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

He’s back, and in splendid form. Pete’s Starkey’s coverage of the EIPC Summer Conference, which took place June 4-5 at the European Space Centre, The Netherlands, is top notch. Joan Tourné from NextGIn Technologies emphasized that our attention must be focused on the interconnection ability of our PCBs and highlights VeCS as an alternative to the traditional plated-through-hole approach. Finally, Martyn Cauwe of IMEC discusses environmental impact and specifically, the need for a better, parametric approach to quantifying it, something European businesses are being required to do on the regular.

The Collaboration Culture

As the founder of Trilogy Circuits, the provider of design and assembly services acquired by Zentech, Charlie Capers understands the value of collaboration. We spoke with Charlie about the need for designers to collaborate with all the downstream stakeholders, the hurdles to solid communication, and why real collaboration (or lack of it) can make or break your deadline.

Traditional Materials, High-Frequency Boards?

Not long ago, high-frequency and RF boards required specialized laminates, which tend to be costly and difficult to manufacture. But now, high-frequency designers use traditional PCB laminates for certain high-frequency boards. How is this possible? For some insight, we asked Ed Kelley, founder of Four Peaks Innovation and former CTO of Isola, to discuss how traditional materials have improved and what this means to PCB designers and design engineers today.

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

This week’s must-reads are comprised of news which moves the industry forward. We’ve had quite a lot of news on a global scale, and they’re all good reads. To winnow down to just five, I chose either new information or interesting takes on ongoing industry stories. To that end, we have news about new capital equipment for advanced packaging, discussions of material selection and the imaging process during PCB fabrication, a columnist's ode to the best engineer she knows, and some optimistic news from the semiconductor industry.

Catching Up With Bob Duke of ASC’s Global Sourcing Division

Since we last talked to Bob Duke, president of American Standard Circuits’ Global Sourcing Division, I wanted to see how things are going and what a difference a year makes. Not surprising, and knowing how Bob operates, things are (spoiler alert) going great. Check it out for yourself.

PCB East Keeps Getting Bigger

PCB East is definitely on the move. The U.S. Northeast’s annual PCB design and manufacturing show went on hiatus years ago as sister show PCB West continued to expand in Silicon Valley. But PCB East relaunched a few years ago, and it’s been growing each year. Show managers said that attendance at the 2023 show was double that of the 2022 event. 

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

It’s been a great week. I spent part of the week at PCB East, which was held at the Boxboro Regency in Boxboro, Massachusetts. I haven’t been to Boxboro in about 20 years. The last time I was at PCB East in Boxboro, design instructor Mary Sugden had a hot plate and a supply of bologna in her room, because she preferred fried bologna to anything she could get in a restaurant. Never a dull moment with PCB designers! 

Overconstrain? Underconstrain? Selecting Materials for High-speed Designs

When selecting materials for a high-speed design, you need to be very familiar with the materials’ electrical characteristics, as well as the requirements of the PCB you’re designing. There are myriad details that need to be considered during the material selection process, and missing one iota can lead to your job being put on hold. We asked Stephen Chavez, principal technical product marketing manager at Siemens, to share his thoughts on material selection for high-speed designs. Steph discusses material constraints, stackups, and the cut-off point when a “traditional” laminate will (and won’t) work for a high-speed board.

The Sky's the Limit: A Day in the Life of PCB Designer Paul Brionez

Paul Brionez is a senior printed circuit board layout engineer for Wisk Aero LLC. He’s responsible for the layout of PCBs and the management of library parts being created to use in PCB assemblies. He’s also involved in the creation of processes and procedures to be used in the creation, management, and release/revision of PCBs and PCBAs used for Wisk Aero applications.

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

This week, our columnists enjoy particular attention with Barry Olney, Mehul Dave, and Happy Holden all providing valuable insight on materials, the critical importance of the front-end engineering process once a PCB design is received, and an overview and observations around IPC APEX EXPO technical sessions.


UHDI Fundamentals: UHDI Applications for Wearable Electronics

Wearable electronics is a type of technology that can be worn on the body and often integrated into clothing or accessories. These devices typically offer functionalities beyond traditional clothing, such as monitoring health metrics, providing notifications, or enhancing communication. Ultra high density interconnect (UHDI) has several potential applications in wearable electronics, primarily in enhancing visual experiences, data analysis, and communication.

Underconstraining Your Materials? Leave It to the Experts

With traditional laminates now sporting improved resin systems, some OEMs are choosing various flavors of FR-4 instead of high-speed laminates for their high-speed designs—even RF applications. Avoiding overconstraining your materials in high-speed products can lead to considerable cost savings, not to mention a more streamlined trip through fabrication.

