Upcoming IPC APEX EXPO Offers Sessions on 5G


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Dave Hoover of TTM discusses the Sessions @ the Intersection set for IPC APEX EXPO 2020—specifically, the two-part session he will host around the topic of 5G and materials.

Nolan Johnson: Could you introduce the session you’re spearheading at this year’s IPC APEX EXPO?

Dave Hoover: It’s an open panel discussion where there are six laminate suppliers who have been tasked to put together a series of slides from their representing company covering 5G. 5G is defined as the fifth-generation mobile network, so we wanted them to come up with a series of slides that explain how their company supports the 5G type products that are out there, including enhanced mobile broadband, autonomous driving vehicles and airplanes, mission-critical communications, and IoT. 5G is targeted to be all around us and support everything at a very fast rate, including some new things that may or may not be discussed, such as driving down the road and having your car talk to other cars or streetlights to turn them on as you approach.

There are all kinds of new things on the horizon that 5G is going to do to make our quality of life better and safer on the roads and highways along with communication aspects. There are two panel sessions: one on February 5 from 10:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m., followed by the second one on the same day from 1:30–3:00 p.m. I’m really looking forward to it. People are going to be able to share a lot of food for thought and talk about visionary, futuristic stuff along with their products, including fiberglass, resin, and copper foils and the copper foil roughness necessary to reach some of the critical speeds on some of these new products that are going to be deployed.

Johnson: This is being presented as one of the Sessions @ the Intersection, which is a new model.

Hoover: Right. It’s going to be like an open panel discussion. Each of the speakers will have 30 minutes with some Q&A time at the end. There will probably be a lot of high-end technology conversations since it’s a brand-new, innovative topic, which is exciting.

Johnson: As far as IPC APEX EXPO attendees go, to whom is this going to appeal to most?

Hoover: 5G is going to touch every one of us somewhere. If you’re in the PCB world and understand electronics, every attendee should be curious because 5G will impact things that you personally own, including cars, cellphones, and other items. IoT goes beyond the scope of vehicles and cellphones, so it will be interesting.

Johnson: In this industry, we’ll enjoy a multifaceted interest in 5G; there are people who will be designing and manufacturing the electronics, and we will all be customers, too.

Hoover: Correct. That’s why this is such a hot topic and has sparked a lot of curiosity. Even some of the consortiums are going to be in attendance, and other panel discussions are going to cross over into the 5G world, including people from iNEMI and HDP User Group.

Johnson: What are some of the trends in 5G materials that would make this something that attendees need to see?

Hoover: The band data rate that the 5G products are going to cross over into some of the ultra-high-speed digital worlds, including RF and millimeter-wave. We’re going to see various enhancements and new products, such as fiberglass-weave styles—whether they’re flat or spread-weave glass—or even copper foil roughness, where they reduce the roughness to reduce the lock because they want products to travel at much faster data rates and will much better off. It covers the whole gamut on all the different things that are moving forward. At the same time, not only does it benefit from the 5G world, but also the digital, commercial, and military sides. It’s all part of the ultra-high-speed movement moving forward with faster data rates.

Johnson: It does touch on a lot of things. There are different materials, which may mean various thicknesses and behavior characteristics. Whether that’s environmental or something you manufacture on, many of 5G-type applications are looking to be smaller packages, portable, and environmentally robust. Especially if they’re going into automotive or aviation, they have to be very reliable; you simply cannot have field failures. And there are the current challenges and developments in soldering and solder paste development, which are all meant to meet some of the challenges presented by these smaller components at very high densities. This is playing out at the same time, and materials are right in the middle of all of that.

Hoover: They’re the backbone, holding all of this stuff together as a carrier. Designing products to be reliable and meet the data rates necessary is going to be a bit of a challenge. We’re talking with the laminate companies where they’re presenting what they bring to the table to help support this.

Johnson: As a part of the panel discussion?

Hoover: Yes.

Johnson: Cool! Who will be there?

Hoover: We have six different laminate suppliers coming to the table, including representatives from Isola, Doosan, EMC, Panasonic, TUC, and Rogers Corporation.

Johnson: These are all high caliber names in the materials market.

Hoover: They are. And these materials are all very diverse in what they do. If you’re an attendee, you may hear some crossover on the similar products that they supply material to, but each of them has some new information that will be very educational.

Johnson: The great thing about this new program, Sessions @ the Intersection, is that it’s located in a very convenient place.

Hoover: That’s true, so we hope a lot of people attend. There will be some good Q&A at the end.

Johnson: Thanks, Dave.

Hoover: Thank you.

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