Printed Circuit Design & Fab Circuits Assembly September 2020 Cover
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September 2020 • VOL. 37 • NO. 9
Printed Circuit Design and Fab Circuits Assembly logo
First Person
6
OSPs: At the finish line?
Mike Buetow
money matters
14
The (lost) art of communication.
Peter Bigelow
Tech Talk
15
Take down this draft.
John Burkhert
17
Even a small amount of virtual assistance can improve our quality of life.
Alun Morgan
18
Weighing in on copper thickness.
Bill Hargin
37
Leveraging the IT department to reduce operation-caused variation.
Tom Rovtar
38
Manipulation overdrive.
Dr. David Bernard
40
No shortages of defects – or inanity.
Robert Boguski
42
What is impedance?
Akber Roy
44
PTH connector soldering.
Bob Willis
Departments
September 2020 • VOL. 37 • NO. 9
Printed Circuit Design and Fab Circuits Assembly logo
Features
20
High-Speed Constraint Values
How to determine the critical length of a signal. An excerpt from a new book on determining effective constraint values based on signal edge rate and stackup information.
by Charles Pfeil
Up Media September 2020 cover
22
Fabrication M&A
Fresh off its latest acquisition, there’s a sense of déjà vu.
Is this the next big American fabricator?
by Mike Buetow

26
NTI-100
Here we are, nine months into 2020, with little insight as to how the rest of the year will turn out for printed circuit fabricators. When was the last time that occurred? Perhaps more than a decade ago? The 5G implementation drove revenue gains at the best-performing PCB fabricators last year and are providing a foundation for 2020 as well. Automotive, on the other hand, is staggering, as car sales have crashed with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Who could have seen any of this when the book closed on 2019?
by Dr. Hayao Nakahara
34
iNEMI Roadmap
The focus in medical electronics is shifting out of the medical facilities to consumer access-based products, requiring technologies centered on portable diagnostics, remote patient monitoring and patient wellness therapy. This change in focus requires medical device manufacturers not only to meet aggressive reliability and performance requirements, but to also drive down cost for a broader, high-volume consumer market.
by THE iNEMI MEDICAL PRODUCT EMULATOR GROUP
20
High-Speed Constraint Values
How to determine the critical length of a signal. An excerpt from a new book on determining effective constraint values based on signal edge rate and stackup information.
by Charles Pfeil
Up Media September 2020 cover
22
Fabrication M&A
Fresh off its latest acquisition, there’s a sense of déjà vu. Is this the next big American fabricator?
by Mike Buetow

26
NTI-100
Here we are, nine months into 2020, with little insight as to how the rest of the year will turn out for printed circuit fabricators. When was the last time that occurred? Perhaps more than a decade ago? The 5G implementation drove revenue gains at the best-performing PCB fabricators last year and are providing a foundation for 2020 as well. Automotive, on the other hand, is staggering, as car sales have crashed with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Who could have seen any of this when the book closed on 2019?
by Dr. Hayao Nakahara
34
iNEMI Roadmap
The focus in medical electronics is shifting out of the medical facilities to consumer access-based products, requiring technologies centered on portable diagnostics, remote patient monitoring and patient wellness therapy. This change in focus requires medical device manufacturers not only to meet aggressive reliability and performance requirements, but to also drive down cost for a broader, high-volume consumer market.
by THE iNEMI MEDICAL PRODUCT EMULATOR GROUP
IN the Digital Edition
An electric presentation from Rick Hartley made for a grand “grand opening.”
by KELLY DACK
IEEC
Updates in silicon and electronics technology.
by Binghamton University

ON PCB CHAT (pcbchat.com)

SMTAI 2020
with Tanya Martin
Electronics Supply Chain Management and Inventory Control in Post-Covid
with Hassan Tawawalla and David Palos
Sustainable Electronics
with Wally Rhines
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Caveat Lector
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Will OSP Spec Finally Be Finished?

O

rganic solderability preservatives, or, if you prefer, organic surface protectants, or OSPs, have been with us for decades. Did you know more than 60% of the world’s boards use OSPs? They are in everything from smartphones to tablets to medical devices, airbags, and engine controls.

