly miniaturization, increased component density and higher-temperature, lead-free alloys, cleaning has once again rejoined the assembly process.
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August 2012
Tin Whiskers Special Edition
This issue is jam-packed with informative articles on this problematic phenomenon.
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July 2012
Advanced Packaging: It's Getting Really Crowded in Here!
Companies are dealing more and more with advanced packages: Chip-scale packages, BGAs, stacked chips, through-silicon vias—the list goes on and on.
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June 2012
Thermal Management Edition
This issue dives into the hot issue of thermal management with insights from the importance of keeping LEDs cool to how to protect chip and solder joints after long thermal cycles.
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May 2012
In medical markets every circuit board is mission-critical. This issue aims to cover everything from process requirements to new manufacturing strategies for such boards.
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April 2012
Mil/Aero Edition
Building assemblies for a military customer can seem like a never-ending battle, in this month's issue, learn how some are rising to the challenge.
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March 2012
Test and Inspection with a hefty dose of post-show coverage from this year's exciting Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO 2012.
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February 2012
With Foxconn Electronics’ announcement that the company plans to add one million production robots to its manufacturing lines within the next three years, this is a good time to take a look at what’s possible in automation.
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January 2012
We have devoted the January issue to 2012 Markets and the outlook for the New Year. The electronic products marketplace is tough to navigate, no matter the state of the economy. We are here to help guide the way.
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December 2013
December 2013 - At the end of each year, our contributors look back at the year that was, and make predictions about the upcoming 12 months.
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November 2013
Rework, Modification & Repair: No one likes to repair packages. Rework & repair of advanced packages is becoming increasingly complex, not to mention costly. Explore how to repair large area and column grid array assemblies.
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October 2013
Lead-free Developments: It’s been over seven years since RoHS became the law of the land in Europe but many OEMs & EMS companies still find themselves facing increasing challenges related to lead-free processes.
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September 2013
Test & Measurement featuring Julie Silk's article "Brittle Failure in Pb-free BGA Solder Joints"
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August 2013
With packages becoming denser all the time, how does this affect the PCB assembly process? In this issue, our expert contributors explain the ins and outs of high-density packaging.
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July 2013
Thermal Management: Beating the Heat
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June 2013
This month, SMT Magazine features articles by industry experts on high-reliability issues facing a range of sectors: mil/aero, medical, counterfeit components, and more!
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May 2013
SMT Assembly Processes Part II: The Soldering Technology Edition
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April 2013
SMT Assembly Processes Part I: Stencil Printing
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March 2013
Legislation and Environmental Issues
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February 2013
Coating and Cleaning are the two focuses in this month's edition of SMT. Learn how to make good decisions in this issue.
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January 2013
The January issue contains an interesting mix of feature articles chosen to help you manage your business.
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November 2014
This month, experts from OK International/Metcal, Ersa GmbH, and BEST Inc. weigh in on rework & repair topics ranging from challenges for mobile devices to new technology for rework systems and more!
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October 2014
This month, experts from Lockheed Martin and Verdant Electronics present their perspective on cutting-edge alternatives to soldering. Other contributors include CML EurAsia and Jabil Circuits.
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September 2014
This month, a few of our feature contributors examine the impact of automation on PCB assembly, from quality concerns to cost savings, while others take on the role of robots. Don’t miss this comprehensive coverage of automation for PCB assembly.
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August 2014
Printed electronic circuits have been in development for years, but PEC has only recently achieved commercial acceptance. And most technologists have more questions than answers about PEC.
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July 2014
This month, our resident SMT experts take on the phenomenon of tin whisker, from a comprehensive breakdown of its formation to risk management. Don’t miss this issue!
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June 2014
SMT Magazine turns up the heat this month with features focused on thermal management from AT&S, Dow Corning and Heraeus Precious Metals.
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May 2014
Test & Inspection: Be it X-rays, drop shock performance or tweaking test fixtures to meet today's needs, we've got it covered in this issue.
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April 2014
In Part 3 of our assembly process series, SMT Magazine uncovers what happens after the soldering process in an issue devoted to cleaning and coating. Plus, show coverage from IPC APEX EXPO!
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March 2014
In Part 2 of our assembly process series, we help make the connections! This month, solders, soldering & solderless technology are the focus, with features from Flextronics, the Aerospace Corp., and an IPC APEX EXPO preview!
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February 2014
SMT Assembly, Part 1: It might be a short month, but we’re not short on features—contributed by leading industry experts from Shea Engineering Services, Nordson ASYMTEK, DEK, and Universal Instruments Corp.
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January 2014
Reliabilty Issue
It’s all about reliability this month, with features from Trace Labs, Nihon Superior, Cisco BFK Solutions, Steve Williams, and more!
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We’re starting off the new year with a look at worldwide electronics markets – what’s hot, what’s not, and what it all means to your company. As you can see by the fascinating cover of this issue, handheld devices are expected to “transform” the markets, with the number of handhelds surpassing personal computers for the first time ever. In New Decade, New Model for Electronics Contract Manufacturing, Pamela Gordon, president of Technology Forecasters, proposes a “merger” of the EMS and ODM models. She breaks down the benefits and drawbacks of both concepts, and she explains why these two classifications should be completely eliminated. In Trends in the Electronics Supply Chain Bode Well for Electronics Markets Worldwide, IPC’s Director of Market Research Sharon Starr reads the tea leaves that point toward a continuing recovery in the global electronics supply chain during 2011 and beyond. Trends show improving markets for medical and military products, along with handhelds. In Special Report: Pondering the Future of the Industry, Contributing Editor R. Ayes picks the brains of three executives in from the PCB, EMS and equipment sectors.

