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FEBRUARY 2020 I SMT007 MAGAZINE 9 Nolan Johnson is managing editor of SMT007 Magazine. Nolan brings 30 years of career experience focused almost entirely on electron- ics design and manufacturing. To contact Johnson, click here. succeed in their job—giving the opposing team the opportunity to put the ball into play while simultaneously denying the opponents that very chance—depends on the use of all the options at their disposal. We've made this point multiple times in this publication: automotive and medical electronics applications are demanding very high-volume production at two orders of magnitude greater reliability than is the cur- rent industry benchmark. Fabricators will need the tools, options, and human expertise to succeed at this level. So, where's the real pain point, where things are stressed enough to break? The different grips the pitcher uses on the ball make the ball perform as they intend. If one deconstructs the grip, one realizes that the grip is all about fingers and knuckles. Any major league pitcher will tell you that it doesn't matter how good the rest of their mechanics are; it's their grip with their finger joints that makes the ball come to life on its way to the plate. Success, as a pitcher, has much to do with controlling the joints, and that's what we found, too. To manufacture circuit boards in this time of shrinking components and board features, the secret is to ensure success with the solder joints. Of course, it's not lost on any of us that some landing pads are intentionally shaped like a baseball home plate. The paral- lels are never-ending. Throwing the first pitch, so to speak, are Dana Korf and Chuck Bauer. The I-Con- nect007 team, along with Bauer and Korf, talked in-depth on the topic of finer pitches and the consequences on the industry, in "Semiconductors in Charge: The Changing Face of Board Manufacturing." Next, Brent Fischthal shares the inspection perspective in "What's Driving AOI Innovations and Col- laboration?" Ray Prasad talks with the I-Con- nect007 team about market drivers in "The Big Picture on Small Components," Joe Fjel- stad highlights "Solder in PCBA: Can't Live Without It… Or Can We?" and Jeff Schake addresses solder paste printing from the sten- cil's perspective. Eric Camden bats lead-off for the columnists in this issue with "Big Trouble Comes in Tiny Packages." Then, we talk to Stephan Schmidt and Mirela Orlowski of LPKF about the chal- lenges they face cutting those very stencils for IIT and companies like them. Michael Ford's column considers the digi- tal side of things in "Size Matters: The Digital Twin." Then we turn to Taiyo's Yuya Suzuki to talk solder mask. In our conversation, "Evolv- ing Solder Capabilities for Shrinking Com- ponents," Suzuki discusses Taiyo's efforts to endure ever increasing precision with solder mask, including—but not limited to—creating a planar surface for the stencil. Having dis- cussed solder mask, we complete the cycle with a conversation with Indium Corpora- tion's Chris Nash to talk solder paste itself. Ray Prasad returns this month with his col- umn "Dealing With Package Parasitics." Just about where the seventh inning stretch should be, we visit with Epoch's Foad Ghalili in "Market Insights From Epoch Internation- al's President." Then, we swing back to tech- nical topics with Vern Solberg's piece "Embed- ding Semiconductors." Alfred Macha's column encourages "Sharpening Your Organization's Competencies," which is good advice, as the products we build get more precise. We also feature a piece by Pete Starkey on Bob Willis's webinar in "Solder Paste Evaluation and Sim- ple Tricks of the Trade." What is clear is that whether it's fine pitch- ing on the diamond or fine pitch on the manufacturing floor, it takes all team members doing their part to succeed. As you follow along with your favorite team this spring, we invite you to consider all the information we've gath- ered on fine pitch components and fabrication processes. SMT007

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