Fein-Lines: Live in Person—PCEA/Orange County Meets Up Again

If the United States is ever going to regain some of its historically large PCB fab market share, design and fabrication knowhow must play a significant role.

“Fabricators are an important part of the design with manufacturing practice,” says Scott McCurdy, president of the Orange County chapter of the Printed Circuit Engineering Association (PCEA), which recently had its first live event in more than two years. “They are advancing their technology and it is incumbent on designers to spend time talking with their fab vendors’ technical people and communicating their needs and concerns. This will ultimately get the best result in yield, cost, performance, and mutual satisfaction in the relationship.”

This relationship is key to success. The more designers know what fabs are dealing with and what they need, and the more that fabricators know about the options for new materials and processes and the issues that designers face, the better it is for the overall industry. Keep in mind, those who know have a significant advantage over those who do not.

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I spoke with Scott after the July event in southern California, which featured three speakers and quite a large turnout. Scott said he was very pleased with the interaction between the audience and the presenters.

“This also encouraged some of the talented fabricators to speak up from the manufacturing perspective, and I believe it added to the educational value of our event,” he said.

The Orange County chapter is the largest in PCEA. It was formerly part of IPC back when IPC’s Designer’s Council was active. Scott has been instrumental in keeping the chapter alive, growing its membership, and getting backing from several well-known companies in the industry, including Insulectro, which helped sponsor this event.

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I believe these events provide excellent reasons for anyone involved in design and assembly to attend. They allow time to meet, greet, and talk business with industry insiders, some of whom you may not have seen in person for quite some time. They also allow for worthy presentations, lively discussion, lunch, and even raffle prizes.

Here are short summaries from each of the three presentations:

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“Signal Integrity Applications in Layout,” by Mike Creeden, CID+, technical director, design education, Insulectro
Mike spoke about applying SI theory to your layout, covering EM fields, laminates, copper profile, uninterrupted GND return path, impedance discontinuities from your routing, and proper shielding. He said the main goal is to obtain maximum placement and routing density, optimum performance as well as defect-free manufacturing. The key laminate composites are glass for rigidity, copper for conductivity and resin for bonding. The construction of the board using these three basic materials was discussed in some detail and generated quite a few questions as well as discussion and commentary between the presenters and the audience.


Feinberg_Aug_paste_dont_plate.jpg“Advanced Via Solutions using Ormet® Pastes,” by Chris Hunrath, vice president of technology, Insulectro
Chris spoke on Z-Axis interconnects for multi-lam HDI, back-drill elimination, solving high aspect ratio plating on high layer count boards, and any-layer-via usage. This presentation discussed two basic methods for transient liquid phase sintering (TLPS). The process has some basic advantages, including speed with one or two lamination cycles replacing up to10 cycles. In addition, it establishes metallurgical connection with copper interfaces. He described many other advantages, such as the ability to eliminate back drilling. Chris also discussed compatibility and reliability of the process in detail.


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“Overcoming Flex Design Challenges,” by Geoffrey Leeds, CID, product manager, flex substrates, Insulectro
Geoffrey talked about overcoming flex design challenges by understanding the building blocks, pitfalls to avoid during layout, dynamic vs. static design constraint, and the proper materials and their applications. He discussed the basic PCB building blocks for rigid, rigid-flex, and flex circuits as well as the comparisons of the basic building blocks needed for each. One area of interest was the difference between weak and robust design, and various pitfalls such as what to avoid during design.

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The presentation also discussed specialty materials and their applications such as DuPont’s Pyralux® high performance materials.

One informal topic of discussion during the chapter meeting was about supply chain, particularly the supply of raw materials and components. I surmised the general feeling was that while supplies are now more readily available, not having just one key component can stop the whole production. So, there is still more work to be done.

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Whether you’re a highly experienced design professional, executive, or just getting started, you will always learn something valuable at these chapter meetings. They are focused, encourage excellent questions, and create a great deal of excellent discussion and discourse. 

The next Orange County chapter meeting is planned for this fall. If you are in the area, I encourage you to attend. You will find it well worth the investment of a few hours of your time.