Major OEMs like Intel, Apple, Cisco, Continental, Bosch, Denso, and Hitachi Automotive are known to use them. Yet when engineers discuss their preferred finishes, OSPs tend to be on the outside looking in.

A new IPC task group is trying to bring an added layer of credibility to OSPs for high-temperature soldering by developing a standard, along with a series of test methods.

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Around the World
PCDF People
Dan Fernsebner headshot
Cadence promoted Dan Fernsebner to R&D senior solutions architect. He joined Cadence in 2017 after 11 years with Altium and seven with Mentor.
John Vaughan headshot
Summit Interconnect named John Vaughan vice president of strategic markets. He been held senior management roles in the PCB industry (engineering, operations, business development) and the EMS sector (corporate VP sales and marketing, director of supply chain, and director of operational planning) over his near 40-year career in the electronics industry.

Taiyo America announced Kate Han as technical sales engineer for the Western Region of the US.

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Around the World
CA People
Austin American Technology named Justin Cody Worden director of business development.
Joe Garcia headshot

Emerald EMS hired Joe Garcia as vice president of sales and marketing. He has held executive sales, marketing and business development positions with Green Circuits, Creation Technologies and Viasystems.

Enics named Mahmut Bertan chief business officer and Rami Aro director, services.

Flex named Murad Kurwa VP – advanced manufacturing engineering and Paul Lundstrom CFO.

iRobot named Hal Winslow senior principal manufacturing engineer.

Around the World
CA Briefs

Absolute EMS said its new Hanwha Techwin SMT lines are up and running.

Apple plans to remove carbon emissions from its entire business, including its products and sprawling supply chain, over the next decade.

Austin Precision Machining and Manufacturing launched turnkey mechanical and assembly services in Austin, TX.

Benchmark Electronics announced completion of phase two of five phases toward the delivery of mobile video surveillance systems (MVSS) to the Department of Homeland Security for use along the US southern border.

Bharat Dynamics Ltd. (BDL), an enterprise under India’s Ministry of Defense, has set up an SMT facility in Hyderabad.

Check Technology Solutions purchased a MIRTEC MV-6 Omni 3-D AOI.

Around the World
Summit-Interconnect Acquires, Solidifies N. American Rank
ANAHEIM, CA – Summit Interconnect in July acquired ITL Circuits for an undisclosed sum. The deal solidifies Summit’s hold on the no. 2 spot among the largest manufacturers of printed circuit boards in North America.

Summit has three facilities in Northern and Southern California, with a combined 810 employees. ITL Circuits has over 65,000 sq. ft. of factory space and approximately 130 employees.

Summit will retain ITL’s same management team and staff, and ITL owners Adolf Czudnochowsky and Michael Campbell plan to retire.

“ITL’s capabilities complement Summit’s and will provide additional volume manufacturing capacity across a broad range of technology,” said Shane Whiteside, president and CEO of Summit Interconnect. “The additional and meaningful scale will further strengthen our ability to serve our customers and broaden our relationships with key suppliers. This is very exciting news for both Summit and ITL, and we welcome our new Toronto employees to the Summit team.”

Summit Interconnect acquired Streamline Circuits in 2018, and KCA Electronics and Marcel Electronics in 2016. Its revenue now tops $150 million, all in North America, based on the NTI-100 and PCD&F sources.

See the Printed Circuit Design & Fab/Circuits Assembly interview with Whiteside in this issue. (CD)

Around the World
TLB Set for IPO in Korea

DANWON-GU ANSAN, SOUTH KOREA – TLB Co. is set to go public on the secondary Kosdaq stock market sometime in 2020, according to reports.

The PCB fabricator plans to file a preliminary IPO review by September.

In 2019, the company had operating income of 10.5 billion won (US$9.5 million) on sales of 149.1 billion won (US$134.2 million).

TLB’s primary focus is building printed circuit substrates for semiconductors. (CD)

Around the World
IPC Calls on Congress to Pass Covid Recovery Bill with Pro-Industrial-Base Provisions
BANNOCKBURN, IL – IPC is calling on the US Congress to enact a Covid-19 recovery bill and include provisions of importance to everyone who depends on electronics.In a letter to the top four leaders in Congress, IPC stresses electronics are at the heart of the modern economy and key sectors, including urgently needed medical equipment, critical infrastructure, and defense systems. “Yet, the crisis has exposed vulnerabilities in our manufacturing base,” the letter adds.

