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


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Around the holidays, we often see a slowdown in PCB design and manufacturing news. But this holiday season, there’s been no rest for the newsmakers in our industry! In the last week, our daily and weekly newsletters have been chock-full of breaking news and up-to-the-minute technical information that readers like you rely upon every day.

This week, we had important developments in the IPC-2581 design data exchange format. We also published a video roundtable with Siemens Digital Industries Software and Computrol, as well as an update from IPC’s Education Foundation about their student chapter members’ participation in virtual competitions. Happy Holden and Stephen Chavez delve deep into the waters of via design, and a video roundtable with Ventec International Group and Excello Circuits focuses on IMS thermal materials in multilayer stackups in power applications.

There seems to be a trend here. Much of the movement in this industry today involves access to data—the right data, and right now. You can expect that to continue into 2021 and beyond.

IPC Releases IPC-2581 Revision C for PCB Design
Published December 1

There was some big news this week in the world of design data formats. The new IPC-2581 Revision C includes XML with DFX tags, allowing greater bi-directional DFX data exchange in this open-source format. Rigid-flex designs are now supported. IPC-2581C is a key component of the IPC-DPMX format, and it is now optimized for use with the EDA tools of today and tomorrow, as well as Industry 4.0 and the digital twin.

Siemens and Computrol: Achieving Operational Excellence in Electronics Manufacturing
Published December 2

Happy Holden and Nolan Johnson recently held a video roundtable with Zac Elliott, technical marketing engineer at Siemens Digital Industries Software, and Farid Anani, VP of operations at Computrol. Elliott and Anani explain how the drive to increase automation sometimes winds up creating “islands of automation,” which must be connected for true process efficiency. They also discuss methods for making data smarter, as well as process engineers’ need for access to the data they need right away.

Foundations of the Future: IPC Student Chapters Gear Up for Competitions
Published December 2

Many of us are wondering who will replace the “graybeard” PCB designers, design engineers, and process engineers who continue to retire at a rapid pace. IPC is making some good progress attracting—and nurturing—the next generation of PCB technologists. In this column, IPC’s Aaron Birney discusses the organization’s efforts supporting the 38 IPC student chapters in the U.S., including recent virtual student competitions and plans for 2021.

Use of IMS Thermal Materials in Multilayer Stackups for Power Applications
Published December 1

Technical Editor Pete Starkey and I conducted a lively video roundtable around IMS thermal materials with Chris Hanson and Denis McCarthy of Ventec International Group, and Rax Ribadia of Excello Circuits. Hanson and McCarthy detail the development and benefits of using IMS laminates in multilayer stackups in power applications, and Ribadia explains why fabricating high-end PCBs with IMS thermal materials is much like fabricating any other “typical" board.

Stephen Chavez and Happy Holden on Designing Reliable Vias
Published December 2

In this wide-ranging interview, Stephen Chavez and Happy Holden discuss the ins and outs of proper via design, including a look at some of the drivers that are leading designers to create ever-smaller microvias and higher aspect ratios. They also discuss the effects of material choice, fabrication processes, and signal integrity issues on via design, and why true communication is paramount for the design of robust microvias.

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