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Getting to Know Your Designer
In this issue, we examine how fabs work with their design customers, educating them on the critical elements of fabrication needed to be successful, as well as the many tradeoffs involved. How well do you really know your customer? What makes for a closer, more synchronized working relationship?
In this issue, the biggest names in PCB manufacturing share their economic outlook for the upcoming year and beyond. As you will see, they were all bullish on our industry, but there was some apprehension as well. No one wants to get burned by another the supply chain disruption.
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PCB Carolina 2023 Breaks Attendance, Exhibitor RecordsNovember 9, 2023 | Andy Shaughnessy, PCB Design007
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes
Call it a good problem to have. PCB Carolina 2023 was so big that that exhibitors were literally spilling out of the show floor at NC State’s MacKimmon Center for Continuing and Lifelong Education.
This year, PCB Carolina drew 1,200 attendees and so many exhibitors that some “overflow” booths had to be set up in a classroom near the show floor, as well as in the registration area. There was no down time on the show floor, even when classes were in session, and whenever classes would end, there was a flood of people onto the show floor. Many of the classes focused on AI, with Cadence’s Taylor Hogan presenting the keynote on AI’s role in PCB design.
Showrunners Randy Faucette, Tony Cosentino, and Lance Oliver of Better Boards Inc. had their hands full yesterday. It was a real family affair, with Randy’s wife Angelisa manning a barista station in the “overflow” exhibitor room.
Where did all these attendees come from? The line for lunch and dinner looked what you’d see at DesignCon. But it was all well-managed, even with this increase in attendance.. Randy has this formula down.
One thing I noticed this year was a big jump in the number of students at the show. The kids I spoke to were really working the show, looking for internship opportunities and networking. Some of the freshmen EE students already know quite a bit about PCBs through the Makerspace at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, which includes testing and soldering stations, a pick-and-place machine, and 3D printers.
Is the “maker” movement helping to “make” PCBs cool again? Maybe. I was struck by what one EE student in Class of ’27 said: “I need to know all about PCBs to do all of these other things I want to do.” I told him there would be plenty of job opportunities for him. It’s great to see so many young people interested in this industry, soaking up everything that we graybeards had to say. I think I was called “sir” 25 times yesterday; we are in the South, after all.
I don’t know how Randy and the gang are going to handle next year’s event. They don’t want to move to a bigger venue because NC State has been so helpful every step of the way. Can they hold it outside under a giant tent? As I said, it’s a good problem to have.
It was a good week in PCB design and manufacturing. In this week’s wrap-up, we have news about an uptick in EMS shipments in January, a look at the current M&A climate, some guidance on investing in your company in order to stay competitive, a primer on designing with embedded capacitance materials, and a roadmap for the industry to embrace sustainable PCBs in the future.
The iNEMI Connector Reliability Test Recommendations Project, Phases 1 through 3, addressed the need for a standardized reliability evaluation method for connectors.
Nordson Corporation reported results for the fiscal first quarter ended January 31, 2024. Sales were $633 million, a 4% increase compared to the prior year’s first quarter sales of $610 million.
Repair of soldered components is a constant necessity in the electronics industry. Product performance enhancement, damaged components, and exchange of wrong placed components are some of the motivations behind a repair. Dispensing and placing a 400 μm pitch component manually is very time consuming and could cause collateral damage to the already populated components. A novel automatic repair method and tools with no human interaction were developed. Learn about this method…
IPC’s efforts in government relations and advocacy have been pivotal in getting legislation like the CHIPS Act passed. In February, IPC President and CEO Dr. John W. Mitchell was back in Washington, D.C., representing our industry in a meeting convened by the U.S. Department of Commerce, where he discussed workforce issues in our industry and how to ensure that our businesses have the workforce they need. In this audio interview, he reviews his concerns and solutions on workforce development.