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10 PCB007 MAGAZINE I NOVEMBER 2019 Feature Interview by Pete Starkey I-CONNECT007 Pete Starkey speaks with EIPC Technical Director Tarja Rapala-Virtanen about her per- spective on changing PCB demands, including flex vs. rigid boards, and the impact of minia- turization, modularity, 5G, the automotive in- dustry, etc. Pete Starkey: Hello, Tarja. It's nice to have the opportunity to talk with you again, and I re- ally appreciate you taking the time. Please give us a brief personal background to your present position. Tarja Rapala-Virtanen: As you know, I have more than 30 years' experience in managing complex electronics projects in multicultural environments across Asia and Europe mainly as well as the U.S. During the last 10 years, I worked in China as the VP of technology for a global PCB company. I returned to Finland in the summer of 2018, and I'm still explor- ing the European landscape to understand it better. I'm currently the technical director of EIPC, the European Institute for the PCB Com- munity. Through my knowledge network, and especially through my long Asia experience, I can bring value, a new perspective, and fresh ideas to my work with EIPC. Starkey: You are already an enormous asset to the European PCB community, and we're very pleased to have you here. If you look at the European PCB industry from your perspective, what's the most significant change you've seen in the past few years? Rapala-Virtanen: I'm still on a bit of a learning curve, but I do not see any significant change in the PCB industry. However, the demand for types of PCBs has changed. For example, the demand for flexible boards has grown while the demand for rigid PCBs has been steady, more or less; it may have increased a little bit, but what I see on the rigid PCB side is that the design features and requirements for next- generation PCBs are more challenging. Minia- turization will never end. The requirement for product tolerances is getting tighter and tighter both within the board and even at the lot-to- lot level. One driving factor for these require- ments is increased modularity, which applies to the entire PCB supply chain. It's nearly ev- erywhere; we see it in Europe and globally. Starkey: Looking specifically at Europe, what sort of challenges are your European EIPC members currently facing? Tarja Rapala-Virtanen on Changing PCB Demands

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