Article Highlights
I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week
09/15/2023 | Andy Shaughnessy, Design007 Magazine
10 Steps to Outstanding
09/06/2023 | Dan Beaulieu, D.B. Management Group
Developing a Fabrication Business Strategy
09/05/2023 | I-Connect007 Editorial Team
Innovations in Final Finishing
09/01/2023 | Barry Matties, I-Connect007
Creating a Golden Gnome: 3D Printers and a Little Ingenuity
08/30/2023 | Patrick Crawford, IPC

Latest Articles

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

We’ve had a hot week in this industry. In my picks for this week, we introduce a new SMT007 columnist, and we have a look at the CHIPS Act one year later. We have a great article about sourcing diversification, and a look at the latest electronics news coming out of India. And columnist Vern Solberg explains DFM best practices for flexible circuits.

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

As I looked over the news and stories of the week, I noticed "firsts" from Insulectro and Lockheed Martin, plus a historic transition in leadership at Foxconn. There’s also financial health from KLA, and upbeat market data from IPC. With the start of a new school year, and often a fiscal year, September brings a sense of newness and change for many of us.

10 Steps to Outstanding

So often when I talk to PCB shop owners, they ask me how they can be outstanding. How can they position their own company to stand out from the crowd? That’s because one of the issues PCB shops face these days is they all seem to be alike. While they used to be judged and differentiated based on performance, now they all have very good quality.

Developing a Fabrication Business Strategy

Over the years, we’ve talked a lot about business strategies for PCB manufacturers here in the pages of PCB007 Magazine. But let’s back up a bit and look at the process for developing a new strategy. Where should you even begin? What’s your strategy for developing a strategy, if you will? We asked Chris Chapman, a Lean/Agile leadership coach and publisher of the Digestible Deming newsletter, to share his thoughts on developing successful business strategies and how the management philosophy of W. Edwards Deming can help leaders in our industry take their companies to the next level.

A Labor Day Holiday Notice

Today is a national holiday in both the United States and Canada (though the Canadians spell it Labour Day). The U.S. Labor Day has been federal holiday since 1894, and honors both the American labor movement and the contributions of laborers in the creation of the United States. Labor Day falls on the first Monday of September and is often considered the last day of summer in American culture. This is likely because the American school schedules resume around the beginning of September.

Innovations in Final Finishing

In this interview, IPS President Mike Brask shares some insights about the company’s latest automated ENIG line installed at SEL’s new $100 million PCB facility in Moscow, Idaho. As Mike explains, this line features quite a few innovations not usually seen in North America.

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

As we head into the Labor Day weekend, we have a variety of articles for this week’s editor’s picks. Hannah Nelson discusses the onboarding process she went through when she started a new job. Gaurab Majumdar explains why tech companies should consider hiring workers from India. Happy Holden details the importance of great sensor technology and why sensors are a critical ingredient in Smart manufacturing processes. Mike Brask discusses the new IPS ENIG line installed at the SEL facility in Idaho, and Chris DeMartino explains how Modelithics works to provide simulation models, primarily for the RF/microwave community.

IPC Day Comes to Romania

When IPC staff wanted to showcase the latest industry developments to a European audience, they made an obvious choice: Timișoara, Romania. The dramatic economic expansion here over the past 30 years has resulted in a large concentration of manufacturing and technology businesses. Long-term planning by authorities positioned the city as a business-friendly and diverse cultural hub on the western border, providing easy access to Central Europe.

Creating a Golden Gnome: 3D Printers and a Little Ingenuity

A-Teams play such a crucial role in helping standards committees accomplish their goals that IPC established the Golden Gnome Awards Ceremony in 2021 to recognize their contributions. As part of the event, IPC wanted to provide a tangible and meaningful keepsake for award winners to take home. IPC invested in 3D printers and leveraged their capabilities to create unique and personalized gnome trophies. Here's how I did it.

Discussing SEL’s Strategy

The Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL) leadership team made some far-reaching decisions in the past decade: They opted to build their own captive PCB fabrication facility in Moscow, Idaho, and they decided to utilize zero-discharge processes. Now the facility is up and running and the state and local officials are firmly on SEL’s side, thanks in large part to the green processing, not to mention the employment opportunities.

