February 2020
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February 2020 • VOL. 37 • NO. 2
First Person
A new trade group is born.
But what of the old?
Mike Buetow
money matters
The Roaring ’20s?
Peter Bigelow
Are robots a good thing for workers?
Susan Mucha
Low cost ways to expand your manufacturing base.
Greg Papandrew
Tech Talk
Does Moore’s law apply to heterogeneous integration?
E. Jan Vardaman
Going to ground.
John Burkhert
Can signal-integrity test vehicle results be accurately simulated?
Bill Hargin
Via structure strategies.
Nick Koop
Get in line.
Clive Ashmore
Bob Willis
February 2020 • VOL. 37 • NO. 2
iNEMI Roadmap
New hole formation technologies and low-cost low-loss materials are needed.
by Steve Payne
INDUSTRY 4.0 cover story
Most common commercial solutions use vision algorithms that inspect visual features in the camera feed to determine the exact position of the camera in space enabling, in turn, the algorithm to place the correlated 3-D model. But such solutions are sensitive to environmental factors such as light and line of sight. Is there a better way?
by Jay Gorajia, Nir Sagi, Eran Nadel and Shai Newman
Up Media February 2020 cover
Tin whisker risk assessment is a tedious manual process that can take significant engineering labor hours to accomplish on a densely populated board. A modified design tool can automate the measurement process and standardize archiving.
by Karen Ebner, Robert DeMeo, Janet Villiers, Andrew Goossens, Daniel Mantoni and Lenna McCarthy
LTS Reliability
LTS alloys have been shown to be compatible with SAC BGA components where they form a hybrid SAC-LTS joint without melting the SAC solder. These hybrid solder joints can be optimized through LTS solder metallurgy and SMT processes to maximize reliability performance.
by Nilesh Badwe, Kevin Byrd, Ou Jin and Pubudu Goonetilleke
IN the Digital Edition
The latest happenings of the Printed Circuit Engineering Association.


ON PCB CHAT (pcbchat.com)

PCB Design Software Market Update
with Wally Rhines
IPC Plating Specifications
with George Milad
Stencil Design and Void Reduction
with Greg Smith and Tony Lentz
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“full” board Ion Chromatography
Quantitatively identifies and measures ionic species present on boards that could lead to in-field failures.
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Caveat Lector
Mike Buetow Editor in Chief Image
Designing a New Start

he Designers Council is dead. Long live the Designers Council!

As the calendar turned to January, IPC and the entity formerly known as the Designers Council amicably parted ways.

The event, which happened quietly after months of discussions, ended a long and productive chapter in the printed circuit design industry history.

As detailed in our 25-year retrospective on the organization in 2017 (https://pcdandf.com/pcdesign/index.php/editorial/menu-features/12246-designer-council-1712), the Designers Council began as an independent grassroots movement in locales across the US and Europe. Originally a confederacy of like-minded individuals who somehow found the energy and time to commit to bringing their colleagues together, it quickly spun into a top-down organization under the auspices of IPC.

Dieter Bergman, my late colleague at IPC and a former designer himself, was at the forefront of that movement. Bergman knew firsthand the need for designers to gain access to industry standards and, more importantly, the knowledge behind them, in order to keep up with the demands of customers and management. Back then, training was generally provided by older, experienced mentors in the same company. As conferences such as PCB West emerged, education became somewhat more structured and formalized, but there remained a need for on-demand training and at the point of use.

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Around the World
PCDF People
Elmatica named Joseph Milsom IT developer.

MFLEX named Dale Wesselmann business development manager.

Uyemura promoted Patrick Valentine, Ph.D., to director of technology. He joined Uyemura in 2015 to lead the company’s continuous improvement program and has held technical and executive roles in the PCB and chip industries since 1980. He is a Six Sigma Master Black Belt.

PCDF Briefs
AT&S will invest €30 million ($33.4 million) over the next two fiscal years to upgrade its site in Ansan, South Korea.

Avnet is launching a new partner program designed to provide developers with a place to build complete IoT solutions, enabling them to scale their business in a quick and cost-effective manner.

India’s government is considering a proposal to sweeten an export incentive scheme for smartphone manufacturers by offering 6% duty credit scrips, replacing the current 4% scrip, as part of a target to increase smartphone exports to $110 billion by 2025 from $3 billion now, per reports.

Around the World
UP Media Group Announces PCB2Day Workshops on PCB Design, SMT

ATLANTA, GA – UP Media Group announced dates for its popular PCB2Day workshop series for spring 2020.

Two-day workshops on surface mount technology and design and engineering of printed circuit boards will take place in Austin, TX, in March.

