Printed Circuit Design & Fab Circuits Assembly April 2021 Cover
April 2021
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Sierra Circuits
presents the new
Controlled Impedance
Design Guide
Get the updated version of our most downloaded design guide!

This design guide empowers designers:

The purpose is to get you on the advanced side of controlled impedance.

Sierra Circuits Controlled Impedance Design Guide and Download button
Striplines Differential Pair graph
What affects impedance

In summary, the impedance of PCB signal traces is affected by:

  • The height of the dielectric layer between the signal trace and the reference plane
  • The width and the thickness of the signal trace
  • The dielectric constant of a dielectric material

Dielectric materials used in PCB constructions are categorized in two types: copper clad cores and prepregs. The various types of cores and the prepregs usually have different dielectric constants, as specified in the detailed data available from the laminate manufacturer.

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April 2021 • VOL. 38 • NO. 4
Printed Circuit Design and Fab Circuits Assembly logo
First Person
Military marvel?
Mike Buetow
money matters
Software and simplicity no longer go hand-in-hand.
Peter Bigelow
What we need isn’t always what we want.
Susan Mucha
Tech Talk
Coping with the noise.
John Burkhert, Jr.
Keeping the PDN running smoothly.
Terry Jernberg
Positive legacies of the pandemic.
Alun Morgan
Giving the data package processes the heave-ho.
Kent Balius
Counting on fingers.
Mark Finstad
Get those machines talking.
Clive Ashmore
Spotting solder spotting.
Bob Willis
April 2021 • VOL. 38 • NO. 4
Printed Circuit Design and Fab Circuits Assembly logo
Artificial Intelligence
2020 brought an explosion of growth in artificial intelligence, but the tech world’s interest always seems to be drawn to the software side of AI. What PCB designers need to know to bring AI hardware to the device level.
by Zachariah Peterson
Printed Circuit Design & Fab Circuits Assembly April 2021 cover
Energy Movement
Signals and energy move in the spaces, not in the traces.
by Ralph Morrison
Statistical Relationships
Nonlinear regression is a powerful statistical tool, but it can be challenging to find the appropriate model and starting parameters. Understanding how to choose the proper model and starting parameters is critical. A review of linear and nonlinear regression methods, and a worked example using electroless nickel immersion gold (ENIG).
by Patrick Valentine, Ph.D.
The cost of depaneling based on the effective cutting speed has fallen to approximately one-tenth of what it was a decade ago. Here’s why.
by Patrick Stockbruegger
IN the Digital Edition
The framers unite
Electronics Reliability
with Dock Brown
DuPont’s PCB Investments
with Andy Kannurpatti
Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT)
with François Monette
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Caveat Lector
Mike Buetow headshot
In Defense of Diversity

unitions are cool again.

Well, maybe they always were. But the emphasis by North American manufacturers on procuring defense contracts has perhaps never been greater.

In the throes of the dotcom meltdown of late 2001 to early 2003, when China and Taiwan hoovered up the vast majority of the Western PCB market, forcing those hardy remaining souls to repurpose their business plans, the Pentagon became an unwitting savior. Manufacturer after manufacturer pivoted from the “3Cs” (computers, communications, consumer) to CET&I (military communications, electronics, telecommunications, and intelligence technologies). They eschewed past complaints of onerous red tape and sprung for the certifications to elbow their way into the Pentagon supply chain.

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Around the World
PCDF People
The best technical conference paper of IPC Apex Expo 2021 is “Signal Integrity, Reliability, and Cost Evaluation of PCB Interlayer Crosstalk Reduction” by Sarah Czaplewski, IBM.
Craig Haywood Headshot
Elmatica named Craig Haywood senior technical advisor. He spent the past 14 years at Amphenol Invotec.
Hirose Electric USA named Shinya (Sid) Tono president and COO.
Karen McConnell Headshot
IPC inducted Karen McConnell into its Hall of Fame, given to individuals who have provided exceptional service and advancement to IPC and the electronics industry. McConnell supports numerous IPC standards development committees, including the Land Pattern Committee, Design for Excellence (DFX) Subcommittee, Generic Requirements for Digital Twin Task Group, CFX Subcommittee, Terms and Definition Committee and Electronics Documentation Committee.
Orbotech named Avi Greenberg general manager Americas and vice president sales.
Around the World
DuPont to Acquire Laird in $2B+ Deal
WILMINGTON, DE – DuPont has entered into a definitive agreement with private equity firm Advent International to acquire Laird Performance Materials for $2.3 billion, which will be paid from cash on hand. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter, subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

Laird provides high-performance electromagnetic shielding and thermal management, as well as performance components and solutions that manage heat and protect devices from electromagnetic interference. It has a workforce of more than 4,300 employees with a global network of 11 manufacturing sites in North America, Europe, and Asia and 2020 revenues of $465 million.

