Article Highlights
NIST Resources for CHIPS Act Participants
01/27/2023 | Nolan Johnson, I-Connect007
I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week
01/27/2023 | Nolan Johnson, I-Connect007
The Nuts and Bolts of Advanced Packaging
01/24/2023 | I-Connect007 Editorial Team
Monday Recap: Optimism and Economics at IPC APEX EXPO
01/24/2023 | Nolan Johnson and Pete Starkey, I-Connect007
Classes and Meetings Under Way at IPC APEX EXPO
01/23/2023 | Andy Shaughnessy, Design007 Magazine
PCB :: Materials

Latest Articles

Advanced Packaging Means Advanced Routing Issues

In today’s ever-shrinking world of electronics designs, the use of BGA parts with very fine pitch features is becoming more prevalent. As these fine-pitch BGAs continue to increase in complexity and user I/O (number of balls), the difficulty of finding escape routes and fan-out patterns increases. Additionally, with the shrinking of silicon geometry leading to both smaller channel length and increased signal integrity issues, some of the traditional BGA escape routing techniques will require a revisit and/or adjustment to allow for not only successful fan-out, but also successful functioning of the circuitry of the BGA design.

Everyone Wants Change: Who Wants to Lead the Way?

Nolan Johnson recently met with Alun Morgan, technology ambassador at Ventec, and Ventec COO Mark Goodwin to discusses the industry’s determination to cling to outdated processes and standards, and some potential consequences. To maintain efficiency and keep pace with the market’s newest entries in Asia, Alun and Mark believe that legacy companies in the West must be open to challenging conversations that will require questioning old practices and revising those practices toward sustainability.

The Battle of the Boards

Last year, IPC held its first-ever design competition at IPC APEX EXPO in San Diego. PCB designers from around the world competed in a series of heats during the months before the show, culminating in a showdown on the show floor between the top three finalists. Rafal Przeslawski, now with AMD, took home the top prize last year. This year, the competition is back for its sophomore year. I asked Patrick Crawford, manager of design standards and related programs for IPC, to “layout” the details on the design contest, including lessons learned in 2022 and what’s new for the 2023 competition.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

The youngsters are back in school, and we’re all back to work. The water is back on for most of us in Atlanta; when temps dropped down to 8 degrees Fahrenheit, our pipes started bursting left and right. After a Christmas dinner with no water, I have a new appreciation for H2O. It’s been a busy week, and we published a variety of articles, columns, and news items. In this week’s top five, we have news about the market in Southeast Asia, a look at what the CHIPS Act really entails, a deep dive into CMMC, and a peek at how printed electronics developers are using flexible circuit concepts to facilitate PEC. We also say goodbye to a Top Gun PCB designer who left us way too soon.

Preventing De-wetting Defects In Immersion Tin Soldering

Immersion tin is well accepted as a high-reliability final finish in the industry. Due to its excellent corrosion resistance, it exhibits major market shares, particularly in the automotive industry. During the soldering process, an intermetallic compound (IMC) is formed between copper and tin. One remaining concern in the industry is the potential impact of the IMC on the solderability of the final finish. In this article, typical failure modes in soldering immersion tin are described and correlated to potential root causes for the defects.

The Five Most-read Design007 Articles of 2022

Each December, we like to look back at the most popular articles of the past 12 months. You never know which article is going to blow up like a Blake Shelton album. So, put on your ugliest holiday sweater and prop up that iPad. For your holiday enjoyment, here’s a blast from the past: the top five most-read Design007 articles of 2022.

Candor: UHDI Under Development

Candor Industries is a PCB fabricator investing in UHDI fabrication capabilities in Canada. To support advanced packaging, as well as the current pace of IC process shrinks, PCB fabrication capabilities must shrink to keep up. Sunny Patel, Candor’s technical sales manager, brings us up to speed on what Candor has learned in their journey to add UHDI. What we gain from this interview is that, while certainly not insignificant, the stretch to add UHDI may be not as far as one might think.

MKS Discusses the Cutting Edge of Technology

During a recent tour of the MKS facility in Beaverton, Oregon, I met with Todd Templeton, Chris Ryder, Kyle Baker, and Martin Orrick. As a reminder, MKS acquired ESI in 2019 and has retained the ESI brand. In this interview, they explain their approach to HDI and ultra HDI, the current state of base materials, and what the future looks like on the cutting edge of technology.

Taiyo: Reopening Europe for Solder Mask

Nolan Johnson and Stuart Down discuss Taiyo’s partnership with Ventec and how both companies are leveraging their expertise to blaze a trail into the European PCB market. Stuart shares his outlook on the market and the unique challenges posed by global political instability and supply chain constraints, as well as how Europe’s evolving chemical regulations have impacted solder mask formulation. With their sights set on ramping up manufacturing capabilities, Taiyo sees a secure path forward to establishing a sizeable market presence in this promising region.

