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10 SMT Magazine • January 2017 this particular topic), but surely they are impor- tant issues as well when it comes to the assem- bly side. In fact, according to our recent survey, 82% of the respondents said surface finishing impacts their assembly process. Key issues include poor solderability and solder joint reliability, wettability, head on pil- low issues, and inspection. One particular com- ment reads: "The most significant impact is on wire-bonding process window and die-attach (epoxy). The delivery inspection process is also painful when it comes to acceptance of imper - fections." On this note, Joemar Apolinario and Dnich- ols Dulang of EMS firm Integrated Micro-Elec- tronics Inc. elaborated in a short interview how plating and surface finishing impact the assem- bly process. They talked about solderability, and provided key parameters to consider to help op- timize the assembly process. Inside, you will also find an article by Ben Gumpert, William Fox, and C. Don Dupriest of Lockheed Martin that evaluates the use of elec - troless nickel/electroless palladium/immersion gold (ENEPIG) plating in small solder joints amid the decreasing size of parts used in elec- tronics assembly. On a slightly similar topic, Yoshinori Ejiri, Takehisa Sakurai, Yoshinori Arayama, Yoshiaki Tsubomatsu, and Kiyoshi Hasegawa of Hitachi Chemical Co. Ltd discuss the influence of elec- troless Ni/Pd/Au plating film thickness on solder ball joint reliability. Finally, Jim Wilcox and Francis Mutuku of Universal Instruments Corp. and Shuai Shao and Babak Arfaei of Binghamton University fo- cus on the different failure modes as observed based on board surface finish. As always, we also have a lineup of interest- ing articles to kick-start the year. First, we have Jake Kulp of MC Assembly breaking down the long, complex sales cycle in the EMS industry. Next, we have Eddie Groves of the Selective Sol - dering Academy writing about the advantages and disadvantages of different fluxes in the se- lective soldering process, and their impact on solder joint quality and reliability. Finally, we have Stefan Meissner of ULT AG writing about the influence of clean air on the value-added chain in electronics production. Of course, SMT Magazine is not complete without our columnists. First, Michael Ford con- tinues his "Smart for Smart's Sake" series. This month, he writes about another opportunity of- fered by the move toward digital manufactur- ing—the complete traceability of the operation. Next, Tom Borkes continues on the topic of a new organizational model using logic, cost ef- fectiveness and customer service. In previous columns, he talked extensively about one of the controllable components of labor cost: using au- tomation to reduce labor content. This month, he starts his discussion on the other controllable component of labor cost: indirect labor . For his part, Bob Wettermann writes about reducing warpage on BGAs to avoid shorts and open circuits post rework. I am happy to announce that we have a new columnist. Richard Heimsch, a director at Pro - tean Inbound, and Super Dry in the Americas, will be writing about management of moisture sensitivity in his column "More Than Just Dry Air." His inaugural column talks about control - ling oxidation and intermetallics in moisture- sensitive devices. Finally, we have Keith M. Sellers, a regular columnist at The PCB Magazine, who explores the tin whisker phenomenon, and why testing of your mitigation practices is both critical and prudent in the development of a reliable product. I hope you enjoy this month's issue of SMT Magazine. By the way, IPC APEX EXPO 2017 is just around the corner. I hope to see you there! And so, Happy New Year! I hope this year will be better than the last and bring you more business and success. SMT Stephen Las Marias is managing editor of SMT Magazine. He has been a technology editor for more than 12 years covering electronics, components, and industrial automation systems. UNDERSTANDING PLATING AND SURFACE FINISHING

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