Some PCB designers say that working with their design engineers is one of their biggest hurdles. Others say it all comes down to a lack of communication. We asked a variety of engineers and designers to discuss the reasons for this divide, and what can be done to address this problem. This month we have feature articles by design instructor Rick Hartley and Analog Home’s Steve Hageman, as well as interviews with lead designer Andy Critcher of Total Board Solutions and Randy Faucette, director of engineering at Better Boards Inc.
hWe also have an interview with Todd Westerhoff of SiSoft, and Adcom’s Ruth Kastner discusses the design that lead her team to win a Mentor Graphics Technology Leadership Award this year. And we’re introducing guest columnist Mark Tinkler of Vision Circuits.
Working with Circuit Design Engineers by Rick Hartley
The Roles of the Designer and the Design Engineer Interview with Steve Hageman
Designers and Engineers: Two Sides of the Same Coin Interview with Andy Critcher
The Partnership: Design Engineers and PCB Designers Interview with Randy Faucette
SiSoft: Optimizing the State of the Art Interview with Todd Westerhoff
Behind the Scenes: Adcom’s TLA Award-Winning Design by Ruth Kastner
The Gerber Guide, Chapters 9 & 10 by Karel Tavernier
Leaving Las Vegas, on a High Note by Andy Shaughnessy
DDR3/4 Fly-by vs. T-topology Routing by Barry Olney
The Basics of Hybrid Design, Part 2 by Tim Haag
Design Tips for Easier Conformal Coating by Phil Kinner
Outsourcing PCB Design: How it can Help by Mark Tinkler
What is Signal Launch and Why Should You Care? by John Coonrod
Our first issue focuses on high-speed design challenges, with feature articles and columns by design industry veterans from all over the PCB design community This month, veteran author and instructor Lee Ritchey presents a tutorial on proper PCB stackup. Longtime HDI technologist Happy Holden traces the advancements in speed and density that he’s seen in his many years as a judge on Mentor Graphics’ Technology Leadership Awards program. And John Levreault of Orvelle Technologies provides a case study that focuses on two super-small, super-dense boards that he designed.
Is the Cloud the limit? In our Articles Department, Iain Wilson of Iron Atom explains the ins and outs of their new Cloud-based pre-CAM tool. And don’t miss the star columnists who you’ve come to know and trust in PCBDesign007 and the Inside Design newsletter: Barry Olney, Istvan Novak, Doug Brooks, Bert Simonovich, Paul Reid, and Tom Hausherr. And please extend a warm welcome to our newest columnist, Jack Olson, who goes in depth into the principles and fundamentals of PCB design in his own unique way. If you know Jack, you know what we’re talking about!
We can’t make all of your design challenges go away. But in each issue of The PCB Design Magazine, we’ll offer you the information you need to make your job simpler, if not easier.
Years ago, signal integrity was a problem for the EEs to deal with. But at today’s high speeds, even short traces can be affected by transmission line issues. This month, The PCB Design Magazine delves into the world of signal integrity.
Yuriy Shlepnev of Simberian discusses the design of PCBs and packaging interconnects for data links running at 28–32 Gbps bitrates. And Barry Olney of In-Circuit Design focuses on the effects of crosstalk, timing and skew on signal integrity. You’ll also find an article by John Parry of Mentor Graphics, and regular columns by Charles Pfeil, Bob Tarzwell and Dan Beaulieu, John Coonrod, and Tim Haag.
All this, plus industry news highlights and upcoming events, can be found in this month’s issue of The PCB Design Magazine.
We want to help PCB designers do their jobs better, faster, and easier. When you get right down to it, that’s really the whole point of this magazine’s existence—to give you design information that you can use right away.
We can’t think of a better way to help the readers get the info they need right now than by going right to the “horse’s mouth,” as the old axiom goes. We decided to let the readers pose their questions to our team of industry experts. We asked our readers to send in their questions, and they responded with queries from across the spectrum: DFM, stackups, supply chain issue, education, signal integrity—you name it.
This month, we put your burning questions to our expert team of PCB designers and design engineers: Lee Ritchey, Carl Schattke, Rick Hartley, Heidi Barnes, Stephen Chavez, Eric Bogatin, Cherie Litson, Chris Young, and Happy Holden. The entire issue is packed with answers to questions that designers like you are wrestling with right now. Enjoy!
This month, our Flex007 contributors delve into ways to reduce respins in rigid-flex designs. At rigid-flex’s price point, you definitely don’t want to pay for respins if they can be avoided.
It’s easy to define profit, but it’s much more difficult to define exactly what “design for profitability” (DFP) means to today’s PCB designers and design engineers. How can technologists create profit in every design when the board’s stakeholders are often spread out across several time zones and continents? This month, we asked our experts to weigh in on the best DFP strategies and how this can affect the entire PCB development cycle.
We start with an interview with Al Neves of Wild River Technology, who explains why DFP is impossible without good processes, great management, and designers and engineers who continue to educate themselves, even after 30 years of experience. Next, Todd Westerhoff of Mentor, a Siemens Business, discusses how seemingly small problems can lead to increased costs and why accessible simulation tools can help designers make cost-aware decisions. Chris Banton of EMA Design Automation outlines why providing designers with the right data early on can make the difference between a profitable design and a train wreck. And Brad Griffin of Cadence Design Systems looks into how Cadence helps designers stay in the black by automating time-consuming tasks.
We also bring you columns by our regular contributors Barry Olney, Alistair Little, Stephen V. Chavez, Bob Tise and Matt Stevenson,
Designing for profitability is tricky enough with traditional rigid PCBs, but because of their unique 3D attributes, flex and rigid-flex DFP can be so much more difficult than traditional PCBs. This month in Flex007, we explore a variety of cost-aware methods for designing flex and rigid-flex circuits. Columnist Tara Dunn asks, “Are you unintentionally adding cost?” She explores why cost-aware design for flex and rigid-flex circuits can be so much more difficult than for their rigid brethren. Joe Fjelstad focuses on how all of the “design fors,” such as DFM, DFA, and DFE, contribute to profitability. And we have an interview with Carey Burkett of Flexible Circuit Technologies, who discusses the company’s growth from a flex maker into a company that provides assembly and box-build services.
The medical electronics market is blowing up, and there doesn’t seem to be a ceiling. A recent report estimates that the global medical device market will reach $409.5 billion by 2023, expanding at a CAGR of 4.5% from 2018 to 2023.
All of this bodes well for PCB designers and design engineers. Medical is one segment that just keeps growing, and more people in our industry are moving into medical every year.
So, for this month’s medical issue of Design007 Magazine, we asked our expert contributors to give us their prescription for best practices in the medical PCB design segment. In our feature story, StarFish Medical’s Kenneth MacCallum discusses some of the trends he’s seeing in medical electronics, and some of the challenges designers face in this evolving market. Next, we have an interview with DfR Solutions’ Dock Brown, fresh from his SMTAI keynote on medical hardware. Dock explains how predictive engineering software can be used early in the design cycle to spot component failures and drive costs down.
Consultant Tim Haag has a great feature column about how electronic medical devices are playing a lifesaving role in his family right now, and why your job matters, even if it doesn’t always seem that way. Then we have an interview with Tamara Jovanovic, a recent graduate and PCB designer at Happiest Baby, a Los Angeles company that makes smart baby beds that safely swaddle and clip an infant into the bassinet so that the parents can get some rest—or take a shower. Finally, we have an interview with Dr. Titu Botos of NeuronicWorks, who discusses IoT and why he believes that the Internet of Body (IoB) could be the “next big thing.”
We also have columns by our regular contributors Steph Chavez, Barry Olney, Vern Solberg, Doug Brooks (with special guest Dr. Johannes Adam of ADAM Research), Istvan Novak, Alistair Little, and Bob Tise and Dave Baker. And we have an article on the effects of fiber weave on high-speed signal integrity by CF Yee of Keysight Technologies.
For some PCB companies, mil/aero work is their bread and butter, and one of the last markets that can’t (legally) move overseas. Defense is a safe segment to bet on. But as we found while putting together this issue, mil/aero is not for those managers with an aversion to paperwork or cybersecurity regulations, or anyone who needs to get paid quickly.
Our first feature is based on an interview with Freedom CAD’s COO Scott Miller; Lenthor Engineering VP of Sales/Engineering John Rolle and VP of Marketing Dave Moody; and Zentech’s CEO and President Matt Turpin and VP John Vaughan. They discuss the mil/aero challenges they see for PCB design bureaus, fabricators, and assembly providers, especially in the area of cybersecurity.
American Standard Circuits CEO Anaya Vardya attended the International Paris Air Show recently, and he speaks with Dan Beaulieu about some of the highlights of the world’s largest air show. Charlie Capers of Trilogy Circuits discusses some of the benefits, as well as regulatory hurdles, facing companies entering the mil/aero market. Next, Stephen V. Chavez, CID+, of UTC Aerospace Systems, explains the myriad of cybersecurity hoops that companies like his have to deal with. And Craig Armenti of Mentor Graphics focuses on ways to use vibration and acceleration analysis tools to improve reliability.
You’ll also find columns from our regular contributors Barry Olney of iCD, Alistair Little of Electrolube, and consultant Tim Haag. We top things off with amazing coverage of the recent IPC event IMPACT Washington, D.C., written by Patty Goldman, editor of The PCB Magazine.
Designers have a plethora of ideas about how to best layout a PCB. But how many designers understand that good design techniques can lead their company to greater success, and even profit? In our cover story, Prototron’s Mark Thompson offers 10 design strategies that can help your bottom line. We also feature articles on profitable design strategies by Gary Griffin of Fast Interconnect and Barry Olney of In-Circuit Design Pty Ltd. And we round out this issue with interviews with Nolan Johnson of Sunstone Circuits and Greg Roberts of EMA Design Automation.
The Top 10 Ways Designers Can Increase Profits by Mark Thompson
Design Strategies for Success—and Profit by Gary Griffin
The Need for Speed: Strategies for Design Efficiency by Barry Olney
EMA is Bullish on Data Management Interview with Greg Roberts
Sunstone Circuits R&D: 3D Printing Great for Prototyping Interview with Nolan Johnson
The Gerber Guide, Chapter 7 & 8 by Karel Tavernier
Back to Vegas by Andy Shaughnessy
The Principles of Hybrid Design, Part 1 by Tim Haag
Design and Production: Some Essential Facts by Phil Kinner
How Many Vias Does It Take To...? by Douglas G. Brooks
Dynamic Models for Passive Components by Istvan Novak
Download the December 2012 issue of The PCB Design Magazine now! Our sophomore issue focuses on routing and placement strategies and challenges, with feature articles and columns by the design industry veterans you’ve come to know and trust through PCBDesign007 and the Inside Design Newsletter.
Placement and routing is only getting tougher as real estate shrinks and densities increase. And there are as many routing techniques as there are designers. Some PCB designers would rather cut off their left arm than use an autorouter.
This month, Barry Olney of In-Circuit Design Pty Ltd lays out his top techniques for interactive placement and routing, including using cross-probing between the schematic and PCB. And Noah Fenley of ACD discusses DFA tips and tricks for avoiding footprint errors, cumulative pin-pitch mistakes, and other miscues that might trigger a late-night call from your EMS provider.
Our December issue also features our top columnists Doug Brooks, Jack Olson, Tom Hausherr and Abby Monaco. And help us welcome our newest columnist, Amit Bahl of Sierra Circuits. If you design complex, HDI boards, Amit’s column Design for Manufacturing is a must-read. In Amit’s inaugural column, he explains why it’s so important for PCB designers to turn off their iPods, step away from their CAD systems, and go visit a fabricator. When was the last time you saw the inside of a board shop?
For years, designers used Gerber, and that was that. But then came ODB++, and the race was on. Now, scrappy newcomer IPC-2581 is making inroads too, and putting up a challenge. We’ll focus on the great data transfer format debate in this issue of The PCB Design Magazine.
Karel Tavernier of Ucamco and Julian Coates of Mentor Graphics engage in a spirited back-and-forth discussion about the benefits and drawbacks of Gerber and ODB++. Hemant Shah and Ed Acheson of Cadence Design Systems discuss the latest updates to IPC-2581, and Amit Bahl of Sierra Circuits explains how IPC-2581 can help streamline the development of stack-ups. And Julian Coates offers the most current information about the ODB++ format.
You’ll also find an article by Paul Reid, and a regular column by Bob Tarzwell and Dan Beaulieu.
All this, plus industry news highlights and upcoming events, can be found in this month’s issue of The PCB Design Magazine.
These are the voyages of the PCB designer. Their ongoing mission: to explore strange new vias, to seek out land patterns and new base materials. To boldly go where no PCB designer has gone before.
William Shatner recently celebrated his 90th birthday, and much like the Star Trek franchise that he’s famous for, Shatner has aged well. No matter how many one-act plays he does on Broadway, he will always be Captain James Tiberius Kirk.
For many boomers, it’s hard to remember a time before Star Trek; it’s part of our DNA. The best thing about Star Trek was the technology. Who didn’t want to build their own transporter? When you bought your first flip phone, didn’t you try to snap it open in a hurry like Capt. Kirk being chased by a Romulan?
