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Top Electronics Manufacturing Industry Publications

If you work in the electronics manufacturing industry, you are likely plagued with information overload, whether you are an engineer, purchasing professional, or business-oriented..

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How To: A Wearable Device Design That Consumers Actually Want

Wearable devices provide insight and convenience to consumers through activity tracking and biometric data that they can easily access through a wearable app. But many wearable..

Read More

Top Electronics Manufacturing Industry Publications

June 15, 2023 / by Mallory McGuinness-Hickey posted in Resources

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If you work in the electronics manufacturing industry, you are likely plagued with information overload, whether you are an engineer, purchasing professional, or business-oriented decision-maker.

For example, one study shed light on the sheer volume of information electronics design engineers must search for and select. In the research, the engineers reported that one of the most significant burdens associated with their job was identifying and selecting dozens of technical documents, best practices, evaluations, product searches, design tools, and information on regulatory requirements.

With all the information-seeking that people who work in electronics manufacturing must do, spending extra time wading through general news, analysis, press releases, and events to find topical, relevant content only adds to the frustration.

As a technology company involved in the industry, we know this problem too well. That’s why we have compiled a list of what we consider to be some of the best electronics manufacturing industry publications (in no particular order) and how to use these resources best.

 

1. Circuitnet (Link)

Circuitnet digs through the seemingly unending influx of articles, discussions, news, and features to deliver news and information relevant to the world of electronics manufacturing. The site features an “Ask the Experts” panel, where industry leaders weigh in on questions you may have, an industry calendar lists events essential to electronics manufacturing, and a technical papers section can be used to access technical content for free (although you will have to exchange basic information and email). You can use the search bar if you cannot find what you are looking for immediately.

How to use this resource:

While the Circuitnet site is robust, it also sends a news digest to subscribers’ inboxes every business day. This newsletter is a quick way to stay updated on information and trends pertinent to you, corporate or product announcements that serve as helpful tips, and industry events. Circuitnet also publishes more than forty feature articles a month on PCBs, the assembly process, and packaging and design, so you can ensure your knowledge is current.

CircuitNet’s Ask the Expert Panel

 

 

2. Circuits Assembly Magazine (Link)

Circuits Assembly Magazine provides fabricators, suppliers, and industry designers with best practices and insights to inform them about electronics industry trends. The website features podcasts, which you can easily access from the homepage, covering various topics from reliability to thermal management. Along with news and features, another section lists relevant press releases to keep you updated with industry developments.

How to Use this Resource:

Every month, Circuits Assembly Magazine offers a digital magazine that you can easily read on your computer, tablet, or phone. The magazine is also available in print, but we prefer the digital type, as it is easy to scroll through and quickly find articles of interest.

A Sample of This Month’s Circuits Assembly Magazine Edition

 

 

3. SMT Today (Link)

SMT Today integrates traditional communication (including a bi-monthly print magazine) and the latest technology to keep readers in the electronics industry current. On this site, you will find a newsletter, electronics, industry news, an up-to-date industry event calendar, and separate sections dedicated to equipment, materials, and software/integration news.

How to use this resource:

While you can sign up for the newsletter or read the magazine, the streamlined, organized interface of the website allows you to find what you are looking for quickly. We love to go to the homepage and use the menu bar to filter out the information we need immediately.

 

4.  SMTnet and the Express Newsletter (Link)

SMTnet is a web portal dedicated to the electronics industry covering PCB assembly, Surface Mount Technology, and EMS process, from concept to delivery. This site is relevant to any industries involved in electronics, including information for engineering personnel, purchasing agents, and business segments. The site includes an electronics forum, technical library, industry directory, equipment auctions, videos, training courses, and other resources.

How to use this resource:

Although the SMTnet site alone is a great source that includes unique information, we particularly love the SMTnet Express Newsletter. This condensed yet information-packed weekly newsletter includes topical technical articles, forum highlights, equipment purchase and sale updates, upcoming events, and available training courses, with the latest job openings to boot.

Feb 3 edition of the SMTNet Express Newsletter

 

 

5. Global SMT & Packaging (Link)

Global SMT & Packaging provides a variety of articles, news, and expert commentary on advanced packaging-related assembly and surface mount of PCBAs. The variety of content formats available is what makes this website stand out. You can find podcasts, “Tech Talk Thursday programs,” expert panel debates, newsletters, webinars, and programs.

