NTS News Center

Latest News in Testing, Inspection and Certification

NTS News Center - Latest News in Testing, Inspection and Certification

Review of the 2017 IPC Reliability Forum

The IPC held their inaugural Reliability Forum this April in Chicago and by all accounts, the event was a resounding success!

NTS participated along side other industry experts from raw material and equipment suppliers, PCB fabricators, contract manufacturers and OEMs.

William Graver, NTS senior analyst, presented on a number of major reliability concerns in today’s environment in his session “Is test an unnecessary evil, or a life-saving necessity?”

You can read a full write up of the event, as well as other news from the IPC here: The PCB Magazine, July 2017.

Reusable Shopping Bag Mandates and Your Polymer Testing

Plastic bags have an undeniable impact on our environment, and it’s not for the better. Up to 300 million plastic bags find their way from the U.S. to the Atlantic Ocean each year, where they cause harm to countless sea life. Some of the most impacted species include porpoises, turtles and other animals that eat jellyfish because a floating plastic bag will often look like a delicious snack.

On land, our bags clog pipes and sewers, take up landfills and spoil waterways, and each discarded bag may kill as many as four animals per year.

These environmental concerns are causing a push for reusable shopping bags, and many cities are looking at banning single-use grocery bags. The first statewide ban has come in California with legislation touting the benefits of reusable plastic bags but also new requirements like those from the Environment Choice Program. Here’s why your business should take note of California’s Proposition 67.

See How the Plastic Bag Ban in California Impacts You

The recent passage of Proposition 67 ratifies a 2014 plastic bag ban in California. This bans retailers from giving out single-use grocery bags at checkout. The goal is to eliminate waste and make the state more environmentally friendly. And the Los Angeles Times says this will get rid of about 15 billion pieces of trash each year.

That’s a major change that will likely see more people using tote bags and create an emphasis for the need to test reusable plastic bags so you are staying within the bounds of the law. Reusable shopping bags are now needed, and you’ll have to make sure you’re in compliance.

Proposition 67 creates a new set of standards for the material content and durability of reusable utility bags. The California Department of Resources Recovery and Recycling, or CalRecycle, has long touted the benefits of reusable plastic bags, and now it will be in charge of inspecting manufacturers’ bags to make sure they meet new requirements.

Meet Your Reusable Plastics Needs With NTS

CalRecycle is expected to provide a series of new guidelines for plastic bag testing as well as changes to overall plastics and polymer testing to make sure bags can be used multiple times, with the goal of being less likely to end up in the landfill or littered on the street.

What does that mean for you?

You could face fines or worse by offering a degradable product, creating a need to test reusable plastic bags. For most of the manufacturers we work with, plastics testing can be difficult and hard to verify internally for the purposes of meeting regulations. That’s why NTS offers plastic bag testing.

Consumer-grade products need to balance versatility and longevity with cost, so we’ve built a polymer testing service that can help you meet regulatory requirements plus keep your manufacturing costs lower. We’re staying on top of the new CalRecycle requirements, the Environmental Choice Program reusable utility bag requirements and potential changes that may happen during 2017.

Work with NTS for your rubber, polymer and plastics testing to know you’re safe and ready for what the new year brings.

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Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Energy Dispersize X-Ray Analyzer (EDS) Technology now in Anaheim, CA

We are pleased to announce the addition of Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) with fully integrated expanded Energy Dispersive X-Ray Analyzer (EDS) at our Anaheim, CA materials testing lab! This capability has been in place at our Baltimore, MD lab for the past year and clients have been thrilled with the high resolution imaging and range of acceleration voltages provided by this research-grade technology.

For those new to the technology, SEM allows for visual observation of an area of interest in a completely different way from that of the naked eye or even normal optical microscopy. The images generated by the SEM show greater contrast between organic-based and metallic-based materials and thus instantly provide a great deal of information about the area being inspected. Simultaneously, EDS can be used to obtain semi-quantitative elemental results  about very specific locations of interest.

Some common uses of SEM and EDS are contamination analysis, solder join evaluation, component defect analysis, inter metallic evaluation, Pb-free reliability, elemental mapping, tin whisker detection, and black pad analysis.