So, this month, we’re helping Shatner celebrate his birthday with an issue devoted to Star Trek. Our intrepid Trekkie contributors delve into some of the technological marvels introduced on the show, and they take a look back at how far PCB design and manufacturing technology has come since that first episode, “The Man Trap,” debuted in 1966, winning its time slot in the Nielsen ratings.
Incidentally, William Shatner chose StoryFile to preserve his incredible legacy, with a conversational video and AI platform. Learn more.
This month, our Flex007 contributors look at which electronic marvels from the original Star Trek have come into fruition, which have not, and whether flexible embedded circuits would have been part of the Federation uniforms of 2265. After all, their uniforms did measure and transmit data about each crew member’s health—a trick that doesn’t seem so far-fetched today.
At every trade show and conference lately, designers and design engineers mention issues that they’re facing related to EMI and power distribution networks. It’s one problem that doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. This month, we asked our expert contributors to share their thoughts on fighting and even precluding EMI through proper PDN design techniques and more.
We start with an interview with Lee Ritchey, who explains some of the causes and solutions to EMI issues, and why misinformation is not helping the problem. Next, Eric Bogatin outlines why EMI is such a tricky problem, and why it’s likely to continue to be a problem for some time. Istvan Novak discusses how to design PCB test fixtures for improved power integrity. Barry Olney focuses on PDN impedance and its effect on EMI. Tim Haag discusses some of the resources available to designers who are facing EMI challenges. And freelance designer Alexander Löwer explains the variety of hurdles related to beating EMI, including non-technical aspects, such as the alphabet soup list of national and international regulations.
We also bring you columns by our regular contributors Bob Tise and Matt Stevenson, Steph Chavez, Alistair Little, and John Coonrod.
More and more OEMs are also moving into complex multi-board rigid-flex circuits, often for reasons related to space-saving and reliability. This technology can save money and real estate, but it brings with it a variety of caveats. This month, we bring you a feature article, “Multi-board Etching: Managing Rigid-flex Designs and Conductivity” by Hemant Shah of Cadence Design Systems, that delves into this issue. We also have a great column by our regular contributor Joe Fjelstad, “Power and Thermal Management: Dealing With the Heat.”
You’ve heard the stories. Most CAM departments say that anywhere from 80-100% of designs from new customers are inaccurate or incomplete, often necessitating a Friday afternoon call to the designer, or the job being put on hold. So, what can we do to optimize the design data package and make the handoff to the fabricator as smooth as possible? We asked a variety of industry experts to weigh in on this topic.
Steph Chavez, a CID instructor with EPTAC and IPC Designers Council Executive Board member, explains how designers can break the design data bottleneck, and why it’s so critical that designers and fabricators stay in touch throughout the design cycle. Mark Thompson brings us a feature column that explains what fabricators would like to see in each design data package.
Next, CAM engineers JanNell Taylor and Andy Schilloff of GreenSource Fabrication discuss their preparations for GreenSource’s upcoming entry into the commercial market, and how they will be able to trigger jobs from their off-site location in a different state. Then, Kelly Dack, CID+, discusses many of the ways that designers are inadvertently shooting themselves in the foot by assigning similar or confusing naming conventions to layers of artwork. And we wrap things up with a feature by columnist Jan Pedersen of Elmatica, who explains the need to move design data fully into the digital realm.
This month, we’re introducing a brand-new column, Connect the Dots, by Bob Tise and Dave Baker of Sunstone Circuits, as well as columns from our regular contributors Barry Olney, Vern Solberg, and John Coonrod. We also have an interview with the Designers Council’s Mike Creeden and Steph Chavez, who discuss their upcoming column The Digital Layout, which will launch next month. And we have an article by CF Yee of Keysight Technologies on the impact of routing on multi-gig signal transmissions.
Embedded technology is slowly becoming more prevalent, as technologists begin to take advantage of this buried technology. Embedding frees up real estate and eliminates solder joints, which are responsible for so many of the failures in the field. Embedding can also reduce resistance and parasitic inductance, which can lower EMI and improve signal integrity, all of which are positive things for PCB designers.
In our first feature article, Dan Brandler and Manuel Herrera of Ohmega Technology, and Contributing Editor Happy Holden cover the history of embedded processes, their advantages and disadvantages, their benefits for PCB designers, and the future of this intriguing technology.
Then, Scott McCurdy of Freedom CAD discusses various types of embedded technology, including buried capacitance, planar magnetic boards, and components placed inside cavities in the board. Next, our columnist Vern Solberg takes us through the current state of embedding resistors, capacitors, and inductors, and some of the roadblocks that embedded technologists must contend with. Finally, Dora Yang, and engineer with PCBCart, discusses the design and fabrication process for embedded thin-film resistors, and their numerous applications.
We also bring you columns by our regular contributors Barry Olney of In-Circuit Design, John Coonrod of Rogers Corporation, Dave Becker of All Flex, and Alistair Little of Electrolube.
What’s new in PCB design, and where is the industry headed? If you’ve been asking yourself the same question, you’ve come to the right place.
In this issue, technologists from the biggest names in PCB design software tools discuss their companies’ latest innovations and the trends they see going forward. Interviews include David Wiens of Mentor Graphics, Brad Griffin of Cadence Design Systems, Bob Williams of Pulsonix, Rick Almeida of DownStream Technologies, and Bob Potock of Zuken.
Technology Outlook with Mentor Graphics - Interview with David Wiens
What’s New at...Pulsonix? - Interview with Bob Williams
What’s New at...Zuken? - Interview with Bob Potock
What’s New at...Downstream Technologies? - Interview with Rick Almeida
What’s New at...Cadence Design Systems? - Interview with Brad Griffin
The Gerber Guide, Chapter 6 by Karel Tavernier
A Tale of Two Shows by Andy Shaughnessy
Faster than a Speeding Bullet by Barry Olney
How to Design-Out Production Problems by Phil Kinner
Multilayer PCB Bonding Materials for High-Frequency Applications by John Coonrod
NAMM 2016 Review by Dick Crowe and Dan Feinberg
Yes, most PCB designers still use Gerber, but rival data formats are making big strides. This month, we untangle the maze of design data transfer, with supporters of Gerber, ODB++, and IPC-2581 making the case for their preferred format. Is one truly better than the rest, or should we – as one author suggests – combine the best features of several formats into one super standard?
More and more PCB designers are members, or leaders, of design teams, some of which are located across a variety of geographic regions. This month, we focus on what’s current in concurrent design in this issue of The PCB Design Magazine.
Dave Wiens of Mentor Graphics discusses how to best optimize collaboration for PCB systems design. Craig Armenti of Zuken offers tips and best practices for multi-site concurrent design. And columnist Barry Olney of In-Circuit Design lays out a step-by-step plan for concurrent design, from pre-layout analysis through virtual prototyping and more.
You’ll also find an article on selecting an assembly repair facility by a new contributor, Ron Fukui of PSI Repair Services, as well as columns by Amit Bahl and Bert Simonovich.
All this, plus industry news highlights and upcoming events, can be found in this month’s issue of The PCB Design Magazine.
When we started planning this month’s issue, we decided to survey our readers regarding their most common design challenges. We assumed, as with previous surveys, that we could easily identify the most “popular” challenge and then direct our content toward that topic. We were mistaken. Readers reported many of the same miscues, missteps and mishaps, including “simple” board-level issues, DFM, signal integrity and EMI.
It’s safe to say that there is no Number 1 PCB design challenge; it’s more like a multiverse of problems, to borrow a term from Marvel’s movie franchise. So, this month, we asked a select group of expert designers and design engineers to discuss some of the many ongoing problems that they face with each design.
The challenges facing rigid board designers pale in comparison to those that their flexible brethren must contend with. Flex designers work their black magic in a dynamic, 3D environment, and almost every design could be considered a custom build. This month, we look into a new process for using copper-filled vias for HDI flex designs.
It’s 2020, and it’s time to hit the ground running. If you’re not already networking with other designers or volunteering in our industry organizations, there’s no better time to start. In this issue, we focus on getting involved with the PCB design community and working with your peers through training, standards development, or event planning. Make it your New Year’s resolution to get involved, too!
We start with an interview with Randy Faucette and Tony Cosentino, who discuss PCB Carolina 2019—a show that grew out of the RTP Chapter of the Designers Council.
Then, we have a conversation with Dave Seymour of Ixia, who just passed his certification exam to be a CID+ trainer. Next, John Watson, CID, of Legrand explains why it’s so important for designers to learn to adapt to adversity and stay active in their education. IPC’s Teresa Rowe and Patrick Crawford discuss IPC Design, the new organization replacing the Designers Council, and how they hope to make this group better and more responsive to the needs of designers.
Next, we highlight an interview with Rainer Beerhalter of Squadrat, who discusses his job designing PCBs for large LED screens. We also have columns from our regular contributors, including Barry Olney, Bob Tise and Matt Stevenson, Vern Solberg, Stephen Chavez, Tim Haag, and Alistair Little.
It’s a great time to be working with flex and rigid-flex, but it can be difficult just keeping up-to-date with all of the changes taking place in this growing segment. In this issue, we have you covered. This month in Flex007, we bring you an article from Flexible Circuit Technologies that is based on their flex design guidelines, with tips and tricks for designing single-layer, double-layer, and multilayer flex and rigid-flex circuits, including advice on cutting costs. And we have a column from Joe Fjelstad of Verdant Electronics that focuses on the effects that unpredictable events have had on shaping our technology, and some of the newest innovations coming that are just starting to ramp up.
Artificial intelligence has been grabbing the headlines a lot over the past few years. It’s one of the hotter segments to watch, especially with drones, robots, autonomous vehicles and virtual reality applications becoming more popular every day. What does AI mean for PCB designers and their EDA tools?
This month, we asked our expert contributors to discuss AI and what it might mean to PCB design and the rest of the electronics industry. Technical Editor Dan Feinberg has been reporting on AI for years, and he offers a look at where AI is now in terms of consumer products, and some of the hurdles that AI faces in the upcoming years. David White of Cadence Design Systems shares his thoughts on Cadence’s work with AI and what it could mean to EDA tools. And Mentor’s Paul Musto explains how the company plans to harness the power of AI, and why old-school PCB designers shouldn’t feel threatened by AI-driven EDA tools.
We have Part 2 of Tom Hausherr’s collection of standard PCB components, and an article by Chang Fee Yee of Keysight Technologies on reducing crosstalk in multi-board interconnect. And Simberian’s Yuriy Shlepnev brings us an article on localizing interconnect structures at speeds above 10 Gbps. We also have columns from our regular contributors Barry Olney of iCD, consultant Vern Solberg, and consultant Tim Haag.
• Artificial Intelligence: More Questions than Answers, by Dan Feinberg
• Cadence is Bullish on AI, a conversation with David White
• Artificial Intelligence: The Future of EDA? a conversation with Paul Musto
• 10 Fundamental Rules of High-Speed PCB Design, Part 1, by Barry Olney, In-Circuit Design
• Embedding Components, Part 3: Implementing Discrete Passive Devices, by consultant Vern Solberg
• Contract Positions: Go the Extra Mile, by consultant Tim Haag
• Standard PCB Component Families, Part 2, by Tom Hausherr, PCB Libraries
• Achieving Minimal Crosstalk in Multi-board Interconnect, by Chang Fei Yee, Keysight Technologies
• Life Beyond 10 Gbps: Localize or Fail! by Yuriy Shlepnev, Simberian Inc.
The PCB design segment seems to be doing pretty well right now. But let’s face it: Eventually, odds are that you’re either going to wind up job-hunting or hiring a new technologist for your firm. In this “Help Wanted” issue, our contributors discuss hiring—from both sides of the desk.
Abby Monaco gives her thoughts on job-seeking in the EDA world, from her point of view as both a hiring manager and a job candidate. Technical Editor Kelly Dack discusses his own job-hunting experience, and how his IPC CID credentials came in quite handy. SnapEDA founder Natasha Baker explains how she manages to hire top-notch electrical engineers who are also being recruited by Amazon and Facebook. Associate Professor Bojan Jovanovic of the University of Niš, Serbia, discusses his efforts to put together the perfect PCB design curriculum. And columnist Tim Haag discusses his own job-seeking experience in real time; he found himself looking for work after he began this month's column.
Circuit board designers and fabricators are paying more attention than ever to the global medical electronics market, which is slated to reach $56 billion in the next five years. But medical PCBs come with their own unique technological and regulatory challenges. This month, we bring you interviews with some of the movers and shakers in the world of medical PCB design and manufacturing: Kenneth MacCallum of StarFish Medical, Anaya Vardya of American Standard Circuits, and Amir Davoud of Innovative Circuits Inc. Happy new year!
Column: Doing My Part for Medical Electronics
Medical PCB Design: Not Just Another High-Rel Board
American Standard Circuits: Leading the Way in Medical Electronics
Innovative Circuits Sees Healthy Medical Market
Plane Crazy, Part 2
How to Design a PDN for the Worst-Case Scenario
A New Year and a Few Milestones
Enhancing Thermal Performance of CSP Integrated Circuits
Catching up with Tom Hausherr of PCB Libraries
Do you run simulation on your PCB designs? Circuit boards have grown increasingly faster and more complex, yet simulation is still not standard procedure, even with high-technology designs.
