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In this issue, we discuss some of the challenges, pitfalls and mitigations to consider when designing non-standard board geometries. We share strategies for designing odd-shaped PCBs, including manufacturing trade-offs and considerations required for different segments and perspectives.
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Your Thermal Designs Are InefficientDecember 7, 2023 | Douglas Brooks, Consultant, and Johannes Adam, ADAM Research
Estimated reading time: Less than a minute
Your thermal designs are (probably) inefficient. The inefficiencies are unnecessarily taking up board area and blocking routing channels. This is likely true in at least three areas:
1. Your high-current-carrying traces are probably too wide.
2. You probably use too many vias in your high-current-carrying traces.
3. Any thermal vias you use are (almost) worthless.
Most designers rely on the trace widths suggested in IPC-2152, the “bible” for calculating high-current trace widths (unless you have read our book). IPC-2152 is the best, most thoroughly researched study of trace currents and temperatures available. But it does have some weaknesses. One weakness is that it (by necessity) studies 6-inch-long traces in isolation. But traces are not all 6 inches long nor in isolation. There are nearby design and material parameters that impact trace temperatures, most of them in a downward direction. Perhaps the most important parameter lowering trace temperature is the presence of a plane underlying the trace. Most boards nowadays have such a plane.
To read this entire article, which appeared in the November 2023 issue of Design007 Magazine, click here.
A multitude of delegates from the UK printed circuit industry made the journey to the Institute of Circuit Technology Christmas Seminar on December 5 at the grandiose Majestic Hotel in the picturesque spa town of Harrogate in North Yorkshire. They were welcomed by ICT Chair Emma Hudson, who introduced a program of three presentations encompassing the diverse topics of satellites, electroless metallisation and electronics manufacturing initiatives.
When I last spoke with DirectPCB cofounder Greg Papandrew, he mentioned that many boards are designed like Ferraris when what the product really needs is a Ford Pinto. Those of us who work in PCB design education, whether on corporate training or on the conference scene, tend to teach new designers how to build Ferraris.
Engineers are at a turning point when it comes to navigating the design and supply chain disruptions of the last several years, according to findings from Avnet. The leading technology distributor released its third annual Avnet Insights survey, which has been keeping a pulse on engineers’ sentiments and strategies around existing industry and market conditions. The 2023 survey found that, while there is a sense of optimism around acute issues such as components availability, many are now looking at what comes next, and that outlook remains uncertain.
If you’re coming from the rigid PCB world, you’re probably wondering how to get started and how to select a rigid-flex vendor. If you’re designing PCBs for an OEM that is betting everything on a next-generation rigid-flex design, you would want to use the absolute best vendor for your rigid-flex design. Your new rigid-flex design needs to be put into the right shop to leverage the best manufacturing solution.