July 2012

 

FEATURES

MCAD-ECAD
Integrating PCB Layout and Mechanical Design
The integration of PCB layout with mechanical design is a tough problem to solve. Not only does the shared information have to bridge the 2D to 3D gap, the amount and type of information that need to be shared varies from design to design and company to company. The longtime preferred format, IDF, represents only "snapshots" of the design and does not support incremental changes. However, a new data format, known as IDX, provides a new level of collaboration between board layout and mechanical design.
by David Kehmeier

Careers
PCB Designers, Rev. 2
Has anyone seen the next generation of PCB designers? The window to identify and train them is closing. What we can do about it.
by Mike Creeden and Jeff Kuester

 

FIRST PERSON

  • Caveat Lector
    Model behavior.
    Mike Buetow


MONEY MATTERS

  • ROI
    No such thing as too big to fail.
    Peter Bigelow

  • Global Sourcing
    Rebalancing the supply chain.
    Wally Johnson

 

TECH TALK

  •  On the Forefront
    Not your father's MCM.
    E. Jan Vardaman

  • Designer’s Notebook
    Getting embed.
    Per Viklund

  • Data Transfer
    Validating the test plan.
    Edward B. Acheson

  • Final Finishes
    'Rough' starts.
    Lenora Toscano

  • The Flexperts
    Circuit failures.
    Mark Finstad

  • Technical Abstracts
    In case you missed it.

June 2012

 

FEATURES

Current Control
Thermal Effects of IR Drop on PCBs
Power distribution networks must provide adequate DC current-carrying capability, lest additional heat be generated on the board itself, yet it is difficult to design a PDN that meets the current demands of today’s ICs. But problems brought on by voltage drop, excessive current in vias, and excessive current densities can be identified and eliminated during design. Here's how.
by Patrick Carrier

Panelization
The PCB Array, and Why We Use It
An array combines a single PCB multiple times to make a larger group of connected boards, a process sometimes referred to as “step and repeat.” The array helps an assembler load parts at a much faster rate. Follow these guidelines to set up arrays for manufacturing.
by Peter Brissette

Careers
The window to identify and train the next generation of designers is closing.
A pair of design veterans offer their take on what to do about it.
by Michael R. Creeden and Jeff Kuester

 

FIRST PERSON

  • Caveat Lector
    Remembering our heroes.
    Mike Buetow


MONEY MATTERS

  • ROI
    Ideas and enablers.
    Peter Bigelow

 

TECH TALK

  • Designer’s Notebook
    Polarity markings.
    Duane Benson

  • In Flex
    Meeting impedance and signal performance targets.
    Jay Desai

  • Technical Abstracts
    In case you missed it.

May 2012

 

FEATURES

Integrated 3D Analysis
Modeling 3D Effects of Signal Integrity
Demand for increasingly fast computation and information transmission continues to rise, with a substantial number of designs operating at multiple Gbps range. Advanced memory designs are moving data at 10 Gbps, and the latest SerDes communication standard is reaching toward 30 Gbps. Understanding the impacts from 3D structures on signal interconnects is important, but knowing whether there is a design problem is not enough. Instead, designers must know how much the effect could be and if a design can still work without significant modification.
by Dr. Zhen Mu

Design Implementation
Key Rules for Design for Excellence
Ample scientific work indicates that 75% to 85% of the cost of an electronic product is determined in the design phase. As the design process advances, the window of opportunity to introduce changes becomes smaller, and the cost of introducing change grows, in some cases exponentially. DfX can mitigate those costs, but only if properly implemented.
by Arbel Nissan

COVER STORY
Mixed Signals
For designers, 2012 looks a lot like 2011, according to the results of our annual Designers’ Salary Survey. Veterans dominate the scene, and most of them are worked hard, but well-compensated for their efforts.
by Chelsey Drysdale

 

FIRST PERSON

  • Caveat Lector
    Pay day.
    Mike Buetow


MONEY MATTERS

  • ROI
    It's not about survival.
    Peter Bigelow

 

TECH TALK

  • Forefront
    Back from Japan.
    E. Jan Vardaman

  •  Designer’s Notebook
    Controlling crosstalk.
    Patrick Carrier

  • The Flexperts
    Foiled again.
    Mark Verbrugge

  • Tech Tips
    Collapsing the bridge.
    Robert Dervaes

  • Technical Abstracts
    In case you missed it.

April 2012

FEATURES

Board Fabrication
3D Printing PCBs
In practice since the 1980s, 3D printing is finally ready for prime time. Why this additive manufacturing technology is being embraced by electronics manufacturers, and what it means for PCB companies.
by Richard Bartlett

Apex Expo Recap
'Trekking On'
Following three tepid years in Las Vegas, a move to San Diego offered the annual trade show a new lease on life. And like the last time it was held in this Southern California city, Apex did not disappoint. Plus: Our annual SEA and NPI Award winners.
by Mike Buetow

EMS Top 50
Hard Lessons Learned
Mother Nature put the hurt on contract assemblers from Japan to Thailand last year, but it wasn't just gravity that brought the once high-flying Elcoteq back to earth. It was almost enough for us to overlook another year of controversy at Foxconn. (Almost.) Elcoteq notwithstanding, the 10 largest EMS companies remained mostly static in 2011. But there was plenty of movement below.
by Mike Buetow

 

FIRST PERSON

  • Caveat Lector
    ITAR'd and feathered.
    Mike Buetow


MONEY MATTERS

  • ROI
    Changes in attitude.
    Peter Bigelow

  • Focus on Business
    Mixing generations.
    Susan Mucha

  • Forefront
    Going for broke.
    E. Jan Vardaman

 

TECH TALK

  • Designer’s Notebook
    Modifying the stencil layer.
    Duane Benson

  • In Flex
    Material selection.
    Jay Desai

  • Defects Database
    Solder tip life.
    Dr. Chris Hunt

  • Solar
    Progress on efficiency.
    Tom Falcon

  • Technical Abstracts
    In case you missed it.

March 2012

FEATURES

Conformal Coatings
Protecting Silicon with Silicone
Silicone chemistry is a unique combination: neither purely organic (i.e., carbon-based) nor purely inorganic (i.e., silicon-based), but a molecular-level hybrid of both. The nature of the Si-O bond in the polymer backbone creates low rotation barriers and large bond energies. This inorganic polysiloxane backbone provides the foundation for building materials with superior thermal properties, environmental resistance and flexibility, even at temperatures below -70oC. New systems are more robust, faster curing and require less energy than conventional chemistry.
by Brian Chambers

Data Transfer
Viasystems’ Approach to CAD-to-CAM Data Transfer
At Viasystems, the top issue is the amount of time required to successfully import, analyze and prepare design packages for production tooling. With full utilization of ODB++ files, the board fabricator has found it can greatly reduce the amount of manual time-consuming human interaction, and reduce opportunity for quality errors.
by Kent Balius, Stephan Hackl and Julian Coates

 

FIRST PERSON

  • Caveat Lector
    Happy anniversary.
    Mike Buetow


MONEY MATTERS

  • ROI
    Secret to success.
    Peter Bigelow

 

TECH TALK

  • Designer’s Notebook
    Improving the design to fabrication handoff.
    Max Clark

  • The Flexperts
    Plane layer epoxy.
    Mark Finstad

  • Tech Tips
    Component whisker mitigation.
    ACI Technologies
  • Technical Abstracts
    In case you missed it.

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