The association urges Congress to support the nation’s industrial resiliency by passing a recovery package with the following measures:

  • Modified unemployment insurance benefit to continue essential support for laid-off workers, helping to maintain consumer demand, while reducing disincentives to return to work.
  • Common-sense liability protections shielding businesses that have taken “reasonable steps” to comply with government workplace safety guidelines.
  • Paycheck Protection Program extension and the Safe and Healthy Workplace tax credit.
  • Supplementary funding to sustain and rebuild the defense industrial base.
  • Aid to state and local governments to ensure essential services are maintained.

The timing and scope of the legislation are still being worked out, but a package is expected to be negotiated and voted on soon, IPC says. (CD)

Around the World
Cadence Acquires InspectAR

ST. JOHN’S, NEWFOUNDLAND, CANADA – Cadence Design Systems in August acquired InspectAR for an undisclosed sum.

InspectAR uses augmented reality to map electronics, labeling PCB schematics on-screen in real-time. Following the deal, InspectAR will continue to operate independently from its headquarters here.

The firm has a second office in the Autodesk Technology Center residency program in San Francisco.

“We’ve only gotten this far with the support of our families, friends, service providers, employees, and investors,” the company said in a statement. “Today, Cadence joins this group, and we couldn’t be more excited for this new chapter of growth and vision.”

The startup raised $850,000 in January from Royal Circuit Solutions and Advanced Assembly.

Since launching, InspectAR claims it has garnered thousands of users and has partnered with companies such as CrowdSupply and Digi-Key.

“We now have far more resources to achieve our goals, and a far broader reach to get valuable insight from customers working in every part of the hardware sphere,” InspectAR said, adding it plans to keep its platform vendor-agnostic, and plans to add additional support for EDA software and lab tools to its platform. (MB)

Around the World
SEMI Forms FHE Standards Committee
HSINCHU, TAIWAN – SEMI formed a standards committee that aims to develop global standards for flexible hybrid electronics spanning design, materials, manufacturing, packaging and systems and to drive industry growth.

The first chapter is based in Taiwan.

Initial work of the committee will include establishing working groups to draft measurement standards; building industry consensus on the need for materials, equipment and manufacturing standards; and developing standards to accelerate the introduction of related FHE technologies into diverse consumer end markets.

“The SEMI Standards Flexible Hybrid Electronics Global Technical Committee sets out to clear development bottlenecks facing the industry and establish unified measurement standards for flexible smart textile, automotive, Internet of Things and related devices,” said Terry Tsao, SEMI chief marketing officer and president of SEMI Taiwan.

“The Taiwan chapter looks forward to kicking off the development of international industry standards that help Taiwan’s FHE sector promote industry growth by reducing costs and increasing competition.” (CD)

Around the World
Digicom Expands Oakland EMS Facility
OAKLAND, CA – Digicom Electronics doubled the size of its facility here and added manufacturing equipment and additional personnel.

The facility has an ESD floor, cleaning equipment and process controls, and provides green manufacturing. Component placement, selective soldering, reflow ovens, and automated inspection and test equipment have been added.

“We moved into this new facility just three years ago, but business has grown, and we wanted to increase our capabilities and capacity, so we took over the entire building,” said Mo Ohady, general manager, Digicom Electronics. “We are excited about the quality and services we can offer and invite everyone to visit, bring their designs or prototypes, and see for themselves.”

Digicom specializes in complex PCBs and assemblies for medical device, military, aerospace, and industrial products. (MB)

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Around the World
Elexon Electronics Opens Industry 4.0 Factory
BRISBANE – Elexon Electronics opened an intelligent factory to enter new markets in defense and aerospace, according to reports. The Made in Queensland program provided $890,325 for the Industry 4.0 facility.

The firm invested in automated SMT equipment, an intelligent material handling system and x-ray inspection.

Elexon provides engineering support, procurement, tooling manufacture, PCB manufacture and assembly and final product testing and packaging.

