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

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Texans like to say that everything is bigger in Texas. That certainly seems to be the case for the SMTA Dallas Expo & Tech Forum. Publisher Barry Matties and I attended SMTA Dallas on Tuesday, and the tabletop show has now grown to 100 exhibitors, up from 92 vendors last year. It’s become more than a local or regional show, with some exhibitors flying in from Silicon Valley and the East Coast. 

The show was busy most of the day. Dallas SMTA’s Gary Tanel gets extra credit for expanding happy hour from one hour to all afternoon; exhibitors at trade shows usually get more leads during “beer on the floor,” so why not have a super-sized happy hour? 

I headed home after the Dallas show, but Barry drove down to yesterday’s Houston SMTA Expo & Tech Forum. About half of the Dallas show’s exhibitors also exhibited at the Houston event. Scheduling the Dallas and Houston shows the same week is a smart move by SMTA; if you’re already in Dallas, there’s no reason not to work the Houston show too. 

It’s been a busy week, and I’m looking forward to relaxing this weekend. You should too.

Dallas SMTA Expo Bigger, Better Than Ever
Published March 28

Howdy, y’all! During this week’s SMTA Dallas Expo & Tech Forum, Barry Matties interviewed show organizer Gary Tanel. They discuss the show’s growth from a local event to one that draws exhibitors and attendees from all over Texas and beyond. This year’s show featured 100 exhibitors, up from 92 last year. The Dallas area’s electronics manufacturing segment is hotter than a prairie fire.

Dana on Data: Are You Ready for 3D AME?
Published March 30

Dana Korf’s columns never fail to illuminate an interesting point or two, and this month’s collaboration with Volkan Efe of Nano Dimension is no exception. Here, they discuss one of the many benefits of additive manufacturing: the elimination of through, blind, and buried vias. Additive processes allow designers to replace traditional vias with diagonal 3D traces, but the industry has been slow to adopt this technology. Dana and Volkan explain what needs to happen to see additive technology embraced by the industry.

Tempo Automation to Acquire Optimum Design Associates
Published March 28

There was some big news in the design sector this week, as Tempo announced that it was set to acquire California-based Optimum Design Associates. We’ve known Optimum founder Nick Barbin since he won the Top Gun design competition at PCB West over 20 years ago. Since 1991, he’s been busy growing Optimum from a small design bureau into a fully diversified EMS company. After the acquisition, maybe Nick can finally take a day off.

IPC Welcomes U.S. Presidential Determination Prioritizing Domestic Development of Printed Circuit Boards and IC Substrates
Published March 27

It’s another good omen: The White House is openly stressing the importance of supporting the PCB and IC substrates segments. The letter signed by President Joe Biden notes that this is necessary to “…avert an industrial resource or critical technology item shortfall that would severely impair national defense capability.” We’ve all known that for years, but it looks like Washington is finally getting the message.  

Organizing Materials Differently at Ventec
Published March 29 

Technical Editor Pete Starkey interviewed Ventec’s Mark Goodwin and Didier Mauve during a recent conference. They were eager to share their ideas regarding simplifying the material selection process by organizing materials by function and target application. If you’re a PCB designer in the aerospace sector, wouldn’t you like to see a list of laminates that were created specifically for that market? Sounds like a time-saving idea to me. Check it out.



Suggested Items

The Chip Shortage Leads to Innovation

10/03/2022 | Malcolm Thompson, NextFlex
The chip shortage is by no means over, with estimates expecting it will last into 2023. Some could see it taking even longer, such as Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger, who expects it to see shortages into 2024 due to those now impacting electronics production equipment. But if there’s any bright spot to be had, it’s that a crisis often leads to long-term solutions. In this case, it’s the increase in government funding for semiconductor production in the United States. Once the CHIPS Act proceeds, we can significantly accelerate building semiconductor fabs in the United States and work toward preventing future chip shortages that would put us back into our current situation.

Flexible Hybrid Electronics Design: Reducing Time to Market

03/23/2022 | Sean Nachnani, NextFlex
Emerging innovations in the flexible hybrid electronics (FHE) domain are enabling new applications across multiple industries due to their highly flexible structures and additive manufacturing processes. The smaller form factor, lighter weight, and conformal capabilities are ideal for IoT edge devices in health and fitness monitoring, military asset identification and tracking, automotive displays and sensors, aerospace radar, and soft robotics. Significant industry research led by NextFlex is optimizing the processes from design through manufacture for FHE products.

All Flex Discusses Merger and New Medical Applications

11/19/2021 | Nolan Johnson, I-Connect007
I recently spoke with Jamin Taylor, vice president of sales and marketing at All Flex Flexible Circuits in Minnesota. We discussed the company’s recent merger with Printed Circuits Inc., and some creative new flex applications, including flexible heaters and catheters for the medical field. As Jamin explains, "It’s always interesting to see different technologies amongst different companies. We’re working on a few new applications and products, like being able to do some fine lines and flex materials, but with large format, a longer format than usual. Some of their capabilities with lasering and fine features really help with our long flex capability; when we merge the two, we see a new market being created for that technology."

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