Catching Up With Tom Yang of CEE PCB

I was in the Bay Area recently and met with my new friend Tom Yang, CEO of CEE PCB, a $450 million Chinese PCB fabricator. For too long, we have enjoyed the luxury of complaining about Chinese companies without even knowing who they are and what they do. That’s just too easy. My mission was to talk to a real live shop owner in China. With this interview, you will have a better and more personal understanding of CEE and the rest of the Chinese PCB industry.

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2024: An Introduction to IPC's Validation Services

Randy Cherry, director of IPC's Validation Services (VS) Program, sits down with Editor Marcy LaRont to discuss the program's global success and expansion, touching on the IPC-1791 Trusted Supplier and Cybersecurity List, the QPL/QML programs, and a newly introduced standard being developed in the automotive space. Randy also shares his upcoming travel plans to Australia and expresses his hope that the VS program will see much global growth in the coming months.

Delving Into Special Sessions at IPC APEX EXPO 2024

Once again, we were back at IPC APEX EXPO for another show and conference, and back to gathering in the Anaheim Convention Center. With Disneyland just across the street, there were tourists everywhere. This APEX EXPO was bigger than ever, with more activities, Professional Development Courses, standards committee meetings, and the 16th Electronic Circuits World Convention. I really enjoyed walking around and seeing everything the show had to offer.

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2024: IPC's Workforce Training and Onboarding Solutions

IPC's Kelly Allen and Carlos Plaza chat about the organization's workforce training courses. They discuss the importance of efficient onboarding, the challenges and opportunities in integrating new hires, and IPC's solutions for a smoother onboarding process. They also touch on expert involvement in IPC education and introduce new courses on component identification and standards.

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

Recently, I was reading a report from Deloitte on the Mexican economy (and don’t judge me what I read while I wait my turn at the gym). This particular report is cited in an interview scheduled for the June 2024 issue of SMT007 Magazine. I made note of a few things.

Listen to I-Connect007’s Latest Podcast Episode: Empowering Electrical Engineers

I-Connect007 is thrilled to announce the release of the latest episode in Series 3 of its popular podcast, On the Line With... , available now on Apple and Spotify.

The Thrill of Victory: IPC Design Competition

The final heat of the 2024 IPC Design Competition took place on Tuesday, April 9, during IPC APEX EXPO. IPC’s Kris Moyer and Patrick Crawford served as judges and onsite supervisors for the event, which featured five competitors—four online and one live at IPC APEX EXPO. The grand prize winner was Dinesh G., followed by Paul Brionez in second place (he placed third last year), Ajeesh Francis in third, and runners-up Joseph Chiu and Harish G (last year’s champion).

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2024: Insight into STARTEAM Global

In this interview, Martin Schneider, CTO of STARTEAM Global, talks about his long career journey that has given him valuable industry experience. He discusses his role as CTO, the company's initiatives in North America, the company's journey and its expansion into Thailand, as well as the advantages of attending IPC APEX EXPO. He expresses his gratitude and admiration for the industry.


Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2024: Unveiling the New Chief Strategist of Advanced Packaging at IPC

Devan Iyer, IPC's new chief strategist of advanced packaging, shares his industry experience and the objectives of his role and emphasizes the necessity for solid standards and guidelines for new packaging technologies and design methodologies. He also highlights the significance of diverse package technologies across different markets. Devan is looking forward to collaborating with IPC and industry members as they find ways to connect emerging package technologies with PCB/EMS systems.

IPC APEX EXPO: Some Thoughts About Growth

After two and a half days of wandering the aisles at IPC APEX EXPO 2024, for the first time, I almost felt like I was exploring CES. There were so many booths and exhibits that I could describe, but I’d like to focus on the growth and huge value of this event, which has expanded well beyond just the growing and impressive exhibit show floor.

A Review of the 2024 Del Mar Electronics and Manufacturing Show

The Del Mar Electronics and Manufacturing Show (DMEMS) in Del Mar, California, recently took place at an unlikely venue: the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Doug Bodenstab, founder and show organizer, says the show covers everything in electronics manufacturing: design tools, components, base materials, training, testing, board fabrication, AI, data analytics, and more. While you can find about anything online these days, Bodenstab adds that there is no substitute for meeting people in person.

Do You Think Enough About Ergonomics?

Vitorio Lorenzini, a workstation design expert with Assembled Product Specialists, discusses the importance of ergonomics in the workplace. He emphasizes the value of early involvement in workstation planning to optimize space and resources, ultimately enhancing workflow efficiency. 