What’s in the Tech Crystal Ball for 2011? by PC World’s Katherine Noyes focuses on IDC’s dramatic predictions for this year. Among them: Non-PC mobile devices will outnumber PC shipments within 18 months. Publisher Ray Rasmussen received so many thoughtful comments (in agreement and disagreement) with his November SMT column IPC Executive Summit: The End in Sight that he revisits the issue this month in The End in Sight, Part Deux. The suggestion that the PCB may be on its way to obsolescence seemed to strike a nerve with our subscribers.

This issue focuses on a topic that has perplexed many in our industry: The continuing move toward “greener” electronics manufacturing. In the nearly five years since the EUs RoHS Directive went into effect, industry has spent billions trying to comply. And with regulations changing almost daily, even the “greenest” company has a tough time staying in compliance worldwide. Your only choice is to keep on top of changes in legislation, as well as advances in green chemicals and processes. This month, we provide a range of articles that can help keep you in compliance — and out of court. In EU Lawmakers’ Science-Based Decision Won’t Stop Call For Removal of Halogens, IPC’s Stephania Castorina explains why the EU’s decision not to restrict more substances under RoHS is not the end of the battle for science-based legislation. In RoHS Recast Just Around the Corner: Are You Ready? Jean-Cyril Walker of Keller and Heckman LLP describes the EU’s recent revision of the RoHS Directive. He discusses the EU’s apparent trend toward “science-based risk assessment” and the tougher exemption rules.Compliance is the name of the game. In Making Product Eco-Compliance Easy, Krista Botsford Crotty of Alberi Ecotech says that compliance is simple — if you have an ongoing, flexible process. Theold “once and done” approach won’t cut it today. Go Greener in Your Cleaner, by Dr. Harald Wack of Zestron, outlines some new pH-neutral defluxing agents that could makecleaning solutions with high alkaline content a thing of the past. What does the Toxic Substances Control Act mean to you? Kathleen Roberts of B&C Consortia Management details the possible impact of this “reform” on electronics manufacturing in How Will EPA Legislation Impact Electronics in 2011?
Medical science continues to astound. Advances in medicine and medical electronics are helping to raise the average human lifespan every year, while improving the quality of life for those suffering from disease or injury. But the medical electronics field can be a tough ocean for manufacturers to navigate. Just keeping abreast of the latest regulations and testing standards can be a serious challenge for manufacturers of medical devices and equipment. In this issue, we offer a healthy dose of information for the medical manufacturer. In Testing Medical Devices: How Will IEC 62353 Compare with IEC 60601? Rigel Medical Divisional Manager John Backes discusses the new, expanded 62353 standard and what it means for makers of electromedical equipment and systems accustomed to the 30-year-old 60601 test standard. In Streamlining Compliance to Accelerate Medical Device Innovation, Matt Klassen, solutions marketing manager for MKS Inc., details some of the software-driven problems facing medical manufacturers, as well as a variety of solutions. In How Does Printed Electronics Fit into Current EMS Infrastructure? columnist Joel Yocom discusses the burgeoning printed electronics market and what this technology can mean for various applications, including medical apps. And in his column Industry Starting to Percolate, Publisher Ray Rasmussen reads the tea leaves and finds the electronics community ready to shake its malaise, starting in Silicon Valley. Hold on to your hats!
It’s April, and that means one thing: Show time! Many of you will be attending IPC APEX EXPO 2011, our industry’s biggest North American show, April 10-14 at Mandalay Bay Resort & Convention Center in Las Vegas. The editors at SMT will be bringing you all the information you need to know, before and after the show. This issue features the IPC APEX EXPO New Product Showcase 2011. In addition to highlighting the new tools, equipment and materials being shown at APEX, we also point out the most exciting of these new products. Carrying on the trade show theme, we continue our coverage of “Reacting to the Age of the Domain Expert: Industry Collaboration to Make Prototyping Easier, Part 2,” a panel discussion held at Design-Con 2011. Read all about how these companies from different parts of the supply chain decided to work together to leverage each other’s core competencies. Ray Rasmussen is still worried about our industry’s longevity. His column “Prophet of Doom, Again!” discusses a new book by physicist Michio Kaku that lays out the case for the possible end of Moore’s Law. Have we really hit the wall for transistor density, and if so, what will it mean for technology? And in this issue, we feature a group of Technology in Focus articles, from authors Vern Solberg of Solberg Technical Consulting, William E. Coleman of Photo Stencil, Jean-Cyril Walker of Keller and Heckman LLP, Harold Katz of Syspro USA, and Indium’s Ed Briggs and Ron Lasky. As it says on the cover of this blockbuster issue, “We’ve got talent.” We’ll all be at IPC APEX EXPO from start to finish, covering the show with our Real Time with…IPC video program.
