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October 2019
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october 2019 • VOL. 36 • NO. 10
First Person
6
Should history repeat?
Mike Buetow
Money Matters
16
Motivational measures.
Peter Bigelow

17
New supply chain, new region?
Susan Mucha

Tech Talk
18
The future is mechatronics.
EMA Design Automation
19
When to source dual-ply glass.
Bill Hargin
24
Lab-on-a-chip.
Alun Morgan
26
Stick to the center.
Nick Koop
42
Misguided print process adjustments.
Clive Ashmore
43
Cleaning before heating?
Bob Willis
44
When to clean before coating.
Matt Eveline
october 2019 • VOL. 36 • NO. 10
Features
27
iNEMI Roadmap
Cost and time pressures have driven the electronics industry to rely heavily on modeling, simulation and design tools versus experimental prototyping during product and technology development. That theme continues to be relevant and central.
by Lesley Polka, Ph.D.

28
connectors
The new memory technologies provide the
performance enhancements and power management required for 400GE networking speeds.
by Wai Kiong Poon

30
Tariffs
As trade battles between the US and China have heated up, Ventec USA has had a front seat.
by Mike Buetow

31
Circuit Connect
Fabrication is largely a merchant exercise, meaning engineers must make the effort to see how their work is built. Here, PCD&F joins a veteran engineer as he takes his first trip to a board shop.
by Mike Buetow

34
Process Flow
The ability to be flexible and do multiple types of projects is an advantage. But the focus on speed often reduces the focus on process optimization. How a PICK analysis helped cut EMS staff and raise production output.
by Antonio Franco

36
EMS Analysis
With so much research data available, how do you know what to believe? An analyst explains the flaws with most studies.
by Dieter G. Weiss

IN the Digital Edition
 
A confab at PCB West connected chapter members from around the world.
by Stephen Chavez

ON PCB CHAT (pcbchat.com)

 
Solder Wetting
by Tim O’Neill
 
New CAD Platforms
by Jeroen Leinders and Chris Hambleton
 
Testing Printed Circuit Assemblies
by Robert Boguski
 
Adhesion Testing
by Elizabeth Kidd
 
Board Procurement
by Greg Papandrew
Departments
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Caveat Lector
Mike Buetow
mike
buetow
editor-in-chief
A Taxing Idea
I

t was 16 years ago this month when a group of Chicago-area printed circuit board manufacturers stuck a flag in the ground and declared themselves the new vanguard of the American industry. At an early meeting, leaders called free trade “the seed of our own destruction,” and railed against the devastation of the domestic fab industry.

They called on public officials to fight China on currency manipulation and tariffs, and to enact trade policy that better fit the current state of the domestic market. Nothing less than the long-term security of the US was at stake.

The group had a point: Domestic PCB production had fallen by half in three years to $5 billion. Not only was no recovery in sight, but in some cases the deck seemed stacked against them. For instance, raw materials imported to the US from Asia were assessed tariffs, but assembled PCBs were not. Ouch.

Around the World
PCD&F People

TTM Technologies named Cathie Gridley senior vice president and president of the Aerospace and Defense/Specialty business unit.

Z Axis named Taylor Fowler electronics design engineer and promoted Cathy Snow and Elizabeth Bennett to the engineering documentation team.

PCD&F Briefs

Brigitflex installed an Excellon 154L vision drilling/routing system.

Cicor installed an MK Instruments ESI CapStone laser drill.

Around the World
IPC to US Labor Dept.: Qualifications for SREs ‘Not Sufficiently Defined’
BANNOCKBURN, IL IPC submitted comments in late August to the US Department of Labor concerning its proposal to establish a process for recognizing standards recognition entities, which in turn would recognize industry-recognized apprenticeship programs.

In the statement, the trade group said it welcomes the administration’s focus on workforce development. IPC’s investments in education and training programs are centered on a goal of creating one million new skilled workforce opportunities over the next five years. As part of its efforts, the association plans to introduce new earn-and-learn programs.

