ADAS auto electronics require zero-defect components.

With construction of a new venue for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, the annual Nepcon Japan show was split into two parts this year. There were 67,169 visitors to see more than 2,100 exhibitors. A reported 24,323 people attended the conference presentations. Exhibits included automotive and electronics. The electronics R&D and manufacturing exhibits included IC and sensor packaging, LED and laser diode technology, PCB, SMT, test and measurement, components, devices, and materials. Many highly attended conference sessions focused on 5G, AI, and automotive electronics (FIGURE 1).

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For decades, researchers have considered the potential for cooling hot electronic devices by blowing on them with high-speed air jets.

However, air jet cooling systems are not widely used today. Two of the biggest obstacles that prevent the use of these systems is their complexity and weight. Air jet systems must be made of metal to be able to handle the pressure associated with air jets whose speed can exceed 200 miles per hour. And the air handling system can be complex with many discrete components that manage the air flow and direct the air onto the hot spots where cooling is required.

Now, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have demonstrated a new type of air jet cooler that overcomes previous barriers to jet cooling systems. Using additive manufacturing, the researchers created an air jet cooling system in a single component that can direct high-speed air onto multiple electronics hot spots. The researchers manufactured the cooling system from strong polymer materials that can withstand the harsh conditions associated with high-speed air jets.

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Shipments from the printed circuit industry can arguably be considered a barometer for the global electronics market.

With that said, PCB shipments for December are a little cloudy and complicated; further explanations follows. Total revenue from Taiwanese PCB manufacturers in December 2019 was NT$56.28 billion ($1.87 billion), an 8.24% decrease from the previous month and a 15.74% increase from the same time in the previous year. Now, we can review the annual performance of the year. Total revenue for 2019 was NT$639.2 billion ($21.2 billion), a 1.48% increase from the previous year. Rigid circuits grew by 1.99% with mild fluctuations throughout the year. The Flex circuits segment posted negligible growth at 0.15% while experiencing wild fluctuations in demand throughout the year.

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In the wake of pandemics and travel bans, visitors still turned out for the annual exhibition.

Heading into IPC Apex Expo the first week of February, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The overall market appears to be slowing somewhat. Many EMS companies have reported lower sales for the past quarter. US presidential elections often seem to dampen electronics orders, at least until November, even though a review of the overall GDP disputes any such letup. And fears of the coronavirus in China have clearly spooked the industry, as some firms have reduced or banned employee travel for the time being.

But once the show started, many of those concerns abated. Floor traffic was up and down through the first two days, before grinding to a near halt per usual on the third and final day of the show. Exhibitors took note, reporting mixed reviews of the attendance. But when it was busy, it was really busy. It’s hard to say whether the postponement of overseas shows such as Nepcon China and the International Electronic Circuits (Shanghai) Exhibition (better known as the CPCA Show) boosted attendance an ocean away in San Diego, but it probably didn’t hurt. (As of this writing, IPC has not released official attendance figures.)

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New hole formation technologies and low-cost low-loss materials are needed.

Ed.: This is the fourth of an occasional series by the authors of the 2019 iNEMI Roadmap. This information is excerpted from the roadmap, available from iNEMI (inemi.org/2019-roadmap-overview).

iNEMI’s Organic PCB Roadmap summarizes the technology needs for rigid PCB, flexible circuits and optical circuits, and it includes the gaps and challenges that need to be addressed to meet the expectations of the key product groups that are driving industry demands. Successfully meeting these challenges will provide significant business opportunities for PCB fabricators.

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A review of tracking methodology choices to address challenges of environmental factors such as light and the prerequisite of fixed visual features.

The future of manufacturing will include elements of augmented reality (AR). As Pokémon GO and Ikea Place apps continue to drive awareness for AR, technology companies continue to develop solutions to solve key productivity, quality and efficiency challenges using AR. Manufacturers are looking for innovative ways to solve problems, and AR may be the key. According to an article by Cognizant, innovative companies such as Ikea, Mitsubishi, Toyota, Lego, and 10% of Fortune 500 companies have begun exploring augmented reality applications.1 In addition, Gartner predicts that by 2020, 20% of large enterprises will evaluate and adopt augmented reality, virtual reality and mixed reality solutions as part of their digital transformation strategy.2,3

Augmented reality has been around for some time. However, the crossroads of visual processing power, data processing capabilities and compute power have suddenly made any mixed reality solution viable.

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