Catching Up With John Johnson, New Director of Business Development at ASC
It’s always good to catch up with old friends, especially when you can start working together. I recently spoke with my friend John Johnson, who has joined American Standard Circuits as the director of business development. At ASC, John will be using the Averatek A-SAP process that he was previously involved with. He shares some of his background and provides insight on the best ways to use this semi-additive PCB fabrication process that opens the capability window for forming trace and space.
EIPC Technical Snapshot: Novel Laser-based Manufacturing Processes in Automotive Electronics
“Summer is over, now it's back to work!” This was the opening line of the invitation to the 18th EIPC Technical Snapshot webinar, Sept. 14, following the theme of advances in automotive electronics technology, introduced and moderated by EIPC President Alun Morgan. The first presentation, entitled "The fully printed smart component—combining additive manufacturing and sensor printing," came from Jonas Mertin, a thin-film processing specialist at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology.
Ventec Thermal Management Book Excerpt: Chapter 1
Regarding basic principles of thermal dissipation there are three ways of dissipating energy: Conduction, convection, and radiation. The integrated metal substrate (IMS) printed circuit boards rely predominantly on heat conduction all the way through the different layers of the substrates from a hot point (the base of the component) to a cold point (the furthest surface of the metal base) and, usually, thereafter, through a dissipator.
Material Conservation: The PCB Designer's Role
During these times of supply chain uncertainty, many product developers are considering new ways to conserve materials—from laminates to components, layer reduction, and everything in between. Barry Matties and Happy Holden recently spoke with Alun Morgan, president of EIPC and technology ambassador for Ventec, about material conservation strategies for today’s PCB designers and design engineers. Alun explained why this may be the perfect time to educate PCB designers about conserving materials: When a model is broken, the people involved are much more open to new ideas.
Alun Morgan: Price Increases Are Here to Stay
Barry Matties and Nolan Johnson recently spoke with Alun Morgan, technology ambassador at Ventec International Group and president of EIPC, about global supply chain challenges, as well as efforts by government and industry to mitigate some of these issues. Alun discusses the need to have more than one source, pricing strategies for fabricators who are facing increases in costs across the supply chain, and why we all need to work together to help the industry in times like this.
Webinar Review: Thermal Integrity of High-Performance PCB Design
Electrical and mechanical engineers may be working on the same product development teams, but they speak different languages, and they have completely different objectives. As a result, these folks almost never use the same software tools. But Cadence’s new Celsius Thermal Solver is an exception to the rule. In a new CadenceTECHTALK webinar, “How Static and Dynamic IR Drop Analysis Can Help PCB Designs and Challenges,” product manager Melika Roshandell and SerDes SI/PI engineer Karthik Mahesh Rao explain how the EE and ME can both use the Celsius Thermal Solver to achieve their disparate objectives.
The Practical Side of Using EM Solvers
Electromagnetic (EM) solvers based on Maxwell’s equations have proven invaluable in the advancement of digital electronics and wireline communications. Plain and simple, electrical engineers need to know what a circuit or electrical interconnect will do when excited by a dynamic or varying signal. In the signal integrity world, an interconnect that passes a DC connectivity check can completely fail at higher frequencies. In the power integrity world, a power rail that measures the correct DC voltage could easily go into oscillation when a dynamic load is applied. Learning the basic skills to fire up an EM simulator, obtain qualitative answers in minutes, and higher fidelity answers in a few days, can be the difference between sleepless nights of product failures vs. robust designs with wide design margins.
Catching Up with Prototron’s Lee Salazar: Sales in the New Frontier
In the business world, salespeople arguably were the most affected by the pandemic. These professionals had to be the most creative when trying to ply their trade. They had to work from home, make phone calls in lieu of face to face, and learn how to use social media networks and newsletters. This was all to reach their customers—who also were working from home. Even when they got vaccinated and managed to hit the road, they often found that their customers’ doors were closed and they were not allowed inside, if their particular contact was there at all. Many times, they had to resort to meeting their customers in parking lots or restaurants with outdoor dining. And guess what? It’s not even over yet. So, how does a salesperson create success when so much seems to have changed? I reached out to Lee Salazar of Prototron to learn how he met the challenges, and his tips for others who are moving forward.