This month, our veteran contributors discuss a variety of simulation techniques that can help you save time and avoid costly re-spins. Mike Steinberger of SiSoft lays out the case for implementing automated checking of high-speed boards, something that's already being performed by IC layout designers. Yuriy Shlepnev of Simberian details the best technique for measuring correlation to 50 GHz and beyond. Barry Olney of In-Circuit Design Pty. Ltd. takes on the role of medical examiner and explores various methods of postmortem simulation. And Dr. Raul Camposano and Steven McKinney of Nimbic detail the applications that are the most likely, and unlikely, to benefit from moving to the cloud.
A wide variety of PCB materials are available today, from standard FR-4 to high-speed, low-loss laminates and PTFE-based bond ply materials. But every material poses a different challenge to PCB designers trying to stay ahead of the technology curve. We focus on the impact of materials on PCB design in this issue of The PCB Design Magazine.
Barry Olney of In Circuit Design explains the best methods for selecting the correct materials, at the best price point, for digital designs. John Andresakis of Oak-Mitsui discusses a ceramic-filled organic-based composite material that is used to create RF capacitor laminates. Martin Cotton of Ventec Laminates covers the need for materials suppliers to win certifications, such as AS9100C. Amit Bahl of Sierra Circuits explains how high-speed networks are driving the development of new materials. And John Coonrod of Rogers Corporation discusses the effects of operating environments on PCB materials.
You’ll also find a regular column by Tim Haag, a new series on sketch routing by Charles Pfeil of Mentor Graphics, and a new column co-written by Robert Tarzwell and Dan Beaulieu.
When we started speaking with SI experts for this issue, we were surprised to find that there were several schools of thought regarding simulation. Should you try to get by without simulating your design and only call a third-party consultant when it’s almost too late? Should your company invest in a simulation tool, which also means hiring someone with years of experience to operate it? Or should you eliminate the need for simulation from the start by managing your electromagnetic fields properly? This month we asked some of the industry’s premier experts on simulation to weigh in on this critical topic.
There are a variety of ways to terminate and connect a flexible circuit to a rigid board. But the stress on the flex circuit must be considered to avoid broken connections, and many flex connectors come with long lead times. This month, we look at some of the best techniques for terminating flexible circuits. One tip: Work out your connection strategy well in advance of beginning the design process.
Think about this for a minute: If someone asked you what you need to know to be a great PCB designer, what would you say? Where would you even begin? This month, we asked our expert contributors to discuss what they believe other designers and design engineers need to know as we move forward into 2020.
We start out with an article by John Watson, CID, of Legrand North America, who explains what design advice he would give a younger version of himself if he could travel back in time in a DeLorean. Then, Taylor Rouse of Aerotek, a high-tech staffing company, discusses the ins and outs of today’s engineering job market and offers some job-hunting hints that may sound counterintuitive at first.
Next, Linda Mazzitelli of Altium updates us on the convergence of ECAD and MCAD software tools, as well as virtual and augmented reality. Scott Miller of Freedom CAD shines the light on designing today’s complex PCBs and why communication with your fabricator is critical for advanced board designs. And Roger Beers of Quantel focuses on a topic that doesn’t get much coverage: Are ISO standards strangling innovation instead of helping?
We also have columns from our regular contributors, including Barry Olney of iCD, Stephen Chavez of the IPC Designers Council, John Coonrod of Rogers Corporation, Bob Tise and Matt Stevenson of Sunstone Circuits, Mark Thompson of Prototron Circuits, and Phil Kinner of Electrolube.
There’s so much innovation going on in the flex world that it can be difficult to make sense of it all. In this issue, we provide a snapshot of the flexible circuitry segment as we head into 2020. We cut through the noise and tell you what you need to know about flexible and rigid-flex circuits.
As Kelly Dack explains in our feature story, he needed to find a fabricator who could attach a piece of metal to a flexible circuit, with the metal acting as a heat sink. He wound up working with Guy Martindale of SEP, a fabricator based in Korea. Guy had the technical knowledge to get the project done, and he was also the first one to visit with Kelly in person. Kelly and Guy share some tips on designing and fabricating advanced flex circuits and discuss why communication is king, especially with complex designs.
Joe Fjelstad of Verdant Electronics shares some of the knowledge gleaned early in his career from technologists of the “Greatest Generation,” and he looks into the many disparate skill sets required to create even a simple flex or rigid board. Next, Tara Dunn of Omni PCB discusses the need for technologists to continue their training and education, as well as some of the things to consider before beginning your first flexible circuit design. And Dominique K. Numakura of DKN Research shines a light on a technology that’s been around for a few years but is only now beginning to catch on: transparent flexible circuits.
Over the past 60 years, packages have continued to evolve, and shrink. The transistor outline “metal cans” of the 1950s would look out of place today. Some packages are no bigger than the period at the end of this sentence, complete with their own “inhalation warning.” Now, more types of packages than ever before that can be mounted on today’s PCBs. But package design is more complex than ever, too.
For this issue of Design007 Magazine, we asked a variety of package experts to share their opinions about the component package trends of today and tomorrow, as well as some of the drivers behind this evolution. In our first feature interview, Chuck Bauer of TechLead Corporation explains some of the trends he’s seeing in packages, such as fan-out wafer-level and 3D packaging, and the need for new packaging technologies to be scalable and cost-effective. Next, Tom Hausherr provides one of the most exhaustive collections of standard PCB components that I’ve seen, complete with package size codes and dimensions.
Bill Acito of Cadence Design Systems discusses the many challenges faced by PCB designers and packaging designers, and he offers some new tips and tricks for dealing with ever-denser packages, not to mention time and budget constraints. And Christian Keller of Altium provides an overview of BGA fanout and escape routing, including techniques for using stacked and staggered microvias, blind vias, and via-in-pads.
We have columns by our regular contributors, including Barry Olney of iCD, John Coonrod of Rogers Corporation, and Alistair Little of Electrolube. And we also have articles by Chang Fei Yee of Keysight Technologies and Yuriy Shlepnev of Simberian.
Choosing the right material for your PCB was so simple a few decades ago. But today, designers often must select an advanced low-loss PCB material with low Df and Dk values—hopefully one that isn’t prohibitively expensive or terribly difficult for fabricators to register during lamination.
So, this month, we feature interviews with a variety of experts on advanced materials. Summit Interconnect’s Gerry Partida and All Flex Flexible Circuits’ Joe Menning spoke with our editorial team about the state of advanced materials from the fabricators’ viewpoint. Craig Davidson of TTM explains the company’s pursuit of embedded optical interconnect and the challenges surrounding optical PCBs. Bruce Mahler of Ohmega Technologies examines Ohmega’s resistive material technology and some of the drivers and issues in that segment of the industry. And APCT’s Steve Robinson discusses his company’s focus on working with PCB designers and engineers to create advanced, high-speed PCBs. Plus, columnist John Coonrod of Rogers Corporation discusses some of the challenges and remedies for woven glass weave effect.
We also have columns by our contributors Barry Olney of In-Circuit Design, and Alistair Little of Electrolube, as well as an interview with Lawrence Romine of Altium and an article about the TIE PCB design conference in Romania, coming up April 25-27.
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It’s been almost 25 years since the first Designers Council meeting in Atlanta. Now, the council has chapters around the world, with thousands of members. This month, we bring you interviews with some of the people who helped make the Designers Council what it is today: Gary Ferrari, Anne Marie Mulvihill, Rick Hartley, Mike Creeden, and Scott McCurdy. Happy holidays!
The Designers Council: Elevating PCB Design, and Designers by Andy Shaughnessy
IPC Designers Council: Serving PCB Designers for Almost 25 Years by Andy Shaughnessy
McCurdy: How to Build a Successful IPC Designers Council Chapter by Judy Warner
Interview: IPC Designers Council Viewpoint: Gary Ferrari
Interview: IPC Designers Council Viewpoint: Rick Hartley
Interview: IPC Designers Council Viewpoint: Mike Creeden
Plane Crazy, Part 1 by Barry Olney
Systematic Estimation of Worst-Case PDN Noise: Target Impedance and Rogue Waves by Istvan Novak
Why Do Different Test Methods Yield Different Electrical Values? by John Coonrod
...and MUCH MORE!
Most PCB designers claim to be designing for manufacturability, but CAM engineers tell a different story. This month, our expert contributors discuss many of the DFM challenges they see with incoming PCB designs, and present a variety of options for ensuring manufacturability. Hint: Communication can prevent many DFM snafus. Plus: Post-show coverage of the IPC Apex Expo 2013!
Flexible circuits are becoming more popular in everyday electronics. But when it comes to design, rigid PCBs and flexible circuits are completely different animals. We focus on the ins and outs of flex design in this issue of The PCB Design Magazine.
Thomas Stearns of Brander International discusses why procuring flexible circuits is so different from procuring rigid PCBs. Dave Becker of All Flex explains why flexible circuitry can be seen as the perfect 3D packaging tool. And Tom “Flexdude” Woznicki of Flex Circuit Design Company gets stealthy and discusses how to create “Ninja flex” circuits with shielding films.
You’ll also find an article on DDR3 routing by a new contributor, Robert Feranec of FEDEVEL, as well as our regular columns by Barry Olney, Tim Haag, and John Coonrod.
Keeping bad data out of your design involves a lot of detective work. Designers and design engineers need to assess the accuracy and completeness of data at every step of the design process. If one small error in a footprint or schematic goes unnoticed, the CAM engineer may be calling with bad news on Friday afternoon. This month, we asked our expert contributors to discuss their special operations and tactics for keeping bad data out of their designs.
Keeping bad data out of your supply chain is no simple task with flexible circuits, and it’s even trickier with rigid-flex circuits. This month, we look at how IPC-2581 Revision C takes the guesswork out of conveying build intent by digitizing much of the rigid-flex design data handoff, and what this means to flex designers.
This month, we handed the microphone to a variety of designers and design engineers and asked them to share their thoughts about their jobs, technology, and the trends that they’re seeing in the industry—the good, the bad, and the challenging. Read on for some eye-opening interviews.
We start with interviews with Michael Steffen and Kalen Brown, who discuss their work as designers and why they decided to take the CID exam. Next, Todd Westerhoff of Mentor explains why the designers of today need to understand many concepts once left to the signal integrity engineers. Then, Bryan LaPointe of Cadence Design Systems discusses the satisfaction he feels working as a product engineer, as well as the diversity of the entire EDA segment. Matt Stevenson of Sunstone Circuits breaks down some of the reasons why this may be the most exciting time to be in this field.
EMA’s Chris Banton focuses on new technology like 5G, AI, and printed electronics, and discusses their effects on PCB design. Columnist Tim Haag highlights the need for more communication between designers and manufacturers, and why assumptions can be your worst enemy. Tamara Jovanovich of Happiest Baby updates us on her first full year as a PCB designer, and she offers some advice for new designers and design engineers. Insulectro’s Megan Teta explains why she enjoys being involved in so many different aspects of the job, and why she’s glad to be an example for young girls considering STEM careers. And Curtis Scott of Current Products discusses his job designing PCBs for automated window coverings near the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico. We also have columns by regular contributors Barry Olney, Stephen Chavez, Vern Solberg, Bob Tise, and Phil Kinner.
We’ve been out covering industry conferences and trade shows lately. One thing we’ve noticed: The flex folks often become the center of the conversation without even trying. When a designer starts talking about using flex, the rigid board designers gather around, eager to hear more. Many rigid board designers and design engineers have their eyes on the flex space. For this month’s Flex007, we look into some of the things designers should know before they begin designing flex or rigid-flex circuits.
This month, we begin with a column by Tara Dunn of Omni PCB. Tara discusses why she believes that technologists will have to embrace change more quickly than ever before, and not just with flexible circuits, in order to keep up with innovations in the industry. Next, Dominique Numakura of DKN Research shares his thoughts on the use of electroless plating to produce high-density flexible circuits, and why the time is right for companies to consider electroless plating. Then, Joe Fjelstad explains why additive manufacturing may be on the verge of taking off, and how additive processes can help companies save one very precious commodity: Time. And Outi Rusanen, et al., of TactoTek make the case for smart molded structures, and the need for updated standards that can keep up with this evolving technology.
For the past decade or so, we’ve watched as North America’s PCB designers began reaching retirement age. The problem is that not many young people are entering the field of PCB design, and outgoing senior designers’ positions are increasingly being covered by design engineers. This month, we ask, “Who are the next generation of PCB designers?”
Our first feature is an interview with Fairfield Geotechnologies’ Susy Webb, who has been teaching her class “The Basics of PCB Design” at PCB West for years. Over time, Susy’s attendees have switched from a roomful of designers to almost entirely engineers, so we asked he shared her thoughts and a few stories about educating the next generation of PCB designers.
Next is an article by Mike Creeden of San Diego PCB. Mike discusses the “changing of the guard,” some misconceptions that managers have regarding the art of PCB layout, and why asking electrical engineers to design today’s high-speed PCBs may be easier said than done. Our third feature is an interview with Mentor’s Paul Musto, who explained the company’s relationship with universities, and the need for designers to have an exhaustive knowledge of the fabrication process, which many electrical engineers may lack as they start designing boards.
Columnist Tim Haag channels Peter, Paul and Mary by asking, “Where have all the designers gone?” He discusses the need for the “old guard” of PCB designers to pass on their knowledge to the youngsters, and some of the ways the job requirements for a designer have evolved over the years. And in a feature interview, Bryan LaPointe and Dan Fernsebner of Cadence Design Systems explain how designers of Generation Z will differ from their predecessors, and what can be done to bring more smart, young people into the design community.