IPC said the private sector is best-suited to identify occupational skills workers need to succeed. However, it added, the qualifications for SREs are not sufficiently defined to ensure the most appropriate entities will be given that role. IPC recommends the standards-setting entities be limited to well-established, industry-recognized associations or non-profits.

Around the World
Loomia, Eastprint Team on Soft Circuit Systems
SAN FRANCISCO A maker of patented soft circuit systems and a veteran OEM of printed electronics systems have signed an agreement to manufacture soft circuit systems at scale. The collaboration will enable sensor, lighting and heating integrations, according to the companies.

Loomia has raised more than $1.7 million and is ready to scale its technology. The firm has two patents and has completed three years of research.

PE OEM Eastprint’s facilities in Massachusetts and Mexico will be set up to produce Loomia technology.

The firms have conducted trial runs of a non-ink-based soft circuit production system this past year and produced a heating system certified by the Federal Communications Commission.

Around the World
Compeq to Spend Millions on More Capacity in Taiwan
TAIPEI Compeq Manufacturing plans to invest NT$2.5 billion ($8 million) to expand capacity for PCBs for 5G equipment, Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs said. The printed circuit board fabricator will add about 250 jobs, the agency added.

Compeq is the world’s seventh largest PCB fabricator, according to the latest NTI-100. – MB

Around the World
CA People
ABchimie appointed Marie Kaing conformal coating specialist.
David Kammerer
AIM Solder appointed David Kammerer sales manager for the DACH region in Europe. He will be responsible for new business development and support to existing AIM customers throughout Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Jody Saultz
Kyzen named Jody Saultz sales support manager. He spent more than 30 years at ITW prior to joining Kyzen.
Scott Fillebrown
PCBASupplies.com named Scott Fillebrown president. He has more than 25 years’ experience in EMS, including 25 as president and CEO of ACD.
Adrian Radu
Scienscope named Adrian Radu European sales manager. He has experience as in processing engineering and sales with Leoni Wiring Systems, Honeywell and Danutek.
SMTA announced Ben Stewart, a graduate student at the Georgia Institute of Technology, has been selected this year’s Charles Hutchins Educational Grant winner.
Around the World
Isola to Open New HQ in Arizona
CHANDLER, AZIsola Group has completed a 118,000 sq. ft. lease to relocate its headquarters, R&D and manufacturing operations here.

The company will be moving into a newly constructed industrial building. The facility will be optimized for the quickturn PCB market.

“The finalization of the lease agreement and the build-out of our new facility will allow us to optimize our ability to serve the evolving electronics market in North America as it continues to shift from volume manufacturing to low volume, high customization,” said Travis Kelly, executive vice chairman and CEO, Isola.

The facility is expected to open in multiple phases starting this month. – CD

Around the World
iNEMI’s Value Recovery Project Successfully Reuses Hard Disk Drives
MORRISVILLE, NC iNEMI’s Value Recovery from Used Electronics project participants published a report describing how the project successfully used end-of-life hard disk drives to demonstrate a viable process toward the development of a multi-stakeholder circular economy.

Project activities focused on construction of a set of decision trees to identify the options at each step in the value recovery chain in the context of a circular economy and what information each of the stakeholders needs to pursue higher value recovery along a given pathway; development of economic models, lifecycle assessments and logistics models to determine which value recovery options generate the highest value by type and size of drive. These models provide the basis for business decision-making by the stakeholders, both individually and collectively, as part of supply chains; demonstration projects to prove the efficacy of major critical-to-market circular economy pathways.

The demonstration teams were able to successfully reuse magnet assemblies, recover intact magnets for non-HDD use, make magnets from magnets and shred, make rare earth element oxides from HDD magnets and develop business models that would allow functioning HDDs to be reused/resold after secure, verifiable, economically viable data wiping.

Around the World
CA Briefs

Apple’s supply chain is suggesting PCB order momentum ahead of the new iPhone launch has been weaker than that seen in previous years.