Plating on Silver: What’s Old is New Again
About three decades ago, immersion silver, a nitrate-based process, gained a lot of market share in the world of PCB final finishes. More economical than ENIG, flat, solderable, and conductive, it had everything going for it—everything but corrosion resistance in a harsh environment, that is. Champagne voids were also an issue, along with line reduction. But the worst drawback, the characteristic that made the part short over time, was creep corrosion. A build-up of copper sulfide salt that grows in contact with a sulfur-rich environment, heat, and moisture resulted in failures in the field. This was enough to scar the process for good.
Ventec’s Book on Thermal Management: The Summer Sequel You’ve Been Waiting For
I-Connect007 is excited to announce the release of the second title in Ventec’s series on thermal management, "The Printed Circuit Designer’s Guide to… Thermal Management with Insulated Metal Substrates, Volume 2." This second volume covers the latest developments in the field of thermal management, particularly in insulated metal substrates, using state-of-the-art products as examples, and focusing on specific solutions and enhanced properties of IMS.
PCB Plating Still Comes Down to Physics
We asked columnist Michael Carano to discuss the latest innovations in plating equipment and chemicals, as well as some of the drivers in this segment, and the biggest challenges and opportunities he sees in plating today. As Michael points out, despite all of the technological advances in this industry, process engineers still need a solid understanding of Faraday’s Law and Ohm’s Law to successfully plate PCBs.
Candor Nails the ROI With InduBond
Nolan Johnson follows up on his original interview with Sunny Patel, engineering manager at Candor Industries, about the economics of this new InduBond X-Press 360 lamination press. It sounds like Sunny has hit the “easy” button with the installation of this machine. Capabilities and energy use are two things that are significantly better, but has there been a positive impact on throughput? Sunny explains.
I-Connect007 Editor's Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week
It certainly seems that our times continue to be interesting, don’t they? Just how many different flavors of supply chain disruption can we come up with? Investment on the supply side needs to increase, but the size of the labor force needs to increase even more, if we want to accomplish the task of the buildout itself, let alone running the facilities properly.
Designing PCBs With Additive Traces
Advances in technology have been clear to see within the component packaging industry, as the ball grid array (BGA) package sizes reduce from 1.0 mm pitch to 0.8 mm, 0.4 mm, and even beyond. However, while these improvements have occurred with component packages, it has become increasingly more difficult to break out and route the dense circuitry associated with these parts. Currently, the high-density interconnect (HDI) method typically used for the breakout of such parts has been to create the smallest possible subtractive-etched traces with microvias to allow for connections and escapes on the innerlayers of your PCB.
Catching up with EISO Enterprises’ President Gary Chien
While there are many Chinese companies now selling in the United States, I wanted to find one in Taiwan that is penetrating the U.S. market. I was delighted to come across EISO Enterprise Co. Ltd., a printed circuit board fabricator located in Taiwan. I know that the American companies are usually looking for PCB global partners in countries other than China, which made my conversation with Gary (Jung Kun) Chien all the more interesting, especially when he shared his thoughts on the U.S-China trade wars.
The Carbon Footprint of HDI: Direct Metallization vs. Electroless Copper
As the electronics supply chain contends with the struggles of moving out of the pandemic and into a new normal, it is increasingly obvious that a new normal will be one with sustainability and resource conservation as the top priority. Over the past year, we have seen printed circuit board manufacturers encounter challenges associated with environmental regulations, water and power outages, and pressures from the supply chain to reduce environmental footprints. From the perspective of a board fabricator, especially one that specializes in HDI, a highly resource-intensive step in the process of making a printed circuit board is the primary metallization step. All circuit boards that have multiple layers go through such a primary metallization, which is either electroless copper or direct metallization (DM).