A Potpourri of Design PD Classes

What is invention without innovation? What is innovation without capability? Kelly Dack addresses these questions and more in this review of the Professional Development courses at IPC APEX EXPO, including the flex course lead by "Flexperts" Mark Finstad and Nick Koop.

Listen Up: Popular Podcast Series Returns With Discussion of Electroless Copper

In the latest episode of the podcast series, On the Line With: Designing for Reality, Nolan Johnson returns to Sunstone Circuits in Mulino, OR, to continue down the manufacturing process with Matt Stevenson.

Star Wars and Disney: ‘Spinning the Script’ With Paul Bailey

Paul Bailey has quite a story to tell. The current vice president at AOA, and former principal concept technical director for Walt Disney Imagineering gave the opening keynote speech at IPC APEX EXPO 2024. He delved into some of the technological marvels he’s been involved with throughout his career, particularly with Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the new Star Wars experience at Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

IPC Focuses on Education and Onboarding

I recently spoke with Carlos Plaza, senior director of education for IPC, about expanding educational efforts in the PCB design, fabrication, and assembly segments. As Carlos explains, PCB design is a hot topic, but onboarding may be the hottest one of all.

Podcast Review: On the Line with… Designing for Reality

As a technologist, if I were forced to come up with just one recurring theme that I might call a professional “nemesis,” it would be the difference between theory and reality. A lot of technology we have at our disposal works well in theory but falls short when reality hits. That’s not the only reason I chose to listen to and review On the Line with… Designing for Reality, featuring a series of conversations with ASC Sunstone’s Matt Stevenson, but it certainly helped that the title caught my eye.

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

This week’s most important news is strategic—and telling. When one puts together the IPC industry reports, we simply have to include the recent conversation with Shawn DuBravac and Tom Kastner. On the design side, check out the latest “On The Line With…” podcast featuring Brad Griffin from Cadence Design Systems, discussing SI and PI in the realm of intelligent system design.


Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2024: Software Solutions for Circuit Board Challenges

Nolan Johnson speaks with Will Webb from Aster Technologies about their software solutions for design teams, manufacturing, test engineers, and process engineers. Aster's software addresses the increasing complexities of circuit boards and the need for alternative testing methods.

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2024: My Role as a Technology Solutions Director

Peter Tranitz, senior director of technology solutions at IPC, shares insights into his role as the design initiative lead. He details his advocacy work, industry support, and the responsibilities of the design initiative committee. The conversation also covers the revamping of standards, the IPC Design Competition, and the implementation of design rules in software tools.

IPC's Vision for Empowering PCB Design Engineers

As architects of innovation, printed circuit board designers are tasked with translating increasingly complex concepts into tangible designs that power our modern world. IPC provides the necessary community, standards framework, and education to prepare these pioneers as they explore the boundaries of what’s possible, equipping engineers with the knowledge, skills, and resources required to thrive in an increasingly dynamic field.

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2024: A Global Presence in PCB Manufacturing

Rob DiGiovanni, VP of sales for the Americas at STARTEAM Global, discusses the company's global presence in PCB manufacturing. As he explains, the firm operates facilities across Europe, Asia, and North America, specializing in serving contract manufacturers in the automotive and medical industries. They emphasize quality and meeting OEM standards, focusing on offshore supply and non-Chinese factories in the North American market. The company has grown through acquisitions and rebranding to offer multiple products.

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

In this week’s roundup, we have a variety of articles covering everything from design through assembly, and even box build. I’ve always wondered whether box build was all it was cracked up to be. Do customers really pick one EMS provider over another because one company offers box build? And if you’ve ever wanted to volunteer, IPC’s Thought Leaders Program is looking for a few good technologists to help them on their mission. Check out Stanton Rak’s article, which was published in the spring issue of IPC Community.

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO 2024: Tools, Training, and Trends in Manufacturing Engineering

Guest Editor Kelly Dack and Product Specialist Erik Bateham of Polar Instruments discuss Polar's latest technology, including their role in aiding manufacturing engineers. They highlight the advanced capabilities of Polar's tools and the critical role of signal integrity analysis, as well as the importance of accurate modeling in board manufacturing. Polar's unique training approach and demonstration contact details are also explored.

Elevating PCB Design Engineering With IPC Programs

In a monumental stride for the electronics manufacturing industry, IPC has successfully championed the recognition of the PCB Design Engineer as an official occupation by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). This pivotal achievement not only underscores the critical role of PCB design engineers within the technology landscape, but also marks the beginning of a transformative journey toward nurturing a robust, skilled workforce ready to propel our industry into the future.

