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CAPE TOWN, AFRICA – The SMART Group South Africa will host a series of seminars on manufacturing process improvement this month, and is offering free slots to students in South African University’s electronics departments.

The seminars feature top speakers from Europe and the US, including Circuits Assembly columnist Phil Zarrow, and will take place April 21 in Stellenbosch, April 22-23 in Midrand, and April 24 in Durban.

In a press release, chairman Steve Eglinton said, “A key aim of SMART Group SA is to educate and improve the knowledge of our electronics engineers, and this is a great way of reaching the people who will shape the future of the electronics industry within South Africa.” 
NATICK, MA – Cognex Corp. will host a series of free machine vision seminars for manufacturers.
The half-day event showcases vision system setup and deployment for automated inspection in automotive, medical and electronics applications, among others.
Each seminar combines a machine vision basics tutorial with live vision system demonstrations for setting up a machine vision application with EasyBuilder software for In-Sight vision systems. The tutorial covers how vision sensors work in manufacturing applications to gauge, guide, identify and inspect products.
The seminars run from April through June in cities throughout the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. To register, visit
LAS VEGASiNEMI is organizing several new efforts to help industry collaboratively address common challenges. Among the new projects scheduled for launch this spring are Pb-Free Alloy Alternatives, Pb-Free Early Failure, Boundary Scan Adoption and Solder Paste Deposition.

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BANNOCKBURN, IL – Ramon Mendez and Brandon Gore won top honors for their papers at Apex this week, beating out more than 100 other paper submissions.
Mendez, a process development engineer at Celestica, and coauthors Mario Moreno, German Soto, Jessica Herrera and Craig Hamilton, won the International Best Paper for “Design for Manufacturability in Lead Free Wave Solder Process.”

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EL SEGUNDO – Reductions in chip inventory levels often indicate a rise in global semiconductor sales, but an expected decline in surplus stockpiles during the last quarter is revealing troubling signs of market weakness, says iSuppli Corp. Read more ...
ROLLING MEADOWS, IL – DEK USA named Brian Lau general manager – Americas, effective immediately. He was formerly Group Manager, SMT Sales at Panasonic.

Lau will be based in the Chicago suburbs and report to executive vice president John Hartner.
CUPERTINO – John Burke of RoHS USA will present an all-day workshop next month on designing and building environmentally sound electronics.
The workshop takes place May 8 at the University of Santa Cruz’s Cupertino campus.
The course will discuss environmentally friendly electronics, how to build them, and the legislation surrounding them.
Class fees will be donated to Greenpeace.
For more information, visit
LAS VEGAS – Traffic appeared a bit light on the first day of Apex Tuesday, then ticked up on Wednesday, as suppliers focused on the attendees who did show and the array of new machines on the floor. Read more ...
LAS VEGAS – Henkel today acquired National Starch in an all-cash deal worth 3.8 billion euros. Alan Syzdek of National Starch was named corporate senior vice president and head of the division, while president Pat Trippel was offered another position within Henkel. 
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LAS VEGAS -- Circuits Assembly magazine announced the winners of its 2008 Service Excellence Awards (SEAs) for Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) providers and Electronics Assembly Equipment, Materials and Software suppliers. Circuits Assembly recognized the companies that received the highest customer service ratings, as judged by their own customers, during a ceremony at the IPC Apex trade show in Las Vegas.
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LAS VEGAS -Circuits Assembly magazine today announced the winners of its 2008 New Product Introduction Award for electronics assembly equipment, materials and software suppliers.

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ATLANTA -- A shakeup at a major solder supplier could be in store this week, Circuits Assembly has learned.

A major solder vendor is determining the fate of its president, with a decision expected by April 3.
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