This edition of SMT is devoted to one of the fastest-growing segments of the electronics industry – mil/aero. Many of you assemble PCBs for mil/aero applications, or you may be considering a move into the mil/aero arena. But before you jump in, remember: Mil/aero work brings with it a host of often-complex technological issues, not to mention business-related hurdles. (Can you wait up to 180 days to get paid?) This issue starts off with a bang: In our first feature, From PCBAs to Defense Contracting: Five Key Areas to Consider When Making the Transition, Tara Flynn Condon of API Technologies explains what you need to know before you start bidding for defense contracts. From certifications to testing, it’s all here. In Changes to ITAR and EAR Impact Selling to Mil/Aero Sector, IPC’s Ron Chamrin discusses recent changes to International Traffic in Arms Regulations (IAR) and the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), and what they mean to your business and bottom line. In A “Must-List” for Aviation PCBs, Nexlogic President Zulki Khan explains why EMS providers seeking to target aviation and aerospace applications should have AS9100 certification, expertise with RoHS, and a bulletproof process for fending off counterfeit components. It’s getting tougher to qualify components for use in military applications. In Acoustic Imaging Qualifies Military Components, Tom Adams describes how acoustic micro imaging can help companies like yours identify counterfeit parts before they wreak havoc—or cost lives. At times, the mil/aero supply chain can resemble a byzantine maze. In Managing Issues within the Military and Aerospace Supply Chain, Sparton Corporation explains why EMS providers working in the mil/aero arena must develop roadmaps if they wish to remain competitive.
If you’re not working with these packages yet, you will be soon. As you’ll see, demand for some of these packaging systems is expected to double over the next few years, so now is the time to double down and learn everything you can about these tricky little devices. Sandra Winkler of New Venture Research gives us a glimpse of the future of advanced packaging in the feature article IC Packaging Continues to Blossom. This feature breaks down each of the newest packaging types, and details the effects that smart phones, tablets and DVD drives may have on packaging technology. Nothing in electronics assembly happens in a vacuum. In Advanced Packages Change PCB Landscape, Zulki Khan of Nexlogic Technologies explores the difficulty of using traditional inspection and testing methods with advanced packages that are nearly impossible to detect and often lack gull wings or leads for testing. Lead-free usually means higher temps and greater stress on the PCB. But Brook Sandy, Edward Briggs and Dr. Ronald Lasky of Indium believe bismuth is a viable, low-cost, low-temp alloying option. In their article, Bismuth-Based Alloys for Low-Temp Lead-Free Soldering and Rework, these experts walk us through the results of a Hewlett Packard test study. In JISSO International Council Celebrates Global Standardization Progress, industry veterans Dennis Fritz and Joe Fjelstad provide an update on the Jisso International Council’s 12th annual meeting.
For many of today’s higher-tech applications, good thermal management practices can make the difference between an assembly that works and one that fails in the field. As you’ll see in this issue, device sizes are likely to continue to shrink, and we may never eliminate heat completely. But we can certainly control it. In his feature Electronics Forecast: Hot and Getting Hotter, Jason Brandi of Henkel Electronic Materials explains why phase-change materials can help product developers manage thermal issues. These "shape-shifting" materials can offer a thinner, more efficient thermal interface material than traditional solids or liquids. Yash Sutariya of Saturn Electronics Corporation catalogs the ways LEDs can help us manage thermal issues in his feature article Strategies for Beating the Heat: Recent Developments - LED Thermal Management 2.0. He discusses potential value of conductive inks for LED applications, as well as the use of alternative materials such as pyrolytic graphite for better heatsink properties. What if you only need to worry about heat on one section of your assembly? Advanced Thermal Solutions CTO Bahman Tavassoli has you covered with his feature TECs and Micro TECs for Spot Cooling on Electronics. He explains the ins and outs of using processor-level spot cooling with integrated thermoelectric coolers (TECs). In Thermal Stress in Electronic Packaging, columnist Karl Dietz addresses the stress caused by utilizing materials with divergent CTEs. What sort of problems can CTE mismatch cause and what can you do to prevent these problems in the first place?
This month we focus on the assembly of high-reliability electronics. Manufacturers of mission-critical PCBs face a plethora of challenges—technological, administrative, legislative and logistical. And your customers (and their end-users) are counting on you to navigate this maelstrom. The war on counterfeit parts continues. In Counterfeit Products: Strategies for Military Systems, Sanjay Tiku of Microsoft and Michael Pecht of the CALCE Electronic Products and Systems Center offer a variety of solutions for eliminating knock-off parts from your final product. They also address the burning question: What’s the most risk-free way to acquire genuine parts? Even if you manage to keep counterfeits at bay, a single speck of dirt can lead to disaster, at test or in the field. CEO Zulki Khan of Nexlogic explains how FOD Can Cause High-Reliability FUD. He explains how foreign object debris (FOD), often undetected by the naked eye, can lead to a bad case of fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD), and provides a methodology for keeping debris out of your assembly process. In Conformal Coating: The Key to Reliability, Dr. Helmut Schweigart and Umut Tosun of Zestron discuss the use of these coatings on high-rel boards and the need for optimum surface cleanliness before conformal coatings are applied. Craig Hunter of Vishay Intertechnology delves into Thermal Simulation of SMT Components in High-Temperature Applications. One of the most common harsh environments that PCB assemblies face is extreme heat. Craig breaks down the influx of new components that can survive (and function effectively) at temps above 200 degrees Celsius. Feeling fatigued? In Reliability of the Lead-Free System: Part 1: Solder Joint Fatigue, Dr. Jennie S. Hwang of H-Technologies Group expands her series on reliability in the age of RoHS. She discusses the causes of solder fatigue and the ways it manifests itself, and she takes a microstructural peek inside a case of solder joint fatigue.