We also have columns from regular contributors Barry Olney and Phil Kinner, as well as a great technical article from Yuriy Shlepnev, president of Simberian Inc.
It wasn’t that long ago that flex and rigid-flex were considered expensive specialty circuits. But times have changed, and flex circuits are now found in most of our personal electronic devices. This month, we focus on designing flex and rigid-flex circuits. In our feature story, Craig Armenti of Mentor Graphics offers a variety of rigid-flex design tips and best practices. Tom “Flexdude” Woznicki of Flexible Circuit Design Company discusses the changes he’s seen in flex design during his company’s first 25 years in operation. And American Standard Circuits’ Anaya Vardya and Dave Lackey tell us about their new book, The Printed Circuit Designer's Guide to…Flex and Rigid-Flex Fundamentals. We also have columns by our contributors Barry Olney of In-Circuit Design, Bert Simonovich of Lamsim Enterprises, Tim Haag of Intercept Technology, and Alistair Little of Electrolube.
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Designers like you are more productive than ever before, but you’re also juggling more data, in more formats, than you ever could have imagined. This month, we discussed design data management in interviews with Stephen Garcia and Brian Paper of Bay Area Circuits, Natasha Baker of SnapEDA, Manny Marcano of EMA Design Automation, and Mark Gallant of DownStream Technologies.
Are You Drowning in Data? by Andy Shaughnessy
Good in, Good out: Bay Area Circuits Discusses Data Strategies by Barry Matties
SnapEDA: The Female-Owned Startup Revolutionizing CAD Data by Andy Shaughnessy
EMA: Helping Technologists Manage Disparate Data by Andy Shaughnessy
Downstream Takes on Data Documentation Management by Andy Shaughnessy
Why Autorouters Don't Work: The Mindset! by Barry Olney
The Gerber Guide, Chapter 4 by Karel Tavernier
Radiated emissions can cause a variety of problems on your PCB – even if you’re designing boards with "mature" technologies. In this issue, our columnists and contributors tackle the challenges of achieving EMC (Electromagnetic Compatibility), and discuss some proven methods for minimizing EMI (Electromagnetic Interference) transmissions from the ground up.
Lee Ritchey heads up the issue with his featured article EMI: What it is, Where it Comes from and How to Control It while John Coonrod's excellent feature column, Microwave Radiation Loss Concerns in PCBs gives great advice of how to deal with EMI issues.
A PCB design isn’t worth much if it can’t be manufactured, or if it gives your fabricator a migraine. But there has been an apparent disconnect between design and fabrication, to the point that the industry had to come up with a special term: design for manufacturing, or DFM. We focus on the ins and outs of DFM in this issue of The PCB Design Magazine.
Michael Ford of Mentor Graphics explains why Lean NPI practices can lead to a more manufacturable design. Ben Jordan of Altium helps close the gap between design and fabrication, and explains why all manufacturers are not created equally. Mark Thompson of Prototron Circuits discusses the reality of using good DFM practices every day. And Amit Bahl of Sierra Circuits focuses on why consulting with your fabricator is so critical, especially with complex or hybrid designs. You’ll also find our regular columns by Barry Olney and Dan Smith, along with a brand-new column by Tim Haag of Intercept Technology, “Tim’s Takeaways.” All this, plus industry news highlights and upcoming events, can be found in this month’s issue of The PCB Design Magazine.
Many designers count footprints among their most common headaches. This is a critical point in the design process; errors at this stage can wind up having ramifications far downstream. Something as simple as an incorrect pad size can lead to bad solder joints or components floating during reflow. So, this month, we asked our expert contributors to share their thoughts on proper footprint creation and CAD library management.
Plus, don’t miss our IPC APEX EXPO 2021 pre-show special installment!
Managing and creating footprints for rigid boards can be a complex task, but flexible and rigid-flex circuits offer their own set of distinct issues. If you’re new to flex design, all of this can seem intimidating. This month, we break down the ins and outs of footprint design, and what it means to flex designers.
For this issue, we offer a snapshot of the PCB design segment as it exists today: the good, the bad, and everything in between. After interviewing designers at trade shows and conferences this year, we think it’s safe to say that this is a pretty good time to be a PCB designer or design engineer. It’s also a very hectic time for this segment.
We start this month’s issue off with an interview with two senior designers, Mike Creeden of Insulectro and instructor Rick Hartley. They discuss the cutting-edge technologies of today, some promising materials and processes, and why the designer’s job is more critical than ever. Then, we have Part 2 of an interview with Chris Beeson of Digi-Key, who explains how the company works with designers and how EDA tools are a lot like a bag of golf clubs. Lee Ritchey of Speeding Edge puts the “faster, smaller” concept in perspective with a surprising look at how fast PCBs have become in just the last decade or two.
We also have columns by Stephen Chavez, Istvan Novak, Vern Solberg, Bob Tise, John Coonrod, and Alistair Little, as well as an article by Brent Klingforth of Mentor, a Siemens business.
We’ve had a few busy months recently, covering several IPC meetings and forums, as well as PCB West and SMTA International. One thing we’ve found while talking with designers and engineers alike is that there’s a lot of excitement in the world of flexible circuits, and plenty of questions too. For this month’s Flex007, we look into the current landscape of flex and rigid-flex circuits.
We begin this month’s edition of Flex007 with an interview with Kelly Dack, a design instructor with EPTAC who has been designing flex for years. He discusses some of the most cutting-edge flex technologies he’s seen lately, including flex-to-metal lamination, and why it’s so important for flex designers to communicate with fabricators and develop a thorough understanding of the final product.
Next, columnist Mike Carano of RBP Chemical Technology explains what technologists accustomed to rigid boards need to know about working with flex and rigid-flex, including difficulty getting metallization to adhere to polyimide. Then, Dominique K. Numakura of DKN Research provides a look into printed electronic circuit (PEC) processes, with a comparison of the subtractive and PEC techniques, as well as the associated costs.
Over the past few decades, we’ve seen a gradual expansion of the number of multi-board electronic devices. Products are more complex now, plain and simple. There’s no way that anyone could build a car, not to mention an autonomous car, with a single PCB in 2018.
For our June issue, we have a variety of features that are chock-full of multi-board design information. In our first interview, Dave Wiens of Mentor discusses multi-board design techniques, from a 30,000-foot view down to a nuts-and-bolts board level, including the various trade-offs that occur throughout the design cycle. Zuken’s Bob Potock provides a technical article on the 3D convergence of multi-board PCB and IC packaging design, and the importance of ECAD and MCAD collaboration. And in an interview, Ben Jordan of Altium breaks down many of the challenges related to multi-board design, and some of the techniques that can simplify complex designs. As Ben says, “It’s not a complicated concept.”
We have columns from our regular contributors. Barry Olney of In-Circuit Design explains DDR3 and DDR4 fly-by topology termination and routing, while John Coonrod of Rogers Corporation discusses exceptions designers might encounter when comparing material data sheets. And Jade Bridges of Electrolube shines a spotlight on the selection of thermal management materials. We also have an article from Chang Fei Yee of Keysight Technologies that outlines the best methods for achieving signal integrity during layer transition in high-speed boards.
Technological innovations have been coming at us so fast that it’s often difficult to keep track of them. We asked our contributors to discuss new technology that they were excited about. In this issue, Douglas Brooks, PhD, focuses on a variety of experiments conducted with the Thermal Risk Management (TRM) tool, such as finding the temperature inside the barrel of a via. Columnist Barry Olney of In-Circuit Design explains how his new iCD Design Integrity platform can make PCB designers much more productive. Dingru Xiao of Cadence Design Systems discusses new tool options that integrate the functions needed by power integrity engineers and PCB designers in one platform. And columnist Tim Haag of Intercept Technology wonders if PCB designers will ever be able to design boards with a hologram, just like the one in the first “Iron Man” movie.
As board speeds and densities continue to increase, it’s becoming more difficult for PCB designers to shorten their design cycles and meet time-to-market demands. This month, we’re featuring articles by Scott Miller of Freedom CAD Services, Bob Potock of Zuken, and Mark Thompson of Prototron Circuits, as well as tips from our subscribers on accelerating the PCB design cycle.
Don’t Be Held Hostage by Design Cycle Time by Scott Miller
The Readers Speak: Tips on Accelerating Your Design Cycle by Andy Shaughnessy
Speeding up the Design Cycle: 10 Things to Remember by Mark Thompson
Squeezing Seconds Out of the Design Cycle by Andy Shaughnessy
Stackup Planning, Part 4 by Barry Olney
Avoiding the Black Spot of Negative Expectations by Tim Haag
Impact of Final Plated Finish on PCB Loss by John Coonrod
The Gerber Guide, Chapter 3 by Karel Tavernier
Let’s get small! Board densities continue to increase, and features are shrinking every day. In the May issue of The PCB Design Magazine, our contributors and columnists discuss how ever-advancing HDI technology affects the job of the PCB designer. Joe Fjelstad of Verdant Electronics traces the evolution of HDI, and looks at the pros and cons of some cutting-edge interconnection types available today. Chris Ryder of AT&S explains why HDI PCBs require extra attention to detail and communication between designer and fabricator. And columnist Amit Bahl dispels the myth that HDI is a costly endeavor; he shows how HDI processes can be economical by reducing layer counts.
As always, catch up on the latest columns from Abby Monaco, Barry Olney, Jack Olson,and much more.
All this, industry news highlights, and upcoming events can be found in this month’s issue of The PCB Design Magazine.
PCB designers advocate doing the tough work and taking nothing for granted. But there are a myriad of myths floating around in this industry—myths that just won’t go away. We face these myths head-on in this issue of The PCB Design Magazine.
Barry Olney of In-Circuit Design Pty Ltd. explains why there are no one-way trips for your signals, and timing for the round trip must be considered. Abby Monaco of Intercept Technology discusses the myths she’s faced while working for an EDA software company. And Amit Bahl of Sierra Circuits looks at how the 3/3 limitation is now a thing of the past, thanks to semi-additive processing. You’ll also find an article by Mark Toth of CadSoft Computer, and columns by Doug Brooks and John Coonrod. And don’t miss our post-show coverage of the IPC Design Forum and APEX EXPO 2014. All this, plus industry news highlights and upcoming events, can be found in this month’s issue of The PCB Design Magazine.
Designers routinely say that PCB stackup design is one of their more pressing challenges. With proper communication between the fabricator and OEM, coupled with today’s CAD tools’ stackup functions, stackup design shouldn’t be such a problem. But there’s still very little agreement about best practices. This month, we peel back the layers and ask, “Who owns the design stackup?”
Designing stackups for flexible and rigid-flex circuits presents a slew of unique challenges that rigid designers usually don’t have to worry about. But as we illustrate in this issue, there’s nothing too mysterious about flex stackup design. It all comes down to following the process.
It’s no secret that the standards situation in PCB design, manufacturing, and assembly is anything but standard. This alphabet soup of documents and guidelines can be a confusing maze even for veteran professionals. This month, we untangle the often-confusing world of standards.
We start with a conversation with Karen McConnell of Northrop Grumman, who offers an update on the committees she chairs. Then, Gary Carter of XPLM and Michael Ford of Aegis Software who discuss their work merging IPC-2581 with IPC’s CFX into DPMX, a design-through-assembly standard. They’ve been working on this for some time, but they’re almost ready to make an announcement. Next, Leo Lambert of EPTAC addresses the move by IPC to change the way standards and training documents are developed, including some methods for eliminating errors and duplicated comments during revision. We also have a conversation with Emma Hudson of Gen3 Systems who explains her work on a committee that seeks to streamline and “harmonize” IPC standards with other global organizations’ standards.
Karel Tavernier of Ucamco provides an article explaining why so many PCB designers still use Gerber, and how Ucamco has continued to update the tried-and-true format. Max Clark of Mentor, a Siemens Business, traces the development of ODB++ and breaks down the advantages of using this format that’s already installed at many manufacturing facilities. Linda Mazzitelli of PTC offers details about the IPC-2581 and how DPMX will help optimize Industry 4.0. And columnist Tim Haag explains why you should listen to your boss if they say, “Check the standard.”
We also have a great article by our columnist John Coonrod, “Insertion Loss Performance Differences Due to Plated Finish and Different Circuit Structures.” Further, we bring you columns by our regular contributors, including Barry Olney (with his 100th column!), Stephen Chavez, Bob Tise, and Phil Kinner.
We’re heading into fall, but the electronics industry is still smoking hot. Flexible circuits are continuing to find their way into almost every type of device. With the advent of 5G and IoT, flex standards are more critical than ever, especially for rigid board designers who have been forced into designing flexible circuits. This month we explore the world of standards for flexible circuits
We begin with an interview with Nick Koop of TTM Technologies, the vice-chair of IPC’s
Flexible Circuits Committee and co-chair of the 6013 Subcommittee. He discusses some of the updated versions of flex standards that are soon to be released—such as IPC-2223 and IPC-6013—and why these committee members must perform a balancing act by incorporating new processes as quickly as possible, but only after they’ve proven their viability.
