News from WECC Members

18 December 2015


Congressional Passage of ‘Tax Extenders’ Bill Is Great News for U.S. Electronics Manufacturers

by Ken Schramko

IPC’s Persistent Advocacy Contributes to Bipartisan Victory

IPC – Association Connecting Electronics Industries® today is applauding the U.S. Congress for enacting meaningful tax reform legislation, including making the research and development (R&D) tax credit permanent.

The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act would revive more than 50 temporary tax provisions that expired in 2014, including some important IPC priorities. For example, the R&D tax credit has been extended repeatedly – but only on a temporary basis – for more than 30 years. At the request of its members, IPC has long advocated for a permanent R&D tax credit through a variety of activities, including dozens of IPC member meetings with lawmakers in 2015 alone. IPC President Dr. John W. Mitchell sent a letter to all members of Congress on the morning of the vote, urging them to support the bill.

“Despite the U.S. economy’s overall recovery, the U.S. Manufacturing sector is facing potentially strong headwinds,” Mitchell wrote. “Now, more than ever, U.S. manufacturers need the kind of long-term business incentives this bill provides. … By permanently extending the R&D tax credit, and expanding its utility to small enterprises, the PATH Act embraces the notion that U.S. companies that are encouraged to innovate will be more competitive in the global economy.”

In addition to the R&D tax credit, the bill also includes:

  • Permanent enhanced expensing for smaller manufacturers, providing annual write-offs of up to $500,000 for investments in equipment and machinery; and
  • A multi-year extension of bonus depreciation (50 percent first year expensing).

IPC member companies employ more than 800,000 workers across the United States in more than 2,200 manufacturing facilities.



When it comes to quality, is anything less than the best acceptable?

 By John Mitchell, IPC President and CEO

Writer and critic John Ruskin once said that quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort. To me, this means that we need to plan for excellence; it should be expected. Quality and innovation go hand in hand.

From the board shop to the board room, every decision needs to be made with quality in mind. Especially for the electronics manufacturing industry, this commitment to quality can saves billions of dollars, and even more, can prevent the loss of human life.

Take for example a manufacturer from Beijing that recently made the decision to invest in IPC standards and training. This manufacturer is a major producer for high-end, highly populated circuit boards used in aerospace control systems. Needless to say, each board is expensive and quality is critical.

Before making a commitment to quality, the boards produced at the site were testing at a 74 percent success rate. In other words, 26 percent of boards were being scrapped. This poor quality resulted in scrap and rework to the tune of over $800K annually.

After much debate, the facility decided to fully adopt IPC standards in their production. Quality boards and metrics were established and installed across the production area to reinforce the concepts and focus attention on improved quality output. This was an extremely big commitment, and as a result, the manufacturing facility now realizes nearly a 100 percent success rate.

Quality is contagious, and works on a global level. It starts with production and ends with product. When employees are given quality training and certified with quality education, they start on the right path to creating quality products. The same goes for policymakers on Capitol Hill. It is about adhering to excellence. Basically, when the manufacturing process adheres to quality, the end result is favorable.

My point is, what is your commitment to quality? Quality isn’t a concept that applies to just manufacturing. As business leaders, we must blaze a trail of quality that touches everything we do. The ROI on investing in quality will always pay off. Let me leave you with this parting thought. Are you focusing on quality that is merely satisfactory, or are you striving for quality that is supreme?



IPC APEX EXPO 2016 Educational Programs Highlight Research, Innovation and Forward Thinking

Registration Now Open

 The latest technical research, industry best practices, ground-breaking technologies and forward thinking innovations will take center stage throughout the IPC APEX EXPO® 2016 technical conference and professional development courses, which will take place March 13–17 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Registration is now open at

In keeping with the event’s theme, “Forward Thinking for Tomorrow’s Technology,” the technical conference will feature approximately 80 technical papers detailing original research and innovations from industry experts around the world. Subject-matter experts will cover topics in the areas of board fabrication and design, electronics assembly and test.

Attendees wanting to learn more about best practices in design, lead-free technologies, materials, process improvement, solder joint reliability, PCB fabrication and materials, quality and reliability and more, can choose from 20 professional development courses that go beyond theory to provide practical solutions that could be implemented immediately.     

“Our wide-ranging educational program features a variety of learning opportunities where attendees can access the latest research and development in the industry and learn more about trending materials, applications and processes such as graphene, printed electronics and 3D printing,” said IPC Technical Conference Director Jasbir Bath. “They can take everything they learn back to their company and put it all to work.”

In addition, IPC APEX EXPO features many free activities, including technical BUZZ sessions, poster presentations, keynotes on “Inventions and Innovations” by inventor and entrepreneur Dean Kamen and “Inside the Rise of the Warbots” by strategist and senior fellow at the New America Foundation, Peter Singer. The highly popular New Products Corridor and the IPC APEX EXPO Hand Soldering Competition will again be featured along with more than 440 of the industry’s top suppliers.

Access to the exhibit hall is free to those who register in advance, a savings of $35 on-site. Attendees who register by January 29, 2016, will save 20 percent off registration fees. In addition, attendees who register for the All-Access Package will save a significant percentage off a la carte options.

More information about IPC APEX EXPO 2016, including details on education and technology, network opportunities, show floor activities, schedule, travel and more is available at


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