The September issue of SMT Magazine is devoted to the supply chain--a chain that, for many of you, stretches around the globe. Like all chains, some links in the supply chain are stronger than others. If your supply chain breaks, your customers may decide to take their business elsewhere. And in 2011, that could be fatal. But we’ve got you covered with these timely features: In Plan Your Way Around Supply Chain Issues, Graham Smith explains how even the most complex supply chains can be managed—with a little up-front planning and a lot of documentation. How much do you know about the materials you use? Fern Abrams has written a feature article Environmental Goals Pose Never-Ending Supply Chain Challenges: New Regulations Go Beyond Restricted Materials that may make you take a closer look at your materials. What if your company falls somewhere between a small family affair and a multinational? Susan Mucha’s feature, Strategy Plays Key Role in Mid-Tier Supply Chain Management, outlines some of the ways in which a well managed supply chain can work to the advantage of mid-sized EMS companies. In Protecting Your Supply Chain, David Fambrough points out the severity of the counterfeit parts problem, and he details a variety of methods for ensuring that you don’t buy any bogus parts. Mark Medlen writes When Selecting a Supplier "The Devil is in the Details". He explains why not every supplier will fit your sweet spot, and he provides some handy ways to assess the needs of your company when choosing suppliers. iNEMI has long been involved in sorting out supply chain madness. In this feature, iNEMI CEO Bill Bader addresses The Challenges of Synchronizing the Electronics Supply Chain: The iNEMI Model. And in Efficient Supply Chain Techniques, freelance journalist Daniela Reichart sheds light on some supply chain management tips and tricks. You’ll also find our usual line-up of expert columnists, along with industry news and video shorts.
As you can see on this month’s cover, we’re big fans of the lowly ant. The ant is one of nature’s most efficient creatures. Their trails (or supply lines, if you will) are models of efficiency. But they’re not perfect right off the bat – ants often start out laying trails every which way, and then pare them back to the most effective trail network through trial and error. If you manage an EMS company, you likely face many of the same challenges as our cover talent. You both manage vast interconnecting networks, and you’re both constantly simplifying these networks to their most efficient forms. But unlike the ant, you can’t afford too much trial and error. Spend a little time with this issue. Much like the ant, you may wind up increasing efficiency throughout your entire operation In Human-Machine Interface Systems for Production Applications, Lance A Scott of EAO Corporation and Joseph Torzillo of HMI Components discuss new methods and processes for improving the relationship between operator and machine. Here’s one law you won’t want to break: The Law of Exponential Profits Ronald C. Lasky of Indium explains a variety of techniques for measuring your lines’ up-time. In Sustainability in Action , Jean-Cyril Walker and Sheila A Millar of Keller and Heckman focus on how federal, state and voluntary efficiency standards are driving demands for smart semiconductor technologies. Patrick Prondzinski of Kimball Electronics Group discusses the competencies needed for launching a CEM project in Kimball Explains How to Optimize the Contract Manufacturing Relationship: Disciplined Processes Fill the Gaps. A little discipline goes a long way toward high quality and error reduction. In The Unbalance in Balancing, columnist Eric Klaver of Assembleon explains how to balance your production line, and he reminds us all that "production is not flawless."
If you're running a manufacturing company with multiple locations, and you serve worldwide markets, management can take on a whole new meaning with a host of challenges. Jim Greig of LORD Corporation explains how to achieve Successful Management in a Global Environment. It’s really just a matter of basic management tenets: Good communication, employee motivation, contingency planning and the ability to make tough decisions. If you can’t control and measure your manufacturing processes, you’re in trouble. In Manufacturing Software as a Competitive Advantage, Jason Spera of Aegis Software discusses how manufacturing operations software can help you control and measure your systems while eliminating hidden overhead costs. How can a large company operating in a variety of locations still offer the consistency of a smaller firm? Christof Kuenz of Escatec Switzerland has the answers in Being Local on a Global Basis. "Lead, follow or get out of the way" is a popular rallying cry among original thinkers. Michele Nash-Hoff challenges the managers of American manufacturing companies in her feature Will You Follow the Herd or Be a Leader? Editor Richard Ayes recently interviewed SMTC Manufacturing Corporation’s executive VP of operations, Paul Blom. In Maintaining Consistent Manufacturing Efficiency and Quality Worldwide, Blom discusses everything from his company’s supply chain management strategies to its PLM systems. If your company has emerged from the past few downturns relatively unscathed, you’re probably on the right track. Bob Hunt of C-MAC Microtechnology details how companies like yours should build upon its established markets in Learning from Success. And in Alignment -- The Truth is the Truth, Publisher Barry Matties discusses a good manager’s continuous hunt for the truth, and why so many not-so-good managers turn a deaf ear to it.
In his 2011 in Review feature, Zulki Khan of Nexlogic Technologies compares 2011 to 2010 and discusses many of the highlights of various market segments. What did it take for EMS companies to survive and thrive this year? Roberta Foster-Smith explains why the customers’ needs truly came first in What Can You Rely On? One segment, if you can call it that, did better than ever in 2011: Counterfeit component suppliers. In The Rise of Counterfeit Components, John Mayes of Paragon Electronics Group argues that parts production interrupted by the Japanese tsunami gave counterfeiters the perfect window of opportunity. In her 2011: Year-End Review column, Dr. Jennie S Hwang harkens back to the predictions she made for the year in her February 2011 column. She got quite a bit of it dead-on!

