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12 The PCB Design Magazine • April 2017 by I-Connect007 Recently, I-Connect007 Publisher Barry Matties and his editorial team joined with two PCB fabricators to discuss the state of advanced materials. The meeting included Gerry Partida, director of engineering at Summit Intercon- nect and Joe Menning, program manager at All Flex Flexible Circuits. The discussion centered on the processes, challenges, and procurement of high-speed materials, as well as the need to work with customers during the design stage. Patty Goldman: We are here to talk about high- performance and high-speed materials. We've spoken with a few laminate suppliers, but we also wanted to get the viewpoint of the guys making the boards. We asked you to join us so we can find out how fabricators are dealing with these materials, what you need from suppliers, what you think our readers should know about advanced materials. Barry Matties: When we start talking about high- speed materials, what are the greatest challenges you face with high-speed materials, from procure- ment to processing and delivery? Maybe even from OEMs specifying materials or not? Gerry, why don't we start with you. Gerry Partida: Thank you for allowing us to share this. This is very important stuff. A lot of the RF materials are very hard to register when you laminate or process the materials. There are many RF materials that are not glass-reinforced or very loosely glass-reinforced. When we pla- narize the material for epoxy fill, or blind via lamination structures and we epoxy fill, the ma- terial stretches out. We call some of it bubble gum because you can just distort the material as you planarize an epoxy-filled via. Also, the material just moves a lot, in some cases three times greater than standard glass-reinforced ep- oxy materials. That's one of the biggest challenges—main- taining registration and controlling it, know- ing where it's going to end up. The material is very expensive. I like to use the analogy with people that building FR-4 boards, regular, digi- tal or something that's straightforward versus Fabricators Speak Out on High-Speed Materials FEATURE CONVERSATION

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