White Papers

"Decision Factors of China's Engineers"

by SupplyFrame and EEFocus

Abstract: Price, availability and familiarity are the main factors behind purchasing decisions of Chinese electronics engineers. The firms talked with 862 Chinese engineers, and the results "strongly suggest that a marketing strategy should emphasize an electronics company’s reputation for quality, ability to provide materials that shorten design time, and commitment to personal technical support," the companies said in a press release.

"Electronics organizations that sell into the China market can leverage the findings of our study to influence decision makers and uncover opportunities to land more design wins," said SupplyFrame Vice President of Worldwide Sales, John Schirmer. "For example, the study reveals what kinds of sites electronics professionals use to research, buy, and make design decisions. Based on the data, companies can understand where to best reach engineers and buyers during the design cycle."

57 pages. Released June 2012.

SMT Placement for ICs, Connectors and Odd-Shaped Components

by Gerry Padnos, Juki Automation Systems

Abstract: Accurate component placement is a basic requirement for any pick-and-place machine. The first step
toward accurate placement is accurate centering, or measurement of the component’s position on the
placement head. One of the most widely used centering methods for ICs, connectors, and odd‐shaped
components are a camera based system that measures the component position relative to a known
point. Camera based centering systems include three main elements: lighting, camera, and software.
Each of these elements are critical to obtaining an accurate measurement of the component and
ultimately for accurate component placement on the PCB. As the old adage goes, the system is only as
strong as its weakest link.

Reliability that Sticks: Thermal Adhesive Films Offer Outstanding Performance in Easy-­to-Use Format

by Art Ackerman and Jason Brandi, Henkel Electronic Materials

Abstract: When considering which thermal management materials are the right products for the task, top-­of-­mind are usually greases, pastes or pads. Are they always the best solution, though, or just the most well-­-known? For certain applications, there’s one class of materials that may be more suitable than any of the more common thermal management products. In fact, these materials may be the only solution in some cases. We're talking about thermal adhesive films (often referred to as assembly adhesive films) and their advantages are many, especially when there is a requirement for bonding large areas or complex parts together.

Though thermal adhesive films are most often found in the defense and automotive markets, the advantages they deliver can extend to any application where robust thermal and electrical performance, voide-free bond lines and controlled thicknesses are required. For certain products, thermal adhesive films are quite simply the only thermal management solution.


June 12, 2012


Solder Materials Science Gets Small as Miniaturization Challenges Old Rules

by Neil Poole, Ph.D. and Brian Toleno, Ph.D., Henkel

Abstract: As use of ultra fine-pitch devices grows and the industry moves from 0201s to 01005s and from 0.4mm CSPs to 0.3mm CSPs, prevailing Type 3 solder pastes will no  longer be sufficient to address smaller deposit volume requirements.   Simply moving  from Type 3 to Type 4, however, will not necessarily deliver the desired result either. It  is critical that the Type 4 materials are optimized for today’s miniaturization demands. 

In this instance, optimizing means tightly controlling not only the particle size but the  distribution of those particles within the material as well.  While current industry  standards tend to be a bit unclear as to allowable particle size in the upper end of the  range, the published IPC J-STD-006A is fairly liberal with the distribution range of particle sizes. But, recent testing has suggested that a tighter distribution range and a smaller upper limit particle size may prevent some problems  down the line.

Current work has focused on not only condensing the distribution and size range of the Type 4 particles, but also on producing the powder in such a way that the integrity of the surface finish is maintained, as this is also essential to lowering oxidation risk. The smaller particles of Type 4 materials make for a higher surface are to volume ratio which, in turn, introduces more opportunity for oxidation. Left uncontrolled, the oxidation can lead to a variety of performance issues including non-coalescence, poor wetting, and/or graping (more on that later), just to name a few.  New powder production technology, however, has delivered consistent, smooth surfaces even on powder spheres less than 35 microns in diameter.


Recovering Lost Profits by Improving Reverse Logistics

By Curtis Greve and Jerry Davis

Abstract: In our experiences, reverse logistics is one of the most often overlooked elements of the complete operations cycle. These experiences and observations are precisely why we commissioned this paper: we want to highlight how high-tech companies can realize near- and long-term benefits by taking control of their reverse logistics supply chain and making improvements – no matter how small.

We realize the perception that returns are a necessary evil to be avoided at all costs. Yet they present vast opportunity. Companies adept at reverse logistics treat returns as another form of inbound shipping, with processes and plans that allow them to drive top-line sales and bottom-line profits from savings. In other words, they understand that returns are always going to be a part of their business and look for every possible way to leverage reverse logistics to extract the hidden value.

Because high-tech companies have multiple opportunities for reverse logistics to impact the supply chain, they do not have to re-engineer their entire process to achieve tangible results. We’ve helped customers achieve greater sales through resale, and we’ve seen customers realize savings by reclaiming parts for their operations. While a greater investment in reverse logistics will yield more benefits, we’re confident that many companies can experience significant improvements if they take just a few of the steps outlined in this paper.

June 11, 2012


Simple Ergonomic Steps to a More Productive Workplace

by James Anderson, Lista International

Abstract: Workplace ergonomics is getting a lot of attention nationwide in response to a sharp increase in incidents of repetitive strain injuries resulting in musculoskeletal disorders such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Occupational diseases often mean repeated surgery, intractable pain, inability to work, time off for the affected employee, and, ultimately, higher costs for the employer.

Factors including work surfaces at the wrong height, uncomfortable chairs, shelves and bins that are too high or out of reach, and awkward hand tools, all contribute to increased risk of musculoskeletal disorders injury and may offer a negative impact on productivity.

There is a wealth of options available to adjust the workspace to meet employees’ ergonomic needs and selecting the right ones can help employees reap significant bottom line rewards. Paying attention to ergonomics means removing barriers to work productivity. Comfortable employees stay at their desks or work stations longer, and complete more work in a given shift. Employers who pay attention to these four simple steps are well on their way to gaining these rewards.

June 8, 2012

What Is Really Inside Your AOI?

by Jean-Marc Peallat, Russ Warncke, Russell Claybrook, Marc Brun, Vi Technology Americas

Abstract: Installed for the first time 20 years ago, automated optical inspection (AOI) more recently has become an essential part of our SMT environment. Today, most process engineers are turning to machines as an inspection strategy for addressing quality and productivity issues. As the number of AOI machine manufacturers has grown, so has the array of choices, creating the difficult and confusing task of choosing one AOI machine that meets process and quality requirements.

The objective of this paper is to provide potential AOI users with guidance and better understanding of this array of choices by examining the technologies within them and shedding light upon the costs involved; including purchase, equipment operation and long-term ownership.

The first part of this article is dedicated to the “Fundamentals of AOI”, best understood by examining current inspection solutions from the perspective of the two prevailing, but different, technologies: Image Based AOI and Algorithm Based AOI. Each technology contributes a value to the inspection process that can be shown to be different. This value difference is highlighted by “key factors” (explained in more detail below), which have a clear impact on the end user’s process. These key factors also are the main considerations when calculating Return on Investment (ROI). Simplified ROI calculations are shown in this article as examples of the differences between Image and Algorithm Based AOI.

June 5, 2012


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