Flex Standards Update With Nick Koop
This month, I interviewed Nick Koop—director of flex technology at TTM Technologies, a veteran “flex guy” and instructor, and a leader of several IPC flex standards committees. Nick provides an update for the committees he’s involved with and discusses some of the challenges that he sees as more designers enter the world of flex.
Additive Electronics Conference Set for October 2019 Debut
Kelly Dack and Tara Dunn talk about the upcoming conference "Additive Electronics: PCB Scale to IC Scale" on October 24, 2019, hosted by SMTA in San Jose, California, and why it's an important event for people to attend—especially those involved in the design process.
Insulectro and DuPont Experts Talk Flex Design
I recently spoke with Insulectro’s Chris Hunrath and DuPont’s Steven Bowles at the DuPont Technology and Innovation Center in Sunnyvale, California. We discussed a variety of topics related to flex design, including the support structure that’s needed in flex design, the everchanging world of flex materials, and the need for working with a flex fabricator as early as possible in the flex design cycle.
Additive Electronics Conference Set for October 2019
Tara Dunn, president of Omni PCB and I-Connect007 columnist, and Lenora Clark, director of autonomous driving and safety technology at MacDermid Alpha Automotive, discuss what can be expected from the upcoming Additive Electronics Conference in San Jose, California, the impetus and motivation behind the conference, and who can benefit the most from attending.
Selecting the Proper Flex Coverlayer Material
Coverlayers are polymer materials used to cover and protect the copper traces of the flex circuit product. There are a number of different options available for protecting the circuits, and they serve different design requirements in terms of cost, performance, and flexural endurance optimization. When specifying the choice, it is critical to call out not just the type of coverlayer material but also the thickness requirement. This can be very important in certain types of constructions, especially when a flex circuit will experience dynamic flexing during use.
Mentor Tools: Optimized for Flex and Rigid-flex Design
With the launch of the new Flex007 section in Design007 Magazine, we asked David Wiens, product marketing manager with Mentor, a Siemens Business, to tell us about their tools’ flex and rigid-flex design capabilities. As David explains, today’s higher-end design software tools are optimized for flex design, making workarounds a thing of the past.
26 Meters of Flex!
Barry Matties spoke with Philip Johnston, managing director of Trackwise Designs, about the company’s patented length-unlimited multilayer printed circuits aimed at replacing conventional wire harnesses. Originally created for the aerospace industry, Trackwise has since seen growing interest from a number of different industries. Jake Kelly, managing director and chairman of Viking Test Ltd., also joined the conversation to discuss the importance of having a flexible equipment supplier when dealing with such a unique technology.
Crowded Congressional Calendar Affects Industry Priorities
More than five months remain in 2019, but U.S. congressional leaders are already running out of time as they face a long list of must-pass bills before year’s end. Although some of these bills do not affect the electronics industry, some of them do, and the overall agenda does affect the opportunities and risks we face.
AWE 2019: Go XR, Be Awesome
Dan Feinberg attended and covered the recent 2019 Augmented World Expo (AWE) and conference in Santa Clara, California. The event featured the latest developments and technologies in augmented (AR), mixed (MR), virtual (VR), and extended virtual reality (many just call it all XR to make it simple). Here's a wrap-up of the event.
What Electronics Companies Need to Know About Environmental Product Requirements
The task of monitoring and complying with environmental, health and safety (EHS) rules that affect electronics companies and their products requires a watchful eye on all levels of government: local, state, national, and international.
IPC’s PCB Tech Trends Study Highlights Issues Impacting Fabricators
The 2018 survey results indicated the need for speed and low loss as critical functions of the materials chosen. This is the digital age, and with the Internet of Things, virtual and augmented reality, vehicle-to-vehicle communication, etc., the need for low-loss and ultra-low-loss materials continues to grow as a percentage of circuit boards fabricated.
DuPont on Materials Challenges and New Opportunities
John Andresakis, senior marketing technologist in the Interconnect Solutions (ICS) Group of DuPont, and Jonathan Weldon, RF applications engineer also in ICS at DuPont, spoke with the I-Connect007 editorial team about trends the company is seeing, what challenges their customers are facing with materials today, and future opportunities with new technologies, including 5G, electric cars, IoT, and more.
