Author Archives: Terry Costlow

Watching Tin Whiskers Grow for Nearly a Decade

Tin whiskers remain a vexing issue for many applications, particularly those in aerospace where a decade is often a fraction of a product’s lifetime. One of the key challenges is finding protective techniques that are effective without being excessive. Conformal coatings is one of the technologies used to keep tin whiskers from causing short circuits […]

Copper Pillar Packaging Development Poses Challenges, but Technology Helps Designers Increase Density

Designers of electronic products are always pushing to reduce size and weight while adding more functionality. That often puts them at the forefront of the evolution of high density chips and printed boards. Copper pillar micro bump technology is one of the favored chip-to-package interconnection methods, gradually taking the place of conventional techniques that use […]

Highlighting the Fun Side of Technology

The best keynote speeches at trade shows often come from speakers who highlight the fun in technology and engineering. They acknowledge that there’s a lot of grunt work involved in most technical programs, but coming up with a good solution makes the hard work worthwhile. Three very different speakers will bring some fun to IPC […]

Spotting Trends in EMS Markets

The pace of business has increased as Web connections and mobile phones increase the sense of immediacy. That’s prompted a lot of interest in lists of bullet points that sum up some of the salient points of complex documents. A new IPC study, 2012-2013 Analysis & Forecast for the Global EMS Industry, follows this movement, […]

New Microvia Definition Seeing Broader Usage

In 2013, IPC changed its definition of a microvia. Before then, a microvia was defined as any printed board with holes that have a diameter of equal to or less than 0.15 mm [0.006 in]. Over time, that size became common, while more challenging geometries emerged to alter the definition of microvia structures. IPC decided […]

An Improved Technique for Translating Drawings

Globalization requires paying attention to many details, some of them unexpected. As IPC began increasing the number of standards that are translated and converting documents into more languages, they quickly found that one drawing can be worse than 1,000 words. Translating large volumes of text in technical documents is challenging, but it’s very straightforward. But […]

Ford, Siemens Make Google Earth an Industrial Tool

One of the interesting trends of this decade is the drive to use consumer technologies everywhere, from cars and airplanes to manufacturing sites. The huge investments fuel many rapid advancements that can often be ruggedized or otherwise altered to meet demanding industrial requirements. Siemens and Ford took the idea to new heights this week, adding […]

Simpler Sharing of Design Files is on the Horizon

Myriad acronyms segment the world of design tools: CAD, CAM, CAE and PLM to name a few. Whether the tools are computer-aided design/manufacturing/engineering or product lifecycle management, there’s a push to ensure that diverse design tools from multiple suppliers can communicate freely. At a recent PLM conference for Dassault Systèmes customers, speakers from many companies […]

Printed Electronics Gains Momentum

The printed electronics industry continues to expand rapidly. Nearly every week, companies are announcing positive steps that demonstrate solid growth. Thin Film Electronics ASA rolled out a stand-alone Smart Sensor Label that can be attached to pharmaceuticals and food to monitor temperatures, which should reduce waste and improve safety. Shortly after that announcement, Invesco Asset […]

Lead Usage Continues to Grow

Companies in the electronics industry have spent billions in recent years to remove lead from solder, ensuring that the few ounces of this toxic metal on a printed board don’t leach into water supplies. Though regulators are attempting to curtail lead usage, it’s growing by about five percent per year. Global demand for lead is expected […]