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

For my must-read picks of the week, I’m highlighting Parker Capers, a young professional seeking employment, solid counsel from Dan Beaulieu on what your post-show plan should look like, more information and insight on “chiplets” and the need for secure data transfer standards from columnist Preeya Kuray, as well as Matt Stevenson’s design for reality wisdom. It’s a reminder to download one of our newest books (there are several) you don't want to miss if you are an assembler.

Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO 2024: Exploring IPC's PCB Design Courses with Kris Moyer

Guest Editor Kelly Dack and IPC instructor Kris Moyer discuss IPC's PCB design training and education offerings. They delve into course topics such as design fundamentals, mil/aero, rigid-flex, RF design, and advanced design concepts. They also highlight material selection for high-speed design, thermal management, and dissipation techniques. The interview wraps up with details about how to access these courses online.

Designing Electronics for High Thermal Loads

Developing proactive thermal management strategies is important in the early stages of the PCB design cycle to minimize costly redesign iterations. Here, I delve into key aspects of electronic design that hold particular relevance for managing heat in electronic systems. Each of these considerations plays a pivotal role in enhancing the reliability and performance of the overall system.


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

As we publish this week’s most-read news, the I-Connect007 team is wending its way home from an eventful and productive week at IPC APEX EXPO in Anaheim, California. We’ve posted a variety of dispatches from the show this week, released 73 realtimewith.com video interviews (and counting), and also gathered the content and updates you’ll be looking for in the upcoming issue of Show & Tell… IPC APEX EXPO 2024.

What’s New in Design Education at IPC APEX EXPO?

Kelly (Kel) Allen shares her thoughts on the educational offerings at IPC APEX EXPO and beyond. In this interview, she discusses some of the newest classes taking place during the conference in Anaheim, covering everything from design, fab, and assembly through mil/aero, test, and supply chain issues.

Design Community Town Hall Review 

The Design Community Town Hall took place on the afternoon of April 10, 2024. I was fortunate to attend this event, which marked an opportunity for members of some newly found design groups to get together and exchange ideas. Peter Tranitz, senior director of solutions for IPC, opened the session with a slide presentation introducing these new groups and members within the solutions department.

IPC Design Competition: On Your Mark, Get Set, Go!

I recently spoke with IPC’s Patrick Crawford, manager of design standards and related industry programs, and Kris Moyer, certified IPC master instructor, about this year’s IPC Design Competition. Now in its third year, the preliminary heat began in January, and the winners will compete in the final heat at IPC APEX EXPO in Anaheim.

Feeling the Magic of a Show Opener at IPC APEX EXPO 2024

As we walked the show floor at IPC APEX EXPO on Tuesday, April 9, we were struck by the subtle differences in the feel of the show floor between Anaheim and the previous home in San Diego. Somehow, the large booths seem less dominant, and the smaller booths seem more prominent here in the shadow of Disneyland where everything feels just a little bit magical.

A Closer Look at Professional Development at IPC APEX EXPO 2024: 3D Printing and AI

While the finishing touches were being made to the show floor at IPC APEX EXPO, just as much activity was happening in the conference rooms of the Anaheim Convention Center on the days before the show officially opened. The hallways and classrooms were filled for standards committee development meetings and Professional Development Courses, and IPC hosted evening receptions for Emerging Engineers, ECWC, and those who are attending for the first time in a special “newcomers” event.

IPC APEX EXPO 2024 Readies for Tomorrow’s Show Opener

IPC APEX EXPO is finally happening in Anaheim this week. As we entered the Anaheim Convention Center this past Friday, the weather was colder than expected, but the sun still shone. Making our way to the entrance doors, the small groups of happy but tired-looking Disneyland goers filled our path, as did hundreds of young, sparkle-clad cheerleaders from across the nation whose competition was taking place in a neighboring hall.

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

Spring has definitely sprung; it was 81 degrees last week in Atlanta, and this week it’s been in the 40s. That’s typical spring weather in Atlanta. My newly cut lawn is looking great, thanks to my “yard guy” Clive. I need to finish packing for IPC APEX EXPO, so without further ado, here’s my must-reads for this week. I hope to see you at APEX next week.

IPC APEX EXPO 2024: There’s an App for That

With so many things to do at a large trade show and conference like IPC APEX EXPO, you cannot possibly take every class, attend every talk, or see every vendor on your list. But you can plan your days and maximize your time with the IPC APEX EXPO mobile app. The app allows you to easily view the show’s daily agenda, keynote speakers, the conference and professional development schedules, and, of course, flag and make notes on exhibitors.

