Design007 Magazine


Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 89 of 109

90 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I DECEMBER 2019 fortunate to have both large conferences such as IPC APEX EXPO and SMTAi, as well as smaller regional conferences such as the Addi- tive Electronics: PCB Scale to IC Scale Confer- ence and the IPC Electronic Materials Forum. We also have an active network of local chap- ter meetings through organizations such as SMTA, IEEE, and IPC that meet more frequent- ly and provide a lot of valuable education. What are some interesting new topics to start exploring? Are you currently working with flex and rigid-flex designs? Although flexible cir- cuits have been used for decades, they are one of the fastest-growing portions of the PCB mar- ket, and I regularly speak with people who are just starting to tackle their first designs. One key thing to explore before starting your first flex design is flexible materials. What are the common laminates? What does your supplier regularly stock? Which coverlay type will be best for your application: polyimide or a flex- ible photoimageable coverlay? Will you need a stiffener? If so, will that be FR-4 or polyimide? Once you have learned materials, the next things to learn are the tips and tricks to help improve flexibility in the design: teardrops, tie- downs, routing the traces perpendicular to the bend, do not place plated through-holes in the bend area, be sure that coverlay and stiffener endpoints overlap by at least 0.030", and the list goes on! Another up-and-coming technology is addi- tive PCB processes that are enabling very high- density interconnect technology and achieving trace and space at or below 0.001". SAP, mSAP, and SLP are all new acronyms gaining a lot of attention. Substrate-like PCBs, semi-additive processes, and modified semi-additive process- es are new to PCB fabrication, and technolo- gies are available that allow these processes to be integrated with our traditional subtractive etch processes, opening a whole new way of solving next-generation electronics challenges. Imagine the size and weight reduction when able to route with 0.001" trace and space or the added electronics that could be included in the existing footprint with this technology. There is a lot of work currently being done to help define these benefits and identify creative What I hope the students learned is that those "little green squares" require custom tooling and complex processing, even for a simple design. I also hope the students are at least a little interested in learning more about careers in this field. During the second session, they were introduced to local companies that are sponsoring job shadowing, internships, etc. I am confident there were some good con- nections made. I joked that the student's eyes turned to that glassy, faraway look, but I remember back to a few times I experienced that myself this fall. I had the opportunity to attend several different conferences and a couple of engineering meet- ings in a field that I am not completely famil- iar with. A few times, I was quickly scribbling notes and spelling phonetically so I could go back later and get a better understanding of what everyone was talking about. I am sure that I ended up with the blank stare a few times as well! The PCB industry is moving and advancing so quickly that there is always something new to learn. I encourage everyone to break outside of their comfort zone and search out something new. It can be uncomfortable to feel like the only person in the room that isn't completely knowledgeable about the topic, but I can al- most guarantee there are others. Where are these opportunities to search out new information? The electronics industry is The PCB industry is moving and advancing so quickly that there is always something new to learn. I encourage everyone to break outside of their comfort zone and search out something new.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Design007 Magazine - Design007-Dec2019