There is a growing consensus that the tech industry appears to be emerging from the COVID crisis stronger than anyone expected. In a recent Semiconductor Industry Association presentation, ECIA’s Dale Ford said the long term future of electronics will be driven by what he called the “Developing Technology Triumvirate” – IoT, 5G and Cloud, which is a perfect storm delivering amplified growth. This clearly seems to be happening across multiple market segments.

This isn’t just being talked about in our trade press. The Economist explains ‘Why a dawn of technological optimism is breaking’

Today a dawn of technological optimism is breaking. The speed at which covid-19 vaccines have been produced has made scientists household names. Prominent breakthroughs, a tech investment boom and the adoption of digital technologies during the pandemic are combining to raise hopes of a new era of progress: optimists giddily predict a “roaring Twenties”.

The electronics manufacturing  industry has been innovating at a dizzying rate since the pandemic began. For example, we have been reporting on the acceleration of the digitalization of the industry during this past crazy year. In this article, we’ve assembled a collection of some of these and other recent developments for your reading pleasure.

Stop Production of $60,000 Car for Want of a $2 Chip?

One indicator of a tech industry going into high gear is longer lead-times and shortages reported in various end markets. Especially hard hit has been the automotive industry.

ECIA’s CEO and President David Loftus describes it as an accident waiting to happen. In an effort to implement lean manufacturing and just-in-time supply chains, automotive OEMs and their suppliers have eliminated the authorized distribution channel, perceiving them to be unnecessary middlemen. But semiconductors themselves have long complicated production cycles and supply chains, with distribution providing essential buffering and logistics support.

TTI, Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway company, is an authorized, specialty distributor of electronic components. Founded in 1971, the emphasis on a broad and deep product portfolio, available-to-sell tti logo changeableinventory and sophisticated supply chain programs have established TTI as a distributor of choice to manufacturers in the industrial, defense, aerospace, transportation, medical, and communications sectors worldwide. TTI, Inc. is now stocking Dialight’s 657 Panel Mount Indicators. These ruggedized indicator lights are designed to meet the rigorous demands of industrial, medical and transportation applications.

Dialight’s 657 series LED Panel Mount Indicators are designed with a highly durable watertight housing. These indicators are designed for a variety of applications such as instrument panels, gauges, dashboards, storage compartments and control panels. Offered with voltage options of 12–32 VDC and no resistor required, these versatile indicators feature a wide operating temperature range of -35°C to +65°C (-31°F to +149°F) for excellent harsh environment performance.

To learn more, visit Dialight Panel Indicators at TTI.

Future Electronics, another global leading distributor of electronic components, has announced an agreement to extend its franchise sales agreement with Maxim Integrated Products, Inc. (NASDAQ: MXIM). This enables Future Electronics to provide its renowned technical sales and sophisticated supply chain services in support of Maxim Integrated products worldwide.

futureThe extension of the franchise to EMEA (excluding Israel) was part of a planned natural progression by Maxim Integrated to make Future Electronics a global supplier of its broad portfolio of power and analogue products. The franchise roll-out has been implemented in steps, starting with the Americas franchise in 2016, followed by an extension to cover Asia in 2018. The new extension into the EMEA region is effective from 1st January 2021.

The leading position which Maxim Integrated enjoys in many sectors of the analogue and power semiconductor market complements Future Electronics’ strength in its core industrial, automotive, consumer, lighting, medical, and IoT markets. Manufacturers in these markets benefit from Future Electronics’ Complete Solution Design approach – a business model which draws on expertise and support to deliver outcomes in the analogue and power domains such as reducing energy consumption, implementing new sensing capabilities, or improving the signal integrity and data rate of communications interfaces.

Patrick Moore, Managing Director, Worldwide SMB Sales & Distribution of Maxim Integrated, said: “Future Electronics is playing an important role on the world stage by supporting design engineers on their journey through solution discovery, evaluation and adoption. Adding Future Electronics to our distribution network in EMEA provides complementary value to our strong existing channel and increases the product and supply chain support available to our customers throughout the region.”

Karim Yasmine, Corporate Vice President of Strategic Supplier Development of Future Electronics, said: “Future Electronics’ guiding principle is to Delight the Customer with best-in-class products and solutions, as well as a renowned portfolio of engineering, design support and logistics services. We are proud that Maxim Integrated has recognized the strength of the Future Electronics offering by completing the extension of its franchise to give us global coverage of its outstanding portfolio of products.”