Dan Feinberg is an I-Connect007 technical editor and founder of Fein-Line Associates.

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2022

Fein-Lines: Live in Person—PCEA/Orange County Meets Up Again

08-11-2022

If the United States is ever going to regain some of its historically large PCB fab market share, design and fabrication knowhow must play a significant role. “Fabricators are an important part of the design with manufacturing practice,” says Scott McCurdy, president of the Orange County chapter of the Printed Circuit Engineering Association (PCEA), which recently had its first live event in more than two years. “They are advancing their technology and it is incumbent on designers to spend time talking with their fab vendors’ technical people and communicating their needs and concerns. This will ultimately get the best result in yield, cost, performance, and mutual satisfaction in the relationship.”

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Fein-Lines: Virtual Reality is About to Get a Lot More Real—and Fun

06-23-2022

While two very interesting technology shows in the past month each had their own focus, I came away from both with the feeling that not only will these industries collide, but we are on the precipice of an explosion in extended reality. Additionally, these shows were just a preview of what we can expect from CES 2023 as developers from around the world demonstrate the next generation of technology. Here are my key takeaways, what’s coming next, and suggestions to see the “reality” for yourselves.

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Fein-Lines: XR—the Future is Near

05-18-2022

When virtual reality first appeared on PCs, it was mostly used to create special effects for gaming. There has been huge progress since. What wasn’t clear, though, was how fast the overall technology would evolve and how extended reality would unfold its full potential in both entertainment and business. The upcoming AWE show seeks to highlight the latest in technology. What are you most looking forward to?

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Fein-Lines: Is Windows 11 the Greatest Operating System of All Time?

04-13-2022

I held off updating Windows 11 for several months, but finally took the plunge and it has quickly become my favorite operating system of all time. I know that’s a bold statement but let me tell you why I’ve come to this conclusion. Windows 11 was first released to the general user base in October 2021. Since then, there have been 12 previews, updates, and changes. Initially it was only available to the newest computers but is now available on most newer devices. Don’t feel pressured, however, as Windows 10 is still available and will continue to get necessary updates for the next few years.

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Fein-Lines: Time to Upgrade to Windows 11?

03-21-2022

My friends, family, and clients have asked me, “Should I upgrade to Windows 11? Is now a good time?” If you’re like most PCB designers, you are using Windows 10 for everything you do. It’s true that Windows continues to be the dominant operating global system, with all versions of Windows comprising slightly over 70% of the global market share for desktops and laptops of all types and brands. For mobile phones, however, Android dominates.

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Fein-Lines: Here’s How Technology Will Play Out in 2022

02-21-2022

Welcome to 2022, the start of the first year of a new normal where we go back to our pre-pandemic ways but with higher prices, more advanced technology, more acceptance of online meetings and communication, and some initial movement to XR in everyday life. Anyone who follows my column knows I have my favorite topics. So, with that in mind, here’s what I see coming.

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2021

Fein-Lines: Who Will Maintain Control of Global Chip Manufacturing?

12-02-2021

Will the U.S. gain back significant share of global chip manufacturing or continue to decline and become less relevant in this critical area? Back in 1990, the U.S. dominated the world in its use of chips, with about 40% of the total global production made in the United States. That number was down from its peak, but it was still significant. Much has changed in 30 years. Today the U.S. supplies approximately 12% of the global chip market, even though U.S.-based companies use a much higher percentage of the chips.

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Fein-Lines: End-User Technology Show Season Ramps Up

11-04-2021

There are several technology trade shows on the horizon, including IPC APEX EXPO, AltiumLive, NEPCON Japan, and SEMICON West. There are many others, but the ones coming up primarily focus on end-user technology rather than the design, components, and manufacturing processes used to make the end product. Two of these end-product shows have been of great interest to me, and to many of our readers, for decades: the Consumer Electronics Show 2022 (CES), January 5-8 and Augmented World Expo (AWE), November 9-11.

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Fein-Lines: New Product Review—What's in Your Wallet?

10-13-2021

With the trade show season looming and with AWE right around the corner followed by CES and then IPC APEX/EXPO just a few months out, we are starting to see announcements regarding new and updated devices.