How to use this resource:

Covid has suspended our ability to participate in as many conferences and trade shows as we used to, so we use this site to stay connected by watching webinars, listening to the panel discussions, and tuning into the Tech Talk Thursday programs.

Featured Articles

 

6. Economist (Link)

If you are searching for current affairs on electronics from a trustworthy news source, we recommend The Economist. The Economist is known for strict copyediting, rigorous fact-checking, and minimal reporting bias. It makes an excellent go-to if you want just the news with minimal sensationalism or subjectivity.

How to use this resource:

To use The Economist to find electronic news, use the search function, using “electronics” as a keyword. You can sort by date, ensuring you can find the most topical news events quickly.

 

The Economist search function, along with the latest news articles about electronics.

 

7. EMSNOW (Link)

EMSNOW provides the Electronic Manufacturing Sector, associated suppliers, and customer basis with real-time information and analysis covering the industry's global aspects. Along with videos, features, podcasts, and “Coming Events,” you can find columns here as well, and much of the information has been published yesterday or today.

How to Use this Resource:

EMSNOW is a go-to for the most up-to-date information. While we love weekly and monthly publications, we recognize that having new information is important and sometimes critical before making certain business decisions. We recommend checking in with EMSNOW once or twice weekly to stay updated on current news and analysis.

A Sample Analysis Column from EMSNOW

 

8. Electronics Sourcing (Link)

Electronics Sourcing is a magazine for purchasing professionals within the electronics distribution & manufacturing sector who buy, distribute, and sell electronic components and associated products. You can head to the website to sign up for the magazine and find relevant market news and magazines targeted to the UK & Ireland, North America, or Europe, which is a nice touch.

How to use this resource:

Although we love the content, the purchasing tools tab on the website menu bar is especially valuable. Here you can find Buyers’ guides for the UK & Ireland, North America and Europe, search or components, and component sourcing information.

Screengrab of the Latest News Section of the Homepage

 

9. ASSEMBLY Magazine (Link)

ASSEMBLY Magazine provides information on processes, strategies, and technologies for assembling parts in appliances, medical, automotive, and aerospace industries. You can find the Assembly eMagazine, podcasts, how-to guides, ebooks, webinars, and more here. The site offers a newsletter you can sign up for to quickly avail yourself of their latest resources regularly from your inbox.

How to use this resource:

Our favorite feature on this site is the ASSEMBLY InfoCenters section that you can access from the menu bar. One InfoCenter is dedicated to sensing solutions, for example, and it includes application stories, sensing insights, upcoming events, and a summary of relevant products.

Example of an ASSEMBLY Magazine Column

 

10. U.S. Tech (Link)

U.S. Tech has been distributing breaking news about electronics production since 1985. The website features a Daily News Archive, videos, white papers, a “Tech Watch” column, and an industry calendar, among other helpful information.

How to use this resource:

We recommend you sign up for the printed newsletter, published nine times yearly. Each addition offers a different view of the current state of electronics manufacturing from various technical perspectives. 

Tech Watch Article

 

Wrapping Up

We hope this list was helpful and can be used to save some of your time. Please don’t forget us either! We provide Parylene conformal coatings and nanocoatings and discuss our technology, electronic reliability, design, industry news, and the business implications of sound engineering design on our blog and social media channels.

Follow us on LinkedIn.

 
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How To: A Wearable Device Design That Consumers Actually Want

March 20, 2021 / by Mallory McGuinness-Hickey posted in Thin Film Applications, Value of Coatings, Resources

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Wearable devices provide insight and convenience to consumers through activity tracking and biometric data that they can easily access through a wearable app. But many wearable product designers have focused too much on producing functional devices without emphasizing the humans that wear them enough. This tendency could be to the detriment of user experience, limit user interaction, and make consumers less likely to purchase from your company again. Here are three quick tips on designing a wearable device that addresses human issues: discomfort and inconvenience, display issues, and lack of ruggedization for real-world usage.

 

1. Learn How to Make Wearable Technology Truly Wearable

 

 

Wearable tech can be challenging for design engineers because the body moves constantly, and humans want to move without constriction. Therefore, designing small, light, and comfortable wearables should be a priority.

For this reason, it is a good idea to begin the design process with a human factors and ergonomics analysis. This scientific discipline seeks to understand and optimize interactions among humans and systems to improve both system performance and the well-being of humans.

