Universal Instruments Corp. (UIC, Binghamton, NY) announced recently that it has established requisites for a long-term partnership with Shanghai, China-based DaimlerChryslerSIM Technology (DCSIM Tech.). DCSIM Tech. is a joint venture between DaimlerChrysler and Shanghai Institute of Microsystem and Information Technology.

According to UIC, the objective is to build local expertise in advanced electronics packaging. The two companies will invest in China's future in these technologies by training engineers, working with local suppliers, increasing local infrastructure and supporting local company projects for first- and second-level packaging.

"Our vision is to build an industry capable of servicing local Chinese component manufacturers and assemblers as well as export markets throughout Asia and worldwide," said Richard Boulanger of UIC's SMT Laboratory. "Both businesses will invest substantial resources to nurture local technical expertise and enhance the local infrastructure in Shanghai and Suzhou."

"Both companies are well positioned to develop China's high-tech electronics industry," stated Dr. Xiaoming Xie of DCSIM Tech. "As one of the major players on the local market for many years, I am pleased that this agreement has established long term objectives, as a high level of ongoing commitment is the only truly effective way to establish China as a global center of excellence."

Under the draft terms, UIC—with laboratories in Binghamton and Suzhou, China—will also help sponsor a student from DCSIM Tech. to join the electronics packaging program at Binghamton University. DCSIM Tech. will offer students and other resources such as failure analysis and reliability testing for specific Universal projects.

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FocalSpot, Inc. (San Diego, CA), a provider of inspection and rework/repair solutions and services, recently announced that contract manufacturer Vanguard EMS (Portland, OR) has selected Den-on Instruments, RD-500 for advanced rework applications, including rework of lead-free assemblies.

Designed for both lead-free and standard solder, the system is a vision-based, semi-automated reflow, removal and placement rework station for printed circuit assemblies, surface-mount devices (SMDs) and connectors. The system combines high-powered top and bottom heater configuration with auto-profiling technology to efficiently heat and reflow rework applications—from small personal digital assistants (PDAs) and cell phones to personal computer (PC) motherboards and multi-layered avionics back planes.

Vanguard selected the system based on its efficient heating technology, ease-of-use and price performance. FocalSpot's product manager, Raymond LaFleur, was tasked during the evaluation to demonstrate the performance of the machine on several demanding applications, including lead-free rework.

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UP Media Group Inc. (Atlanta, GA) has announced a call for abstracts for PCB Design Conference East 2004 (PCB East), which will be held Oct. 4-8, 2004, at the Holiday Inn in Manchester, NH. Sponsored by industry trade magazines Printed Circuit Design & Manufacture and Circuits Assembly, PCB East annually provides attendees and vendors with an East Coast conference and exhibition for engineering, design and manufacture professionals.

 The five-day conference is made up of a three-day Technical Conference that features short courses and papers, and two days of Professional Development one-day and two-day courses.

Papers and presentations are being sought for the Technical Conference, based on the following course durations: 30-minute paper sessions, one-hour lectures or panel sessions, two-hour workshops or panel sessions, and half-day (3.5 hour) seminars. Papers and presentations also are sought for a Professional Development Curriculum of one-day and two-day tutorials.  

Papers and presentations are sought for, but not limited to, the following topics:
- High speed, high frequency and signal integrity
- Impedance and crosstalk control
- EMI/EMC analysis
- Thermal analysis
- RF and microwave
- Packaging and components
- Area arrays
- FPGA design and implementation
- Embedded passives and active devices
- Flexible circuitry
- HDI design and technologies
- PCB design/layout techniques
- Component library creation and management
- Design for manufacture, test and assembly
- Design (including analog, digital and power supplies)
- PCB fabrication
- Soldering (especially lead-free and its impact on design)
- Surface finishes
- Industry forecasts
- Business and design/supply chain issues

To be considered as a speaker or presenter for PCB East, fill out the online submission form or send an email to Conference Chair Andy Shaughnessy,, by April 5, 2004. Your e-mail should include: a suggested course title, a suggested course length, a short description of your target audience, a 100- to 300-word abstract and a short speaker bio.

Each speaker/presenter will receive a copy of the Technical Conference Proceedings CD-ROM, a free pass for the three-day Technical Conference and free admission to the two-day exhibition, keynote address and other special events.

For more information or to submit a paper and/or presentation online, visit

UP Media Group (UPMG) specializes in magazine publishing and trade show and conference production. UPMG currently publishes Printed Circuit Design & Manufacture and Circuits Assembly. In addition, UPMG produces two annual conferences and trade shows for the design and manufacture industry—PCB Design Conference West in the San Jose, CA area, and PCB Design Conference East in the Boston area. UPMG also hosts the PCB Road Series of technical seminars in cities throughout the U.S.

Copyright 2004, UP Media Group. All rights reserved.

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The National Electronics Manufacturing Initiative (NEMI, Herndon, VA), an industry-led consortium focused on strengthening the global electronics manufacturing supply chain, has published a research priorities document intended to serve as a resource to all who are tasked with directing R&D (both funding and execution) for the electronics manufacturing industry.