Design Essentials for PCB Engineers is a two-day workshop for design engineers covering fine-pitch BGA design, DfM, component selection and placement, routing, and impedance control. Presenter Susy Webb is a senior PCB designer with 40 years of experience in coastal and oceanographic oil exploration and monitoring equipment, point-to-point microwave network systems, and CPCI and ATX computer motherboards. She is a regular speaker at PCB WEST, IPC Apex Expo and international design conferences and consults for individual companies and Designers Council chapters in several countries.

SMT Assembly Boot Camp is a two-day practical overview combining lecture, videos and discussion of the different processes, equipment and materials used in through-hole and SMT. The presenter is Phil Zarrow, a 35-year veteran with extensive hands-on experience with setup and troubleshooting through-hole and SMT processes throughout the world at OEMs and contract assemblers.

SMT Assembly Boot Camp will be held March 24-25 in Austin, and Design Essentials for PCB Engineers will be held March 26-27 in Austin. For more information or to register visit pcb2day.com.

PCD&F and CIRCUITS ASSEMBLY are media partners for the event. Design Essentials for PCB Engineers event is sponsored by EMA Design Automation, and SMT Assembly Boot Camp is sponsored by FHP Reps. – MB

Around the World
Hitachi Chemical to End Most Laminate Manufacturing
TOKYO – Hitachi Chemical will cease manufacturing of several laminate products by the end of 2022, even as the company prepares for acquisition by an entity backed by Showa Denko K.K.

Hitachi Chemical will end production of CEM-3, some FR-4 products, and mass lam products by September 2022, according to reports. The company will continue to manufacture high-end materials for IC substrates and high-frequency materials, sources told PCD&F.

The decision to exit lower-end materials production appears to be driven by lower demand and pricing pressure tied to competition from lower-cost regions. Also, the current margins do not support investment in new manufacturing equipment, sources told PCD&F.

On Dec. 18, the board of directors of Hitachi Chemical issued a statement in support of a tender offer by HC Holdings K.K., a wholly owned subsidiary of Showa Denko. That deal is expected to close in 2022. It has been suggested Hitachi is jettisoning the lower-end materials to beef up its bottom line prior to the acquisition. – MB

Around the World
SEMCO to Shut Down HDI Ops in China
JIANGSU, CHINA – Samsung Electro-Mechanics plans to shut down its HDI PCB manufacturing facility here as a result of poor profits, according to reports.

The site will cease production and sales, and the company will sell its assets there. The news comes after Samsung decided to stop smartphone manufacturing operations in China as well.

Samsung-EM is the second major fabricator in recent months to announce cessation of HDI production. LG Innotek also said it would stop producing HDI boards later this year. – CD

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Around the World
CA People
Circuit-Tech promoted Anastassia Ramessur to team lead business development.
Intervala named Jon Saunders vice president of operations, Hudson plant. He has 25 years’ experience in electronics assembly, including Sanmina, Altron and most recently Varitron.
Phil Zarrow will present a two-day SMT Assembly Boot Camp, a practical workshop on processes and materials used in through-hole and SMT, in Austin, TX, on Mar. 24–25.
Universal Instruments promoted Kevin Clue to general manager, North American field operations.
Yamaha appointed David Suh product manager, Inspection Products. He has over 20 years’ experience in electronics assembly in inspection, test engineering, field service, support, and training.
Around the World
No More Silica: Startup Believes It Has Better Answer to Keeping Boards Dry
TAMPA, FL – Moisture is the bane of the circuit board, and millions of dollars are spent on packaging materials each year to keep parts dry. But while components can be packaged and handled in trays, standard practice remains to treat each PCB as an individual unit, storing them with silica gel desiccant bags to soak up unwanted moisture.

Dan Jenkins, CEO of startup company Steel Camel, says it’s past time to move on from inexpensive and relatively ineffective silica gel bags. Industry standards, however, must be brought up to date, he adds.

“Industry specifications are quite confusing and complicated, because the military spec MIL-D-3464 is way out of date and the test devices don’t exist to the public or even branches of military,” notes Jenkins. “And while the far majority of suppliers of desiccant beads claim they pass the mil spec, they cannot prove they meet it and have never submitted to the military for qualification. Military equipment manufacturers are only requiring manufacturers to meet the spec, so everyone is using a silica gel desiccant which does not work that well, and is most likely not qualified under MIL-D-3464 .”

Steel Camel’s patented technology relies on a water-absorbent packet made of sheets of a cotton fabric through which moisture can penetrate. Once it does, the water is absorbed by a sodium poly-2-propenoate (sodium salt) compound.

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Around the World
CA Briefs
BYD Electronics is expected to replace Guangda as the exclusive assembly supplier for Apple’s iPod Touch.

EMS Components Assembly signed a P500-million loan agreement with Development Bank of the Philippines to finance expansion.

Foxconn called untrue a report in an Indian newspaper that it has canceled a plan to invest $5 billion in India due to an “internal dispute” with Apple.

