Over the last 35 years Bob Willis has operated a very successful training and consultancy business based in England. Now its time to close the business, retire but just do a little bit to keep his hand in

Bob was a member of the SMART Technical Committee before its transition to SMTA Europe. Although a specialist for companies implementing Surface Mount and Lead-Free Technology Mr Willis provided training and consultancy in most areas of electronic manufacture. Running theory and hands on workshops and monthly online webinars worldwide. He previously worked with the GEC Technical Directorate as Surface Mount Co-Coordinator for both the Marconi and GEC group of companies and prior to that he was Senior Process Control Engineer with Marconi Communication Systems, where he had worked since his apprenticeship. During his time with GEC, he started creating training videos for staff education. One set of tapes on Surface Mount Technology with EITB were the first training material of its type in the world. Following his time with GEC he became Technical Director of an electronics contract manufacturing company where he formed a successful training and consultancy division

As a process engineer, he was involved in all aspects of electronic production and assembly involved in setting up production processes and evaluating materials; this also involved obtaining company approval on a wide range of Marconi’s processes and products including printed circuit board manufacture. During the period with Marconi, experience was gained in methods and equipment for environmental testing of components, printed boards and assemblies with an interest developed in many areas of defect analysis. Over the last 30 years he has been involved in all aspects of surface mounted assembly, both at production and quality level and during that time has been involved in training staff and other engineers in many aspects of modern production

Bob Willis has been involved with the introduction and implementation of lead-free process technology during the introduction of RoHS in Europe. He received A SOLDERTEC/Tin Technology Global Lead-Free Award for his contribution to the industry, helping implementation of the technology. Bob has been a contributor to Global SMT magazine at its launch. He has contributed to may worldwide other paper and online magazines 8n different countries.  He was responsible for co-ordination and introduction of the First series of hands-on lead-free training workshops in Europe for Cookson Electronics during 1999-2002. These events were run in France, Italy and the UK and involved lead-free theory, hands-on paste printing, reflow, wave and hand soldering exercises. Each non-commercial event provided the first opportunity for engineers to get first-hand experience in the use of lead-free production processes and money raised from the events was presented to local charity. He conceived and co-ordinated the SMART Group Lead-Free Hands-on Experience at Nepcon Electronics 2003. This gave the opportunity for over 150 engineers to process four different PCB solder finishes, with two different lead-free pastes through convection and vapour phase reflow. He also organised the Lead-Free Experience 2, 3 + 4 in 2004-2006

He has also run training workshops with research groups like ITTF, SINTEF, NPL & IVF in Europe. Bob has organised and run three lead-free production lines at international exhibitions Nepcon Electronics, Productronica, Hanover Fair in Germany and England to provide an insight to the practical use of lead-free soldering on BGA Ball Grid Array, CSP Chip Scale Package, 0210 chip and through hole intrusive reflow connectors. This resulted in many technical papers being published in Germany, USA and the United Kingdom. Bob defined the process and assisted with the set-up and running of the first Simultaneous Double Sided Lead-Free Reflow line using tin/silver/copper for reflow of through hole and surface mount products

During his consultancy career to aide young engineers and other training provider Bob created 16 videos, 24 interactive training CD-ROMs, 18 photo albums and 16 poster sets all related to PCB assembly and soldering. These were all available direct or via distribution

Bob also had the pleasure of contributing a small section to the first Lead-Free Soldering text book “Environment – Friendly Electronics: Lead-Free Technology” written by Jennie Hwang in 2001. The section provided examples of the type of lead-free defects companies may experience in production. Further illustrations of lead-free joints have been featured in here most recent publication “Implementing Lead-Free Electronics” 2005. He has helped produce booklets on x-ray inspection and lead-free defects with DAGE Industries,  Balver Zinn and SMART and SMTA

Bob led the SMART Group Lead-Free Mission to Japan and with this team produced a report and organised several conference presentations on their findings. The mission was supported by the DTI and visited many companies in Japan as well as presenting a seminar in Tokyo at the British Embassy to over 60 technologists and senior managers of many of Japans leading producers.  Bob was responsible for the Lead-Free Assembly & Soldering “CookBook” CD-ROM concept in 1999, the world’s first interactive training resource. He implemented the concept and produced the interactive CD in partnership with the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), drawing on the many resources available in the industry including valuable work from NPL and the DTI. This incorporated many interviews with leading engineers involved with lead-free research and process introduction; the CD-ROM reached its 3rd edition

Bob has travelled in the United States, Japan, China, New Zealand, Australia and the Far East looking at areas of electronics and lecturing on electronic assembly. He was presented with the Paul Eisler award by the IMF (Institute of Metal Finishing) for the best technical paper during their technical programmes. He conducted monthly SMT Training programs for Texas Instruments and was course leader for Reflow and Wave Soldering Workshops in the United Kingdom for Speedline Technology. Mr Willis was an IEE Registered Trainer and has been responsible for training courses run by the PCIF originally one of Europe’s largest printed circuit associations. Bob has conducted workshops with all the major organisations and exhibition organisers World Wide and is known for being an entertaining presenter and the only presenter to use 100’s of unique process video clips during his workshops to demonstrate each point made and make to topic more fun. Bob has written two Ebooks which are free to download on line, Design & Assembly with Pin In Hole Intrusive Reflow & Package On Package Design, Assembly and Inspection

Bob was Chairman of the SMART Group, European Surface Mount Trade Association from 1990-94 and then elected as Honorary Life President, however he still had to pay membership He has worked on BSI & IPC Standards Working Parties. He is a Fellow of the Institute Circuit Technology, an NVQ Assessor, previous member of the Institute of Quality Assurance and Society of Environmental Test Engineers. Bob produced regular features for AMT Ireland, Asian Electronics Engineer and Circuits Assembly the US magazine. He also is responsible for writing each of the SMART Group Charity Technology Reports, which were sold in Europe and America by the SMTA to raise money for worthy causes. Bob ran the SMART Group PPM Monitoring Project in the United Kingdom supported by the Department of Trade and Industry. He was coordinator of the LEADOUT Project for SMART Group. LEADOUT was one of the largest EU funded projects, he coordinated European funded projects TestPEP, uBGA and ChipCheck

During the start of 2012 Bob started his Defect of the Month (DOTM) editorial and DOTM videos focusing on the practical causes and cures for assembly and soldering defects. Both were featured heavily on the IPC and NPL website including the NPL Defect Database. Currently there are over 100 videos in Bob’s YouTube site

In September 2015 Bob voted the Best Speaker at SMTA International Conference in Chicago, USA. Part of the prize was donated to the SMTA Charles Hutchins Fund for engineering students

More recently Bob created more FREE process defect guides to download. They include Guide to Conformal Coating Defect, Lead Free Assembly & Defect Guide, Guide PCB Surface Finish Defects, QFN/LGA Process Defect Guide plus Guide to Solder Paste Inspection & Defect Guide. Currently another two guides are planned and are waiting sponsors and include Low Temperature Soldering Defect Guide & Robotic Soldering & Defect Guide

Bob formally closes his business Electronic Presentation Services (EPS) on 31st March 2022