Succeeding in today's competitive manufacturing environment requires two things: smarts and cutting-edge technology. And both will be found in abundance at this year's Assembly East and NEPCON East-Electro trade show, May 10-11 at the new Boston Convention and Exhibition Center in Boston.

Last year, Assembly East, which is sponsored by ASSEMBLY magazine, and NEPCON East-Electro drew more than 200 exhibitors and 3,600 industry professionals. With the U.S. economy continuing to show signs of good health, event organizer Reed Exhibitions (Norwalk, CT) is expecting even more visitors and exhibitors in 2006.

According to ASSEMBLY magazine's 10th annual capital equipment spending survey, assemblers in the Northeast will spend $328 million on assembly equipment in 2006. These purchases will run the gamut of technologies, including automated assembly machines, power tools, PCB assembly machines, workstations, parts feeders, adhesive and solder-dispensing systems, robots, conveyors, presses, workstations, and test and assembly equipment-and they can all be found at Assembly East

SMTA Conference

As in years past, Assembly East will be co-located with the Surface Mount Technology Association's (SMTA) annual Boston Conference, a 3-day technical conference for electronics manufacturers that begins May 9. The 2006 program will offer full-day and half-day courses, as well as a pair of certification programs and a mini-conference. Topics will include last-minute RoHS compliance; the role of Six Sigma in reducing process variation; lead-free rework; flip chip assembly; advanced surface mount manufacturing; and advanced reflow profiling.

Each SMTA certification program is comprised of a 3-day curriculum on surface mount technology SMT processes or Six Sigma. The programs conclude with both open- and closed-book examinations, after which attendees are certified by the SMTA in these topic areas.

On Thursday, May 11, Denis Barbini, manager of advanced technologies at Vitronics-Soltec Inc. (Marktheidenfeld, Germany), will give a free presentation titled "Board Assembly Challenges for Today and Tomorrow." In this presentation, Barbini will look at how the electronics industry is continually changing as it both drives and responds to a changing world. He will also look at some indicators of how today's emerging packaging technologies will impact the industry's ability to assemble products in the future.

Six Different Conference Tracks

This year's Assembly East educational conference features an entirely new program subdivided into six different tracks: lean workshops, lean implementation, RFID and machine vision, data management, electro technology and electro processes. There will also be two, free 1-hour panel discussions and a free keynote address on Wednesday, May 10, and a free 1-hour panel discussion on Thursday, May 11.

The first Wednesday panel discussion, titled "Where Does Design Fit in Today's Electronics Manufacturing?" will feature Gary Ferrari of Ferrari Technical Services (New Milford, CT) and Jeff Seeger, a CAD expert from Celestica (Toronto). Moderated by Mike Buetow, editor of Circuits Assembly magazine, the session will focus on how design and manufacturing engineers should interact during product development.

The second Wednesday session, titled "Assembling for Military Electronics," will include Eleanor Holland, director of the government's Small Business Office Defense Supply Center in Columbus, OH; Gary Cox director of operations at NavCom Defense Electronics Inc. (Warner Robins, GA); and David Williams, president of Sechan Electronics Inc. (Lititz, PA). Moderated by Adam Cort, technical editor for ASSEMBLY magazine, the session will focus on what it takes for a company to get involved in the multibillion-dollar defense sector. Specific topics will include how to find opportunities in the defense sector; strategies for securing subcontracting work from an established defense contractor; and the different standards and quality issues that are part of doing electronics work for the military.

The free panel discussion on Thursday is titled "Lean Successes-Lean Failures: A Frank Discussion with Lean Practitioners." This session will be moderated by Bruce Hamilton, a Shingo Prize recipient and president of the Greater Boston Manufacturing Partnership. It will address the pitfalls of the "lean journey," as experienced by lean manufacturing veterans. Panelists will include Dave Cooper of North Atlantic Corp. (Somerset MA), Matt Mercer of Raytheon (Waltham, MA), Mike Vogel of Z Corp. (Burlington, MA), and Robert Yenkner, director of Americas Lean Operations for Celestica

Lean Keynote

This year's Assembly East, NEPCON East-Electro keynote speaker will be Richard Schuler, director of lean implementation at Raytheon's Integrated Air Defense Center in Andover, MA. In an address titled "Lean Transformation Process: Leveraging the Power of Many," Schuler will discuss his company's experiences implementing lean manufacturing, an effort that earned Raytheon the Shingo Prize for Excellence in 2005.

