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Looking back to my notes from IPC APEX 2020, I noticed one of my comments: There were so many interesting sessions that I often found myself in the position of choosing between several that I wanted to attend in the same timeslot. This year was not any different in that regard. I am purposely glossing over the fact that I, like many of my friends, missed the camaraderie and opportunity to catch up in person while attending these technical sessions, and I look forward to being able to do that next year.  

Focusing my time on the technical conference for this event, I was excited to be able to attend several interesting sessions. I am conflicted about how much to share since these are online for the next 90 days. I would hate to spoil the ending for anyone!  

I started my participation in the conference by attending the “Embedded Technology for HDI Applications” track. Mike Vinson kicked this off with his presentation “Process, Reliability and Testing, and Applications,” which was followed by Manoj Kakade of pSemi, presenting “Thermal Improvements in 3D Embedded Modules Using Copper Bar Vias.” Both sessions were very well attended with strong audience engagement. In fact, time ran out before all the questions could be addressed.  

Later that day, I attended the Automotive Electronics session to see Lenora Clark present her paper, “Addressing the Landscape of Automotive Electronics Design: Improving the Performance and Robustness Through Proper Material Choice.” I think one of my favorite things about attending this conference virtually was the easy of moving between conference tracks. As Lenora finished her presentation, I was able to quickly hop over to the Microvia 1 Reliability track to listen to both Gerry Partida of Summit Interconnect and Jerry Magera with Motorola Solutions update us on their tireless work on microvia reliability. 

Other technical sessions I attended last week include the Microvia 2 Reliability track, the PCB Reliability track, PCB Design: HDI and Signal Integrity Considerations, PCB Advancements, and the Defense Industrial Base Technology Roadmap. While I have attended several during the live portion of the IPC APEX 2021 conference, there are still several that I intend to go back and listen to. 

A couple things stand out to me about this year’s conference. First, whether live or virtual, IPC APEX EXPO provides stellar technical content and for many reasons, the virtual conference allowed me to attend a greater number of sessions than I would have been able to attend if the event were live and in-person.  

IPC APEX EXPO is typically one of the busiest and most fun weeks of the year, with breakfast meetings, lunch meetings, dinner meetings, networking events, the technical conference, and the vast exhibit hall.  While I did have a chat or two while online in the technical conference, I greatly missed the camaraderie and energy that comes from the live event and I am already looking forward to attending live and in-person as soon as we are able! 

Tara Dunn is the vice president of marketing and business development for Averatek.

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