Barry Matties bemoans the state of customer service in the US, with a few choice words and gives examples as illustrations, in his column We Are Tired of Being Screwed! You won’t want to miss this one! In See Ya ‘Round, Denny, Ray Rasmussen offers an assessment of outgoing IPC President Denny McGuirk’s 12-year term in office. In that time, IPC has become a real global organization. But argument about the role of IPC president continues: Should the president of IPC be a hands-on leader or not?

In our other columns:
While editors and technologists alike are busy touting the value of integration, Joe Fjelstad is taking things in the opposite direction. In Disintegrating the IC: An Alternative Approach to Increasing Semiconductor Integration, Joe points out the value of using "disintegrated" ICs, as well as the inherent challenge of coaxing the industry into rethinking its love affair with integration.

Don’t expect an upswing in the PCB market, at least not for a while, says Zulki Khan of Nexlogic Technologies in his 2012 Outlook feature.

In his feature 2012: Slight Growth Following a Sluggish Start, Matt Scherer of Databeans Inc. sees a semiconductor market that’s growing, albeit ever so slowly. Is the middle of the year prime time for an upswing?

Is this the year manufacturing returns en masse to American shores? Is green energy truly ascendant? In Facing the Challenges of 2012 and Beyond, Anita LaFond of Constructive Communication makes sense of the myriad factors that promise to affect our industry in 2012.

Johannes Rehm of Rehm Thermal Systems is bullish about 2012, despite a touchy economy. In A Positive Perspective in Uncertain Times, he details a few oft-ignored facts, such as the growth exhibited by about 700 EMS providers over the past year.

Remember, electronics is still a great business to be in. Ray Rasmussen explains why in his column Outlook for 2012, and he points out the need to keep things in perspective. If you’ve been in the industry long enough, this business climate, with its ups and downs, should feel familiar.

Is there light at the end of the tunnel? Dr. Jennie S. Hwang of H-Technologies Group explores the economic outlook for 2012, along with trends in technology, in her column What Can We Expect in 2012?

Do you have the right people in your organization, and in the right positions? Barry Matties, in his column The Team Makes all the Difference, discusses the need to have the best people "on the bus," and sitting in the right seats.

Automation is on the rise.

With Foxconn Electronics' announcement that the company plans to add one million production robots to its manufacturing lines within the next three years, this is a good time to take a look at what's possible in automation. Is the uptick in robotic automation a hint of future unemployment?

The February issue of SMT Magazine addresses this issue with articles from Herbert Hofmann, ASM Assembly Systems; Adrian Scharli, Azular GmbH; and many more.

This month’s issue also features special coverage of IPC APEX EXPO 2012, this year’s will offer many valuable programs, exhibitions and demos on a wide range of industry topics. Our special coverage section is just small sample of what you’ll find in San Diego this year.

We hope to see you at the show!

This month, we delayed production to be able to bring you special coverage from this year's IPC APEX EXPO show which was held in San Diego, Calif. We’re bringing you the very latest from the show floor, including new products, the latest technologies and interviews from industry experts as well as up-to-the-minute reports from our editors.

Now on to our theme: Test and Inspection... Be it dealing with challenges brought on by high-speed components or addressing the loss of test access with new test methods, the March issue of SMT Magazine aims to provide readers new ideas and solutions. We’ll access our knowledge base of industry veterans to reveal the latest industry standards and practices.

Learn when, where, why, how and how much testing is required for electronic products. Find out more about compliance testing, developments in JTAG/boundary scan, how to fight tin whiskers, testing issues in mil/aero applications, and why reliability matters with articles from ScanCAD’s William Loving, GOEPEL’s Jens Kokott, Agilent’s Jun Balangue, NexLogic Technolgies’ Zulki Khan, Nordson YESTECH’s Andy Bonner, and many more.

Building assemblies for a military customer can seem like a never-ending battle. In addition to the technical aspects of building a high-reliability product that can withstand heat, vibration, salt water, and radiation, EMS companies must also contend changing certifications and regulations, and a massive counterfeit component industry doesn’t help. Controlling the production flow around the world is a challenge—how do you protect your products?

Zulki Khan reveals the keys to selecting the correct boards for mil/aero applications; Steve Martell addresses the inspection of molded underfill flip chips; Susan Mucha gives you the secrets to satisfying defense customers; counterfeit electronics and their connection to China is examined by Dr. Michael Pecht and Len Zuga; Steve DeWaters gives insights from behind the "buy side" of the desk; the future of American PCB shops is spotlighted by Harvey Miller; and Chris Torrioni has an interview with the whistle-blower who took down MVP Micro. All this and much more can be found in this month’s issue.

Download your copy today!

The assembly of high-reliability PCBs for the Medical marketplace is a process that stands alone, but faces unique challenges and solutions.

In this issue of SMT Magazine, Teradyne’s Michael Smith helps to ensure you’ll be able to test next-generation portable devices; Dr. Markus Riester discusses medical electronics manufacturing trends; Assembléon's Sjef van Gastel addresses repeatability in medical electronics production; Matthew Scherer and Brice Esplin, of Databeans provide a 2012 outlook on medical devices; and many more authors contribute to an in-depth discussion of the medical device manufacturing market.

Thermal Management Edition

Electronics manufacturers learned long ago that it’s much safer to be proactive with thermal issues throughout the product development process rather than face such issues when it's too late. So why do thermal issues still get the "Rodney Dangerfield" treatment?

In this issue of SMT Magazine, Anita LaFond presents Thermal Management for LEDs; Ward Gatza and Tom Evans of Agilent Technologies offer a reliability study on vapor-phase BGA in Thermal Cycle Reliability Study: Vapor Phase BGA Solder Joints, a paper that was presented at the 2012 IPC Technical Conference; Saturn Electronics’ Yash Sutariya has a Crazy Idea: Making PCBs out of FR-4; Robin Bornoff of Mentor Graphics gives a lesson in improving product design through thermal simulation in From Beer Fridges to Laptops, Thermal Simulation Improves Product Design; and SinkPAD Corporation’s Kris Vasoya explains why thermal management is criticalto the long life of LEDs used in solid state lighting in PCB: An Important Piece of the Puzzle IN LED Thermal Management.

Advanced Packaging: It's Getting Really Crowded in Here!
Companies are dealing more and more with advanced packages: Chip-scale packages, BGAs, stacked chips, through-silicon vias—the list goes on and on. This month, we tackle the subject with an array of articles on advanced packaging.