"Raytheon's achievement in winning the 2005 Shingo Prize is not only something to honor, but also something to learn from," says Kelvin Marsden-Kish, Reed Exhibitions vice president of the NEPCON and Assembly family of events. "The constant demand of doing more with less is what manufacturing professionals are challenged with daily. We are very excited to have Mr. Schuler share his successes and how they can be applied to the working environments of our attendees."

Finally, for those feeling a little too "lean" from all this talk of pull and takt, there will be the opportunity to bulk up at a free ice cream social, scheduled for May 11 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information about Assembly East and NEPCON East-Electro, and to register for free show admission, visit or call 888-267-3796. For more on SMTA's annual Boston Conference, visit or call 952-920-7682.

10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Kick Starting Lean-Five Pitfalls to Avoid

Bruce Hamilton, president, Greater Boston Manufacturing Partnership, Shingo Prize winner and board examiner

Many companies have embarked upon a process to "lean out" their production processes only to be met with staunch resistance and ill will among employees. This workshop identifies five common oversights that can quickly derail an improvement process. Examples will include the experiences of some of North America's most successful manufacturers, illustrating the steps they have taken to set them apart from lean failures.

10 to 10:50 a.m.

Applications for Carbon Nanotubes

Mike Foley, president, Cheap Tubes Inc.

Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are unique, have many desirable properties and are already making their way into all facets of manufacturing. They are a key building block in the field of nanotechnology, have many real-world applications and can be used commercially today. This presentation will cover the following questions: What are CNTs? How are CNTs made? What are the current and future applications of CNTs?

11 to 11:50 a.m.

Electron Attachment: A New Approach to H2 Fluxless Solder Reflow for Wafer Bumping

Dr. C. Christine Dong, lead research scientist, Air Products & Chemicals Inc.

This presentation reports on the application of a novel H2 fluxless technology to replace organic fluxes for solder reflow in wafer bumping applications. The new fluxless technology is efficient, simple, reliable, cost-effective and environmentally safe.

1 to 3 p.m.

Unique Advantages to Lean in Assembly

Pat Wardwell, continuous improvement manager, Greater Boston Manufacturing Partnership, Shingo Prize winner and board examiner

Overproduction in assembly wastes both material and capacity, and greatly increases product lead time and cost. This workshop details the steps assembly shops can take to eliminate overproduction and excess stock, generating inventory and lead-time reductions of 50 percent or more in the first year of implementation.

1 to 1:50 p.m.

Improving Product Assembly by Leveraging RFID Technology

Wolf Bielas, CEO and founder, RSI ID

New Gen 2 RFID tags carry significantly more information than in the past, benefiting both the manufacturer and the distributor. Early adopters are seeing dramatic improvements in productivity and ROI by using this technology during the product assembly process.

2 to 2:50 p.m.

Monitoring & Controlling Assembly Processes with 3D Machine Vision

Walt Pastorius, technical advisor, LMI Technologies Inc.

This presentation will discuss how to operate 1-, 2-, and 3-D vision systems. It will highlight the advantages of vision sensors over other types of sensors; the effect of environmental factors on in-process assembly applications; sensor designs for hostile environments; and vision sensor implementation approaches.

May 11

10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Organizing Assembly for More Effective Supervision

Dan Fleming, continuous improvement manager, the Greater Boston Manufacturing Partnership, Shingo Prize board examiner

Factory supervisors often face the super-human challenge of managing 30 or more employees over an expansive shop floor. This workshop highlights best practices from the Toyota Production System that will create greater self-management of rates and problems, provide shop floor status "at a glance" and create an environment in which employee development and continuous improvement can be fairly balanced against schedule attainment.

10 to 11:50 a.m.

Designing Products for Cellular Assembly

Tom Lawton, president, Advent Design

New products need to be designed not only to satisfy market-driven cost targets, but to meet takt and quality requirements. A product designed with lean flow as its goal will reduce assembly time by 50 percent or more, while significantly improving results. This presentation shows how to design and implement a new product so that it can be successfully assembled using cell manufacturing.

10 to 10:50 a.m.

Why the Packaging Design Counts More Today Than Ever Before.

James Bleck, president, Bleck Design Group

The packaging of electronic products has become equal in importance to the technology in the product. Using a case study method, successes and failures from industry will be used to explain best practices for designing enclosures for electronics.

11 to 11:50 a.m.

Screen Printable Polymers for Wafer Level Packaging: A Technology Assessment

James Clayton, president and CEO, Polymer Assembly Technology Inc.