Next, columnist Joe Fjelstad of Verdant Electronics breaks down the various types of standards related to flex and rigid circuits and addresses why it’s no exaggeration to say that standards are what hold the electronics industry together. Then, Dominique K. Numakura of DKN Research follows up with a look at a simple process hailing from Taiwan that creates “monocoque” 3D printed circuits by printing silver-based traces on thermoplastic sheets. The result isn’t exactly a rigid or flexible circuit, but a totally novel idea.
We’ve all heard plenty about 5G lately. The transition from 3G to 4G meant a 10x increase in speed, but 5G will be at least 1,000 times faster than 4G. What does 5G mean to PCB designers and manufacturers?
For this month’s issue on 5G technology, we asked a variety of contributors to help us flesh out what this all means to PCB designers and manufacturers. In our expert’s discussion, John Hendricks of Rogers Corporation discusses Rogers’ plans to field high-speed materials for 5G applications, and Ben Jordan of Altium explains what 5G means for EDA software tool providers. Next, Technology Editor Dan Feinberg focuses on how 5G will affect our industry, and who won’t be affected by this change. CF Yee of Keysight Technologies has a feature article on PAM-4 and its application in 400Gb Ethernet to support the huge traffic volume expected with 5G. And John Coonrod of Rogers discusses the challenges that 5G presents to laminate manufacturers, who will have to contend with microwave frequencies below 6 GHz and millimeter-wave frequencies about 30 GHz.
We also have columns from regular contributors Barry Olney, Tim Haag, and Alistair Little, as well as an interview with columnist Mark Thompson and an article on constraint-driven design by Zuken’s Ralf Bruening.
PCB designers have been focusing on good DFM practices for decades now. But many fabricators still see many of the same old design mistakes and miscues, not to mention a few new ones. What’s going on? In this issue, designer and CID instructor, Kelly Dack, explains why solid DFM techniques sometimes require designers to take back control from their increasingly automated EDA tools. Next, in an interview, Gary Ferrari of FTG Corp. discusses the art and science of DFM techniques, as well as some common problems that designers could easily avoid. We’ve also included a handy index of recent DFM articles.
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Cars now have exponentially more electronic features than a decade ago, and automotive electronics is one of the “driving” forces in electronics design and manufacturing. This month, we’re featuring automotive articles by Monica Andrei of Continental Automotive Systems, Tom O’Connor and James G. McLeish of DfR Solutions, and Michael Ford of Mentor Graphics.
Automotive Systems Design: A Support Engineer's Perspective by Monica Andrei
Physics of Failure Durability Simulations for Automotive Electronics by James G. McLeish & Tom O’Connor
Car Talk Column by Andy Shaughnessy
Top Gear: PADS Professional Road Test Column by Barry Olney
The Gerber Guide, Chapter 2 Article by Karel Tavernier
It’s a flexible world out there. Flexible circuits are everywhere now, but designing flex is a whole different ballgame than designing typical rigid boards. This month in The PCB Design Magazine, our contributors and columnists discuss some current tips and techniques for designing flex circuits. Glenn Oliver of DuPont, Matt Doyle and John Dangler of IBM, and Rick Brandwein and Paul Abrahamson of Molex discuss the “Zen” of high-speed flex circuit design. And columnists Amit Bahl and John Coonrod explain the latest flex design tricks from a manufacturer’s perspective.
As always, catch up on the latest columns from Paul Reid, Barry Olney, Jack Olson, and much more.
After your layout is finished, now comes the tough part: Conveying design intent to your fabricator. In the March issue of The PCB Design Magazine, our expert contributors focus on a variety of methods for documenting your design for manufacture.
Mark Gallant of DownStream Technologies discusses the growth of documentation software tools, and addresses some reasons why these tools eventually caught on. Martyn Gaudion of Polar Instruments explains why designers need to be more tolerant of tolerance. And Amit Bahl of Sierra Circuits looks at how IPC-2581 helps document design intent.
You’ll also find an article by Nicholaus Smith of Integrated Device Technology, and columns by Barry Olney and Istvan Novak. And this month, we’re introducing “The Town Crier,” a new column by Dan Smith of Raytheon, sometimes known as “Mr. HDI.” Don’t miss his PCB designer survey!
And don’t miss our IPC APEX EXPO 2014 show guide. All this, plus industry news highlights and upcoming events, can be found in this month’s issue of The PCB Design Magazine.
Designers have been talking about eliminating PCB design respins for decades. Cutting respins was just one of the many benefits that were slated to accrue when PCB designers began adopting solid DFM practices in the 1990s. But today, OEMs routinely go through two, three, or more PCB design respins. This month, we delve into the idea of reducing respins by one: x = xc – 1.
Flexible and rigid-flex circuits are a double-edged sword. They offer a multitude of dynamic options that rigid boards can’t match—and far more ways to wind up with costly, unnecessary respins. With flexible circuits, solid DFM techniques are more critical than ever.
This month, as the kids head back to school, we look into the growing opportunities for PCB design instruction. In this month’s first feature interview, Bill Brooks of Nordson ASYMTEK explains how he created and taught a PCB design course at Palomar College in Carlsbad, California, and details some of the hurdles he faced. Next, columnist Mark Thompson of Prototron Circuits outlines the top 19 electronics courses available at the University of Washington that he would recommend to anyone starting out in the industry today. We also have an interview with Gary Ferrari of FTG Circuits, who explains why designers must continue their education, even if their company doesn’t support their efforts.
Leo Lambert of EPTAC Corporation discusses the company’s move to open training centers around the country to cut down on attendees’ travel expenses and why training methods are evolving to meet the needs of the next generation of PCB technologists. From the design bureau viewpoint, columnist Dan Beaulieu and CA Design owner Bob Chandler discuss the “gospel of Bob,” which is based on the idea that all PCB designers need to be properly trained, and the need for companies to train their designers. Bob Williams, managing director of Pulsonix, explains how this EDA company offers real design training that is not specific to Pulsonix tools as well as their efforts to advocate for PCB design careers by meeting with high school and college students. Finally, Brooke Campbell of BTG Labs describes how she works to draw more young women into STEM careers and why girls shouldn’t avoid hard science classes, and she shares some highlights from her presentation to the Girl Scouts.
We have a variety of columns from regular contributors Barry Olney of iCD, Stephen Chavez with the IPC Designers Council, John Coonrod of Rogers Corporation, Bob Tise of Sunstone Circuits, and Jade Bridges of Electrolube. We also have some great articles by CF Yee of Keysight Technologies, Rebecca Lord and John McMillan of Mentor, a Siemens company, and an interview with Zen Liao of SimplifyDA.
We kick off this month’s special section with a wide-ranging flex design roundtable. Designer Mike Creeden, the new technical director of design and education at Insulectro, interviews his Insulectro co-worker Chris Hunrath and DuPont Circuit Applications Engineer Steven Bowles. The three discuss their work with customers who may be new to flex materials, some of the trends they see in the flex material market, and some flex design education options, which could include a visit to the customer-centric DuPont Technology and Innovation Center in Sunnyvale, California.
Next, we have an interview with John Michael Pierobon, who developed the free online course Designing Flexible Circuits, available on the website of the flex fabricator All Flex. John Michael, who has been knows to teach programming classes in Spanish and Portuguese, discusses his class, which is broken up into seven chapters and covers everything from flex design guidelines to material requirements.
We also have columns by our regular contributors. Andy Shaughnessy discusses the expanding world of flexible circuit design instruction. Joe Fjelstad explains how flexible circuit technology is slowly but surely making its way into the colleges and universities of the world. And Tara Dunn discusses the benefits of an SMTA pilot program for emerging engineers.
New developments in electronics are pushing automotive technologists to new levels of innovation every day, and the automotive segment is now driving much of today’s PCB design and manufacturing efforts. We’re headed into a brave new world, with autonomous and electric vehicles leading the way. But what does this mean for PCB designers and design engineers? For this issue of Design007 Magazine, we asked our expert contributors to discuss the world of automotive electronics, and what all of this innovation means for PCB designers.
In our experts interview, Editor Dan Feinberg reviews the evolution of AI, autonomous cars, and electric vehicles, including what he’s seen in years of covering CES for his column. Zuken’s Humair Mandavia discusses the company’s EDA tools and focus on the automotive electronics market. Thomas Wischnack of Porsche Engineering Services explains how Porsche approaches PCB and hardware development, and offers tips for new PCB designers. James McLeish of DfR Solutions highlights his company’s high-reliability test software that is used by autonomous vehicle developers.
Next, Tarun Amla of ITEQ discusses ITEQ’s focus on developing PCB materials for autonomous and electric vehicles, as well as 5G technology. Pete Christiansen of Magi Scitech shows us the company’s new graphene heat sink, which offers thermal management capabilities for automotive and household electronics. And EDADOC’s William Zhou and Wen Ling discuss their longtime design of automotive PCBs, which has made the company one of the biggest forces in the automotive electronics industry in China.
We also have columns from our regular contributors Mark Thompson, Barry Olney, Phil Kinner, and John Coonrod, as well as interviews with Dorine Gurney and Ken Taylor of Polar Instruments, and Anaya Vardya and John Bushie of American Standard Circuits.
Sales and marketing in the PCB industry used to be fairly simple. Then came the Internet, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. What approaches should you use? In this issue, Barry Olney of In-Circuit Design Pty. Ltd. explains how EDA sales and marketing techniques have evolved as EDA has matured. Next, Abby Monaco of Intercept Technology discusses how the Internet and social media have enabled salespeople to target exactly the right buyer. DownStream Technologies founder Rick Almeida explains his sales and marketing philosophy. Al Wasserzug of Cirexx International focuses on the sales and marketing techniques that are specific to flex circuits. And Lawrence Romine of Altium discusses the company’s philosophy of selling directly to the PCB designer.
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Attention! You may not realize it, but PCB designers are in a veritable war zone, day in and day out. This month, our cover story is an interview with two “soldiers” in this war on failure, Kelly Dack and Mark Thompson of Prototron. We also have feature columns by Paul Reid and Tim Haag, as well as an interview with Per Viklund and Alex Caravajal of Mentor Graphics.
Fighting the War on Failure by Andy Shaughnessy
Kelly Dack and Mark Thompson Unite in the War on Failure by Andy Shaughnessy
Failure Mode: Hole Wall Pullaway by Paul Reid
Mentor Graphics Helps Bridge Gap Between PCB and RF by Barry Matties
Stackup Planning, Part 3 by Barry Olney
A Brief Overview of High-Frequency Laminates by John Conrad
Sometimes it feels as if we’re floating in a sea of “Design For” acronyms: DFM, DFA, DFT, DFE, DFX...the list goes on. But in the end, isn’t it all about profit? In the July issue of The PCB Design Magazine, our contributors and columnists discuss DFP and the best practices for creating profit in your designs while keeping costs down. Steve Hageman of AnalogHome explains how virtual prototyping can help you design PCBs more profitably. Tom Hausherr of PCB Libraries shows how increasing productivity leads to greater profits. Barry Olney of In-Circuit Design breaks down the various levels where costs can be coaxed out of a design. Amit Bahl of Sierra Circuits details how solid DFP techniques can create higher yields in HDI board design. And Lawrence Romine of Altium explains how designers benefit from being able to track their ever-changing supply chains in real time.
As always, catch up on the latest columns from Mark Thompson, Jack Olson, and much more.
All this, industry news highlights, and upcoming events can be found in this month’s issue of The PCB Design Magazine.
What is the state-of-the-art for high-speed design? In the February issue of The PCB Design Magazine, our expert contributors focus on design on the bleeding edge.
Yuriy Shlepnev of Simberian explains how to identify the dielectric and conductor roughness models for interconnect and packages running at speeds of 50 GHz and beyond. Barry Olney of In Circuit Design explains how to become a routing star by effectively routing multiple loads. Amit Bahl of Sierra Circuits looks at how high-speed design is being driven by trends in semiconductor manufacturing and connectors.
Also, columnist Mark Thompson discusses what happens during a typical CAM process. John Coonrod replies to some common FAQs regarding microwave PCB materials. And Andy Shaughnessy provides a post-show review of DesignCon 2014.
All this, industry news highlights, and upcoming events can be found in this month’s issue of The PCB Design Magazine.
There has been quite a bit of activity in the world of vias, especially microvias. Military contractors have been experiencing microvia failures that occur during reflow but remain undetectable at room temperature. A failure that you can’t detect is never a good thing, especially if you’re building PCBs for missiles or fighter planes.
For this issue, we lined up a group of expert contributors to discuss the best methods for designing reliable vias and microvias. First, we start with an interview with PCEA Chairman Stephen Chavez, Happy Holden, and Dan Feinberg, who discuss everything from microvia failures to the challenges the designers face when laying out ever-shrinking traces and components. Next, James Hofer of Accurate Circuit Engineering explains the problems he encounters with customers’ HDI designs, particularly with PTFE laminates, and some of the remedies he utilizes, such as landless vias.
We have a really informative “Stacked Microvia/Weak Interface Reliability Study” edited by Happy Holden, which provides a snapshot of the investigation into the military microvia failures and what work remains to be completed from Marc Carter’s IPC High-Reliability Forum presentation. Tim Haag discusses the many ways that vias can alleviate pain on one part of the board but can cause trouble elsewhere if designers don’t follow best practices. Mark Thompson, CID+, offers a wide-ranging look at the design and fabrication of vias and microvias and shares examples that illustrate why attention to detail and communication are so vital to via design. And Joe Fjelstad dons his professorial blazer with elbow patches as he shares a brief history of vias from the 1950s on.