In this issue of SMT Magazine, experts from Agilent address the evolution and voiding of solder joints on QFN central pads; authors representing ZESTRON question whether or not cleaning is critical for package-on-package assemblies; Raymond Clark and Joseph Poole of TT electronics take a look at the assembly and rework of lead-free PoP technology; SMT Trends and Technologies, the column from Sjef van Gastel of Assembleon chimes in with It's Getting Crowded; popular columnist Chris Torrioni investigates Microsemi’s silence concerning chip security; and Dr. Jennie S. Hwang concludes her list of important points to consider when dealing with lead-free assembly.

All this and much more can be found in this month's issue.

Discovered in the 1940s, tin whiskers can spontaneously form on tin-based, lead-free finished surfaces even at room temperature. Because of their ability to conduct electrical current, tin whiskers can also cause electrical shorts and initiate metal vapor arcs—leading to failure.

In this issue of SMT Magazine, David Lee and Lesly Pinol of Johns Hopkins APL, take a look at the effects of tin and copper nanotexturization on whisker formation; Thomas Lesniewski, Northrop Grumman, and Dave Hillman, Rockwell Collins, investigate whisker growth on tin-coated wire and braid; a team of researchers from CALCE address the likelihood of metal vapor arc by tin whiskers; a whisker mitigation process for surface mount components is revealed by Scott R. Sentz with AEM Inc.; and Dr. Jennie Hwang investigates whether or not microstructures indicate a good solder joint.

All this and much more can be found in this month’s issue of SMT Magazine.

How Clean IS Clean?

The removal of post reflow flux residues is an integral part of the electronic assembly industry. When CFC-based solvents were pushed out, much of the commercial electronic assembly industry adopted a no-clean process, eliminating residue removal. Today, largely due to assembly miniaturization, increased component density and higher-temperature, lead-free alloys, cleaning has once again rejoined the assembly process.

In this issue of SMT Magazine, Saturn Electronics’ Yash Sutariya examines PCB reliability; Umut Tosun, Naveen Ravindran, and Michael McCutchen of ZESTRON present a paper on maintaining OSP coating integrity during cleaning; Craig McClenachan and Jim Stockhausen help readers select the right potting compound; Ascentech’s Gregory Alexander reviews ionic cleanliness testing; and regular columnists Dr. Jennie Hwang and Sjef van Gastel are joined by a new contributor, Karla Osorno of EE Technologies, Inc.

GREEN ELECTRONICS ISSUE

The focus this month is RoHS, REACH, and WEEE compliance and current legislation, waste water management, and many other environmental concerns encountered during manufacturing. OEM and EMS providers must be proactive and keep up with the latest changes in various countries to remain at the top of their game.

This issue brings readers a host of industry experts to address energy conservation, workplace safety, and sustainability issues; define green and green-washing legislation; present a conflict metals update; and offer the latest concerning REACH, RoHS, and WEEE and much more. Contributors include: Holly Evans of Strategic Counsel, LLC who asks if you're ready to deal with the RoHS Recast; I-Connect007's Richard Ayes who interviews SMTC's Brian Morrison about the challenges of being "green;" and David Dornfeld of University of California, Berkeley who addresses green manufacturing and resiliency.

Of special interest, the October issue marks the debut of our newest columnist, Anthony Hilvers, former vice president of industry programs at IPC. His column, titled, "Oh, Really?" should be a fun and interesting read.

All this and much more can be found in this month's issue.

The focus of the November issue of SMT Magazine is the players, the markets, and the future of the EMS industry. How will the industry look five, 10, even 15 years from now?

We asked industry experts to weigh in. Contributors include: Lavanya Rammohan of Frost & Sullivan with an outlook for the EMS market; Arthur R. Tan, president and CEO Integrated Micro-Electronics, Inc. (IMI), who provides a personal look at how his company weathered the economic downturn and remains optimistic for the future; Global Industry Analysts, Inc. offers analysis of industry trends and areas of future growth; and many more.

As always, read the latest columns from Editor Ray Rasmussen, Dr. Jennie S. Hwang; Tony Hilvers; Karla Osorno; Zulki Khan, and more. All this, industry news highlights, and upcoming events can be found in this month’s issue of SMT Magazine.

2012: The Year in Review

The December issue of SMT Magazine examines the best and worst of 2012 with a focus on plans for improvement in 2013.

Mike McNamara, of Flextronics, provides tips on surviving hardship and remaining competitive in today's market; Frost & Sullivan’s Lavanya Rammohan gives a snapshot of the EMS market in 2012; and Andrew Fletcher, of Reed Electronics Research, offers an outlook of the industry in Europe on the back of a weakening economy.

As always, read the latest columns from Editor Ray Rasmussen, Dr. Jennie S. Hwang; Tony Hilvers; Karla Osorno; Chris Torrioni, and more.

What better way to start the New Year than with a focus on management?

The January issue of SMT Magazine has every aspect covered, with articles from Components Direct’s Steve Martin addressing the impact of e-commerce on the component supply chain; George Henning of OCM Manufacturing advising how to choose between turnkey and consignment manufacturing; ESCATEC’s Daniel Pfeifer explaining how to give your global company a local advantage; and much more.

As always, read the latest columns from Editor Ray Rasmussen, Dr. Jennie S. Hwang; Karla Osorno; and more.

All this, industry news highlights, and upcoming events can be found in this month’s issue of SMT Magazine.

The February issue of SMT Magazine addresses cleaning and coating: Conformal coating inspection methods; the effective removal of OA flux residues; plasma polymerization for conformal coating; benchtop PCB cleaning; and an in-depth comparison of conformal coatings.

This issue also features our exclusive IPC APEX EXPO 2013 Pre-show Coverage, which includes information on technical conference sessions, standards development meetings, certification programs, IPC Buzz Sessions, a Real Time with... video overview, and much more.