 

Play it Safe with Comprehensive Testing

The immediate challenge facing so many manufacturers, particularly those in automotive, are the component shortages. Finding long lead-time, hard-to-find, and obsolete components from the open market for hi-rel industries like automotive, medical, defense, and aerospace, is particularly challenging as authentic parts could be old or stored improperly, leading to functional and reliability concerns.  The risk of commercial grade components being re-marked as industrial, automotive or military parts has never been more real, and can be verified with full tri-temp testing.

IMG JPGIn addition, today’s technologies are developing at breakneck speed. No sooner is a product on the market than it is updated. Electronic components are therefore becoming obsolete faster than ever before. The life cycle of a product often far exceeds that of its major components. The average lifecycle of a new integrated circuit is under two years today!

Obsolete parts are not easy to source. They often tend to end up in the gray markets, enhancing the risk of buying a risky secondhand or counterfeit component. The result is in the best case a large financial loss due to product failures. In the worst case, counterfeits can endanger the safety of your customers.

White Horse Labs’ solution is comprehensive testing.

White Horse Laboratories was founded in 2004 to directly combat the growing global proliferation of substandard and counterfeit electronics components. We established testing, inspection, packaging, and logistics services where no company like this previously existed, at the primary source of supply, to foreign and domestic distributors alike. Since then, we have set the standard for transparency, clarity, and customer service.

Solutions for a circular economy at GreenChips

With a chip shortage it is pivotal to find alternative sources for the parts you need. GreenChips might have some hidden treasures in stock. They specialize in excess stock management, meaning they take surplus goods of different partners and offer them on their sales platform. With partners like GE Healthcare, Continental and Tridonic they have a steady stream of excess parts.

GreenChips EMSNOW AdIt is worth your while to look if they have the part you cannot find anywhere else. And even if you buy too much or have excess stock yourself you can always give it back to GreenChips. They use an advanced AI named M.A.R.C (market analyzer & research calculator) to evaluate the best price and keep an overview of the entire market to ensure every part gets reintroduced into the economy. This way they strive to make sure resources do not end up gathering dust in warehouses and instead get used in production. Especially now an economic use of all computer chips with as few waste as possible is important.

Another important aspect of their mission for a more sustainable industry are the investments in environmental projects. So, whether you are looking for a place to buy or sell, go and visit GreenChips because your contribution also helps the environment.

Connectivity and Digitalization in Optical Test

Koh Young is one of the first companies – and the first inspection and test equipment supplier – to embrace and certify its machines in the New IPC CFX Validation and Certification Program. “Koh Young has been a long-time supporter of the CFX initiative, so choosing to elevate our efforts with the IPC CFX Validation and Certification program as an early adopter was an easy decision,” commented Brent Fischthal, IPC CFX Committee Member and Senior Marketing Manager at Koh Young America. Successful utilization of IPC-CFX on the shop floor requires confidence and trust that equipment has been qualified to IPC-CFX by an independent third party. To provide the electronics industry with this assurance, any equipment vendor with a subscription to the IPC-CFX Self-Validation System can submit equipment models for listing on the IPC-CFX-2591 Qualified Products List (QPL). Now, through this new program, manufacturers can view the IPC-CFX-2591 QPL-listed equipment to help clarify the equipment purchasing decision as it pertains to IPC-CFX capabilities. The new program ensures equipment meets mandatory message sets for the equipment type.

KY P PairThe Koh Young KSMART Process Control Software, Neptune Dispensing Process Inspection System, and KY-P3 Pin & Terminal Inspection systems have all won Best-in-Class awards for innovation, cost reduction, and quality improvement capabilities.

“Using our world-class True3D™ AOI technology, we designed the award-winning KY-P3 to overcome pin inspection challenges like high false call rates and escapes,” commented featured speaker Gustavo Jimenez, Regional Sales Manager at Koh Young. “The KY-P3 provides an automated solution combining advanced high-resolution optics with innovative AI-powered vision algorithms for automated pin inspection. I look forward to discussing how our KY-P3 delivers unmatched inspection capabilities that directly help high-volume applications, including automotive and connector assembly,” concluded Gustavo.

Incorporating the world’s first full 3D quad-projection probe, the system delivers shadow-free measurement of SMDs and pins up to 25mm tall. Additionally, the “Stop-and-Go” movement allows it to capture 3D measurement data without system vibration, image stitching, or data interpolation. The KYP3s deliver reliable 3D measurement results with superior accuracy to boost your productivity and reduce costs.

AOI for Placement Defects

The SEHO PowerVision stands for fast, automated optical inspection, and it is particularly designed for THT processes. The system can be configured depending on the manufacturing requirements: For component placement inspection in front of a wave or a selective soldering machine, or for solder joint inspection after wave or selective soldering processes, or as a combination of both inspection tasks, integrated into the same module to save space.

sehoThe system reliably detects typical placement defects such as presence of components or polarity, and soldering defects like incomplete solder joints, solder bridges or solder balls, for instance. Additionally, the system is capable of reading and processing product IDs.

