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60 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I FEBRUARY 2022 Which side of these competing aphorisms do you most relate to: "e only thing con- stant is change" or "e more things change, the more they stay the same." I can build a case behind both when looking through the lens of someone working in the printed circuit board industry. Electronics are rapidly evolving and chal- lenging printed circuit board designers to add more functionality in smaller and smaller spaces. is pushes designers to search for and utilize new "tools" in their toolbox. Whether that is moving into the world of flexible cir- cuits or rigid-flex, or jumping into technology created with semi-additive processes and sud- denly being able to route with 50-micron line and space, 25-micron line and space or even finer, PCB designers are continually learn- ing and adapting. rough that continuous change, designers are also expected to meet quality and reliability standards that have been a benchmark for decades. One of the exciting changes and one of these new "tools" for printed circuit board design- ers and fabricators is the semi-additive PCB processes for printed circuit board fabrica- tion. While these processes are not new to the electronics industry, they are new to the printed circuit board segment of the industry. ese semi-additive processes gained recog- nition when the smartphone market started using these processing techniques to achieve 35-micron feature sizes in key PCB designs. ere are a small handful of fabricators that cater to the high-volume consumer electron- ics market, yet until the past year or so, there have not been many options available for low- volume, high-mix work. is is changing rapidly. Subtractive etch processes are typically constrained at about 75-micron line and space. ere are fabricators that will take a purchase order for 50-micron feature sizes, formed by subtractive etch pro- cesses, but this comes with a significant cost SAP—Changing the Way You Look at PCB Design PCB Talk Feature Column by Tara Dunn, AVERATEK

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