This talk compares the pattern resolution and mechanical resistance of screen-printed polymers versus spin-on methods to apply protective coatings for memory die, buffer coatings for wafer thinning technologies; 3D stacked die; bio-MEMs devices CSP; and optoelectronic packaging.

1 to 4 p.m.

Lean and Six Sigma Collaboration in Assembly

Dave Sproul, master black belt, Greater Boston Manufacturing

Partnership, Shingo Prize board examiner

A perfect synergy exists in assembly environments between the time-based tools of lean manufacturing and the variation reduction tools of Six Sigma. Both sets of tools stem from a common philosophy that places the customer first and recognizes the critical value of direct observation. By taking a pragmatic approach to these methodologies, factory management can create dramatic gains in both time-to-market and quality. This workshop highlights the process for coordinating lean-Six Sigma projects.

1 to 1:50 p.m.

Lean Deployment in an Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) Company

Robert Yenkner, Director Americas Lean Operations, Celestica Corp.

This presentation explains how Celestica, faced with market demands for a wider variety of product, more frequent deliveries, cost reductions and high-mix, low-volume requirements, implemented lean manufacturing in its facilities and earned the first-ever Shingo award!

The OPC Unified Architecture Delivers Secure Reliable Interoperability for Moving Data and Information from the Factory Floor to the Enterprise

Jim Luth, technical director, OPC Foundation

Learn how the OPC Foundation's unified architecture provides an architecture for secure and reliable interoperability to transport data across the automation and enterprise hemisphere, from the factory floor to the executive suite.

2 to 2:50 p.m.

Enabling Lean Six Sigma Manufacturing Assembly and Test

Tony Cuilwik, president, CIMx

Assembly operations are applying both lean manufacturing and Six Sigma methodologies to improve quality, productivity and time to market. A lean-Six Sigma Manufacturing (LSSM) environment is now economically achievable. Case studies illustrate the value of LSSM.

Lean, Mean and Mobile-Integrating Portable Data Collection into Electronic Assembly

Matthew Keith, president, PenFact Inc.

Two contrasting case studies in electronics assembly (Sunburst EMS and Lockheed Martin) show how portable technology adds new dimensions to quality and productivity, and adds new manufacturing capability. A

SMTA Events and Conference

The SMTA Boston Conference provides information to help companies stay competitive in today's market. The conference includes free sessions, the SMTA Academy and certification programs.

Special Events

May 10

8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

"Eleventh Hour RoHS Compliance: Critical Issues and Best Practices"

Harvey Stone, The Goodbye Chain Group

As of the date of this training, your company has less than 2 months to comply with the European Union's Restriction of Hazardous Substances directive. From China to California, additional RoHS-like legislation will be taking effect in 2007. If you are at the point where you need to accelerate your compliance activities, or if it is important to solidify your next steps, this daylong training is for you.

May 11

Noon to 1 p.m.

FREE SMTA General Meeting

Keynote Presentation: "Board Assembly Challenges for Today and Tomorrow"

Denis Barbini, Vitronics-Soltec Inc.

SMTA Certification Programs

May 9-11

8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Each SMTA Certification program is a 3-day offering consisting of refresher workshops surface mount processes or Six Sigma. The programs conclude with both open- and closed-book examinations. The program enables participants to establish competitive credentials as "certified" by the SMTA in SMT processes or SMT Six Sigma Green Belt.

SMTA Academy Courses

May 9

8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

SMT Process Fundamentals for Lead-Free Assembly

Prof. S. Manian Ramkumar, Rochester Institute of Technology

8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Reality of Reliability of Pb-Free

Dr. Craig Hillman, DfR Solutions

8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Introduction to Six Sigma Tools in Reducing Process Variation

Dr. Rita Mohanty, Speedline Technologies

May 10

8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Failures and Their Prevention in

Electronic Assemblies

Dr. Viswanadham Puligandla

8:30 a.m. to noon

Flip Chip Assembly and Applications-What, Why, Which and How

Dr. George Riley, FlipChips Dot Com

1:30 to 5 p.m.

Lead-Free Rework

Doug Peck, AEIC

May 11

8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Advanced SMT Manufacturing

Phil Zarrow, ITM Consulting

8:30 a.m. to noon

Practical Considerations of Lead-Free Transition

Chrys Shea, Cookson Electronics

8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Manufacturing Reliable Lead-Free Electronics With High Yield and Low Energy-What You Should Know

Dr. Jennie Hwang, H-Technologies Group Inc.

1:30 to 5 p.m.

Advanced Reflow Oven Configuration and Profiling for Lead-Free Soldering

Jim Hall, ITM Consulting