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The first day of DesignCon, held at the McEnery Center in San Jose, seemed to be more lightly attended than in previous years. While that may seem like bad news, word from exhibitors was that those in attendance are here to do business. Likewise, the technical conference seems to be delivering on its promise.
We noticed a subtle shift in the focus of the conference. Where once the topics were strictly about design in general, now the papers and panels concentrate on engineering topics: signal integrity, return paths, power management, stackups, EMC, and more. While the I-Connect007 staff has been noting for some time the trend toward electrical engineering increasingly becoming a critical base of knowledge for the PCB designer, this year’s DesignCon is putting that trend right out in the open.
In the coming days, I-Connect007 will bring you several wide-ranging interviews from presenters, DesignCon committee members, attendees, and exhibitors. Stay tuned.
Pete Starkey, I-Connect007
Believing that I knew a bit about signal integrity and controlled impedance, I was pleased to take the opportunity to connect with an educational webinar that I hoped would extend my knowledge. In the event I was surprised at how little I actually knew, and the webinar was an excellent learning opportunity. The webinar was introduced and expertly moderated by Anna Brockman of Phoenix Contact in Germany.
Tomas Chester, Chester Electronic Design
Advances in technology have been clear to see within the component packaging industry, as the ball grid array (BGA) package sizes reduce from 1.0 mm pitch to 0.8 mm, 0.4 mm, and even beyond. However, while these improvements have occurred with component packages, it has become increasingly more difficult to break out and route the dense circuitry associated with these parts. Currently, the high-density interconnect (HDI) method typically used for the breakout of such parts has been to create the smallest possible subtractive-etched traces with microvias to allow for connections and escapes on the innerlayers of your PCB.
Cherie Litson, CID+, Litson1 Consulting
With components getting smaller and electronic devices becoming more compact, we are reaching the physical limits of the typical etched fabrication processes. To address these limits, new additive and semi-additive processes are being developed to fit into the current fabricators’ production lines without too much disruption or extra cost.