Barco is investing $5 million to expand its operations and adding 50 new jobs to its existing facility in Gwinnett County, GA.

Apple will acquire the majority of Intel’s smartphone modem business for $1 billion.

Arrow Electronics will close its plant in Windsor, CT, in mid-September.

Manz has been awarded a contract for several Light Assembly assembly lines from a leading international provider of power electronics.

Mycronic sold two full-line solutions of jet printers, pick-and-place machines and material handling towers to Eurocircuits, and a Mycronic MY300 Trilogy placement line to Wavetronix.

Northrop Grumman awarded a multi-year contract to Sypris Electronics to manufacture a variety of mission-critical electronic assemblies.

Around the World
Jabil to Invest $42M in Albuquerque 3-D Printing Site
ALBUQUERQUE, NM Jabil announced plans to invest nearly $42 million here to expand its 3-D printing operations. The company plans to add technology and equipment, as well as about 120 jobs in the next five years.

“Think of more personalized healthcare, where you put devices that match maybe your profile as an individual,” said Steven Borges, executive vice president and CEO, Jabil Healthcare. “That’s everything from orthopedics, surgical instruments for the surgeon, and things of that nature.”

Jabil will work with New Mexico colleges and universities to develop a workforce.

The expansion is supported by New Mexico’s Local Economic Development Act. The state and city are expected to provide $1 million to help with the project.

Market Watch
EDITED BY CHELSEY DRYSDALE
Report: Companies Shipping 5G Phones to Spur Sales
AUSTIN, TX Many smartphone manufacturers are offering 5G handsets in a bid to increase mobile phone sales, says TechSearch International. Several 5G-compatible smartphones are in mass production, and more are scheduled for release this year.

Smartphone sales have stagnated, so OEMs and carriers are pushing 5G development and deployment, with the hope customers will be enticed to upgrade their phones, according to the firm. These early 5G phones are primarily designed to enhance 4G LTE by adding sub-6GHz frequency spectrum. Support for the millimeter-wave version of 5G, which many consider to be the “true” 5G, is limited, as rollout of the technology is still in its infancy.

ROI
In Praise of ‘Thank Yous’
The simplest motivational measures can go a long way with tomorrow’s workers.

The past couple years have been good ones. Despite increased and costly quality protocols, foreign competition, escalating raw material costs and fewer material suppliers – and even the advent of punitive tariffs – business has been good. With fewer negative issues to contend with, the one that continues to be most talked about is the difficulty to locate, recruit, develop, and retain quality employees. Indeed, this may be the challenge of our times. As older employees approach retirement, ones who are just beginning their careers seem less interested in manufacturing as a career path than at any time we can remember.

This talent gap threatens to upturn our industry – nay, most industries – more dramatically than any new disruptive technology. Much has been said about the difficulties attracting millennials to our industry. Many initiatives have been started to educate, entice and attract younger people to companies that build technology, products and the “things” we need and use in our day-to-day lives. Some have been more successful than others, but none has been a silver bullet that works all the time in every circumstance, across all industries. While creating work environments that more resemble a summer camp than a place to produce high-quality, complex products may be the way to emulate the software-centric businesses so many millennials yearn to be part of, maybe there is a simpler approach.

Despite all the hype over employee-centric, motivational work environments at companies such as Google, before we invest in the likes of basketball courts in the plating area or coffee bars in the QC department, it might be more effective to revisit time-tested, yet often forgotten, basics of managing and supervision. For instance, saying “thank you!”

Focus on Business
Is It Time for Manufacturers to Move?
Would you stake your reputation on a new supply chain in a new region?

The one predicable outcome of trade wars is they tend to make sourcing teams evaluate their outsourcing strategies. Given that project requirements and cost drivers change over time, even without fluctuating tariffs, periodic evaluations can help better align electronics manufacturing services (EMS) partners with current needs. That said, moving to mitigate tariff concerns alone can create a cascade of unplanned costs that far outweigh the cost of tariffs.

