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18 SMT Magazine • April 2016 Solder paste printing process capability is critical to EMS profitability. In more than 20 years, no one has ever been able to make me believe this hypothesis is untrue. The reality of the market is that each major global EMS will ask solder paste manufacturers to reduce price, rather than improving first pass yield. The economics of this market trend are unsustainable. Solder paste is already the lowest cost item on every electronic assembly bill of materials, but can have the most impact of any material used in the surface mount technology process. Numerous EMS and OEM firms have driv- en their companies to oblivion by determin- ing that the unit cost of the least expensive material on their consumable list was the best choice. Looking at a list of well known, global companies who no longer assemble electron- ics confirms this point. Cheap solder paste has never been a driver for success. Let me show you why. First-pass yield, determined by the number of circuits successfully produced per attempt, without requiring wasteful re-work, is a critical milestone. Profitability is the difference between by mitch holtzer AlphA Assembly solutioNs cost vs. cause: What is more critical to Ems Profitability? across ThE board 18 SMT Magazine • March 2016

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