FLEX007

Flex-Apr2018

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48 FLEX007 MAGAZINE I APRIL 2018 years ago. In the spirit of Clarence, I'm here to warn you that "duh" is an inadequate response. Unmanufacturable designs are still prevalent in the PCB industry, on a worldwide scale. To help alleviate this issue, I'm trying to con- vince designers that they need to visit a board shop every now and then. I recently had the opportunity to take a group of designers on a tour of Streamline Circuits, a rigid and flex fab- ricator in Santa Clara, California. As a design instructor for EPTAC, I was teaching an IPC Certified Interconnect Designer (CID) class in Santa Clara. This four-day class drew a group of five PCB designers, all hop- ing to achieve their CID certification by the end of the week. During the segment of the course materials that covers the importance of reach- ing out to other PCB process stakeholders, I always ask the class if anyone has visited a PCB fabrication supplier to see the process up close. I am constantly amazed that a very small percentage of designers have ever done so. During this class, I had learned that the train- ing facility that EPTAC uses in Santa Clara is a block away from Streamline Circuits. Stream- line does a lot of military and aerospace work, as well as communications and industrial elec- tronics. The company manufactures quite a bit of multilayer flex and rigid-flex circuits, in addition to rigid boards. This would make a great field trip for my CID class! I had already preached the story about Clar- ence and his admonition to never design some- thing that can't be built. Then I asked how many designers in the class had toured a flex manufacturer, or even a rigid PCB shop. The answer was none. I asked our class if they would like to take a lunch break the day before our test, off the class clock, to visit Streamline Circuits. The response was unanimous. Absolutely! I called Streamline with my idea, and Appli- cations Engineer Randy Thompson said he'd love to host a tour of their facility. Fabricators Figure 1: From left to right: Jeremy Dunn, instructor Kelly Dack, Lakschmi Chaturbhuj, Yuebin (Victor) Ma, Terry Child, Streamline Applications Engineer Randy Thompson, and Dugan Karnazes. All CID students passed the exam and are now CID-certified.

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