Uncovering the Electronics Ecosystem
Nolan Johnson speaks with Will Marsh, vice president of TTM Technologies and president of the Printed Circuit Board Association of America, about the work the PCBAA has been doing in Washington, D.C., to get the industry better recognized by the country’s decision-makers. Marsh is optimistic, not only about the companies and individuals joining the effort, but in the recognition by Capitol Hill to secure the nation’s defense systems.
An Inside Look at an Indian PCB Manufacturer
As a student of the printed circuit board industry, I am always interested in learning more about companies all over the world. When I connected with Abhay Doshi, managing director of Fine-Line Circuits Ltd. in India, I welcomed the opportunity to learn more about him, his company, and the Indian PCB business as a whole—it was all that, and so much more. Here’s what I learned.
I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week
This week seems jam-packed with holidays, both major and minor, doesn’t it? We started with “International Pi Day” on March 14. With all the obligatory pricing specials on most all things “pie” here in the U.S., suffice it to say, I’ve got a short stack bake-at-home pizza “pi” in my freezer, thanks to the one-day-only sales price of $3.14. Personally, I’m glad they didn’t make the promotional price = pizza diameter * Pi.
The Materials Connection
Recently, Eddie Mok, product innovation development AVP at WUS, talked with us at length about the state of the materials market from the perspective of a fabricator. In this excerpt from the conversation, Eddie details some example interactions between what materials, design, and manufacturing bring to the ultimate goal of meeting your design specifications and manufacturing costs. It is clear from this conversation that materials and technology are increasingly interconnected.
Institute of Circuit Technology: A Novel Approach to Recycling PCBs
A two-year project funded by an Innovate UK SMART Grant aims to reduce the impact of e-waste using naturally derived, biodegradable and nontoxic products. Those attending the webinar for the Institute of Circuit Technology’s annual meeting on March 2 learned more about the project, as well as statutory paperwork obligations of the UK REACH regulations. Following the formal business, ICT Chair Emma Hudson introduced and moderated this technical webinar.
Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO 2022: The Growing Demand for Automation
Guest editor Dick Crowe speaks with Jeff Brandman of Aismalibar North America about the growing demand for automation in PCB facilities. Jeff shares discusses a variety of Aismalibar's solutions for meeting this need, and he shares his thoughts on the rise of automation in this industry. If you were unable to attend IPC APEX EXPO 2022, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events in San Diego, from ribbon cutting to teardown.
Finally! A Book About PCB Stackups
‘The Printed Circuit Designer’s Guide to… Stackups: The Design within the Design’ is the latest addition to I-Connect007’s comprehensive, educational library. In this book, brought to readers by Siemens Digital Industries Software and I-007eBooks, author and stackups expert Bill Hargin discusses materials, laminate datasheets, impedance planning, and more. This book provides the reader with a broader understanding of stackup planning and material selection in an effort to comprehend what Hargin calls “the design within the design.”
Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2022: The Supply Chain and Markets
Pete Starkey interviews Mark Goodwin, COO of Ventec International, on the impact of the current supply chain condition. Their conversation also covers aerospace and the U.S. market. If you were unable to attend IPC APEX EXPO 2022, don't worry. We're bringing you coverage of the week's events in San Diego, from ribbon cutting to teardown.
AltiumLive 2022: Keep Your Boards From Screaming with Eric Bogatin’s EMI Tips
I recently spoke with Eric Bogatin, the “signal integrity evangelist,” about his AltiumLive keynote presentation, “How to Keep Your Boards from Screaming Like a Banshee.” Eric explains how attention to board structures during the early stages of PCB layout can keep EMI from becoming a problem in your design. He also discusses a feature of Altium Designer that some designers may not know about—a 2D field solver that's part of the Simbeor high-end electromagnetic measurement tool, but with a simple GUI that most designers can master right away.