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

This week’s editor’s picks come from the top end of reader interest, so I don’t think it’s just me who’s sensing this kind of momentum. For example, we bring you a site visit to one of the newest PCB fabs in North America, and a captive facility at that. Nokia is now manufacturing sophisticated telecom optical components in the United States, and iNEMI publishes a roadmap assisting in specifying the right low-loss material for your particular application, among other topics. To wrap it up, we get NASA news that reminds us that we need not be a big corporation to participate in space programs.

What’s Your Process for Developing a Strategy?

Dr. Tim Rodgers might not call himself a “business strategies guru,” but the moniker certainly fits. As an adjunct faculty instructor at the University of Colorado, Tim specializes in project management, problem-solving, and streamlining processes in engineering and manufacturing. Plus, Tim knows the business side of PCB fabrication. We asked Tim to discuss the process of developing a successful business strategy for PCB fabricators, why operational efficiency is not a strategy itself, and how smaller companies can differentiate themselves in an industry that’s becoming more and more commoditized.

Going Green at SEL

SEL is going green at its new 162,000-square-foot, environmentally friendly PCB manufacturing facility in Moscow, Idaho. As John Hendrickson explains, being a zero liquid discharge (ZLD) facility—a trend you are likely to hear more of in our industry—is not just a smart business decision, it’s driven by SEL’s core values.

A Look Inside SEL’s New PCB Factory

After years of planning, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories is now manufacturing printed circuit boards in its new $100 million captive facility in Moscow, Idaho. I recently toured the facility with Engineering Director John Hendrickson, who managed the design and setup of the greenfield site, along with Mike Brask, president of Integrated Process Systems (IPS), a key supplier for the new Moscow facility.

Linkage Technologies Ready for ‘China Plus One’

I recently spoke with Mehul Davé and Michael Schumacher of Linkage Technologies. In this interview, they discuss their acquisition of a PCB facility in Malaysia, their global expansion plans, and how Linkage stands to benefit as companies begin pursuing the China Plus One sourcing strategy.

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

This week, we have an article about flex-hybrid electronics, which the military and aerospace folks are following closely. We have an article about the digital twin and what it is—and what it’s not. We have 10 outside-the-box ideas for closing the deal—be sure to forward this to your sales team. John Perry brings us an interview with a father/son team of IPC volunteers. (Would you want your children to work in this industry?) Finally, John Watson discusses AI, simulation and SPICE, and what they have to offer for PCB designers.

TTM CEO Tom Edman on the Process of Strategy

For this issue on strategy development, we sought input from Tom Edman, CEO of TTM Technologies. He’s been at the helm for almost 10 years and has overseen quite a few major changes in that time. In this interview, we asked Tom to discuss what goes into planning a successful strategy, how to narrow down the perfect strategy for your company, and why the boss shouldn’t bear the entire responsibility for this strategy. It needs to be a team effort.

Hiring for Soft Skills in Technology

In the age of digital transformations and disruptions, many technology companies continue to amaze us with ever increasing capability and the breakneck speed of development. But beneath the surface, nearly every one of those organizations is made up of teams of employees who are tasked with delivering better results year after year. Technical capability is no longer enough to achieve long-term success. Soft skills are now a key factor in distinguishing high performing organizations from those that struggle, and their effect is far reaching.

Supporting the New Workforce: An Interview With Joe O'Neil

IPC Community celebrates member success while sharing the important work done within IPC to better serve its members and the entire global electronics manufacturing community. But who will take us into the future? How do we prepare the next generation of industry professionals for the needs of today’s consumer, industrial, and defense bases? Joe O’Neil, chair of the IPC Education Foundation, shares his vision for developing that pipeline of new talent entering the electronics industry.

TQM: So Much Larger Than Quality

Sit down to a conversation with industry pioneers like Happy Holden and Dan Feinberg, then add TQM proponent Barry Matties to the table, and continuous improvement eventually becomes the topic. In this roundtable discussion, the group turns to the subjects of legacy and the impact of TQM on quality, management, and business operations.