Consumers are likelier to wear devices with thinner, smaller, rounded form factors that lay flush on the body, applying minimal pressure. To ensure your product will be comfortable, test usability factors with real users and determine how easy and comfortable it is to move while wearing your product. Don’t forget to consider people’s different body sizes and types. For example, our customer Nike offered their FuelBand in several wristband sizes that the consumer would choose during the purchase process.

Finally, remember to design for every aspect of the use cycle, such as cleaning, bathing, showering, and leisure activities. Make an effort to be conscious of when and how humans clean their wearable devices so you can create a usable, convenient, easy-to-clean device consumers will want to use. Remember that users will not want to remove their devices during routine activities such as bathing and showering (and may not take off their wearables before swimming or entering a sauna), and accommodate this in your product design. The more convenient it is to use your product, the more consumers want it.

 

Watch our video series about designing reliable consumer electronics devices.

 

2. Consider the Display On-Device and What it Means for User Experience

 

 

To determine the right display for your wearable, ask yourself about the level of interaction required with the wearable. Wearables without display afford more design flexibility, are cheaper, and are simpler to produce. However, no available visual communication with the wearable will limit the level and scope of human interaction with it.


Minimal output displays portray selected information critical to the wearable experience. This type of display is one-directional, so the user can view it but cannot enter any input, limiting interaction. Another option is a full display, which allows for strong device interaction and a wider feature set. Determining which type of display is most appropriate for your users is an important decision that, unfortunately, may entail an aesthetics-functionality trade-off.

No matter which display you choose, you should expect and design wearables that will endure connectivity problems. Try to integrate some core functionality in your product’s offline mode when planning for your wearable UI. At a minimum, ensure the product explains what is happening to the user by incorporating wearable alerts when there is no internet connection to avoid confusion. If you choose a wearable with no display, this could be indicated through the mobile app.

 

3. Learn How to Design a Wearable Device for the Real World

 

 

Designing devices worn on the body can be complicated because they must reliably work in variable operating environments. In other words, they must go where humans go. Humidity, submersion, harsh weather, and corrosive exposure threaten wearable PCBAs. Don’t make the mistake of simply ensuring a device can pass reliability tests in the lab but not designed for the real world. Typically, consumers use Ingress Protection (IP) standards to guide their purchasing decisions, so achieving a certain level of water resistance is necessary.

Download our IP checklist.

 

Conventionally, product designers have used seals to do this, but this method may not focus as much on user experience as it should. Humans frequently move, exposing these devices to vibration, which can dislodge seals and leave wearables unprotected from corrosion.

Another option is conformal coatings for wearable moisture resistance and corrosion protection. These polymeric films are applied directly to the circuitry as a barrier against many environmental threats. However, wearables have minimized form factors and require these coatings to apply thick layers, which may be too bulky and heavy, causing discomfort and inconvenience.

These legacy methods are often appropriate and do have their place. However, if you are placing more emphasis on users to improve your product experience, it might be worth considering Parylene conformal coatings. HZO’s Parylene can provide protection that meets or exceeds the corrosion protection of other conformal coatings at 50% thickness.

 

Visit our Consumer Electronics market page

 

The chart below describes Parylene thickness and the corresponding standards and IP protection levels they meet:

 

Table 1: Parylene Thickness, Relevant Standards, and IP Protection Levels
Thickness(μm) Relevant Standards IP Protection Level
0.1 to 5 UT Type in IPC-CC-830C IPX3/IPX4
5 to 12.5 UT Type in IPC-CC-830C IPX4/IPX7
12.5 to 25 IPC-CC-830B IPX7/IPX8

 

Parylene Conformal Coatings for Wearables From HZO

 

As a proven method trusted for decades in mission-critical applications, Parylene eases many design headaches and addresses the user-focused issues above. As it provides robust protection at a fraction of the mass of legacy methods, you can make ruggedized wearables that are also truly wearable. Parylene’s superior chemical resistance properties allow your users to clean their products throughout the entire product life cycle safely. Additionally, using Parylene instead of seals can make it easy to design and produce wearables that meet finish, style, longevity, and reliability expectations, leading to consumer purchases.

It is possible to minimize offline disruptions because, unlike the other thick conformal coatings and seals, Parylene is applied in thin layers, facilitating RF signal transmittance.

When you work with HZO, our engineers will create a coating solution around your needs that easily fits into your production. From DFM services to QA, our team of experts will walk you through every step of the protection process, eliminating headaches and simplifying your process. If you want to discuss your project with our team, contact us today.

 
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