IMPACT Washington, D.C. 2019 Recap: Leaders Call for Action on USMCA Trade Deal
Top executives from electronics companies across the United States were in Washington, D.C., last week to call on the Trump administration and Congress to support policies that will drive the electronics industry’s future growth in North America and worldwide.
FlexFactor Program Informs, Inspires, Attracts, and Recruits Talent
Barry Matties and Nolan Johnson speak with Brynt Parmeter, Emily McGrath, Clarence Chi, and Mikayla Ridi about the NextFlex program FlexFactor. This initiative aims to help high school and college students see potential futures in the advanced manufacturing sector and combat common misperceptions young people might have about modern-day manufacturing.
Growing Opportunities with 3D Printed Electronics
Dr. Kurt Christenson, senior scientist at Optomec, discusses the company’s Aerosol Jet technology, which eliminates the need for wire bonding by printing interconnects on 3D surfaces. Christenson also explores the current state of the technology and highlights the market segments and applications with the most to benefit from being able 3D print electronic components, such as resistors, capacitors, antennas, and transistors.
DuPont on New Beginnings and Empowering the Industry
Andy Kannurpatti gives the I-Connect007 team an overview of the latest news from DuPont Electronics and Imaging, including investments toward the new production assets in Ohio, Silicon Valley Technology Center, and other facilities. He also details how the company is engaging OEMs and PCB fabricators and design teams, as well as some exciting business updates coming this spring and summer.
Technically Appropriate Material Choices are Key to Design Success
Materials are no longer a passive part of the design; they play an active role in the manufacturability, reliability, and speed of a PCB. I-Connect007’s Nolan Johnson and Mike Creeden, founder of San Diego PCB Design, discuss several key characteristics that designers should consider in their material selection process.
Learning to Be More Flexible: Case Studies on Improving FPC Design
As miniaturization requirements force manufacturers to pack more functionality into ever-smaller packages, it becomes more difficult to conform to IPC construction recommendations. Achieving robust FPCs requires frequent, iterative interaction internally among the mechanical, electrical, and PCB design teams, as well as with the fabricators and assemblers. The sooner in the design cycle you can engage the supplier and assembler, the better.
Ventec Focuses on High-mix Manufacturing
The I-Connect007 team recently toured Ventec International Group’s Suzhou factory where a modern, flexible manufacturing concept designed for fast delivery is enhancing their established volume manufacturing of specialty, high-reliability epoxy laminates and prepregs. Read on to know more about Ventec's ongoing investment in the facility to offer flexible world-class high-mix manufacturing capabilities for polyimide, thermal management, low-loss, and signal integrity material solutions.
Dan Gamota Discusses Flex and Alternative Substrates
As the VP of manufacturing technology and innovation for Jabil, Dan gave us his take on the current state of flex and alternative substrates and explained why modeling, automation, and process controls are likely to be key ingredients in the recipe for manufacturing non-FR-4 boards in the future.
Automation on Full Display at Recent China Exhibitions
With the rising cost of labor in China, the growing demand for automation has never been stronger. At the recent productronica China 2019, and accompanying shows, one hall was packed full of automation technology. This video gives you a glimpse into what was on display… and the new workforce.
Nano Dimension Offers Update on Dragonfly 3D Printer a Year After Launch
The Nano Dimension Dragonfly 3D printer arrived in much fanfare a little over a year ago. The company has been selling them to customers around the world, many of whom are using them to print antennas, sensors, and PCBs. At AltiumLive in Munich, I asked Product Manager Robert Even to discuss what they’ve learned in the year since the Dragonfly debuted, and some potential uses for 3D printing technology.