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

In 1971, David Bowie released his album “Hunky Dory.” One obscure track (at the time, at least) on that album, “Changes,” would slowly evolve into a Bowie signature piece, stutter and all. As time went on, his admonition for us all to “turn and face the strange” carried more and more weight in popular music and popular culture. Of course, a cover of “Changes” which was featured in the movie “Shrek 2” caused the song to peak again in 2004, 33 years after it was first released. Just a little reminder that change is a constant.

Sunstone and American Standard: A Sum Greater Than Its Parts

American Standard Circuits’ CEO Anaya Vardya and Sunstone Circuits' vice president and general manager Matt Stevenson took a break from the company transition to talk with I-Connect007 about why the merging of these two leading industry brands is so important—for both customers and the two respective companies.

A 21st Century Perspective on Data, Analysis, and TQM

Chris Chapman is a Deming management method practitioner and consultant who publishes “The Digestible Deming” blog on Substack. Chris has been a student of Deming’s agile, Lean, and related methods since 2007. With his software and data background, he brings something of a 21st century perspective to quality. In this conversation, we explore how data and AI might be changing how we approach quality.

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

This week, we have news about APCT’s acquisition of San Diego PCB Design, and PCBAA’s continued push to impress upon Congress the need to support electronics manufacturing in the U.S. Steve Williams breaks down the details behind Lean manufacturing, TQM and Six Sigma. Columnist Tim Haag explains how he learned to design advanced and complex PCBs. And Nolan Johnson has a great interview with Daniel Barish of Celanese, who discusses some of the company’s latest low-temperature co-fired ceramics and their advantages.

Celanese: Fired Up Over Ceramics

With the ever-increasing diversity of performance needs in printed circuits, substrates are an ongoing area of development and innovation. At IMS Microwave Week, we caught up with Daniel Barish, a global strategy and west commercial leader at Celanese, to discuss substrates, low temperature co-fired ceramics, in particular.

Lean vs. TQM vs. Six Sigma

Lean, Total Quality Management (TQM), and Six Sigma are three popular methodologies used in business and manufacturing sectors to improve processes, increase efficiency, and reduce waste. While they share some similarities, each approach has its unique focus and tools. Here's a comparison of Lean, TQM, and Six Sigma.

Recollections on Deming

In the early 1990s, I was working for EMD Associates, an EMS company (now a Benchmark Electronics operation in Winona, Minnesota), when I became familiar with Dr. W. Edwards Deming. EMD was an early entrant into the SMT provider world, and we were very focused on quality. Deming was one of several experts that we used as a guide for our company. As part of that journey, I was able to attend a live Deming seminar in Phoenix. There were several speakers as part of his team, but Deming, who was at least 90 years old at the time, spoke in very memorable fashion each day on key topics.

Team Players: A New Industry Leadership Council Seeks Sustainability Solutions

The work on sustainability in electronics at IPC continues and a new leadership council is one result of those efforts. In March 2023, IPC convened a Sustainability for Electronics Leadership Council to offer peer review and direction to IPC. The council is a response to the industry’s requests for more attention on environmental, social, and corporate sustainability in IPC’s industry standards, education, and advocacy.

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

Holy mackerel, dear readers, you’ve been reading the good stuff this past week. I won’t need to steer you toward any of the must-read (but sometimes overlooked) content because your collective reading habits (as measured by clicks and reads) gravitated to the same things as I did. This week’s picks include an interview from IPC Community magazine on sustainability, two pieces on space travel technology, a new partnership between two well-known companies in our industry, and the July market report from IPC. Keep reading to see what I’m talking about.

How You Know You’re Working With a TQM Company

We spoke with Tim Rodgers, PhD, a senior faculty instructor at the University of Colorado (Boulder) and an expert in supply chain about a wide range of topics. In this excerpt, I ask Tim how to determine whether a company in your supply chain follows TQM practices. His well-informed reply leverages his years of experience in the electronics manufacturing industry.

Hiring With Leadership Style in Mind

Is your leadership style helping or hurting your hiring results? The influence of leadership style on hiring practices is often underestimated, yet it plays a significant role in the long-term success of any business. The costs associated with hiring and onboarding a new employee can easily exceed their annual salary, not to mention the future impact their performance can have on the organization. So, prioritizing the hiring process and approaching it with careful consideration is crucial.