"It is only through effective prioritization of limited R&D programs that the North American electronics industry will maintain the technology leadership that it has enjoyed for the past 50 years," said Robert C. Pfahl Jr., vice president of operations for NEMI. "The 2003 NEMI Research Priorities document has been prepared to aid in this process, facilitating more focused investments and an improved rate of return. With a steady stream of research results to harvest, the electronics industry can continue to enjoy growth and prosperity driven by our society's adoption of breakthrough products that increase productivity and improve lifestyles."

The 2003 NEMI Research Priorities, completed at the end of 2003, presents the consensus on R&D needs identified in the 2002 NEMI Roadmap. This document is part of a planning methodology NEMI has established to ensure that its members focus on high-impact areas where they can make a difference in the marketplace. This process involves five basic steps: 

  1. Create industry roadmaps by drawing on the expertise of a broad cross section of individuals from industry, academia and government.
  2. Identify the major areas on which NEMI will focus, based on need, participation and ability to make a business impact.
  3. Conduct gap analyses on the areas identified to determine where industry needs fall short of capabilities and also to identify those areas where meaningful opportunities exist for industry.
  4. Create the five-year NEMI technical plan, which identifies the projects and activities necessary to close the identified gaps. (These plans become the basis for the formation of NEMI projects.)
  5. Prioritize research needs identified by the NEMI roadmap and gap analysis activities, creating the NEMI research priorities document, which is distributed to members and key funding agencies, universities and industry.

"In the past, we have developed a technical plan for our own organization, and we have informally shared information with universities and funding agencies about key areas identified for R&D work," said Pfahl. "This is the first time we have formalized the process and documented research priorities for universities and funding agencies."

The document organizes the R&D needs identified by the roadmap into five categories: 1) manufacturing processes; 2) systems integration; 3) energy; 4) materials and 5) design. Highlights of top priorities identified for each of these areas are as follow:

  • Manufacturing processes: more cost-effective electrical test methods; more flexible assembly equipment for low-volume, high-mix, high yield board products, including data-driven solder deposition methods.
  • Systems integration: Interoperability standards for matching of vendor/supplier hardware for increased competition; improved data transport standards to support data protocols.
  • Energy: Lower voltage components and assemblies; higher energy density/specific energy power supplies, batteries and fuel cells.
  • Materials: Substrate materials with improved dimensional stability, planarity, low moisture absorption and warpage; improved interfacial adhesion and strength between copper/low k and wire bonds, bumps and underfill.
  • Design: Improved design tools for optoelectronics, micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) and other emerging technologies; integrated design and simulation tools needed for mixed mode wireless chips and modules.

A final section on disruptive technologies examines how newly discovered phenomena may be exploited to provide innovative technology solutions for identified needs. In particular, this section describes possible future areas for exploiting nanotechnology to create innovative new products.

The document may be downloaded at

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Milara Inc. (Medfield, MA), a vendor of fully and semiautomatic stencil printers for surface-mount technology and wafer applications, has introduced STW-1, a wafer printer system.

Milara takes its combined system technology practice one step further with the development of the new SemiTouch Wafer Printer system. The system is capable of both wafer stencil printing and bumping within a single system. It is molded after Milara's standard printer but by pressing a single button, the system converts itself from a wafer bumper to stencil printer in seconds.

Milara has incorporated a new vision system with accuracies of 12 µm that yields capabilities of ultra-fine-pitch printing. Using patented vibration squeegee technology, which has proven viability in wafer bumping, the system uses the same technology to accomplish ultra-fine pitch-printing (down to 70 µm) with printing reliability (no missed apertures on wafers with excess of 25,000 per print) and solder brick geometry.

Copyright 2004, UP Media Group. All rights reserved.

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On Feb. 3, 2004, the SMART Group (Bucks, UK) held its 6th annual Lead-Free Seminar at Wycombe Football Club Conference Centre. Delegate numbers were finally cut-off at 173 a week before the event (another 50 engineers wanted to attend). According to the group, the exhibition area could have sold out four times over.

The Department of Trade & Industry (DTI) announced at the event that it would shortly be embarking on a whistle stop trip to the U.S. spreading the WEEE/RoHS status. Steven Andrews and Mark Downs will be speaking at four U.S. seminars, in addition to company visits and meetings and evening discussions. The two will arrive in New Jersey on Feb. 18, then move on to California, Seattle and Chicago.

The visit will complete the DTI coverage of the major markets and suppliers for electronic and electrical equipment (EEE) who have most interest in WEEE/RoHS. DTI approached American Electronics Association (AeA) to get involved with U.S. seminars, after similar initiatives were undertaken in China and Japan.

According to a survey conducted during the conference, most delegates are still conducting investigations on lead free; few had actually built demo or test boards, or selected the lead-free alloy, although most expect it to be tin/silver/copper. Help and advice is still needed, including a a help desk, hands-on experience and regular lead-free forums. When attendees were asked what was needed to get industry moving, the only positive response was for the government to give some financial help, by way of tax benefits, especially in the first year of the changeover from processing with lead solders to lead-free solders.

SMART Group is associated with LEADOUT, a European-funded scheme that will expand the SMART Group PPM Monitoring Project in a lead-free environment. In cooperation with over 20 organisations across Europe, LEADOUT will examine reliability, process change and the training needs of small and medium volume organisations.

Copyright 2004, UP Media Group. All rights reserved.

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