Foxconn reportedly is gearing up to promote its AGV (automated guided vehicle) solutions in Taiwan through its affiliated Asia Pacific Telecom (APT) and FHnet to help manufacturers “smartize” their operations.

Kitron won $8.7 million in orders for offshore wind-related electronics.

Libra Industries and Gemcity Engineering & Manufacturing have merged and will operate as Libra Industries going forward.

For Mirtec, 2019 was the most successful year in its corporate history and the ninth consecutive year of record sales revenue for the North America division.

Nordson Select appointed EMC3 Group sales representative in Florida.

Pillarhouse appointed EAP distributor in Florida.

Around the World
Purchase Price for AsteelFlash Set at $450M
Paris – Following a vote by Asteelflash’s shareholders, the investment group behind Universal Scientific Industrial will pay $450 million in cash as stock to acquire Asteelflash.

Sun Moonlight Investment Control agreed to the terms in mid-December. The pending deal was first reported by CIRCUITS ASSEMBLY in December.

Under terms of the deal, 89.6% of the payment will be in cash, and the remainder in private company Huanxu shares. Following the acquisition, which is expected to close in the third quarter of 2020, Asteelflash will become a subsidiary of USI, which also goes by the Chinese name of Huanxu Electronics. Asteelflash’s existing operations management team will be retained, according to public reports.

The deal is subject to approval by the governments of China, the US and the European Union.

Sun Moonlight is a major shareholder of USI/Huanxu Electronics. The two companies will be merged following the transaction, with Asteelflash handling smaller runs and USI performing the volume builds.

Asteelflash has 17 production sites in 10 countries, including France, Germany, the UK, Tunisia, China, Taiwan, Czech Republic, Poland, Mexico and the US. It had sales of about $1 billion last year, according to the CIRCUITS ASSEMBLY EMS Top 50, and profits of $70 million to $80 million.

USI has plants in Taiwan, Mexico, China, Poland, and a joint venture in Brazil. – MB

Around the World
Ametek’s Ride on Reading About to End
BERWYN, PA – Ametek is selling Reading Alloys to Kymera International for $250 million, according to reports.

Reading Alloys makes alloys and specialty materials for the aerospace, defense and industrial markets. Ametek acquired the company in 2008. Reading Alloys’ sales have doubled since then to some $160 million. Reading employs about 120 people.

Kymera is a specialty materials company based in Research Triangle Park, NC. The all-cash deal is expected to close this quarter. – CD

Around the World
US Congress to Approve Funds For R&D on Pb-Free Electronics
BANNOCKBURN, IL – The US House and Senate in December approved a defense spending bill that includes $5 million for research and development on the issues surrounding Pb-free electronics in mission-critical applications.

The bill and the specific funding is supported by IPC, which advocated for its passage and believe it will save the defense industry millions down the road.

“The migration of the commercial industry to Pb-free electronics has introduced technical and supply-chain concerns in the aerospace, defense and high-performance sectors that can only be addressed through greater, more focused public-private R&D,” said Chris Mitchell, IPC vice president of global government relations. “The funds in this bill will help support the much-needed collective effort and help ensure mission-critical systems have full access to cutting-edge electronics from a robust global supply chain.”

IPC and its partners believe a five-year $40 million investment in a public-private R&D program would yield more than $100 million in US defense savings per year and improve military readiness and overall innovation. – CD

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Around the World
Sumitronics Manufacturing Launches Cambodian Ops
POIPET CITY, CAMBODIA – Sumitronics Manufacturing (Cambodia) launched operations in Poipet PPSEZ. The firm previously reached a land lease deal in April 2018.

The company said it would contribute to the development of the industrial sector in Cambodia.

Japanese ambassador Masahiro Mikami said Sumitronics’ facilities contribute to the Thailand-Plus-One strategy. Thailand-Plus-One refers to Japanese firms increasing revenue by expanding their supply chain network in Thailand toward Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar.

Poipet now has 17 factories, eight belonging to Japanese companies, and boasts 7,500 jobs. Poipet PPSEZ is owned by Phnom Penh SEZ and boasts access to the border crossing. – CD

Around the World
Abstracts Sought for PCB West 2020
ATLANTA – UP Media Group Inc. seeks abstracts for PCB West 2020, to be held Sept. 8-11 in Santa Clara, CA. The event includes a four-day technical conference and one-day exhibition to be held at the Santa Clara (CA) Convention Center.

PCB West annually provides a conference and exhibition focused on the design and manufacture of PCBs, HDI, electronics assembly and circuit board test. The event annually attracts nearly 2,000 attendees.

Papers and presentations of the following durations are sought for the technical conference: one-hour lectures and presentations; two-hour workshops; and half-day (3.5 hour) and full-day seminars. Preference is given to presentations of 2 hours in length or more, and no presentations of less than one hour will be considered.

