Features Articles

Martin WickhamFor leadless parts, the magic is in the method.

Solder dip or float testing is often used in the industry as it is quick, simple and cheap. But, it can lead to incorrect solderability assessments.

As seen in FIGURE 1, the solderability of the terminations was good, but the test method for this type of a bottom termination component (BTC) is not appropriate.




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John BornemanData distribution, explained.

In my December column I listed three items to watch out for when evaluating capability study results: Cp versus Pp, the distribution of data, and sample size. I hopefully cast some light on the differences between the two measures of capability, Cp and Pp.

In this column I will dive deep into the distribution of data. The thing to remember is the standard capability study assumes the data are normally distributed. This assumption of normality, while not so critical in other statistical tools, is very important in capability studies.

Cp and Pp give us predictions based on a sample of how our population will behave in the far tails of the normal curve. These measures use mean and standard deviation to create a normal distribution, and, from this, predict how many of our parts, over the entire population of parts, will fall outside the tolerance limits.

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Mike BuetowIt took until the second business day of the new year for the chips to start falling in the US printed circuit laminate industry. On the same day, Isola changed hands, and Park Electrochemical announced it was reviewing options for its PCB unit – a move generally seen as a precursor to a sale.

As the East Coast braced for a winter blizzard of epic proportions, Park Electrochemical sent a cold shiver down the spines of more than a few industry observers with its announcement of a “strategic evaluation” of its core printed circuit materials business, one that could spell the end of one of the last domestic manufacturers of FR-4 in North America.

Park has been paring its PCB operations over the past few years amid declining revenues and tighter margins. Even as the firm’s aerospace revenues have grown, overall Park sales have fallen year-over-year in 10 of the past 11 quarters, more than half the time by double digits. And said PCB revenues have been falling despite a rebound in the overall bare board market.

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Susan MuchaBusinesses are happy, but more work remains to be done.

In February 2017, I published a column called “The Trump Effect and Manufacturing.” I thought it would be timely to revisit it since, with the passing of the tax plan, manufacturing companies face both opportunities and challenges in the coming year.

So, what will the Trump effect bring in 2018? Business is already seeing positive benefits:

  • Resurgence of the manufacturing sector. According to the US Jobs Report, the manufacturing sector added 196,000 jobs in 2017, compared with a loss of 16,000 in 2016. Peel back the numbers and 88,000 of the jobs were added in the last four months of 2017, showing momentum. While some of this growth in demand for labor likely relates to replacement product production driven by hurricanes and flooding earlier in the year, the passage of the tax reform bill is providing an incentive for US manufacturing growth as well. Reduction in regulations is also a contributing factor.
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Peter Bigelow







Millennials need to learn Wikipedia is no substitute for expertise or effort.

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Robert BoguskiWhen you only have one shot (or two, or three) to make a great impression.

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