The government’s assistance helped create jobs within the company, and the program is helping other companies reshore electronics work. (CD)

Around the World
iNEMI Publishes Best Practices for Protecting Electronics During Disinfection
MORRISVILLE, NC – An iNEMI team of experts has published new disinfection procedures for ensuring electronics product reliability. “Recommended Best Practices for Protecting the Reliability and Integrity of Electronic Products and Assemblies when Disinfecting for SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19)” is the result of a broad iNEMI membership review of key industry, government and technical sources.

The team assessed chemicals included in the US EPA List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) and common application methods, identifying those substances that minimize the risk of negative impact on electronic equipment when applied in an appropriate manner.

“With the Covid-19 crisis, several of our members have contacted iNEMI for guidance on how to mitigate the possible detrimental impact of disinfecting procedures on electronic equipment and assemblies,” said Marc Benowitz, CEO, iNEMI. “There are guidelines from groups such as the US EPA, CDC and the World Health Organization regarding cleaning and disinfecting for Covid-19, but none of these addresses the impact of disinfectants and their application methods on electronics equipment and assemblies.

“Many commonly recommended disinfection substances and/or application methods could potentially cause failures in electronic equipment if the internal electronics were inadvertently exposed to them. This is an obvious concern for electronics manufacturers who want to ensure the safety of their employees, supply chain partners and customers, while protecting the reliability and integrity of their products.”

iNEMI’s best practices are now available at inemi.org/disinfecting-best-practices-request. (CD)

Market Watch
EDITED by CHELSEY DRYSDALE
Stuck at Home

Trends in the U.S. electronics equipment market (shipments only).

%CHANGE
APR.
MAY.
JUN.
YTD%
Computers and electronics products
0.5
0.3
-0.8
1.1
Computers
-0.2
2.1
-0.7
-11.9
Storage devices
-2.8
-2.1
-4.4
51.5
Other peripheral equipment
2.8
9.5
-14.4
4.5
Nondefense communications equipment
-0.2
0.2
-0.4
6.2
Defense communications equipment
3.5
7.2
1.4
-1.6
A/V equipment
5.3
4.0
10.1
-17.1
Components1
1.9
-0.3
-1.2
8.2
Nondefense search and navigation equipment
-1.3
-0.7
-0.4
-6.4
Defense search and navigation equipment
0.3
-0.2
-0.4
2.7
Medical, measurement and control
-1.1
0.0
0.1
-3.6
rRevised. *Preliminary. 1Includes semiconductors. Seasonally adjusted. Source: U.S. Department of Commerce Census Bureau, Aug. 4, 2020
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ROI
Let’s Talk: The New Reality of Keeping in Touch
Just as Covid-19 jolted supply chains, it also disrupted how we communicate.
Maintaining effective, open, timely communication can be one of the biggest challenges facing employees at every level. The executive team sets the vision, strategy and tactical goals. Managers and supervisors are tasked with communicating and converting that message into understandable, reasonable, attainable and ultimately successful initiatives and efforts. Employees, in turn, communicate their issues, problems and ideas to accomplish back to the higher-ups, who refine the goals, so the organization moves forward profitably, satisfying customers.

On normal days, good communications can be daunting and complex. And the past several months have been anything but normal.

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DESIGNER’S NOTEBOOK
I’m a PCB Designer. What Must I Know about Drafting?
Why you should take the time to use the dimensioning tool.
One of the many hats worn by a board designer is that of draftsperson. Before settling into a position doing layout, I had a contract to create drawings on vellum – with a pencil! Before they turned me loose, the manager asked me to write my name and phone number on a piece of paper. That was all it took; get to work. Ever since seventh grade drafting class, my normal handwriting has been in all caps. We no longer need legible handwriting to land a job, but some of the things I learned at Cavro Scientific have stuck with me all these years.

Dimensions and tolerances. The electronic data alone are enough to fabricate a board most of the time. Whether it’s an omnibus file like IPC-2581 or a collection of Gerber and drill data, the hole size and locations are provided with the circuit pattern. Why take the time to use the dimensioning tool? Here’s why. Someone must inspect the PCB before it leaves the fabricator. Someone else inspects it on the way into the assembly factory. All the fab and assembly drawings are inspection documents.