Abstracts of 100 to 300 words and speaker biographies should be submitted to https://pcbwest.com/abstract-submission-guidelines by Feb. 28.

Around the World
IPC Releases E-Textiles Standard
BANNOCKBURN, IL – IPC in December announced the release of a new standard that defines the makeup and testing of electronics textiles.

Developed through input from 140 members of the IPC D-72 Textiles Materials Subcommittee, IPC-8921, Requirements for Woven and Knitted Electronics Textiles (E-Textiles) Integrated with Conductive Fibers, Conductive Yarns and/or Wires, establishes classifications and designations for e-textiles integrated with e-fibers, e-yarns and e-wires and standardizes key characteristics, durability testing and industry test methods. Key characteristics include electrical resistance, electromagnetic immunity, thermal conductivity, coefficient of thermal expansion, specific heat capacity, thermal shock resistance, outgassing, Tg and melting point. – CD

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Market Watch
PCB/MCM Design Tool Sales Spike 20% in Q3
MILPITAS, CASales of software for PCB and multichip module design rose 19.8% year-over-year to $240.5 million in the September quarter, the Electronic System Design Alliance said in January.

The Americas led the way, with sales of $83.3 million, followed by Asia-Pacific at $59.2 million, Europe/Middle East at $53.7 million, and Japan at $44.3 million.

The four-quarters moving average, which compares the most recent four quarters to the prior four quarters, increased 10.3%.

Overall electronic design automation industry revenue increased 8.9% during the period to $2.57 billion. The four-quarters moving average increased 6.8%.

Which Tech Will Define the Roaring ’20s?
The technologies that succeed will likely be variations on our current ones.
A new year is always exciting. Thoughts of embarking on new initiatives provide opportunity and inspire everyone to dream big and make them happen. When the new year happens to coincide with a new decade – in this case, the ’20s, or as some of my business colleagues are calling it, “the roaring ’20s” – one can’t help but dream extra big and forecast events that should or could impact our industry in the decade ahead.

Rather than focus on the geopolitical and global economics that clearly impact everyone, too often in an irrational or political way, I will focus on the area I am probably least qualified to opine on: technology.

In the rearview mirror of the past decade(s) have been notable technological disappointments. By “disappointments” I am not saying failures, but technologies, materials and processes that have, so far, not lived up to the hype garnered when first released. Organics, especially OSPs, showed great promise. After many years of refinement, however, the short shelf-life of these surface finishes still makes them too problematic for general use. Yes, they work great in a high-volume, rapid fab-to-assembly-to-OEM application, but for high-mix or ruggedized environments they aren’t ready for prime time.

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Focus on business
Gazing in a Crystal Ball
Why the “rise of the robots” might be a good thing for workers.
Once a year, I like to take a column to look at the trends I’m seeing for the coming year. I think 2020 is going to be fairly good for the electronics manufacturing services (EMS) industry.

The trade war finally appears to be cooling down. Both China and the US have been hurt by it, and I think both sides have reached the point where they realize that not reaching an agreement will cost both of them lucrative manufacturing sectors, since China is seeing production migrate to Southeast Asia, and the US is seeing production move to Mexico. As I write this, the phase 1 deal has yet to be signed. If it does get signed in early-2020 and tariffs begin to lift, that could remove the trade-war-driven drag on the US manufacturing economy. The signing of USMCA will also have some positive effects and hopefully improve the competitiveness of US manufacturing within North America.

That leads to a more interesting trend: unemployment, or lack thereof. Many readers don’t remember what 3.5% unemployment markets look like, because it has been nearly two decades since we were in that range. In the 1990s, what folks would say when we got to that level was everyone who was employable had a job. Manufacturing sector companies face a double whammy this time around – and EMS companies are even more disadvantaged. Why? For the past two decades we’ve been telling youth that manufacturing jobs are 20th century jobs, and their best career option is to get a college degree and work in the service sector. Consequently, hiring labor in a job hunter’s market isn’t a matter of running an ad and watching people line up. It becomes an education effort, with a higher-than-average failure rate when applicants who don’t like the disciplined focus of manufacturing decide to look elsewhere after a few weeks on the job. The reason I say EMS companies are more disadvantaged is because the average American doesn’t know who they are. The products they manufacture carry the names of other companies. In a generation where folks aspire to work at companies like Google or Facebook, branding matters. Additionally, margins in EMS are tighter, so benefits and compensation are less, which means EMS companies must do more than a company with a recognizable brand to capture the interest of potential entry-level employees.

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Board Buying
How Quickly Can You Move PCB Business?
Expand your manufacturing base at little or no cost.

Why are PCB purchasing departments often hesitant to move business to a new vendor, even when it is clearly warranted? Perhaps it’s the overly cumbersome process many buyers require before production can be moved.

Adding a new supplier to an approved vendor list (AVL) needs to be done with care, but I don’t understand why many firms make it harder than it has to be.

