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EIPC Technical Snapshot: ‘Tremendous Uncertainty’ in Global PCB Marketplace

For the past two years, EIPC’s Technical Snapshot series has kept us extremely well-informed on developments in printed circuit materials and manufacturing technologies. But what is currently happening in the global PCB market, and how is Europe and the rest of the world affected by the current world situation? The 19th chapter (coincidentally on Oct. 19) in the series gave us a privileged opportunity to find out, as two leading industry analysts presented their observations and opinions in a webinar introduced and moderated by EIPC technical director Tarja Rapala-Virtanen.

HDI, A-SAP and mSAP: A Designer’s Point of View

HDI—high-density interconnect—designs require some different thinking on the part of the designer. One of the first things to consider is whether you need HDI, and if so, how much. The HDI option comes into play as soon as you purchase any components with 0.5 mm pin pitch. The number of these components and other specifications of your design will determine the amount of HDI you will need. Here’s a quick list of HDI options.

Forming Standards for Ultra HDI

To get the latest news about ultra high-density interconnections (UHDI), we checked in with Jan Pedersen, NCAB Group’s director of technology. Jan is co-chair of IPC D-33AP, and a great source of overall DFM expertise as well. We asked him to give us a snapshot of UHDI in the industry, where we’re headed, and what this means to PCB designers.

Taiyo’s Brian Wojtkiewicz Discusses Flex, HDI and More

Nolan Johnson spoke with Brian Wojtkiewicz at PCB West about Taiyo’s latest developments in solder mask technology. They discussed the company’s advances in flexible circuits, HDI, and much more. In particular, Brian discusses the importance of reliability in fabrication and assembly. "We’re always in the fabricators’ shops. I’m out in the field talking to them, helping the operators understand the process, and making things work better because then we don’t have issues down the road," he says.

A Sharper Image

We recently spoke with Loren Davidson, a senior manufacturing engineer at TTM Technologies in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. In this wide-ranging discussion, Loren details the medium-volume facility’s imaging processes and equipment, a variety of imaging tricks of the trade, and why it’s so important to make decisions based on solid statistical data.

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

Where did the year go? I can’t believe we’re planning our January and February issues now. It was 84 degrees most of last week in Atlanta, and now it’s 31. I guess I should take my Hawaiian shirts out of rotation! This week we have quite a variety of articles for you. It’s officially show time and the industry is back in business in a major way. We have some news coming out of last week’s advanced packaging event in Washington, D.C., and an article about navigating SMTA International, which opens on Halloween this year in Minneapolis. We have a great column on avoiding EMI with good routing strategies, and an article on electrically conductive inks. To top it off, I-Connect007 has published a new book, written by Matt Stevenson of Sunstone Circuits, that posits a new “design for”: Designing for Reality. If you’re a designer, isn’t designing for reality what it’s all about?

EMA Helps Ease Designers’ Supply Chain Woes

Supply chain issues are continuing to cause disruptions in our industry, though lead times have dropped from astronomical to merely troublesome. In this interview, Chris Banton, EMA Design Automation’s director of marketing, explains how Cadence’s software has evolved as designers’ needs have changed in the past few turbulent years, including providing designers with component availability data early in the process.

Q&A: The Learning Curve for Ultra HDI

For this issue on ultra HDI, we reached out to Tara Dunn at Averatek with some specific questions about how she defines UDHI, more about the company’s patented semi-additive process, and what really sets ultra HDI apart from everything else. Do designers want to learn a new technology? What about fabricators? We hope this interview answers some of those questions that you may be having about these capabilities and what it could mean for your designs.

Sunstone and I-007eBooks Launch Book on Designing for Reality

I-007eBooks is excited to announce the release of the latest title in its series for designers, The Printed Circuit Designer’s Guide to… Designing for Reality. This book covers both written and unwritten rules for how to create a realistic, manufacturable design.

PCB Legislative Update: HR 7677

Electronic industry association leaders like IPC, PCBAA, and USPAE have been trekking to Capitol Hill almost weekly this year to reinforce the dire state of the industry and seek additional co-sponsors for HR 7677, a bill supporting the American printed circuit board industry. However, with only 78 days until the end of the 117th Congress, it is not likely that anything will move by the end of this session.


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

I’ve been in Washington, D.C., most of this week, attending and reporting on the IPC Advanced Packaging Symposium. You’ll see more content from me in the weeks and months to come as I sort through and highlight the varied aspects of this ground-breaking event. If you’re in this industry, advanced packaging will affect you, make no mistake about it.

Microvias Can Be Stacked in Certain Package Densities

Summit Interconnect’s Gerry Partida recently spoke with the I-Connect007 Editorial Team about his research into root causes of weak microvias. Rather than a single manufacturing process cause, Gerry suggests that microvia reliability is the culmination of several material interactions and that contrary to popular belief, microvias can still be stacked in small, tight packaging densities. He highlights the need for simulation, as well as some of his findings that he plans to publish in a paper at IPC APEX EXPO 2023.

IPC Advanced Packaging Symposium: An Urgent Need to Support Global Efforts

After two days of presentations, panel discussions, and impromptu hallway conversation at the IPC Advanced Packaging Symposium, one thing became clear: There is an urgency to support advanced packaging in all regions across the globe. The symposium, Oct. 11-12 in Washington, D.C., concluded with what seemed to be a great deal of expanded perspective for those who attended.

