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8 PCB007 MAGAZINE I FEBRUARY 2022 Do the Numbers Add(itive) Up? Remember when the new kid showed up in your fifth-grade class on the opening day of school? All your friends became 10-year-old Kojaks by snooping and interrogating witness- es. Where is this kid from? Which group is he going to hang out with at recess? Does he have a color TV? (That was an actual consideration when I was a kid. A color TV and a treehouse? You were my new best friend.) Additive and its sibling, semi-additive (so named because it starts off with one subtrac- tive etch step), are clearly the new cool kids in homeroom. They moved here late in the sum- mer, just in time for the first day of school. There's still a moving van in their driveway, and there's plenty left to unpack. Everyone in the cafeteria is talking about them. They talk a good game, and they certainly have an intrigu- ing back story. No one knows where they came from. I heard it was California. Or was it Texas? Additive is an innovative idea, and a few companies have had great success with it. But the industry is still figuring out how it should be best utilized. It's not an add-on. It doesn't fit neatly into the existing system. And additive and semi-additive technologies such as Averatek's A-SAP™ (Averatek Semi Additive Process) may make certain steps of the exist- ing fabrication process obsolete. That's a scary thing in an industry like ours which spooks easily. During IPC APEX EXPO in San Diego, ad- ditive was on everyone's mind. On the show floor, additive was a hot topic, and I heard far more questions than answers. Is additive a dis- ruptive technology? Will it displace tried-but- true subtractive etch technology, or is it merely another tool to have in our toolbox? What does a PCB designer have to do differently? Do EDA tools support it? The Shaughnessy Report by Andy Shaughnessy, I-CONNECT007

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