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40 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I JANUARY 2020 Interview by Andy Shaughnessy I-CONNECT007 I recently interviewed long-time PCB design- er Rainer Beerhalter of Squadrat, an NEC com- pany. He shined a light on his design specialty: Designing boards for large-scale LED screens that are installed in arenas and on the sides of skyscrapers around the world. Andy Shaughnessy: Rainer, it's good to see you again. Give everybody a real quick background about yourself, your job, and the company where you work. Rainer Beerhalter: I've been in the electronic design business for more than 25 years. I now have my own company, and we work as a de- sign service. Since about two years ago, I've been in a contract situation with a big Japa- nese company that I design LED systems for. This is the domain I've been working in since 1996, so I've been designing LED systems for a long time. This is from the system architec- ture down to the LED implementation design, so every level of electronic design and sys- tems design and parameter design is my job description. I work with a team of engineers from many disciplines. I'm a physicist, so I have a scientific background. My teams are electrical engineers or IT technology experts, who write all the firmware, so the systems are very complex. And what makes it special is we do not think in square millimeters; we think in square me- ters. Each year, my responsibility is about 5,000–7,000 square meters of PCB production in the Far East. The main products are huge LED screens you see in football stadiums, public advertising, traffic signs, etc. The situ- ation is this: how do you accomplish this job, designing these kinds of products, into PCB layout? Shaughnessy: So, you're talking about the gi- ant screens, like at The Bund in Shanghai. Beerhalter: Yes, and other LED screens you see in the skyline in Hong Kong and Shanghai, for instance. Designing PCBs for Large-scale LED Screens

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