Around the World
EC Clears TBBPA from RoHS Restriction List
BRUSSELS – The European Commission published the final report on the study to support the review of the list of restricted substances and to assess a new exemption request under RoHS 2 on Feb. 11. The report includes assessment of seven substances, including Tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA), for possible restriction.

BSEF, the International Bromine Council, notes the recommendation of “no restriction” on reactive uses of TBBPA (for example, in printed circuit boards), which reflects the low risk of this application in terms of exposure and end-of-life treatment under controlled conditions.

Around the World
US EPA Prohibits PIP (3:1) in Electronics as of Mar. 8
WASHINGTON – As a final rule, the US Environmental Protection Agency is prohibiting the processing and distribution of phenol, isopropylated, phosphate (3:1) (PIP (3:1)) in electronics as of Mar. 8.

There are some exceptions to the prohibition: for example, for new and replacement parts for automotive and aerospace industries. However, there are no electronics industry exceptions, says IPC.

The EPA’s final risk management rules to reduce exposure to five persistent bioaccumulative and toxic chemicals (PBTs) went into effect Feb. 5.

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Around the World
CA People
ACL Staticide named Daniel Kaiser to direct sales and marketing. He replaces Tony Banks, who retired after 33 years with the company.
Tom SerattiAdvanced Precision Distribution named Tom Seratti president. He has more than 40 years of experience in executive and sales management positions at ITC Electronics, Zack Electronics, Marshall Industries, Avnet, SPI Westek and OK Industries.
AIM Solder appointed Frederik Rostami Automotive business manager.

Balver-Zinn managing director Gregor Jost passed away.

IPC presented three volunteers with Dieter Bergman IPC Fellowship awards: Michael Ford, Jan Pedersen and Peter Tranitz.
Alex Pinell  headshot Marisol Cajigal Jordan Lawrence
CalcuQuote promoted Alex Pinell (left) to account manager, focusing on clients in eastern North America. She joined CalcuQuote in April 2020. Also named account manager is Marisol Cajigal (center) in Madrid, who will concentrate on Europe, and Jordan Lawrence, who will focus on central and western North America.
Around the World
East West Goes North, Nabs Varitron
ATLANTA – East West Manufacturing announced on Mar. 10 it has acquired Varitron, an electronics manufacturing services provider based in Montreal. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Varitron was founded in 1991 and operates four facilities in the Montreal area. After the deal closes, Varitron will maintain its Montreal leadership team.

The deal was financed by Heritage Growth Partners.

Around the World

ITAC Software Acquires Cogiscan

MONTABAUR, GERMANY – iTAC Software will acquire 100% of the shares of Cogiscan for an undisclosed sum, the company announced in mid-February. Cogiscan, founded in Bromont, Quebec in 1999, provides factory automation software for the electronics manufacturing industry. It will continue to operate independently after closing.

iTAC, a subsidiary of the Dürr Group, cited Cogiscan’s expertise in Industry 4.0 as an impetus for the deal.

“Digitalization is one of the Dürr Group’s core competences and offers great potential for growth. With the acquisition of Cogiscan, we will be adding a strong team of experts and key technologies to the digital factory, which is a cross-divisional virtual organization for joint development of digital products,” said Peter Bollinger, CEO, iTAC.

Cogiscan has more than 450 customer sites across 50 countries. The two companies have been collaborators for more than 10 years, with Cogiscan supplying machine data to iTAC’s MES for corporate customers. (MB)

Around the World
OEP Takes 30% Stake in Cicor
BRONSCHHOFEN, SWITZERLAND – One Equity Partners has purchased HEB Swiss Investment’s shares in EMS firm Cicor Technologies for an undisclosed sum. The closing of the transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals.

HEB Swiss Investment had been a major shareholder of Cicor Group since March 2009 and held approximately 29.35% of the shares as of Dec. 31.