Areas to evaluate when considering a move include:

  • Supply chain implications
  • Transfer of work costs
  • Market factors

Supply chain implications. Moving a project into a different region can trigger supply chain woes on two levels. First, while the materials market is less constrained than a year ago, materials allocation can vary by region. Consequently, material that was available in one region may not be available in a different one. There can also be surprises in the precision engineering realm. Molding and metal fabrication equipment can vary by region. In some cases, that impacts preferred tooling sizes, which could result in a need to fabricate new tooling. If the original supplier licensed the design being used or amortized tooling as part of the unit, a decision to move could create a requirement for an entire custom part redesign and tooling development effort. If new tooling is required, one important question to consider is whether a product is too far along in its lifecycle for new tooling to be cost-feasible.

The one predicable outcome of trade wars is they tend to make sourcing teams evaluate their outsourcing strategies. Given that project requirements and cost drivers change over time, even without fluctuating tariffs, periodic evaluations can help better align electronics manufacturing services (EMS) partners with current needs. That said, moving to mitigate tariff concerns alone can create a cascade of unplanned costs that far outweigh the cost of tariffs.

Areas to evaluate when considering a move include:

  • Supply chain implications
  • Transfer of work costs
  • Market factors

Supply chain implications. Moving a project into a different region can trigger supply chain woes on two levels. First, while the materials market is less constrained than a year ago, materials allocation can vary by region. Consequently, material that was available in one region may not be available in a different one. There can also be surprises in the precision engineering realm. Molding and metal fabrication equipment can vary by region. In some cases, that impacts preferred tooling sizes, which could result in a need to fabricate new tooling. If the original supplier licensed the design being used or amortized tooling as part of the unit, a decision to move could create a requirement for an entire custom part redesign and tooling development effort. If new tooling is required, one important question to consider is whether a product is too far along in its lifecycle for new tooling to be cost-feasible.

PCB Guided Insights
The Future of PCB and Designers’ Roles
The convergence of ECAD and MCAD into mechatronics means more changes ahead for the profession.

In our previous columns we covered all aspects of design fundamentals. As this series comes to a close, it’s important to understand why being knowledgeable on all facets of the design process is integral to design success and how this affects the future of PCB design.

Printed circuit board technology is evolving rapidly. Likewise, engineers need to evolve just as quickly. PCB designers’ roles will soon become even more important. Empowering engineers with the knowledge needed to understand design fundamentals, effectively leverage today’s technology, and learn from others’ mistakes is crucial.

Automation plus the latest software capabilities have made it much easier for even the most inexperienced users to “complete” full designs. But the lack of design fundamentals and collaboration can lead to major issues later and make it almost impossible to leverage the technology available to its fullest potential.

The Route
The First Open IPC DC Executive Board Meeting
A confab at PCB West connected chapter members from around the world.

The IPC Designers Council (DC) Executive Board held its semiannual meeting on Sept. 10 at PCB West. This year, the Executive Board decided to open the meeting to the public. This decision bore good fruit, as we had roughly 30-plus attendees at the meeting. Gary Ferrari, who is an IPC Hall of Famer, DC Executive Board Chairman Mike Creeden and I facilitated the meeting, with Gary taking the lead.

This was the second time we implemented a Webex for those who could not attend the conference in person. As a result, domestic and international executive board members were able to attend remotely. We also had individual chapter leaders connecting online and an IPC staff member in attendance. Further, there were a few representatives from several industry ECAD tool suppliers, including Mentor, Altium, Cadence and DownStream. We also had representatives from industry media and EPTAC.

The meeting was very positive. Each attendee added to the buzz in the room. Everyone was given the opportunity to introduce themselves and speak regarding the agenda. The main topic of discussion involved individual chapter activities. During the open floor dialogue, I provided a status update that covered the ongoing success of the eight local chapters and their respective activities, as spotlighted in this column series. Gary also presented updates from overseas chapters covering Southeast Asia and Paris.