Collaboration and Innovation: Insights from SMTA's First UHDI Symposium

Anaya Vardya provides valuable insights on industry collaboration and innovation at the first SMTA UHDI Symposium, delving into the necessity of collaboration in driving innovation and progress within our industry. He shares his experience in helping put this event together, and pride in being a part of bringing the UHDI test board to life.


Heavy Copper PCBs: Bridging the Gap Between Design and Fabrication, Part 1

They call me Sparky. This is due to my talent for getting shocked by a variety of voltages and because I cannot seem to keep my hands out of power control cabinets. While I do not have the time to throw the knife switch to the off position, that doesn’t stop me from sticking screwdrivers into the fuse boxes. In all honesty, I’m lucky to be alive. Fortunately, I also have a talent for building high-voltage heavy copper circuit boards. Since this is where I spend most of my time, I can guide you through some potential design for manufacturability (DFM) hazards you may encounter with heavy copper design.

PCBflow Helps Designers Choose Best Manufacturer for the Job

I recently spoke with a few technologists who have first-hand experience with PCBflow: Susan Kayesar, technical product manager with Siemens; Evgeny Makhline, CTO of Nistec, a CEM based in Israel; and Peter Tranitz, senior director of technology solutions and leader of the IPC Design Initiative. They explain how PCBflow functions, from the designer’s and manufacturer’s viewpoint, and how this database helps break down the wall between these stakeholders.

The Many Complexities of PFAS

In its simplest definition, PFAS is a group of chemicals used to make fluoropolymer coatings and products that resist heat, oil, stains, grease, and water. Fluoropolymer coatings can be in a variety of products. Though this definition is not inaccurate, it can be misleading. Depending on who you ask, there are upward of 10,000 PFAS chemistries that can meet various definitions.

UHDI Fundamentals: ASC Sponsors Ultra High Density Interconnect Symposium 

American Standard Circuits (ASC) is a major sponsor of an upcoming symposium on one of the most talked about new technologies that has come along in quite a while: ultra high density interconnect (UHDI).

Being the Best Design Engineer

During DesignCon 2024, I met with Bill Hargin, founder and CEO (Chief Everything Officer) of the stackup design software company Z-zero. In this interview, Bill discusses his stackup curriculum, what it takes to become a great design engineer, and why the best designers keep reading and challenging themselves constantly so they can stay on top of their game.

The Challenges, Opportunities, and Future Specialties of PCB Design

What were once specialties have become more generalized over time—PCB designers must learn about design automation, signal integrity (SI), electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), complex high-speed design, mechanical design, and manufacturability/producibility. Design engineers must learn about layout, simulation, and supply chains—and in their place new specialties have emerged, like multi-gigabit SerDes channel design, advanced manufacturing, IoT, and multi-physics system verification.

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

It was a busy week in PCB design and manufacturing. This has been a pretty “dense” week, and this week’s Top Five features an article on density equations by Happy Holden, and a news item about the SMTA UHDI symposium in Phoenix. We also have news about our latest podcast, and a Chris Mitchell column about economic security here and abroad. And Todd Kolmodin discusses the ins and out of 4-wire Kelvin testing, and he tells us a little about Lord Kelvin himself. 

OrCADX: High Performance That's Easy to Use

During DesignCon, I spoke with Chris Banton of EMA about the newest developments around OrCADX, which provides PCB designers with more design automation capability across the whole design process in an easy-to-use GUI. As Chris says, this tool is designed for agile design teams, and features an updated PCB UX, an enhanced 3D engine, SolidWorks integration, and AI for a superior user experience.

The Survey Said: What Does It Take to Become a Great Designer?

What does it take to become a great designer? After all, there isn’t exactly a critical path to becoming a great designer. How does a designer qualify as “great” in the first place? We posed that question to our PCB designer readers in a recent survey, and, as usual, the readers did not disappoint.

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

It may not officially be March Madness until March 17, but it feels pretty mad to me. Let’s just say it out loud: We are T-4 weeks to the IPC APEX EXPO. As I reviewed the big news of the week, I noticed quite a bit from mil/aero, and I recommend that you look for those headlines. But for now, I am more interested in the IPC Technical Conference and the ways that one engineer says you can get the most from your time spent at the show; Pete Starkey’s take on the world and European markets through the view of the EIPC keynote presenters; the reported growth in the global PCB market and the European EMS market; and what we are actually doing to remedy our workforce problems.


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