OEP is a middle market private equity firm with more than $8 billion in assets. The company also owns Spartronics and Primus Technologies. (CD)

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Around the World
CA Briefs

A broad coalition of 17 tech, medical, auto, and other business groups urged President Biden to work with Congress to fully fund domestic semiconductor manufacturing and research provisions established in the recently enacted National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The letter also calls on leaders in Washington to enact an investment tax credit to help build and modernize more semiconductor manufacturing facilities in the US.

ACC Electronix purchased a Nordson Dage Assure component counter and a laser marking machine.

Chem3 named Phoenix United Associates exclusive representative of its ElectroJet digital printers.

China pledged to boost spending to drive research into cutting-edge semiconductors and AI in its latest five-year targets, laying out a technological blueprint to vie for global influence with the US.

Cogiscan named Danutek to handle sales in Eastern Europe.

Dixon Technologies is looking for land in the Kolar, Bengaluru Rural and Ramanagara districts to set up an electronics manufacturing unit.

Eastek is opening a manufacturing facility in Fresnillo, Zacatecas, Mexico.

Around the World
Virtex Acquires EMS Firm Altron
AUSTIN, TX – Virtex continued its growth by acquisitions in March with the purchase of Anoka, MN-based Altron Inc. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Altron, not to be confused with company of the same name once located in Wilmington, MA, has a single facility outside Minneapolis, where it focuses on regional defense and medical customers. It was founded more than 45 years ago and specializes in high-mix, low-volume production.

In a press release, Brad Heath, CEO, Virtex, said, “Altron extends Virtex’s geographic reach further into the Midwest medical, aerospace and defense corridor, enhancing our relationships with key customers we service in other regions. Altron also brings expanded expertise in medical device manufacturing to Virtex.” (MB)

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Market Watch

Trends in the U.S. electronics equipment market (shipments only)

Computers and electronics products
Storage devices
Other peripheral equipment
Nondefense communications equipment
Defense communications equipment
A/V equipment
Nondefense search and navigation equipment
Defense search and navigation equipment
Medical, measurement and control
rRevised. *Preliminary. 1Includes semiconductors. Seasonally adjusted.
Source: U.S. Department of Commerce Census Bureau, Mar. 4, 2021
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Where Does Plug-and-Play Fit into Industry 4.0?
Communications interfaces rely on handshakes, but software and simplicity no longer go hand-in-hand.
“Plug-and-play” seems a simple, efficient concept, a beautiful merger of elegant design and high technology. What happened to it?

I forget exactly when I first heard the term plug-and-play, but it was sometime back in the late 1980s. As I recall, consumer electronics had something to do with it – perhaps a VCR player that connected to a TV. Or possibly it was tied to early personal computers, where the various accessories could be mixed and matched, so any brand of monitor, printer or keyboard could be added interchangeably to the system. Wherever the phrase came from, the meaning was universal: You could replace one part of a system with a new or different component, and the system would operate without a hitch.

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2021: A Year the EMS Industry Needs
It’s a drink from an educational firehose, but the lessons will pay off.

Many will disagree with this column’s title this month, especially supply-chain professionals working 24/7 to address a market with varying material constraints, continual logistics challenges and unforecasted demand spikes. That said, over the past few years the electronics manufacturing (EMS) industry has had a changing of the guard. While some replacements are veterans of the last round of market constraints, most haven’t seen the perfect storm that 2021 represents. The lessons learned this year will create invaluable experience for this next generation of leadership. Here are a few examples:

Information technology. Over the past decade, even small EMS companies have upgraded their IT capabilities to provide real-time visibility into most of their critical metrics. However, while an exception-based real-time system is wonderful in situations where exceptions happen in relatively low volumes, it creates information overload when it is identifying hundreds of exceptions in a month. The current market challenges are driving management teams to analyze what data they need to prioritize and how that data can be best formatted to help them stay ahead of shortages or capacity constraints. This will broaden the use of time-saving apps and create management teams with a better understanding of systems strategy strengths and weaknesses.

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designer’s notebook
The Art of Stifling Interference on a Printed Circuit Board Assembly
A printed circuit is an antenna for transmitting and receiving energy.
A raging fraternity party with thumping house music can be annoying as the morning hours approach. Noise suppression ordinances to the rescue! The partiers have two choices: quiet down or get shut down.

In that sense, the fraternity party is like building an electronic circuit. If our machines make too much “noise” in any part of the spectrum, it’s game over.