We have an article by John McMillan of Mentor, a Siemens Business, that focuses on criteria for selecting your next PCB design software tool. And Chris Clark of Minco discusses how rigid-flex circuits are now driving innovation around the world. We also have columns from our regular contributors Jade Bridges, Barry Olney, Matt Stevenson, Kelly Dack, and Patrick Crawford.
Flexible and rigid-flex circuits offer a variety of advantages over their rigid brethren. But there are dozens of potential hurdles awaiting the flex designer, especially those transitioning from the rigid world. Designing vias for a flexible circuit is a unique process with its own set of challenges.
This month, we start with a column by Joe Fjelstad, who shares a brief history of vias from the 1950s on. We also bring you an article by Chris Clark of Minco, as well as columns by John Talbot and Dominique Numakura.
This month, we look into the secret life of vias as the culprit for failures, starting with an article by Greg Ziraldo, director of operations at Advanced Assembly. He explains how to design vias for maximum reliability, echoing the idea that “When it comes to vias, bigger is better.” Then we have a feature interview with consultant Dennis Fritz, who discusses the difference between two terms that are often used interchangeably, “quality” and “reliability,” as well as a proposal to begin allowing the manufacture of DoD PCBs with lead-free solder. And we have a feature interview with Brook Sandy-Smith, IPC’s technical education program manager, who gives a review of the IPC High-Reliability Forum and Microvia Summit and some of the reliability issues that technologists are facing today.
We have columns from our regular contributors Barry Olney of iCD, Stephen Chavez with the IPC Designers Council, Bob Tise of Sunstone Circuits, consultant Tim Haag, and Phil Kinner of Electrolube. We also have a technical article by C.F. Yee of Keysight Technologies, titled “The Impact of Inductance on the Impedance of Decoupling Capacitors.”
NEW FLEX007 SECTION!
We open our new Flex007 section with a feature interview with Nikolay Ponomarenko, Altium’s director of product management, who discusses the company’s move into printed electronic circuits design capabilities and how PEC design differs from rigid and flexible circuit design. In our next feature interview, David Wiens—product marketing manager with Mentor, a Siemens Business—details their tools’ latest flex and rigid-flex design capabilities, and some of the challenges that designers face with rigid-flex circuits.
We also have a technical paper by Weifeng Liu, et al., where the authors describe a process for creating flexible hybrid electronics, which combines traditional manufacturing techniques with today’s precision ink technologies. Next, an interview with Philip Johnston, managing director of Trackwise Designs, covers their patented length-unlimited printed circuits, including flexible circuits that measure 26 meters in length.
Further, we have columns by our regular contributors, including an update from I-Connect007’s Patty Goldman. This month, Joe Fjelstad offers details on some recent efforts to make flexible circuits more stretchable. Next, Steve Williams brings us an interview with Prototron’s Van Chiem, who has been instrumental in developing flex and rigid-flex processes at the company’s Tucson, Arizona facility.
For this issue of Design007, our expert contributors discussed their newest tools and technology. First, Editor Kelly Dack sits down with Sam Chitwood of Cadence Design Systems to discuss the newest Sigrity power integrity software, and how it may help designers preclude so-called “exothermal events.” Chuck Ferry of Mentor explains how HyperLynx now allows designers to automate SERDES channel validation early in the design process.
Columnist Tim Haag examines some of our newest technology and ponders whether this will help draw more young people into a PCB design career. Natasha Baker of SnapEDA explains how her small company creates so much of its technology from scratch, and how it has allowed the company to grow so much in only five years. And Arno Kolk of the Estonian Electronics Industries Association discusses the explosive growth of technology in his country in the past few decades.
We also have columns from our regular contributors Barry Olney and Alistair Little, as well as an interview with Nechan Naicker of EDA Technologies, a design engineering company based in South Africa.
Time after time, we’ve heard about issues that continue to challenge readers like you, and some of the most often cited problem areas are related to vias. Whether blind, buried, microvias, thermal vias, landless or back-drilled, vias are a big problem. In this issue, David Wolf of Conductor Analysis Technologies takes us through the company’s analysis program and highlights some of the trends and problems areas he sees in via structures. Mark Thompson of Prototron Circuits focuses on some typical via missteps and miscues he sees in the CAM department. Martyn Gaudion of Polar Instruments discusses vias, modelling and signal integrity. And David Warren of Sunstone Circuits takes us through the company’s move into the RF and microwave space.
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Supply chain management is one aspect of the design world that often takes a back seat to the latest PCB design tricks and techniques. But if you don’t manage your supply chain, it will wind up managing you. This month, our cover story by David Ledger-Thomas and our interviews with Gary Ferrari of FTG and John Pavlak of Rogers Corporation discuss supply chain management from the PCB designer’s viewpoint.
Supply Chain Challenges and Opportunities by David Ledger-Thomas
An Update on the Rogers Material Supply Line by Barry Matties
Gary Ferrari Shares His Thoughts on PCB Design and More by Barry Matties
10 Considerations for Outsourcing PCB Designs by Steve Dobson
The Gerber Guide by Karel Tavernier
The PCB Design Supply Chain by Andy Shaughnessy
Stackup Planning, Part 2 by Barry Olney
It’s not a question of if you’ll encounter signal integrity problems, it’s a question of when. In this issue, the industry’s top SI experts weigh in with the latest tips, tricks and techniques for achieving signal integrity.
Leading off is Lee W. Ritchey's feature artice Differential Signal Design. Columnist Douglas Brooks explains How Electromagnetic Fields Determine Impedance, and Istvan Novak, Barry Olney and John Coonrod weigh in with articles that cover the practical side of SI.
Jack Olson concludes his two-part column The CAD Library, Part 2. All this, industry news highlights, and upcoming events can be found in this month’s issue of The PCB Design Magazine.
What does 2014 hold for PCB design? What sort of advances are we likely to see in technology? In this issue, our clairvoyant contributors look back on the past year and give us a glimpse into 2014.
Todd Westerhoff of SiSoft explains why designers should begin the new year by testing and correlating simulation models instead of relying on someone else’s word. Columnists Andy Shaughnessy, Ray Rasmussen and Steve Williams break down the industry’s major events of 2013 and look ahead to 2014 and beyond.
We’ll also feature articles by Alexander Ippich of Multek and Ben Jordan of Altium. And columnist Barry Olney finishes his two-part series on PDN planning and capacitor selection.
Even the most experienced hikers can get lost if they don’t have a map. The same holds true in the world of PCB design and manufacturing—if your company doesn’t have a technology roadmap, it’s hard to know where you’re going technologically. This month, we take a look at a variety of technology roadmaps related to PCB design, and some of the milestones that may be in our not-too-distant future.
For this month’s issue on technology roadmaps, we bring you several interviews with contributors involved with the IEEE Heterogeneous Integration Roadmap (HIR). Rita Horner of Synopsys offers a great overview of the HIR and the effects of heterogeneous integration on the technology of the future. Paul Wesling of IEEE explains the creative process that led to the development of the 584-page, 23-chapter HIR. Dr. José Schutt-Aine, professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois, takes us through his chapter in the HIR and explains how PCB designers can facilitate co-design at the IC and package level. And Jeff Demmin of Keysight Technologies discusses the effects of heterogeneous integration on the military and aerospace segments.
We also have a conversation with Todd Westerhoff of Mentor, a Siemens Business, who takes us in depth into Mentor’s plans for the high-speed design tools of the future. Michael Nopp of Cadence Design Systems discusses the company’s move toward creating the next generation of more electrically-aware PCB designers, and Leigh Gawne of Altium provides a roadmap for the company—and the Altium 365 platform, in particular.
We also have columns from Barry Olney, Kelly Dack, John Coonrod, Jade Bridges, and Matt Stevenson and Bob Tise.
Creating a technology roadmap is never a simple task; companies and organizations often spend years editing and fine-tuning their tech roadmaps. This task is exponentially tougher for a segment like flexible and rigid-flex circuits, which seems to be evolving constantly. Would you care to hazard a guess about where flex technology might be in five or 10 years?
This month, we have an interview with Carey Burkett and Mark Finstad of Flexible Circuit Technology, who share their thoughts on the direction of the company and some of the trends and challenges likely to face flex designers and manufacturers over the next few years. And Joe Fjelstad explains why technology roadmaps are so vital to technologists working to develop the processes of tomorrow. We also bring you a column by John Talbot.
This Month in Flex:
Designers were once seen as little more than electronic techs. Now, many designers are starting to realize the power they wield over the whole electronics process. As you’ll learn in this issue, there are plenty of little things that a designer can do to help make the board easier to fabricate and assemble, and even influence the profitability of the final product.
In our first feature, Prototron’s Mark Thompson, CID+, explains why great fabrication jobs always start with solid design practices, and he lays out some of the things a designers should—and should not—do to help make the design more manufacturable. Then, in an interview with our editorial team, Julie Ellis of TTM discusses some of the tips and tricks designers should adopt, especially if their boards are going to be built in Asia. As Julie says, you need to know your fabricator’s capabilities or you could be up a creek without a paddle.
We also have an interview with Al Gaines, founder of HiGain Design Services. He takes “everything starts with design” one step further: Everything starts with documentation, which Al describes as the most critical product that each designer can create. Next, Kelly Dack, an IPC CID designer instructor with EPTAC, introduces us to his idea for the ultimate in DFx: Design for the Unknown, or DFU. Kelly also offers some advice for dealing with one of the newest cogs in the machine: the industrial designer.
Columnist Tim Haag explores the relationship between good PCB design processes and the recipe for a birthday cake; changing one ingredient can change the entire outcome! And we have a short interview that Nolan Johnson conducted with Mike Creeden of San Diego PCB Design. Mike discusses the need to select the appropriate type of laminate as early in the design process as possible.
We also have columns from our regular contributors Martyn Gaudion of Polar Instruments, Bob Tise of Sunstone Circuits, Alistair Little of Electrolube, Barry Olney of iCD, John Coonrod of Rogers Corporation, and Stephen Chavez, CIT, CID+. And CF Yee of Keysight Technologies has written a great piece on crosstalk mitigation for return path discontinuities.
How do you feel about your suppliers’ customer service? How do your customers feel about your service? Every company in our industry claims to put the customer first, but what does that mean in a firm’s day-to-day operation? How well do you know your customers?
For this month’s issue, we asked a variety of industry experts to weigh in on the venerable customer. For our experts interview, Sunstone Circuits’ Nolan Johnson and our columnist Dan Beaulieu had a rousing discussion about what it takes to satisfy a customer, and how far a company can—and should—go to please that customer. Next, we have an interview with Jay Gorajia of Mentor, who discusses the company’s consulting services and the group’s focus on the “digital twin.” Then, we feature an interview with Ben Jordan of Altium, who explains how the latest tool upgrade was driven by customer demand, as well as the many methods Altium uses to acquire and measure customer satisfaction. And consultant Tim Haag, formerly in tech support for an EDA vendor, tells us what designers really want, along with a few horror stories.
We also have columns from our contributors Barry Olney, Martyn Gaudion, and Phil Kinner, and we’d like to welcome our newest columnist, John Talbot of Tramonto Circuits as well. Lastly, we have an article by Hemant Shah and Ed Acheson of Cadence Design Systems on the latest IPC-2581 updates, and an article on NPI by Dora Yang of PCB Cart.
What does leadership mean to you? This month, we focus on leadership, and the difference between a good manager and a great leader. We feature articles by SnapEDA founder Natasha Baker, Mentor Graphics’ Michael Ford, IPC President John W. Mitchell, David Dibble of Dibble Leaders, and an interview with Leo Lambert, vice president of the training provider EPTAC. We’ll also share the results of our I-Connect007 leadership survey. Lead, follow, or get out of the way!
IPC-A-610, Acceptability of Electronic Assemblies is the most widely used IPC standard. This month our expert contributors Teresa Rowe of IPC and Leo Lambert of EPTAC discuss the latest updates to this document, what they mean to product developers, and the various steps in the revision process itself.
IPC-A-610: What’s New with Rev F? by Leo Lambert
Rigid-Flex PCB Right the First Time— Without Paper Dolls by Benjamin Jordan
All About That Via? by Andy Shaughnessy
Stackup Planning, Part 1 by Barry Olney
Avoiding Overload in Gain-Phase Measurements by Istvan Novak
The Art of Bending and Forming PCBs by John Coonrod
The marketplace of PCB materials is getting bigger and better every day. But which laminates and processes are right for your design? In the September issue of The PCB Design Magazine, our contributors and columnists explore the often confusing world of PCB materials. Sanmina-SCI’s Steve Iketani and Brian Nelson discuss ways in which laminate trends are driven by both financial and loss budgets. Ohmega Technologies’ Bruce Mahler traces the evolution of thin-film resistor material, PWB Inc.’s Paul Reid elaborates on material decomposition and what can be done to prevent it, and Rogers Corporation’s John Coonrod looks at the use of high-frequency laminates for multilayer hybrids.
Also, check out articles by Lee W. Ritchey of Speeding Edge, Nolan Johnson of Sunstone Circuits, as well as the latest columns from Barry Olney, Doug Brooks, and much more.