Aismalibar: Cooling Off With Thermal Interface Materials

Pete Starkey stops by the Aismalibar booth at electronica to hear from Uwe Lemke about the company’s plans to further expand its footprint in the Chinese PCB market and how evolving e-mobility constraints have propelled a growing demand for materials that can address electrical isolation and thermal conductivity concerns in high voltage battery systems. As always, Aismalibar is up to the task, having developed a new thin fluid coating technology that boosts the performance and reliability of any interface using the same foil-based technology that has long defined its impressive line of product offerings.


EIPC: Europe’s Energy Disadvantage

EIPC’s Alun Morgan details the unsettling realities facing the European PCB industry due to the current war in Ukraine, and outlines steps that the EIPC plans to take to help raise awareness of the possible perils the industry might face as a result. Alun says, "It's possible that we may get more supply chain back in Europe, but that won’t happen overnight."

Rogers: Bringing New Materials to Light

Pete Starkey stopped by the Rogers booth at electronica to hear from Dr. Vitali Judin, the new business development manager at Rogers, on how the well-respected company is making a splash with new high frequency materials meant to address the rapidly evolving needs of the additive manufacturing sector. Rogers determined that digital light processing (DLP) 3D printing technique brought the combination of speed and resolution necessary to make additive manufacturing reasonably scalable, then partnered with Fortify to bring the processing consistency needed for the RF industry. With so many potential applications for this newly adapted technology, Rogers hopes to create a full slate of additive manufacturing materials for use in this sector and beyond.

Polar Instruments: Simulating PCB Potentialities

Nolan Johnson checks in with Polar’s Martyn Gaudion on the evolving needs of global PCB manufacturing markets in a post-pandemic world, where generating accurate PCB specification documentation is essential to successfully navigating today's rampant supply chain constraints. Polar has positioned itself to meet these needs through agile software product developments that allow OEMs and fabricators to simulate material interactions and end-product specifications, including in-demand features like a comprehensive "structure view" that allows users to visualize all the transmission lines on a given a PCB. Though keeping pace with the demands of a rapidly growing industry has been challenging, Polar's commitment to innovation has kept its software suite ahead of the curve.

ICAPE: Staying on Top During ‘Interesting’ Times

Recently, we met with Nathan Martin, group purchasing director; Jean-Christophe Miralles, supply chain director for Europe and U.S., and Lea Maurel, Americas marketing manager. This wide-ranging conversation dug into market drivers, supply chain challenges and how ICAPE creates consistency on its manufacturing floor. Complementing the supply chain control is ICAPE’s engineering experise, which it uses to increase customer yields and quality. Corporate sustainability is a key strategic initiative for ICAPE, and it was enlightening to learn just how holistic ICAPE’s approach to sustainability is.

My Experience With Maxwell

I was first introduced to James Maxwell in 1967 as a college student. I had to decide whether I would take the Maxwell fields course or the switching and coding course. Being a chemical engineering major with a co-major in control theory, I had heard about the trials and tribulations of the infamous Maxwell fields course.

Optimize Your Etcher for Best Image Quality

When it comes to obtaining high-quality images, many different factors come into play. Typically, most of these factors come down to your imaging equipment and cleanroom; however, there are factors involved in the etching process that can affect the quality of your image. Here are five steps to ensure your etching process is optimized for the best image quality.

Millennium Circuits on The Move

I recently met with Daniel Thau, CEO of Millennium Circuits Limited, at PCB West. This Pennsylvania-based PCB distributor has been on an expansion path lately, so I asked Daniel to introduce us to MCL and explain where the company is headed. As Daniel says, it’s all about impacting the world in a positive way.

Forming Standards for Ultra HDI

To get the latest news about ultra high-density interconnections (UHDI), we checked in with Jan Pedersen, NCAB Group’s director of technology. Jan is co-chair of IPC D-33AP, and a great source of overall DFM expertise as well. We asked him to give us a snapshot of UHDI in the industry, where we’re headed, and what this means to PCB designers.

Q&A: The Learning Curve for Ultra HDI

For this issue on ultra HDI, we reached out to Tara Dunn at Averatek with some specific questions about how she defines UDHI, more about the company’s patented semi-additive process, and what really sets ultra HDI apart from everything else. Do designers want to learn a new technology? What about fabricators? We hope this interview answers some of those questions that you may be having about these capabilities and what it could mean for your designs.

