Observations from IPC APEX 2017 - TURN TOWARD THE FUTURE

Feb 22, 2017 8:27:47 AM

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After a buzzing few days of activity in balmy San Diego, it's a good time to reflect back at yet another exciting IPC APEX EXPO and all the new innovations and product introductions. 

With a full product pipeline and a few new product introductions, including a game-changing hand soldering station called Connection Validation (CV), Metcal was in a unique vantage point to demonstrate, listen and reflect on industry and customer challenges.  As a truly game-changing product in hand soldering, CV launched at the event to great customer and channel partner reception.  At it’s core, CV features a patented algorithm which evaluates the quality of the solder joint during the soldering process and provides real-time closed loop feedback to the operator when a 'good' solder joint has been achieved.  Connection Validation complements the long-standing visual inspection techniques so familiar to hand soldering operators, thereby substantially reducing the chances of bad solder joint.  The Metcal team demonstrated the product at our booth.

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Risk Mitigation & Process Control

With CV, the core value proposition is “risk mitigation” and “process control”.  With many recent product recalls as a result of faulty solder joints, risk mitigation in the electronics assembly process has taken on a more important role.  Given the high cost of recalls and sometime irreparable brand damage, it’s no surprise to witness ‘risk mitigation’ benefits resonate with our customers - OEMs and Contract Manufacturers. For OEMs, the benefits are clear and measurable. For some of our CMs, the benefits were initially a bit more challenging to grasp, until they began to see it as a key service differentiator and competitive advantage in the market.

Robotic Soldering

Another observation that became even more clear to me walking around the show, is the growth in robotics and important role that robotic soldering - specifically, CV based robotic soldering can make in the industry.  I witnessed palpable excitement from our customers and channel partners around the prospects of launching a Metcal Connection Validation enabled robot with a super intuitive UI.  A soldering robot equipped with CV, would truly deliver on the prospects of a soldering robot - one that can not only repeat a process, but do it with ‘validation’ everytime along the way. The revolution in hand soldering will continue with the evolution of Connection Validation.

The themes of “risk mitigation” and “process control” is surely growing in importance across the industry.  At Metcal, we’re excited and poised to deliver on the promise of CV and look forward to working with our customers to solve their application challenges.

Looking forward to IPC APEX 2018 in San Diego, again!  Lots to share on the evolution of Connection Validation along the journey.

Written by Metcal Marketing