The Digital Layout: It’s Official—1,000+ PCEA Members Worldwide

This month, I review the virtual PCEA grand opening, which took place on July 14 and featured guest presenter and PCEA educational committee member Rick Hartley. I also check in with the PCEA Education Committee and take a look at the organization’s role in education. What do our education committee leaders have in store? I will highlight some of their ideas and plans for learning and curricula in the coming months. Finally, PCEA Chairman Steph Chavez shares his satisfaction with our recent open house. 

PCEA Updates 
The PCEA virtual open house and webinar was held July 14. PCEA Chairman Steph Chavez had some grateful words to say about our sponsors and the publishers of our columns. He then took an opportunity to state the PCEA’s mission statement:

“At our core, our mission statement is to collaborate, inspire, and educate by promoting printed circuit engineering as a profession. Our goal is to encourage, facilitate, and promote the exchange of information and the integration of new design concepts through communications, seminars, webinars, workshops, and professional development through a network of local and regional PCEA-affiliated chapters.”

Steph mentioned that the association serves over 1,000 members worldwide. There are now eight regional chapters in the U.S. and Mexico, and the PCEA is cultivating five new additional chapters, which will be coming online to help serve our members. The organization has quite a few noble objectives by which to meet PCB engineering challenges. Steph laid them out:

“The PCEA is about meeting today’s industry challenges from concept, engineering development, standard implementation, and manufacturing, including fabrication, assembly, test, compliance, and field service. This knowledge includes details concerning printed circuit board materials, components, manufacturing processes, allowances, and limitations. The final product should have high producibility, reliability, and yield. This should all be confirmed by quality assurance and compliance. The Printed Circuit Engineering Association is structured for these challenges.”

The PCEA’s objectives include:

  • Stimulating communication among and between printed circuit designers and  
others in related engineering disciplines.
  • Disseminating information regarding  
current activities and new developments in design technology via newsletters.
  • Maintaining a communications link between standards bodies related to printed circuit engineering and manufacturing. Coordination includes, but is not limited to, the activities of government, industry, trade associations, and special interest groups. 
  • Coordinating the compilation of design standardization issues in printed circuit fabrication and assembly with related design technologies.
  • Encouraging and coordinating the compilation of design information, including equipment, equipment capability (tools and technologies), and related information.
  • Promoting the necessity of early collaboration between engineering, fabrication, assembly, test, and field service.
  • Assisting in the participation of suppliers and OEMs in chapter programs. 

Steph thanked the audience and our sponsors before Rick Hartley was introduced, including instructions for submitting questions and how to participate in online polling throughout the webinar.

Rick Hartley’s Webinar Presentation
I’ve been to many presentations by Rick Hartley. Over the years, I’ve attended multi-hour presentations, half-day presentations, and full-day presentations. Regardless of the length of the presentation or the venue, I always enjoy the points Rick makes and the way he makes them. Hartley’s emphasis on subject matter runs in a scale of magnitude from simple and personal to flat-out, in-your-face tangible.

The one-hour webinar hosted by the PCEA featured Rick’s topic, “Power Distribution Tips to Control SI, EMI, and Noise,” did not disappoint. Rick is a master of making strikingly good points while explaining anything related to electronic performance on PCBs. I hope that all of our readers had the time to tune in. In case you didn’t, here are a few excerpts from the presentation.
Regarding energy in a PCB, Rick said, “Energy in a circuit is not in the voltage or the current. Energy is in the electric and magnetic fields.” He continued, “Energy does not travel in the copper elements, such as traces and planes. Energy travels in the space between these copper elements.”

Rick went on to discuss many tips for SI and EMI control. He emphasized the importance of keeping inductance low and offered a few considerations for placement of vias in relationship to the positive and negative ends of a decoupling capacitor. When designing for high-speed signal integrity, Rick explained the “mounted inductance” of capacitors. He showed how to lower inductance by adding a pair of vias to each end of the caps and explained the best arrangement of the vias. Rick moved onto a discussion of the importance of closely-spaced power planes and the challenges to performance wrought by two-, four-, six-, and higher layer-count stackups, which fail to provide copper shaped and positioned to address lowering inductance and improving impedance performance.

