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78 SMT Magazine • June 2016 by Stephen Las Marias I-CONNECT007 At the recent NEPCON China show in Shanghai, I interviewed Adam Sim, senior sales manager at Speedline ITW EAE. We discussed a variety of issues, including the challenges in solder stencil printing, how printing cycle times may be improved, and the key factors to con- sider when selecting a solder paste printing so- lution. Stephen Las Marias: What are the greatest chal- lenges when it comes to soldering? Adam Sim: On the solder printing process, the biggest challenge that most customers have is miniaturization. Based on our customer feed- back, products are getting smaller, such as smartphones and other handheld devices, and functionalities are getting more complex. These trends result in more components being pack- aged in a smaller and smaller area. This, in turn, is driving the manufacture of even smaller com- ponents. The second challenge is throughput. You have to get the highest output and yield to off- set manufacturing cost. So from a solder paste printing perspective, we have to address these two issues to help cus- tomers. Las Marias: What about reliability? Sim: As components get smaller and smaller, the yield and reliability will drop accordingly. That's the reason why we continue to improve our printers—to address these issues. Las Marias: What innovations are happening in solder paste printers to help customers address their printing challenges? Sim: With the miniaturization trend, for the printer to achieve higher yield, the machine has to be somehow more accurate. Accuracy is be- coming a critical parameter in this process. The only possibility to address this issue is to develop more accurate machines. That's one way to do it. Las Marias: The machines definitely have to be ac- curate. But are certain technologies more accurate than solder paste printers? Sim: Solder paste dispensers will have an edge on this front, but in a real production world, Improving the Solder Paste Printing Cycle Times FEATU RE I NTE RVI EW

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