Meyer Burger on Inkjet Technology and Digital Printing Benefits
Don Veri, sales and business development manager for Meyer Berger, discusses some of the challenges fabricators face in adopting inkjet technology, the benefits they can expect once it’s deployed in their facility, and the advantages of digital printing in solving problems on the shop floor.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO 2019: Insulectro Sees Growth and Opportunities in Printed Electronics
Judy Warner speaks with Tim Redfern, Insulectro president, and Kevin M. Miller, VP of sales, about growth in the printed electronics market, the direction Insulectro is going, and opportunities for North American PCB suppliers. They note that the company will increase their focus and investment in the printed electronics market.
Flex/MSTC Joint Conference: A Collaborative Week in Monterey
Collaboration filled the air at the Hyatt Regency in Monterey, California, as the 18th annual Flex/Mems&Sensors technical conference brought flex technology and sensor experts and 550+ attendees together to network and share ideas from February 18–21, 2019.
Institute of Circuit Technology Evening Seminar
The Institute of Circuit Technology hosted its first 2019 seminar at the Woodland Grange Hotel in Royal Leamington Spa in the Midlands of England on February 26. The diverse programme of four presentations was introduced by ICT Chairman Andy Cobley, a professor at Coventry University, who stood in for Bill Wilkie, who had been taken ill at short notice.
Inspiring the Next Generation of Industry Leaders: IPC STEM Student Outreach Program
At IPC APEX EXPO 2019, I-Connect007 Managing Editor Patty Goldman spoke with Colette Buscemi, IPC's senior director for education programs, about the success and expansion of the IPC STEM Student Outreach Program, activities and scholarship opportunities for students through sponsor support—including I-Connect007—and feedback she received on the event.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO 2019: Super PCB Discusses High-end PCB Procurement Services
Kelly Dack speaks with Jessica Zhang, program manager for Super PCB, who focuses on serving customers with a small-business-type relationship. Based in Plano, Texas, Super PCB matches customer design requirements to a myriad of supplier capabilities through time-saving, direct communication with the supplier and best pricing.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO 2019: Lenthor Discusses Facility Expansion and New Equipment
Rich Clemente, general manager of Lenthor Engineering, discusses with Dan Feinberg, I-Connect007 Guest Editor, the company’s expansion and new facility and equipment. He also talks about his outlook for the electronics manufacturing industry in North America.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO 2019: Uyemura Discusses Heavy Gold Deposition
Richard DePoto, business development manager at Uyemura, brings Pete Starkey up to speed with the success of the heavy gold deposition process they discussed last year. It has been seamlessly integrated into standard ENEPIG lines to give a choice of finishes, and how advances in electroless palladium have enabled the elimination of electroless nickel for high-speed signal integrity.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO 2019: New IPC Technical Education Program Manager
Brook Sandy-Smith discusses her new role as IPC technical education program manager, which is also a brand-new IPC position. She further explains the benefits of membership, when a member should contact her, the IPC STEM Outreach Program, and upcoming events.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO 2019: Taiyo Discusses New Solder Masks and Photoimageables
Donald Monn, Midwest regional sales manager for Taiyo America, turns the tables on I-Connect007 Technical Editor Pete Starkey and quizzes him about his knowledge of Taiyo's new crack-resistant white solder mask for automotive, and the company's standard photoimageables re-formulated for laser direct imaging (LDI) that avoid the need for UL requalification.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO 2019: Ventec's Goodwin on Global Technology Directions
Mark Goodwin, Ventec International Group CEO EMEA and USA, comments on technology directions globally and in the North American market. He also explains how Ventec's quality accreditations, technical expertise, and flexible manufacturing capacity continue to strengthen their leading position.
CES 2019: More Show Floor Favorites
In my final piece covering CES 2019, I will review more automotive technology, updates on 3D printing, and some trending devices such as smartwatches and new computer components for those that either need or just want to have extremely powerful and impressive-looking computers.
RTW IPC APEX EXPO 2019: Ventec Highlights Core Solutions for Thermal Management
Jack Pattie, president of Ventec International Group, speaks with I-Connect007 Guest Editor Kelly Dack about the many heat issues associated with circuit boards right now—whether in general applications, power applications, PCs—as everyone demands smaller, faster, and more powerful systems.
