October 2011

 

FEATURES

PCB Laminates
A Novel Halogen-Free, Phosphorus-Free Material for PCB Applications
Some studies have found halogen-containing epoxy resin might produce hazardous carcinogenic gases, such as dioxin and furan, under certain combustion temperatures (i.e., <1000°C). Halogen-free flame retardants, which exclude TBBPA, are becoming increasingly popular as a replacement. There are a variety of approaches to replacing TBBPA and other halogenated flame retardants. Tests show a new novel halogen-free, phosphorus-free material can fulfill the environmental requirements, exhibit good characteristics and nonflammability without a high cost penalty.
by Christina Jien and Johnson Chang

Retrospective
In Memoriam
2011 will likely be recalled as a transitive year, one in which we took stock of the pros and cons of various geographies and business models as we tried to come to grips with very uncertain economic times. It will also be recalled as the year we lost some of the industry’s biggest names from all ends of the design and manufacturing spectrum, from Steve Jobs to Werner Engelmaier. This month we reflect on their impact on our industry and our lives.

FIRST PERSON

MONEY MATTERS

  • ROI
    Vertically challenged.
    Peter Bigelow

  • Focus on Business
    The real challenge of diversity.
    Susan Mucha

 

TECH TALK

October 2011

 

FEATURES

Industrial Health
Evaluation of Employee Exposures at a PCB Plant
A confidential employee request for a Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) at an electronics manufacturer specializing in PCB fabrication and assembly explains how third-party audits are initiated and reviews best-in-class controls for maintaining factory worker health.
by Srinivas Durgam, Chandran Achutan, Ph.D., Carlos Aristeguieta, M.D., and Maureen T. Niemeier

DfT
Smoothing the Layout to Test Flow
When layout and test take place under the same roof, determining the right strategy to increase test coverage for a given product becomes much easier, and ensures the end-product will be successfully tested.
by Zulki Khan

FIRST PERSON

MONEY MATTERS

  • ROI
    Vertically challenged.
    Peter Bigelow

 

TECH TALK

October 2011

 

FEATURES

Transmission Lines
Understanding PCBs for High-Frequency Applications
Printed circuit boards for microwave circuits must support transmission of signals with the diminutive wavelengths of radio-frequency (RF) and microwave frequencies, and they must do so with minimal loss and stable, consistent performance. To best understand high-frequency PCBs, it helps to review the types of transmission lines and structures typically used in RF/microwave circuits and how PCB characteristics relate to electrical performance at higher frequencies.
by John Coonrod

FIRST PERSON

MONEY MATTERS

 

TECH TALK

September 2011

 

FEATURES

NTI-100
The Asian Persuasion
The 102 largest (by revenue) fabricators produced approximately 80% of the total worldwide output in 2010. And by and large, China is reaping the gains. In a PCD&F exclusive, we count them down, from Unimicron to Somacis.
by Dr. Hayao Nakahara

Drilling
Advances in Dual Spindle Technology
For years it appeared laser technology would replace traditional mechanical drilling. As it turns out, the two processes complement each other. Mechanical circuit board processes have advantages, such as ease-of-adjustment and lower cost. Moreover, dual spindle technology can ramp productivity heavily.
by Volker Feyerabend

Electronics Sustainability
Green Machines
EMS companies are no longer in the business of “just” making solder joints. Environmental and sustainability initiatives now permeate many large organizations. In a Circuits Assembly exclusive, Flextronics’ top engineer explains the world’s second-largest EMS/ODM’s approach to the new green world.
by Mike Buetow

Print Inspection
Man vs. Machine
Does anybody really believe that in 2011 three-fourths of all SMT defects are generated in the print process? Of course not. But we accept this spurious, decade-old, seemingly baseless statistic on stencil printing without question because we know how important a good printing process is to a profitable SMT assembly operation.
by Chrys Shea



FIRST PERSON

MONEY MATTERS

  • ROI
    Lining up the schools.
    Peter Bigelow

 

TECH TALK

July 2011

 

FEATURES

Emerging Technologies
The Rapidly Changing Interconnect
A decade ago, North America made the conscious decision not to invest in HDI, a move that has hamstrung the continent ever since. With embedded components finally moving from potential to prime time, American manufacturing has another opportunity.
by Matthew Holzmann

Cover Story
Equipping the PCB Design and Supply Chain with 21st Century Data
It’s an age-old story: A good design is undone at fabrication or assembly by a file transfer format that doesn’t accommodate key data. Yet, we still mechanically accept 30-year-old ways of communicating design intent to manufacturing. Change could finally be brewing, though, as a new industry consortium made up of OEMs, users and CAD/CAM providers drives for standardization across design, fabrication, assembly and test.
by Keith Felton and Hemant Shah

Board Registration
The Enigmatic Breakout Angle
If plated through-holes in multilayer printed circuit boards are not suitably registered, board reliability is threatened. But industry standards call for vertical microsections of coupons on PCBs, which do not allow measurement of breakout in internal annular ring. A new design for quantitatively determining annular ring and breakout angle on PCB innerlayers.
by Russell Dudek and Louis Hart



FIRST PERSON

MONEY MATTERS

  • ROI
    Hardly intellectual, and barely property.
    Peter Bigelow

  • Focus on Business
    It’s not me, it’s you.
    Susan Mucha

 

TECH TALK

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