The stand-alone variant of the SEHO PowerVision can be flexibly integrated into each fully automated production line. Moreover, the system can be directly integrated in many of SEHO’s selective soldering systems, thus providing additional benefits, particularly in terms of floor space and board handling costs.

Generation of test plans is performed easily and comfortably at any PC using an offline teach program. Basic data can be taken from gerber data, DXF files or from any digital image file (camera or scan). A simple wizard leads the operator through the programming procedure. Moreover, the comprehensive and individually expandable component library includes component-specific test elements, as well as an automatic inspection search to simplify programming.

Don’t Just Rebound, Move Your Factory Forward

Aegis has spent lockdown developing new webinars for the industry. “The multitude of risks and challenges facing manufacturers today is accelerating the need to adapt process innovation, embrace technology, and digitalize,” they explain. “The imperative is for manufacturers to become more resilient, agile, productive, and profitable in a post-COVID-19 world. This challenge requires many to shift their mindset around digital transformation strategies. Although the transformative benefits of Industry 4.0 are crucial for a manufacturer’s survival and growth, not many have taken a concerted effort to be better prepared for the future. The time has never been better than now to re-imagine and reshape your digital manufacturing infrastructure to build more connected, collaborative, resilient, and highly integrated operations.”

On February 18, a live webinar will take place entitled 2021: The Year of Manufacturing Resiliency & Agility

If you are interested in seeing how you can mitigate your risks, avoid the cost of inaction, and capitalize on digital transformation, then this is a must-attend event. Join industry experts from Frost & Sullivan and Aegis Software for this complimentary webinar as we discuss trends, technology convergences, and best practices for navigating this new world.

Innovation in Labeling

IDENTCO is a leader in electronics identification, offering extreme durability, solvent and chemical resistance, anti-static properties, thermal transfer printing, automated SMT label application, and custom-designed solutions for applications that range from PC Board assembly to auto-applied solder masks to finished product labeling.

“We offer a robust range of off-the-shelf labeling and solder masking solutions for the electronics industry, as well as being fully equipped to take on the challenges of custom products” explained Brian Connolly, VP of Global Marketing at IDENTCO. ”Our miniature polyimide SMT labels and ultra-slim label feeders have caught the attention of SMT engineers worldwide. We welcome the challenge each new project presents, and believe the best customers are those who push us to explore uncharted territory.”

Innovation in EMS

Finally we’d like to spotlight two innovative EMS companies that have come onto our radar recently. The first is www.pruefrex.com, a European EMS focused on control intelligence in combustion and electrical engines. Their innovations help protect the environment and contribute to better living comfort worldwide. “We are a driving force in the industry, supporting international industry leaders with our development and manufacturing expertise to help our partners and customers make the best products available in this highly competitive market” they say.

 

The second company is headquartered in Asia.

ICAPE Group has been manufacturing Printed Circuit Boards and Customized Technical Parts  in China since 1999. Now with a presence in more than 70 countries, +2000 customers trust the quality services and offers of the group. Each month, ICAPE Group delivers 22 million PCBs and 5 million Technical Parts. In 2019, ICAPE Group achieved a revenue of EUR 125M and aims for a growth in 2020.

With its teams of 450 people worldwide and 75 strategic partners in Asia, 25 in Printed Circuit Boards and 50 in Technical Parts, ICAPE Group brings some of the industry’s best supply solutions. The Services Office, located in China, is staffed by 230 highly qualified employees.

“Our global sales organization allows us to be closer to the production plants and to satisfy your needs in Printed Circuit Boards and Technical Parts, with the best quality/ price/service ratios, while respecting the ethical charter established by the group on all its partners,” they explained. “Our main mission is to guarantee a quality service throughout the entire process: from quotation to delivery to any customer anywhere around the world.”

ICAPE Group is focused on developing its online presence and continues to better serve its customers. If you want to buy Printed Circuit Boards online, connect to www.icape-shop.com . You can order Customized Technical Parts online at www.cipem-shop.com.

ICAPE Group marks another milestone by joining forces with DIVSYS International, based in Indianapolis, USA. DIVSYS brings a US-based technical expertise in PCB and PCBA, coupled with a quality assurance laboratory and rapid prototyping assembly to a world-class PCB sales organization, ICAPE Group.

 

EMSNOW is committed to bringing readers the latest information about innovation in electronics manufacturing. Watch for our Innovation Update each quarter.

We will continue to bring you video interviews, features, news and analysis in the ‘Roaring 2020s’ and beyond.