Material Matters
How to Avoid Getting Totally Skewed, Part Four
When sourcing materials, consider dual-ply glass.
Au: This column is a comprehensive follow-on to the July column introduction on glass-weave skew and the discussion in August and September of various mitigation strategies. With some overlap, these may be read together or independently.
IN MY JULY ARTICLE, Part One of a series on glass-weave skew, I introduced its causes and when or why a hardware designer might care. In Part Two I discussed various mitigation techniques and cost. Part Three presented a deeper dive into the impact of glass styles on precipitating or mitigating skew. Part Four will cover dual-ply and low-Dk glass.

While glass-weave skew (GWS) is a real problem, it’s hard to characterize because it is statistical in nature. What is the chance one line in a pair will see a different dielectric constant than the other? It depends on the pitch of the lines, the length of the lines, the laminate composition, and the relative chance alignment of the glass bundles under the two lines.

Obviously, PTFE-based materials often used for RF/microwave designs don’t have glass-weave skew concerns to begin with, though at a cost premium. This column is focused on what the industry refers to as “anisotropic” materials, however. Isotropic laminates will be discussed in more detail in a future installment.

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Material gains
Medical Micro-Technologies Could Mean Better Healthcare for All
Why PCB substrates are well-suited to lab-on-a-chip applications.
The semiconductor industry has pursued Moore’s Law for more than 50 years. Some now say it is dead: Progress has certainly become increasingly difficult in recent generations. On the other hand, chip design is only at the beginning of some very exciting avenues, two of which could revolutionize digital healthcare.

We know the world must deal with aging populations. Diabetes rates are increasing, particularly in North America, Europe and parts of Asia. As our transport networks shrink the globe, travelers can pick up viruses or diseases almost anywhere and present to their local practitioner, who likely has little or no experience of the exotic strain they are carrying. Our doctors are only human; we cannot expect them to know all the symptoms of all the ailments in the world and diagnose the right treatment in time, every time.

All the while, the global population continues to grow and further squeeze healthcare resources. Seeing a doctor is increasingly difficult, and practitioners’ time is increasingly precious and expensive.

The Flexperts
Flex in the Stackup
Does it make a difference where the flex on a rigid-flex board resides?
I am working on a rigid-flex design. Does it matter where the flex layers are in the stackup?
Where flex layers are in a stackup does matter. Rigid-flex circuits come in all configurations. Fabricators can make rigid-flex boards with the flex at all different locations in the stackup; each has their reasons and constraints.

As a general rule, we recommend putting the flex in the center of the stackup. This permits the design to have an asymmetric stack. (Symmetry is very important when it comes to managing bow and twist.)

That said, there are a number of reasons why the flex may not reside in the middle of the stackup.

INEMI ROADMAP
Emerging Challenges in Modeling, Simulation and Design Tools
IoT and high-end systems are driving the need for increased sophistication in analysis tools. by Lesley Polka, Ph.D.

Ed.: This is the second of an occasional series by the authors of the 2019 iNEMI Roadmap. This information is excerpted from the roadmap, available from iNEMI (inemi.org/2019-roadmap-overview).

Previous iNEMI roadmaps indicated that increasing cost and time pressures were driving the electronics industry to rely more heavily on modeling, simulation and design tools (MS&DT) over experimental prototyping during product and technology development. That theme continues to be relevant and central.

The emerging challenges in the MS&DT area are bound on the one end by the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT) and growth of many connected and smart devices, and on the other end by the complex, high-speed, high-bandwidth devices that represent the growing high-end (HE) systems market. This latter market supports and comprises the connected infrastructure for communicating and processing large amounts of data – the “big data” of the connected world comprised of smart and connected devices.

connectors
A Closer Look at DDR5 SOCKETS and How They Help Next-Generation Technology
The new memory technologies provide double the bandwidth and density of DDR4. by Wai Kiong Poon

As the Internet of Things evolves and millions of internet-connected devices get deployed, data center operators are working hard to keep up with the movement of data. They must find ways to meet ever-increasing data and storage needs, while ensuring the quality of service and keeping costs down. For many data center operators, minimizing power consumption is one of their top priorities to reduce operating expenses. Double Data Rate 5 memory, officially abbreviated as DDR5, looks to provide the performance enhancements and power management required in the data center to support 400GE networking speeds.