It is important to keep PCB vendors on their toes. They should know that you, as a circuit board buyer, regularly review vendor pricing and performance and are willing to move business when necessary. And the truth is adding qualified suppliers may not be as difficult as you think.

Here’s how to evaluate a potential vendor:

Get a trial quote. For the buyer, it’s all about price. There’s no need to get the quality or production departments involved if the only reason to move a board is for better pricing. Start with a trial quote from a potential vendor, after you have an NDA in place. Have the Gerber files available for a PCB that your company assembles often enough to use for price benchmarking purposes. Send those files, along with your corporate PCB fabrication specification (your company has fab specs, right?), to the vendor with a request for a trial quote.

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On The Forefront
The Role of Heterogeneous Integration in the AI Hardware Ecosystem
Does Moore’s law apply to the new HI frontier?

The IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) held a night panel discussion on Dec. 10 titled Rest in Peace Moore’s Law, Long Live AI. As the title suggests, the discussion focused on the future of computing and the role of hardware. The moderator proposed questions like will CMOS technology become commoditized and differentiation occur mostly in circuit design, algorithm and architecture development? Will special purpose coprocessor adoption rates accelerate beyond CPUs and GPUs? What is the role of heterogeneous integration in the AI hardware ecosystem? Will the traditional memory hierarchy be upended by the arrival of non-volatile memory? Will analog accelerators using non-volatile memory elements drive the future semiconductor roadmap as scaling slows, enabling exponential improvements in compute efficiency and performance? Not all the questions were answered, but the discussion was lively.

The panel was moderated by Vijay Narayanan, IBM Research, with panel members from major OEMs, chip makers, packaging foundries and academia. The first section focused on the health of Moore’s Law.

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The Case for Copper Pour on Routing Layers
Don’t be afraid of the ground.

Doing special things with a circuit pattern is a hallmark of analog design. All the important signals on the board added together are equal in importance to one net; that net is the ground net. Every active component will have at least one of its pins tied to ground. An RF device could use any number of voltages and will likely want a dedicated power supply for each voltage required. Characteristic impedance relies on a ground plane or two.

Faster digital circuits start to behave like their analog counterparts. The typical routing rules involve fanning out the surface mount pins with short segments and doing the main course of the routing on an innerlayer. An elegant placement could make it possible for the bus of related traces to run entirely on the outer layers.

In that case, we don’t get to sandwich the traces between ground planes to stifle electromagnetic radiation (EMI). The saving grace is we don’t use vias to transition the signals to innerlayers. Printed circuit board design is always a balancing act. We use vias anyway, but in a different way. Wrapping the bus in a full metal jacket on the outer layer and staking the edges of the ground plane to the innerlayer ground is usually sufficient to meet the EMI specifications, where short digital traces are concerned.

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The Route
A New Beginning
Introducing the Printed Circuit Engineering Association.
In this column, I share a letter from the legacy officers and board members of the IPC Designers Council, introduce the formation of the Printed Circuit Engineering Association (PCEA), and invite readers to consider future professional development and event opportunities.
Gratitude, Acceptance, and Future Efforts
To: The PCB Industry
From: Legacy Officers and Board Members of the IPC Designers Council


It is with appreciation we are writing this letter to express our gratitude to have had the opportunity to serve the designers in the electronics industry through our affiliation with the IPC Designers Council. Many of us have contributed a significant amount of our careers to the betterment of our industry with this involvement. We have done so with the attitude of an educator with a servant’s heart. Through all the decades of this effort, we have encountered success and challenges. We have no regrets in looking back at our efforts.

We are also writing to convey our acceptance that we have been summarily dissolved effective immediately, at the request of senior management at IPC. We have respectfully ceased all actions in relation to our efforts as an IPC Board. We will make all efforts to continue to represent IPC in a professional and positive manner, as professionals serving in our industry. Many of us continue to serve the IPC community in other capacities and plan to do so with excellence.

Preparing for Next-Gen Loss Requirements, Part 2
Can signal-integrity test vehicle results be accurately simulated?
Ed.: This is Part 2 of a three-part series on preparing for next-generation loss requirements.
Here in Part 2 of the series, I’ll outline the means by which insertion-loss requirements are determined. In Part 3, I’ll suggest a better method for obtaining more accurate Df numbers without having to go to the trouble of building test boards.

As I stated in last month’s column, if you want to stay on top of the parameters that contribute to loss, there are a lot of factors to juggle. Frequency, copper weight, resin system, glass characteristics, dielectric thickness, trace width, copper roughness, and fabricator processing all contribute to the discussion if you’re savvy, driving fast, with both eyes open.

Component manufacturers will typically specify a loss budget for a chipset. There are multiple server platforms, of course, but Intel’s PCI Express (PCIe) trends provide a good example of the performance jumps seen across today’s interconnect standards. TABLE 1 shows how PCIe speeds have changed in recent years, from PCIe 3.0 to PCIe 5.0.