“Don’t let the smoke out!” That’s one of the PCB designer’s unspoken objectives, albeit a sarcastic one. The idea is that there’s a cloud of smoke inside each printed circuit board, and if you don’t design the board correctly, you’ll let all the smoke out. And in high-voltage boards, you might say that there’s a lot more smoked trapped inside, just waiting to get out and set your schedule back a few weeks.
For much of the history of the printed circuit board, thermal management hasn’t exactly been top of mind for designers and design engineers. There were always more pressing issues that needed to be addressed immediately, such as signal integrity and DFM. The percentage of boards with thermal issues was fairly low; if your company’s boards had potential hot spots, you probably had a “thermal guy” on your team already.
But with the growth of electric and autonomous vehicles, along with telecom, military, and aerospace—not to mention the explosion of LEDs—thermal management and thermal design processes are becoming mainstream.
So, in this issue, our expert contributors share their thoughts on the best methods to “beat the heat.” We start out with an interview with Mike Jouppi, a pioneer in PCB thermal management. Mike was the champion behind the update of the old IPC current-carrying tables, which lead to IPC-2152. We also have a conversation with Johannes Adam and Doug Brooks, co-authors of PCB Trace and Via Currents and Temperatures: The Complete Analysis, who discuss the principles of thermal design and Johannes’ new TRM software tool. Doug also brings us an article explaining why trace temperature should not be equated with current density, and Johannes has a feature discussing why thermal engineers should not trust data sheets. And columnist Mark Thompson answers five common questions about improving thermal management.
Ventec’s Alun Morgan discusses the company’s IMS laminates, and how they can help mitigate many thermal concerns. Columnist Tim Haag has some advice about how designers can “stay out of the fire.” We have a conversation with Jeff Brandman of Aismalibar North America, who discusses the heat dissipation properties of the company’s thermal laminates. John Parry of Mentor, a Siemens business, shares some insight into the FloTHERM CFD software tool, and how it can save thermal engineers time and effort. And we have an excerpt from the newly published I-Connect007 book, The Printed Designer’s Guide to…Thermal Management: A Fabricator’s Perspective, by Anaya Vardya of American Standard Circuits.
We also bring you columns from our regular contributors Barry Olney, Alistair Little, Kelly Dack, Patrick Crawford, and Bob Tise and Matt Stevenson. And we have the second half of our fab notes conversation with Jen Kolar and Dan Warren of Monsoon Solutions.
Thermal management is no simple feat for designers of rigid PCBs, but beating the heat in a 3D structure, such as a flexible circuit, takes things to another level entirely.
This month, the feature column by Joe Fjelstad explains why until recently, thermal issues had been the Rodney Dangerfield of PCB issues. We also bring you columns by John Talbot and Dominique Numakura and an article from Tony Plemel on the importance of documenting your flex circuit designs.
We’ve heard a lot about design rules lately, from designers and manufacturers alike. There just doesn’t seem to be much agreement about design rules: how to set them, manage them, and validate them. We’ve seen how the IC segment has standardized its design rules process; is this sort of alignment possible in PCB design? For this issue, we spoke with a number of design and manufacturing experts about design rules and constraints.
It’s a brand-new year, and the magazine has a fresh new look and title. So, to ring in the new year with this first issue of Design007 Magazine, we asked representatives from a variety of PCB design-related companies to answer the question, “What’s New?”
For our first feature, a solid group of design veterans joined our expert discussion: Martyn Gaudion of Polar Instruments, Rick Almeida of DownStream Technologies, and Hemant Shah and Mark Hepburn, both with Cadence Design Systems. In a wide-ranging interview, they discussed everything from their companies’ newest and coolest technologies to the slight uptick in new PCB designers recently.
Ben Jordan of Altium explores the future of EDA and IoT, and predicts that EDA tool companies will need to “put the ‘A’ back in EDA.” Craig Armenti of Mentor is also bullish on automation, making the case for fully automated schematic verification in PCB design tools. In an interview, Karel Tavernier of Ucamco discusses his plans to enhance the automation of his company’s CAM tools, as well as the venerable Gerber standard, and why he’s such an advocate for artificial intelligence in the design process. And Ty Stephens of UK-based Pulsonix explains in an interview how his company plans to become a greater presence in the U.S., starting with their new component search engine that lets users bring in verified parts in one click.
We also have great columns from our regular contributors Barry Olney of iCD, Jade Bridges of Electrolube, and consultant Tim Haag.
SPECIAL SECTION: IPC APEX EXPO 2018 Pre-Show Coverage
As Star Trek celebrates its 50th anniversary, NASA prepares to map out the rest of the universe, known and unknown. This month, we feature interviews with two veteran PCB designers with spacecraft project experience: John Cardone of JMC Design Services and Tom Woznicki of Flex Circuit Design Company. We also have a great article on thermal PCB design by Continental Automotive’s Gabriel Ciobanu and Mentor Graphics’ Boris Marovic. Read on!
Controlled impedance PCBs are becoming more common now, especially in high-speed applications. Designing these boards can be particularly challenging. This month our expert contributors Barry Olney of In-Circuit Design, Martyn Gaudion of Polar Instruments, and Mark Thompson of Prototron Circuits focus on the ins and outs of controlled impedance design.
Controlled Impedance Design by Barry Olney
The Do's and Don'ts of Signal Routing for Controlled Impedance by Mark Thompson
Impedance Control, Revisited by Martyn Gaudion
Cannonball Stack for Conductor Roughness Modeling by Bert Simonovich
The Composite Properties of Rigid vs. Multilayer PCBs by Chet Guiles
Electronic Design Training Crucial to Industry Growth by Bob Sadowski
The Readers Speak by Andy Shaughnessy
Assembly may take place downstream, but good DFA techniques can save your company time and money. In the October issue of The PCB Design Magazine, our contributors and columnists explore the world of designing for assembly. Flextronics’ Murad Kurwa and Jesus Tan discuss the use of DFX processes for better DFA. PCB Libraries’ Tom Hausherr provides a primer on proper component placement, while Jack Olson offers guidance on placing components through the use of techniques such as floorplanning.
As always, this month we feature columns by our team of experts, including Paul Reid, Istvan Novak, and Barry Olney. All this, industry news highlights, and upcoming events can be found in this month’s issue of The PCB Design Magazine.
When we first started planning this issue, we looked back over topics that we’ve covered for the past few years. We noticed that our contributors spend most of their time discussing the technical side of PCB design.
There is definitely an artistic angle to this job. PCB design requires the perfect mix of artistic and technical skills. PCB designers and design engineers are graphic artists, but unlike Renaissance sculptors, their masterpieces don’t just have to look nice—they also have to function. These PCBs may enable devices that help feed humanity, save lives, or carry us to other countries or planets.
So, this month, we salute you—the Da Vincis of design, the Lombardos of layout, and the Picassos of the PCB.
Do you hand off perfect fab notes to your fabricator? If this month’s content is any indication, the answer is likely, “No.” And you may not even know that your fab notes are incomplete or incorrect because your CAM engineers have been deciphering and fixing your data for so long that it’s become part of their job description. But this isn’t about designers handing off bad data; the problem goes much deeper than that.
This month, we decipher the process of creating fab notes, define what should and should not go into a design data package, and what can be done to eliminate that dreaded afternoon phone call.
Getting your fab notes correct and complete can be challenging enough, but the task is amplified for flexible circuit designers, who must convey 3D flex design intent to the manufacturer. Communication is king here, and accurate fab notes are the currency of the realm.
This month, we start with a feature column by Tara Dunn, who illustrates how flex fab notes differ from their rigid PCB brethren and how the 3D structure of flex presents even more data challenges. Dominique Numakura brings us a follow-up to his column series on monocoque printed circuits. We also have a great article by Olga Scheglov, CID+, who lays out a series of design rules for new flex designers.
We’ve all heard quite a bit of chatter about smart manufacturing over the past few years. Everyone involved in designing, fabricating and assembling PCBs wants to get on board. But what does this mean for CAD data? What do designers need to do differently to take full advantage of smart technologies such as Industry 4.0 and IPC’s Connected Factory Exchange (CFX)?
We asked some of our expert contributors to share their thoughts and opinions about smart manufacturing and what this means for the PCB designers and design engineers on the front end.
Our first feature is by Patrick McGoff, market development manager, and David Wiens, Xpedition product marketing manager, both with Mentor, a Siemens business. They explain how intelligent design data is a necessity for smart processes, and why the information in a simple bill of materials will not be adequate for manufacturing in the future. Next, columnist Michael Ford, senior director of emerging industry strategy for Aegis Software, discusses some of the challenges ahead for smart design and manufacturing, including the need to embrace “adaptive” planning, which may be best achieved by utilizing a combination of formats such as IPC-2581 for design data and CFX for manufacturing. Then we have a short feature by Editor Happy Holden, who offers a backgrounder on computer-integrated manufacturing and investigates the way CAD data fits into the equation.
Switching gears, Denis Morin, Karel Tavernier, Jean-Pierre Charras, and Marius Matioc of Ucamco take the reader through the new XNC format, a collaboration by Ucamco, KiCad and PentaLogix, which updates the Gerber drill data transfer process. And we have an interview with Robert Huxel, XPLM’s director of business development, who outlines the company’s PLM software and XPLM’s role in integrating ECAD and MCAD data, and he explains why this convergence is so important for the future of PCB design.
Next, there’s a great article by Keysight Technologies’ Chang Fei Yee, who focuses on the impact of copper pour on insertion loss and impedance. We also bring you columns by our regular contributors, including Stephen V. Chavez of the IPC Designers Council, Bob Tise of Sunstone Circuits, Alistair Little of Electrolube, Barry Olney of iCD, and John Coonrod of Rogers Corporation.
December is here, and much of the East Coast is under a blanket of snow. So, to take the chill off, we’re going to turn up the heat with December’s thermal management issue. First, we have an interview with Dr. Johannes Adam of Adam Research, a thermal expert who discusses his TRM software, the books he’s writing. Dr. Adam sounds the alarm, urging electrical engineers to have a better understanding of thermal issues.
Next, Doug Brooks discusses his collaboration with the same Dr. Adam on the book PCB Trace and Via Temperatures: The Complete Analysis, as well as some surprising findings, and why temperature charts based on a trace in isolation are inaccurate. Then, John Parry of Mentor explains how mechanical engineers and engineers, working together early in the process, can streamline thermal design time.
Ventec COO Mark Goodwin weighs in with a look at some new materials that feature a thermal capacity, and the effect of the automotive market on laminate development. And Anaya Vardya of American Standard Circuits discusses some of the choices facing PCB designers using insulated metal PCBs.
We also have a column by Barry Olney on signal flight time variance in multilayer PCBs, and a review of the SIITME design show in Romania, courtesy of Joe Fjelstad.
In most issues, we focus on the technical challenges facing PCB designers and design engineers. But this month, we’ve turned the spotlight on our readers with our special edition, Voices of the Industry. We asked for your thoughts on PCB design and the electronics industry, and—as usual—you weren’t shy about telling us exactly what you think. So read on!
Special Report — Alex Stepinski, Our First Recipient of the Good for the Industry Award
For years, hot air solder leveling was the predominant surface finish in the PCB industry. But now, there’s a veritable alphabet soup of available surface finishes, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. This month, we focus on the latest in PCB surface finishes, with articles from George Milad and Rick Nichols, as well as columns and articles from our regular contributors.
Picking the right PCB manufacturer is tougher than ever. Sure, there are plenty of good fabricators competing for your business, but how do you determine which company is the best for your needs? In the November issue of The PCB Design Magazine, our contributors and columnists explore the world of qualifying fabricators. Rob Scott of Next Level PCB details his methods for conducting full audits of PCB manufacturers. Designer Kelly Dack discusses some of the criteria he keeps in mind when considering a new fabricator. And columnist Mark Thompson of Prototron tells us what designers should look for in a manufacturer regarding quotes, on-time performance, and controlling various impedances.
We also feature articles by Tom Hausherr of PCB Libraries and Karel Tavernier of Ucamco. And as always, this month we feature columns by our team of experts, including Amit Bahl and Barry Olney.
As more than one PCB designer has said, “Managing design data is a lot like herding cats.” It’s no wonder: schematics, footprints, BOMs, netlists, fab notes, assembly notes—millions of petabits (no pun intended) of data are used to design and engineer PCBs, and readers cite mismanaged data as a constant source of heartburn.
In the past, we’ve dedicated issues of Design007 Magazine to specific steps for handling one type of design data, such as fab notes, datasheets, or footprints. But this month, we wanted to step back and look at data management in general, from a more macro level than in previous issues.
These are just a few of the questions we asked this month’s contributors to address:
FLEX007: The flexible and rigid-flex segments are hotbeds of innovation right now, and OEMs that create household electronics can’t seem to get enough of them. But a lot has changed since flex first appeared on the market 60 years ago. Columnist Joe Fjelstad celebrates his 50th year in the business with a retrospective of his career in electronics, and a few predictions about the electronics of the future.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, we’ve seen many PCB designers and design engineers moving out of their company offices and into their home offices. As we’ve discovered, not everyone likes working from home; some designers miss the interaction of face-to-face meetings or being able to leave their problems in the office each day. And many designers now find themselves working on sensitive ITAR projects from home, making cybersecurity more critical than ever.