Solving the Challenge of the Workforce Pipeline: A New Resource to Careers in Electronics

An aerospace engineer walks onto the job at $72,770 and can double their salary in just a few years. In fact, careers in the electronics industry can provide a sizable salary, but exactly how much will you make? A new resource from the IPC Education Foundation breaks down the most common career paths in electronics manufacturing, from operators to owners. What jobs are available? What does someone in the electronics industry even do?

Reduce Board Skyline With Solid Cavity Design

With the increasing shrinkage of modern electronics in both board size and product volume, it’s becoming more difficult to mount components to the PCB surface and still meet volumetric requirements. To avoid chip-on-board (COB) processing, board cavities can help mitigate the Z-axis skyline volumetric issues and allow for components that would otherwise not fit within the skyline to be used.

Zero Defects’ Paul Benke: Changes Are Coming

Is Africa the new frontier? In this interview, I speak with Paul Benke, CEO of Zero Defects International, about trends in automation, the apparel industry, and perhaps a manufacturing move into one of the world’s largest continents. Will it be in our lifetimes?

IPC Community Exclusive: The Ongoing Banking Crisis

On May 1, First Republic Bank became the latest addition to the growing list of failed banks, making it the third major bank to collapse in recent months. Previously the 14th largest bank in the United States, First Republic Bank now holds the unenviable title of being the second largest bank failure in U.S. history. Silicon Valley Bank, which was the 16th largest bank in the country, and Signature Bank, the 29th largest bank in the U.S., also collapsed recently. These two bank failures mark the third and fourth largest bank collapses in history. Since the 1970s, more than 90 banks with assets over $1 billion have failed in the United States. Three of the four largest collapses have occurred in the past few months.

American Standard/Sunstone Merger: ‘We Want to Grow the Technology’

On July 13, 2023, American Standard Circuits announced the acquisition of Sunstone Circuits. I-Connect007’s Nolan Johnson connected with ASC CEO Anaya Vardya and Sunstone Vice President and General Manager Matt Stevenson to discuss this new partnership. They detail what the partnership means for each facility, how it affects management, sales, and suppliers, but mostly what the new benefits for customers.

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

This week’s must-reads follow the trend toward iterative and ongoing improvements and advancements. The must-know news this week includes coverage of SEMICON (based on reader interest), updates on the EU’s Chips Act and ongoing advocacy for the printed circuits sector, design tips from an aerospace engineer, and a PCB fabrication merger.

Burkle North America: Service With a Smile

It’s a given: Capital equipment, especially equipment that runs hard, will need service. The larger the installed base of equipment, the more service support that will be required. Burkle North America's Service Manager, Evan Howard, discusses how Schmoll’s service organization has grown in response to equipment sales in the region, a conversation that touches on hiring, training, spare parts logistics, and potential future growth. It’s clear that this company intends to keep its service team ahead of the curve.

PCB Technologies Invests in Advanced Packaging

Jeff De Serrano, president of PCB Technologies North America, gives an update on the company’s recent move into advanced packaging—a move that stemmed from company leadership and vision for the future. He also shares his forecast on the PCB market, specifically around rigid-flex, along with some of the challenges the industry still faces.

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

It’s been hot in PCB design and manufacturing this week! In this wrap-up, we have an article about safeguarding electronics manufacturing workers from hazardous chemicals, and another about additive processes’ green benefits. Kelly Dack discusses how to keep your design on the road through proper tolerance management, and Joe Fjelstad explains why the next big invention is just one step away from what currently exists, the “adjacent possible.” And Dan Beaulieu, never one to shy away from a controversial topic, explains why now is the time for your sales team to do some old-fashioned, in-person sales calls.

The Right to a Safe, Healthy Work Environment

As we enter a new decade characterized by global transparency, companies are increasingly compelled to prioritize the protection of workers, not only within their own facilities but throughout complex multi-national supply chains. Process chemicals are increasingly being viewed as a human rights issue, as millions of workers in the electronics global supply chain are using process chemicals. The U.N. Special Rapporteur on Toxics (2018) reported that there are approximately 160 million cases of occupational disease reported annually across all industry sectors.

