April 2023 Newsletter



Hello members!

Mentorship is a key reason why PCEA exists, and to that end we are pleased to announce a new partnership with SCORE.org. The full announcement from Phil Marcoux is below.

Meanwhile, as mentioned last month, we have several upcoming technical webinars and live presentations coming up starting this month.

Rick Hartley in June will present a special live two-day workshop on “Control of EMI, Noise and Signal Integrity in High-Speed Circuits and PCBs” in the Atlanta area. As Hartley notes, EMI is a leading concern for electronics designers and a major cause of failures. The seminar has been updated to contain a fair amount of new information that was not taught in years past.

Says Rick: “Knowing proper design of circuits and PCBs to contain E&H fields, as well as knowing how to mitigate the effects of high-speed devices, are the keys to successful design of low noise circuits. This two-day seminar is a crisp focus of the issues PCB designers/engineers must know to prevent EMI, signal integrity, crosstalk, ground bounce and grounding issues in high-speed digital and mixed signal designs.” Visit pcb2day.com or click here for details.

Coming April 11, “Reverse Engineering PCBs: How to Recreate a Lost Design,” by Ethan Pierce, presents a skillset to technicians, designers, and engineers that leverages assembled PCBs without design data to be recovered and recreated. Using a set of software- and hardware-agnostic processes, this course analyzes a design of unknown origin and recreates that design with a set of commonly available tools. To register: click here.

And on April 25, “Engineered Reliability: Safeguarding Electrical Components and Devices with Nanocoating Technology” by Richard Weiland, director of nanocoating applications for HZO Inc., focuses on real-world examples where significant product challenges were presented (such as humidity, temperature, or corrosion) and the investment of time and resources focused on device dependability and functional testing. To register: click here.

Registration is open for PCB East, featuring more than 60 hours of in-depth electronics engineering training. Lee Ritchey, Rick Hartley, Susy Webb and Dan Beeker are among the headliners of this year’s show. The conference will be held May 9 to 12 at the Boxboro Regency Hotel and Conference Center in Boxborough, MA. It features classes for every level of experience, from novice to expert. There is also a full day’s worth of free tech talks on May 10, the same day as the exhibition. (And we have more than 50 companies across the design, fabrication and assembly supply chain exhibiting!) Visit PCBEast.com to register.

Mike Buetow
PCEA President


Local Chapters

Please forward your chapter news to pcea@pcea.net for inclusion on our website and in future newsletters.

ONTARIO, CANADA – We will hold an event in early May with Ata Syed of PFC Flexible Circuits presenting on flex design. Details to come.

ORANGE COUNTY – We had another successful Lunch ‘n Learn event on Feb. 23 and are planning our next meeting in May.

SAN DIEGO – We will have a booth at the Del Mar Electronics Show on Apr. 26-27. On April 26, Mike Konrad of Aqueous Technologies will speak on cleaning low-residue solder fluxes and Dave Lackey of American Standard Circuits will speak on flex circuits as part of a PCEA special seminar. Visit manufacturing.show for details.

SEATTLE – We are looking at getting the Seattle Chapter back up and running. If anyone is interested in assisting with the chapter activities, please contact Tim Mullin at tim_mullin@comcast.net.

National News

PCEA Partners with SCORE.org to Provide Business Mentoring

PCEA is more than an international network of engineers, designers, fabricators, assemblers, and anyone related to printed circuit development. It also is a network of the businesses employing all involved in printed circuit development and assembly.

The mission of PCEA is to promote printed circuit engineering as a profession by encouraging and facilitating the exchange of information and the integration of new design concepts through education, certification, communications, seminars, and workshops. PCEA is also striving to help its member companies thrive and succeed.

SCORE.org has the mission of fostering vibrant small business communities in the US through mentoring and education. SCORE was created in 1964 and is funded, in part, through a cooperative agreement with the US Small Business Administration. It is committed to help every person succeed in their small business!

SCORE is composed of over 12,000 volunteer mentors organized across more than 200 chapters. SCORE mentors know what it’s like to be a small business owner since over 80% were involved in starting businesses. I have been a volunteer with the Silicon Valley chapter for the past four years. In 2022, the SV chapter mentored over 1,000 individuals who wanted help starting their own businesses. As of March 2023, we’ve already mentored over 600. Each chapter offers very low-cost classes (in-person and online) and free mentoring.

To access these classes and services interested US PCEA members only need to register on the SCORE.org website. There you can see what classes are available either on-demand or upcoming at one of the chapters. There are numerous free business templates available to organize your ideas.

If you want to get specific help immediately you can enter the keywords for the help you’re looking for and you’ll be presented with a list of available qualified mentors across the US. Once you’ve registered as a client you can request a specific mentor or request recommendations for mentors from a local chapter.

Our community of experienced entrepreneurs, corporate managers, and executives is eager to help you whether you want to start and grow an existing business.

Phil Marcoux
Member PCEA Education Committee
Mentor Score, Silicon Valley Chapter
Kayaker Extraordinaire

Conferences task group. We received 75 abstracts for PCB West 2023 technical conference. Twenty-five of the abstracts were submitted by speakers who have never presented at PCB West. A draft schedule is under review by the task group and the final schedule will made available to the public in mid April at pcbwest.com. PCB West takes place Sept. 19-22 at the Santa Clara (CA) Convention Center. There is a four-day technical conference of paid and free classes, with a one-day (Sept. 20) exhibition.

Eptech tour. PCEA will cosponsor a guided tour of the Eptech trade show in Toronto on May 9 (eptech.ca/location/toronto/). Ata Syed of PFC Flexible Circuits and Nick Koop of TTM Technologies plan to invite students from various institutes and give a tour of the show from an industry point of view. Contact pcea@pcea.net for details.

Reading Material

Highlights of the April issue of PCD&F/Circuits Assembly:

  • Understanding electroless nickel thickness in ENIG and ENEPIG. Accurate measurement of the electroless nickel layer thickness is possible if a user corrects for density changes caused by the inclusion of phosphorus in the nickel deposit in a specific sample.
  • ‘A solution for anybody in North America’. APCT’s recent acquisition of ACI nearly doubles APCT’s annual revenue to $200 million, and makes the company the third largest among PCB fabricators in North America. APCT head Steve Robinson discusses the acquisition and his vision for the company’s future.
  • Early detection of failures caused by corrosion on components. Corrosion is the most predominant failure mode in electronic products, and corrosion present in solder leads before the soldering process a devastating effect because they become a breeding seed of the corrosion epidemic. A demonstration of how components with corrosion and contamination in the soldering leads can be detected early during production and avoided.
  • Real-time x-ray video imaging of pb-free solders under simulated SMT reflow. Two current baselines and seven next-generation lead-free solder paste alloys are observed using radiographic imaging during SMT reflow to find the best LF alloys for the next phase for production prototypes.

Read it all here.

Have an idea for an article? Contact us at pcea@pcea.net. No writing experience required!


The Education Committee receives requests each month for mentors. If you are open to helping coach colleagues looking to develop their design or engineering skills, or provide career advice, please let us know at pcea@pcea.net.

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