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28 PCB007 MAGAZINE I JUNE 2019 Feature Interview by Nolan Johnson Materials are no longer a passive part of the design; they play an active role in the manu- facturability, 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 design- ers should consider in their material selection process. Nolan Johnson: Mike, could you introduce your- self and tell us about what you're working on? Mike Creeden: I'm the founder of San Diego PCB Design, and I had the opportunity to sell the company to Milwaukee Electronics/Screaming Circuits, so we've joined the Milwaukee Elec- tronics family of companies. I also serve as an EPTAC instructor for the IPC CID and CID+ programs as an MIT (master instructor). Johnson: When in the design cycle should PCB development people consider material selec- tion? Creeden: That's a great question. It should be within the first days of starting your project because that's the best time to establish that things will be designed "correct by construc- tion." I do not want to design a product and then consult my fabricator in the last days of development. If the material is not in stock, we may be delaying the procurement of what is probably a late design, anyway. You'd want to make sure that it's in stock, and you'd also want the coaching from your fabricator and supply chain to make sure that you're making correct selections. When you do this late in the process, selections may happen quickly, and there may not be enough time to ensure that it's an appropriate material selection. There's always a material technology decision, and it should be made early in the design process. The earlier, the better because this allows time to change it if that is required. Johnson: You're making the point that mate- rial is becoming increasingly important. With that in mind, and especially for anybody who's newer to this, why is material important? Technically Appropriate Material Choices Are Key to Success

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