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40 PCB007 MAGAZINE I NOVEMBER 2021 and coaching from our expert instructors. is is just one aspect of the IPC Workforce Devel- opment program. Available in self-paced and instructor-led options, IPC's Electronics Workforce Train- ing courses are designed to meet the grow- ing needs of a rapidly changing industry, while providing flexibility and reducing training costs. In addition to PCB design, other courses include: • Electronics Assembly for Operators • Electronics Assembly for Engineers • Wire Harness Assembly for Operators • IPC-A-610 for Operators • IPC-J-STD-001 for Operators • ESD Control for Electronics Assembly • CFX courses, and many more With a variety of courses available, we are directly addressing the critical issues of pipe- line, onboarding, and staff retention in a way we hope attracts the best and brightest to our industry. For information on how we can help you meet your education and training needs, visit training.ipc.org. PCB007 References 1. U.S. Manufacturing Skills Gap Could Leave As Many As 2.1 Million Jobs Unfilled by 2030, Deloitte. com, May 4, 2021. Dr. John Mitchell is president and CEO of IPC. To read past columns or contact him, click here. by Luca Gautero Many countries nowadays are relaxing restric- tions in public places. During the pandemic, super- markets have provided continuous support for our needs, even though most of us have reduced our grocery visits to a minimum. In the future, we might come back to enjoy an occasional free sampling ("If it has a toothpick in it, it's free!" BH Simpson by Matt Groening), and our taste buds will provide us with accurate information about what we buy. Why this initial digression? Inkjet printing equipment around the world is printing solder mask on PCB half fab- ricates. This effort goes under the name of "sam- pling." Major PCB manufacturers have been asking either equipment or material suppli- ers (or both) to provide a solder mask coated sample with inkjet technol- ogy to make cross comparisons. The world may not yet know the capabilities of this technology, though; it is a fair assumption that in almost every PCB manufacturing company someone has seen a sol- der mask coated by inkjet printing on a design and a board of their choice. On one hand, this is the best way to demonstrate the technology; on the other hand, it is a collective waste of time. This last statement is a strong one, though one single sentence easily sustains it: There are no standards for inkjet printing of solder mask. This means that the presumed "next best thing" happens: a board is qualified with a comparison to traditional technology. Through my columns so far, it has been shown several times that a printed solder mask can have the same pattern as a traditional solder mask coat- ing, though its cross section is largely different. The dome shape of a dam cross section or the slow ramp from edge toward full thickness is nothing alike a vertical wall. Even more, it will never resem- ble the steep slope idealized by the traditional solder mask coating tech- nology. To read the entire column, which first appeared in the I-Connect007 newsletter, click here. Luca Gautero is product manager at SUSS MicroTec (Netherlands) B.V. Additive Reality: Drop Your (Solder) Mask, it's Sampling Time

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