Korf and Strubbe: Material Witnesses

Recently, columnist Dana Korf has been working with Taiwan Union Technology Corporation (TUC), one of the largest providers of copper-clad laminate and mass lamination services in the world. We spoke with Dana about the trends he sees in materials at TUC and around the globe, why copper is still king, as well as some potential non-traditional materials that may see growth soon. Dana invited John Strubbe, TUC VP of technology, to join in the conversation.


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.

Excerpt Chapter 5: 'The Printed Circuit Designer’s Guide to... Thermal Management with Insulated Metal Substrates, Vol. 2'

Chapter 5 of the 2nd Volume from The Printed Circuit Designer's Guide to... Thermal Managment with Insulated Metal Substrates provides examples of thermally enhanced prepregs and cores now available in the market with the versatility to solve a wide variety of challenges. Included in this chapter you will find examples of simple designs and more complex hybrid assemblies that combine multilayer and single-layer areas on the same board.

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.

Breaking Down the Current Materials Market

Nolan Johnson meets with Isola’s Ed Kelley at DesignCon and takes a tour of the dynamics in play in the materials market. As Isola prepares to roll out an extremely low-loss, halogen-free product, Kelley says the company continues to work on how to make the product reproducible and available to customers around the world.

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.

A Textbook Look: Signal Integrity and Impedance

Believing that I knew a bit about signal integrity and controlled impedance, I was pleased to take the opportunity to connect with an educational webinar that I hoped would extend my knowledge. In the event I was surprised at how little I actually knew, and the webinar was an excellent learning opportunity. The webinar was introduced and expertly moderated by Anna Brockman of Phoenix Contact in Germany.

EIPC Technical Snapshot: Supporting Autonomous Driving

EIPC’s 17th Technical Snapshot webinar on May 4 focused on developments in automotive electronics, particularly on advances in the technologies required to support the evolution of autonomous driving. The team brought together two expert speakers to present their detailed views on topics encompassed within “CASE,” the acronym that appears to be taking over the automotive industry.

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.

Designing Additive and Semi-Additive PCBs

With components getting smaller and electronic devices becoming more compact, we are reaching the physical limits of the typical etched fabrication processes. To address these limits, new additive and semi-additive processes are being developed to fit into the current fabricators’ production lines without too much disruption or extra cost.

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).

Engineering RF Dielectric Material to Enable 5G/6G Antenna Devices

Accurate characterization of frequency-dependent inhomogeneous dielectric material properties is key to the optimal design of high performance and cost-effective PCB antennas. These antennas will be required to enable the plethora of devices forecasted for 5G/6G communication. Therefore IT-88GMW, an advanced resin system reinforced with tightly woven thin glass fibers has been formulated to improve the Q-factor of interconnects and passive components fabricated on PCB laminates.

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.

Measuring Multiple Lamination Reliability for Low-loss Materials

Taiwan Union Technology Corporation (TUC) provides copper-clad laminates and dielectric resin composites used to manufacture printed circuit boards. The enthalpy of these resin composites meets and exceeds customers’ objectives and shows the deterioration of the resin’s physical properties as a result of multiple lamination cycles (up to 10X). This article describes how TUC evaluates the possible change in resin structure due to multi-thermal laminations.

Improved Thermal Interface Materials For Cooling High-Power Electronics

Heat has been a significant concern in electronics since the beginning of the electronics age when hot glowing vacuum tubes were first used to receive and transmit data bits. The transistor and integrated circuit effectively solved that basic problem, but increases in integration resulted in increased concentration of heat, exacerbated by relentless increases in operating frequency. While improvements in electronics technology have been able to mitigate many thermal issues at chip level thanks to improved semiconductor designs devised to operate at lower voltages (thus requiring less energy) the thermal management challenge continues to vex electronic product developers.

Developments in Low-Loss Substrates for High-Frequency Applications

The electronics industry as we know it today can trace its birth to the creation of the first integrated circuit in 1958, although conception occurred 10 years earlier with the invention of the transistor. That first IC contained a single transistor and four passive components. To say things have come a long way since then is a huge understatement.

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.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO 2022: New Materials for Additive Manufacturing

Trevor Polidore of Rogers Corporation and I-Connect007 Guest Editor Tara Dunn discuss the introduction of the new Rogers materials designed for use in 3D printing. They also look at the trends and challenges in materials for additive and semi-additive manufacturing. If you were unable to attend IPC APEX EXPO, 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.

Technology and Development Prospects for the European Marketplace

Nolan Johnson speaks with Tarja Rapala-Virtanen technical director of the EIPC who breaks down the current state of the European market and which technologies and market segments are seeing growth.

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.

EV Industry Facing Bottleneck Challenges

Nolan Johnson talks with Eduardo Benmayor, general manager at Aismalibar, about materials challenges facing the powertrain portion of the automotive EV industry. Eduardo also speaks about what he sees as the biggest challenge facing EVs—infrastructure.

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.
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