Just like kids can stop trampling everyone’s lawn and come inside, shut the doors, windows, shutters and even the fireplace flue, we can also contain unwanted spectral emissions. Left unchecked, a printed circuit is an antenna for transmitting and receiving energy from within and outside the board.

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Jernberg PI
DC Analysis: Keeping PDN Running Smoothly (Not So Easy Anymore)
Many new products need tighter hardware.
TWO COMPELLING FORCES driving much of our technology – miniaturization and performance – are not new. In fact, one could say they have appeared within every product spec and design document in some form or another since the terms were coined. Fundamentally, this has enabled capability and portability with products in virtually every hardware sector. This will (and should) continue. In the area of miniaturization, both board and package are transforming as technologies such as rigid-flex, blind/buried vias, and multi-die packages move from fringe to mainstream. Further, performance improvements maintain the well-known doubling trajectory and are propelled forward by orders of magnitude in speed, while increasing efficiency and extending battery life. Often these gains are continually achievable only by reducing the voltage swing to under a volt. As miniaturization and performance drive devices to new functionalities and applications, the effects of these requirements are visible throughout the design process. Nowhere is this drive for smaller, faster, cheaper more noticeable than in power. =
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material gains
High-Speed Telecom Requires ‘Dialed-In’ Materials
Stronger, faster and more robust networks will be one of the positive legacies of the pandemic.
Hopefully, we will soon be able to start living our post-Covid-19 lives. Going forward, some of us want fundamental changes. Others are keen to return to the way things were. Although we will be pleased to put this situation behind us, some things are here to stay. One, obviously, is the lethal group of coronaviruses that will surely continue to take lives after lockdown (we hope at a greatly reduced rate). Another, I believe, is the tendency for many of us to continue working from home (WFH) to a much greater extent than before.

WFH has been one of the headline trends of this crisis. Although clearly not to everyone’s taste, it could turn into a revolution founded on the internet technologies that allow us to meet with colleagues online, access data and tools remotely, and benefit from high connection speeds wherever we are – wired or wireless. That so many can do meaningful work this way also reflects the soft nature of many tasks associated with getting things done in developed economies. These soft deliverables liberate us from location and will be critical to our economic survival of this pandemic.

Messages from the Chairmen
The chairman and chairman emeritus describe the past and future.
In this month’s column, the chairman and chairman emeritus for the PCEA give their viewpoints on the importance of organizing. And as always, I’ll provide a list of events coming up.
PCEA Updates
This month I am excited to bring to our readers an inspiring message from not one but two of the PCEA’s chairmen.

Many readers may not know that our PCEA board has two chairmen by design. Our idea from the beginning has been to preserve the experience from our past organizational associations and use it as our compass as we move ahead.

Kiss the Mouse Click Goodbye
After 40 years, it’s past time we overhauled our data package processes.
The concept of “smart engineering” has been a major focus of mine these past few years. In the 35 years I have been in the PCB industry, I’ve come to the conclusion we are stuck in a quagmire of unintelligent, unstructured and, frankly, 40-year-old technology of exchanging design data packages. The impact is repetitive, mindless, non-value-add administrative tasks across all facets of the industry. The problem has only been exacerbated with increased technology. All this negatively impacts labor costs, quality and NPI lead times.
The Flexperts
5 Options for Connector-Less Flex Jumpers
Adding solderable fingers to connect rigid boards.
When designing a flex jumper between two rigid PCBs, where no room exists for connectors, are solderable pins or tabs that extend out of the edge of the flex circuit a possibility? If so, what are the cost and reliability implications?

Quite a few options are available, each with its pros and cons and cost implications. This month, we look at the possibilities.

Sculptured fingers. This construction yields unsupported copper fingers that extend beyond the circuit outline. The fingers are typically ~0.010″ thick. These can be made by starting with very heavy copper (usually half hard) and etching down all areas other than the fingers, or starting with thinner copper and plating up only the finger areas to meet the desired overall finger thickness. The fingers can then be formed to best fit the desired applications (FIGURE 1). The cons to this construction are cost and handling issues. Adding sculptured fingers to a flex circuit will have a modest cost impact, but the biggest downside is these parts are fragile. The fingers can be easily bent out of shape during shipping or handling on the production floor and are difficult to realign once damage occurs.

