Current Issue

Mike BuetowSpeaking, as we were last month, about roadmaps, their role, who uses them and how, I call your attention to the retrospective that begins on page 27 of this month’s issue. It’s a reflection of the early days of the IPC Roadmap, which was published some 25 years ago.

As with our other year-end retrospectives on the introduction of RoHS and its effective ban on leaded solder and the launch of the IPC Designers Council, we wanted to capture the recollections of those who were on the front lines of the project. (A sad omission: Dieter Bergman, the project’s biggest champion and perhaps the one person most responsible for the first couple iterations, passed away in 2014. I still miss you, Big Guy.)

In 1993, of course, the electronics supply chain was a very different animal. Outsourcing wasn’t new, but it hadn’t taken hold in all corners, especially assembly. AT&T, IBM, H-P, Texas Instruments and Digital Equipment were among the leaders in vertical manufacturing. Many technologies accepted as routine today (SMT and HDI among them) were still finding their way – or hadn’t even made it off the drawing board.

Read more: Thoughts on the Past and the Future

Mike BuetowAs we come to the end of our run of articles excerpted from the 2017 iNEMI Roadmap, it gives us time to reflect on the nature of roadmaps in general and their value to the industry.

I’ve always been a fan of them. My history with the document dates to the earliest interconnect roadmap, developed by IPC in 1994. As a cub reporter, I covered the series of meetings that led to the first PWB roadmap. The energy was palpable. We really felt like we were saving the industry.

Subject experts acted as chairs for the respective working groups, each tasked with developing a chapter. Each chapter reflected the biases of those who developed it. That first tome ran a scant 172 pages and reviewed nine technology areas, primarily bare boards, assembly, packaging, and components. The development process hasn’t changed dramatically since then, even as the sheer volume of what is described has exploded.

Read more: A Fork in the Roadmap

ChelseyDrysdaleLast week, I attended my first IPC Designers Council Cascade (Seattle) chapter meeting, where I was greeted by a welcoming group of designers and long-time industry experts, including the featured speaker, Dock Brown, co-chair of the IPC DFX committee, and Tim Mullins, the chapter’s president.

Prototron Circuits hosted lunch in a small lecture hall on the beautiful campus of the Lake Washington Institute of Technology in Kirkland, WA.

Read more: IPC Designers Council Chapters Help Members Stay Connected, Informed

Mike BuetowWhat’s in a name?

We probably ask that question about 10,000 times over the course of our lives. It often starts with our own. How many times did you complain – loudly or under your breath – about your own name? “Mine’s too common/uncommon/plain/weird,” etc. A name is just a name, but for many juveniles, it’s their introduction to branding.

I attended a parochial school for eight years. At one time, no fewer than five of the 20 or so boys in my class were named Michael. And “it wasn’t me, it was the other Mike” could only fool the nuns for so long. At one point, probably around third grade, in the faintest of hopes to distinguish myself, I remember telling classmates and teachers to call me by my middle name: John.

That didn’t take either. And so went my early attempts to raise my “personal brand.”

Read more: Just Who is the Designer or Engineer of Today?

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