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The DIGITAL Route
A Grand ‘Grand Opening’
The PCEA’s kickoff event was a massive success.
This month I review the virtual PCEA grand opening, which took place in July and featured guest presenter and PCEA educational committee member Rick Hartley. Next, in our “Message from the Chairman,” Steph Chavez writes of his satisfaction with our recent open house and talks about another event in which he and vice chairman Mike Creeden participated, hosted by our affiliate organization, the Surface Mount Technology Association (SMTA). Coming next month, I check in with the PCEA education committee and look at the PCEA’s role in education. What do our education committee leaders have in store? I had an opportunity to hear from them and will highlight some of their ideas and plans for learning and curricula in the coming months.

PCEA updates. The PCEA virtual open house and webinar was held Jul. 14 and was moderated by PCEA director Mike Buetow. Mike welcomed the audience and introduced PCEA chairman Steph Chavez, who had grateful words to say about our sponsors and the publishing 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.”

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Material Gains
The Role of AR and VR in Longer, Better Lives
Even a small amount of virtual assistance can improve our quality of life.
It may seem surprising that the automotive heads-up display (HUD), an aerospace-inspired innovation, was proposed by designers as far back as the 1960s. It took until the late 1980s to reach production. Interest among OEMs and electronics brands has surged recently. As an increasing quantity of information is pushed at drivers from autonomous functions, driver-assistance features and connected services, today’s HUDs provide graphical and text overlays on top of the view through the windshield to aid concentration and improve safety.

Augmenting reality by overlaying computer-generated images and information on our view of the world can help us in many other important contexts as well. AR is increasing productivity in the workplace and is entering the medical arena. Surgeons are beginning to appreciate the benefits of AR, like a graphical overlay from a scan or x-ray image taken previously, which can show important information about the patient during an operation, alleviate distractions and improve outcomes.

MATERIAL MATTERS
Actual Copper Thicknesses (As Opposed to What You’ve Assumed)
Weight is still used as a determinant for copper thickness. Why?
Sometimes my columns tie to issues or stackups that appear in my inbox each week. I’m occasionally asked why 0.6 mils (15µm) is often used for the thickness of 0.5-oz. copper, rather than 0.7 mils (18µm), and similarly why 1.2 mils (30µm) is often used for 1-oz. copper instead of 1.4 mils (36µm). If you’re curious about the details, or if none of these numbers seems familiar, here’s a quick primer. The thickness parameter “t” in FIGURE 1 shows the thickness we’re interested in here.

Let’s start the discussion with why weights (ounces) are used to describe thickness. If someone asked your height and you told them 180 lbs., they would think you were crazy. However, in electronics, weight is still used as a determinant for copper thickness. Why is that?

The ounce rating has its roots in the gold-foil industry and, subsequently, for copper’s use in the building industry. It’s based on spreading an ounce of a given metal over one square foot of area. Today’s copper foils for printed circuit boards are manufactured and sold by weight. The method has persisted for electronic circuits. There’s a good reason for it.

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High-Speed Constraint Values
When Does a Net Need High-Speed Management?
How to determine the critical length of a signal. by CHARLES PFEIL
Ed.: The following is excerpted from the author’s new book titled High-Speed Constraint Values and PCB Layout Methods. The book and accompanying calculator give effective constraint values based on signal edge rate and stackup information. The book and calculator are available as free downloads at https://pcdandf.com/pcdesign/index.php/constraints. This excerpt presents Chapter 3, which describes the best way to determine if a routed signal needs high-speed management. Other chapters in the book describe the layout methods and constraints to prevent signal degradation.
When a signal exceeds its critical length, it becomes a distributed length transmission line, and its effects must be managed properly, or it will become significantly degraded. The critical length is the primary filter for determining if a net requires high-speed management.
FABRICATION M&A
Summit Interconnect Scales New Heights
Fresh off its latest acquisition, there’s a sense of déjà vu. Is this the next big American fabricator? by MIKE BUETOW

When a pair of West Coast US fabricators called Pacific Circuits and Power Circuits merged more than 30 years ago, probably no one knew the new entity would someday become the largest PCB manufacturer in the world. The deal was financed by two private equity firms, one of which was Thayer Capital Partners. With it came a rebranding to TTM Technologies. The deal was the first in a long series of M&A activities that over the next 15 years eventually rolled up Details, the PCB units of Honeywell and Tyco, Hong Kong’s Meadville PCB, and Viasystems, among others.

