Stories From The Trenches: How a Circuit Board Guy Entered the Solar Cell Industry - Surface Mount Technology
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Stories From The Trenches: How a Circuit Board Guy Entered the Solar Cell Industry

(November 17, 2009) BOSTON — In a Joint Chapter Technical Meeting, iMAPS New England, with ACerS NE and SMTA Boston, will host Don Cullen, managing director of photovoltaics at MacDermid. Cullen will give the talk on his move to the photovoltaics industry January 19, 2010, at Courtyard Marriott Marlborough, MA.

Photovoltaics is the electronics industry’s younger brother, Cullen comments. Each industry shares some DNA: imaged conductors on dielectric material, layered substrates, severe cost pressures, high dependence on innovation and rapidly evolving electrical designs. But of course, the sibling industries are enticingly different.

There are major changes in store for PV’s adolescence, such as the emergence of thin-film and organic photovoltaics, the efficiency gains of chemical metallization, and the huge transition soon to come from achievement of grid-parity. Who will win? Silicon, thin-film, or organic? Germany, China, or the U.S.? IC, PCB, or green-field PV makers? Cullen urges attendees to cast away preconceived notions and uncover the real opportunities for next-generation PV. 

Don Cullen’s photovoltaics group at MacDermid (Waterbury, CT) is responsible for interacting with the worldwide photovoltaic manufacturing supply chain to ensure the correct development, deployment, and use of chemical processes for this important industry. He has global responsibility for the Photovoltaics Solutions division, which was formed from MacDermid’s New Business Opportunities review team in 2008.

Prior to his role in photovoltaics, Don was director of OEM & Assembly Applications within the Electronics Solutions business. He acted as a liaison between the Original Equipment Manufacturing (OEM) sector, the Printed Circuit Board (PCB) manufacturers, the Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) sector, and MacDermid’s Electronics Solutions worldwide business.

Don helped found the Final Finish business group in MacDermid Electronics Solutions, and held the positions of technology manager and director for that group, responsible for MacDermid’s nickel/gold, silver, tin, organic solderability preservative (OSP), and palladium processes for PCB technology.

Starting in MacDermid’s Central R&D group 20 years ago, Cullen holds three patents and has been published in over 100 magazines, journals, Web events, and industry technical conferences. He authored the latest edition of Coombs’ PCB Handbook chapter on surface finishes. He has created chemical business opportunities worth more than $40 million per year and has enabled better device functionality, simplified processes, and environmentally positive solutions. Cullen holds a degree in chemistry from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York.

RSVP is required for the event; failure to cancel by noon on Friday before the meeting week may result in the chapter billing for costs incurred. For the attendance costs and to RSVP, contact Susan Munyon, 96 Grant Way, Lancaster, MA 01523-3112; [email protected]; 978-466-1877 phone/fax. For more information, visit

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