Reading time ( words)
On September 1, the Orange County Chapter of the IPC Designers Council filled the beautiful, modern presentation room at Alcon Labs in Irvine, California. (Thanks to Jay Wellman, PCB design supervisor at Alcon).
Speaker John Stine, VP of operations at Summit Interconnect’s Anaheim facility (parent company of KCA Electronics), gave a presentation on flex and rigid-flex design and fabrication. At least 75 electronics professionals listened as Stine, an expert in flex and rigid-flex technologies, discussed proper trace geometries, grounding, cover lay, adhesives, signal integrity, impedance control, book-bindings and much more in his 80-minute presentation.
The constant need to reduce size, weight and power (SWaP) is driving the increased use of flex materials, which are lighter than their rigid counterparts and can be folded (thus reducing the footprint), and flex eliminates the need for heavier cables for interconnects. This is especially applicable for the mil/aero and defense applications for which KCA has been specializing in for many years. Stine also illustrated how layering flex substrates with an internal stiffener can provide a very low-loss solution for high-speed applications (RF/microwave/MMW) in a way that rivals or exceeds the performance found in high speed rigid laminates.
The dialog between Stine and the designers stayed active throughout the lunch-and-learn presentation, and the content appeared to be very practical and immediately applicable to the attendees. Summit Interconnect CEO and President Shane Whiteside was in attendance and generously donated several raffle prizes on behalf of Summit/KCA, which were drawn at the end of the event.
I thoroughly enjoy these Designers Council meetings every time I attend. And a special thanks to Orange County Chapter President Scott McCurdy, who has been a tireless servant of our local design and electronics community. Those of us fortunate enough to live in SoCal continue to reap the benefits of his leadership. I’ll definitely be back to cover the next Designers Council meeting.