Top 10 Most-Read PCB Columns of 2017


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1. CircuitData: A New Open Standard for PCB Fab Data Exchange

An enormous amount of information is needed to precisely and unambiguously define all of the fabrication details for a PCB and ensure that it is manufactured, tested, qualified and delivered exactly as the customer specified. Widely reported recently has been the development of a new open standard for exchanging printed circuit fabrication data by an independent international task group with members from the entire supply chain. Initiated by Norway-based Elmatica, the CircuitData standard is designed to enhance your Gerber, ODB++ and IPC-2581 files, and not replace them.

2. Fein-Lines: Virus, Phishing, Ransomware…Oh My!

Malware, the collective name for viruses, Trojan horses and other malicious software that can infect your computer, has been in the news lately, probably more than at any time I can remember. Over the years, malware has evolved; it can affect smartphones and tablets as well as all computers.

3. I Never Realised It Was So Complicated!

How many designers or assemblers have ever set foot in a PCB fabrication shop? Nowhere near enough! An initiative by SMART Group, the technical trade association dedicated to promoting education and innovation in electronics assembly technologies, and Amphenol-Invotec gave a group of engineers from design, assembly and quality assurance positions the opportunity to learn a little about the realities of high-end PCB manufacture.

4. Laser Pointers: Stepping Up to Laser Processing for Flex, Part 6 — Proper Care and Feeding of Your Equipment

Supplementing your production capabilities with flexible circuit laser processing can pay big dividends. It not only enables you to broaden the set of services you can offer your customers, but it also extends your reach into additional markets you might not otherwise be equipped to serve.

5. Happy’s Essential Skills: Tip of the Month—The NIST/SEMATECH e-Handbook of Statistical Methods

In the 1990s, the National Bureau of Standards was distributing a popular statistical document, the Handbook 91, written by Mary Natrella of the NBS Statistical Engineering Laboratory.  A request by Patrick Spagon of the Statistical Methods Group of SEMATECH to update the NBS Handbook 91, Experimental Statistics, led to the creation of a project team from NIST and SEMATECH to create a new web-based statistical handbook including statistical software.

6. Punching Out! Making the Process Easy (M&A Process Engineering)

In the M&A world, there are companies that make it easy (or at least easier) and those that make it difficult. By making the process easier, sellers should see better valuations and terms, and have a smoother deal process.

7. One World, One Industry: The Future of Electronics in the Automotive Industry

Automotive electronics is not a new topic. While there is a trend for both performance and luxury electronics, many of the recent conversations tend to focus on self-driving/autonomous vehicles. While the technology is exciting, it is just the tip of the iceberg.

8. All About Flex: More on UAVs and Flexible Circuits

The use of drones or unmanned aircraft vehicles (UAVs) is growing at a nearly exponential rate. This includes drones used by the government, private companies and hobbyists. If you have $100, you can find a long list of drones for purchase.

9. EPTE Newsletter: Can Toshiba Survive?

Toshiba was the leader in the electronics industry, and developed and marketed many types of electronic equipment and devices that included word processors, printers, VCR cameras, tape recorders, hard disc drives, transceivers, laptop computers, facsimiles, cellular phones, and more. Toshiba was also a leader in designing medical equipment. Toshiba was always one of the best electronics companies in the world.

10. EuroTech: Raw Materials Supply Chain—Critical Challenges Facing the PCB Industry

In response to growing concern from members about cost increases and potential availability restrictions affecting copper-clad laminate and prepreg supplies, the EIPC 2017 Winter Conference in Salzburg included a special panel discussion on critical issues facing the raw materials supply chain for the PCB industry worldwide, particularly the availability of copper foil as a consequence of rapidly increasing demand from the manufacturers of lithium batteries for electric vehicles.

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