Laser Focus on Flex and Rigid-flex
ESI’s Chris Ryder, director of Product Management, and Shane Noel, Flex Systems product manager, discuss laser vias for flex users and the increasing necessity for companies to collaborate early on and become more and more involved, whether that be in the product design, or with the process or base material manufacturers.
Atotech at HKPCA on Announcements and Advancements
Edy Yu, managing editor for PCB007 China, caught up with Daniel Schmidt, Atotech’s director of global marketing, during the 2018 HKPCA and IPC Show in December. Edy and Daniel discussed Atotech’s new announcements at the show including their new solutions for 5G, high-speed, and high-frequency applications, and more.
ESI’s Chris Ryder: There’s More to Choosing a Laser Than You Think
At the recent HKPCA show, I sat down with ESI’s Chris Ryder, director of product management—HDI—to discuss considerations for choosing a new laser system, and how ESI uses its decades of flex and rigid-flex drilling experience to help guide customers in their decision-making process.
Robert Art on the Importance of Thermal Management
Robert Art, global account manager for IMS materials at Ventec International Group, discusses future market requirements for thermal management materials, the need for a better understanding of the concept of thermal impedance, and an initiative to propose a consistent industry-standard method for measuring thermal conductivity while at electronica 2018.
The Shape of Things to Come: Curved, Flexible, Stretchable, and Three-Dimensional Electronics
The seamless integration of electronics into flexible, curved, and even stretchable surfaces is being requested for several markets, such as automotive (dashboards, lighting, sensors), smart buildings (lighting facades, air quality, solar panels), medical (health patches, X-ray, analysis), and smart clothing (position tracking, sports).
Successful Flex Circuit Design and Processing Guidelines
With the use of sensors and technology in everything from mobile phones to refrigerators, automobiles, and wearable medical devices, circuit boards are a component in many different types of products. In today’s world of electronics, any product with an on-off switch contains a circuit board.
Ventec's Marketing Strategy and Their Newly Appointed Technology Ambassador
At electronica 2018, Mark Goodwin, chief operating officer at Ventec International Group, discusses the company’s marketing strategy along with their newly appointed technology ambassador, Alun Morgan, and how he sees the world.
Meet All Flex’s New President and CEO Matt Keithly
All Flex Flexible Circuits and Heaters recently appointed Matt Keithly as their new president and CEO. In this exclusive interview, Keithly discusses his background, the direction of the company, and topics related to flexible circuits and other areas of All Flex’s business.
150+ Years of Experience: Reflections with Three Industry Icons
You would be hard-pressed to find a more knowledgeable and experienced group than that of Gary Ferrari, Gene Weiner, and Happy Holden. In a brief interview with Barry Matties, these three industry icons consider the past, present, and future state of electronics manufacturing while also offering advice to the newest generation of manufacturers.
Flex Talk: Additive Electronics—PCB Scale to IC Scale
SAP, mSAP, SLP—what kind of crazy acronyms have we adopted now, and how much do you really need to know? In terms of consumer electronics, there is a good chance that the smartphone attached to your hand at all times contains a PCB fabricated with this technology—or at the very least, the next-generation smartphone that you purchase will utilize mSAP technology.
What's FLITE About? An Old Man's Observations
FLITE—Female Leaders in Tech, Everywhere—aims to raise the visibility of females in technology, manufacturing, and engineering by celebrating their achievements and learning from their experiences. I-Connect007 Technical Editor Pete Starkey sit in on FLITE's networking event at the recent What's New in Electronics (WNIE) Live show to find out more about this enterprise, which turned out to be an inspirational eye-opener.
SLP: The Next Level of Technology
As our electronic devices and machines become more powerful and as Moore’s Law chugs along, things in the world of PCBs keep getting smaller. You know the drill—finer lines and spaces, thinner laminates, more layers— cram more circuitry into the same or shrinking area. Where will it all end? Or will it?
Building a Better Board: It Always Comes Back to Communication
For our experts meeting on the August’s theme of reliability, we reached out to Colonial Circuits and asked them to participate in a conference call with our I-Connect007 editorial team consisting of Dan Feinberg, Andy Shaughnessy, Patty Goldman, and Happy Holden. Joining the call from Colonial Circuits was Mark Osborn, president and CEO, Kevin Knapp, quality manager, and Rodney Krick, manufacturing manager.