So, observers are forgiven then if the narrative developing with Summit Interconnect feels a little familiar.

It begins with the formation of the company in 2016 through the merger of two Southern California – where else? – board shops, KCA Electronics and Marcel Electronics. Separately, several Thayer partners had formed HCI Equity Partners, which funded the new entity, now renamed Summit. A follow-on acquisition took place in December 2018, when Santa Clara-based Streamline Circuits was added to the fold.

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NTI-100
A Not-So-Fabulous Year for Fabricators
How will the pandemic play out in the PCB world?
by DR. HAYAO NAKAHARA
Here we are, nine months into 2020, with little insight as to how the rest of the year will turn out for printed circuit fabricators. When was the last time that occurred? Perhaps more than a decade ago? The 5G implementation drove revenue gains at the best-performing PCB fabricators last year and are providing a foundation for 2020 as well. Automotive, on the other hand, is sputtering, as car sales have crashed with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Who could have seen any of this when the book closed on 2019?

Six months of effort resulted in this latest NT-100 report, now in its 25th annual edition. As mentioned many times, each year it gets harder to compile the list, thanks to many new entries from growing Chinese fabricators, only one-quarter of which are publicly traded and publish annual reports (not always in time for the purpose of this report). The data from most unlisted Chinese fabricators are extracted from the “Top 100 Fabricators” published by CPCA. Unfortunately, valuable as it is, the CPCA list has some flaws in that it misses some important fabricators, and some entries are by factory, not company. Nevertheless, without the CPCA data, the NTI-100 would not be possible. TPCA data are valuable but include only stock-listed fabricators. Therefore, this author contacted those fabricators not publicly listed. They gracefully provided their sales revenues. Likewise, only AT&S and Schweizer Electronics publish annual reports. Other European entries, including KSG, Somacis and Würth Elektronik, provided the author their revenues. Southeast Asia fabricators were likewise cooperative. The author expresses gratitude to all who provided the valuable data.

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iNEMI ROADMAP
Enabling Technologies for Medical Electronics
Despite competing goals of price and reliability, the technology requirements for most products are similar.
by INEMI MEDICAL PRODUCT EMULATOR GROUP (PEG)
Ed.: This is the eighth 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).
Medical electronics have historically been associated with high-cost diagnostic and imaging systems such as computed tomography scanners, magnetic resonance imaging, and ultrasound imaging, among other applications. Additionally, medical therapy devices like defibrillators, pacemakers and hearing aids have been marketed using value-based pricing. Neither of these medical electronics families were subject to aggressive cost reduction, and they all required high reliability.

Today, the focus in medical electronics is shifting out of the medical facilities to consumer access-based products, requiring technologies centered on portable diagnostics, remote patient monitoring and patient wellness therapy. This change in focus requires medical device manufacturers not only to meet aggressive reliability and performance requirements, but to also drive down cost for a broader, high-volume consumer market.

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IEEC
State-of-the-Art Technology Flashes
Updates in silicon and electronics technology.
Ed.: This is a special feature courtesy of Binghamton University.
Generating electricity out of thin air. University of Massachusetts researchers have developed a device that uses natural protein to create electricity directly from moisture in the air, a technology that could have significant implications for the future of renewable energy, climate change, and medicine. The device is called an “Air-gen,” or air-powered generator, with electrically conductive protein nanowires produced by the Geobacter microbe. The Air-gen connects electrodes to the protein nanowires where the electrical current is generated from the water vapor naturally present in the atmosphere, literally making electricity out of thin air. The Air-gen generates clean energy 24/7 and is an exciting application of protein nano. (IEEC file #11678, UMass Amherst, 3/17/20)