There was an obvious air of excitement among the viewers as Rick’s presentation progressed. The more he presented, the more our web-host received queries regarding variables within which to apply the concepts. Polling showed that 78% of the audience had 11 or more years in the industry and were hungry for answers to questions they posed: “What about via-in-pad?” “Is it better to have lots of same-value caps or multiple-value caps?” “What is the best tool to simulate a power distribution network (PDN)?” Though the presentation was set for an hour, presenter Rick stayed on long after to answer the many questions that were posed.

Many thanks to Rick Hartley and our audience of viewers for making this educational experience a success! 

Next Month: Interview With the PCEA Educational Committee
Recently, I had an opportunity to meet with our PCEA Educational Committee regarding their plans for the future. The educational committee consists of PCEA executive staff members Mike Creeden, Tara Dunn, Gary Ferrari, Rick Hartley, Susy Webb, and Steph Chavez. This team has a lot of power-packed ideas and curricula lined up for our members. Our new website is also being sprinkled with many informational links and resources. I look forward to my informative meeting discussion with this dynamic group of printed circuit engineering veterans. Stay tuned!

Message From the Chairman by Stephen Chavez, MIT, CID+
Success! The PCEA has truly hit the ground running. We have now hosted two outstanding global events. 

The first event was a great webinar that PCEA hosted in partnership with SMTA on July 9 titled “Creating the Best Data Package.” I want to personally thank SMTA for acknowledging PCEA and seeing the value that PCEA brings to the industry as a professional industry association. SMTA’s eagerness to collaborate with PCEA showed in how professional, seamless, and positive the event turned out. We received awesome positive feedback from an international audience. 

The second outstanding global event was PCEA’s virtual grand opening on July 14, which featured a presentation on PDNs by Rick Hartley. We had a great turn out with lots of positive engagement and attendee feedback. Rick’s presentation was just a small golden nugget of what PCEA has to offer to the industry. It was a successful launch with lots of knowledge-hungry attendees seeking advice and industry best practice information. The feedback from our grand opening has been overwhelmingly positive.

That’s two awesome events now under our belt, and there will be many more to follow. Stay tuned for more activities coming your way now that PCEA is official and extremely active. Our official website has been up and running since June 1 with a lot of activity and new members joining the PCEA collective, and we continue to gain industry sponsorship.

Lastly, I’d like to give a very heartfelt and loud shout of “kudos” to the entire PCEA leadership team for successfully launching the PCEA to the world. All the hard work and extra effort have paid off in bringing PCEA from concept to reality. If you have not yet joined the PCEA collective, I highly encourage you to do so by visiting our website and becoming a PCEA member.
I continue to wish everyone and their families to be healthy and safe.

Upcoming Events

  • September 7–11, 2020: PCB West—Virtual
  • September 28 –October 23, 2020: SMTA International—Virtual
  • October 6–8, 2020: AltiumLive North America—Virtual
  • October 20–22, 2020: AltiumLive Europe—Virtual

 
 __________________________

  • January 23–28, 2021: IPC APEX EXPO (San Diego, California)
  • January 26–28, 2021: DesignCon (Santa Clara, California)
  • May 5–6, 2021: Del Mar Electronics & Manufacturing Show (San Diego, California)
  • May 11–13, 2021: IPC High-Reliability Forum 2021 (Baltimore, Maryland)
  • November 10, 2021: PCB Carolina (Raleigh, North Carolina)

Spread the word. If you have a significant electronics industry event that you would like to announce, please send me the details at kelly.dack.pcea@gmail.com, and we will consider adding it to the list.