Legislation and Environmental Issues

The March issue of SMT Magazine looks at the industry’s many environmental issues, including the impact of legislation with a focus on RoHS and REACH compliance and enforcement, ITAR compliance, conflict minerals, and corporate social responsibility.

Also included in this issue is our exclusive IPC APEX EXPO 2013 post-show coverage. Our veteran team of guest editors and staff bring you the latest from the show floor, including new technologies and products, a review of key panel discussions, and, of course, our in-depth Real Time with… video interviews.

SMT Assembly Processes Part I: Stencil Printing

The April issue of SMT Magazine addresses SMT Assembly Processes, including stencil paste printing/dispensing, component handling, ESD control, component placement, and odd-form placement.

The issue features 3M's James T. Adams, explaining how to find the perfect cover tape; Dr. Bill Coleman, vice president of technology at Photo Stencil, addressing the stencil printing of small apertures; Ricky Bennett and Eric Hanson covering low surface energy coatings; and many more articles and columns from industry experts, including, Zulki Khan, Eric Klaver, Karla Osorno, and Michael Ford.

SMT Assembly Processes Part II: Soldering Technology

The May issue of SMT Magazine focuses on soldering issues and features authors from Rehm Thermal Systems and Balver Zinn who examine the surface tension and load-carrying capacities of solder. Seth J. Homer and Dr. Ron Lasky of Indium Corporation discuss ways to reduce voiding in QFN packages.

Additional articles and columns from industry experts, including, Dr. Jennie Hwang, Zulki Khan, Sjef van Gastel, Karla Osorno, and new columnist Rachel Short can be found in the issue as well.

HIGH RELIABLITY

The theme for the June issue of SMT Magazine is high-reliability with a focus on standards and specifications; counterfeit components; certification; security, testing, and quality assurance issues.

Read in-depth articles from the best in the industry including Ed Habtour, U.S. Army Material Systems Analysis Activity, and Cholmin Choi, Michael Osterman, and Abhijit Dasgupta, CALCE. The feature article presents a novel approach to improve reliability in U.S. Army vehicles. Lavanya Rammohan, Frost & Sullivan, explains the EMS provider’s role in combating counterfeit components.

As always, the June issue also includes several columns from our industry experts, including Derek Snider, Michael Ford, Rachel Miller-Short and Karla Osorno.

The July issue of SMT Magazine is hot! Hot! HOT!

Thermal management is in the hot seat this month, with feature contributors from Koki Company Ltd., Christopher & Associates, Air-Vac Engineering, and Verdant Electronics, taking on a range of thermal management issues, including applications of lead-free alloy solder pastes, through-hole rework of thermally challenging components and assemblies, and so much more!

From our columns department, Jennie Hwang, Karla Osorno, Eric Klaver and Ray Rasmussen are on hand to enlighten and inform. Don’t miss our highlights, with current headlines from throughout the industry and feature video from our Real Time with series.

High Density Packaging

It’s no secret that packages are becoming denser all the time. But how does this affect the PCB assembly process? In this issue of SMT Magazine, our expert contributors explain the ins and outs of high-density packaging, as well as tips and techniques for dealing with packages chock full of ever-increasing levels of technology.

Hear from our contributors and columnists as they discuss best practices for assembling today’s high-density packages. Atotech’s Olaf Kurtz, Jürgen Barthelmes, Eckart Klusmann, Robert Rüther, and Stephen Kenny discuss strategies for using layers of cost-effective palladium. And a team from Altera Corporation and Amkor Technology present a case study that evaluates the use of molded flip-chip BGA packages in 28nm FPGAs.

As always, catch up on the latest columns from Sjef van Gastel, Rachel Short, Michael Ford, Karla Osorno, Zulki Khan, and much more.

Test & Inspection

Pass the test with SMT! In this issue, we explore the latest and greatest test and inspection processes related to PCB assembly. Our contributors from Agilent, Teradyne, ASSET Intertech and Cincinnati Sub Zero focus on ICT, HALT, HASS, and much more.

Lead-Free Developments

We’ve seen a myriad of developments in lead-free solder and surface finishes since RoHS went into effect seven years ago. But the state of lead-free changes almost every day. In the October issue of SMT Magazine, our contributors and columnists explore the often confusing world of lead-free processes. Nihon Superior’s Tetsuro Nishimura discusses the bleeding edge of lead-free soldering. And a case study by Continental Corporation’s José Mar’a, Serv’n Olivares and Cynthia Gómez Aceves details how TOF SIMS analysis helped provide insight into wetting issues with lead-free HASL processes.

As always, this month we feature columns by our team of experts, including Ray Rasmussen, Michael Ford, Sjef van Gastel, Rachel Short, and Zulki Khan. All this, industry news highlights, and upcoming events can be found in this month’s issue of SMT Magazine.

Rework, Modification & Repair

The repair and rework of packages is becoming more complex and expensive, especially with today’s advanced packages. In the November issue of SMT Magazine, our contributors and columnists get to the bottom of rework, modification and repair. Air-Vac Engineering’s Brian Czaplicki discusses the advanced rework of bleeding-edge packaging systems. And an article by Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Reza Ghaffarian, Ph.D., details the rework and reliability of high-I/O CGA assemblies.

As always, this month we feature columns by our team of experts, including Ray Rasmussen, Dr. Jennie Hwang, Karla Osorno, and Eric Klaver.

All this, industry news highlights, and upcoming events can be found in this month’s issue.