EIPC Technical Snapshot: Considering Supply Chain and Defense
Continuing the highly successful series of EIPC’s Technical Snapshots, and featuring a programme that attracted a record attendance, the 14th online event was held on January 19. The opening presentation came from the ever-cheerful Didrik Bech, of Elmatica, who promised to provide thoughts and ideas about how to secure the supply chain to ensure compliance, not only to reduce the risks but also to increase the opportunities. Stan Heltzel from ESA Materials and Processes Section in the Netherlands gave a fascinating detailed insight into ESA’s approach to microvia reliability. And Liisa Hakola, senior scientist and project manager at the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland gave the final presentation on how sustainability creates new opportunities for electronics industry.
New Book From Isola Highlights Importance of Material Selection
In "The Printed Circuit Designer’s Guide to... High Performance Materials," the latest release from I-007eBooks, readers will learn how to overcome challenges associated with choosing the right material for their specific application. Author Michael Gay of Isola provides a clearer picture of what to know when determining which material is the most desirable for which products. PCB materials and DFM expert Mark Thompson says, “I love this book, particularly the sections on the effects of the glass weave, the history of laminate, and the difference between Dk and effective Dk."
I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week
We’re driving headlong into 2022, and there’s a lot going on in the world of PCB design, fabrication, and assembly. It’s trade show season now. IPC APEX EXPO starts in less than two weeks, and we’re all getting ready for what is, for many, the first trade show in years. Do you know where you put your business cards after your last show in 2020? I keep half a box of biz cards in my glove compartment; I’m not going to make that mistake again.
Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2022: Blackfox Mixes It Up with Training Opportunities
Andy Shaughnessy speaks with Jamie Noland, master IPC trainer and marketing manager for Blackfox Institute, about current and upcoming training opportunities and what you can expect from them at the show. Blackfox has expanded its offerings to reach a wider audience, including some very basic classes for beginners.
A Tour of the New Isola Factory: Investing in North America
Barry Matties recently toured Isola’s new 118,000-square-foot low-volume, high-mix manufacturing facility in Chandler, Arizona. The facility’s construction began in 2020 and, like many building projects, was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Building a new factory during the pandemic was certainly a challenge but the team persevered and the new greenfield facility is now operating to meet the needs of the North American market. During the tour, Barry met with Travis Kelly, Ed Kelley, Sean Mirshafiei, Jenny Inocencio, and Walt Niziolek. They covered a range of topics, including lab operations, hiring, the supply chain, R&D, and the concept of the new facility. The factory was designed to extensively utilize automation to improve efficiencies and, as Travis Kelly stated, “to de-risk the labor shortage issue.”
Rogers: Mergers, Automotive, and a Bright Future
Pete Starkey visits with Ingmar van der Linden, market segment manager at Rogers Corporation in the Netherlands, about the products his company was demonstrating during productronica. Pete asks Ingmar about the automotive industry, particularly Rogers’ involvement in producing materials for sensors that create a safer driving experience. They also discuss the merger with DuPont, the trend toward material technologies and how to enable them.
Agfa Taking Leap to Digital Platform
I-Connect007 Technical Editor Pete Starkey spoke with Agfa Business Unit Manager Frank Louwet ahead of last month’s productronica show in Europe. They discuss the company’s desire to reduce its carbon footprint and the benefits of this change, particularly with a move to digital inkjet printing, and describes some of the company’s newest products. As Louwet explains, "Our claim is 'Grow your business, not your footprint.' By going digital you can grow your business without having to increase your waste materials, your processing chemicals, your water, and even your floor space."
ICT Autumn Seminar Review: Live in 2021!
Faced with the choice between a real or virtual event, Bill Wilkie took a calculated risk. It has been many long months since members of the Institute of Circuit Technology had gathered together under one roof, but a fair-sized bunch of industry stalwarts braved the weather and the threat of COVID, descended on the Manor Hotel in Meriden, UK, on Nov. 30, and applauded Bill’s decision to go live. They were not disappointed; the program was superb, the atmosphere upbeat, and the networking opportunity priceless.
