Roundabout with John Mitchell – Issues and Concerns from My International Technology Road Trip

It is now two months since I’ve joined IPC and I continue to learn a great deal both about the rich history of the organization as well as the new opportunities we have to move forward. I just returned from a two week trip to Asia where Dave Bergman, IPC vice president of international relations, introduced me to both the staff and several members. Additionally, I was able to meet other leaders from the World Electronic Circuits Council (WECC) where some key issues were discussed.

One of those issues was the impact that the recent UL STP committee ballot on FR-4 reclassification will have on our industry. This highly controversial issue is covered in more detail in our blog post UL’s Reclassification of FR-4 Ballot Results.

While we were visiting members, a few of them mentioned common issues they are facing. One of these challenges was warpage of large boards. If any of you are facing similar concerns in your business, please contact IPC Technical Project Manager John Perry. We are kicking off a new 6-11 Printed Board Coplanarity Subcommittee that is going to develop a standard that addresses new board warpage issues.

Another concern that was raised was a mixed alloy issue: using components with lead-free metallization in a lead-based process. Again, I was pleased to learn that there is an industry effort within iNEMI for this particular subject. If you would like more information regarding the reliability study of lead-free component finishes, please contact Bob Pfahl at iNEMI.

During my career, I have always found it important to understand the issues our customers and partners are facing so we could better serve their needs. Nowhere is this more important than at an association like IPC. The more we understand about the needs of our membership, the more we can work to help galvanize the industry around common issues to find solutions. I have enjoyed the conversations and e-mails I’ve received from many of you and have taken diligent notes about the challenges you’re facing. I expect to incorporate them into the new strategic plan I’ll be developing this year with our Board of Directors.

Finally, I look forward to meeting more of you at upcoming events. The next event I’ll be attending will be in Washington D.C. on July 25, 2012, where executives from IPC member PCB companies will meet with their representatives and other key government authorities on an educational outreach program. While on the government relations topic, I wanted to let you know that we will soon have a regular segment in IPC Outlook for government relations and environmental policy. We will be providing summaries of key issues regarding regulations and other government activities from around the world and how your company may be affected.

The last event I will mention is the IPC Midwest Show taking place in Schaumburg, Ill. (near Chicago) August 22-23. I look forward to participating in both the Executive Summit and the Show activities and introducing myself in person. More details are available at and there’s still plenty of time to sign up to attend or exhibit at the show. We’re hosting a free reception “Meet the New IPC President” on Wednesday, August 22, so I will be working hard this summer to prepare to impress you.

I hope to provide both relevant and interesting discussions in this column. If you have some ideas on issues or topics that I might discuss, let me know by e-mailing me at

Continuing to advance the electronics industry!

John Mitchell

IPC President & CEO

IPC President & CEO John Mitchell

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