IPC Symposium: U.S. Must Address Critical Gaps in Advanced Packaging Needs

There is a significant capability gap in advanced substrate packaging in North America, forcing all semiconductors to be packaged in Asia and leaving North America at risk in its supply chain. This was a common theme during a two-day IPC Advanced Packaging Symposium, which launched yesterday at the Kimpton Monaco hotel in Washington, D.C.

Lessons Learned: Breaking Down the Four Types of Communication

Kelly Dack and Nolan Johnson explore the silver linings from the past two years, especially the importance of good communication. These skills are—as they have always been—key to the success of the project. But how do you define the best methods for communication? Kelly breaks down four personality types and why it’s important to recognize how one person differs from another. When you better understand how a person thinks, your level of effective communication increases exponentially.

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

It’s been a busy week for I-Connect007. Managing Editor Nolan Johnson and I covered PCB West at the Santa Clara Convention Center, and, as you’ll see in my article below the place was packed. We have an article about SMTA International, scheduled for the end of October. I think the trade show season is looking good into 2023. People are done with COVID shutdowns and ready to get back to live trade shows and conferences. We’ll be in Minneapolis to bring you the latest news and technical information. We also have a news report about the European Union committing to craft its own version of America’s CHIPS Act. There’s a great interview with Dana Korf and John Strubbe about the latest innovations in materials at TUC. And columnist Paige Fiet explains why she is committed to making manufacturing “cool” again to help recruit and retain young technologists.

From the Floor at PCB West 2022

Though the organizers of PCB West had soldiered through in delivering a conference every year during the pandemic, the virtual and hybrid models just did not quite meet the requirements for a technical conference. To be fair, the limitations weren’t PCB West’s fault; the shortcomings came from the show’s virtual environments, not the host. All the more encouraging, then, that the 2022 edition of PCB West was back in bloom.

Catching Up With Author Michael Kurland

"Broken to Better: 13 Ways Not to fail at Life and Leadership" is simply one of the best books I’ve read this year. In fact, I was so impressed that I decided to reach out to the author, Michael Kurland, to talk about his book, what led him to write it, and what we should all learn from it. Michael was gracious enough to take time out of his busy schedule to share his thoughts on building his business and why he wrote a book about it. I think you will find it provocative and thought provoking.

Korf and Strubbe: Material Witnesses

Recently, columnist Dana Korf has been working with Taiwan Union Technology Corporation (TUC), one of the largest providers of copper-clad laminate and mass lamination services in the world. We spoke with Dana about the trends he sees in materials at TUC and around the globe, why copper is still king, as well as some potential non-traditional materials that may see growth soon. Dana invited John Strubbe, TUC VP of technology, to join in the conversation.

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

This week, our five must-reads include the IPC report on the EMS industry and a report on ICs for the automotive market. Add to that Lockheed’s highest powered DoD laser yet, IPC’s APEX keynote announcement, and—for you conference and expo junkies—a calendar of upcoming industry events. I can’t help but notice that much of our news is about, well, something new. In this case, my editor’s picks for the week capture new technology, new perspectives, new ways to communicate content, and new developments that we can expect to see in our future daily life. To borrow a phrase from the TV show “Firefly,” everything is “shiny” this week. I will be at PCB West, the IPC Advanced Packaging symposium, SMTA International, and electronica. If you see me, say hello, and share something cool about the part of the industry you’re in.


Michael Carano: A Focus on Process Control, Part 2

In this second half of our conversation, Michael Carano discusses some of the metrics that fabricators need to consider before investing in new processes, especially process control technologies, and some of the challenges board shops face updating brownfield sites.

Catching Up With John Johnson, New Director of Business Development at ASC

It’s always good to catch up with old friends, especially when you can start working together. I recently spoke with my friend John Johnson, who has joined American Standard Circuits as the director of business development. At ASC, John will be using the Averatek A-SAP process that he was previously involved with. He shares some of his background and provides insight on the best ways to use this semi-additive PCB fabrication process that opens the capability window for forming trace and space.

Book Excerpt: The Electronics Industry’s Guide to… The Evolving PCB NPI Process, Chapter 1

The Electronics Industry’s Guide to… The Evolving PCB NPI Process is the first book in I-Connect007’s new The Electronics Industry’s Guide to… technical series. This valuable resource is for all segments of the electronics interconnect industry. What follows is an excerpt from Chapter 1: 'How the NPI Process Has Changed and Where We're Going'.

The New World Order of JIC

The great business thought leader Margaret Heffernan commented that we are changing from just-in-time (JIT) to just-in-case (JIC). As we’ve worked our way through the issues of the past two years, the world is changing from a complicated to a complex system, and we must be prepared to face the challenges it brings. To survive today, we need the JIC mentality. We must be prepared for the unexpected. No longer can we rely on cycles and patterns to predict the future, or what we might be able to handle based on what that future brings. Now we must prepare for the unexpected. We must be flexible and able to adapt to whatever comes our way.

A Focus on Process Control, Part 1

Michael Carano is a noted subject matter expert with respect to process control, electroplating and metallization technology, surface finishing, and reliability. So, it was only natural that we sat down to talk about mechanizing an existing facility given today’s fickle environment. Will any of the CHIPS funding trickle down to bare board fabrication? What process can be adjusted on the factory floor? The focus needs to be more than just on manufacturing and getting work out the door, he says, but also process control.
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