Reliability Takes on a New Urgency
Consumers wanted a reliable car that wouldn’t break down on the road; a computer that wouldn’t crash; a phone network that wouldn’t drop our calls; the plane we were hurtling across the sky in to stay in the air and land safely, with the wheels down. In retrospect, those seem rather simple wants, and the industry certainly wants to deliver.
Atotech on Challenges and Opportunities in PCB Manufacturing
Abel Ruivo, Atotech Deputy Business Director of Electronics for Greater China, and Daniel Schmidt, head of Global Marketing for Electronics at Atotech Group, spoke with I-Connect007 about the various challenges of PCB manufacturing in China, as well as about the opportunities in the sector.
Reflow Perspectives to Flex Circuit Assemblies
At the recent NEPCON China 2018 event in Shanghai, I spoke with Ralf Wagenfuehr, plant manager at Rehm Thermal Systems, to gain insight into flex circuit assembly, and the challenges of reflow soldering. He also speaks about the need for industry forums focused on soldering flex printed circuits.
Flex Time: Why is Rigid-Flex So Expensive?
One question that I hear fairly often, particularly after an initial quotation, is “Why is rigid-flex so expensive?” In this article, I’ll share with designers the cost drivers in rigid-flex relative to standard rigid boards and flex circuits with stiffeners. A typical rigid-flex PWB will cost about seven times the cost of the same design on a hard board, and two to three times an equivalent flex circuit with stiffeners.
EIPC 50th Anniversary Conference Day 2: The Past, the Present and the Future, Pt. 1
The sun was shining in Dusseldorf as delegates returned to the conference room for the second day of the EIPC 50th Anniversary Conference. There were very few empty chairs—even those who had enjoyed a late networking session in the hotel bar had taken their seats as Paul Waldner opened the proceedings with Session 5, on a theme of future PCB design, material and processes for the PCB supply chain.
Excerpt: The Printed Circuit Designer’s Guide to…Flex and Rigid-Flex Fundamentals
The design process is arguably the most important part of the flex circuit procurement process. The decisions made in the design process will have a lasting impact, for better or worse, throughout the manufacturing cycle. In advance of providing important details about the actual construction of the flex circuit, it is of value to provide some sort of understanding of the expected use environment for the finished product.
5G—Generation after Generation
If you’re like me, you’ve probably heard of 5G, but you may not understand what all the fuss is about. First, 5G simply means fifth-generation mobile networks. The best way to understand what 5G is about is to understand all the other Gs, like 3G and 4G (we rarely hear about the early Gs!).
The Institute of Circuit Technology Annual Symposium 2018
ICT technical director Bill Wilkie is well-known for choosing notable venues for Institute of Circuit Technology events, and his choice for this year’s Annual Symposium was the National Motor Museum, located in the village of Beaulieu in the heart of the New Forest, a national park in the county of Hampshire in Southern England. The region is known for its heathland, forest trails and native ponies.
Experts Discussion with John Talbot, Tramonto Circuits
For this first issue of Flex007 Magazine, we interviewed John Talbot, president and owner of Tramonto Circuits. Headquartered in metro Minneapolis, Minnesota, Tramonto manufactures flexible and rigid PCBs for a variety of industry segments. Editors Andy Shaughnessy, Patty Goldman and Stephen Las Marias asked John to discuss the challenges and opportunities in the world of flexible circuits, and some of the trends he’s seeing in this market.
Experts Discussion: The Flex Technologists Speak
For our first issue of the Flex007 Magazine, we invited a group of flexible circuit experts to discuss their work in this rapidly growing segment. Participants included Jonathan Weldon of DuPont, Mark Finstad of Flexible Circuit Technologies, and Scott McCurdy and Scott Miller of Freedom CAD. In a free-wheeling discussion with Andy Shaughnessy and Barry Matties, these technologists share their thoughts on the challenges and opportunities in flexible circuits, as well as what constitutes the cutting edge of flex right now.