Major U.S. Holiday Today: Independence Day

Today marks the 247th Independence Day of the United States of America. Also known as the Fourth of July, this day commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress, as well as the declaration by the Congress that the American colonies are free and independent states.

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

It’s a heady time here in the U.S. between the summer holidays of Memorial Day (last Monday in May) and Independence Day (July 4). This four-week period straddles the Northern solstice, boasts the longest days of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. This is the high season for outside activities, which may be pulling you away from the office. Am I right? Never fear, I-Connect007 is here to deliver the “must know” news stories.

Are You Still Over-materializing?

During the recent IEEE IMS2023 Exhibition in San Diego, we caught up with James Hofer, general manager of Accurate Circuit Engineering (ACE). The company is a prototype manufacturer of bare printed circuit boards that specializes in high-mix, low volume with an emphasis on RF, microwave, and antennas. A few years ago, we talked to James about the over-materialization of boards. In this recent discussion, we wanted to know if anything has changed regarding materials and approach. James also shares his thoughts on the changes in the design community.

Isola Changing With the Times

Changing market conditions require changes in approach. I-Connect007’s Barry Matties and Nolan Johnson speak with Isola’s Travis Kelly, Sean Mirshafiei, and Kirk Thompson about Isola’s recent responses to market conditions. In this interview, Kelly, Mirshafiei and Thompson outline recent changes to Isola senior leadership, optimizing manufacturing to meet the needs of the global market, and the strategic importance of advanced packaging to the global economy, and to the U.S., in particular.

EIPC Summer Conference 2023: Day 2 Review

We had an early start to the second day of the EIPC Summer Conference on Friday, June 16 in Munich. Delegates had returned home safely from the downtown conference dinner and most had successfully avoided late-night networking in the hotel bar. Bright-eyed and attentive, they eagerly awaited the opening session, while casting admiring glances at Alun Morgan who had finally received his baggage and was now splendidly attired in a smart suit, collar and tie.

Fire Your Hiring Habits

The title of John W. Mitchell’s new book, Fire Your Hiring Habits, says it all. Hiring and retaining talent is an ongoing challenge for our industry that requires unconventional thinking, casting a wider net, and addressing the real issues at hand. John shares his thoughts behind the book and why we need to rethink the entire hiring process.

EIPC Summer Conference 2023: Day 1 Review

Mid-morning on June 15 in Munich, after the conclusion of an informative and thought-provoking keynote session, the EIPC Summer Conference got under way with a series of presentations on Smart manufacturing, introduced and moderated by EIPC board member Dr. Michele Stampanoni, vice president strategic sales and business development at Cicor Group.

EIPC Summer Conference 2023: The Keynote Session

My trips to Munich usually involve my reporting at productronica, which takes place in November, where I’m most often enveloped in the gloom and drizzle of late fall. For EIPC’s recent Summer Conference, it was nice to be in Munich for blue skies, warm sunshine, and longer, brighter evenings. I thoroughly enjoyed being in the Schwabing area, north of the city.

Omron Discusses SPI, AI and More

At the recent SMTA Oregon Tech Forum and Expo, Tim Anderson, a senior account manager at Omron, shares his insights on SPI, the latest trends in the industry, and some solutions to consider. As he points out, the SPI, AOI and AXI systems of today do far more than simply catch defects.

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

June 21 marked the first official day of summer, and it’s the longest day of the year. I’m wearing by best Hawaiian shirt right now. But we’ve been too busy to hit the beach yet. There’s a lot going on in our industry right now. In this week’s Top 5, we have our coverage of the recent SMTA Oregon Expo & Tech Forum, a show that drew a good crowd of technologists.

Mexico and IPC On the Move

There’s a saying that highly successful people have three things in common: motivation, ability, and opportunity. The same can be said for electronics manufacturing and assembly in Mexico: We have the motivation, the ability, and the unique opportunity to take this industry to the next level.

It’s a Team Effort: Final Episode in Sustainability Series Out Now

Available on I-007e and Spotify, Episode 6 of I-Connect007’s podcast, On the Line with… features an interview with Siemens’ Jonathan Fromm, product owner in predictive analytics, who introduces us to the “eight R’s” of sustainability. Fromm also draws parallels between the idea of thinking globally and the act of crafting holistic sustainability initiatives.

