Features

The East Coast trade show brings news of a steady industry, while puncturing myths about AI.

Members of the electronics community gathered in the Boston suburb of Boxborough in early June for the return of PCB East, PCEA's annual event featuring four days of technical sessions and a one-day exhibition.

This year's exhibition featured more than 65 companies running the gamut of the PCB industry, from fabrication, design, and assembly to test and inspection, and most of those companies reported steady growth thus far, with small gains over 2023.

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Searching for components and automating schematic capture are just two of the ways AI will be implemented in PCB design.

During the past 10 years, artificial intelligence (AI) has progressed from a visionary concept to a mainstream reality in many large companies. AI is becoming a crucial lever for improving operational productivity and user expertise.

AI is a set of computational technologies that enable a machine to reason and infer without any human intervention. These technologies are developed using cross-disciplinary approaches based on mathematics, computer science, statistics, and psychology. AI based solutions can analyze high volumes of data to identify trends and patterns which can then be used to improve existing processes and make recommendations to assist users in making better decisions.

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One year out from its merger with American Standard Circuits, the West Coast fabricator is evolving to meet a changing customer base.

From its inception as part of Electronic Controls Design in 1972, to its joining with American Standard Circuits last July, Sunstone Circuits has been committed to innovating in the industry – for instance, it is said to be the first to offer online quoting and ordering in the 1990s – as well as providing exceptional customer service.

To better understand what makes Sunstone go, PCD&F visited the company's 32,000 sq. ft. facility in Mulino, OR, in late April, and took an inside look at its operations.

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Using the Weibull distribution to model gold wire bonding on ENEPIG.

The most used distribution in reliability analysis may be the Weibull distribution. Its genesis can be traced back to Waloddi Weibull’s invention in 1937. Then, in 1951, Waloddi presented his hallmark paper to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) on this subject, claiming that his distribution applied to a wide range of problems. He showed several examples, ranging from the fiber strength of cotton to the fatigue life of steel.1

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Power and signal placed on outer layers minimize radiated emissions.

The PCB stackup is like a building's foundation; a product not built on a strong base will fall apart. When electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) testing is considered, the PCB stackup is a major determinant of radiated EMI, and to some extent, conducted EMI. A PCB stackup design that enables low EMI also aids signal integrity and power integrity, as all these areas are linked and must be considered in totality.

So, to ensure a PCB design passes EMC testing, understand the stackup's role in generating emissions and determining EMI susceptibility. Simple changes in materials, layer assignments, and routing strategies can make the difference between passing and failing EMC tests. All these decisions originate in the PCB stackup.

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A special panel discusses the growth of AI tools and its possible effects on the industry.

“Will AI take my job?”

That’s the question on the mind of many around the world today – including electronics engineers and PCB design engineers – and was one of several questions considered during an online panel hosted by PCEA in March.

A group of panelists with notable AI experience – Circuit Mind’s Tomide Adesanmi, Cadence Design Systems’ Taylor Hogan, Zuken’s Kyle Miller, Luminovo’s Sebastian Schaal and Siemens Digital Industries’ David Wiens – gathered to share predictions for the future of AI in the electronics supply chain and answer questions from an audience of industry professionals.

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