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The Flexperts
How Does Combining Various Via Structures Affect Circuit Design?
In some cases, the designer might forego PTHs.
As components continue to shrink, designers are challenged to find strategies to route the supporting circuit to handle all the I/O from those components while using less real estate.

The high I/O count on these devices can cause major heartburn when trying to route out from under the BGA. There is not enough room for pad traces and spaces. And at pitches under 0.8mm, in some cases you cannot route signals between the pads.

This usually drives the designer to use a combination of blind or buried vias and microvias, along with through-holes. All these are fair game in flex and rigid-flex designs. The key is to implement them in a manner that permits the various structures to coexist.

The biggest concern on parts with multiple via structures relates to how to align the different vias with the various etched layers within the circuit. Different via structures are drilled at different times with different equipment and may use different fiducials for alignment. For example, while top layer laser microvias will use layer 2 as an alignment, full layer count mechanically drilled through-holes are aligned to an average of all the internal layers in the laminated board. What if these two datums are not perfectly aligned to each other? Here is a secret: While they are perfectly aligned in the CAD data, they are not in the real-life board.

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iNEMI Roadmap
Can PCB FABRICATION PROCESSES Keep Up with Design Demands?
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.

Technology needs are divided into two major segments: research needs and development needs. Each has their challenges and opportunities.

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Industry 4.0
Designing a Robust Industrial Augmented Reality Solution
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.

The reality-virtuality continuum. The notion of a reality-virtuality continuum was introduced by Paul Milgram, a professor of engineering at the University of Toronto, more than two decades ago. In a paper published in 1994,3 Milgram describes the mixed reality environment as the space between the real environment and the virtual environment, as described in FIGURE 1.

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An Automated Tin Whisker Risk Assessment Process Resulting in Significant Cost Savings
How a modified design tool automated and standardized TWRA measurement. by KAREN EBNER, ROBERT DEMEO, JANET VILLIERS, ANDREW GOOSSENS, DANIEL MANTONI and LENNA MCCARTHY
The European RoHS Directive mandated that by July 2006, lead would be removed from electronics assemblies. In response, the electronics industry introduced more lead-free components into the supply chain. US military and medical device companies were exempt from this legislation. This exemption is rapidly changing.

Tin-lead parts obsolescence has become an acquisition issue for the military. The risk is alternative RoHS-compliant parts typically substitute pure tin for traditional tin-lead finishes. Pure tin can grow electrically conductive whiskers that may dislodge or short, causing failure (Figure 1). To mitigate the risk, the company developed a tin whisker risk mitigation policy that requires hardware programs to develop and implement a tin whisker mitigation plan.

Performing tin whisker risk assessments has become a schedule-driving, labor-intensive process. The engineering team’s vision was to develop and implement an automated tin whisker risk assessment (TWRA) process that would reduce manual work and save program cost and schedule.

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LTS Reliability
Sn-Bi Low-Temperature Homogeneous Solder Joint Microstructure, Reliability and Failure Mechanism
How do LTS solders perform under thermal cycling and drop-shock testing?
Several environmental, technology and reliability factors have recently combined to renew interest in the use of tin-bismuth-based solder alloys for motherboard manufacturing. Corporate and government initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions benefit from reduced electricity usage afforded by use of low-temperature solders. Thin electronic components and motherboards experience less warpage at the lower peak reflow temperatures, enabling pitch and form factor scaling, driving technology innovation. A new generation of tin-bismuth solder alloys engineered for increased ductility is enabling SAC BGA-LTS SMT solder joints to meet board-level reliability requirements.

Tin-bismuth (SnBi)-based low-temperature solders (LTS) can be used to create solder joints both when used in conjunction with an electronic package using tin-silver-copper (SAC) solder spheres or a SnBi-based solder sphere. In the case of a SAC-LTS solder joint, the resulting structure is referred to as “hybrid.” For an LTS-LTS solder joint, the structure is referred to as homogenous. Figure 1 illustrates the structure of each case.

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PCB West 2020
Conference: September 8 – 11
Exhibition: Wednesday, September 9
See you in September!
See us at APEX EXPO Booth 2748
Who’s Exhibiting

Accurate Circuit Engineering

Aculon, Inc.

Advanced Assembly

Advanced Circuits

AGC Nelco America Inc.

All Flex Flexible Circuits & Heaters

Altium, Inc.

American Standard Circuits, Inc.


Arlon EMD Specialty

Bay Area Circuits, Inc.


Bittele Electronics Inc.

Bowman XRF

Cadence Design Systems

Cicor Group

Clear Blue Engineering


Dino-Lite Scopes (Big C)

Downstream Technologies, Inc.


