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The Trade Association for Design, PCB and Electronics Manufacturing (FED) has awarded the PCB Design Award to three PCB designers for their outstanding achievements: Thomas Blasko (CiBOARD electronic), Georg Scheuermann (TQ-Systems) and Michael Matthes (WITTENSTEIN cyber motor) are this year's winners. The award, donated by the Fed, recognizes every two years the demanding and complex work of PCB designers, this year in the categories 3D/construction space, high wiring density and high transmission rates (HDI) as well as special creativity. Erika Reel, Fed Board Member Design and Jury Chairman, and Christoph Bornhorn, Fed Managing Director, presented the winners in their companies with the winning certificates.
The winners of the PCB Design Award 2020
Thomas Blasko from CiBOARD electronic came first in the 3-D/construction space category. This category focuses on the mechanical challenges that can only be solved with complex, rigid, rigid flex or flexible circuits. Blasko's project describes a system for laser scanner position measurement. The Rigidflex circuit board consists of nine individual function groups with a base area of 29mm diameter – with an integrated assembly as large as a 35mm film can. The printed circuit board is folded around a predetermined aluminium milling body. The transfer of the measurement data and the power supply is carried out via a single coax cable. The big challenge here was to meet the tough mechanics requirements by cleverly partitioning the individual functions such as sensors, connectors, FPGA controllers and power supply.
Georg Scheuermann from TQ-Systems prevailed in the category of high wiring density/high transmission rates (HDI). This category is about circuits with extremely high integration density or very high transmission rates. Scheuermann convinced the jury with its complex design, a computer-on-module with various high-speed interfaces and two memory blocks with 18 DDR4 memory chips each. In order to supply the memory and cores, currents up to 70 A must be taken into account at clock speeds of up to 2.2 GHz. The cleverly designed 18-layer multilayer with minimal number of compressions ensures high-speed requirements and optimal supply of processor and storage.
Michael Matthes from WITTENSTEIN cyber motor is the winner in the category of special creativity. In this category, "the slightly different solution" is awarded: a design that is particularly clever or elegantly solved, even independent of carrier materials. Matthes' design allows nanosatellites to be aligned in near-Earth orbit. Highly compact - on a square space the size of a cube sugar - the Reaction Wheel was designed specifically for the harsh space conditions. The square design makes space-saving integration possible and also offers maximum flexibility in the application. Michael Matthes has succeeded in meeting the high requirements in this category through an ingenious layer structure of a 6-layer rigid flex circuit board. His project results are now being put to the test: With the rocket launch in Baikonur, the built-in printed circuit board in the micro-satellite was shot 600 kilometers into space.
Renowned industry award for printed circuit board designers
With the PCB Design Award, the winners receive a valuable professional award. Since 2012, the Fed has been awarding the valuable professional prize every two years, which is considered a knighthood in the community of PCB designers. The aim of the award is to honor outstanding printed circuit board designers and to present their achievements to the public. This complex and demanding job is often not sufficiently appreciated in practice. A good designer must bring knowledge from many fields. It is the link between development and production and must translate the specifications of the schematic into a production-oriented design. Not only does he have to be at home in electrical and manufacturing technology, but he must also master the basics of materials science and keep an eye on countless standards and guidelines. The economic impact of its layout must also be taken into account.
A jury of seven experts evaluated the submitted designs according to technical requirements, feasibility and documentation. On the basis of 50 predetermined criteria, the applicants had to describe their design. "We are very pleased about the high level of submissions," concludes Erika Reel, Chairwoman of the jury, "overall, the work shows a high degree of creativity in planning and cleverness in implementation."