Tuesday, March 17, 2009

APEX and Universities: The Collaboration is Academic

SMT has long considered our role to be a teaching magazine, educating electronics assemblers in new technologies or most efficient uses of existing ones. Affirming this commitment to education, we added S. Manian Ramkumar, Ph.D., faculty professor and director at the Center for Electronics Manufacturing and Assembly (CEMA), Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), to the Editorial Advisory Board in 2008. Professor Ramkumar has written multiple articles on the intersection of industry and academia, including A Workforce to Support Electronics Industry Growth and Industry Academia Partnerships: Sustaining Growth and Competitiveness. Industry itself is much a product of the universities and technical colleges that fuel it through the production of new methodologies, technologies, and engineers/technicians. I’m looking forward to the Academic Poster Competition, March 31–April 2 at IPC APEX in Las Vegas. Fourteen poster papers from domestic and international learning institutions were selected by the industry association. APEX attendees will vote on the top three posters.

This is IPC’s first year doing the poster competition, according to Tony Hilvers, IPC VP of industry programs, and they received 29 entries. With economies around the world searching for new growth and new ideas, greater industry/academia cooperation seems logical, immediately necessary, and vital. Academic achievement during a period of threatened economic growth and severe unemployment is a matter of bravery and resilience for students and schools willing to invest in an industry’s future. "We looked for innovative original research in accepting the winning posters," said IPC representative Kim Sterling. She adds, "We did it to create more access for the industry to what is currently going on in academic research — to build stronger relationships with the universities. In the past, there was a lot of R&D being done inside OEMs. With outsourcing, that has declined. This is a way of highlighting the R&D that is being done at the university level." Winners of the top three posters will be announced at the IPC APEX EXPO closing keynote on Thursday, April 2.

IPC’s top 14 poster papers are:
“Whisker and Hillock Growth Observed on Pure Sn, Sn-Cu, and Sn-Cu-Pb Electroplated Films” by Aaron Pedigo, Pylin Sarobol, John Blendell, and Carol Handwerker, Purdue University; “Silver-Bismuth Alloys as a High Temperature Lead-Free Solder” by Anthony Muza, Purdue University; and a third Perdue submission, “Utilizing the Thermodynamic Nanoparticle Size Effects for Low Temperature Pb-Free Solder Applications” by John P. Koppes, Purdue University.

“Room Temperature Sintering of Ag Nanoparticle Paste by Chemical Dip Treatment” by Daisuke Wakuda, Osaka University is an international submission, as is “Control of Tin Whisker Growth” by schoolmate Keun-Soo Kim, Osaka University.

The eastern U.S. research belt is well represented, with “Selective Electroless Nickel and Gold Plating of Individual Integrated Circuits for Gold Stud Bump Flip-Chip Attachment” by David Lee, Johns Hopkins University; “Reliability of Standard and Flexible Termination Multilayer Ceramic Capacitors under Temperature-Humidity-Bias Conditions” by Garry Brock and Michael Azarian, University of Maryland; and “Printed Wiring Board Delamination — Some Unique Findings” by John Folkerts, Johns Hopkins University. Also from the East Coast, “Bio-Composites from Chicken Feathers and Plant Oils for Printed Circuit Boards” by Mingjiang Zhan and Richard P. Wool, University of Delaware.

Not to be outdone, West Coast submissions include “The Calculation of Liquidus Temperature for Various BGA/CSP Assemblies” by Jianbiao (John) Pan, California Polytechnic State University and “Fluxless Bonding of Si Chips to Cu Substrates Using Ag-In System” by Pin J. Wang, University of California — Irvine.

One Polish submission will be in the poster competition: “Reliability Tests of Ecological Soldered Joints” by Professor Zdzislaw Drozd, Warsaw University of Technology.

The penultimate poster in our list is also from a European school. “Ink-jet Printed Electronics” by Rostyslav Lesyuk, Werner Jillek, Ewald Schmitt, Yaroslav Bobitski, and Zhen-Guo Yang comes from the National University “Lvivska polytechnika,” Lviv, Ukraine and University of Applied Science in Nuremberg, Germany.

Finally, Taiwan’s academic program is represented by “A Suitability Study for Mechanical Shear and Bend Tests as Alternatives for Thermal Cycling Reliability Test of Electronic Components” by Yeong-Shu Chen, Chen-Tse Fan, and Yu-chun Huang, Yuan-Ze University.

Chicken feathers? Printed electronics? Nano materials? These ventures do not look like the timid offerings of an industry clamming up in hard economic times. The ultimate test will come once these projects and students graduate into the electronics assembly “real world.” I hope we continue to have a flow of information between research and industry reality, as Sterling said, one informing the other, to continue advancement in our field.

Opportunities for learning abound at APEX. Check out these expo and conference events:
IPC APEX Expo Preview: Innovative Technology Center, Task Groups, and More
APEX Product Preview
APEX Products
IPC APEX Expo Preview: Technical Courses and Tutorials
Get Ready for APEX: Preview of Technical Sessions and Noteworthy Events
APEX Update: Designers Summit and Management Meetings
and see the APEX Product Preview in our March/April issue.

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