Dynamic Electronics Co., Ltd.

Elgris Technologies, Inc.


EMA Design Automation

Firan Technology Group- FTG

Fischer Technology, Inc.

Flex Interconnect Technologies

Flexible Circuit Technologies

Freedom CAD Services, Inc.

Goal Searchers Co., Ltd.

Green Circuits


GTS Flexible Materials Ltd.

HIE Display Limited



lmagineering, Inc.


Integrated Technology Ltd. (ITL Circuits)

IPC-2581 Consortium


JS Electronic Co. Ltd.

Kinwong Electronic Co., Ltd.

Krypton Solutions

Kyocera International, Inc.

Leader Tech, Inc.

LPKF Laser & Electronics

Medcadtron GmbH

Mentor, A Siemens Business


Minco Products, Inc.

MultekTechnologies, Inc.

MV Circuit Technology Co., Ltd.

MVINIX Corporation


Oak-Mitsui Technologies LLC

Ohmega Technologies, Inc.

Optiprint AG

Panasonic Electronic Materials

PCB Power Inc.

PFC Flexible Circuits Limited

Polar Instruments, Inc.


Printed Circuits

Pulsonix PCB Design Software




Rogers Corporation

Royal Circuits

San Diego PCB Design

San-ei Kagaku Co., Ltd.

Sanmina Corporation

Screaming Circuits

SEP Co., Ltd.

Shenzhen Danyu Electronics Co. Ltd.

Shin Yi PCB Co., Ltd.

Sierra Circuits, Inc.

Somacis Inc.

Summit Interconnect

Sunshine Global Circuits

Sunstone Circuits

SVTronics, Inc.

Tempo Automation

Ticer Technologies

Ultra Librarian

Varioprint AG

Vayo Technology

Ventec International Group

Victory GiantTechnology (Huizhou) Co., Ltd.

VYCOM Global Sources Ltd.

Xiamen Bolion Tech. Co., Ltd.

Zuken USA Inc.

SCREEN printing
Screen Printing Hacks: Alignment
Not sure how to tackle an alignment issue?
These tips might help set you straight.
In today’s slang, a “life hack” is any trick, shortcut, or proven workaround for a given task that increases productivity and efficiency. And, as regular readers will be acutely aware, this column’s focus is all about improving printing productivity and efficiency. So, I thought a series of “screen-printing hacks” might be helpful to engineers, no matter the level of experience. Throughout 2020, this space will periodically delve into various screen-printing hacks; an issue central to a good print outcome will be identified, and I’ll cover some ways to get the process back on track if something goes awry. The first installment of our screen-printing hack series is alignment.

The goal for the printing process is 100% alignment; the solder paste must align with the feature (the pad) on the substrate. When the solder paste inspection (SPI) system indicates this is not the case and offsets (paste not centered on the pad) are present, an alignment issue is most likely the culprit. Where do you start? Here’s a list of the most common causes and potential fixes; i.e., hacks:

Machine calibration. First things first. When was the last time the printer was calibrated? The truth is most operators and line engineers can’t answer this question, which is a bit scary. Nevertheless, when alignment is off, the first thing to do is run SPC for an alignment check on the system. It’s literally a 10-minute exercise that could save countless hours and lost yield. If it doesn’t pass, do a machine calibration – stat! (An annual maintenance program wouldn’t hurt, but I digress.)

Defect of the Month
Solder Surface Deformation
When solder isn’t shaped correctly, the condition is known as head-in-pillow.
This month we show the ball surface on area array packages where no solder joint was formed. The joints were intermittent, but one of the surfaces – either the ball or the surface of the solder on the pad – was deformed. This is better known as head-in-pillow (HiP) or head-on-pillow (HoP), depending on the shape formed on the solder adjacent surface.

FIGURES 1 and 2 show examples of HiP/HoP. In Figure 1, the surface of the ball is shown after mechanically separating the device from the board. The indent of the solder from the pad on the board is visible.

Figure 2, on the other hand, shows a ball with some residue but with no indentation. Compared with the corresponding PCB pad, it may show the reflowed solder being deformed.

