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10 SMT Magazine • October 2017 ly caused by cracked solder joints in the subas- sembly unit that controls the rudder. The crash was tragic, but the cause of it is also the reality. I am not sure about the other technical details on the plane, but it had already logged 23,039 flight hours since its manufacture, and 13,610 cycles (an aircraft cycle means takeoff and land- ing). Just imagine the many hours that these PCB assemblies have been subjected to harsh conditions—component breakdowns are inev- itable. Which is why the reliability of PCB as- semblies remains very critical. In our recent survey on soldering, we iden- tified many challenges to address during the soldering process to ensure good solder joints. These include solder paste selection, thermal is- sues and reflow profiles, voiding, and compo- nent size variations, to name a few. So for this month's issue of SMT Magazine, we talked to a lot of stakeholders in the solder- ing process to know more about the challenges from their perspectives, and the strategies that could help improve the process and achieve that perfect solder joint. In our first feature, we have Indium Corp.'s Brook Sandy-Smith, Metcal's Robert Roush, and MC Assembly's Andrew Nunenkamp and Vince Burns in a wide-ranging discussion on the many aspects of soldering, from the solder paste, to automation, inspection, and the challenges in achieving reliable, well-made solder joints. With the continuing trend towards minia- turization, and the move to design increasing- ly more components into ever-shrinking PCB real estate, visual inspection is no longer via- ble for board assemblies with these tiny com- ponents. Therefore, for this month's issue, I in- terviewed Vi TECHNOLOGY's Olivier Pirou to learn more about the developments in the SPI and AOI space to help manufacturers address their inspection issues. From a reflow oven standpoint, Rehm Ther- mal Systems' Ralf Wagenfuehr shares the lat- est technologies they are incorporating in their systems to eliminate soldering issues, including voiding. Enrique Moreno of JBC Soldering, mean- while, highlights hand soldering technologies and strategies to create good solder joints. I was also able to interview Jonas Sigfrid Sjoberg of Indium at NEPCON South China to find out how they are helping customers ad- dress their soldering issues. Next, we have an article from Dr. Reza Ghaf- farian, of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, discuss- ing the impact of surface finishes on the reli- ability of solder joints. SMT Magazine is not complete without the expert opinions of our columnists in their re- spective industries. Read what Dr. Jennie Hwang, Michael Ford, and Tom Borkes have to say this month. Last, but not least, I interviewed Mentor's Sven Patrik Eriksson about the critical challeng- es in getting meaningful data from the facto- ry floor, manufacturers' journey to Industry 4.0, and the best approach towards its adoption. I hope you enjoy this month's issue of SMT Magazine. Stay tuned next month as we talk about the PCB assembly challenges presented by HDI boards. 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. CREATING THE PERFECT SOLDER JOINT

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