Top 10 Most-Read PCB Articles of 2020


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As 2020 comes to a close, the I-Connect007 Editorial Team takes a look back at its most read articles. Here are the top 10 reads in PCB from the past year.

1. 2020 EIPC Winter Conference, Day 1 

Pete Starkey recaps how the 2020 EIPC Winter Conference, held in mid-February, attracted around 90 delegates from a dozen European countries—as well as a few from North America—to an outstanding learning and networking experience for members of the PCB community. The theme of this year's event was: “The Needs for Next-Generation Electronic Devices and Changes in Fabrication Solutions for PCBs, PCBAs, Materials, and Technologies.”

2. Happy Holden's Essential Skills: Online Instruction and Distance Learning 

Online courses have become increasingly available and popular. For this to be effective, specific requirements must be met for courses taken or produced over the internet in order to provide the user with a positive experience. Read Happy Holden's updated article from his series on 25 essential skills for engineers. 

3. ECWC15 Virtual Conference Keynote: 5G PCB Technology and Material Challenges 

The second day of the Electronic Circuits World Convention began with a keynote from Dr. Shiuh-Kao Chiang, managing partner of Prismark, describing the PCB technology and material challenges presented by the introduction of the fifth-generation cellular wireless communication network—the roll-out of which was continuing in spite of the coronavirus pandemic. Technical Editor Pete Starkey has more.

4. Residual/Free TBBPA in FR-4 

FR-4 laminates and prepregs are important fiberglass epoxy materials for printed circuit boards (PCBs). FR-4 base materials are the most popular grade used today because they offer a cost-effective and versatile solution for electrical engineers and product designers. The FR-4 designation was created by NEMA in 1968 and denotes the laminate is flame-retarded to meet a UL94 V-0 fire rating.

5. IPC President and CEO Dr. John Mitchell: COVID-19 Global Industry Update

On March 20, Dr. John Mitchell, IPC president and CEO, spoke with I-Connect007 publisher Barry Matties in an exclusive phone interview with updates on COVID-19-related current events in the manufacturing industry. In this information-packed 14-minute audio interview, Dr. Mitchell shared key takeaways from Friday’s IPC Executive Forum conference call.

6. Heading Into 2020 With Isola 

Barry Matties recently spoke with Isola’s Travis Kelly, who has moved from acting CEO into the position of president and CEO. Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Sean Mirshafiei also joins the conversation as they share an update on the progress on the company’s new Arizona factory, as well as their views on the markets and technology trends.

7. Fresh Thinking on the Logistics of Laminate Distribution 

Mark Goodwin, COO of Europe and the Americas for Ventec International Group, sits down with Barry Matties to explain his approach to supply chain management, efficient distribution, and maintaining definitive product identity at every stage. 

8. Walt Custer’s EIPC Business Outlook Webinar: ‘You Can’t Sugarcoat This Stuff!’ 

In normal circumstances, it would have been the time of year for the EIPC Summer Conference, and Walt Custer would have opened the proceedings with his business outlook for the global electronics industry. However, circumstances were far from normal. Pete Starkey discusses some of the takeaways from Custer's global business outlook webinar, organized by EIPC.

9. IPC’s Dr. John Mitchell Commends U.S. Manufacturers and Governors 

On March 31, Dr. John Mitchell, IPC president and CEO, gave Barry Matties an update on the industry response to COVID-19 since their conversation on March 20. Mitchell provides an overall update on the industry, commending U.S. manufacturers for their proactive responses.

10. Dr. John Mitchell: IPC’s Ongoing Efforts Related to COVID-19 

On April 14, IPC president and CEO, Dr. John Mitchell, described IPC’s ongoing efforts related to COVID-19 with I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties. From a standpoint approximately 30 days into the U.S. shutdown, Mitchell reported that 94% of the executives attending the executive forum are expressing concern. He also outlined many of the chaotic drivers and influences in the industry, including shifting over to different, mandated products; supply shortages; potential declining demand for normal products; and increased shipping costs. Worker and staffing shortages have also become an emerging concern.

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