The new Jedec DDR5 will offer improved performance with greater power efficiency compared to previous-generation DRAM technologies. As planned, DDR5 will provide double the bandwidth and density over DDR4, along with delivering improved channel efficiency. These enhancements, combined with a more user-friendly interface for server and client platforms, will enable high performance and improved power management in a wide variety of applications.

Tariffs

Leveraging Supply Chain Command for Lower Material Prices

Ventec USA president Jack Pattie talked with PCD&F editor-in-chief Mike Buetow in August on how the laminate manufacturer is coping with US tariffs, capacity constraints, and his advice for designers of short-supply materials. Excerpts. (See pcdandf.com for the complete interview.)

Mike Buetow: How are the tariffs affecting Ventec at present?

Jack Pattie: We followed the US trade representative website [ustr.gov] very closely, so we knew that there was a good chance that it was coming, but in order to fulfill our commitment to serving our customers, we still had to import material from our main factory in China. In the interim we were working on a transition of our US orders to our Taiwan factory. Fortunately, since April 2019 we are a publicly traded company in Taiwan, and we have a fully capable factory in Taiwan, but it took some time for that transition.

circuit connect
The PCB Fabricator, as Seen Through a First-Timer’s Eyes
An experienced engineer takes their first trip to a board shop.
by Mike Buetow

Time was, PCB fabrication was a standard in-house function of OEMs. IBM, Digital Equipment, AT&T, Texas Instruments, Rockwell and hosts of other large and not-so-large OEMs had captive operations. Board “design” meant place and route, and was a specialty, as was library management and engineering.

Today, of course, that’s all changed. As specialization on one end has ended, it’s become the norm on the other. Fabrication is largely a merchant exercise. And a designer does a little bit – or a lot – of everything.

What’s been lost on the way is the knowledge of how a board is made. No longer can designers take the long walk from one end of the campus to the other to witness the process and talk to the operators and process engineers in person. Communication now ends at the CAM station, if it even makes it there. A surprisingly large contingent of designers today have never seen the inside of a board shop, let alone had the opportunity to get their questions answered.

Process Flow
Evolving Production from Job Shop to One-Piece Flow
How a PICK analysis helped cut EMS staff by 19% and raise production output 24%. by Antonio Franco
One challenge for smaller EMS providers is evolving from a job shop model focused on expeditiously completing small runs to optimizing processes in higher-volume production projects. In many cases, the facility’s ability to be flexible and do both types of projects is a business advantage. However, the focus on speed often reduces the focus on process optimization. For Spectrum Assembly Inc., flexibility combined with the ability to assemble cables, PCBAs and systems under one roof has been its biggest advantage. For the majority of projects, distributing workload among functional areas such as cable assembly, SMT and final assembly has represented the best division of labor since it put production near the automation required for each process. As the business has grown and skilled labor has become less available within its Carlsbad, CA, community, however, SAI’s engineering team decided to evaluate some processes to identify potential improvement opportunities.
EMS Analysis
Pitfalls of EMS Market Analyses in Europe
With so many studies available, which one(s) can you believe? (Not many.) by Dieter G. Weiss
When meeting with potential customers, never talk about the disadvantages of your competitors; only talk about the advantages of your product. I am not here to sell something. I am here to bring light to the dark, to separate the chaff from the wheat. My talk is straightforward. Some people do not like this. For those people I have advice: stop reading.