Engagement Begins Before Employment

Employee engagement is a major contributor to an organization’s productivity and results. In fact, it’s crucial for the long-term success of any business. That’s because an employee who is truly engaged tends to be more productive, committed to, and loyal to their employer. They typically bring more discretionary effort to the table and create less risk than their disengaged counterparts. Raise your engagement levels and you’ll tend to produce better results.

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

It’s always interesting to see what themes emerge from reader interest in our news coverage over the past seven days. This week, there are two: making plans and Southeast Asia. Our curated list of must-read content includes planning for the following items: new courses from IPC, a new listing on the NYSE, a new manufacturing facility for materials in Southeast Asia, brand-new inspection equipment solutions for SEMICON West, and new air traffic management systems in Indonesia.

An Exclusive Review of the Institute of Circuit Technology’s Annual Symposium

After a long crawl through heavy traffic on the M42 motorway, it was a great relief to exit at Junction 6 and arrive at the National Conference Centre for the 2023 Annual Symposium of the Institute of Circuit Technology on June 6. The conference center is co-located with the historic National Motorcycle Museum and situated in the heart of the UK midlands, a stone’s throw from Birmingham International Airport. The delegates were welcomed by technical director Bill Wilkie.

The Journey to IPC-1791 Validation

How does a company protect its most valuable electronics manufacturing information? How can designs and processes be kept safe? IPC-1791 is an industry-driven and industry-written standard that focuses on protecting two things: controlled unclassified information (CUI) and controlled technical information (CTI)—the information that would be devastating for a company to lose.

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

It’s summertime, but the industry is staying pretty busy. This week, we have news about our industry putting pressure on our elected officials to provide funding for U.S. companies under the CHIPS Act, and a counterfeit parts symposium presented by SMTA in Maryland next month. We also bring you articles about ultra HDI design and material selection, and our most recent On the Line with… podcast with Zac Elliott of Siemens.

Slash Sheets: Don’t Fall Into the Trap

Slash sheets can be confusing, and this is a big topic, so let’s start big and drill down from there. Here’s the big picture regarding slash sheet references: They were designed to provide handy groupings of PCB materials (laminates, polyimides, etc.) that go into a stackup. These groupings are designed around mechanical characteristics to provide insight for PCB fabricators to identify similar laminates with similar properties.

Carol Handwerker Appointed to NIST Advisory Committee

We often hear words and phrases that naturally go together: Salt and pepper, touch and go, trace and space. When it comes to the work of IPC member Carol Handwerker, however, the collocations are much more nuanced, deeper, and have greater significance. You’re more likely to think of phrases such as standards and technology, lead-free and solder, or advanced packaging and heterogeneous integration. These are just some examples of Carol’s lifelong work in materials engineering, involvement with governing bodies, and a forward-thinking approach to electronics manufacturing that has spanned more than three decades.

A Focus on Ultra HDI

John Johnson is relatively new to American Standard Circuits, but definitely not new to the technology. In fact, he was hired to focus on business development for ultra-high-density interconnects. John explains more about the process and where it’s taking ASC.

PFAS: Sounding the Alarm

Man-made chemicals known as PFAS have regulators busy trying to address previous releases and prevent future releases of this chemical into the environment from widespread uses in manufacturing processes and products used across the globe. PFAS chemicals tend to be persistent in the environment and they have been used long enough and in enough applications that their unwanted presence in the environment has public health policymakers concerned.

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

This week has been both speedy and newsy. Of course, those two characteristics often seem to travel as a pair, don’t they? A four-day week here in the United States, accompanied by a wave of high-impact news from a wide variety of sources, would suggest that readers could be expected to spread out all over the news map. Not so much, judging from readership numbers; folks all found their highest value in the same type of news coverage. This week's list of must-reads is dominated by market reports as a result of that focused readership. On our list, we have PCB fabrication and EMS book-to-bill reports, a 10-year market forecast report, and a supply chain sentiment report. In addition, readers flocked to the EWPTE show coverage. Finally, we saw significant reader interest in the most recent podcast on sustainability in our logistical operations.

