PCEA Current Events

PCB East 2024 Conference Registration Open

PEACHTREE CITY, GA – Registration for the technical program for PCB East 2024, featuring more than 75 hours of in-depth electronics engineering training, is now open. 

Rick Hartley, Susy Webb, Tomas Chester and Zach Peterson are among the headliners of this year’s conference. It will be held June 4-7 at the Boxboro Regency Hotel and Conference Center in Boxborough, MA. It features classes for every level of experience, from novice to expert.

The scope of classes ranges from basics on design engineering and circuit grounding, to DDR5 routing, impedance characterization, controlling noise and EMI, thermal management, board stackups and design for assembly. 

More than half the presentations are new to the PCEA, including ones on SMT equipment validation, medical wearable device compliance, flex design, AI in electronics, and signal integrity/power integrity.

“Attendance more than doubled in 2023, showing both the vibrancy of the East coast electronics ecosystem and the need for topnotch technical training,” said Mike Buetow, conference director, PCB East. “This year’s event offers an array of experts in printed circuit design engineering and manufacturing, and a new emphasis on assembly.”

Registration is now open for both the technical conference and the exhibition at pcbeast.com.

Registrants who sign up by May 3 can take advantage of the Early Bird Special discounts for the conference.

The program was developed by the PCEA Conferences Task Group from more than 60 abstracts submitted. The task group is made up of nine industry veterans with more than 270 years of cumulative experience in the printed circuit industry, chaired by Troy Hopkins. Article ending bug

PCEA Announces Upcoming Webinar on IMS

PEACHTREE CITY, GA – Printed Circuit Engineering Association (PCEA) this month will hold a special member webinar on high-performance PCB materials for thermal management.

On Feb. 27, Chad Wood will deliver a one-hour talk on thermal IMS (insulated metal substrate). The term “IMS” refers to PCBs built on a metal (typically aluminum but also copper), which acts as a thermal substrate, while the dielectric adhesive (prepreg) provides high thermal transfer from the components while maintaining dielectric insulation. They can be used to replace direct bonded copper (DBC) substrates for power modules and devices.

The webinar takes place Feb. 27 at 1 p.m. EST. Register at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8917502632251720287. Article ending bug

Special Panel to Debate AI in Electronics

PEACHTREE CITY, GA – As use of artificial intelligence in electronics design and manufacturing becomes a discussion point, it recalls a similar debate from 40 years ago on the impact of a new technology that promised to disrupt the industry norms of that era. On March 6, a special panel convened by PCEA will participate in a webinar where they consider the actual intelligence in these tools, and the ways – and how soon – they might impact the industry. (To register for the webinar, click here.)

Phil Marcoux, who is credited with installing the surface mount line in the US, will moderate the panel. He writes:

I was blessed to be part of helping facilitate the acceptance of something called SMT, having co-founded and managed one of the first design and manufacturing companies devoted to SMT and trying to employ as much automation (and I guess early AI), as possible. 

Starting in 1982 industry sponsored panels (no webinars in that day!) comprised of several early adopters debated the need for collaborative data gathering to create the fundamental needs to successfully design and manufacture using the heretical idea of soldering components onto the surface of pcbs rather than in holes. 

Getting the experienced practitioners to share data was worse than pulling teeth.  It wasn’t until certain departments of the US government and two persuasive individuals in the IPC (Ray Pritchard and Dieter Bergman) coerced a gathering of 20 C-level executives that cooperation was needed. This led to the creation of The Surface Mount Council, of which I was a charter member and served for its entire 12 years.

Handing off its duties in 2001 to a more international effort led by IPC, the Council published more than six white papers. The SMC has also participated in the SMART, SMI, IPC SMEMA Council’s APEX and SMTAI technical conferences and initiated and sponsored joint standards for new technologies, including TR-001, “An Introduction to Tape Automated Bonding Fine Pitch Technology,” J-STD-012, “Implementation of Flip Chip and Chip Scale Technology” and J-STD-013, “Implementation of Ball Grid Array & Other High Density Technology.”

Early in the SMC effort it was apparent that gaining industry wide acceptance depended on data sharing, particularly for design guidelines, especially land patterns, metallization standards for components, and workmanship criteria. Without common knowledge of these the SMT effort would continue to flounder.

I think the same will happen with the effort to incorporate problem solving, process control, and early warning power, among other benefits, of the use of AI-assisted tools.

In addition to the challenge of creating adequate databases of information necessary for the intelligence in AI, we have the issue of how to communicate these data without compromising the data owner’s needs. And just as with SMT, there’s a large concern about the impact on jobs. If the history of SMT teaches us anything, it’s that AI can help the industry create new and more productive jobs.

On March 6, one of the first gatherings of experts in AI for electronics will be held. Will this be the start of a new inflection point in the electronics industry, leading to the creation of many new products exceeding the marvels of those resulting from the use of SMT?

Attend and be a part of history.Article ending bug

PCEA Current Events

New England. The chapter plans a kickoff meeting on May 2, probably in the Andover (MA) area. Among the planned speakers are Gopu Achath of EMA Design Automation on supply chain-driven circuit design and Paul Yang of Jove PCB on embedded inductors. Contact Mike Buetow at mike@pcea.net for details.

Silicon Valley. The next chapter meeting is Feb. 14 from 11:30 to 1:30 PST. The meeting topic is Design Essentials to Maintain Signal Integrity, presented by Amit Bahl of Sierra Circuits. The meeting will be held both in-person at Sierra Circuits and online (Zoom). To attend in person, contact Bob McCreight for more information; bob.mccreight@outlook.com. To attend via Zoom, click here.
Meeting ID: 858 0414 0975
Passcode: PCEA

PCEA Training. Upcoming five-day training classes for printed circuit engineers, layout professionals, and other individuals currently serving in the design engineering industry or seeking to get into it will take place on the following dates: 

  • April 5, 12, 19, 26, and May 3
  • June 14, 17, 21, 24, 28

These instructor-led classes are held online and cover the gamut of printed circuit design engineering, from layout, place and route to specifications and materials to manufacturing methods. Schematic capture, signal integrity and EMI/EMC are also part of the comprehensive program.

Registration fees include the 400-page handbook, Printed Circuit Engineering Professional, authored by Michael Creeden, Stephen Chavez, Rick Hartley, Susy Webb and Gary Ferrari. The course includes an optional certification exam recognized by PCEA.

For information about the instructors of the course and authors of the course material, visit pceatraining.net/instructors-authors.

For information about the course overview, class format, and materials to prepare in advance for the class, visit pceatraining.net/course-overview.Article ending bug