For this issue, we asked a variety of experts to discuss their companies’ approach to working remotely, as well as some of the cybersecurity challenges related to having employees working from home.
Flexible circuit designers are at the tip of the spear, in many ways. Once considered a specialty technology, flex is now found in many of our handheld devices. And flex technologists are constantly seeking new applications—from autonomous vehicles to 5G—for these handy 3D circuits. But flex designers often have more questions than answers.
This month, we start off with an interview with Joe Fjelstad, who discusses his upcoming online workshop on flexible circuits. We have a great article by Emily McGrath of NextFlex that discusses ways to close the talent gap in our industry. And industry icon Happy Holden answers a variety of your questions about flexible circuits. We also have columns from our regular contributors Dominique Numakura and Joe Fjelstad.
For this issue, we spoke with a variety of young people who are working in this industry. First, we bring you an interview with Professor Gary Spivey of George Fox University in Oregon. Gary discusses his electrical engineering department, one of the few in existence that provides students with real-world experience designing PCBs. Nolan Johnson also spoke with two current GFU students, Alex Burt and Jack Whipple, who discuss their PCB designing experience and their plans for the future.
Next, we have a conversation with Nicole Pacino, CID+, a design team leader at Cobham and daughter of Mike Creeden of San Diego PCB. Nicole explains how she got into PCB design by working one of Mike’s designs like a puzzle and never looked back. And Insulectro’s Megan Teta, CID+, explains how she wound up in this industry after studying to be a pharmacist.
We also interviewed Geoffrey Hazelett of Polar Instruments. Geoffrey explains why so many smart graduates are attracted to other fields that are considered “sexier.” And we spoke with Altium’s Andy Johnson about his work in EDA marketing, and he offered advice for young people considering working in this industry.
Circling back to professors, we have a conversation with Pablo Sanchez Martinez, a Spanish student studying engineering at an Austrian college who wants to become a full professor and teach PCB design. And we have an interview with Martijn van der Marel and Roy Arriens, students from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. They are members of Project March, which designs and builds exoskeletons that can help paraplegics walk.
We also have columns by our regular columnists Barry Olney, Stephen Chavez, Tim Haag, Phil Kinner, and Bob Tise and Dave Baker.
Each year, more and more PCB designers are designing boards that feature HDI technology. And no wonder: HDI can lead to substantial reductions in cost by lowering the board’s layer count. But as OEMs continue to squeeze more functionality into tiny handheld devices, there are still a lot of questions swirling around HDI design.
This month, we bring you our “experts discussion,” with Steve Bird of Finisar, Tony Torres of APCT, and MC Assembly’s Steve Jervey, Mike Smyth and Paul Petty. Then, San Diego PCB founder Mike Creeden shares his views on what it takes to design and manufacture a cutting-edge HDI board today. Craig Armenti of Mentor discusses the impact of HDI on power distribution and power integrity. Then we have an article by NCAB COO Jim Nuttall, who explains the state of HDI as he sees it, and the smart decisions that have to be made, from the design stage through volume production.
We also have an article by Bruce Wu of EDADOC, the largest design bureau in China, on the HDI trends he’s seeing in the domestic China market, as well as around the globe. We round things out with Vern Solberg, who has a great column on design strategies specifically for HDI boards.
We also bring you columns by Barry Olney of In-Circuit Design, consultant Tim Haag, and Jade Bridges of Electrolube.
Table of Contents
As the not-so-old saying goes, “If you don’t have signal integrity issues yet, you will.” This month we bring you a variety of SI articles, starting with our cover story by Michael Steinberger and Barry Katz of SiSoft, and Donald Telian of SI Guys. We also have feature articles by Dennis Nagle of Cadence Design Systems and Narayanan TV of Zuken, as well as a feature column by Abby Monaco of Intercept Technology. Finally, we have a great interview with American Standard Circuits’ John Bushie.
New SI Techniques for Large System Performance Tuning by D. Telian, M. Steinberger & B. Katz
Signal Integrity Tools and Design Methodology in the Modern Age by Dennis Nagle
Getting Signal Integrity Right by Design by Narayanan TV
Having Fun With Impedance by Abby Monaco
We Want Your PCB Design Tips! by Andy Shaughnessy
The Rise of the Independent Engineer by Barry Olney
When Coatings Go Wrong by Phil Kinner
Designing for Profitability: Don't Over-materialize by Barry Matties
The Gerber Guide, Chapters 15 & 16 by Karel Tavernier
As the speed of electronic devices continues to increase, so does the cost of re-spins, making good DFM practices more important than ever. Catching problems at the design stage can save weeks of wasted time, not to mention thousands of dollars. This month, we focus on design for manufacturability techniques and processes.
Understanding DFM and Its Role in PCB Layout, by Rick Almeida
DFM: The PCB Designer as Arbitrator, by Tim Haag
Make the Right Decisions at the Right Time in the PCB Design Process, by Martin Cotton
Split Planes in Multilayer PCBs, by Barry Olney
Cadence’s Brad Griffin Digs Deep Into DDR, by Kelly Dack
Good Vibes at IPC APEX EXPO 2015 by Andy Shaughnessy
Just when you were getting used to signal integrity analysis, power integrity takes center stage! Now, instead of focusing primarily on a signal traveling down a transmission line, PCB designers also have to worry about energy distribution along transmission planes as well. In the December issue of The PCB Design Magazine, our contributors and columnists explore the ins and outs of power integrity. Brad Brim of Cadence Design Systems explores the team approach to assuring power integrity. And columnist Istvan Novak of Oracle explains how to make accurate PDN measurements with a variety of cable shields—whether high-quality, low-quality, conductive foil, or braided wire, with single or multiple layers of wire mesh.
We also feature articles by John Vaughan of Circuit Solutions and Tom Woznicki of Flex Circuit Design Company. And as always, this month we feature columns by our team of experts, including Barry Olney, John Coonrod, Amit Bahl and Martyn Gaudion.
When we started planning this issue on design data transfer formats, we knew what we were getting into. While most of the topics we cover involve objective discussions with designers—i.e., “Here’s the best way to do this”—any conversation about data formats is bound to be a subjective affair.
Gerber, ODB++, and IPC-2581 all have enthusiastic advocates, and all three are being used to produce circuit boards. Which brings us to these questions: Is there really a problem with having three perfectly good design data formats? Does the industry have to unite around one? Or do we all just like a good horse race? These are just a few of the questions that our contributors discuss in the October issue of Design007 Magazine.
In this issue, we start off our interviews with representatives of each format: Cadence’s Ed Acheson of the IPC-2581 Consortium, Patrick McGoff of Siemens EDA for ODB++, and Ucamco’s Karel Tavernier and Eurocircuits’ Dirk Stans for Gerber. They all make their cases for their formats, with surprisingly little “smack talk” about the other formats. Matt Stevenson has a feature column on finding the value of Gerber files. Jen Kolar of Monsoon Solutions explains how her company decides which data format to select for each job. Hemant Shah and Patrick Davis delve into the advantages of IPC-2581, including being open and neutral. Gene Weiner discusses the role of tribal knowledge in the data format conversation. Sunny Patel of Candor Industries talks about the data formats that he sees each day, and we have another short piece by Matt Stevenson discussing the ins and outs of Gerber and ODB++.
We also have columns from regular contributors Barry Olney, Martyn Gaudion, Tara Dunn, John Coonrod, Kelly Dack, Beth Turner, and Joe Fjelstad. And this month, we’re launching a new Siemens column, Digital Transformation, which will focus on the drive to digitize PCB design and manufacturing data.
Article: • DFM 101: PCB Via Structures, by Anaya Vardya
The typical challenges found in rigid board design pale in comparison to the issues designers face with flexible and rigid-flex circuits. This month, Pete Starkey discusses his RealTime with… interview with Anaya Vardya and David Lackey of American Standard Circuits, which focuses on flex and rigid-flex design and manufacturing. And columnist Joe Fjelstad explains why flexible circuits can be a “catalyst for technical evolution.”
There’s a split in the PCB design community, and—as is often the case—the divide centers on data: app notes. Should designers trust app notes or assume that they’re incorrect? Are app notes kissing cousins to datasheets, or are they overly optimistic marketing collateral, with results you’re not likely to see in real-world operation? What should a young designer or engineer do when facing an unfamiliar app note?
This month, we asked a variety of experts to share their thoughts on app notes, datasheets, and when to trust this data. Rick Hartley and Dan Beeker start off by explaining why app notes should never be trusted unless they’ve been verified, and they present some great horror stories to back up their position.
Designing and manufacturing rigid PCBs can be challenging. But flexible circuit technologists face a plethora of issues that their rigid counterparts never dreamed of. One advantage for the flexible circuit designer: the three-dimensional nature of flex allows for innovations that are impossible for rigid boards. Is flex really the new frontier?
Technological advances have made it possible to print circuits on all sorts of traditional and non-traditional substrates, and even materials not even considered substrates. What does a PCB designer need to know in order to design circuits on these alternative materials? We asked our expert contributors to share their insights into printing circuits on some non-traditional materials.
In our lead feature article, columnist Barry Olney of iCD explains why all PCB substrates are not created equal, and why designers need to avoid “flat-earth thinking.” Next, Dan Gamota of Jabil discusses some of the off-the-wall substrates he’s worked with over the years, and why materials such as toughened glass could be great substrates.
Columnists Anaya Vardya and John Bushie of American Standard Circuits discuss microwave bonding methods, and their various effects on loss and dielectric constant. And columnist John Coonrod of Rogers Corporation explains how designers are moving past microwave frequencies to millimeter-wave frequency ranges of 30-300 GHz, and why flexible circuits may be the answer. And we have a great article by CF Yee of Keysight Technologies that focuses on the influence of metal plating on PCB channel loss and impedance.
We also bring you columns from our regular contributors Mark Thompson of Prototron Circuits, Stephen Chavez with the IPC Designers Council, Bob Tise and Dave Baker of Sunstone Circuits, and Jade Bridges of Electrolube.
You’ve heard it before: “If you don’t have signal integrity issues, you will.” New low-loss materials are constantly being rolled out to help with signal integrity, and most EDA companies now offer some flavor of tool that can design high-speed, high-frequency boards. But signal integrity continues to perplex PCB designers and design engineers. This month’s issue is packed with technical articles as we delve deep into SI.
This month, we bring you our “experts discussion,” featuring Michael Steinberger of SiSoft, Mark Thompson of Prototron Circuits, and Yogen and Sunny Patel of Candor Industries, along with Happy Holden. Next, Barry Olney of In-Circuit Design looks into exactly when a trace becomes a transmission line. Bert Simonovich of Lamsim Enterprises discusses some new ways to model high-speed backplane channels. Then, Oracle’s Istvan Novak looks into ways to use causal models for your power deliver network to achieve more accurate results. And there's more... check it out:
Ever since the first PCBs were designed, spaces, traces, and features have been shrinking at an almost exponential rate, along with available board real estate. For some designers, what was formerly a jigsaw puzzle has become a logistical nightmare. This month, our first feature story is an interview with Albert Gaines, owner of HiGain Design Services, who focuses on the ins and outs of designing with tight tolerances. David Ledger-Thomas of Honeywell Aerospace discusses some of his techniques for handling fine spaces and traces. And Mark Thompson of Prototron Circuits covers this topic from the viewpoint of the CAM operator, offering a variety of tips to help designers stay out of trouble when things get small.
Designing with Fine Lines and Features - Albert Gaines
From the CAM Shop: Tight Tolerance Design Tips - Mark Thompson
Designing PCBs with Tighter Tolerances - David Ledger-Thomas
The Importance of Design for Profit Interview with Mike Brown
The Gerber Guide, Chapters 13 & 14 by Karel Tavernier
Let’s Get Small by Andy Shaughnessy
Mastering “Black Magic” with Howard Johnson’s Seminars by Barry Olney
The Dilemma: Soldermask for High-Frequency PCBs by John Coonrod
Special Section: IMPACT Washington, D.C. 2016 by Patty Goldman
A decade ago, most PCB designers didn’t have to worry about the challenges associated with higher speeds. But now, many electronic products feature high-speed PCBs, and designs are getting faster all the time. This month, we take the high road and focus on high-speed design techniques.
Effective Characteristic Impedance, by Kirk Fabbri
Effects of Surface Roughness on High-Speed PCBs, by Barry Olney
I3: Incident, Instantaneous, Impedance, by Martyn Gaudion
Effects of DC Bias on Ceramic Capacitors, by Istvan Novak
Controlled Impedance: A Real-World Look at the PCB Side, by Dan Beaulieu and Bob Tarzwell
Insertion Loss: A Bigger Concern in High-Speed Digital, by John Coonrod
IPC Updates CID, and DFX Takes Off, by Andy Shaughnessy
Push the Button, Max, by Tim Haag
HDI is here, and it brings a whole host of benefits, as well as potential challenges. In this issue, Charles Pfeil and Happy Holden, and Paul Reid offer tips on designing reliable HDI PCBs. We’ll also feature columns by Dan Smith, Barry Olney, Tim Haag, John Coonrod, and Charles Pfeil, as well as an article on designing medical PCBs by Kenneth MacCallum of Starfish Medical
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