Alex Stepinski: A Philosophical View
"My philosophy is to rely more on sensors throughout the process to measure things non-destructively, then build a model for how you’re going to perform, and just validate against the model," said Alex Stepinski. "It’s the next step slowly happening worldwide. For instance, we’ve had 2D AOI for many years. Sometimes, this is complemented with electrical tests. Now, you start to see more 3D AOI happening. You see them putting more sensors on the AOI equipment for direct measurement. Then, you also have the traditional signal integrity testing."
Why We Simulate
When Bill Hargin was cutting his teeth in high-speed PCB design some 25 years ago, speeds were slow, layer counts were low, dielectric constants and loss tangents were high, design margins were wide, copper roughness didn’t matter, and glass-weave styles didn’t matter. Dielectrics were called “FR-4” and their properties didn’t matter much. A fast PCI bus operated at just 66 MHz. Times have certainly changed.
EIPC Technical Snapshot: Supply Chain and Material Price Pressures
EIPC’s seventh Technical Snapshot webinar on April 14 was timely and appropriate. In the context of current supply chain issues and material price pressures facing the PCB industry, particularly in Europe, the EIPC team brought together an outstanding group of experts—each a leading authority in his field—to analyse and comment upon the areas of concern and to respond to questions raised by a capacity audience. As Alun Morgan said, “If you don’t use the European supply chain, you won’t have it anymore!”
I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week
This week, we bring you a wide swath of news, columns, and articles from the past week. Altium announced a new cloud platform that connects design stakeholders with users of its Altium 365 environment. Cadence Design Systems has acquired a company that develops computational fluid dynamics technology to help expand its system analysis offerings.
Driving Down Cost with Process Engineering
Nolan Johnson, Barry Matties, and Happy Holden speak with Matt Mack, process engineer at ICM Controls. Matt shares a day in the life of a process engineer, along with how he approaches continuous improvement and planning for the future on the floor.
Time, Space, Structure, and Model Analysis of CCL Price Increase
According to the CCL Association, copper foil accounts for the largest proportion of raw materials (traditional CCL uses epoxy resin, glass fiber cloth and copper as raw materials). Copper foil in thin plate accounts for about 30% of the overall cost; in thick plate copper accounts for 50%. In CCL production, using Shengyi Technology and Chaohua Technology as examples, the cost of raw materials accounts for about 88% of the total cost, with labor accounting for about 4%. Other costs such as equipment depreciation account for about 8%.
EIPC Technical Snapshot: 5G and Loss Minimisation
Bringing a specialised technical area into sharp focus, this month’s topic was “5G and the understanding of loss minimisation at the PCB level,” with papers on dielectric material, copper foil, and modelling solutions. The webinar was moderated by EIPC board member Paul Waldner managing director of Multiline International Europa, who admitted that he had managed to get a haircut especially for the occasion!
Achieving Growth in a Difficult Year: The Benefits of Global Supply Chain Management
Jack Pattie, president of Ventec USA, discusses the growth of the business, the strengthening of the operation, quality system accreditations, the advantages of building close working relationships with OEMs, and how a well-managed global supply chain has overcome some of the challenges and frustrations encountered during the past year.
Present and Future Industry Trends With Denkai America
Editor Dan Feinberg recently spoke with Chris Stevens, global sales manager for Denkai America, the only electrodeposited copper foil manufacturer in North America. During this conversation, Chris provides his view of present and emerging trends, the need for higher speed digital designs, and overall business conditions over the past year.
ICT Webinar: Novel Materials and Methods for Printed Circuit Fabrication
For the first time since its foundation in 1974, the Institute of Circuit Technology had no alternative than to conduct its Annual General Meeting online. The event, which took place on February 25, 2021, was remarkably well-attended, and was followed, as is traditional, by a technical seminar. The seminar became a webinar focused on novel materials and methods for printed circuit fabrication and moderated by ICT Chair Emma Hudson.