I have been conducting market analyses for different parts of the electronics market for the past 19 years, starting with the PCB industry in my function as managing director of the German Association of Printed Circuit Industry, and for member companies of the OEM, EMS and ceramic hybrid industry. Fruitful discussions with industry colleagues were helpful, and my understanding of the principles of market behavior and interpretation of numbers grew every year.

Having experienced how fast markets can move, whether to China or other countries in the Far East, in 2015 I decided to bring my experience to all EMS companies in Europe. My objective was to help the European industry make better decisions in strategic planning, benchmarking and understanding of the European EMS market. This marked the launch of the in4ma (information for manufacturers) EMS statistical program for Europe.

Screen Printing
Taking off the Mask
How proper investigative work can alleviate misguided print process adjustments.
Printing is arguably one of the most sensitive processes within the entire PCB assembly operation. Not surprisingly, stencil printing’s multi-input interdependency and sensitivity have become more pronounced as miniaturization has taken hold. Even slight variations can cause process shifts, a reality our team was reminded of while conducting recent internal testing.

Our engineers set up a test with a really long board run to evaluate time to bridge, a fairly standard analysis used to understand how many PCBs can be printed for a particular product until solder paste bridging begins to appear. The evaluation, which was performed using a relatively complex ASM test board, was proceeding beautifully until we noticed a sudden shift in the output. The measurable Sigma shift went from a process running at 4 Sigma (1.33 Cpk) to 3 Sigma (1.0 Cpk). The engineer running the evaluation was looking at the process window and robustness, beginning at a 10,000 ft. view with a box plot, which gives reasonable stability insight across the entire run. When a more granular examination of the data was conducted, the data spike appeared on three boards in the batch, with one PCB being more extreme.

To be clear, the data did not show bridging at the point at which the shift was observed, and in fact, the board at 1.0 Cpk was still within the specification range. But, seeing this unusual spike indicated that if the trend continued, the process would most certainly become out of control. The printed boards were put back through solder paste inspection (SPI) to verify repeatability, and, indeed, it was confirmed. The chance of SPI having a wobble exactly on the same board was remote, and we ran it three different times. So, the culprit wasn’t SPI but rather some characteristic with the board or other input.

Defect of the Month
Cleaning Before High-Temperature Aging
Flux becomes increasingly tenacious the longer it sits on the board.
This month OUR topic is not so much a defect as something to consider when running environmental tests before any destructive analysis on solder joints. The through-hole joints shown in FIGURES 1 and 2 were soldered with a high-temperature alloy as part of our trials on robotic laser and single point soldering. The amount of flux in high-temperature cored wire tends to be higher, hence more residues after soldering. If sample boards will be exposed to high-temperature storage, in this case 200oC for 1,000 hr., or temperature cycling, clean the residues first. It is much more difficult to clean after this level of aging, and mounting samples in epoxy for microsections is much more difficult.

Cleaning the samples before aging is also good practice if samples will be coated before scanning electron microscope (SEM) assessment.

Connector pin soldered with SnAg using robotic laser.
Figure 1. Connector pin soldered with SnAg using robotic laser.
Connector pin soldered with SnAg using soldering iron.
Figure 2. Connector pin soldered with SnAg using soldering iron.
tech tips
When and How to Clean/Flush Selective Coating Equipment
Build-in cleaning time during chemistry changeovers and after extended line shutdowns.
Much time and planning are invested in the choice of the ideal conformal coating material and process to adequately protect printed circuit boards. This often includes multiple qualification trials. There is also sometimes long and detailed testing in areas such as electrical performance, flame resistance, and thermal or mechanical cycling. Unfortunately, the qualification and testing process for conformal coatings is simply a snapshot of the process at the start. To maintain consistency, an often-overlooked activity remains: regular cleaning and flushing of the selective conformal coating equipment.

In general, the following comments and guidelines are designed for a discussion involving typical modern selective coating equipment (FIGURE 1). However, nearly all the principles are applicable to manual spraying operations as well.

