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Features Articles

Improper management of client info can result in financial or legal repercussions.

Prior to establishing any business relationship, most companies require signed nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) for all parties involved with the manufacture of their products. But an NDA is not a license to share everything about a customer’s product. OEMs, EMS companies and PCB manufacturers have an obligation to protect their customers’ intellectual property (IP).

I can’t tell you the number of times I have received an email from a customer requesting a PCB quote that has attached to it not only the Gerber file(s) for the board, but also the assembly drawing, the bill of material and the schematic drawing for the entire product.

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Returning to normal is bringing new and familiar obstacles.

As I look back on 2022, I’m thankful for the return to normalcy I’ve seen. That said, this normal has new and continuing challenges for the electronics manufacturing services (EMS) industry. Here are a few that I see and some tips on better preparing for them.

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So-called “labs-on-a-chip” are leading a testing revolution.

It’s well known that the world’s healthcare needs are increasing as the population is aging. The proportion of the world’s population over 60 years old is projected to rise from around 10% today to 16% by 2040. With this aging, the types of required treatments are also expected to change. Instances of cancer, for example, are expected to increase 47% by 2040.

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How lesser-known printer software features can improve process control.

As a process engineer specializing in the stencil printing operation, I understand why many operators are unaware of the bells and whistles in advanced printing platform software – especially when working in a busy production environment. While the primary focus is speed, pressure and angle to ensure the best print at the fastest cycle time cadence, sometimes the production pace can be interrupted by unexpected events. I was reminded of this – and a couple of software tricks – recently when doing evaluation work in our lab.

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While 5G has only shown a fraction of its potential, will the world ever be ready for the next generation?

Much of the world seems to have changed beyond recognition since the pandemic began. With numerous economic and environmental uncertainties, however, one thing remains constant: our appetite for what comes next – and our impatience – are undiminished. The rollout of 5G cellular networks has barely begun – after a huge development effort to define the standards and do the engineering – yet, already, excitement is building around 6G. The first standardization phase for this will begin in 2023 and services should be available around 2030.

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Widespread critical staffing needs call for a cross-industry effort to promote manufacturing.

With this time of year come many opportunities to attend industry gatherings, catch up with industry colleagues, and find out what’s happening in the macro circuit board supply chain. Over the past couple months, I have seen many old friends. And, I have had more than a few opportunities to reflect on our industry, the state of the supply chain, and what is “critical” versus just “important.”

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