I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week


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This week seems jam-packed with holidays, both major and minor, doesn’t it? We started with “International Pi Day” on March 14. With all the obligatory pricing specials on most all things “pie” here in the U.S., suffice it to say, I’ve got a short stack bake-at-home pizza “pi” in my freezer, thanks to the one-day-only sales price of $3.14. Personally, I’m glad they didn’t make the promotional price = pizza diameter * Pi.

Then there was March 15, the Ides of March. Not so much a holiday as a notable day in history. Though, I guess if you’re a supporter of Roman Senate uprisings, it’s a still a day to celebrate. March 15 also happens to be my mom’s birthday, so for my family it’s a holiday. Happy birthday, Mom!

Plus, the U.S. is all in a tizzy about “March Madness.” For our readers who are unfamiliar, March Madness refers to the NCAA college basketball championship series. The structure is a single-game elimination bracket, starting with 32 teams and ending with the crowned champ. To get a sense of the excitement, imagine World Cup soccer compressed into 29 games spanning just over a week. It’s a sports fan frenzy.

And then… ho, boy, St Patrick’s Day on March 17. Wear the green. Get a touch o’ the Blarney, everybody. As my Norwegian American friend, Erik, said this week, “On St. Paddy’s Day, everybody is a little Irish. Except the Norwegians; we’re still Norwegian.” Irish or not, March 17 is a holiday that touches many of us in some way or another. Even if it’s just to cause us all to reflect on our own respective cultural heritages.

In the news this week, there was much to consider. Hot on the heels of our March issue of SMT007 Magazine, “The State of the Industry,” where we investigated governmental strategic investment around the globe. And this week, we saw news of forward progress. Intel investing not just in the U.S., but also in the EU; the U.S. Congress passing a bill that includes funding for lead-free R&D; a conversation with Alison James from IPC Europe, published in March SMT007; additive/semi-additive implementation work at Calumet; and a RF design/simulation conversation with Ben Jordan. So, if you were too busy observing all the holidays, this week’s top picks has just what you need to keep you informed.

Electronics Industry Praises Congress for Providing $7.5 Million for Lead-Free Electronics R&D 
Published March 15

The U.S. Senate last night approved an FY 2022 spending package that contains $7.5 million for further research and development on lead-free electronics in defense and high-performance applications. IPC’s Chris Mitchell’s comments on the approval of this bill can be found in the news item here.

Intel Announces Initial Investment of Over €33 Billion for R&D and Manufacturing in EU 
Published March 17

The Intel announcement slates up to 80 billion euros to be invested along the entire semiconductor manufacturing chain—including packaging—over the next 10 years. Some details are included in this article; learn more about where Intel plans to invest this money.

Lean on Me: A U.S.–Europe Partnership 
Published March 14

Just a couple days prior to the Intel announcement (above) we ran my interview with IPC Europe’s Alison James. In this conversation, Alison talks to the need for an expanded manufacturing chain downstream from the semiconductor fabs. These two pieces, put together, illustrate the need, vision, and implementation under way in Europe.

Calumet is Bullish on Additive and Semi-Additive 
Published March 15

In this recent interview, Calumet’s Todd Brassard and Meredith LaBeau discuss the state of this technology, which traditional processes that additive and semi-additive might replace, and some of the challenges facing OEMs or PCB shops that are considering these options.

RF and Microwave: No Black Magic 
Published March 15

I-Connect007 managing editor Andy Shaughnessy caught up with Ben Jordan after his class on RF and microwave at IPC APEX EXPO. Ben, an electrical engineer, explained how sitting through previous classes on this topic led to him developing his own class. “I wanted to bridge the gap,” he says, “with a class that makes the material approachable and teaches the intuitive nature of fields and waves and how they work in circuit boards.” Based on reader interest, you all certainly wanted to know more about what Ben is doing.

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