A foreword is usually prepared by someone who knows the author or who knows enough to provide additional insight on the purpose of the work.

When asked to write this foreword, I had no problem with what I wanted to say about the work or the author. I did, however, wonder why people read a foreword. It is probably of value to know the background of the writer of a book; it is probably also of value to know the background of the individual who is commenting on the work. I consider myself a good friend of the author, and when I was asked to write a few words I felt honored to provide my view of Ray Prasad, his expertise, and the contribution that he has made to our industry.

This book is about the industry, its technology, and its struggle to learn and compete in a global market bursting with new ideas to satisfy a voracious appetite for new and innovative electronic products. I had the good fortune to be there at the beginning (or almost) and have witnessed the growth and excitement in the opportunities and challenges afforded the electronic industries' engineering and manufacturing talents. In a few years my involvement will span half a century. Having seen technology advancements from single-sided, paper-based phenolic products evolve into complex multilayered structures, I know that this book will be a major addition to any reader's knowledge or understanding of where the industry is and where it is heading.

I first met Ray when listening to a presentation that he made at an IPC annual meeting. I was impressed with his clarity of thought, and the logic that he used to establish the relationships of products and processes. When, at a later date, he volunteered to participate in the development of an IPC program on surface mount land patterns, I knew that his expertise and openness would help to develop a useful standard for the industry.

Up to that time, industry experts were very "closed mouthed" as to how to effectively mount electronic components on the surface of the printed board or interconnecting product. The hybrid industry had been using this technique for years, and although much was known about attaching parts to ceramic substrates, using organic epoxy-glass printed wiring boards for this purpose was not well understood. In addition, the only experts who would share information were from companies engaged in military systems designs. These organizations were also struggling to understand the characteristics that permitted electronic assemblies to pass the rigorous military stress testing.

With the development of the leadless ceramic chip carrier (LCCC) many engineers felt that we had the answer for a component package that could satisfy the U.S. military's need for hermetically sealed integrated circuits. The LCCC was the component that almost collapsed the use of SMT as we know it today. The design of this ceramic package with its castellated sides to form the solder joint was doomed to failure when surface mounted on an organic substrate. Little was known at that time about the benefit that solder volume, between the part and the board, provided to reduce the strain caused by differences in the coefficients of thermal expansion between the part and the platform on which it was mounted. Article after article appeared in the trade journals about solder joint cracking. Some companies began to add leads to the LCCC in an effort to pass the "MIL spec" thermal test cycles.

It was in this atmosphere that Prasad volunteered to head up the industry effort to develop a set of criteria to produce hardware that was reliable, and producible in high volume. He had help of course, but he provided the main catalyst to take what was known, compared to what was assumed, and capture the reasonable explanations as to how problems could be avoided. Industry members listened to him, both at meetings and during the presentations that he made at national conferences. His credentials were respected because of the companies for which he worked, and his expertise was acknowledged through the manner in which he presented the ideas and methods needed to produce high quality electronic assemblies using surface mount technology.

The U.S. Secretary of Defense had just been told by his advisors that "surface mounting was a technology at risk." What was not understood was that when designing a product one had to manage all the characteristics of the product in order for it to function in its intended environment. To establish a strong SMT infrastructure, the industry formed the Surface Mount Council, a group of individuals dedicated toward promoting the orderly implementation of surface mount technology, and the standardization needed to develop the infrastructure. Prasad was one of the twenty individuals asked to serve on the council and has served since its inception in 1986.

Over the years Ray Prasad has been a contributor. He authors technical articles, volunteers to help industry representatives, participates in industry standardization, and has a continuous drive toward process improvement.

This book is Prasad's way of reaching a larger audience. One should read the rationale and the explanations that are provided. They are meant to help individuals either starting in SMT or well along the road to gain insight into the process steps for developing high quality, first pass yield electronic assemblies. Will everyone agree with the rationale presented? Probably not. Our industry is made up of many experts. They do not always agree, but the laws of physics and mathematical equations do not lie. One should ask: Why do we do this? or Why is that particular characteristic important? Prasad explains these conditions and provides the explanations in a plausible manner.

Now that Prasad is an independent consultant, he has the freedom to help his clients, without an employer questioning his loyalty. I have no intention of promoting him over other key industry experts; however, having known him for many years I know his motivation, probably better than most. He loves his wife Peggy and their children and enjoys spending some quiet time with his family. He can now schedule this family activity and still serve the industry.

Ray Prasad is dedicated to service. Enjoy his work and count yourself lucky if you have an opportunity to meet him face to face or share in some of his experiences. His growth mirrors the industry growth. He is a major contributor and will continue to enhance the industry's capability to implement sound design and manufacturing processes for surface mount technology and beyond.

Dieter Bergman
Director Technology Transfer
IPC Incorporated

Registration is Open for SMT Course

Ray Prasad will be teaching his flagship SMT course: 

Design and Manufacturing with SMT-BGA-BTC

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