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Fein-Lines: PCEA Presentation—Latest PCB Fab Processes

09-16-2021

As someone who started his career as a PCB fab process engineer in the early '60s I find it interesting that many of the processes for PCB interconnects are still in use today. Yes, we had eyelets then, but, hey, we did start using plated through-holes too.

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2018

Fein-Lines: Who is Your Customer?

03-13-2018

Who is your customer? The answer depends on your goal and whether you’re talking about the short term or the long term. Are you in sales or marketing and therefore looking to sell or assist in selling your company’s products? If so, then you might say that your customer is XYZ Circuits or ABC Assembly or even Ace Distribution. But are they really your key customer?

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2017

Fein-Lines: So Much Virtual Reality, So Little Time

12-11-2017

It is hard to believe that the holiday season is upon us and that means that it is almost CES time again. CES marks so many new announcements as well as the unveiling of advances for technology that is truly gaining ground, such as autonomous vehicles, drones and augmented/mixed/virtual reality or, in some cases just the opposite, flash-in-the-pan trends such as 3D TV are also evident by their sudde

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Fein-Lines: Virus, Phishing, Ransomware…Oh My!

05-25-2017

Malware, the collective name for viruses, Trojan horses and other malicious software that can infect your computer, has been in the news lately, probably more than at any time I can remember. Over the years, malware has evolved; it can affect smartphones and tablets as well as all computers.

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2016

CES: Day One

01-05-2016

CES Unveiled is the official media event for CES. It is the first official happening of what promises to be a very busy and fascinating week. At this event, members of the press get to preview a number of innovative startups as well as some new products from a few established global brands.

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2014

Fein-Lines: Computer Security Tips

11-17-2014

Many scams are perpetrated on unknowing computer users. They come in all flavors and no one--no matter what type of computer you use--is immune. This month, Columnist Dan Feinberg focuses on the "I am from Windows and I'm calling to fix your computer" scam.

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2012

Fein-Lines: Dealing with Problamatic Links in E-Mail

09-11-2012

For the last several months Dan Feinberg has had a number of students, friends, and clients ask for help with e-mail links that do not take them to the desired website. This webcast describes what he thinks may be the issue, and also provides a fix that has worked for him 100% of the time.

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2010

Fein-Lines: 32-Bit Versus 64-Bit--What's the Difference?

06-09-2010

One question Dan Feinberg often gets during his seminars is: "What is the difference between a 32-bit and a 64-bit operating system and why should I use either?" In this issue of Fein-Lines, he explains the difference and what choice you should make--and why--along with things to consider when making your choice.

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2008

Fein-Lines: Copper Dissolution Interview, Part I

06-18-2008

Dan Feinberg begins a series of interviews, with Michael Carano, Global Business Development Manager of Cleveland, Ohio-based OMG Electronic Chemicals, tackling the topic of copper dissolution with lead-free solder--an issue that is certainly not new to the industry.

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Fein-Lines: Friends and Business Do Mix

05-08-2008

Senta Wong, of WKK Trading Company Ltd., is a man considered to be one of the fathers of the PWB and electronics assembly industry in Hong Kong and China. Dan, who's known Senta since the mid 1970s, discusses how Senta successfully mixes business and friendships--a fact evidenced by his most recent gathering of close friends and associates at APEX in Las Vegas.

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Fein-Lines: Me Too

04-24-2008

In Dan Feinberg's latest audio column, he joins others in our industry in giving his opinions on the recent IPC Printed Circuits Expo, APEX and the Designers Summit 2008 and Nepcon China. Dan also fesses up about Los Angeles and vents about the growing number of regional shows--are there just too many?

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2007

New Column: Dan Feinberg

10-24-2007

Listen to Dan Feinberg's newest audio column.

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Fein-lines: An Interview with IPC President Denny McGuirk

10-10-2007

I-Connect007 Columnist Dan Feinberg and Steve Gold speak with IPC President Denny McGuirk. Their conversation addresses changes in the focus of IPC's Government Relations committee, as well as the effect of globalization on IPC's mission.

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