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Artificial Intelligence
The Future of AI is Embedded
What PCB designers need to know to bring AI hardware to the device level. by Zachariah Peterson
A few buzzwords dominated headlines in 2020, many centered around Covid-19 and politics. Those who follow trends in technology probably noticed one area saw an explosion of growth: artificial intelligence. Unfortunately for the hardware developer, the tech world’s interest always seems to be drawn to the software side of AI.

The software industry has quickly embraced AI to the point where many software-driven services incorporate some element of AI to provide a meaningful user experience. As of the first quarter of 2021, it’s getting difficult to find a SaaS platform that doesn’t use AI for some specialized task. SaaS-ification is fine, and it’s creating a wealth of productivity tools that businesses can mix and match to make their processes more intelligent. And there are the big players like Facebook, whose AI models run quietly in the background, determining which advertisements and inflammatory memes you’re most likely to click.

Energy Movement
Laws of Physics
Signals and energy move in the spaces, not in the traces.
When a principle of physics is accepted, it explains phenomena everywhere in the universe. The law of gravity works on matter, whether the masses are located on earth, in the sun and or among the stars. The law must transition at the atomic level where the particles must follow the laws of quantum physics. There may also be a transition when dimensions are those of the entire universe. For the world, we can sense there is only one law.

The laws I want to talk about are the basic laws of electricity. I am not referring to circuit theory laws as described by Kirchhoff or Ohm, but to the laws governing the electric and magnetic fields. These fields are fundamental to all electrical activity, whether the phenomenon is lightning, ESD, radar, antennas, sunlight, power generation, analog or digital circuitry. These laws are often called Maxwell’s equations.

statistical relationships
Application of Nonlinear Regression for Determining PCB Finish Thicknesses
Commonly available tools can determine the relationship between gold thickness and plating time. by PATRICK VALENTINE, PH.D.
Regression analysis utilizes the relationship between quantitative variables to predict one variable from one or more other variables. These relationships are either functional or statistical. Functional relationships have perfect fits. For example, ice cream cones cost $1 each, so one can buy 10 ice cream cones for $10 or 20 ice cream cones for $20. Statistical relationships typically do not have perfect fits. For example, cholesterol levels and body weight have a non-perfect fit. It is commonly accepted that the term “regression” describes the statistical, not the functional, relationship between variables.1

A regression model is a formal means of expressing the general tendency of a dependent variable (Y) to vary with the independent variable (X) systematically. The independent variable (X) is also referred to as the predictor variable. George Box (2007) states, “all models are approximations. Essentially, all models are wrong, but some are useful. However, the approximate nature of the model must always be borne in mind” (p. 414), implying there are random errors present, hence the nonperfect fit.1,2 The expression of the general tendency of a dependent variable (Y) and an independent variable (X) is potent in many different fields.

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Cost-Efficient Laser Depaneling
Machine and operational costs have shrunk over the past decade. by PATRICK STOCKBRUEGGER
For years, the word in the electronics industry has been laser depaneling is expensive. This may have been true for investments in laser machines a decade or more ago, but the situation looks different once operating expenses are accounted for, especially with newer systems. In fact, according to our data, depaneling with laser systems is the most efficient method for a range of applications, and the cutting results are excellent, which means quality standards are also met.

The trend in the price-to-performance ratio for current laser systems, especially with respect to production of rigid PCBs, is obvious: The cost of depaneling based on the effective cutting speed has fallen to approximately one-tenth of what it was a decade ago (FIGURE 1). This dramatic shift is based on three major factors, all based on the rapid advances in laser technology. First, capex cost for laser depaneling systems has decreased to almost 30% of what it used to be a decade ago. Second, overall throughput has improved more than seven times. Finally, the operational costs for energy and maintenance have noticeably decreased.

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SCREEN printing
Let Your Factory Speak for Itself
Getting machines to talk to each other enhances output and yields.
IT’S COMMON SENSE, really, and probably one of the most familiar sayings of mankind: Communication is key. Good communication is central to productive relationships, effective business strategy … just about everything, honestly. It’s not just communication, however, but communication quality and transparency that result in informed decision-making. This is especially true in the manufacturing setting and is the basis for Industry 4.0. Machines have been cranking out data for decades, but applying them in a meaningful way is, at the core, what Industry 4.0 is all about. Until recently, however, data exchange was largely supplier-specific; proprietary equipment system software could manage tasks rather seamlessly, but communication among disparate equipment brands in relation to PCB movement and traceability was challenging. The IPC-SMEMA-9851 standard provides a solid foundation and is still successfully employed, yet enhancements are required to progress toward a nimbler, automation-friendly solution that permits open and uniform machine-to-machine communication.
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defect of the month
Spotting Solder Contamination
Gold boards are susceptible to the defect.
This month we look at solder spotting, which is often seen after first- or double-sided reflow, most commonly on gold boards. The two examples below illustrate what happens. FIGURE 1a shows two spots on a nickel/gold pad, and FIGURE 1b shows one spot on a copper OSP pad finish.

