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In a recent survey, we asked the following question: What is the biggest drawback to your current PCB data format? Here are a few of the answers, edited slightly for clarity.
- You would have to ask the board shop about that. They never complain about what I give them.
- Most suppliers and defense contractors and defense customers in the US are stuck on the Gerber format. ODB++ has its advantages, I agree, but PCB and EMS suppliers are not investing in the software infrastructure to support any of the more inclusive formats like ODB++, IPC-2581 or X2. We are in the midst of a two-year ongoing battle to change to ODB++.
- A common interface standard. IPC-2581B is a very comprehensive neutral standard for the interchange of PCB design, fabrication and assembly data, particularly the description of the board stackup, which until now has had no formal standard. But everyone in the industry needs to adopt it.
- The laminate structure and thickness is only described in PDFs of our drawings.
- Non-descriptive naming conventions and missing data!
I-Connect007 Editorial Team
We recently spoke with Herb Snogren, an industry veteran and consultant with Summit Interconnect tasked with leading the company’s ultra HDI efforts. Herb is co-chair of the IPC ultra HDI subcommittee, IPC D-33-AP. In this interview, Herb discusses the current state of UHDI, how designers and fabricators can get started working in this new frontier, and why the U.S. must invest in UHDI technology now to counteract Asia’s near dominance of the UHDI segment, which has left some of our critical industries vulnerable to supply chain disruptions.
I-Connect007 Editorial Team
It makes a lot of sense: During times when the supply chain is stretched to the breaking point—and the last few years certainly qualify—what if PCB designers created boards that used fewer components and less laminate? Do PCBs still have to be 0.062" thick? Why not reduce layer count while they’re at it? Andy Shaughnessy and Nolan Johnson spoke with I-Connect007 columnist Dana Korf about the idea of designing a PCB with material conservation in mind. Is it a great new idea, or are we opening a whole new can of worms and a separate group of problems?
Heidi Barnes, Keysight Technologies
Electromagnetic (EM) solvers based on Maxwell’s equations have proven invaluable in the advancement of digital electronics and wireline communications. Plain and simple, electrical engineers need to know what a circuit or electrical interconnect will do when excited by a dynamic or varying signal. In the signal integrity world, an interconnect that passes a DC connectivity check can completely fail at higher frequencies. In the power integrity world, a power rail that measures the correct DC voltage could easily go into oscillation when a dynamic load is applied. Learning the basic skills to fire up an EM simulator, obtain qualitative answers in minutes, and higher fidelity answers in a few days, can be the difference between sleepless nights of product failures vs. robust designs with wide design margins.