EIPC 50th Anniversary Conference Day 1: The Past, the Present and the Future, Pt. 2

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The effect of surface finishes on insertion losses in the of 55 GHz to 95 GHz frequency range was studied in a Design of Experiment with six different chemistries, on a test board fabricated on one of Isola’s ultra-low-loss, woven glass reinforced, thermoset laminates. The following finishes were evaluated: electroless nickel immersion gold (ENIG), organic solderability protective (OSP), immersion tin (i-Sn), immersion silver (i-Ag), palladium gold (Pd-Au) and immersion silver immersion gold (ISIG). The coupons were tested with a vector network analyser, sweeping from 55 GHz to 95 GHz and collecting 2-port S-parameter data sets.

The results clearly indicated ENIG to give the worst insertion losses by a substantial margin. Of the non-nickel finishes, immersion silver gave the best results, but only marginally better than OSP and ISIG, and significantly better than immersion tin.

Ippich concluded by commenting that although designers were very aware of the effects of laminate properties and foil roughness, the choice of solderable finish was an important consideration when optimising a design to minimise insertion losses.

Russell_Morgan .jpgThe first day’s conference programme concluded with something refreshingly different: a presentation that might be categorised as more philosophical than technical. Russell Morgan, Service Designer at Verisure in Sweden, captured the attention of delegates and subtly encouraged them to think laterally rather than logically as he considered the role of design in the IoT exemplar of the connected home. “User experiences happen whether you have designed them or not.”

He commented that there had been an explosion of entrants into the Smart Home market, providing Internet of Things (IoT) devices that generally fell into two categories: “enablers” that provided information to allow something else to happen, and “transformers” that turned traditional devices into Smart devices. From a designer’s point of view, IoT was not so much a hardware problem, but more a human interface problem. Taking smoke alarms as an example, whereas children would probably sleep through a traditional alarm, they would be woken by the sound of a human female voice. Different people needed different services and devices, and customer experience mattered more than ever—delight stemmed from meaning, not function!

Morgan considered that service consisted of three parts: before, during and after the event—the expectations, the experiences and the consequences. The experiences were a composite of what happened with the expected outcomes and the unexpected outcomes, whether positive or negative. “How can we overcome trust when people don’t trust the technology?”

In his view, successful design relied on finding a balance between validation and optimisation: “How do we know when our initiatives are worthwhile?  Are we solving a real problem?” and “How do we know they are being executed in a usable way? Does the feature set of the product map back to a compelling need in the mind of customers and users?”

In his IoT exemplar of the connected home, Morgan believed that the progression of economic value needed to be revisited. The work of design and staging many competing experiences into one seamless experience meant that the initial focus needed to shift from goods and services into defining experiences and understanding the context in which they would be lived through.

“It is only when we put the customer experience first that goods and services truly fit seamlessly into peoples’ homes. Great design is the driving force behind this!”

A long conference day was followed by a long evening, as delegates moved quickly from conference room to bus, for a 60km trip through the late afternoon traffic to Unimicron’s superb new innerlayer factory in Geldern. Welcomed by Unimicron CTO Rico Schlüter, the party was split into small groups and given guided tours of the facility.


Michael_Weinhold .jpgAnd afterwards, back on the bus to a reception and conference dinner at the historic Castle Walbeck, where the highlight was a tribute to the long and dedicated service of Michael Weinhold, taking his well-earned retirement from the position of EIPC technical director.

It took some persuading to get everyone back on the bus to Dusseldorf, but no-one was left behind, and we were home by midnight. A brilliant day’s experience all round!Reception_at_Castle_Walbeck .jpg



Photography by Alun Morgan



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