Three ways chiplets are remaking processors. AMD and Intel researchers are leaning on chiplets to boost performance, and CEA-Leti shows just how far the approach can go. The combined squeeze of rising costs and ever-larger chip sizes is leading to a solution in which processors are made of collections of smaller, ¬less-expensive-to-produce chiplets bound together by high-bandwidth connections within a single package. The CEA-Leti processor stacks six 16-core chiplets on top of an “active interposer” made of a thin sliver of silicon to create a 96-core processor. The interposer houses voltage-regulation systems usually found on the processor. It features a network-on-chip that uses three different communication circuits to link the cores’ on-chip SRAM memories. Developers imagine a system-on-chip industry using chiplets from multiple vendors could all be integrated with standardized interfaces. (IEEC file #11715, IEEE Spectrum, 4/29/20)

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GETTING LEAN
Lean Poka-Yoke and IT
Leveraging the IT department to reduce operation-caused variation.
One continuing trend in electronics manufacturing services is the increasing role IT-related solutions have in supporting a Lean manufacturing-driven organizational culture. This is particularly true of proprietary solutions that automate processes in ways that minimize normally occurring variation or help eliminate non-value-added activity.

One example of this is SigmaTron International’s proprietary Manufacturing Execution System (MES) system known as Tango, whose Phase III system went live at the EMS company’s Elk Grove Village (IL) facility in June. The overarching goal of Tango is to centralize tools used throughout the company for production management, while adding enough flexibility via customization to address facility-specific or customer-specific situations.

test and inspection
X-ray Inspection Image Enhancements – To Paint the Lily?
Humans love modifications, but over time they can add up to false comparisons.
“To gild refined gold, to paint the lily … is wasteful and ridiculous excess.” – William Shakespeare, “The Life and Death of King John”

We are used to editing, cropping and modifying cellphone photos to improve and enhance the original images. This is often achieved by adjusting their contrast and brightness, and applying software filters that could, for example, sharpen or otherwise change the look and details. Why should images taken for x-ray inspection be any different? They are not, of course. The images you see in my columns, as well as in probably every other piece of technical literature, together with virtually every other image seen in today’s media, are likely modified on some level. While we may accept this situation intellectually, I would suggest we often too implicitly trust what our eyes see, and therefore any inherent image manipulation is often taken as fact. This can cause the details we see and accept to possibly mislead us as to the reality of the original. As we use such images to make value judgments on the quality and possible faults in electronics manufacture, is this an issue we should be concerned with, or is it a manipulation we need, but also need to understand why we do it, so we can make the best analysis?

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SEEING IS believing
The Anthill’s Revenge
If only defects were in as short supply as logic and wisdom.
THIS IS WHAT happens when the pyramid inverts and falls on little old unsuspecting you. Just what you deserve for minding your own business.

“We need to audit your quality system. You’re a new vendor with contingent qualification. We can’t make it permanent without an audit.”

What do you mean we’re a new vendor? We’ve been doing business with you for 11 years.

“Doesn’t matter. New regime in place. Since you’re a great big unknown to us, who are new, consider yourself, as we do, a new vendor. Clean slate. Get used to it. Plus, you had a recent test escape, and we need to determine the root cause. Might as well do the full workup.”

tech tips
What is Impedance, and How Does It Work?
To increase signal quality, match the impedance, capacitance and inductance of all areas of the signal path.

IN PCB DESIGN and fabrication, possibly the most frequently used, yet least understood, term is impedance.

Most of us have seen the buzzwords that accompany it: impedance Zo, 50Ω, 10%, balanced lines, microstrip, stripline ground plane, dielectric loss, dielectric constant, and others. What do they mean?

In this first of a two-part column, we’ll start by defining them in common terms for the novice. By the end, a few more people might make better sense of what is happening inside the circuit board. The second half will take a more thorough look at impedance.

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defect of the month
High-Temperature Soldering of Through-Hole Connectors
Be sure to optimize the preheat to improve wetting.

This month we illustrate high-temperature soldering of through-hole connectors. In this case both the PCB nickel/gold surface and the tin surface of the pin were perfectly solderable. The time to preheat the board and connector before soldering was not optimized for robotic soldering, however. To obtain the correct process setting, balance all settings, but to increase throughput in an inline process using a robot, many applications require preheating. Robots are flexible, but an operator can see and judge the time required.

