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Phil Zarrow

ITM Consulting

Phil Zarrow has been involved with PCB fabrication and assembly for more than forty-five years. His expertise includes the manufacture of equipment for circuit board fabrication and assembly of through-hole and surface mount technologies. In addition to his background in automated assembly and cleaning, Mr. Zarrow is recognized for his expertise in surface mount reflow soldering technology and in the design and implementation of SMT placement equipment and reflow soldering systems. Having held key technical and management positions with Vitronics Corporation, Excellon-Micronetics and Universal Instruments Corporation, he has extensive hands-on experience with set-up and troubleshooting through-hole and SMT processes throughout the world. During his tenure as Director of Technology Development for GSS/Array Technology, he was responsible for specifying and setting up medium- and high-speed assembly lines, as well as investigating and implementing emerging and leading-edge technologies, equipment and processes.

Phil formed ITM in 1992, since then he and Jim Hall have just about seen it all!  You may be familiar with their popular podcast (started before podcasts existed), "Board Talk*, which addresses industry issues with deep understanding and a sense of humor. Join the Phil for a journey through troubleshooting the most common defects in SMT with an emphasis on identifying the fundamental root causes, and an entertaining overview of SMT assembly process optimization techniques.

Check out the Board Talk blog on circuit insight

SMT Assembly Troubelshooting and Process Optimization

Part 1 - Wednesday May 10:

  • Why do we get voids in certain BTC ground planes?
  • Do we need to clean No-Clean residues before Conformal Coating?
  • What is causing intermittent BGA failures?
  • Should we measure Solder Paste Thickness?
  • Are there effective countermeasures to “new” defects such as “Graping”, HoP, etc.?
  • Should we consider changing to a newer Solder Paste formulation?
  • What are the Pros and Cons of Cleaning No-Clean?
  • Is HASL a good choice for a PCB surface finish?
  • Will Nitrogen Reduce Reflow and/or Wave Solder Defects?
  • Are there standards governing component polarity marks?

Part 2 - Thursday May 11:

  • How can we reduce tombstoning?
  • Can we skip Cleaning after Rework?
  • What are the best practices for storing and handling PCB’s?
  • How to build a “proper” profile board to set up a Reflow Oven ?
  • Why is Vapor Phase Reflow still pertinent?
  • How can we achieve adequate hole fill in wave soldering?
  • Can we mix conformal coatings during rework?
  • Will typical No-Clean residues pass an SIR Test?
  • Can Gold and Silver filled conductive epoxies replace solder paste?
  • What are some guidelines for Intrusive Soldering?