Why clean and flush? Before discussing the specific considerations involved in the clean and flush process, let’s explain the reasoning behind it. Beyond the obvious answer that it is simply good practice, there are a few reasons to regularly clean and flush the selective coating system:

Off The Shelf
Off The Shelf
Machines Materials Tools Systems Software
White Gloss Solder Mask
White Gloss Solder Mask
TechniMask ISR1000F/900G liquid photo-definable mask is for LED applications. Offers high-rated reflectance value; exhibits little to no discoloration after multiple reflow applications. Reportedly eliminates pink/violet discoloration after reflow. Operates with standard exposure and UV/LED direct imagers.
Technic
Additive Manufacturing System
Additive Manufacturing System
DragonFly Lights-Out Digital Manufacturing prints multilayer PCBs, antennas, capacitors and sensors. Is capable of 24/7, uninterrupted production of prototypes and low-volume manufacturing. Has new printer head software management algorithms. Automatic self-cleaning of print heads every few hours. Real-time automatic material monitoring.
Nano Dimension
Automotive Flex Connector
Automotive Flex Connector
CFI features a unique metal terminal connection structure for direct connection between an automotive flexible circuit and the board. Eliminates wire harnesses; permits use of fewer components. Double-clip contact structure resists vibration and is compatible with LED lights and BMSs. Inertial lock structure prevents incomplete engagement for reliability. Rated 2.0 A/pin max. Voltage: 50V DC. Ambient temperature: -40° to +125°C. Contact resistance: 20mΩ max. (initial). Insulation resistance: 100MΩ min.
Panasonic
Off The Shelf
Off The Shelf
Machines Materials Tools Systems Software
Conformal Coating Cleaner
Conformal Coating Cleaner
Elpespec R 5888 cleaning agent dissolves and removes conformal coatings from product carriers, tools and fixations. Suitable for dipping processes in ultrasonic bath. Selective application with mechanical support or spray processes is also possible. Contaminated carriers can be left in cleaning agent overnight. Is water-soluble and biodegradable. Comes as concentrate.
Lackwerke Peters
2-Syringe Dispensing
2-Syringe Dispensing
Dual syringe dispenser is designed for dispensing 50ml dual syringes. Can accommodate 50ml side-by-side syringes in ratios 1:1, 2:1, 4:1 and 10:1. Includes secure attachment adaptor. Pulsed air pressure operation. Multi-configurable robot integration bracket allows semiautomated use.
Techcon
X-Ray Component Counter
X-Ray Component Counter
AXC-800 III manages parts inventory by starting counts automatically after reels are placed in system and door is closed. Counts four 7″ reels in 23 sec. or one 13″-15″ reel in 16 sec. Features internal barcode scanner and reel removal sensor for automatic label printing.
Scienscope
Technical Abstracts
In Case You Missed It
Heat Shielding Materials

“Ultra-High Thermal Isolation across Heterogeneously Layered Two-Dimensional Materials”

Authors: Sam Vaziri, et al.

Abstract: Heterogeneous integration of nanomaterials has enabled advanced electronics and photonics applications. However, similar progress has been challenging for thermal applications, in part due to shorter wavelengths of heat carriers (phonons) compared to electrons and photons. Here, the authors demonstrate unusually high thermal isolation across ultrathin heterostructures, achieved by layering atomically thin two-dimensional (2-D) materials. The authors realize artificial stacks of monolayer graphene, MoS2, and WSe2 with thermal resistance greater than 100 times thicker than SiO2 and effective thermal conductivity lower than air at room temperature. Using Raman thermometry, we simultaneously identify the thermal resistance between any 2-D monolayers in the stack. Ultra-high thermal isolation is achieved through the mismatch in mass density and phonon density of states between the 2-D layers. These thermal metamaterials are an example in the emerging field of phononics and could find applications where ultrathin thermal insulation is desired in thermal energy harvesting or for routing heat in ultracompact geometries. (Science Advances, Aug. 16, 2019, advances.sciencemag.org/content/5/8/eaax1325)

Thanks for reading our October 2019 issue!