PCB007 Magazine

PCB-Apr2014

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44 The PCB Magazine • April 2014 A sold-out show, record conference atten- dance and solid floor visitors made for a good show and conference at this year's IPC APEX EXPO in Las Vegas. Here are some of my highlights. Mentor introduced a major new software suite designed to remove the information bar- riers created by disparate systems. The software streamlines the design-to-fab-to-assembly in- formation flow. Not being a user of software for design, fab or assembly, I can't speak to the software's effectiveness but, conceptually, it's a great idea and one that's been talked about for years. In fact, IPC hosted a meeting over a de- cade ago, which was well attended, and dealt with the communications issues in the supply chain. Think of how far along we'd be if that effort had gained traction. It's definitely a move in the right direction. The Printed Circuit Handbook, 7 th Edition is in the works. Editor Clyde Coombs came out of retirement to tackle the latest update of the PCB industry bible. First published in 1967, Coombs says this edition will likely contain up to 20% new content with all chapters getting signifi- cant updates, as needed, from some of the in- dustry's leading experts. It's a labor of love for Coombs, who spent much of his career at HP in their PCB facilities. He says the book effort helps him stay connected with the industry. Printed electronics, in its first-ever all-day session at an IPC event, offered a series of pre- sentations from materials suppliers as well as PE makers, demonstrating the interest this tech- nology is generating. In addition to the confer- ence, an entire day was dedicated to standards development efforts. Marc Carter stated that IPC is working with organizations around the globe to develop the standards needed for this rapidly evolving industry. Currently, all of the standards IPC is working on are co-authored with JPCA. At this point in time, IPC is a leader in the development of PE standards for PE ma- terials. Walt Custer gave quite an upbeat assessment in his state-of-the-market report. All indications point to a year of good industry growth for most regions. The U.S. should see solid growth while Europe may see some growth, but will likely re- main flat. Of course, one area of concern is the situation in the Ukraine. Although not big elec- tronics industry players (Ukraine and Russia), the crisis could rattle markets around the world. The sold-out show itself was very good; ex- hibitors were pretty happy. Their feelings were likely a direct result of the conference atten- dance, which translated into solid show-floor attendance. It will be interesting to see how it goes next year when we're back in San Diego. IPC APEX EXPO 2014: Publisher's Report by Ray Rasmussen i-connect007

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