Conclusion
No matter where you may find yourself in this worldwide network of PCB engineering professionals, your trajectories for success will vector about your ability to learn and apply knowledge. I encourage you to “lock on” to the PCEA as a valuable resource for your future missions. If your aim is to learn and engage, our aim is to serve and assist. See you next month or sooner! 

This column originally appeared in the August 2020 issue of Design007 Magazine.

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2020

The Digital Layout: It’s Official—1,000+ PCEA Members Worldwide

08-27-2020

Kelly Dack reviews the virtual PCEA grand opening, which took place on July 14, 2020 and featured guest presenter and PCEA educational committee member Rick Hartley. He also checks in with the PCEA education committee, and PCEA Chairman Steph Chavez also shares his satisfaction with the PCEA's recent open house.

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The Digital Layout: The PCEA’s Grand Opening

07-15-2020

Kelly Dack interviews Rick Hartley about the presentation he has prepared for the PCEA’s grand opening on July 14, and PCEA Chairman Steph Chavez shares a timely message on how our time working from home is a serious matter, and how letting our guard down could be a mistake.

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The Digital Layout: An Expectation of Collaboration

06-15-2020

Kelly Dack shares updates on the PCEA website and reports on some inspiring communication on collaboration taking place between the PCEA and a well-known industry organization. Kelly also includes a "Message From the Chairman," Steph Chavez, as well as professional development opportunities and events.

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The Digital Layout: Life During COVID-19 ‘Wartime’

05-15-2020

This month, Kelly Dack shares updates on the progress the PCEA staff is making toward establishing a web presence and reports on what the PCEA is preparing in support of the PCB engineering community. Though PCEA chapter activities, as well as professional development and event opportunities, have been limited because of restrictions due to COVID-19, PCEA Chairman Steph Chavez also offers his perspective on the challenges of staying connected without using traditional means.

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The Digital Layout: Onward!

04-30-2020

In Kelly Dack's debut as the new author of this column, he provides updates on the direction and leadership of the PCEA and upcoming professional development and event opportunities, and Stephen Chavez shares his first "message from the chairman." In addition, Bob McCreight, president of the Silicon Valley Chapter, discusses their most recent “lunch and learn” event held in February.

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The Digital Layout: The Foundation of the PCEA Is Being Laid

03-17-2020

Stephen Chavez highlights the Orange County Chapter’s recent meeting and their transition from IPC to PCEA affiliation, recent PCEA activities, and the evolution of this column, including introducing Kelly Dack, CID+, PCEA's new communication officer.

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The Digital Layout: The New Printed Circuit Engineering Association

02-23-2020

Stephen Chavez takes a first look at the new Printed Circuit Engineering Association (PCEA), including an overview of members and membership and why we established the organization. He also looks at the mission of the PCEA, and how it will unfold to the industry.

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The Digital Layout: A New Beginning

01-10-2020

In this column, Stephen Chavez shares a letter from the Legacy Officers and Board Members of the IPC Designers Council, introduces the formation of the Printed Circuit Engineering Association (PCEA), and invites readers to consider future professional development and event opportunities.

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2019

The Digital Layout: Fall 2019 Recap

12-29-2019

As the second half of the year is quickly passing by, the IPC Designers Council has seen lots of continued activities within our industry regarding PCB design. PCB West was held in mid-September in Santa Clara, California, and as usual, the show exceeded expectations. Stephen Chavez provides a brief breakdown of fall activities within local chapters.

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The Digital Layout: Recent IPC DC Chapter Activities

10-23-2019

We’re onto the second half of the year now, and we’ve seen lots of activities within our local Designers Council (DC) Chapters, including a few international chapters as well. Here's a snapshot of what has taken place so far from several of our active chapters.

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The Digital Layout: New and Thriving Chapters in Mexico

08-01-2019

This month’s column highlights the Monterrey Designers Council Chapter located in Monterrey, Mexico. The chapter was established November 23, 2017, which makes it a younger chapter compared to several other global chapters currently in existence today. I also share news about a new chapter forming in Nogales, Mexico.