Solder spots are basically the result from one or more particles of solder paste in random positions on gold pads. When the board is reflowed, these also reflow and wet the gold. In some cases, they are a cause for rejection, if the gold area is a contact point, bond pad or other functional point. If a spot is random and will not affect the product function, it should be considered cosmetic.

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Off The Shelf
off the shelf typography
Machines Materials Tools Systems Software
ultra-thin LW-reversed, low-equivalent series inductor MLCC
Murata LLC152D70G105ME01
LLC152D70G105ME01 ultra-thin LW-reversed, low-equivalent series inductor MLCC has capacitance value of 1.0µF ±20% for 4 Vdc-rated automotive applications. Is 0204″ (0.5 x 1mm) and has max. thickness of 0.22mm. Can be implemented on back of processor package. Construction flips electrodes through 90° so they are positioned on long side of rectangular chip; reverses length-to-width ratio. Achieves low-impedance design.
Sigrity X signal and power integrity (SI/PI) software
Cadence Sigrity X
Sigrity X signal and power integrity (SI/PI) software features new simulation engines for system-level analysis for 5G communications, automotive, hyperscale computing, and aerospace and defense applications. Reportedly delivers up to 10x performance gain for simulation speed and design capacity. Streamlines setup time for detailed system-level SI/PI analysis by transitioning across different analysis workflows.
Acura Premium contact printer
Altix Acura
Acura Premium contact printer is for innerlayer, outer layer and solder mask processes. Integrates high-performance LED light sources, while keeping collimated light sources optional. Double-sided simultaneous exposure capabilities. Combines wide-angle rocking upper-frame and dual-screen display.
Off The Shelf
off the shelf typography
Machines Materials Tools Systems Software
20-nozzle SpeedStar high-speed placement head
Siplace TX Micron, for advanced packaging and high-density applications, has improved 20-nozzle SpeedStar high-speed placement head that increases performance 23% to up to 96,000cph, while increasing component spectrum 37%. Handles 25, 20 and 15µm @3Σ to operate with component pitches of 50µm and place 0201m components at full speed.
Reel Smart Lite (IMS-100) and Reel Smart Pro (IMS-200) incoming material stations
Scienscope Reel Smart Lite
Reel Smart Lite (IMS-100) and Reel Smart Pro (IMS-200) incoming material stations provide integration from start to finish. IMS-100 has high-resolution barcode camera system with an image-based algorithm that reads any barcode, even with defects. Reads and stores information of four 7″ reels simultaneously. IMS-200 is updated to include automatic loader and label placement.
iX7059 heavy-duty inline automated x-ray inspection system
Viscom iX7059
iX7059 heavy-duty inline automated x-ray inspection system has new transport system for workpiece carriers and soldering frames. Transports assemblies with dimensions up to 500 x 500mm and up to 40kg. Performs 2-D, 2.5-D, and 3-D analyses. Resolution range of 8µm to more than 30µm, depending on configuration. Complex inspection objects are irradiated with 130kV or 160kV (optional).
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Technical Abstracts
In Case You Missed It
Material Procurement
“Selecting Alternate Grade Parts: The Trials and Tribulations”

Authors: Dave Greinke and Christine Metz

Abstract: Selecting a new or replacement alternate-grade part, such as an automotive-grade connector for a military or aerospace system, can be tricky. The best approach uses an already qualified, approved, and preferred part with known reliability and longevity characteristics. However, with lengthening lifecycles for military systems, rapid technology development, material shortages, and other factors, replacements may be needed for parts that are no longer in production or otherwise available. Given this situation, employing established parts management and diminishing manufacturing sources and material shortages (DMSMS) management procedures can assist in finding and selecting alternate-grade parts to fit a system’s need. (Defense Acquisition Magazine, March-April 2021,

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Thanks for reading our April 2021 issue!