Reading time ( words)
I’m sure it’s just me being hyperaware, but I can’t shake it: Mars is where it’s at right now. Is it just me, or do you get the same feeling from the news? There are the Mars rovers—three generations of them still rolling, now—and a drone helicopter winding up for a maiden flight any day now. But that’s not all. There’s SpaceX’s StarShip, rapid-prototyping its way into a manned flight to Mars. And NASA’s whole “return to the Moon” project is simply a shakedown for the U.S. government contractors’ Mars flight hardware, too.
Maybe this is all just part of the hopeful, optimistic thinking that keeps us humans buoyed during difficult times. But if it is, it has a history of working. After all, the fiercely competitive Soviet and U.S space programs paradoxically drew the world together in a somewhat apocalyptic-feeling time in history. These days sometimes feel similar, though for different reasons. So many of us are ready to travel, to be mobile, to escape. Why wouldn’t the possibility of visiting other planets suddenly become such a fascination?
This week’s Editor’s Picks include Grumman/Intelsat space tech (though not Martian). Then there’s optimism in the form of an encouraging IPC study on Europe’s post-pandemic economic recovery, and an announcement from Averatek concerning semi-additive process adoption. We also look at why circuit simulation tools have a controversial place in the design community, and NCAB probes how PCB substrates can be damaged by the heat commonplace to the assembly process.
So, if you haven’t read anything else in the electronics news this week, catch five must-reads here. And may your weekend be sunny and warm wherever you are.
IPC Study: Europe's Economic Recovery, Long-Term Future Depend on Attention to Electronics Manufacturing Industry
Published April 14
Conducted by Decision Etudes & Conseil and commissioned by IPC, this study finds the electronics industry well positioned to be a driving force in Europe’s post-pandemic economic health. “The data shows the electronics manufacturing industry will be a key sector responsible for driving European economic recovery and meeting future market needs” said Alison James, IPC Senior Director of European Government Relations. See the stats here.
Fresh PCB Concepts: Does the Assembly Process Damage a PCB? (Part 1—Soldering)
Published April 14
Team NCAB columnist David Duross tackles Tg, Td and board damage from heat during assembly. Even if you thought you knew everything on this topic, Duross’ column puts it all in crisp, easy to grasp, focus. And readers found value in that, based on our metrics.
Northrop Grumman, Intelsat Make History with Docking of Second Mission Extension Vehicle
Published April 13
With all the news attention watching the “droids” on Mars, Northrup Grumman and Intelsat are quietly ushering in another “droid” milestone—robotic satellite modules performing hardware upgrades to satellites already in orbit. Fascinating reading over in our Mil-Aero newsfeed.
Averatek Announces A-SAP License Agreement with FTG
Published April 13
Averatek continues to add licensees to their A-SAP PCB process technology, taking advantage of trace and space capability as fine as 15 microns. It’s increasingly clear that semi-additive processes are establishing a beachhead in fine line PCB fab.
Bridging the Simulation Tool Divide
Published April 12
Why don’t more engineers use simulation, if its whole purpose is to help confirm a working circuit design before going to fabrication? In this interview with Todd Westerhoff, Andy Shaughnessy and the I-Connect007 team try to capture the whats, whys, hows, and whos of simulation tools.