Sustainability in Logistics: Reducing Your Carbon Footprint

Episode 4 of I-Connect007’s new podcast, On the Line with… features an interview with Christian Wendt, marketing and communications department head at Siemens Digital Logistics. Wendt discusses the most obvious area of concern for logistics sustainability: reduction of the carbon footprint.

[Men•tor]: A Wise and Trusted Guide

Christina Trussell of Blue Origin was new to her career and eager to learn. Garry McGuire of NASA Marshall Space Flight Center was an established contributor to dozens of IPC standards. After they met at an IPC APEX EXPO Newcomers’ Reception, the two built a strong mentor/mentee relationship. Christina is an Emerging Engineer (EE),and they both have leadership roles on the 7-31FS IPC/WHMA-A-620 Space and Military Electronic Assemblies Addendum Task Group.

Memorial Day: A Time for Remembrance

Today is the Memorial Day federal holiday in the United States. Observed on the last Monday in May, the day is set aside to honor and mourn U.S. military personnel who died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. The holiday’s roots trace back to remembrance of the soldiers on both sides of the U.S. Civil War.

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

It’s been a busy week here at I-Connect007, an even busier week for PCB designers and manufacturers. This week, we published a variety of articles and news items. In this week’s wrap-up, we have an interview with Rex Rozario that is basically a historical look at the birth of commercial PCB manufacturing, and his involvement with the Rolling Stones in their early days. Then we bring you a look at trends in freight costs, which are—fortunately—heading southward right now.

Knowledge: At the Heart of Great Customer Service

David Thomas, master IPC trainer at EPTAC, says that the more you understand the work and technology that go into your processes and products, the better you can serve your customers. That includes knowing the basics.

Stop Over-specifying Your Materials

Columnist Kelly Dack has had a pretty wide range of experiences. As a PCB designer, he has sat behind the desk at an NPI company, an OEM, a fabricator, and now an EMS provider. We asked him to share a few thoughts on the materials selection process and how it could be improved.

Where Are Freight Costs Going?

For some electronics manufacturing companies, lower freight costs are likely to be their most significant cost savings this year. Decreased demand and improving supply chain dynamics are pulling freight costs down, a trend that should continue throughout this year. Downward cyclical pressures will curtail volume, which should keep prices in check.

Eye on the Ion

During the recent SMTA Houston Expo & Tech Forum, I had the good fortune to meet and interview Joey Sanchez, senior director of ecosystems at The Ion, a 300,000-square-foot space in the renovated historical Sears building in the city’s Midtown section. Opened in 2021, The Ion is part of the 16-acre (12 city blocks) Ion Innovation District, which is currently under development. The facility is owned and managed by Rice University.

The Birth of the Printed Circuit Board

Every industry has a beginning, and we are lucky to have Rex Rozario here to share the story of how the printed circuit board industry got its start. I-Connect007 chatted with Rex recently about how he became involved with circuit board inventor Dr. Paul Eisler.

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

This week, our must-reads include reporting on the new PCB support legislation, now submitted to the U.S. House of Representatives; financial results from two Tier 1 manufacturers, which readers read quite thoroughly; ESG in Asia Pacific; new features from Altium; global sourcing; and a “How I got here” interview with an up and coming industry expert.

Sustainability Podcast: Episode 2 'Sustainability Through Cloud Applications' Now Available

Now available on Spotify, Episode 2 of I-Connect007’s new podcast, On the Line with… features an interview with Susan Kayesar of Siemens. Kayesar addresses cloud applications and sustainability, as well as some key, new best practices that emerge from using a cloud-based platform for business operations software systems.

Guru & Geezer: A Celebration of the Life of Martin Cotton

This last weekend, industry guru and dear friend to many, Martin Cotton passed away. He was one of the first people I worked with in the electronics industry when I joined Toptec Design to learn to layout PCBs. He was a bit of a rock star to many PCB designers, myself included. He was known to be among the best in his field, if not the best, and went on to be one of the most influential and innovative people in the industry over a long and distinguished career. He will be hugely missed by his family and by his numerous friends in and out of the electronics industry.
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