Benchmarking With Your Suppliers: What to Know About Solder Mask
Everyone wants a smooth-running solder mask process with high productivity and minimal rejects, but to achieve this you really need a firm understanding of what your current process is capable of, what its limitations are, and what you want to improve. Process capability benchmarking is a great way to identify and implement improvements within your process.
EIPC Technical Snapshot: Business Outlook
A headline in a Sunday newspaper had caught John Ling’s eye as he composed the invitation to this fourth EIPC seminar: “Now, more than ever, we need to talk.” Thus, it is that EIPC decided to run another technical webinar, which was just like one of their in-person conferences, except no one had to travel—or got to enjoy a beer or excellent food with convivial company.
EIPC Technical Snapshot: PCB Surface Finishes
For the third in a series of Technical Snapshot webinars, EIPC chose to focus on PCB surface finishes, comparing specific properties, examining corrosion behaviour and discussing selection criteria for low-loss, high frequency applications.
Happy’s DIY Solution to Chemical Control
I confess. I am a control nerd and highly analytical. My second degree is in EE control theory, and I see the world in terms of feedback loops and black boxes. Early in my career, I was volunteered for the technical programs for the California Circuits Association (CCA), which was created by my mentor Clyde Coombs. In discussions with fellow process engineers, it was clear that the chemical process controls that HP could afford and allow me to put in place were not able to be duplicated by much smaller PWB shops.
GreenSource Fabrication Creates Plating Flexibility
The I-Connect007 editorial team spoke with GreenSource Fabrication’s Alex Stepinski, VP and officer, and Rick Nichols, product engineer, about plating capabilities, new equipment developments, and how best to create more plating flexibility in a shop.
EIPC Technical Snapshot: Market Analysis and Advanced Manufacturing Tech
Pete Starkey details the November EIPC webinar program that combined knowledgeable market analysis and advanced manufacturing technology, including insights from Prismark's Dr. Shiuh-Kao Chiang, Averatek's Mike Vinson, and Atotech's Roland Herold.
This Month in PCB007 Magazine: The Copper Foil Market Is Anything But Flat
Nolan Johnson interviewed Mike Coll, COO of Denkai America, about the copper foil and substrate market, the recent acquisition of the company by Nippon, and what they’re doing to respond to very small feature sizes.
Real Time with… Altium Live Europe 2020: Rick Hartley’s Secrets of PCB Optimization
As Lawrence Romine said in his introduction, “There’s that moment when you sit in the crowd and hear Mr. Rick Hartley speak that you know you’ve arrived in PCB design.” With 50 years in the industry focused on circuit and PCB design—and as a specialist in EMI, noise, and signal integrity issues—Rick Hartley was invited to talk about PCB optimization. Pete Starkey provides an overview of the presentation.
EIPC Technical Snapshot: Automotive Technology
Although current circumstances have forced the postponement of its live conferences, seminars, and workshops, EIPC continues to provide a platform for the exchange and dissemination of the latest knowledge and technical information to the European interconnection and packaging industry. Pete Starkey details how its current series of technical snapshots, delivered in a webinar format, address technology challenges facing the automotive, telecom, and high-speed sectors of the industry.
Just Ask Paul: Automotive and Lead-Free Solders
We asked you to send in your questions for Happy Holden, Joe Fjelstad, Eric Camden, John Mitchell, and Greg Smith in our “Just Ask” series. Now, MacDermid Alpha Electronics Solutions’ Paul Salerno gets a chance to answer a question. Paul Salerno is a global portfolio manager for SMT applications focused on the automotive and consumer market segments. He holds a bachelor’s degree in materials engineering as well as an MBA in finance and marketing from Rutgers University.
Real Time with… SMTAI 2020: Technical Conference Review
SMTAI 2020, which was converted to a virtual event, took place from September 28–30. I attend every year, but since there was no keynote in the virtual format, I went straight to the technical conference. This event covered a broad range of topics related to everything in assembly. Over 90 technical presentations are available, but this report covers just some of the sessions I attended.