Nitrogen used on robotic point soldering can improve wetting but more importantly increase preheat to the joint area. Soldering trials have shown it can increase throughput with small increases of flow rate. Another option is to have the waiting boards on the conveyor first pass over a preheater or through a heated tunnel.

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eCADStar 2020.0
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eCADStar 2020.0 comes with new modules for signal integrity, power integrity and IBIS-AMI simulation. Analysis tools are tightly integrated with PCB constraint management and optimization functionality. Displays results in a common viewer within the eCADStar design environment. Displays heatmaps directly within PCB editor. Enables SI planning and checking throughout schematic and PCB layout process. Offers TDR and S-parameter analysis.
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PCB Toolkit version 7.12
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PCB Toolkit version 7.12 calculates current capacity of a PCB trace, via current and differential pairs. Calculates DC resistance with temperature compensation; bandwidth of a digital signal and maximum trace length using IPC-2251 or frequency domain methods, for transmission line effects and more.
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PathWave Design 2021
5G and mmWave Tool
PathWave Design 2021 has new capabilities across all design phases, including simulation to validation, test and manufacturing. For RF/microwave workflows, can increase speed and reduce complexity of chip-level analysis and verification with integrated EM simulation; predicts performance at circuit and system levels using common modulated signals and accurate RF system models; accelerates verification by running simulations in parallel.
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LongLife mini-wave solder nozzle
Selective Solder Nozzle
LongLife mini-wave solder nozzle improves selective soldering process. Gold alloy coated. Lifetime is reportedly more than three times conventional solder nozzles under same conditions. Reduces maintenance. Does not need to be cleaned or reactivated throughout production shift. No activation needed prior to production start; insert nozzle, turn on pump and start production. Ready to solder within seconds.
Seho Systems
PNA and PNA-X
Network Analyzers
PNA and PNA-X contain low-spurious direct digital synthesis source, enabling accurate measurements with less phase noise interference. With clean source signals, customers can perform two-tone IMD measurements with close tone spacing. DDS sources enhance performance of software applications, including modulation distortion, SMC with phase, and I/Q converter measurements to provide speed in mixer/frequency converter characterization. Offering a third radio frequency source up to 13.5GHz on PNA-X simplifies measurement setup by taking place of external signal generator to drive local oscillators.
Keysight Technologies
BSI (Boundary Scan Interconnect) Plus in-circuit tester
Connector ICT
BSI (Boundary Scan Interconnect) Plus in-circuit tester is for DDR4, USB, PCIe and M.2 SATA connectors. Hardware is reportedly easy to integrate into fixture and set up for new test programs. Performs an OPS test and battery test before powering on DuT to ensure correctness of board.
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Technical Abstracts
In Case You Missed It
Advanced Packaging
“Fan-Out Wafer and Panel-Level Packaging as Packaging Platform for Heterogeneous Integration”

Authors: Tanja Braun, Karl-Friedrich Becker, Ole Hoelck, Steve Voges, Ruben Kahle, Marc Dreissigacker and Martin Schneider-Ramelow; tanja.braun@izm.fraunhofer.de.

Abstract: Fan-out wafer-level packaging (FOWLP) is one of the latest packaging trends in microelectronics. Besides technology developments toward heterogeneous integration, including multiple die packaging, passive component integration in packages and redistribution layers or package-on-package approaches, larger substrate formats are also targeted. Manufacturing is currently done on a wafer level of up to 12″/300mm and 330mm, respectively. For a higher productivity and, consequently, lower costs, larger form factors are introduced. Instead of following the wafer-level roadmaps to 450mm, panel-level packaging (PLP) might be the next big step. Both technology approaches offer many opportunities as high miniaturization and are well-suited for heterogeneous integration. Hence, FOWLP and PLP are well-suited for packaging a highly miniaturized energy harvester system consisting of a piezo-based harvester, a power management unit and a supercapacitor for energy storage. In this study, the FOWLP and PLP approaches were chosen for an ASIC package development with integrated SMD capacitors. The process developments and successful overall proof-of-concept for the packaging approach have been done on a 200mm wafer size. In a second step, the technology was scaled up to a 457 x 305mm2 panel size using the same materials, equipment and process flow, demonstrating the low cost and large area capabilities of the approach. (Micromachines, May 2019; www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6562530)

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