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86 PCB007 MAGAZINE I MAY 2019 Feature Interview Nolan Johnson and Tony Senese—manag- er, business development group, Panasonic EMBD—discuss the evolution of the materials marketplace over the years from a time when the market aligned for the rise of Panasonic's MEGTRON 6 to the ever-changing materials in- dustry of today. With the ramp-up to 5G and everyone pushing product development, Tony describes a chaotic materials market flooded with new companies and materials. To succeed in such an environment, Tony says that the key is creating stability through high-level partner- ships. Nolan Johnson: Tony, there is a definite trend in the marketplace, moving away from FR-4 being the answer to everything. Increasingly, designers need to consider the following: high speed, low loss, high performance, environ- mental extremes, reliability, flex, smaller pack- ages, and new technologies for chip mounts. With all of these dynamics, it's no surprise that manufacturers' product portfolios are fractur- ing. What's the Panasonic perspective? Where is the market going? Tony Senese: I will give you a general overview, and then if we need to go into specific product lines as they relate to those market segments, we can talk a little more. But the thing that has changed in the 40 years isn't as obvi- ous as you might think. FR-4 has been the main- stay of multilayer since the late '70s. Other products that existed then have mostly fad- ed away. We've gone through several phases in material development, and a lot of those throughout the '70s were driven by military technical needs and specifications. FR-4 was the mainstay for most PCBs then; it was a low Tg product, but it was very easy for people to manufacture double-sided boards successfully up to six or eight layers at the time. Soldering has always been a problem. Some people believe that lead-free soldering was the beginning of the problem, but we've always had problems with soldering, moisture ab- sorption, and thermal reliability. In 2005, the RoHS directive prohibited lead as well as other Tony Senese

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