Click here to learn more about SEM/EDS. Contact our Anaheim, CA or Baltimore, MD lab to discuss your programs today.

California Plastic Bag Testing for SB 270

In November, voters in California approved Proposition 67 which bans single-use carryout plastic bags statewide, but allows Reusable Grocery Bags. Pursuant to the passage of Prop 67, the Reusable Grocery Bag Reporting System (RGBRS) was developed to facilitate submission of third-party certification to CalRecycle.

NTS Anaheim offers the required third-party testing and certification to meet the new requirements for reusable grocery bags and submission to the RGBRS system. Click here to request a quote!

NTS Volunteers Honored for Contributions to IPC and the Electronics Industry

NTS is proud to announce that our own Debora Obitz, Elizabeth Allison, Renee Michalkiewicz, and Russ Shepherd were among the seventy-five individuals who were presented with Committee Leadership, Special Recognition and Distinguised Committee Service Awards at the IPC Fall Standards Development Committee Meeting this past September in Rosemont, IL.30153606905_3577b56ce1_z

For their contributions to IPC-A-600J, Denise Chevalier, Amphenol Printed Circuits, Inc.; Lorraine Hook, Streamline Circuits; Chris Mahanna, Robisan Laboratory Inc.; Debora Obitz, NTS – Anaheim; and Joey Rios, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, earned a Distinguished Committee Service Award.

Leaders of the 7-31AT IPC-A-600 Technical Training Committee that developed the training and certification Program for IPC-A-600J, Acceptability of Printed Boards, Leo Lambert, EPTAC Corporation and Debora Obitz, NTS – Anaheim, received a Committee Leadership Award.

30118587106_5c59f025c8_zFor their extraordinary contributions to the training and certification program for IPC-A-600J, Elizabeth Allison, NTS – Baltimore and Renee Michalkiewicz, NTS – Baltimore, received a Special Recognition Award. Helena Pasquito, EPTAC Corporation; Russell Shepherd, NTS – Anaheim; and Debbie Wade, Advanced Rework Technology-A.R.T., received a Distinguished Committee Service Award for their contributions to the training and certification program.

For their leadership of the 5-32e Conductive Anodic Filament (CAF) Task Group that developed IPC-9691B, User Guide for the IPC-TM-650, Method 2.6.25, Conductive Anodic Filament (CAF) Resistance and Other Internal Electrochemical Migration Testing, Karl Sauter, Oracle America, Inc. and Russell Shepherd, NTS – Anaheim, earned a Committee Leadership Award.

29524746043_44027d8efe_zDistinguished Committee Service Awards were presented to Douglas Eng, PPG Industries Inc.; Todd MacFadden, Bose Corporation; Renee Michalkiewicz, NTS – Baltimore; and Bhanu Sood, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, for their contributions to the document revision.

Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) Capability Expansion at NTS

SEM - Close Up of Fracture Surface, 1000X

SEM – Close Up of Fracture Surface, 1000X

NTS Baltimore announces the addition of the new JOEL InTouchScopeTM JSM-6010LA Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) with fully integrated expanded EDS (energy dispersive X-ray analyzer).

SEM - Overview of BGA Solder Joint, 90X

SEM – Overview of BGA Solder Joint, 90X

This research-grade SEM provides high resolution imaging and a range of acceleration voltages in both high and low vacuum modes.  The embedded JEOL EDS system with silicon drift detector technology now includes spectral mapping, multi-point analysis, automatic drift compensation, partial area, line scan, and mapping filter functions.  Additionally, the JSM-6010A features simultaneous multiple live image abilities that allows the client to view images remotely with magnifications from 5X – 300,000X.

SEM - Overview of Surface Pitting, 400X

SEM – Overview of Surface Pitting, 400X

“This new “live” capability will allow NTS to work more closely with our clients, allowing them real time access to their analysis from the comfort of their office”, stated Keith Sellers, Operations Manager at NTS Baltimore, adding, “From there, the client can provide immediate instruction as to how the analysis can be focused or how the analysis can be changed to meet their specific need”.

Learn more about the SEM/EDS Analytical Services on our main website or contact us today to discuss your next program.