Our Columnists Speak

As 2013 comes to a close, our columnists look back on the past year and make predictions for the upcoming year. In the December issue of SMT Magazine, Publisher Ray Rasmussen wraps up 2013 and discusses what we might expect to see in 2014. Dr. Jennie S. Hwang looks back on her predictions from last year and details where she got it right, and wrong. Rachel Short explains why your relationship with your stencil maker will be so important in 2014. And Michael Ford discusses why he believes electronics manufacturing is experiencing its "teen" years: Full of expectation, but lacking capital.

As always, this month we feature columns by our team of experts, including Sjef van Gastel, Zulki Khan, and Karla Osorno.

Reliability

This month, Trace Labs’ Renee Michalkiewicz covers the corrosion and reliability characteristics of fluxes; Nihon Superior supplies a comprehensive analysis of lead-free solder joint reliability and Cisco offers a complete look at predicting pad crater failures. Steve Williams and BFK Solutions round out our line-up of features!

Don’t miss new Real Time with… video content from HKPCA and productronica 2013!

SMT Assembly, Part 1

This month, our cover story from Shea Engineering Services probes the stencil manufacturing process, including stencil printing experiments. Also featured this month: Testing Intermetallic Fragility on ENIG upon Addition of Limitless Cu (Universal Instruments Corp.); Making Sense of Accuracy, Repeatability and Specification for Automated Fluid Dispensing (Nordson ASYMTEK); Big Ideas on Miniaturisation (DEK).

Don’t miss new Real Time with… video content from productronica 2013, SMTA and more!

SMT Assembly, Part 2: Making the Connections

In Part 2 of our assembly process series, SMT Magazine helps make the connections! This month, we dig deeper into the no-clean vs. water-soluble solder paste argument, the overstress of components during the soldering process, the feasibility of low/no-silver solder pastes, the influence of microstructure on bismuth lead-free solders, and high-temperature assembly materials.

Plus: IPC APEX EXPO preview!

In Part 3 of our assembly process series, SMT Magazine uncovers what happens after the soldering process in an issue devoted to cleaning and coating. How clean is clean? Which cleaning process is best suited for which technology? These questions and more are addressed this month by experts from University of Denmark, AIM Solder and NexLogic.

Plus, show coverage from IPC APEX EXPO, including interviews, overviews, pictures and more!

Test & Inspection of Electronic Assemblies

This month, Alejandro Castellanos, et al of Flextronics explains how this company uses X-ray inspection to fight head-in-pillow defects. Ronald Frosch of AT&S discusses a novel method for forecasting drop shock performance. Rob Humphrey of XJTAG looks at a variety of ways to achieve signal integrity in test fixtures. Alan Albee of Teradyne focuses on the changing economics of in-circuit test. And NK Chari of Agilent explains solid management practices for PCBA test.

You’ll also find an article by Dan Hoz of Mentor Graphics, as well as columns by Dr. Jennie Hwang, Ray Rasmussen, Todd Kramer, and Sjef van Gastel.

All this, plus industry news highlights and upcoming events, can be found in this month’s issue of SMT Magazine.

THERMAL MANAGEMENT

It must be summer, because this month, SMT Magazine is turning up the heat on thermal management! Features include Gregor Langer, Markus Leitgeb, et al., who look into advanced thermal management solutions for high-power applications.

Carlos Montemayor investigates the high-temperature reliability limits for silicone adhesives, and Mark Challingsworth examines trends in thermal management for electronic circuits.

TIN WHISKERS

This month, our cover feature by Dr. Jennie Hwang encapsulates the phenomenon of tin whisker. Inside features include articles from Andrzej Czerwinski (Institute of Electron Technology) and Linda Woody and William Fox (Lockheed Martin). Also included is an article by Edward Briggs (Indium), who takes on the future of stencil printing challenges.

Printed Electronics Assembly

In this issue we focus on what's current and what the future holds for PEC.

Dr. Harry Zervos of IDTechEx presents a case study on printed electronics suppliers, cost structures, and challenges. Sumit Kumar Pal of Frost & Sullivan's Technical Insights explains how traditional processes are enabling next-gen technologies such as printed electronics.

And columnist Joe Fjelstad of Verdant Electronics puts printed electronics in historical perspective, discussing PEC's potential future uses and inherent limitations. I-Connect007 editor Richard Ayes discusses printed electronics assembly with Rafael Nestor Mantaring of Integrated Micro-Electronics Inc.

You’ll also find an article on inline AXI technology by a new contributor, Ondrej Simecek of Test Research Inc., as well as regular columns by Michael Ford and Ray Rasmussen.

All this, plus industry news highlights and upcoming events, can be found in this month's issue of SMT Magazine.

Automation

Scott Zerkle of Yamaha Motor IM leads off our line-up of features this month, with A Robot’s Place in SMT. Our comprehensive coverage of automation for assembly also includes Mentor’s Michael Ford, Zentech’s Waleid Jabai, Integrated Micro-Electronics’ Michael Hansson, and more!

SMT Magazine delves into alternatives to soldering this month, with experts from Lockheed Martin and Verdant Electronics, who offer their perspectives on this hot topic. In other articles, contributors from CML EurAsia offer their take on sourcing concepts for PCBs, and I-Connect007’s Richard Ayes interviews Jabil Circuits Inc on the topic of flexible manufacturing. Don’t miss this issue!

REWORK AND REPAIR

In the November issue of SMT, feature article contributors Paul Wood (OK International/Metcal), Joerg Nolte (Ersa GmbH) and Bob Wettermann (BEST Inc.) deliver updates on the latest rework and repair processes and equipment. Non-feature contributions include technical articles from Plasmatreat, Henkel, and Sonoscan. Plus, fresh Real Time with...videos straight from SMTAI.

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