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Off The Shelf
Off The Shelf
Machines Materials Tools Systems Software
High-Speed B2B Connector
Inkjet Solder Resists
High-Speed Routing
High-Speed B2B Connector
High-Speed B2B Connector
FX27 0.8mm pitch card edge board-to-board connector allows flexible stacking heights. Allows varying board stack heights by changing length of PCB interposer. Supports floating range of ±1.2mm in x and y; absorbs stress from misalignment while tightening screws and PCB shrinkage caused by high temperatures. Self-alignment range of ±0.7mm.
Hirose Electric Co.
Inkjet Solder Resists
Inkjet Solder Resists
With print head adjusted, Elpejet reportedly provides print image and edge coverage precise to specification, along with high resolution. Among typical application parameters, there is pinning with UV LEDs immediately after printing, an additional UV bump if necessary, or thermal curing to achieve relevant final properties such as no bleeding, adhesion, scratch/crack resistance, etc.
Lackwerke Peters
High-Speed Routing
High-Speed Routing
eCADStar Advanced HS extends 3-D PCB design capabilities with high-speed routing tools, such as length, delay-based impedance, skew control and comprehensive constraint management capabilities. Constraints can be specified in schematic and physical design tools or as design rule stacks.
Off The Shelf
Off The Shelf
Machines Materials Tools Systems Software
Low Outgassing Epoxy
X-Ray Component Counter
Tiny Parts Rework
Low Outgassing Epoxy
Low Outgassing Epoxy
Supreme 121AO is suitable for bonding, sealing and potting. Features a Tg of 200°-210°C; resists temperatures up to 550°F. Less stiff than conventional epoxies that withstand extreme temperatures. Tensile modulus is 750,000 to 850,000psi at room temp., and compressive strength is 26,000 to 28,000psi. NASA approved for low outgassing.
Master Bond
X-Ray Component Counter
X-Ray Component Counter
Assure is for live component inventory management. Is plug-and-play; uses advanced algorithms to identify new components and does not rely on libraries or cloud-only support. One-button operation and intuitive touchscreen UI. Counts components quickly regardless of how full or empty the reel is. Validates results immediately.
Nordson Dage
Tiny Parts Rework
Tiny Parts Rework
JNASE is for rework of 0402, 0201, 01005 and 008004 components. Is designed for HDI boards. Enables flow regulation of temperatures and air at very low levels to avoid expulsion/movement of adjoining components. Pedal-activated pick-and-place.
JBC Tools
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Technical Abstracts
In Case You Missed It
Additive Technologies
“Process Capability of Aerosol-Jet Additive Processes for Long-Runs up to 10-Hours”

Authors: Pradeep Lall, Ph.D, Amrit Abrol, Nakul Kothari, Ben Leever and Scott Miller; lall@auburn.edu.

Abstract: Aerosol Jet supports a variety of materials, including nanoparticle inks and screen-printing pastes, conductive polymers, insulators, adhesives, and even biological matter. Adoption of additive manufacturing for high-volume commercial fabrication requires an understanding of the print consistency and electrical and mechanical properties. Little literature exists that addresses the effect of varying sintering time and temperature on the shear strength and resistivity of the printed lines. In this study, the effect of process parameters on the resultant line-consistency, mechanical and electrical properties is studied. Print process parameters studied include the sheath rate, mass flow rate, nozzle size, substrate temperature and chiller temperature. Properties include resistance and shear load to failure of the printed electrical line as a function of varying sintering time and varying sintering temperature. Aerosol Jet was used to print interconnects. Printed samples were exposed to different sintering times and temperatures. The resistance and shear load to failure of the printed lines was measured. The underlying physics of the resultant trend was then investigated using elemental analysis and SEM. The effect of line-consistency drift over prolonged runtimes has been measured for up to 10hr. of runtime. Printing process efficiency has been gauged a function of process capability index (Cpk) and process capability ratio (Cp). Printed samples were studied offline using optical profilometry to analyze the consistency within the line width, line height, line resistance and shear load to study the variance in electrical and mechanical properties over time. (ASME International Technical Conference and Exhibition on Packaging and Integration of Electronic and Photonic Microsystems, October 2019)

5G: Higher Frequencies!
Do you have the right circuit materials?
Frequencies at 28 GHz and higher are being used in Fifth Generation (5G) wireless communications networks. 5G infrastructure depends on low-loss circuit materials engineered for high frequencies, materials such as RO4835T™ laminates and RO4450T™ bonding materials from Rogers Corporation!
Rogers RO4835T spread-glass-reinforced, ceramic-filled laminates are low-loss materials in 2.5, 3.0, and 4.0 mil thicknesses. They are well suited for millimeter-wave frequencies as part of the inner cores of 5G hybrid multilayer PCBs. They can work with other materials to provide the many functions needed by 5G wireless base stations, including power, signal control and signal transfers.

Rogers RO4450T bonding materials are available in 3, 4, and 5 mil thicknesses to help construct those 5G hybrid multilayer circuits. These spread-glass-reinforced, ceramic-filled bonding materials complement the different materials that will form these hybrid circuits, including RO4835T and RO4000® laminates. And for many 5G hybrid multilayer circuits, Rogers CU4000™ and CU4000 LoPro® foils will provide a suitable finishing touch for many hybrid multilayer circuit foil lamination designs.

5G is here! Do you have the right circuit materials?
Learn more at www.rogerscorp.com/5G

USA – AZ, tel. +1 480-961-1382 • EUROPE – BELGIUM, tel. +32 9 235 3611
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Thanks for reading our February 2020 issue!