The Digital Layout: New and Thriving Chapters in Mexico

This month’s column highlights the Monterrey Designers Council Chapter located in Monterrey, Mexico. The chapter was established November 23, 2017, which makes it a younger chapter compared to several other global chapters currently in existence today. I also share news about a new chapter forming in Nogales, Mexico.

Luis Saracho is the president of the Monterrey Chapter and an IPC Certified Advanced PCB Designer (CID+) with a true passion for designing board layouts, not to mention leading and organizing chapter meetings. This chapter has yet to establish a solid leadership team, so Luis is basically running the show on his own there and has been doing an awesome job keeping this chapter active and successful. Their chapter meets quarterly (four times a year) with an average attendance of 12–18 attendees. Chapter meetings are typically held in the evening at a local university (ITESM Campus Monterrey), and most meetings consist of a technical presentation. The chapter is looking into getting government support through CANIETI—an organization that supports technical initiatives—but have had poor results to date.

Chapter Spotlight: Monterrey

by Luis Saracho, CID+, Chapter President

Our recent chapter meeting was held Thursday, May 30, and went well overall. There were around 20–25 attendees from different workplaces (several industry fields were represented, including automotive, industrial, lighting, manufacturing of electrical households, etc.) who shared their experiences with analog/digital/power grounding techniques on printed boards. Areas of conversation included: 

  • Keeping only one ground plane
  • Splitting planes but keeping them connected at a single point
  • Pouring with ground the signal layer as ground guards
  • Keeping separated ground potentials

At the end of the meeting, the conclusion from the open technical discussion was that there is no recipe that fits for all of the product diversity that people work on. For a graphics controller, 10-layer, mid-power board design rules and considerations cannot be followed on a double-layer, high-power board design for industrial applications.

The only recommendations agreed upon by everyone were to keep the loop between power and its return as small as your layout allows and avoid crossing loops, referring to a wide range of design options. But considering the diverse audience, it was very interesting to hear where they had designs flaw on EMC/EMI and what the engineers did to correct those flaws. You can't apply the same specific rules to different application and technology designs. The magic relies on identifying the aggressive and sensitive loops, and if simulation or testing shows a flaw, understanding the root cause of it. This is not an easy task for printed board engineers.

To read this entire column, which appeared in the July 2019 issue of Design007 Magazine, click here.



The Digital Layout: New and Thriving Chapters in Mexico


This month’s column highlights the Monterrey Designers Council Chapter located in Monterrey, Mexico. The chapter was established November 23, 2017, which makes it a younger chapter compared to several other global chapters currently in existence today. I also share news about a new chapter forming in Nogales, Mexico.

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The Digital Layout: Spotlight on the Orange County Chapter


So, what’s so special about the Orange County Chapter? For starters, we’re fortunate that a large number of electronics companies are located in Southern California, so there are many PCB designers in our area who are thirsty for knowledge. We are also lucky to have many local PCB fabrication and assembly companies from which we draw attendees and speakers. All of the major CAE vendors have offices and technical field personnel here and have been very supportive of our chapter in hosting lunches to help us keep our costs down.

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The Digital Layout: San Diego Chapter Updates and More


This month’s column is packed with recent activities, including a spotlight on the San Diego Chapter and an interview with Luke Hausherr, the new chapter president. You’ll also find an update from the IPC Designers Council Executive Board as collaboration with the new IPC Education Foundation continues to evolve and recommended reading featuring an interview with a young designer.

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The Digital Layout: Designer Highlights From IPC APEX EXPO 2019


The IPC Designers Council Executive Board meeting took place on January 29. Executive Board members in attendance included Gary Ferrari, Mike Creeden, Cherie Litson, Kelly Dack, Thomas Romont, and me. We also had Michael Schleicher, a guest representative from Germany, in attendance. Further, Dr. John Mitchell, Dave Hernandez, Colette Buscemi, Teresa Rowe, Aaron Birney, and Charlene Gunter du Plessis represented IPC.

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The Digital Layout: Greater Phoenix Chapter Revived


The Greater Phoenix chapter was revived in late 2018 after being largely dormant over the past few years. It has also undergone some leadership changes. As the former president, I have taken on a more active global role at the executive level of the IPC Executive DC Board as the communications officer at large. I will stay on the leadership committee for the Greater Phoenix Chapter as the VP at the request of the newly elected president, Randy Kumagai. Randy and I have already started to brainstorm with ways to kickstart the chapter’s activity in 2019.

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The Digital Layout: Cascade Designers Council Chapter and 2019 Activities


Our CID+ class had four people enrolled who came from around the area. All who attended learned about how board materials affected their designs, including EMI, EMC, impedance control, power distribution techniques, board stackups, and placement strategies in more detail than what was in the CID. Further, participants took the exam first thing Friday morning. This allowed us time to attend the Designers Council “lunch-and-learn” meeting, and the Altium user group met afterward in the same location.

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The Digital Layout: Chapter Highlights and Certification Successes


This month’s column highlights the San Diego chapter, which is also where IPC APEX EXPO 2019 will be held at the end of January. You will also find updates on recent CID and CID+ certification success stories, a recap of the PCB Carolina event from the Research Triangle Park (RTP) North Carolina chapter, and upcoming events, so mark your calendars for next year.

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The Digital Layout: Chapter Roundup and CID+ Certification


This month’s spotlight is the Silicon Valley Chapter. We held our fall quarterly meeting on October 25, 2018, at none other than Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California—yes, the site of Super Bowl 50 and the soon-to-be 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship game. This was made possible by our host, Sierra Circuits, and sponsor, Altium. We thank them both graciously. Out of 33 total RSVPs, 24 were able to attend the lunchtime meeting. Fun fact: of the members who RSVPed, six of them were CID certified and 10 were CID+ certified, with Faisal Ahmed being the most recent (hear more from him later).

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The Digital Layout: Designers Council Update and PCB Carolina 2018


Welcome to the first edition of "The Digital Layout." As a current IPC Designers Council (DC) Executive Board member and a long-time active IPC member, I was nominated to be the chairman of the newly created communications subcommittee. In this role, I will be the main point of contact for global chapter communications and will work with local IPC chapter leaders to publish content in this new column. We want to utilize this column to help spread the IPC DC Executive Board’s goals like a virus.

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