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The Digital Layout: Spotlight on the Orange County Chapter

06-13-2019

So, what’s so special about the Orange County Chapter? For starters, we’re fortunate that a large number of electronics companies are located in Southern California, so there are many PCB designers in our area who are thirsty for knowledge. We are also lucky to have many local PCB fabrication and assembly companies from which we draw attendees and speakers. All of the major CAE vendors have offices and technical field personnel here and have been very supportive of our chapter in hosting lunches to help us keep our costs down.

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The Digital Layout: San Diego Chapter Updates and More

05-20-2019

This month’s column is packed with recent activities, including a spotlight on the San Diego Chapter and an interview with Luke Hausherr, the new chapter president. You’ll also find an update from the IPC Designers Council Executive Board as collaboration with the new IPC Education Foundation continues to evolve and recommended reading featuring an interview with a young designer.

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The Digital Layout: Greater Phoenix Chapter Revived

03-21-2019

The Greater Phoenix chapter was revived in late 2018 after being largely dormant over the past few years. It has also undergone some leadership changes. As the former president, I have taken on a more active global role at the executive level of the IPC Executive DC Board as the communications officer at large. I will stay on the leadership committee for the Greater Phoenix Chapter as the VP at the request of the newly elected president, Randy Kumagai. Randy and I have already started to brainstorm with ways to kickstart the chapter’s activity in 2019.

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The Digital Layout: Designer Highlights From IPC APEX EXPO 2019

03-15-2019

The IPC Designers Council Executive Board meeting took place on January 29. Executive Board members in attendance included Gary Ferrari, Mike Creeden, Cherie Litson, Kelly Dack, Thomas Romont, and me. We also had Michael Schleicher, a guest representative from Germany, in attendance. Further, Dr. John Mitchell, Dave Hernandez, Colette Buscemi, Teresa Rowe, Aaron Birney, and Charlene Gunter du Plessis represented IPC.

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The Digital Layout: Cascade Designers Council Chapter and 2019 Activities

02-28-2019

Our CID+ class had four people enrolled who came from around the area. All who attended learned about how board materials affected their designs, including EMI, EMC, impedance control, power distribution techniques, board stackups, and placement strategies in more detail than what was in the CID. Further, participants took the exam first thing Friday morning. This allowed us time to attend the Designers Council “lunch-and-learn” meeting, and the Altium user group met afterward in the same location.

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The Digital Layout: Chapter Highlights and Certification Successes

01-24-2019

This month’s column highlights the San Diego chapter, which is also where IPC APEX EXPO 2019 will be held at the end of January. You will also find updates on recent CID and CID+ certification success stories, a recap of the PCB Carolina event from the Research Triangle Park (RTP) North Carolina chapter, and upcoming events, so mark your calendars for next year.

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2018

The Digital Layout: Chapter Roundup and CID+ Certification

12-12-2018

This month’s spotlight is the Silicon Valley Chapter. We held our fall quarterly meeting on October 25, 2018, at none other than Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California—yes, the site of Super Bowl 50 and the soon-to-be 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship game. This was made possible by our host, Sierra Circuits, and sponsor, Altium. We thank them both graciously. Out of 33 total RSVPs, 24 were able to attend the lunchtime meeting. Fun fact: of the members who RSVPed, six of them were CID certified and 10 were CID+ certified, with Faisal Ahmed being the most recent (hear more from him later).

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The Digital Layout: Designers Council Update and PCB Carolina 2018

10-24-2018

Welcome to the first edition of "The Digital Layout." As a current IPC Designers Council (DC) Executive Board member and a long-time active IPC member, I was nominated to be the chairman of the newly created communications subcommittee. In this role, I will be the main point of contact for global chapter communications and will work with local IPC chapter leaders to publish content in this new column. We want to utilize this column to help spread the IPC DC Executive Board’s goals like a virus.

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