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Page 64 of 121

AUGUST 2021 I PCB007 MAGAZINE 65 Indeed, if one surveys the North American electronics industry supply chain, there are several of these clusters spread out across the United States. is includes: • Chicago-Milwaukee-Minneapolis area • Santa Clara/San Jose, California • Orange County/San Diego, California • Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas • Phoenix/Chandler, Arizona In each of these clusters, there are multi- ple printed circuit board fabricators and cir- cuit board assembly companies. Suppliers of necessary materials and chemicals are also in these locations. While many of these firms are in competition with one another, there are op- portunities to forge mutually beneficial rela- tionships. ese firms have several things in common. And, if these firms cooperate or col- laborate in some way, significant benefits can accrue, including financial, technology, and ef- ficiency gains. Call to Action e prevailing school of thought is that cer- tain countries, the United States in particular, are not competitive in critical industries. One can cite the printed circuit board manufac- turing and assembly industries. ese two in- terrelated industries form the building blocks (substrates) and the conduit that join the semi- conductor chips and packages to the final elec- tronic product. Electronics are crucial in thou- sands of products from heart-lung machines to engine control systems for your automobile, or myriad other consumer items including smart- phones and computers. Without highly reliable printed circuit boards and circuit assemblies, those complex chips and components cannot function. is somewhat dire assessment plac- es the safety and security of the United States at risk. e supply chain is already fragile due to numerous factors that have been presented elsewhere. One idea is to form, under the umbrella of IPC, an HDI institute to work on innovations in high density and ultra-high-density inter- connects. e consortia would focus on jump- ing the curve with respect to the state-of-the- art and leading-edge printed circuit board technology. e specific focus would be on the development of enabling technologies to man- ufacture interconnect devices to support chip packaging, semiconductor fabrication, inter- posers, and high-end internet infrastructure and telephony. In addition, the HDI institute would support mission-critical defense/aero- space applications. e consortia could be located in various clusters within the United States. Consid- er three separate "consortia." Each separate group would focus on developing and deliver- ing leading-edge and state-of-the-art printed wiring board interconnection substrates. e membership in each location could consist of three to five printed wiring board fabricators. ese fabricators must be willing to share re- sources and essentially act as one company in each region. e business model for each con- sortium would be designed to compete on dif- ferentiation, not on price. e model would revolve around higher technology, e.g., high- er layer counts, fine pitch HDI and ultra HDI, manufacturing efficiencies, and marketing ex- pertise. e latter will provide connections to the end users in support of the higher technol- ogy offerings of the consortia. Now, is this only about collaboration to solve a particular technical issue? No, this goes deep- er than that. is is about leverage, whereby the Without highly reliable printed circuit boards and circuit assemblies, those complex chips and components cannot function.

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